One of the best parts about running a company serving jiu-jitsu players is the incredible stories we hear from our customers.
We love Curt's story because of his inspiring journey from a dedicated hockey player to becoming a BJJ black belt.
Edmonton, Alberta, CA. Black Belt.
I first got into BJJ when I was forced to medically retire from hockey due to concussions at 26 years old. I loved martial arts growing up as a kid but didn't get an opportunity to participate because I was too busy with hockey. As a smaller individual BJJ made the most sense given you don't have to be big and strong to be successful and it seemed the best to protect my head from further trauma.
My biggest obstacle in Jiu-Jitsu was attaining knowledge. When I began BJJ (2002) in Edmonton we didn't have access to a black belt instructor and relied on VHS tapes for new techniques and instruction.
When we eventually became affiliated with a high ranking black belt from Brazil it got a little better but we still only had access to him 2-3 times a year. As I progressed through the belts I became reliant on travelling to other cities and taking private lessons with the black belts who had schools there.
This included private lessons at Renzo Gracie's in New York on my honeymoon! Through private lessons, a lot of personal study, and the expansion of BJJ throughout North America I was able to develop and earn my Black Belt after 10 years of training.
Train with everyone. Be friendly with everyone. As soon as you become closed off to other people's Jiu-Jitsu and you begin to exist solely in your own bubble you stunt your growth and development.
Different schools have different styles, other schools will put on seminars with high level people you may not have access to through your team, open mats at other gyms give you access to different partners that will give you different looks rolling which all help you improve your game outside of your team training. Communicate well, and be aware of other peoples feelings and loyalties and you'll find your BJJ community becomes much larger.
You can find Curt on Instagram at @blackbeltturtle.