Home > Brazilian jiu jitsu, Challenges, Friends, Judo, Learning, Life, passion, Promotions, Training > The best kind of inspiration.

The best kind of inspiration.

Last night, our judo club had a black belt promotion. As I’ve mentioned before, black belt promotions get me super emotional and last night was no exception. A lot of it has to do with who was getting promoted. Yesterday, it was Eric. I think everyone in our club would agree that Eric is a crucial part of our team. Not only does he help teach judo class on occasion, but he also runs one of our jiu jitsu classes. Even though he has a demanding full time job and a family, he puts in a lot of mat time and competes often. Eric even spear-headed building the floor for our club when we moved last year and I don’t know how we could have gotten our new place together without him. There’s no question that Eric is dedicated to our club.

For me personally, Eric has been a big part of my judo life. I remember him from when I first started with the Philadelphia Judo Club. Even though Eric is well over a foot taller than I am and has about 80 pounds on me, my coaches would often pair me with him to train. They don’t always have much larger people work with much smaller people. But Eric is just the kind of practitioner who you can pair with anyone. He’s patient, he’s safe, and he wants both partners to get something out of their training. He definitely helped me feel a little more comfortable with groundwork in judo and although BJJ is pretty painful for me mentally, I always learn a lot in Eric’s classes. What I’ve admired and respected about Eric is that he works hard to improve, but he shares what he’s learned with his teammates.

Last night’s promotion seemed so perfect. Not only do I believe that it’s Eric’s time to start the next stage in his judo life, but it was good timing for me to see one of my grappling role models hit that turning point. I’m so happy to be healthy enough to train again, but it’s been hard for me to accept how out of shape I am. It’s difficult for me to go through a practice and feel tired at points that would have been no problem two months ago. I hate it when my physical condition takes away from the rate at which I can progress. Seeing Eric earn his black belt, though, reminded me that it’s no fun if it’s easy. We keep coming back class after class because we love the challenge. You don’t get as far as Eric has by letting discouragement win.


  1. December 20, 2011 at 22:33

    Maddog Latimer, one hell of a friend, one hell of a good person and one hell of a Judoka!

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