So many benefits have come into my life since taking up a physical practice. Jiu jitsu was my personal choice and it continually brings both challenges and victories that reach out into the rest of my world.
In July 2012 and at 330 pounds, I walked into my first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and started on an amazing journey of weight loss and transformation. I never imagined how much losing over 140 lbs would change my life and help me become the person that I am today.
At around the 8-month mark, I had lost close to 80lbs. I had not seen anything less than 230lbs on my scale since I was a freshman in high school.
I was down 80lbs, swimming in my 3XL shirts and punching new holes in my belt to keep up my size 44 pants, but I still did not feel confident enough to buy new clothes. I had a goal to lose 100lbs before I went shopping, but Russ, my coach at Clockwork saw me swimming in excess fabric one day and commented: “Those clothes are way too big on you! Its time you go clothes shopping.”.
I took his words to heart. The next day, before class, I stopped by Old Navy to find clothes that fit my new body. I walked in and guessed that I was probably a size 40 in pants and 2XL in shirts. I was wrong! I now fit very comfortably-and loosely–into a size 38 pants and XL shirt.
I decided to try on a large shirt and a size 36 pants. The pants went up and I cinched at the waist and put the shirt on and I started to cry. Not because I was sad but because for the first time since I was about 13 or so I was now in a large t-shirt and size 36 pants. It all had worked. My diet which i had modified to keep my energy levels for my new found love of jiu jitsu and the art itself had changed my life and had saved my life.
I was overcome with emotion. I was also scared at the thought of ever being size 44 and 3XL again. It was one of the happiest, and healthiest, days of my life.
Several months later, almost a year to the date that I had first stepped on the mats, I was rewarded with another great piece of fabric, my blue belt. The 2nd happiest day of my life up til then. Fast forward to 2019, after 7 years of training, I am now a coach and a brown belt.
I will say it’s still a challenge day to day. I still definitely have a hard time with what I see in the mirror, but it continues to get better. And it’s thanks to jiu jitsu and the community I have found with it, I am where I am today. They have given me the motivation and determination to keep going every day. and Even the times that I wanted to give up they kept me going. And so, my jiu jitsu journey continues… For the last year as a brown belt I have been giving private lessons as a way to extend my knowledge and give back, Several months ago I got the exciting opportunity to be a coach for the PCC where I continue to grow and spread the love for Jiu jitsu.
-Coach Mike Pinero, DiamondHeart Jiu Jitsu