Jiu-Jitsu helped me overcome an eating disorder

Jiu-Jitsu helped me overcome an eating disorder

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week was 2 weeks ago and it inspired one of my students to share her story in the hopes that it can help someone struggling with this. Needless to say, I am humbled that she asked me to help her with this, proud of her as a strong woman and proud to be her instructor. So here it goes:

Everyone has a story: Jiu-Jitsu saved my life, Jiu-Jitsu helped me overcoming a problem in my life. Jiu-jitsu improved my life. Whatever it is, everyone has their story. As for me, Jiu-jitsu saved me from an eating disorder 4 years ago and in lieu of National Eating Disorders Awareness last month, this is my story.

In 2009 at the age of 16, I lost my father to a horrific battle with cancer. By age 18, 2 weeks after my 18th birthday, my mother remarried. During that 2 year span from losing father to my mother remarrying, I felt like the world around me was spiraling out of control. And while some people grieve by eating their feelings, I took an alternate turn and found control in my eating.

By my senior year in high school, I was down 25 lbs and living under a 1,000 calorie a day diet. I knew I had developed an eating disorder and I needed help fast. An eating disorder is not a lifestyle, there’s no glamour in starvation to be thin. Someone once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” but skinny feels like nothing. An eating disorder is a living hell. I discovered their was a lot of pain that controlled eating could not fix.

In 2011, I started college. Being a freshman was like a breath of fresh air, no one knew me or my past. My freshman year I was introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the first time. They offered free classes at school and the guy who taught the classes was always inviting me to try a class. So I bit the bullet and did it. I’m not going to lie, I thought my first jiu-jitsu class was extremely awkward. I was a gymnast and a swimmer growing up with zero background in martial arts so this was completely new to me. But there was something about jiu-jitsu that I fell completely in love with and that was being able to use my body, just the way it is no matter how small, to control my opponent and defend myself.

For the first time, in a long time, I felt empowerment and it felt amazing. Over the years, jiu-jitsu has given me the confidence to learn to love my body for what it can do versus what it looks like. I love my legs, they are strong and powerful. I’ve learned that I have to feed my body so that I can have the energy to train. Throughout my jiu-jitsu journey I’ve found healing on the mats.

Overcoming an eating disorder is a long process that can be extremely hard to go through. Learning how to love yourself is like learning how to walk all over again. You’ll fall down 7 times, but you can stand up 8, and with each small step recovery is possible. I’m not defining my beauty based on the number on the scale or how I may look in my clothes. I’m defining my beauty on my strength, my confidence, and my self-worth. This life is worth living. I have dreams and goals to accomplish, to become a black belt one day, and an eating disorder is not going to control my life.

Returning to Jiu-Jitsu after time away

Returning to Jiu-Jitsu after time away

Returning to Jiu-Jitsu after time away is not easy. It is hell on the mind and hell on your ego. There are currently a handful of students coming back from various injuries or “injuries to their ego” who are in a slump and are letting their ego get the best of them. It is ridiculous to think that you are going to take time off and come back and hang with/submit people in training who have been more consistent.

When the first thing you want to do is “test yourself” if you’ve been away from training for awhile, that is a mistake and it’s crazy. Get back on the mat slowly, get familiar with the positions and rhythms again. Build rapport with the other students as you flow roll with them.

Then, as your comfort and cardio start to return, the competitive aspect will evolve naturally as you start to feel at home again. Now you will have sparring partners you know and have rapport with, your cardio is better, and you feel comfortable and at home.

One reason short breaks from Jiu-Jitsu turn into long breaks and years off or even never going back, is the FEAR of what will happen to you when you first go back. Exhaustion, getting tooled by lower ranks, feeling embarrassed that you aren’t “good” anymore.

Dealing with injuries

I tell my students to stay in their routine of coming to class even while injured and take notes. You will be surprised by how much you learn by watching class. I lost almost 2 years of my training to on “unlucky triad”, a torn ACL/PCL/LCL injury. However, I still went to class 2x a week for those 2 years and learned so much. Maybe you were injured and missed time. Sometimes life (having kids, going to college) just gets in the way. It is not the end of the world if you get your guard passed or get mounted in training. My advice is to eat crow for a month or so. You have to train your mind to do this or things will NEVER get better, you are just digger the hole further.

The road back

When you come back, you will feel like your regression is painfully obvious. Also you can’t dominate white belts, and suddenly other blue belts were dominating you again. Being dominated is a crappy feeling. You won’t want to go to practice because you know failure waits on those mats. You will hate being the “beatable” colored belt. You will be happy to find excuses.

When Jiu-Jitsu exposes a weakness, we have to acknowledge it. Jiu-Jitsu does not let you hide. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Our shortcomings will defeat us if we let them. It is time to get out of this mindset of winning/losing during training. It is just that….training. You will never get better at BJJ unless you tap. It is imperative to try, you have to fail, and that is how you learn and try to do better.

Furthermore, students that are wearing blackbelts understand this. They have been where you are now as well. Now is the time to get on the mats guys, things will get better in time. Getting better you have to train live, it doesn’t matter how slow. Flow-train if you must but not for too long. For that will become your new excuse But you will never reach your goals if you keep defeating yourself. You only have to be better than you were the day before to keep getting better. 

 

 

 

 

Lyndhurst Kids Martial Arts February Top Student

Lyndhurst Kids Martial Arts February Top Student

Anthony Colon is the Lyndhurst Kids Martial Arts February Top Student. The Savarese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy student joined the program in June of 2015 and since has really found a love of martial arts. Over the past month and a half, he has dedicated himself to making it to class more than ever. He embraces everything that is taught in the Kids Martial Arts program. His dedication, discipline, and confidence are just some of the changes he has shown in the last month. Anthony just competed in his very first tournament on Sunday at the New jersey Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (NJBJJF) and did fantastic,  placing 1st in his division. His instructors at Savarese BJJ are really proud of his progress.  His love of the martial arts has lead to both of his parents joining as well as his little brother Alex.  When selecting a Student of the Month, the instructors look for many things in the students in our program and Anthony exhibits them all. Great job this past month Anthony and keep up the great work!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids

In BJJ Kids Programs, students are instilled with qualities that will help them throughout their lives. Through the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the kids learn that Commitment, Respect, Focus, Self-Discipline, Hard Work and Effort always make for a rewarding experience and bring positive results. At Savarese BJJ Academy in Lyndhurst, NJ, we specialize in empowering children who have never joined any physical activity. We have turned kids who have been victims of constant bullying at school into confident, respectful and skilled martial artists. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not meant to teach children how to fight. Children are taught to work through confrontation on an intellectual basis first but if the prospect of bullying needs to be addressed, our children are the ability to defend if attacked. Consistency is paramount. Inconsistent training will many times lead to discouragement and failure to develop passion for training. Our award winning program has produced many champions in martial arts and has helped many students deal with the fear of being bullied. If you would like to try a free class, email us at savbjj@gmail.com or call 201 933-5134 to set one up.

 

Lyndhurst Jiu-Jitsu school sweeps tournament championship

Lyndhurst Jiu-Jitsu school sweeps tournament championship

Savarese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a Lyndhurst jiu-jitsu school, swept the the New jersey Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (NJBJJF) tournament sunday in Aberdeen NJ. The team, led by Professor Chris Savarese and Coach Sean Bermudez, has been successful the last few years with this being their 4th Kids championship and 2nd Adult title. The charge was led by brownbelt Brian Procel who took 1st place in his brownbelt division and repeated later in the No-Gi Absolute, winning 1st there as well, submitting his 240lb opponent despite being only 165 lbs. Among the standouts were Caitlin McManus, who dominated her bluebelt division and then won her no-gi later as well. Two 16 yr olds, Leo Alves and Sean Yadimarco, stepped into the ADULT bluebelt divisions and both won their large, stacked divisions. that is quite a feat for a 16 yr old and tournament promoters were raving about their talents afterwards. Their teens were dominate as well with Maria “the foof” Villa, Tyler Ruffino and Caitlyn gerardi all winning 1st place in their divisions. Also on the medal stand were Eric Estevez 2nd purple, Danny Rodriguez-2nd purple, Jerome Jardinano-2nd Purple,
Corey Peirone-3rd place whitebelt and Todd O’Rourke-2nd place whitebelt.  The Savarese BJJ kids team was just incredible with the medal count for the following:
Kayla Zeppetelli Gold
Harun Incekara Gold and Bronze
Aleksey O’Neil Gold
Leo Tiankee Gold
Lorenzo Tiankee Gold
Mateo Santiago Gold
Antonio Santiago Gold
Damian Moreira Gold
Jameel Gutierrez Gold and Silver
Noah Salgado Silver
Anthony Colon Jr. Silver
Reagan Roxas Silver
Diego Pena Silver
Isa Rios Silver
Jordan Vega Silver
Kalina Faccone Silver
Dylan Villareal Bronze
Paulie Helwig Bronze
Lucas Demarco bronze
Mikey Careira Bronze
Nogi medal count.
Lorenzo Tiankee Silver
Leo Tiankee Gold
Lucas Demarco Silver
Jordan Vega Silver
Mikey Careira Silver

The Savarese Kids team has consistently been among the top kids teams in NJ, winning or placing as a team in almost every tournament they entered in the last 3 years. Congrats to all the kids and their parents for their commitment.NJBJJF 2-16Alexei anthony colon Damien 1st harun isa 2nd jamelle Mikey c Lucas Leo Leo 1st kids march kids march 2 Kayla Kayla straight arm Kalina Paulie 3rd po gi regan 2 Regan Brian 1st 2 Brian P 1st caitlin 1st 2 caitlin 1st caitlin back 3 Tyler tyler 1st Sean Y 1st blue Kids 1st Kayla straight arm Kayla 1st foof hand raised 3 caitlin back

Sonoma Valley High girl uses martial arts to defeat bully

Sonoma Valley High girl uses martial arts vs bully

Sonoma Valley High girl uses martial arts to defeat bully

Everyone, male or female has the right to defend themselves from an attack. This girl stood up to a bully using martial arts techniques. She used a clinch, takedown, and knee strikes against her attacker. She should be commended not only for standing up to a bully but for not being a victim. The story is that this started as cyber bullying, then started again in school, then water was thrown on her and here is the result. Then the teacher is chasing her. This happens so often now. Protect your children with the gift of martial arts. I have dedicated my life to helping those people stand up to the bullies in their life, mentally and if be, physically. Good for this girl! This victory is more much that a victory in this fight. She refused to let people bully her. Enroll your child or teen in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school near you. In you live in our NJ area, check us out. Most of our students come from the Lyndhurst/Kearny/North Arlington/Nutley/Rutherford/East Rutherord/Belleville area. We have students who drive over an hour to train with us a couple of times a week. Don’t be a victim, call us at 201 933-5134.

Lyndhurst Martial Arts student gets promoted

 

Lyndhurst Martial Arts student gets promoted

Lyndhurst Martial arts student Dan Lleonart was promoted by Professor Chris Savarese to the rank of brownbelt-1st stripe saturday at the Lyndhurst martial arts academy Savarese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) on Park Ave. Lleonart is one of the top students in the program and is also an assistant instructor at the Academy. He is also a top student and instructor in the submission wrestling program which is also known as no-gi BJJ. Lleonart makes no excuses as he works full-time in a law firm, is a new dad, goes to school and still makes classes almost every day. he started BJJ under Professor Savarese in 2007 and has won tournament such as the Abu Dhabi Combat Club NJ (ADCC), Grapplers Quest and North American Grappling Association (NAGA). He trains alongside some of the top grapplers in the world to come out of this Academy, including guys who have won or placed in the top tournaments in the World like the IBJJF World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship and the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championship. If you are an athlete looking to compete on a high level or just someone who wants to learn self-defense and stay in shape, call the Savarese BJJ Academy at 201 933-5134 for a free trial class at the top Lyndhurst Martial Arts facility in the area.

About Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a devastating fighting and grappling art developed by the Gracie Family of Brazil. While it is most famous for its extremely effective ground fighting techniques, BJJ contains many stand-up throws, takedowns and self-defense techniques that can finish a fight. BJJ, also known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, was developed to allow the smaller person to defeat the larger person through the application of leverage and submission holds such as chokeholds and  joint locks such as armbars, kneebars and leglocks. BJJ is a versatile Martial Art. Its varied applications include a realistic self-defense system, a complete sport, a proven fighting style and a fun and healthy recreational activity. It is quickly becoming one of the most popular Martial Arts in the world today because of it’s versatility.