I understand that I am only an infant in this art; that I haven’t heard of thousands of great black belts; haven’t been present at any edge-of-my-seat matches at major competitions; haven’t even tapped into my own potential.

But I have come to really look up to a couple of black belts, either that I get the privilige to be taught by, or that I’ve gotten to follow around online.

Saulo Ribiero is a 4th degree black belt under Royler Gracie; he’s famed for his multiple world championships, dedication to technique and awe-inspiring love for jiu jitsu. He’s an ambassador of the sport, taking jiu jitsu wherever he goes.

The first jiu jitsu book I ever bought is by him (Jiu-Jitsu University); when I need some inspiration before I step up on the mats, I go check out his videos. I really look up to him not only because he WRECKS people on the matsbut because he’s always smiliing in his videos – there is a joy to watch him roll because of how joyful he is while rolling. He’s all technique, all style, all heart. For me, it doesn’t get better than getting to watch him talk about jiu jitsu, show technique and train.

He’s like my yoda.

Saulo has this saying that he uses quite often: “If you think, you’re late; if you’re late, you muscle; if you muscle, you tire; if you tire, you die; when you die is when you tap.” It’s single-handedly caused my game to improve, forcing me to store technique as muscle memory.

Here’s what it comes down to: Saulo is what I want to be when I grow up in jiu jitsu: perfectly content, happy, peaceful – and dangerous on the mats.

For some inspiration, check out this vid.

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