Our June promotions were this past weekend and we had a lot to celebrate! Recognizing the achievements and improvements of those in this academy brings a roller coaster of emotions all around. Exhilaration of receiving a new belt and/or stripe, congratulations seeing your teammate reach the next level, and connection as we are surrounded by those who have the same passion for one sport with diverse backgrounds.
Let’s start off by saying a big congrats to Brendan Raedy For earning his 2nd° on his black belt. Under IBJJF standards, Brendan can now promote students to the level of black belt. Brendan has lived most of his life in Northern Virginia and started training BJJ when he was 16 years old. He wrestled at UVA and also trained judo for several years. Brendan won a gold-medal as a purple belt in the IBJJF world championships and a bronze medal as a brown belt.
Next… Big congrats to John Prado for earning his brown belt. John has been a dedicated athlete to the sport of wrestling and Jiu Jitsu for many years. He is always ready to train and to drench the entire mat room in his sweat and the smell of basil (or steak sauce) after only warm-ups. John also takes on that next step of being a higher belt and that is mentoring others. He is not just focused on his own journey but makes sure his teammates receive the attention that they need to progress right along his side. His focused mindset and compassion for others will take him far in and outside of the academy. We also congratulate John on the birth of his first-born son who we cannot wait to see in a little gi in just a few short years.
Next we have the lovely Liz “The Crusher” who was promoted to blue belt! She has been training here a little over a year, but trains as if she’s been here her whole life. Liz recently took gold in the Spring New York Open where she smashed her opponents with her brutal top pressure and her signature move, the Kimura! It was obvious that she needed a new color to showcase her skills. Liz is incredibly coachable and has great potential of being a prodigious competitor. Liz is also very kind and helpful to those starting out and is always looking for techniques to strengthen her game. She is also a vegetarian showing that she may not kill for her dinner plate but rather save that for her opponents on the mat!
We also had a tremendous amount of stripe promotions as well! Stripes show that you are progressing within your belt and your instructors have taken notice of your advancement. There were so many and it was a shame we couldn’t detail everyone’s achievements during the promotion ceremony because if we did, we would have been there until midnight. Everyone should be proud of their hard work and their teammates’ perseverance! Remember even if you did not get the promotion that you were hoping for it does not mean you did not achieve something. Your teammates would not have received those promotions if you were not there to train and push them. Promotions is an academy triumph. Jiu Jitsu is a complex sport as it is individual but also group. We cannot strive on our own as we need good training partners to instruct and guide but we also have to push ourselves because during competition it is you vs your opponent. Your teammates will be coaching, cheering, and have prepared you as much as possible but it is left for you to make the decisions and moves to get your hand raised. Remember that you do not need to wait until next promotions day but you may receive your next belt at any moment. It is better to be held at your current belt level for too long then be promoted to the next belt level too early. Keep training and help your teammates to improve as it will ultimately improve your own jiu jitsu. Each person’s journey is different and complex but we are all reaching the same goal of becoming our own personal best.
A few promotions day candids: