San Clemente Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Andre Lucic shares with us a very nice story about one of his Martial Arts mentor.

Sensei’s Tale – by Andre Lucic

Sensei Medhi and BJJ San Clemente Black Belt Andre Lucic

There was a time in my life when I was struggling. I was recently laid off from 4 year corporate job and my girlfriend at the time decided to break up with me in the same week. I felt like my life was a mess and I had a hard time keeping my mind clear. Now that I didn’t have a job  (or a girlfriend…), the extra time was applied in some additional Jiu jitsu training.

Jiu Jitsu always helps me regain my focus. The clarity obtained from Jiu Jitsu gives me strength and peace to deal with the obstacles of life with a positive attitude.

So this is how it begins……It was a rainy Friday night and I received an invitation to go train with the Brazilian Olympic Judo Team. I used to follow their competition results and knew they had great fighters on all weight divisions, including 2 World Gold Medalists, and other Olympic medalists.

I was ready for an intense training session, so I put on my gi and sat alongside the mat area, then started stretching out while the Olympic team began their warm up. The Sensei leading the warm ups was a 9th degree black belt named Sensei Kastriot Mehdi. He was born in France, trained in Japan, and was living in Brasil for many years already. At the time, he was 65 years old. Suddenly, he lined up the Olympic team and trained with all of them, one by one.

I could not believe my eyes! Sensei Mehdi was throwing the athletes one by one, showing masterful speed, precision and control of his movements. Once on the ground, Sensei Mehdi would then quickly control and submit his partners. He used diverse forms of chokes, armbars and even made the heaviest guy tap out from an immobilization move! It was so tight and gave him no room to breathe! I could not believe anyone was capable of such deeds! Let alone a 65 year old man, going against top athletes in their prime.

After class, I had the privilege to speak with Sensei Mehdi, at a sushi bar nearby. He sensed something was bothering me (as if he could see straight through me)

Sensei asked:  ”  What’s going on?”

I was straight forward with my response: “I’m fine, Sensei”

He replied ” A true black belt would never lie, especially to his Sensei”

He went on saying…

“My son, I was raised in the midst of war, and I know of starvation. I left my homeland at the age of 16 and lived in different countries, such as Japan and Brasil, which comes with cultural differences and even prejudice sometimes. I have struggled through all types of injuries, and have managed to make a stronger come back. Well, what I’m trying to tell you is that, life can be compared to Judo and Jiu-jitsu. If you fall seven times, you must stand back up eight times. Tapping out is inevitable, so are some of life’s events. But it is up to you to choose if you will face them as defeat or as lessons to be learned in order to make you the best you can be, I’m a happy man. There’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be than sharing a warm bottle of sake with my little brother on this rainy Friday night.”

The moral of the story is that we are stronger than we think. There is no limit for what we can achieve. The starting point is a little spark in our hearts which is telling us to always believe in ourselves. Our minds are very powerful and a dream is the first step to reach our goals. The next step is to think smart, and work hard. Good things happen to those who wait, but these things are left over from those who hustle.