NEVER Give Up…a prelude to the Pan Ams.

With the Pan American Championships right around the corner, I thought I’d write this week’s post on determination. Most of you, like me, have been preparing since last year for this very event. We’ve been training hard, eating clean, working through injury and mentally preparing for battle. Now, that hard work and determination culminates next weekend in Irvine, CA.

This year has been abnormally challenging for me. A little over 8 months ago I contracted VRSA, an incredibly serious staff infection. I came dangerously close to loosing my leg, not to mention my life. The thought of potentially being forced to give up jits was absolutely daunting to say the least. What would life be like without mat burn, ring worm, athletes foot and cauliflower ear? A life not worth living!

Luckily, I had an amazing medical team that refused to give up. Most physicians said they would have taken my leg long before my infectious disease specialists waited and searched for a cure. Even though I escaped amputation, my hospital stint left me 20 lbs lighter and incredibly weak. The ONLY upside–I was able to compete at Pena (soooo not worth it!).

Coming back from that injury was tough; physically and mentally. But, I’m back to my normal weight now (Leve) and stronger then ever, ready to do damage again this year! Much like my doctors, I refused to let adversity stand in my way. I refused to give up.

Jiu Jitsu, with its love-hate, bitter-sweet relationship, teaches us so much about life. When trials and tribulations come your way do you stand up and fight, or, do you tuck your tail between your legs and run the opposite direction?

In the 2009 Pan Ams I was down by 5 points with less then 45 seconds to go in the quarter finals. I absolutely refused to quit and ended up coming back with a sweep, guard pass and buzzer beating knee on belly to take the win! Check out the match below…and remember, “Hard work always beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.” -Lloyd Irvin.

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