This story is my jiu-jitsu journey and experiences from on and off the mats. It's helped me overcome mental and physical obstacles. I battled physical abuse and depression as an adolescent and shall we say troubled youth. Later on, down the road it grew into anxiety, PTSD and suicidal thoughts as I got older as well as other disorders and the obvious one of me being severely overweight caused by depression, overeating and side effects of medication. But that's another story. It's helped me mentally so much but yet rarely sometimes the anger, depression and anxiety inside still swallow me up on occasion. Although I've become to have a different outlook on life. Rather than focus on the hand that life dealt me I look to overcome those feelings and obstacles instead. Yeah, there are times when it’s still hard. Shit happens and it isn't always sunshine and rainbows. That's just life. It's funny how being choked on a mat, the feeling of suffocation, physical exertion, and a slow feeling of almost losing consciousness can reduce all these thoughts that swirl in my head. To be able to cope and face things present and past that I wasn’t able to do before I started this journey. Jiu-jitsu makes you think and move. It rewires your thinking to make process things differently. It's helped reduce my anxiety to almost nothing, keep calm in stressful situations and makes me think outside the box on and off the mats but I don’t stop there. I've been to a few jiu-jitsu gyms and they're not the same. I've also trained under coach sol of metro fight club. He was hard on me, but he knew my past and back then knew my present state of mind. He was also kind but still tough. I bounced around gyms over a few years for only months at a time inconsistently training still dealing with my own mental battles. I met Professor Jeff Messina on a ruck that I decided to join in on about a year or so ago. He encouraged me to come train, but my schedule and current financial situation rendered me from doing so. It always stayed on my mind for about a year then finally walked in the Revo doors. Professor Messina immediately remembered me and welcomed me with open arms. When I first started, I felt like an outsider. But I get it. I was the new guy, white belt and 300+ lbs. Like being a kid at a new school. After a while the relationships between me and my teammates began to change and grow. I've began to develop a brotherhood with my teammates on and off the mats. I found that there are kind people in the world willing to help you and it doesn't stop within these gym walls. Jeff is always critiquing me and telling me what I'm doing wrong. Which is a good thing. Repeat that again please? It's a good thing! If you're professor isn't critiquing you, getting after you and encouraging you then they don't care. Your another monthly check adding in their bank account. But it doesn't stop with Jeff. Professor Ceconi, Vince, Pitel and Earnesto are all the same way. I've forged relationships off the Mats with Gil Harris and others. Gil mentors me, gives me advice and even helped me in ways my own father wouldn't. Gil knows portions of my back story and where I come from. I've also grew friendships with Mike Gilreath, Craig Summers, If, Israel and Jeff Kessler. These guys have mentored me on the mats. Pushing me to my limits, encouraging me and critiquing me all while making me humble and suffer at the same time. Professor Messina asked us to vote on the student of the year but there are so many good people here to choose from. I chose my pick at random because I can't pick them all. I can honestly say that jiu-jitsu has saved my life. I work hard and train harder. My typical day consists of waking up at 8 am. Coffee, 3 mile jog, pack my lunch and work clothes, train, eat lunch in my truck an then work. In bed by 2am wake up and doing it again the next. I love jiu-jitsu and my dedication shows it. Sometimes my family complains but my argument is always the same. Do you want gone for a few hours or gone for good? Because being overweight with diabetes, high blood pressure, depressed and everything else will have me flat lining in no time whether it be heart attack or suicide. What good am I then? I love my family and I love this game. This is my journey, and nothing will stop it.
Posted on 12/9/22 by Alex Dehoyos | Revolution Dojo