Joy in the Jiu-Jitsu Journey

These past few weeks have been insanely busy to put it mildly. As I’m sitting here putting this post together, I am occasionally wondering if I was even breathing this last month. Between the kids, church, Phillip’s schedule, and my schedule, we have been going nonstop. Today I want to show you a few pictures and explain one of my activities that has quickly become a needed (and favorite) activity for me. So, here goes!


About two and a half years ago, as I was watching my children during their jiu-jitsu class, it hit me that it looked like it could be really fun. I thought it looked like a good, safe, and controlled way to get some exercise and to release some frustration without getting into trouble for pummeling someone into the ground. I loved the idea of the added benefit of being able to protect my children and myself, if needed. Boy, was I right! But, as it turns out, it has become so much more!


Jiu-jitsu has become a part of our family routine. Between my kids and me, we are at the dojo six days a week. And we absolutely love it. My kids have been training for a little over three years now. I have only been training for about two years. I started two and a half years ago, but I stopped training when I was thirty weeks pregnant with my fifth baby and started back up again after he was born. I have a whole bunch of “mat babies,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I can’t believe all the things that jiu-jitsu has given me. It has given my children the knowledge and confidence to be able to protect themselves if they need. That alone is the biggest gift any mother could be given. My worst fear is to let my children down and not keep them protected somehow. Jiu-jitsu is helping me to calm that fear somewhat.


It has also given me more personal confidence. I have had a lot of things happen in my life that have completely killed any confidence or self-esteem that I may have had. But jiu-jitsu is slowly helping me get some of that back. It is teaching me that I can be different. I can do things for ME. I don’t have to worry about what everyone else thinks. I can do what I need to do when I need to do it. Jiu-jitsu has become my confidence builder and my release for so many things.


Here’s the thing though. Jiu-jitsu is not easy. It is not something that you just “pick up.” Jiu-jitsu is amazingly hard work that holds some amazing rewards if you stick it out and put the time and effort into it. Jiu-jitsu is an art. You have to want to do the work. You have to be willing to work through the rocky times and push through to the good times. If you can do that, and are willing to do that, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you can accomplish.


For the last two and a half years, I have worked my tail off during my training. I have some of the best training partners turned friends that anyone could possibly ask for. We are all different levels in our jiu-jitsu journeys; but we are all super close, and we push each other to be better every day. I can’t say enough good things about my teammates, coaches, and Professor. They are all amazing, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They have become like family.


Over these last two weeks, I have had the privilege of training with some of the best in the world. Two weeks ago, I was able to go to a seminar taught by the Number 8 Female Black Belt in the world. That was so cool! She was so sweet and kind and was more than willing to help us learn as much as we could in the time we had.  My teammates and I were loving every second of it, and we were able to take that knowledge back to our other teammates back home. This picture is of our team members with Bianca Basilio at the seminar she taught.

Bianco Basilio seminar.jpg

I should also mention that my husband deserves a massive shout out and thank you since I ditched him on our 11thanniversary to go to that seminar… I LOVE my husband!


This past weekend also boasted a jiu-jitsu seminar. This time it was at our own dojo and was taught by another Professor who runs his own dojo a couple hours away from us. It was another great seminar. This one was especially fun for me since my two oldest children also got to be a part of it. The kids love to do seminars! They love being able to learn new things and see the different viewpoints as much as the adults do. This seminar also hosted our summer belt graduation. Everyone was excited to see who was graduating and who was getting stripes on their belts. This is one of the best parts of the year and everyone looks forward to it. Even if you know you won’t be ranking up that day, you still get excited.


It was so much fun to see all the kids and my training partners receive their stripes and new belts. I absolutely love to watch them succeed. I think that is one of my favorite parts of being on this team. We all root for each other and love it when someone succeeds. It’s the best feeling in the world! By the way, my oldest baby girl graduated to her gray belt! Here she is with our Professor (left) and the visiting Professor, Ishmael Bentley (right). Laiyla Ishmael Bentley seminar


So what exactly have I been working so hard for? What is it that these amazing training partners have been helping me achieve? At the belt graduation on Saturday, I wasn’t expecting to even get another stripe as I had gotten one a few weeks before, but apparently that was not the case. I didn’t get a stripe on Saturday. I graduated up to my Blue Belt! I was so surprised when he called my name. I know my face gave away how surprised I was because my Professor started laughing. I have worked through four levels of each of my four white belts, and it has paid off! I’m crazy excited to have gotten my blue belt, but I’m also crazy nervous! Once you are a blue belt, you are supposed to know stuff. I don’t think I know much! But anyway, I am now officially a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu! I can’t wait to see where this journey goes!


Here is a group picture from the seminar and belt graduation. The second picture is of me (the one on the left) with my beautiful training partners shortly after receiving my blue belt. They are the best! I should thank all my male training partners too. They have taught me so much through all of this. I don’t think they would appreciate being called “beautiful” though… Anyway, I hope I have been able to convey my excitement and love for the sport even a tiny bit. This is just a small group of what our whole team is, but I think you can tell from the picture that we all thoroughly enjoy the art of jiu-jitsu and will continue to travel this crazy journey.

Ishmael Bentley seminar group

Black Arrow Women Ishmael Bentley seminar

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