I am very fortunate to have been able to return to Puerto Rico for the last two weeks to teach Jiu-Jitsu.
Not only did the island bless me with heritage and culture, a constant influence in my youth, but also a wealth of new and existing Puerto Rican Jiu-Jitsu practitioners that look to me with a sense of pride. Every time I go I am received with the curiosity of puerto rican bjj aficionados, and the warmth of the hometown Puerto Rican crowd. I appeared in one of the biggest newspapers on the island, el Nuevo Dia, and the feeling of being honored for my sacrifices from such an amazing group of people is indescribable.
They are as proud of me as I am to represent my fellow Boricuas (Puerto Ricans).
I held a number of classes from the Natatorium, a massive pool complex where many international events are held (and where Eduardo Ortiz from the Behring Wolfpack holds classes), to the Coqui Dome in Cupey where Manuel Rey from Behring BJJ hold his. I was able to teach a class at Shimmy Disoriannos school in Isla Verde, RIGHT in front of the beach and, finally, I was able to teach a seminar at the Sparta Wrestling Club where Puerto Rico has produced Olympic wrestling champions such as Jaime Espinal, Franklin Gomez and Francisco Soler. I look forward to working with the local mma talent in Puerto Rico.
I am humbled and honored to be recognized among them and pray that my continuing battle to be the best I can be motivates the new generations of Boricuas to do the same. The classes were packed. Sometimes even comically bringing some practitioners out of their self imposed “breaks” as everyone wanted to check out some of the new techniques I bring back!
Make no mistake, the Boricuas are hungry for knowledge and even though our current numbers in IBJJF events are not substantial they are growing bit by bit and many have brought back medals from Chicago, NY, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston Opens.
I even have the opportunity to continually work with Carlos Saquic whom I consider to be one of Puerto Ricos most promising stars. He has medaled at many IBJJF events including the Pan Ams, taking silver in 2012 as a blue belt ( no small feat at such a prestigious event).
Aside from the understandable depression associated with leaving the island, I am filled with optimism and pride of the growth on the mats. I leave with my batteries charged and another 10 lbs that I have no clue where they came from! *wink* I am ready now for more… Hungry (not literally …. Well, maybe yea literally lol) for more GOLD and for hard training.
Ready for the battles ahead because I KNOW that I have the support and the love of my students, my training partners, my friends, and my fellow Boricuas to push me past my limits!