The months leading up to my return to Kuwait were bumpy (to put it mildly). Even though I knew that it would take time to settle back into some sort of routine, I knew that one thing I wanted to do was work on completing the Gracie University Blue Belt Stripe 2 curriculum. Goal in mind, plan established, all that was left to do was get drilling and submit the test! Simple, right? Well, not really.

Preparing for an official stripe test takes a lot of work. From studying the lessons in detail to diligently practicing to perfection, it takes time, energy, and a whole lot of dedicated focus and effort. Even though we were fortunate to enough to have each other as training partners and even luckier to have the spaces and resources to train at home, it really took concentrated effort to get our training in while we balanced work, settling into our new home, and life circumstances in general.

Nevertheless, we did our best to stick to the plan, put in a lot of time on the mats, and got it done!

Now that it’s done and dusted, it’s fun to take a look back at the road that led us here …

We kicked off the new year with the hope to finish BBS2 by the summer …

I set up a schedule — and yes, we started with a focus on guard/half-guard

First things first … we took advantage of not having much furniture to put down two of our Dollamur mats in the living room.

lucky to be able to squeeze 2 of our 3 mats in the living room

despite the boxes around us, we didn’t wait to finish packing before we started training

knowing we had to figure out a better training area, we emptied a bedroom and converted it into a jiu-jitsu room – the mats needed a bit of trimming, but overall, it was a terrific space

our trusty Dollamur mats have survived not only 4 years of training but also 3 international shipments (US-Kuwait; Kuwait-England; England-Kuwait) – they’re still in terrific condition — definitely worth the investment

working on those guard passes

trying to get past D’s sticky spider guard

tightening up that kneebar

working on those diving toe holds

practicing knife defenses 

fine-tuning my throws 

a quick glimpse of some of our training (guard techniques)

we sweep each other off our feet

D & me

Update June 6, 2018

I was in Bangladesh, video chatting with Daniel, who was in Kuwait, when I saw a notification appear on my screen MM (who I knew was a test evaluator) has sent you a message. I excitedly exclaimed to D – I got a message, maybe our test has been evaluated! Given that we had only uploaded our test videos 4 days ago we weren’t sure that the turnaround was going to be so quick — surely enough, it was. I was super excited to get the email notifying me that I had passed the official test. I put in a lot of hard work — the effort definitely paid off.

Update July 12, 2018

We were incredibly fortunate to have been awarded our official stripe by Ryron Gracie at Gracie University in Torrance, CA.

Now on to BBS3!