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Welcome to Dust Mop Jiu Jitsu

At current count, I have done at least one lesson at twenty-five separate Jiu Jitsu studios. I started in South Korea, moved to Burlington Vermont in 2018, went to the Berkshires (western Massachusetts) during the Pandemic and then to Amherst, MA in September of 2021. During that journey, I’ve tried to keep up with going to class at least three times a week. If I found myself out of those four locations, I went to lessons wherever I could find them. Visiting family in Nebraska, attending academic residencies in Ohio and visiting potential universities with my wife, gave me the opportunity to see Jiu Jitsu in those areas.

Partially because of all the moving, I’m still a white belt. And because of that I’ve been trying to think about how to make sense of this time that I’ve dedicated to my sport. I’ve gained so much with regard to physical health, confidence and social connections. Yet I keep focusing on the blue belt that has continued to elude me. People love to say that Jiu Jitsu is great for keeping your ego low, but I have to admit that I get uncomfortable when people ask me what belt I am. After four years, it  can sometimes feel embarrassing to say white.

If you stick around at one gym, my assumption is that eventually you will get a blue belt. The gyms I’ve been to don’t want to give one to a guy who’s only been around a few months. They want to be able to take stock in your progress and see your journey. That leads me to this project. I need to take it upon myself to reflect on that journey rather than waiting for someone else to do it for me. My love for BJJ is not dependent on getting belts. It’s the learning that has changed my life. This blog is dedicated to those experiences.

The name, “Dust Mop Jiu Jitsu” represents my belief that I’ve taken crumbs from everywhere I’ve been. I’ve told myself that seeing all of these gyms has been good for my Jiu Jitsu. But I have not really taken the time to reflect on how attending classes in different states and countries has actually helped me. I can’t claim to remember everything I learned from each place. That’s why I feel like a dust mop as opposed to a sponge. But my thought is that, through writing, I will be able to remember at least one way that each gym has contributed to my BJJ repertoire in the form of a technique, a life lesson or an interesting story.

(Me, second from the left, with three coaches from Combat Fitness MMA)


One response to “Welcome to Dust Mop Jiu Jitsu”

  1. I really enjoyed reading that. Your authenticity is delicious. Keep that heart open and enjoy every minute of life. ❤️


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