For years, numerous coworkers and friends would constantly tell me of the need to start training. We focus so much on training in different areas that are only a small portion of the job. It wasn’t until I got a phone call from a good friend and coworker who was training at Kraken at the time. I remember it well even more than a year later. He told me I had no more excuses, that Professor Mattson had adopted the Blue Line to Blue Belt program, and explained what that meant. I realized at that moment he was right and bought a Gi, rash guard, and shorts.

I still remember my first class and that first live roll. I remember admitting, after a very long six minutes, what I had been told so many times, that I was wrong. I was wrong in thinking that the very periodic defensive tactics refresher would be sufficient over regular training. The instruction, camaraderie, and accountability are, if accepted, life changing. The training received can be potentially life saving and the coaches know this and work toward making each individual there the best versions of themselves. Watching the outstanding coaches interact with individuals from all ages and all walks of life, led my young son to also start training. The lessons we both continue to learn on the mat echo across to our daily lives. I will forever be grateful for the persistence of friends and the generosity and opportunities Professor Mattson and coaches continue to offer.