At the end of every class, the students and instructor bow, and repeat the school motto, “Força e Honra,” or Strength and Honor. We then shake hands, and thank one another with an “Obrigado/a.” Obrigado is short for the more formal Eu sou obrigado, or “I am obliged.”

While this little ritual will become part of the daily routine, with the tendency for participants to simply go through the motions, the hope is that this demonstration of gratitude helps remind us to be thankful for our time on the mat. Obviously we want to thank our teachers and training partners, for without them we wouldn’t be training in jiu-jitsu. We’re also quite fortunate to train in the facilities we have. Ask Cassio some time about the canvas mats he used to train on in Brazil!

As a parent, I’m keenly aware of how vital the idea of gratitude is. We are bringing our children up in a time and place of unbelievable wealth and prosperity. Living here in the burbs of NorCal means we have immediate access to food 24 hours a day. Today’s children have television, the internet, smart phones, and swimming pools, while living in houses with running water, flush toilets, and a/c. Needless to say, such a luxurious lifestyle is lost upon someone who knows no different, which makes it easy for people to be unappreciative. Honestly, which one of us doesn’t take these things for granted?

Consider the early immigrants to this country, or to what was at one time simply thirteen colonies. Those people left Europe with nothing, risked a months-long ship ride, starving conditions, exposure to new diseases, knowing there was little to no infrastructure awaiting them. They came with nothing, knowing it was all on them to make a new life for themselves. If they wanted a house, they had to build it. If they wanted to eat, they had to hunt or harvest it. There was no safety net, no agency, for them to fall back on. Can you imagine how they would perceive the world we now live in, with the comforts we take for granted?

This week we will be discussing Obrigado in the children’s classes, as well as having an “attitude of gratitude.”

Last week we focused on passing the guard and knee-on-stomach in the children’s classes and the Adult Level 1. This week we’ll be looking at the other side. We’re going to work on re-constituing the guard, as well as some basic attacks from closed guard.

Cassio and his family are returning from Brazil this week, so you can expect to see him back on the mats soon! Many thanks (Muito Obrigado) to Dan Goodwin, Mark Kamizaki, Dan Martin, and Sean McCandless, who all did a great job covering his classes while he was away.

See you all on the mat!