It’s been one year since I officially moved to California and changed my life forever. Last summer, I took a really big leap of faith. I left behind a job, friends, and family, and made the move out to San Diego to pursue Jiu-Jitsu full-time. This move is one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.
I had considered the possibility of moving for several years, and had always felt a pull to Atos. I admired the beliefs demonstrated by the leadership. I loved the sense of comraderie that I saw. I wanted the #togetherwearestronger. I wanted an intense training environment, and I wanted to be pushed as far as I could go. I definitely had some fears holding me back. Would I be able to find an affordable place to live? What if I couldn’t make enough money? What if I wasn’t good enough? And worst of all, what if I put everything I had into training and pursuing this dream, and it still wasn’t enough? What if I failed?
I finally decided, despite my fears, that I would always regret it if I didn’t try. Worst case scenario, I run out of money, it doesn’t work out, and I would have to go back home. I’d still come out of it with some great experiences.
It’s been a crazy year. There’s been a lot of frustration, countless tears, and times when I didn’t think I could make it. So much good has happened though, and looking back, I’ve come so far in just one year. I didn’t win all the major tournaments this year, but I performed better than I ever have. I have improved in every aspect of my game, and in my mindset. I have built deep and long-lasting friendships. I have found a family. I gave gained opportunities to travel and see the world. I have developed so much confidence. I have proved to myself that I can support myself doing something I love.
Don’t misunderstand, it’s not an easy life. I kill my body in training. I have a lot of hard days. I’m never guaranteed an income month-to-month. I go out and grind for everything that I get. It’s not always a comfortable life, but our comfort zone is not where we will grow to our full potential.
What makes all the struggle worth it? When a young girl comes to me and tells me that I inspire her. When someone tells me that something I shared helped them through a tough day. That makes everything worth it. And I’m living my dream right now. I can’t ask for more than that. When I stop to reflect, there’s no place I’d rather be. Here’s to many more years of pushing past my comfort zone and seeing where this crazy life takes me!
Photo By Daniel Briseno Photos