My Personal Journey with Jiu Jitsu and how it helped me lose weight

By William Palacios-Toledo

I was borderline obese, completely out of shape, and struggling with a rather deep depression for over a year with Christmas 2015 fast approaching. I have had issues with my weight since middle school, and had essentially given up on losing any of it. I hate running with a passion, so that was out of the picture. Lifting weights at the traditional gym with no friends to join you sucks. The fact that I couldn’t find anything worthwhile to do pushed me to relegate my diet to “anything and everything that tastes good.”

My family runs deep with 10th Planet. 3 cousins, two purple belts and one black belt, under Eddie Bravo. They’d been showing me self-defense maneuvers and we watched almost every UFC together since I was a kid. I’d always looked up to them as better people than me, because I was an out of shape kid that enjoyed video games way too much to even think about possibly getting hurt doing something like jiu-jitsu.

Back to Christmas 2015. I had mentioned, in passing, an interest in checking out 10th Planet Van Nuys to my wife over the year. The gym was extremely close to our house, and I was pretty excited to finally see what my family had been talking about all these years. My wife, being the amazing person she is, called ahead and got me a 3-month membership as a Christmas gift.

I began training in earnest as soon as 10th Planet Van Nuys opened after the holidays in January 2016. As soon as I walked in the door, I was treated like family – by both staff and members. My fundamentals coaches (Drew, Gabe, and Sven) were not only extremely knowledgeable and very good teachers, but they were easy to talk to as well. Always open to answering even the simplest questions to allow you to learn the best that you can. Watching and providing detailed tips on how to move your body to the correct position.

I’ve not only lost over 50 pounds since I started training at 10PVN, but I have also gained functional physical strength, found self-confidence, and am continuously discovering new things about myself. There are concepts to be found that not only apply to your time on the mat, but to different areas of your personal and work life as well.

Don’t let me fool you – jiu-jitsu is hard work. You will be moving your body in ways that you never have before. You’re going to be sore – VERY sore. There will be days or even weeks in which you will tap multiple times a round, without making anyone else tap. But the benefits far, far outweigh any of those times. You begin to realize those are the days in which you learn the most.

 Will in Advanced Class

Ever since I’ve started training, 10th Planet Van Nuys has been home away from home. Stepping on the mat used to just be a nervous endeavor, but it’s grown into a nervous excitement, pumped about what I can learn next not only about a specific technique, but about myself. I’ve formed close relationships with my coaches and training partners – relationships that can only be forged in simulated combat. You’re trying to get as close to maiming each other as possible with your bodies without actually doing so, after all. There’s no looking back from that.

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