I have read quite a few articles about the recent promotion of Mark Schultz. This is awesome on so many levels, for Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and martial arts as a whole. For those who are unaware Mark is a decorated olympic Wresting gold medalist. However, what many didn’t know was that he also has been training Jiu Jitsu since the 90s. He just recently received his official black belt from Master Pedro Sauer a few weeks ago, and I was fortunate to bare wittiness to this event. The promotion was held at the Pedro Sauer Association N.W H.Q Anibal Lobo Jiu-Jitsu Academy (where I train). While watching this event and the 20min or so speech that followed by both Mark and Pedro a few things became crystal clear to me.
- Jiu-Jitsu will make you humble– While I am sure Mark is overall a very nice man and that exactly what he was when I met him.. Jiu-Jitsu opens your eyes. Being a decorated Olympic wrestler he met up with Rickson Gracie for a grappling match and from there on he was hooked. He stated that he couldn’t believe he had spent all his life wrestling and never learned these submission holds. From that point on he began training under Pedro and His students.. even my own instructor Anibal Lobo on occasion. In his speech he even went as far as to say that receiving his black belt meant the most to him out of every achievement he ever made…including his Olympic gold. If that isn’t a testament to how awesome Jiu Jitsu is then I don’t know what is.
- Jiu-Jiu gives you lifelong friends– He talked about how at some point he actually had a house next door to Pedro Sauer and spoke of how much his friendship and support meant. He had nothing but great things to say about all of his instructors and friends. To see these veterans all still so close just goes to show how much comradery there is in Jiu Jitsu.
- Jiu-Jitsu gives you something to strive for– After already achieving so much in life Mark told us how Jiu-Jitsu gave him something to strive to achieve. He had something new and foreign to learn and new goals. He was even given the opportunity to fight in the early UFC on very short notice. He stated that Jiu-Jitsu gave him so much and that he is thankful he had the opportunity to meet Pedro and Rickson.
Watching this speech and promotion in person was a great experience, as was meeting Mark. I am sure as I go on in my own journey, this will be a moment I will remember forever.