Earning a black belt in any martial art is certainly a milestone worthy of being proud about. It means the individual has given everything they’ve had for several years to develop their skills and mentality. It doesn’t just mean that a person can fight, it symbolizes a positive growth and advancement for that person. It represents the struggle and the courage it takes to keep the fire within you burning strong. The martial art equivalent of a “college degree,” earning a black belt is an incredible achievement for the student. By then, not only have they dedicated years to become a master of their sport, but have instilled in themselves the respect, courage, and integrity to be a master of their life!
Yesterday, one of Cobrinha’s students, 19-yr old Tanner Rice, was given the honor of receiving his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It had been a long time coming, especially since Tanner has been training nearly his whole life! He credits much of his improvement and understanding of BJJ to both his father and Cobrinha. “My dad has helped me with Jiu-Jitsu my whole life, ” Tanner said. “He’ll take whatever money he’s got and send my brothers and I to train and compete, offering us mental support as well. Whenever we have a bad day training, he’s right there to motivate us and bring us right back up. Cobrinha has helped improve my Jiu-Jitsu in every possible way and continues to help us remain in the right Jiu-Jitsu mindset. He conditions my mind to push myself beyond my limits of training to become the best. My father and Cobrinha have helped me achieve my goals and will continue to provide inspiration for me in the future.”
When asked about how he felt about Tanner receiving his black belt, Cobrinha had plenty of good things to say:
“When Tanner came to train with us, I saw that he was talented, but as we know, talent isn’t enough. We have to work both hard and smart to succeed. I asked him what he wanted out of his life and he said he wanted to be a world champion. Now, I always have people approaching me, asking what they should do to become a champion. However, I couldn’t get this kid out of my mind and after class one day, I approached him and said, “do you really want to be a champion?” “Yes, I do!” he replied. So I continued the conversation by telling him what was necessary to become champion. I saw the smile on his face and I knew he wanted to say something about what I had just told him. After a moment of silence, I asked him if he had any questions, and he replied “..yea…isn’t that a lot?” I looked at him and said, “no…it’s not a lot if you want to be world champion. That is the only way.” Without hesitation, he said “you’re right!” From then on, Tanner and I did a lot of private lessons and I made sure he had a lot of homework to work on back home. Every time he would come in and train he progressed more and more, just by following my instruction. Soon, I felt he was ready to achieve his goal of becoming world champion. Confirming my beliefs, Tanner won the brown belt lightweight 2012. I was very proud to be there when it happened, watching all that hard work pay off. Just this past weekend, he won his division and absolute at the U.S. Open. His father and I felt he was ready for the next set of challenges in his life and decided to give him the black belt he’s earned. I want to congratulate Tanner for this achievement and am sure he will make us very proud. I hope he knows I will always be there to help as much as I can.”
From all of us at Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as the man himself, Congratulations Tanner! You’ve earned it!