When I looked around at the candidates who were there for the ICP, I saw a whole range of people — from fresh blue belts to black belts, from people who came from nearby neighborhoods to others who flew in from the other side of the world, from the very nervous to the very confident … Seeing this diversity helped calm me. I knew we all had our stories … our sources of inspiration. While we were going to be judged on the same things, it was up to each individual to get through the process on his/her own. In the end, it was going to be up to me. It came down to trusting my training, believing in the techniques and the knowledge, and most of all, believing in myself.

The three days of testing/evaluation flew by. When it came down to actually performing, I just went into a performance zone and did what I needed to do. I felt my reflexes kick in and I just kept going. AT the end of it all, I was really happy with how I did. I knew that my dedication and passion paid off in the end. The best part was that I didn’t end the experience wishing that I had done more/worked harder. I knew that I really had done all that I could do before I got to LA. That’s definitely what I need to remember when I set out on my next adventure – work your hardest, give it your all, leave with no regrets.

So, now what?

Well, now I’m a certified Level 1 instructor of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The learning/training doesn’t stop (does it ever really?). I have to get through a 1-year probationary period during which I’ll continue to work on my teaching skills as well as improve my technique.

My life is definitely taking a turn – while I have not completely closed the door on university teaching, at the moment teaching at the Jiu-Jitsu school is what I’m going to be focusing on. What I really want to do is work on getting more women involved in learning self-defense. I haven’t fully come up with a plan, but I’ll be working on that over the next couple of weeks.

The adventure is just beginning …

ICP Class of January 2015
ICP Class of January 2015