Before I saw success in software, my interests and goals in life were very different. There was a time when I was a gym rat and trained and studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day of the week. I loved how grappling allowed me to be creative, lots of my colleagues would speak highly of my ‘style’ that can described as unorthodox. My style likely dates back to my wrestling days in high school. I always seemed to have a disadvantage in speed, strength and endurance. Because of this, I became successful with an unorthodox style that opponents used to seeing. I remember visiting NYU on a recruiting visit, and the head coach did not recognize me as a wrestler (I looked too skinny). In modern college wrestling, it seems like just about every wrestler has adopted some sort of ‘funk’ into their arsenal.
I loved Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so much that I believed that I would teach and own my own school, and fight in the UFC. I decided to take some time off from school at the University of Colorado – Boulder to focus on training and work on a software project. At one point, I felt very proficient, and was able to submit fighters in the UFC while sparring.
Then came the summer of 2010, I had an argument with a roommate in Boulder. The very next day, I decided to drive to Boston. I decided that I was going to train at Wai Kru and continue to program for myself and this company called Caring Family. I was training 7 days a week and programming. I considered myself to be selfish. I needed to ‘make it’ so I did not spend much time trying to get a girlfriend. I was happy with this life.
Then one fateful day, I experienced back pain. I took a week off training but it pain did not just stop. I went a chiropractor and and he looked terrified when he saw that condition my back was in. I also went to an orthopedic surgeon who recommended a an epidural, a steroid used to help with the pain. After three epidurals, I was left with no choice but to stop training. A was about to transition to a major lifestyle change. As a side note, for people with back problems, I highly recommend practicing yoga. It really helps strengthen your core, thus alleviating back problems. On top of that, it serves as a great stress reliever.
I moved back to Boulder and I was on a mission. I programmed night and day. I once again avoided dating just to focus on being successful. In about 10 months time after graduating, I achieved that success that I wanted and believed I deserved. If I had never injured my back, I very well could have still been a gym rat training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
I still train submission wrestling at the Edge in Hoboken, but the excitement that I used to have for the martial art has diminished. I enjoy living it up in Hoboken. Depending how you look at it, my back injury could have been a blessing in disguise.