by Sensei Mike Pepe

Through the graciousness of the association and with donations from it's members, enough money was put together to allow Sensei Mike to travel to Brazil to meet and train with Rilion Gracie (now in Florida). Rilion is the son of Carlson Gracie and Royce Gracie's cousin. Here is an essay relating to Mike's training sessions. Enjoy

One meeting, one chance. Every meeting is a chance to learn something. It’s hard though to follow this philosophy all the time. Sometimes you just, well don’t think about it!

 There’s a saying I like….but don’t follow. “God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you can listen twice as much as you speak.” Down in Brazil I was just like that. I didn’t say a word. If Rillion wasn’t talking then nothing was important. I kept my mouth shut. Silent during the sessions, I asked questions in short sentences. And then listened with both ears. I got s better understanding of his thoughts when I didn’t say, “Ya, I know.” Or  “Ya, I understand” I only said “Entendu”(I understand) when he asked. These privates were my one chance, my one meeting to hear the ideas of jujitsu from one who knew. I listened with my whole body as you would when experiencing a throw or takedown. I listened so hard my skin hurt!...

 …My Brazilian counterparts in the group class had an interesting habit. Whenever one entered the “dojo” they came to each person there and shook hands. Either a handshake or a pat on the shoulder was called for. They would go straight to Rillion as he taught and shake his hand. While 2 practiced a hold or escape, you guessed it. They taped the two on the shoulder. They in turn would say hi and continue. They even shook MY hand as they went around. When they decided to leave for the night, the same thing took place. Whoever left would shake the hands of every practitioner there. I thought this was very nice since, who am I to think I’m too good to say hi to someone. Let them come and say hi to me! No. We all acknowledged each others presents and departure.

 Again I fell right in step with my drenched kimono and belt hanging from my neck, I pointed, shook and patted all my compardre to say hi and when leaving for the night. A nice way to say thanks for giving your neck or arm to me so I can practice. See you tomorrow.

 This is a practice I will try to apply here in the states.

 I said goodbye to all my friends on Monday night. Some had already said goodbye to me when they left, and when I took my leave I made sure to acknowledge each with a handshake and a friendly smile.

 Wednesday was a holiday. No class….Friday happened to be a second holiday…no class.

I will not get a chance to see my friends before my flight. Sad but again, satisfied with the fact that on that last class I had shook all hands that helped me and they shook my.  Every class, a chance to make friends. Every class a chance to say hello and goodbye, this could be the last time we meet…That time it was.


A warrior rambling

Sensei Mike





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