Five Rings was extremely proud and honored to award three black belts on Saturday, Dec. 3. It was a HUGE deal for the individuals (Kevin Dadik, Robert Wolfe, and Tim Hull) as well as for the Five Rings community / culture as a whole.
Kevin Dadik, Tim Hull, Robert Wolfe
Over sixty grapplers and another twenty five plus family and friends filled the academy to celebrate this momentous event. It was a really cool thing.
All three individuals have dedicated a lot of time, energy, and effort to face the challenge of becoming a black belt. All three are profoundly worthy of the accomplishment.
Here are some highlights of Professor Tom's thoughts:
- Today is a celebration of individual accomplishment -- of the work, effort, and sacrifices these individuals made over years to attain this level of skill, understanding, and ability. It is also a big day for the Five Rings community/culture -- as a place of learning, growth, support, and actualizing.
A little bit will be said about each personal and their unique circumstances, but there are some global truths about their success as well:
- For all three, Jiu Jitsu stopped being something that they do … and it has become something that they are. It’s a part of their DNA – their personalities and mindset
- They’ve all had to face barriers / obstacles / challenges -- and found ways to overcome them, not to be stopped, to resume and continue to move forward and adapt, grow, and evolve
- Displays of perseverance, grit, passion, and growth yes …. Once in a while, no. DAILY … every day they keep doing what has gotten them to this point … perseverance, grit, passion, and growth. It’s in the daily doing!
- I’m 100% sure that these guys will be doing Jiu Jitsu tomorrow, next week, and next year. The awarding of their black belt isn’t a finish line; it’s a launch pad to personal discovery, exploration, and joy.
- What will be exciting is to see what they as individuals and their Jiu Jitsu looks like in 5, 10, and 25 years.
What does this mean to Five Rings Jiu Jitsu?
- We are a community built on the pillars of a growth mindset, health, happiness, hope and support. Our mission is to help everyone to become the best version of them self. Though these guys did the majority of the work … they couldn’t have done it alone. We are their greenhouse / their eco-system. Thus, their success is testament to our success.
- We celebrate the process more than the outcome. The journey is “the process”. The grind is “the process”. Life is “the process”. We embrace the challenges, the fails, the struggles that come with growth and evolution. We don’t wallow in them, let them beat us down, or let it overwhelm us … we bare them, accept them, acknowledge them, and continue to move forward.
- Their success is our inspiration … our license to be successful too … our fuel. We are a culture and a community that comes together to make each other better. We’ve helped them to be better … they will help all of us to be better. That’s what a growth mindset / train ugly / talent hotbed culture does … We will challenge each other to bring out their best daily while understand the work and struggle involved with compassion and understanding.
Professor Eric, Professor Tom, Tim Hull, Professor Kevin, Professor Robert, and Professor Nathan
Quick summaries of their Jiu Jitsu Journeys:
- He began training at the age of 15 (2007) | Judo in high school and Jiu Jitsu with Eduardo Rocha. Also trained with Stephan Goyne (Bay Jiu Jitsu) and Jeremy Adkins (Machine Works BJJ). Got his blue belt in 2009 from Eduardo.
- Came to Portland to attend Lewis and Clark College – found his way to Five Rings in 2010. Kevin came in quietly … but quickly become a bigger and bigger presence at the academy. He’s competed, coached, and grown … earning his purple and brown belts here at Five Rings. Kevin is a gifted athlete with deceptively deep grit and tenacity. In addition to that, he's growin into a leader & a force in the academy … a pillar of passion and sharing his knowledge of Jiu Jitsu.
- Kevin’s favorite thing about Jiu Jitsu -- are all the moments he gets to train with someone that he would have never met or shared anything with otherwise. He’s been able to train with people all over the US and abroad and he’s had the pleasure to learn from some extraordinary grapplers as well as the opportunity to teach the art I love.Kevin’s advice to others -- never stop being amazed by jiu jitsu. I train everyday even when I don't really want to because I know there is always more jiu jitsu to learn and more ways to improve my game. Kevin embodies this … he has trained or is still training in -- Jiu Jitsu, Judo, western wrestling, and even traditional Indian dirt wrestling (kushti) while studying abroad in India. He is passionate and profoundly curious.
- It is been so cool seeing Kevin grow and evolve as an athlete, as a martial artist, as a coach, and as a person. It will be very excited to see where he goes moving forward. The sky is the limit.
- Started training in Reno, Nevada in early 2004 with Gary Grate and received his blue belt from Charles Gracie
- Trained at various places during business travel including several academies in Northern California, Phoenix, Honolulu and Olympia.
- Began at Five Rings in May of 2011
- RJJ Niteroí - Summers of 2014 and 2016, amazing experience of immersion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and culture.
- Understanding how to learn real BJJ, after years of struggling and thinking that learning BJJ was a toughness contest defined by scoring points and not tapping-out.
- Professor Nathan spoke about Tim and commented on how every should look at Tim as in inspiration -- Tim would simply not quit, stop, or give up. Tim showing up day after day and putting in work. He didn't let work or life become an excuse. He's the role-model of work-family-Jiu Jitsu balance.
- Began training Jiu Jitsu in the Fall of 2009 at PSU with Professor Tom, Coach Eric, and Michael Amador before signing up at Five Rings June of 2010 to officially start my jiu jitsu journey.
- Receiving my blue belt in November 2010
- Getting first gold in the gi as a purple belt in the March 2015 Revolution
- Becoming an IBJJF certified referee
- Training in Brazil
- Completing 70 rounds during the grapple-a-thon
- Professor Eric not only touted Robert's amazing work ethic, his commitment to helping others and the academy, and his willingness to put himself on the line and take a risk in order to grown and evolve.
Their take-aways and advice to others that are on the quest for black belt:
Never stop being amazed by jiu jitsu. I train everyday even when I don't really want to because I know there is always more jiu jitsu to learn and more ways to improve my game.
You cannot judge your ability and growth compared to others whether it be people at the academy or others based on competition. Just focus on what you can control and always give your best in all training and competitions to make yourself a little better everyday.
- Train like you want to learn good BJJ, not like you have to, “win" every minute of every train - there is no scoreboard in learning.
- Take care of your body, taking abuse and being tough doesn’t make you good at BJJ.
- Embrace the situation you are in while training - don’t be frustrated or disappointed if someone passes your guard, be excited for the opportunity to get legitimate practice at your survival and escape technique!
- Be genuinely kind and appropriately gentle to your training partners - we are family and we need to trust each other and make each other feel welcome to be our best.
- Move your personal “flywheel," one turn at a time - focus on the BJJ journey and not the destination (because the journey never stops).
- Embrace balance in the most important parts of your life. For me, keeping my family, my job, and my BJJ training in balance enables me to grow in all of three parts. When I put too much time into any one of the three parts, however noble the cause, I inevitably degrade my growth in all three.
- Absolutely never give up on your goals, no matter the circumstances - even on your worst day at the academy you learned more BJJ than you knew before. Never lose faith in your power of choice; the choice to NOT quit empowers you to control your attitude, makes you more disciplined, and focuses your determination.
- Refuse to make excuses for yourself - accept your mistakes and shortcomings (we all have them) and use them to become better.
HUGE congratulations to everyone. GREAT things are happening at Five Rings ... daily! ! !
Full album HERE