Do what is RIGHT, not what is EASY

In the martial arts and fitness industry, we see people of all shapes and sizes come through the gym doors looking to improve themselves. For most of these people, especially when they start training with us, they try and take the easy way out. They cheat a few reps, cut some corners to get a better time or maybe stop a workout early because it's hard. In a competition setting, where people are watching you and the pressure is on, if you take the easy way out, you get exposed. All the false layers come off when you engage in combat.  

 

 Dead weight never lies. It's always going to be heavy and never stops being heavy. It's inexhaustible. 

Dead weight never lies. It's always going to be heavy and never stops being heavy. It's inexhaustible. 

Mario Lara came to us a few years ago looking to improve his self confidence, gain some basic skills in martial arts and lose a few pounds. Since he started training with us back in May of 2012, he has lost over 100lbs and has developed an amazing level of self esteem and confidence. This process of change did not happen overnight and was not an easy one. There were many days spent suffering and enduring uncomfortable workouts. Mario stuck to it, managed to address his weak areas and relied on his coaches during his times of self doubt. 

This past weekend, Mario travelled up to Seattle to compete in the IBJJF Seattle Open. The international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation is the premier Jiu Jitsu competition in the world. Every year, the IBJJF sees thousands of jiu jitsu competitors attending these tournaments. Needless to say, this is a real test for those looking to measure their skills in Jiu Jitsu. 

Mario performed very well in his first IBJJF tournament, much better than I did as a white belt. He stayed with the game plan that we developed in training, and adapted beautifully to his opponents. His stand-up game was very impressive, he hit a drop seoinage that threw his opponent out of the combat area. Mario is a great example for anyone wanting to start in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu; show up, train, and work hard and you will see results.
— BJJ Head Coach, Bruce Elliott

Mario managed to earn a bronze medal in a tough weight class which had lots of people in his bracket. He could have easily dropped down to a different weight division or simply not have competed at all to avoid looking bad, like most people do. Instead, Mario stepped up and tested himself by training on a daily basis, putting in extra time on the mat to drill the techniques that he was having problems with and eventually stepping out on the mat in front of hundreds of people to compete in a physically demanding combat sport. 

 Confidence comes from countless hours of practice. 

Confidence comes from countless hours of practice. 

I asked Mario earlier in the week before his BJJ competition, how he was feeling and if was worried about his weight class. His answer was the same thing that I hear from other athletes who compete in combat sports, "Honestly, Im not worried about anything other than gassing out and looking bad.

Doubt leads to FEAR, which leads to FAILURE

We all experience fear. It comes in many forms. Fear becomes heightened when we do not understand or know the outcome of a situation. Anxiety causes stress which allows us to lose focus. When we lose focus, we simply lose. The only sure way to get over fear is to eliminate the doubt by doing the things that scare us frequently. Confidence is built by proficiency. When we understand something and know what the outcome will likely be, we eliminate doubt and thus eliminate fear which increases our chances of success. 

 Mario completely exhausted, or so he thinks. 

Mario completely exhausted, or so he thinks. 

In Mario's case, his biggest fear of "gassing out" meant that he was more concerned about not having the endurance to perform at his best. His fears had nothing to do with pain, not winning or not making weight. Most people would be more concerned about the dangerous nature of the sport with the joint locks and chokes. Mario on the other had none of these fears going in to his competition. Why? Simply because he had put the time in on the mat, developed proficiency in being in those positions or tough spots that eliminated the doubt. It should also be noted that Mario's fear of not having the endurance most likely comes from his past. 

If NOTHING changes, nothing CHANGES

In May of 2012 when an overweight and shy Mario first came to Team Quest, we had no idea we would eventually see a strong, confident and skilled martial artist develop. We assumed that he would make an improvement and most likely make some changes with his body, but the outcome of the hard work and dedication has been impressive to say the least. Mario now is a completely different person. 

 Mario before and after: 90lbs lighter 

Mario before and after: 90lbs lighter 

If someone is serious about making changes in their life, they have to forfeit control. Again, when we seemingly lose control, we get scared and lose focus. If we can develop enough confidence to not have to control everything and be able to adapt to unforeseen changes, we make progress. Most of the success for Mario came from his ability to trust his coaches and team mates. His success did not come from trying to control his workouts and always drill the positions in jiu jitsu where he was already confident. Mario like so many others who have reached new levels of success in their goals had the ability to "trust the system" or "go with the flow". The coaches and members at Team Quest are all too familiar with this term and have all at some point in their martial arts and fitness journey submitted to the authority of their coaches and given them enough respect to TRUST them. 

 Boxing class, smiles all around.

Boxing class, smiles all around.

Team Quest would like to congratulate Mario Lara for his superb effort last weekend as well as his dedication to better himself through martial arts and fitness. He has been an outstanding example of hard work and dedication as well as inspiring confidence for many others both inside and outside the gym. Well done Mario!!! 

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