My Crazy Idea

How Jiu-Jitsu helped me build a restaurant Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Three years ago, I opened up a small restaurant in my town. This was the craziest thing I have ever done in my life, as I had never worked in the restaurant business and was not even a particularly skilled chef or cook. However, I had the confidence and skills to embark on this crazy endeavor through my years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

In BJJ, my teacher, the legendary Marcelo Garcia, always tells us to trust in our technique. If you do the technique correctly, good things will happen- whether it is a successful sweep, submission, takedown, or escape. Throughout the creation and inception of my restaurant, I kept reminding myself that, similar to BJJ, I just had to trust in the technique.

The restaurant I opened was a small, semi-casual, Ramen noodle shop with seating for only 24 customers. In preparation, I honed and sharpened my technique by scouring cookbooks, recipes, and numerous online videos looking for the best-tasting and most attractive Ramen dishes. Through countless attempts and through “trusting the technique” of famous chefs and popular Ramen recipes, I came up with recipes that were both delicious and easily replicated by myself and my staff.

Just like in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where it is important to align yourself and learn from trusted teachers and practitioners, I also sought the advice of people in the restaurant industry. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by one particularly successful restaurateur- even having him come to my restaurant and offering up tips and advice on improving the service, food, and ambiance.

Perhaps the biggest lesson Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught me is that through effort and perseverance, you can achieve great things. Even though I was a beginner in the restaurant industry, I constantly reminded myself that it was only a short 21 years ago that I was also a brand new white belt stepping on the BJJ mats for the first time. However, through years of training – where I had to endure my fair share of hardships and being uncomfortable, I was able to persevere and become a competent practitioner, teacher, and even school owner. Through these challenges, I gained the confidence to know that if I could become a black belt in BJJ, I could tackle the challenge of running a restaurant.

Through the lessons I learned in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I gained the confidence to own, operate, and cook at my own successful restaurant. Not only were we highly reviewed – 4 Stars on Yelp and 4.5 Stars on Google, more importantly, we were highly respected in our community for our delicious food and friendly service.

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