Guest article by Anthony Clas. Another great contribution. He’s spent the greater part of 2017 documenting the Army’s story in Europe and had the opportunity to experience Jiu Jitsu in multiple countries. Here’s his insights. Enjoy !!
POZNAN, Poland – Hands slap and a fist bump follows…then chaos ensues until one is claimed the victor. However, when the two warriors depart the battlefield they leave each other with a newly forged family bond.
Aug. 7, 2017 marked three years since I began my jiu-jitsu journey. I have trained in the U.S. and overseas only to find that jiu-jitsu culture is consistent no matter where you train in the world.
How could I be so confident you ask? It’s a great life lesson in one of my favorite books, “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coehlo…“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time,” said the merchant to the young man.
My journey has taken me to mats in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Illinois in the states as well as the countries of Germany and Poland. Each time introducing me to great people who share a passion for the “Gentle Art.” Nothing builds camaraderie like beating each other up…I suppose. I guess “Fight Club” was more fact than fiction.
Reflecting after practice on my “Rolliversary,” I started to wonder, with all of the pain I endured during practice at Anakonda Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in Poznan, Poland, from Daniel’s knee trying to send my ribs to the gates of hell with his Knee on Belly and Professor Marcin’s attempt to give me facial reconstructive surgery with his shoulder during a Pressure Pass attempt; why do I feel like there isn’t a care in the world after practice? I mean, what is it about Combat Sports that provides a sense of release and calms our inner beast.
Weiser et al. posit martial arts integrates mind and body through nonverbal exercise increasing tranquility, focus, self-awareness and self-acceptance. I’ll vouch for that! Since I started my journey I have looked at the world through a totally different lens. It’s as if everyone else is on fire and I am doing a backstroke through calm waters.
A problem, whether on the mats or off the mats, requires clarity of mind and the understanding that there are consequences to every action. This is where your game comes in, transitioning continuously to improve your position.
It has been an action-packed year. I was awarded my blue belt, Sept. 20, 2016, by Professor Jamir Toledo, 2016 International Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation No-Gi World Champion and head BJJ Instructor at Twin Wolves MMA located in Harker Heights, Texas, definitely not expected. I saw my niece and nephew begin their journeys and got the opportunity to train overseas. I even met some pretty famous BJJ characters in the industry.
Both Eddie Bravo and Jean Jacques Machado hosted seminars in Austin, Texas allowing me to meet two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Heroes of mine. All in all, this journey keeps opening me up to experiences beyond my expectations and has prepared me to deal with the many challenges and different nuances life has to offer.
“I am a shark, the ground is my ocean, and most people don’t know how to swim,” said Master Jean Jacques Machado. I can’t wait to pass the skills I’ve learned onto my family moving forward.
I will end this saga with a testament to all of my fellow iujiteiros the hard work pays off and the system works. I have felt just as comfortable on the mats in Poland and Germany as I am on the mats at my home gym, Twin Wolves MMA. Also, I have felt just as welcome by my European Jiu-Jitsu Family as I am back home in Texas, so wherever you are in the world just roll. One Team…Oss!
Dr. Anthony M. Clas is a major in the United States Army stationed at Fort Hood, TX. He holds an Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Masters of Military Art and Science in Homeland Security Studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Masters of Science in Criminal Justice from Tiffin University, and Bachelor of Art in Criminal Justice from Saint Xavier University. He is married to Dr. Claudia Becerril-Clas, M.D., family medicine physician and captain in the U.S. Army, and they have two children. He is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and travels the world as an Army Storyteller.