The Grind

This week I got to sit down and talk to Professor Daniel Rivas, owner and head instructor of Team Rivas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Montgomery Texas. He began his Jiu-Jitsu journey in 1997 in the city of Lima, Peru where he trained under Professor Alex Ferreyra. Fast forward to 2013, he received his black belt under Professor Gonzalo Otero.


I have had the honor of training and learning from him for the last four years now. During those years I have learned not just how to strangle humans and bend them the wrong way, but I have learned many life lessons as well. The main lesson I have learned and valued most is to embrace “The Grind”, on and off the mats. I asked Professor Rivas what the greatest challenge has been in his Jiu-Jitsu journey. He answered with something I feel most practitioners can relate to, especially competitors.


“Injuries. Being out of training is the most challenging thing, staying off the mats is the worst part…” – Daniel Rivas


I have watched Professor Rivas demonstrate techniques while injured and then sit on the sidelines as the team rolls. I also know he hates every minute that he is not rolling or competing with us. I personally have experienced injuries that have forced me off the mats; it is the worst to me as well. Injuries are going to happen in a combat sport, it’s just part of the game. But something I have learned from Professor Rivas is that no matter the injury, you can still learn. Whether it be watching from the side and taking notes on the techniques, watching your own past matches to identify flaws in your game, or watching past matches and studying what the best of our sport does at the highest level. There is always a way to make progress no matter the circumstances, if you want it bad enough.


What is an injury?

An injury to me is when you cannot use or move a major part of the body without excruciating pain and the risk of causing more damage when doing so. To others it may be a broken finger or a sore joint. And that is perfectly fine, your journey is your journey. Everyone will have their own opinion on the difference between an injury and being hurt. And this is where “The Grind” comes in.


“There is nothing like the grind, frustration, overcoming obstacles, friendships, victories, and defeat. It is just wonderful.” – Daniel Rivas


He says it perfectly right there; the grind is the rollercoaster of Jiu-Jitsu that we are on. There are ups and downs, and sometimes you’ll feel like you are stuck on a loop. But when the timer goes off after a long practice of multiple rounds—probably getting beaten up—you look down at the puddle of sweat, look around at your teammates all going through the same thing and you realize that you have earned something nobody can ever take from you. Everyday that you grind through the pain is a victory. Your fingers are going to hurt, your ears are going to hurt, your joints and neck are definitely going to hurt. But it is all part of “The Grind” and you are not alone. The benefits to Jiu-Jitsu far outweigh the pains and aches of training. For me, Jiu-Jitsu gave me a second family, a purpose to my life, and self confidence that nobody can ever take from me.


“I love everything about Jiu-Jitsu” – Daniel Rivas

If you ever get the opportunity to train with Professor Rivas, you will know right away that he truly does love everything about Jiu-Jitsu. No matter how mad he is that his neck won’t stop hurting.


A special thanks to Professor Rivas for sitting down with me and answering some questions. Be sure to tune in October 3rd as Professor Riva, one of my teammates, Erik Wright, and myself will be competing on the Submission Hunter Pro 58 card. If you can, come check it out!


Until next time, embrace “The Grind”!

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