There is only one person in our Jiu-Jitsu class who currently holds the rank of brown belt: Ray Petersen. I call him The Doggfather, not only because he has swagger and he was born in the year of the dog. He’s also a black belt in Judo, which he has been training since he was a child, and even though he is about fifteen years younger than I am, he says his Judo training aged him faster, like in dog years!
Ray is a virtual encyclopedia of martial arts knowledge. If you want to know the history of almost any art, how to say the name of a technique in six different languages, where the best place is to get a good deal on a gi, or who won the latest UFC fights: just ask Ray. He has always shown an interest in my training, and he often offers help, even when he is just watching from another class. Ray tells it like it is, but in a nice, respectful way. Another one of his nicknames is Panda, and while pandas may seem all cute and cuddly, you should never forget that they are still bears! Just roll with Ray if you don’t believe me.
He taught most of Jiu-Jitsu class on Tuesday, and as the senior student in attendance, I got to be his practice dummy. When class started, it was just the two of us and three white belts, and of course he had us work on some dreaded Judo, but I don’t think there is anyone who I feel more comfortable doing Judo with than Ray (well, except maybe Ken), so I was glad to be his partner. I love it when I get to run with the top dogs!