One of my Student's Journeys from White to Blue Belt! I am very inspired with Jiu-Jitsu, at the moment.  This January, I will have been training for two years.  I can't believe it has been that long and how much of that time I have spent hating Jiu-Jitsu.  The reason I started Jiu-Jitsu was due to fear after being assaulted.  I did not leave the house for a week after the assault.  How could this happen to me?  Why did I let this happen to me?  I blamed myself, a lot.  I thought I needed a gun, pepper spray, a tazer, or all three.  I confided this in someone and they told me that if I was attacked I would not have time to grab any of the aforementioned items.  He was right.  By the time I realized I was in danger, the assailant had both my wrists and I could not free them.  When he did let go it was to break a wine glass on my face.  Who would have seen that coming?

One of the first things I did, when I finally felt safe enough to leave the house was go to Lutter's GYM.  I talked to Erin about signing up for self-defense class.  The following week, I went to my first class with Bobby.  I had no idea what I was doing, to say the least.  Bobby went over basic stuff then sent me in the cage with Pedro to work on take downs.  I had no real desire to take anyone down.  I tried to stay positive, listen, and keep going.  I do not know how many times Bobby and Pedro had to assure me that they are professionals.  I can tell you right now that the reason I kept going is Bobby and Pedro's reassurance and support.  This support I quickly began to feel from Bobby's whole class and from the advanced class, once I started there.  They were patient, understanding, and above all professional.  I can't remember the first time I told people at the GYM that I was assaulted.  I think it was the first team meeting with Bobby.  What I was not open about at all was that sometimes I would relive the attack in class.  Think about things I should have done differently or play out different scenarios in my head.  This is why I hated class but I knew that Jiu-Jitsu was what I had to do to protect myself and feel safe, so I kept going.  Since I began, I have had to keep reminding myself that this is not about stripes, belts, or winning tournaments.  I did not realize this until recently, but my experience has been about my coaches and teammates helping me establish healthy and safe boundaries again.  If I am submitted or even just feel uncomfortable during training, I can tap.  The simple tap has become a metaphor for healthy and safe boundaries in other areas of my life.

Last month I received my blue belt!  I was very excited, although I would have been fine holding onto a white one a little longer.  After the first week with my Blue Belt, I was very frustrated.  Sometimes after I rolled, I thought "Why the hell did they give me a blue belt!"  Apparently, the Blue Belt does not have any magical powers that dramatically improve your game-shocking.  After I got over the initial shock of being a Blue Belt, I began to really think about my game. I asked questions and watched.  For the first time I have started to look at Jiu-Jitsu with wonder instead of fear.  I view this as a sign of healing.  I often hear that being a white belt is all about survival.  I feel this is very fitting because I consider myself a survivor.

Christina Grudzinski

Conclusion By Travis Lutter

Jiu-Jitsu effects everyone in a different way. For some Jiu-Jitsu is about becoming a better fighter, or getting in shape, and for others it is a road to recovery. But no matter what Jiu-Jitsu is going to effect you. The stories that people tell me always amaze me. I am always happy to hear how Jiu-Jitsu effects everyone's life. How has Jiu-Jitsu effected your life? I am and I think my students are extremely luck to have the great coaches that we have at the gym.

Travis Lutter