By: Jason M.A. Walter for BJJ Legends Magazine | The Beginning – Pan Ams 2010
I grew up believing that following your heart was important though societal norms seemed to indicate otherwise. Over the years, I have struggled with deep conflicts throughout my life as I was trying to fit in with what the world told me was “right.” At 26, I found myself young, unhealthy, and feeling dead inside. It was not until I realized that the shackles that were holding me back were invisible and of my own creation.
I began to incorporate healthier practices in my life during the last four years. In 2008, I finally felt empowered in life by my passion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This led me to compete in the Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, the second largest tournament in the world, in [span class=”inset-right”]Editor’s Note: Jason is traveling across the US, to different Academies. We’re happy to present his travels and experiences with JiuJitsu, people and personal exploration.[/span]April of this year.
Leading up to the event, I trained very hard in the gym, and spent just as much time and energy outside visualizing and preparing my mind for this leg of the adventure. I did everything that I could. Come tournament time, I truly did not feel nervous. If anything I felt more alive than ever. I felt this deep sense of gratitude for my life and all that I had been through and was on the verge of tears. I had finally experienced what it was to be in the Now, to go with the flow (or “flow with the go” as Rickson Gracie once said). [blockquote class=”quotes”]I finally found them and stripped bare-ass in the middle of competitors, spectators, coaches, Professors, etc. I sprinted back to face my destiny, got ready, went out there, and got smoked.[/blockquote]
They called my name and any butterflies I might have felt were eliminated as I was almost disqualified for a tear in my gi. I spent the next few minutes running around the Bren Event Center at UC-Irvine looking for my teammates. I finally found them and stripped bare-ass in the middle of competitors, spectators, coaches, Professors, etc. I sprinted back to face my destiny, got ready, went out there, and got smoked.
I fought hard, did all that I could, and I lost. But that’s the thing. I didn’t lose. I won in so many ways. Let me sum it all up by stressing that following my passion helped me to grow exponentially as a person and allowed me to experience what being in the moment/truly being alive was. I came home and somewhere along the way forgot that feeling. This column is about my journey from Hawaii across the US and learning how to really “flow with the go.”