UMA September 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to U.M.A. Brooklyn – New York Mixed Martial Arts Facility
Find out what’s happening at our training facility.
Be inspired by your teammates.
Learn tips to level-up your training and your life.
September is UMA’s 6 month anniversary!
Saturday, Sept. 16 from 3-5pm = Our first BJJ Seminar with 3rd Degree Black Belt Professor Eduardo Santos from Lotus Club New York.
All proceeds go to social projects in the Bronx and Costa Rica. Come out and support Fernando Reals and UMA! Reserve your spot before they’re all taken, $40 each ($10 discount for UMA students).
Kabuto Corner: Student Spotlight
By Kristen Cabildo
The Student of the Month for September is Algenis Valentin! Read about his story below and how he lives his life according to one of the Bushido virtues.
I had the opportunity to meet Al a few weeks ago in class. It was a small class with only four students, so Tim and I were able to go around and provide extra attention to everyone. I noticed that Al, when given individual instruction for a technique, would first pause and take a second to digest the information and then try to execute it. If he didn’t get it right, he would try again until he did. If he was frustrated, he didn’t show it. He had a calm and determined demeanor.
When I asked Sifu Phil about why he chose Al for Student of the Month, he said that he admires Al for overcoming his fears about training. Al joined martial arts to continue to lose weight (he’s lost over 200 lbs so far!), but to also learn a new skill set and to continue to challenge himself. Al said that he likes to be good at everything he does and it was huge step for him to come into a world (martial arts) where he knew next to nothing about. Al recognizes the benefit of allowing himself “to be vulnerable enough to learn something new.” It’s this mentality that has served him in all parts of his life.
I told Al during his interview that I’m sure a lot of people could relate to the fear of being a beginner. Starting something new means confronting anxieties about not being good enough or slowing others down. It’s a pretty universal human fear; a fear that some people chose to turn away from or to embrace. One path leads to a life of the same thing and the other path leads to a life that’s different and potentially better than before.
Al has made choices in his life, including starting martial arts, that have taken him out of his comfort zone. It takes courage to decide to do things differently despite the fear of possibly failing. Courage (“yu” in Japanese), a Bushido virtue, is what we admire about Al. Brene Brown, an author and professor in vulnerability, courage, and shame, states:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen… Speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage… Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.”
Al told me a story about when he was down and out of a job a few years ago, but he took some risks that were outside of his comfort zone and it landed him a job position even better than he expected. He told me that he sources inspiration from Rocky Balboa’s “eye of the tiger” mentality. Al’s fierce determination to strive to be better every day even when times are hard has given him courage. Being brave when struggling financially or when we’re a beginner in a new environment might not sound like huge heroic acts, but when the odds are stacked against us (and we’ve all been there), sometimes it takes a lot of inner resolve to stay the course — to have faith that you will find a way to get where you want to be. The sum of our small acts of bravery can lead to an extraordinary life.
Al mentioned that he likes to master whatever he decides is worth pursuing. His deliberate and patient attitude during training has already paid off. He said that he has already seen improvement in his boxing form. The satisfaction he gets from experiencing his skillset improve is reward in itself. Plus, he mentioned, he feels more confident when walking in some parts of the Bronx, where he grew up.
The “eye of the tiger” attitude that Al brings to each class is obvious. At the end of the warm up, we had everyone do fifty muay thai kicks each leg (after a tedious round of punching, kneeing, and elbowing). Al told me that even though he was already exhausted, he was “going to get to fifty no matter what.” During that class, we cheered him on, and Al relayed to me during his interview that the support from UMA staff and students keeps him coming back to train. Al, we keep coming back to teach because of students like