The Brazilian Felipe Leite used to see himself as a glutton, a hopeless lazy man and a person without any talents or skills. Luckily, along the daily commute of the 24-year-old, 250kg young man there was a jiujitsu gym in the town of Araruama.
From the door, Felipe was invited by the teacher to come in. Four years later, Felipe had reached his goal and lost 100kg. He kept going and lost 20 more.
What is the magic that jiu-jitsu has to inject motivation and tenacity into people previously unmotivated and scared, without even the willpower to resist a bucket of ice cream?
Firstly, as the brave Felipe realized, jiujitsu is a demanding but very fun exercise, light on the mind and merciless on the love handles. It contains so many enigmas to solve, so much to learn, that nobody can stay on the couch when class starts—the beginner just goes.
The second aspect brought by jiujitsu is teamwork. The obese person needs to beat multiple harmful habits they've been collecting for years, or decades. In the jiujitsu gym, the student counts on instructors, training partners and a master who, almost always, are specialists in beating challenges. After all, on their way to the black belt, they had to jump all sorts of hurdles, and that makes them motivate students and not give up on them.
"I was at rock bottom; I felt incapable," said Felipe to the reporter Maurício Dehò, adding: "My jiujitsu teachers were the ones who rescued me from that place. I learned the importance of good nutrition to do well on the mats, and got acquainted with the pleasure of the adrenaline in the training sessions. I never stopped going." After being helped, Felipe began helping other young people through social projects.
Do you know a similar case? Somebody who had hit the bottom and was saved by jiujitsu? Tell us all about it.