Conducting a seminar earlier this summer in Sweden. Photo: Erin Herle

Conducting a seminar earlier this summer in Sweden. Photo: Erin Herle

I’m very excited for numerous reasons today. This morning I will be taking off from Newark Airport to head to California to join my girlfriend for a 12-day trip on her side of the country, teaching seminars and competing. But, at the same time I also view this trip as a challenge I want to test myself with.

I am always very comfortable with staying close to home, and to me there’s no place like spending my entire day at the Marcelo Garcia academy. It doesn’t matter to me if I see friends of mine on Instagram traveling the world seeing new places, I don’t get jealous of that, because I’m always happy to be where I’m most comfortable. Of course I appreciate the opportunities I get when I get to go travel the world, but I’m a homebody and a “matbody.” So, for me this trip training and teaching at different gyms with new faces is a way for me to challenge myself and to put myself out of my comfort zone. I also see this as an opportunity to grow more socially and learn to not be concerned about any unfamiliar surroundings and to focus on my goal: to teach to the best of my ability and help everyone improve their game in one way or another.

I’m also excited to test myself at the Las Vegas Open in the black belt featherweight division. This isn’t the first time I will have competed in Vegas as I actually competed in a few NAGA’s and Grappler’s Quest’s back in my kids and teens days, but nonetheless this will feel like a new setting for me. I am excited to embrace this personal challenge because now I want to perform at my absolute best when I’m not at my hometown and where the majority of the crowd will most likely be cheering for my opponent.

At the Pans I felt comfortable thanks to the coaching of Cobrinha and with my teammates there in support. Photo: IBJJF

At the Pans I felt comfortable thanks to the coaching of Cobrinha and with my teammates there in support. Photo: IBJJF

 

At Copa Podio, I feel like I underperformed partly because I let the dwelling feeling of being alone get to me. I could never find a comfort zone and I allowed it to affect me to the point where I felt timid and I felt like I was running without an edge. For me, I feel like I’ve already proved to myself that I can do well when the crowd is behind me and cheering me on. I’ve been able to do that at the local open’s and at the Pans in California where nearly 20 of my teammates were present, rooting me on, and getting after the referee if the points weren’t being called. Now, I want to test myself in “hostile” territory and find my comfort zone without familiar faces around me. Of course, I want to go for the gold and add points to the rankings and all that fun stuff, but my personal goal is to overcome being out of my comfort zone and putting my best foot forward every time I step onto the mat. And with that feeling and mindset, I am confident the results will come.

This has what’s been working for me the past few months, always setting a goal or new challenge for myself. I can say it has made training and competing over the last few months as a new black belt a lot more easier and enjoyable. If I only focus on my goal to win gold medals, I will be driving myself crazy. I need to set a different goal, and if I can accomplish that goal, I am confident that the gold medal will come. The same thing happens in training, if I just want to beat everyone up on a particular day I will go mad because with so many tough guys it’s nearly impossible to have a “perfect” training session. So instead I set a goal on focusing on a particular technique that can help with my game. If I can accomplish that goal and focus on that technique, I can say the training was a successful one.

Hopefully while accomplishing my goal, I'll have one gold medal like this by the end of the weekend. Photo: John "Ric" Ricard

Hopefully while accomplishing my goal, I’ll have one gold medal like this by the end of the weekend. Photo: John “Ric” Ricard

But anyway, let’s get back to California.

I’m really looking forward to coming to the West Coast and helping as many people as possible at the four seminars I will be conducting over the 12-day trip. If anyone is interested, here is the listings of all the seminars I will be at and their locations.

1. Friday, August 8th 6:30pm-9pm, Carlson Gracie Las Vegas- Cavalcanti 1335 E Sunset Rd, Las Vegas, NV

2. Tuesday, August 12th 6:30pm-9pm, Selva BJJ 1827 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA

3. Saturday, August 16th 1pm-4pm, Brea Jiu-Jitsu 379 W Central Ave, Brea, CA

4. Sunday, August 17th 10am-1pm, Gracie Humaita HQ 5375 Kearny VillaRd Ste 107B San Diego, CA

Hope to see everyone there and eager to learn and train. Until next time, osss!

Gianni Grippo
Marcelo Garcia Black Belt | English Major at Montclair State University | NJ/NYC

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