Professor Marcus Nevel, me, and my Old Friend in 2002 at Gracie Humaita in Rio.
How could I have known that I would meet you during my visit to train jiu-jitsu in Rio? It seems one cannot predict when someone as special as you comes into one’s life: a loyal companion who would experience all my highs and lows, my injuries and victories for the following five years.
We met back in 2002 during on my first trip to Rio de Janeiro. Breno brought FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan and I to his friend Malibu’s Rags FightShop and the minute I took you from the rack and tried you on in the fitting room, I sensed we would be together quite a long time.
Sure, the patch on the back of you was silly. The image of an Incredible Hulk wearing a gi and BJJ black belt while breaking out of prison was ridiculous. But no one is perfect, and hey, it’s the little quirks about us that make us special.
And when I brought you back to the United States, I knew no one else would be wearing anything like you. You were unique.
I have seen photos online where folks are standing next to a closet full of hanging gis. I’ve never been able to make lots of shallow acquaintances like that. No, cultivating a few serious relationships like ours has always fit me. Yes, I know I have that Atama I’ve used as my backup gi. But you know you have always been my favorite.
I knew nothing lasts forever. But I tried to avoid the inevitable. I took precautions to keep you safe and healthy!
Despite the flack I caught for insisting on air-drying you, I never subjected you to the dryer!
Alas, as they say, “time waits for no gi”. There were signs your end was on the horizon. With really no fabric covering your collar at all anymore, the rigid material underneath was exposed as if you’d been held up to a power sander.
And two weeks ago a bullet-sized hole appeared in the end of your right sleeve after training with the very tough folks at Relson Gracie Austin. In denial, I pretended it was not there.
For a larger, sadder view of my Old Friend, click here.
And last week, the death blow: a gaping six inch slit appeared in your right shoulder when an enormous black belt was crushing me during open mat.
So it’s time, Old Friend. Being too attached to say goodbye for good, I will probably put you away in the back of some closet somewhere, where you’ll stay until my fiancee comes across you and throws you out when I’m not around sometime. It’s probably better that way.
If any of you out there have recommendations on gi jackets, let me know in the comments below! (For when I am able to move on! Too soon now! *sob* *sob* )