Like a Rolling Stone

Mike winsLincoln BJJ won third place team at the local Circle of Iron tournament that took place last Saturday on Halloween! During the kids class yesterday, Professor Greg told them he was proud of everyone who competed, even the ones who lost, because they either did better than last time, or better than he was expecting. All of our adult competitors also did well, and my bro Mike killed it! As a light-feather blue belt, he won all of his matches by submission against medium-heavy purple belts, winning the division and open (and a $100!). I wasn’t able to be in attendance, but I saw his matches on video (which were awesome!), and apparently several people who watched him compete were very impressed with his skills. Some of them told Mike they wished they could train with him, so I feel really lucky that I get to do that all of the time!

Some of the people at the tournament were also giving Professor Greg a hard time for not promoting Mike to purple belt already, but that’s going to happen when we have our next belt promotion in December (provided  Mike can pass the test ;). You know, I can’t remember half of my rolls from the advanced class last night, but I can still remember the first time I rolled with Michael Aquila (aka Tumbleweed). It was four years ago, I was a recently promoted blue belt at the dojo, and I wrote a blog post about the new white belt who showed up:

"The big, strong, tough guy goes to class, and he keeps getting tapped by the skinny, technical guy. It begins to change him. It makes him humble. That's what Jiu-Jitsu does to you. It makes you humble." -Relson GracieIt took about fifteen seconds from the start of our roll for me to figure out that Mike had done this before, and it turns out that he’s been training BJJ for about a year, and he just moved to Lincoln for school. It was a good roll, and I’m really glad I chose that particular white belt to roll with. I was completely unsuccessful in any attempt to get him in my guard (inconceivable!) and his side control was inescapable. Which is even more impressive if you consider the fact that he only outweighs me by about twenty pounds. I also watched him roll with another white belt who was much larger than he was, and the big dude never got out of Mike’s mount before being submitted with an arm triangle. I don’t think Mike will be wearing that white belt around here for very long.

I can even remember that Mike submitted me with an americana that day! At the time, I had no idea that he would end up being one of the instructors at Lincoln BJJ Center, or that he would become my greatest mentor, but I always knew he was an amazing Jiu-Jitsu fighter. I am so fortunate to be able to get my ass kicked by him all of the time, and now everyone wants to be like Mike!


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