We talk about the “journey” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We talk about it A LOT.
Everyone’s journey will start differently. Maybe they were looking to get into shape or they were looking to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after doing their research on the different disciplines within the martial arts. Maybe their parents wanted them to stay out of trouble, while learning important values such as discipline, humility, honesty and appreciate friends that they make along the way.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see something that does not happen very often: I was able to witness a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt be awarded his 5th stripe. We always tell our teammates that the stripes will come when you are ready and the belt will change color when you are ready. Getting a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not like getting a Black Belt in any other form of martial art.
In order to get a FIFTH stripe on your Black Belt, you must have been a Black Belt for 19 years.
Let me say this, just like I’ve been told by every higher ranked student I have trained with: that stripe you earn, whether it’s the first one on your White Belt or the fifth one on your Black Belt; a lot of hard work went into that stripe and you should be proud.
When Professor Robson Moura was only 10 years old, he wanted to do Karate. Luckily for all of us, Robson’s dad had a friend who trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his name is Ailson “Jucão” Henrique Brites.
He took Robson under his wing and trained him, kept him out of trouble and even took Robson with him when he moved from Teresópolis, Brazil. After some time, Robson became homesick and went back home to be with his family, but he still continued to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the teammates he had prior to his move.
Robson’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey would be filled with hours of training that had him seeing his share of peaks, valleys, and plateaus, numerous tournaments and World Championships as his journey closed in on the Black Belt.
Now, just like everything else on the journey, the Black Belt is just one of the many destinations along the way, as there is no end. During this time Robson helped grow the Nova Uniao team and then his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey would see him leave Nova Uniao to form the Robson Moura Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association and Robson Moura Nations United.
During the promotion, both Jucão and Professor Robson Moura shared stories about one another as well as what it meant to be a part of this special day. Both men were filled with emotions as Jucão was promoting that 10-year old boy who came to him in 1988 wanting to learn Karate to a 5th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As for Professor Robson, to receive the promotion from his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor had to feel like he had come home.
Everyone’s journey will be different and they will be taken in different directions for various reasons. Some will train to get in shape while others want to compete and test their skills on the biggest showcase for the opportunity to be a WORLD CHAMPION.
There are literally thousands of people that have had their lives impacted for the better because of Robson Moura. Whether they are training at his school in Tampa, Florida or at one of his many affiliate schools around the world, they are improving their health, building their confidence and becoming a better person on and off the mats while make friends and creating relationships that will be some of the strongest bonds that they will make along their respective journey.
I feel that people come into your life for a reason. As it was brought up during the promotion, if Robson wanted to play soccer instead of learning a martial art, or if his dad did’t take him to train with Jucão, where would everyone that trains under Robson Moura Nations United be at this moment?
While each individual will have a unique journey, one thing that I know now is that you will always be able to go home.