Last night we had my long time friend and Martial Arts Master Chris Lopez return to USA Martial Arts & Kickboxing for more Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training. Master Lopez is a lifetime martial artist, multiple Black Belt and Instructorship holder (Jujutsu, Karate, Hwarang Do, Ninpo Ninjutsu+) with extensive experience on the mat, "living the martial way".
In the Presence of a Master Martial Artist
When we started working techniques it is amazing how in just a matter of seconds I felt transported back to my youth as a beginner in martial arts. It always seems to be that way when you are experiencing the techniques of a master technician. I was a kid again. I was wide-eyed and captivated by the amazing power one can gain with superior technique, leverage and strategy.
Feeling Like a White Belt Again
I've been in the martial arts and taught now for over 26 years, studied in Korea, China and with some of the greatest Masters and champions in the world, yet I'm still utterly humbled by how much I still do not know. He could submit me at will like I was his own personal piece of clay to manipulate as he wished. My excitement about how much I still can learn energizes and inspires me.
Master Lopez is a true ambassador of the martial way, especially of an intelligent and practical approach to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with the right attitude, warmth and professionalism.
The Zen Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Teacher
I really enjoyed watching him enter a zen like state and teach my students. He commanded their attention with a soft, reassured voice and modest demeanor. You can sense an inner-strength in true Masters that need not be loud, boisterous or pushing energy through volume or hyper dramatics. His experience as a skilled teacher and referee shown through with his eye for safety, keeping students away from the common errors or attitudes that lead to injury. Everyone was enjoying themselves and gaining technical skill.
The Story of Winning Honor Rather Than a Medal
Master Lopez shared a story about one of his students who is currently competing on the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) tournament circuit. He described how, when at a high level match, his student applied an arm-bar on his opponent. The opponent screamed in pain, and in turn Master Lopez student immediately released his opponents arm. The opponent then claimed that he did not tap-out or submit. Due to this trick, the opponent who screamed won the match. However, Master Lopez student knew that he had done the right thing and had confirmed his technical skills were superior.
Run Your Own Race as a Martial Artist, Especially in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Interpreting a bit for our younger students, I then explained Master Lopez BJJ student may have lost a plastic trophy, but he won a greater trophy of honor instead. Compassion and protecting your fellow man is more important than winning on a technicality. That is the difference between an honorable champion and a mere trophy winner.
The Joy of Discipline and Building Inner-Strength
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction was step by step, methodical and easy to follow. The spirit of cooperation and excitement of learning filled the school as they experimented with the BJJ fundamentals. I took a moment to look around and notice the engaged minds, spirits and obvious smiles of the students. This was the school I had dreamed of as a kid all those many years ago. People were learning, growing and building confidence while internalizing lessons in honor and noble character.
Full Circle in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Mixed Martial Arts BJJ/MMA
Master Lopez was partially responsible for introducing me to Gracie Jiu-jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu back in the early 1990's with the opportunity to train with the Machado's. That lead to my joining the Rickson Gracie Association, training at the Gracie Academy in Torrence California and getting certified in Shamrock MMA (SSF-Shamrock Submission Fighting with 5 time UFC Champ Frank Shamrock). While I would never trade those experiences, I've learned the most from Master Lopez.
I've referred more people to Master Lopez Indomitable Spirit Martial Arts school in Chandler AZ than any other.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Continues as Part of USA Martial Arts & Kickboxing Phoenix
I'm proud to call him my BJJ Instructor, coach and friend. Being around Master Lopez has sparked a even more enthusiasm to train and continue to grow my skills as a martial artist as well as a teacher. As I told my students last night at the BJJ seminar, I consider him a role model of a martial artist. I can offer no higher recommendation to other school owners for having him come do a seminar. His vast experience in other systems, eye for safety and value make him unique as a teaching guest. We look forward to having him return.
We're looking forward to our upcoming grappling and BJJ in-school tournament.
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