A good friend of mine died today. He was the kind of man I aspire to be.

I met him first in a jiu-jitsu class at William Vandry’s school in Austin, Texas. He was slight; slightly older, slightly shorter, and far slighter in build. And he kicked the fuck out of me. Easily.

Coming from a background of construction, rugby, Karate, Judo and Yorkshire, I don’t fear any man. But Gary, when he’d beckon me over for a roll, I’d amble in that direction thinking “Shit. Here we go…”

I knew I was gonna get my arse kicked. So I’d go extra hard on him. Try to smash him. Because my skills were embedded in muscle and bravado, yet his were off the chart. There’s a lesson there.

I haven’t trained BJJ for a long time. But Gary was a lifetime friend I made through its practice.

Roll on, brother. Heaven is a mat.



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