On Saturday afternoon, November 30th, 2013, actor Paul Walker died in a car accident with as a passenger with friend Roger Rodas driving. The two were pronounced dead on the scene. It’s sad when a person dies suddenly, let alone at a young age. While there are many articles about the man and his movies, there’s a different topic I want discuss; Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
While many will think of him as Brian O’Conner, his character from six of the current seven Fast & Furious movies, I will think of him as a brown belt. I have been a practicing martial artist for almost nine years now, across various disciplines. My main focus has always been Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It’s not just an art, but a way of life, something I do constantly, practicing six days a week.
There is a special sense of comradery that grows between you and the people you train with, even those from other schools. When a student from another school comes to your gym, or vice versa, there’s always a moment of hesitation when accepting them. Sure, everything’s friendly at first, but his or her mettle must be tested before they’re truly accepted. After a few rolls, win or lose, everyone remembers why we’re all here, for the love of the art.
I respect Walker for the dedication he put into BJJ. As a brown belt, something that takes anywhere from 8- 12 years on average, he showed an obvious love for the art. I’ve been fortunate enough to have trained in many gyms across the country, from Pennsylvania to California, Brazil, and even Japan. I can tell you we all speak the same language and share the same passion. I’m sad that I never had the chance to roll with him.
You will be missed brother. Ossss.