Top Level Martial Arts
2674 North Haven Blvd
Cuyahoga Falls, Oh 44223

Weekly Jiu-Jitsu Updates

I have a longer story for you, so I’ll keep this intro short. All I can say is that I was super impressed by the eclipse on Monday. It was way cooler than I expected. It’s up there with Haley’s Comet and Halle-Bopp (if you’re old enough to remember those). 

Let’s jump right in. 

Winston Update

Winston is as spoiled as ever. He spends his days chasing his favorite ball or cuddling with the girls. Here he is looking especially laid back with my daughter, Lilly. 

Have you subscribed to the Top Level Jiu-Jitsu YouTube Channel?

In this episode I go over some of the dumbest rules I’ve seen in various jiu-jitsu academies or mistakes in coaching I’ve witnessed over the years. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os1s0lJ2ppw&t=1111s

This Week At Top Level

KIDS CLASSES: This week in the youth classes we continue the focus on passing the guard and combining that with strong punching and self defense skills. 

ADULT CLASS: We are continuing the same lesson as last week in fundamentals because of the missing day during the eclipse. We continue working on Over the leg passing. In our Open ranks classes the focus will turn to the Helio Gracie Master Text materials. So expect alot of self defense for the next couple weeks. 

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Upcoming Events

SCHOOL CLOSED: Remember that this weekend, April 19 through 21, there are no classes and no open mats. I am taking the instructors to Crystal Lake, Il where we will participate in a huge gathering of instructors and other black belts in the Pedro Sauer Association. We will be bringing back some awesome info but there is no one here to teach or contact in case of an emergency. So the school is closed for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP! The Top Level Spring BJJ CAMP is coming up. THIS WEEK is the last chance to sign up and still receive the free swag. That includes a swag bag and rashguard. Here’s a video about last year’s camp and how people loved it: https://www.facebook.com/toplevelmartialarts/videos/1184351636270710?idorvanity=1619145271951783

Get signed up!! You don’t want to miss out on this. 

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OUTSTANDING STUDENT ALERT!

Christian Hancock is a purple belt and has been a student for over 5 years. He’s a nurse whose currently working on his bachelor’s of nursing at KSU. Christian is known as a gentle giant. He may look like Jason Mamoa and a viking had a baby; but he’s a kind soul that loves helping others on and off the mats. Say hi when you see him!

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Quote/Story of the Week

Both my father and my step-father were steel workers their whole lives. The former passed away at the age of 52 while walking down a flight of stairs at the mill. My step-father worked there until he was 60, then retired. They worked countless hours. I never saw either of them on any holiday. They were always there when it mattered and provided me a roof, clothing, and warmth. More importantly, they taught me that my role as a man was to provide for my family and be generous to those around me. It was no surprise that I RACED to get a job at the first opportunity. I wanted to earn for myself, to begin the long grind toward becoming a man I can respect. 

My first job ever was a job at McDonald’s. Some people loathe the idea of working fast food. But I honestly loved it. I’m usually at my best when doing customer service and working in service related jobs. So I thrived there. I held that job and moved up to store manager after 5 years, when I eventually joined the Army and moved on. 

However, it was when I was just 17 yrs old that a chance encounter with a co-worker would teach me one of the most valuable lessons I had ever learned to date. 

George was a bit of a hellyan. He would grow pot plants in the ceiling over the florescent lights, he would be harsh with people at times, and was definitely not one to follow the crowd.  He wasn’t a leader, exactly, but not a follower either. He was, in my estimation, on a path that probably led him to some trouble down the line. 

One day he came into work and was clearly intoxicated. Keep in mind, George was a 17yr old kid at this point. Not only was he too young to be drinking, he had also driven and come to his place of employment like that. While he wasn’t ever one to follow the crowd, this seemed a step too far, even for him. It was odd and I felt like something was off. That’s when he said something very off putting to me. I’ll never forget it. He said, “I have a ton of coke at home. I think I’m gonna go there, snort it all, and say goodbye. No one gives a shit about someone like me.” 

My heart dropped. Here I was, a kid, and someone was saying something like that to me. We were never close, I never really hung out with him, but it was so far out of left field I was aghast. 

I didn’t know what to say so I kept my head down, stayed cool, calm and just said, “I dunno George. You make me laugh on a daily basis (this was true he was funny in that rebel kind of way). I have to say I’d miss you if you were gone.” Then I just looked at him, made sincere eye contact, and went back to putting burgers on the grill. 

I mentioned what he said to my manager. But she was a 18yr old kid too. She had no idea what to say and was just like, “What the F.” So I told her what I said and she said good. I don’t know if she ever brought it up to him or not. 

The rest of the shift was unusually quiet. I just chalked it up to George sobering up over 4hrs and being tired. When his shift ended I asked if he worked the next day. He just looked at me and said, “Yup I do.” Then he threw a happy meal toy into a fryer vat causing me to have to scoop it out and change the oil… an annoying task. 

He came to work the next day as usual and for the next several months until the day he told me he had quit and got a new job. Then he looked at me with the most stone cold sober face I have ever seen on him. “I know we aren’t close or anything. But you need to know you saved my life. I honestly was planning to kill myself that night. And your words, for some reason, were the right level of kind and honest. Just wanted to say thanks.” 

I think George could tell I was speechless. He followed up with, “I don’t need you to say anything. Don’t want you to. But you needed to know that. You saved a life just cause you’re a nice guy. Don’t ever stop doing that. See you later.” 

I saw him around again from time to time. He dated some of the girls I worked with. From my perspective, he never really changed. But we were all so young. At one point he had decided he was gonna become a doctor. I hope that happened. 

I’m not entirely sure why I’m telling you this story. I suppose it just gives you some insight on where I’m coming from on things sometimes. But it reminds me of a quote that had touched me years before. It’s guided me through life. It was guiding me the night I talked to George. 

“What is success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

See you on the mats,

Bill Jones- Head Instructor, Professor
Top Level Martial Arts

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