"I can still remember walking into class"
I initially met Jamal, with the sole intention of taking yoga classes. I decided to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, since it was a class included in the membership, and I was encouraged to try all the classes. With no prior martial arts experience, and being a woman, I was a little hesitant to try it but decided to go for it anyways. I can still remember walking into class, 12 months ago, lining up next to the row of strangers wondering what I had gotten myself into. But within minutes of the class starting, my anxiety quickly dissipated. I was greeted by Jamal’s warm, welcoming and uplifting spirit and I remember being continuously praised and encouraged by everyone the whole time. What I find most special about his classes, different from others, is that he has the keen ability to transform the energy in the room to one that is inclusive, safe and motivating.
Ironically, my first experience was so positive, that I was consistently compelled to come to more classes, so much so, I was going to significantly more Jiu Jitsu classes than yoga. Over the years Jamal has been such an excellent instructor and friend supporting me above and beyond, on the mat and off the mat. I understand why he has diligent followers who travel to take his classes.
As a woman I know martial arts, especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be intimidating. The biggest thing Jamal did for me was make me feel like I belonged there. I am so grateful to have had such a positive experience and that I have an instructor that respects women and treats me as an equal.