Pedro Sauer, Toney Walldecker, and Relson Gracie.
Most folks know that my love for Brazilian jiu-jitsu began at a BJJ academy in Northern Virginia called FightWorks. It was there that I conceived of the idea of a BJJ internet radio show, and I promptly named it The FightWorks Podcast.
Back in those early days our most frequent instructor was Toney Waldecker. Like many new schools at the time (and even today, depending on where you are) he was teaching as a blue belt. For several years he was the person who introduced me to moves and techniques, and made me tap all the time.
It’s a great feeling to hear that Toney was recently promoted to black belt by Relson Gracie. Getting promoted by Relson is a very long process and I think most would agree that his black belts are very tough guys. I am very proud of Toney and proud to have learned so much training with him.
There is a not-so-funny story about an encounter between Toney and I which almost caused me to quit BJJ when I was a white belt. Coincidentally the story will be told in this coming Sunday’s episode of The FightWorks Podcast. There’s a moral to the story, so make sure you tune in! (Hint: the show is about leglocks!)