A letter by Tiago Afonso from Macau BJJ:

Let me try and write about my short experience with BJJ.

I started BJJ one year ago, in August 2007 to be precise. The BJJ scene was, and still is, really small in Macau. There were about 5 guys training by that time, being the instructor a Judo Black Belt with some BJJ knowledge and 2 BJJ Blue Belts, that was teaching most of the classes. The group was small but everyone was crazily in love with BJJ. We used to learn the techniques out of youtube and practise in class.

We begangrowing slowly. 4 months later we participated in a local tournament in Hong Kong (BJJ Jam Night organized by Kowloon BJJ) and to everyone's surprise we finished in 3rd place! Can you imagine the drive? And we were only 5 guys! The unexpected successful experience got everyone really energized and wanting to improve their skills.

That was when we launched our website which is a very important part of the BJJ community. These credits belong to Patrick. I just keep it updated!

At the time we also created the Macau Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Association. The idea was to try and get some help from the government. Place to train , medical assistance in case of any injuries and eventually help if in the future we organize any championship. Not to much luck until now.
At that time we also had a few visits from Brazilian friends, that came to town and trained with us. That also created a wanting for having a proper instructor of BJJ.

I phoned all my Brazilian friends in Macau asking whether they knew anyone that was a high ranked BJJ practitioner willing to teach us. On a strike of luck one week later I got a call from a Brazilian friend of mine. His neighbor and childwood friend from Brazil was a BJJ black belt and would like to come to Macau. We immediately worked on all the burocracy needed. Papers and logistics were done. After conctacting Daniel, it took him only 20 days to be working in Macau..
Since then, through some friends of mine I managed to get us a place for training, not too big, but luckily free of rent. We also managed to get some old mats from Judo Association. So, right now, we have a nice mated area where we can train whenever we want, having this great Brazilian Black Bel, Daniel,t as an Instructor. What more can a BJJ loverwish for??

It's all hard work, sometimes really boring and tedious. In the beginning two other guys and myself were making a bigger investment every month to pay bills and stuff, but right now we are reaching a point where the academy pays itself.

All this takes time and dedication. Often I find myself "wasting" a couple of hours every day just taking care of BJJ stuff! With the baby on her way and all, in these blue mood moments I ask myself if I shouldn't be wasting my time with something more profitable. But these are just sparkling moments! Is there anything better in life than doing just what you love? The more you do, the more rewarded you feel, more ideas come into your mind, more things you put into action. Believe me, it's a never ending sort of enthusiastic work.

We would like to organize BJJ weekend camps, a couple of times a year. That's where I'm going to spend my energy after I get the academy running smoothly.

For me, what does keep me going, more than the love for chokes, triangles and arm-bars, is all about the terrific people you meet and the great friends you make!

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