On June 27, 2016 we took our three little girls to the soft opening of a new Brazilian jiu jitsu gym in Cocoa Beach. I had more awareness of BJJ than the average person at the time (I don’t think I’ve ever mistaken it for karate), but had never considered training for me. I just wanted my girls to learn skills that would allow them to react without panicking if they’re ever placed in a situation they needed to get out of.

Luckily I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Surprise! The instructors casually asked if I’d like to give it a shot, and I said “sure”. Oddly, this is almost exactly how I ended up playing rugby.

After an hour of being rag-dolled and choked by guys and gals 60 pounds lighter than me, I knew I had to do this. And the Missus loved it just as much as me. I didn’t know at the time what a huge bonus that would be for my training.

Last night we were awarded blue belts by Professor Frank Livorsi along with my buddies Ed (started the same night as us) and Dr. Dan. It was so cool to be able to share this accomplishment with my FAVORITE person in the whole world and two really good guys like Ed and Dan.

I nerd out and track everything, so in answer to the “how long does it take to get your blue belt” question…

  • 202 training sessions
  • 356 hours of mat time
  • 456 days
  • ~1000 pounds of sweat (I lose ~6 pounds of water weight in a good session)
  • 1 Competition with a 2-1 record
  • 1 industrial sized washing machine to keep 5 people’s gis from stinking at training
  • 10 chronically sore fingers
  • 1 scattered, covered, smothered, smashed, chunked, diced, and topped ego (there’s still plenty left to be grounded out
  • Countless hours of talking about BJJ in the car and on the couch

We’re unbelievably lucky to have happened upon a place with such amazing coaches and teammates. This little gym on the beach has become a second family to us. We get to learn in a safe and friendly environment, and have training partners who push and encourage us every day.

From what I hear, this is where the fun really starts, and I’m super excited to continue this journey.