Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BJJ Soldier

Robert "RubberToe" Lopez and ME

I met Robert through his nephews. He had  recently been released from prison, after a 7 year term for cocaine distribution. Back in the day, he would hop fence to fence, party to party in Newport with his backpack  filled with a kilo of coke. With out gloves, he would pull the block out and crack it with his bare hands. It had its toll on Robert with time, from an All-Star short stop to a prison convict with a noticeable deficit from the years of constant cocaine contact. Robert has a uniquness about him because of this.
From out of nowhere, Robert wanted to do a Grapplers X. I hadn't really noticed, but Robert was really getting into the grappling we were doing with his nephews. He entered the Grapplers X and wanted me to coach him. In his first match he immediately got caught in a wicked toe hold. As soon as he escaped from the most righteous toe hold ever in competition, I knew we had something to work with here. Hence, the name, Rubber Toe.
I trained with Robert and coached him at three  more grappling tournaments. Robert has developed a strong guard and submitted half of his opponents and only lost in the the finals of each tournament by minimal points. Acrueing three silvers with me and one more at another school.  I promoted Robert to a Blue Belt with Ken and sponsored him with a Storm Kimono. 
During my down time when I was not training, I encouraged him to seek out other BJJ. He found a school and competed at the Pan Ams 2012. Robert won by armbar in the first round and lost by 3 points in the final elimination tournament.
The week after he hit me up to train. Robert showed up eagerly to train with me Saturday morning. Oooh... I had some shitty sleep last night, but here we go. Right now, he is in the best shape I have ever seen him in. Stronger than ever. After thirty minutes of hard grappling and me just mobbing him, he takes my back and Gi chokes me. Legit. Hahaha, I could tell how good that made him feel. Something in me said to encourage Robert as opposed to making an excuse. I surely don't expect that to ever happen to me again, being a bb, but nonetheless it happened and I was proud of him. I consider Robert a loyal soldier in the legion of Jiu Jitsu. And I am the Ambassador. We will be brothers in our Jiu Jitsu life as we journey apart and back...to be continued.

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