Today is my brother Steve’s birthday (the second oldest out of us four boys). In this digital age we don’t use photo albums so I went through my phone and dug up some photos dating back at least 10 years ago doing what we do best, training Muay Thai, competing, relaxing and having fun.
It’s so important to have someone in your life to share the journey you are on. It can only guarantee your success. This is evident in the success of families who take up the Jiu Jitsu together. You also see it in the sport with of Jiu Jitsu with the amount of siblings who become champions (Estima brothers, Ribeiro brothers, Mendes brothers, Miyao brothers, twins Tammy and Mikey Musumeci) and the list goes on. It’s also a great way for four rowdy boys to burn off energy in a somewhat safe way.
Having not only companionship but someone to encourage you and motivate you when you are down and vice versa may be one of the key factors in not only success but staying the course of your journey to black belt. I can certainly attest to that.
There were a few, if not more, moments in my career where I’ve asked myself after losing first round in a tournament like the Pan Americans “Why do I do this to myself? Do I really want to do this?” and all the negativity and doubt that comes with losing. Many of us who have experienced it know, it can be embarrassing, humbling, humiliating, but it can also bring the best version out of you and that’s what it is about. There have been times that I have thought about quitting, and if didn’t have the family or support that I did, who knows if I would have.
One thing is for certain, had I quit and chosen to focus on a career that was solely focused on money, I wouldn’t have all the amazing memories that have come from the people you meet in jiu jitsu, traveling and competing in jiu jitsu, teaching, adventure and all the good that comes with it. I would also be less capable of defending myself and armed with a bigger ego. A dangerous combination.
Let’s not forget, I wouldn’t have been able to experience getting suprised with my black belt in front of all the students, the happiest and most emotional moment to this day. I will never forget the love in the room that day from Steve, my students, my family, my friends. It was awesome, and I wish that others can experience this.
Lastly, this journey wouldn’t have ever started without my brother who got me interested and was there with me every step of the way. I can’t thank him enough for the person I am today. All the love in the world bro ❤️😘