Nobi is wearing the blue-gi, sitting on the lower-right-hand corner at the very front.
This weekend I received wonderful news of a good friend receiving his BJJ black-belt. What makes this especially nice is that this is the guy that got me to start training jiu-jitsu nearly 5 years ago when he was a purple-belt at Alliance NYC. Nobi Kashiwagi was awarded his black-belt from Fabio Clemente (Alliance NYC), August 2009.

At the time I was working in NY as a design-assistant and was in pretty bad shape working long hours, partying hard and not taking very good care of my body. I decided that on my 25th birthday I would turn things around and commit myself to some form of physical discipline. I knew that joining a gym wouldn't do jack for me cause I had done that already with little to no success or motivation. I always had an interest in the martial arts but never got the support from my parents to pursue it so here was my chance as an adult. So one afternoon after mentioning my plans to some co-workers I was handed the phone with someone already waiting on the other end. It was Nobi whom I had never met before but convinced me to stop by that very night to try my first class of BJJ . I tell ya, my first class sucked cause I was a heavy smoker at the time and it felt like I was running and rolling around with heavy iron weights inside my chest. Long story short, within two weeks I was hooked and began training regularly 3-5 times a week. Within four months of doing jiu-jitsu I quit smoking cold-turkey and haven't looked back since. Nobi and a number of other guys at Alliance made my introduction to BJJ an extremely positive one and continues to support and nurture my journey whenever we meet up.

So I am very proud and excited for my friend who's now reached a new chapter in his jiu-jitsu journey as I'm sure it will inspire him to accomplish even more and positively effect those around him like he has me.

Congratulations Nobi!

***Nobi is also the author of www.ibjj.com, a jiu-jitsu diary that was part inspiriation for bjj-asia.

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