Since 2009 I’ve been building my gym here in Rockaway Beach, starting on the boardwalk that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

And ever since stepping into the ring for the first time, as an amateur Muay Thai fighter, in the mid 90’s, I’ve had my fair share of getting my ego checked.

Last night at my gym, after training our fight team and watching them grind out a tough session, I jumped into our BJJ class led by our newly promoted black belt, aka Coach Dom.

I, myself, have been training BJJ for quite some time but not as consistently as I would need to reach any kind of grappling “style”. I rely mostly on conditioning, athleticism and heart.

As of just recently I have restarted consistent training with our BJJ team and have been holding my own amongst my peers.

But last night we had a guest from another club join in on the class under the instruction of Coach Dom.

I introduced myself and welcomed our guest to the gym and proceeded to train with the team.

Then after a some review of techniques we drilled in some of our last lessons, Coach Dom called “free roll” time.

My fav!

Again, after being on the mats over the last week and getting my body moving like a grappler, I felt great and ready to roll.

My first roll of the night went well but we stalemated as both of us got to dominant positions but not able to finish.

My second roll was with our guest, who by rank, looked like he was going to be a strong training partner.

As soon as we started, feeling each other out for a bit we tied up and clearly he was more skilled than me.

I was swept onto my back.

Mounted.

Then I was eventually arm barred into a verbal tap, as our “roll” was high  intensity and faced paced.

Other than getting schooled by the 2 black belts in our gym, Professor C and Coach Dom, I can usually handle myself in training.

Last night was a great reminder that no matter where you are in your championship pursuit of life, someone or something will sneak up on you and check ya!

To be in my own gym and have my students, training partners and my own mentors watch me struggle through adversity is a true blessing for me.

Martial arts is all about the journey, not the destination.

It’s not only about what you learn about the art you train in, but what you learn about yourself along the way.

– Do you have resilience?

– Are you humble in defeat?

– Do you face obstacles with a stern-set chin?

– Are you open to learn?

I woke up this morning with more fire in me to accept the challenges of life and fight to win.

As a the great Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”  

CHAMP UP!!

Chris Romulo AKA CROM