One name I often mention on this blog is Tumbleweed (aka My Mentor Mike), because he has always been an incredible help to my training. I remember once back in the early days at the dojo, when someone (not the regular instructor) was teaching, and instead of partnering us by size, we were partnered by gender, so Mike and I were both paired with people who outweighed us by quite a bit. Mike is the type of person who speaks his mind, and he complained “Great, I get to work with another guy who outweighs me by sixty pounds, instead of someone who is close to my size, just because she’s a woman!”, and I remember thinking “OMG, he actually wants to be my partner!”, because up until that point, I was convinced that no one ever wanted to work with me.
In the years since then, Tumbleweed has been my drilling partner more often than everyone else put together. He is truly technical and talented, with an obvious passion for training and teaching. Sometimes I actually feel guilty about all the time and energy he has devoted to helping me, because I know that every student at LBJJC could benefit from working with him, and I probably wouldn’t even be half as good at Jiu-Jitsu without Mike’s mentoring.
You’d think that being a smaller guy in BJJ (and competing in absolutes) would be challenging enough for him, but soon he’ll be testing himself in a new way, by stepping inside of an MMA cage for the first time. I’m excited for him, and I believe he’ll do very well, yet I can’t help but feel a little nervous about it, but at least he’ll be fighting someone his own size!