Post written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall
There are many reasons fighters are drawn to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some enter the sport with hopes of fame or fortune. Petty Officer 2nd Class Teodulo Vida, a Yeoman and single father of two stationed at Training Team West in Alameda, Calif., embraces Jiu Jitsu for the deeper rewards the sport offers; mainly a greater reverence for life and the strengthening of family bonds.
“Jiu Jitsu doesn’t just help in areas of your life, it helps in every way of your life,” explained Vida, who recently placed Fourth in the World Jiu Jitsu No-Gi Championship, held November 7, 2010 in Long Beach, Calif.
The World Championship was a bustling hive of countless fighters, trainers, and fans of Jiu Jitsu. The crowds spilled from the stands onto the main floor, with family, friends and fans surrounding the mats, cheering on their fighters.
“There were 23 men in my division and I participated in three fights,” said Vida. “I still remain humble to have the honor of participating in this event. It was a great time.”
Vida was introduced to Jiu Jitsu through his older brother Ted in the 1990s and was instantly attracted to the many ways its principles could improve his daily life. “My brother showed me how to apply Jiu Jitsu to my everyday life, through hard work, training and health,” said Vida.
The sport made such an impact on Vida that he has passed on his passion to his children, whom he regularly trains with.
“My entire family trains in Jiu Jitsu,” said Vida, “My older brother, my younger brother, my son and my daughter. It’s a family thing.”
An average training day for Vida and his family involves grueling cardio workouts, various drills involving squats, running and jumping jacks, and ends with 5-8 minute rounds of fighting.
“Fighting a five-minute round doesn’t sound long at all, but when you are fighting against someone who is trying to take you out, it can feel like an eternity,” explained Vida.
For Vida, the aches and pains of training are well worth the deeper benefits Jiu Jitsu provides him and his family.
“The philosophy behind Jiu Jitsu and how it makes you feel after training gives you a higher respect for life,” explained Vida, “You appreciate your life more.”
He wasn’t always so optimistic about the sport. “My brother dragged me to the Academy with my problems and a chip on my shoulder,” admits Vida. “I went in and got my butt kicked.”
Vida’s rough introduction to Jiu Jitsu quickly gave way to the deeper benefits that kept him coming back. “You develop respect after your first session. Respect for Jiu Jitsu, the Academy, and ultimately for your life and for yourself.”
Jiu Jitsu also gave Vida a fresh perspective on his career in the Coast Guard.
“In the same aspect as I appreciated my life more, I started to appreciate my job more,” explained Vida. “I thought about how important the Coast Guard is to me and my family and the benefits and support we get from the Service. I am a much more humble Coast Guardsman and I owe a lot of that to Jiu Jitsu.”
The prosperities of the sport never seem to cease for Vida, but at the end of the day, it all comes back to his family and the common bond they have found in Jiu Jitsu.
“I am a single parent of two kids,” explained Vida, “I do this for them. I represent my family and my academy, win or lose, and it’s great to know that my kids are watching me when I compete. I am a hero in their eyes, and that makes me proud.”