I’ll never forget the shock and heartbreak I felt when I woke up that morning and read that you had died. Like so many others, I appreciated the way you showed us the cultures of the world in such a dignified way. And as a fellow jiu jitsu practitioner, I felt a deep loss of one of my idols in that sport.
I got into jiu jitsu later in life. There have been plenty of times when I felt like I got started too late. I constantly get smashed by younger players who are stronger, faster, and naturally more athletic than me. But then I’d remember that you got started in life much later than I did. And you were still a badass at the sport into your 60’s.
Everyone’s jiu jitsu journey is different, and we all set out to achieve different goals. For me, I currently have no intention to compete. My goals on the mat are to get stronger, more confident, and more patient with every class, and then take those lessons and apply them to my every day life. And like you, I use jiu jitsu as a tool to help me break bad habits. Instead of staying up late trying to find the bottom of a bottle of Irish whiskey and spending the next day nursing a hangover, I choose to go to bed early and spend the next day training.
Thank you for your inspiration, Tony.