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30, 2010 I lost my friend and a member of our extended Gracie family
Scott Roberson. He was one of seven CIA employees killed in the bombing
of a US base on the remote mountains of Afghanistan. Scott was my
student for over 4 years, and during those times I got to know one of
the most amazing persons ever!
I can tell you that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
was a big part of his life. While he was away he kept training packing
his Gi, Gracie Combatives DVDs, Gracie University and communicating
with me to give him training advice, tips, etc. He once told me it was
therapy. I asked him what he meant - he said that this is one of the
few things from home that he can duplicate in the "sand". It gave him a
mental break from his mission, even if it was for 30 minutes.
I valued Scott's opinion in the
effectiveness of our art. He is one of the few people that has seen and
experienced things that I could not even imagined. Even though he was
my student I learned many things from him. I have many stories about
Scott, but I want to share one with you that taught me a valuable
Scott was a big, strong guy. At 6'1"
and 220 lbs I told him that his biggest obstacle in learning GJJ would
be his ego. He could easily muscle his way out of being submitted by
most of his fellow students, but if he did this he will not be
"learning" GJJ. During one of our rolling sessions he was training with
Pat, a fellow student. Pat seeing Scott's physique but not knowing him
that well at the time turned up the intensity and was submitting him at
least once a minute.
Around the fourth or fifth submission
Scott was caught in an armlock inside Pat's guard. In disgust he
decided it was enough, did a bicep curl and stood up with Pat hanging
on (by the way Pat is similar in height and 200 pounds). For a second
it looked that he was going to slam him but instead he placed Pat
gently back on the ground and tapped.
What happened then I have never seen
before or since. Scott shook hands with his partner, walked to a
corner, kneeled down facing the walls like a punished kid in the
classroom (at least back in the day) and was taking deep, controlled
breaths. I went there to see what was going on. Scott replied, "Coach,
I am sorry. I was frustrated, lost my temper, and stopped doing
Jiu-Jitsu. I put myself in a timeout. In a few minutes I will be calmed
and ready to train Jiu-Jitsu if it is OK with you, Sir."
Wow! Yes, I have had similar feelings
on some training sessions but they were usually after the fact. If
someone rolled hard, I went hard back. If they move fast I will try to
move just as fast or faster than them. An advanced GJJ practitioner
will be spanking me and I will be so focused on my wins and losses that
I was losing the lessons and tricks they were given me. After these
sessions I had some regrets on the way I just trained. And here is
Scott, a white belt at the time, being so in touch with his emotions in
the present (when it counts). Since then all my rolls are learning
rolls. I am now aware of not only my opponent, but also about myself.
How do I feel, how am I breathing, what is going on around me? Thanks
to Scott I have learned to control my intensity, breathing, and
During the month of December Scott
was working on the Master Cycle. He loved Super Hooks! His daughter
will be born in February and her name is Piper. We had great plans for
2010 - he was going to accompany me to Torrance CA to train at the
academy, attend the instructor's course, open a Gracie Garage, teach me
how to handle the firearm he helped me choose just a few weeks ago - a
Glock 23, and train with us at Destin Academy.
I am so honored to train Scott and
many others that secure our freedom and way of life. In memory of Scott
I want to thank him and all members of the armed forces for their
service and sacrifice that allows us to live and experience freedom
like no other country in the world. Remember Scott and all others that
have given their live for our country in your prayers.
To learn a little bit more about Scott go to:
To see Scott doing what he loved check this out!
Carlos Diaz - Head Instructor
Destin Academy of MMA
Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center