- Posted November 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From hobby to job
Coach Miguel Castro Captures The Gold Medal At The 2013 IBJJF World Championships in Long Beach California
This Last November Jiu Jitsu competitors from around the world gathered at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach California compete in the 2013 International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu No Gi World Championships.
Miguel Castro from Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts in Houston Texas traveled to Long Beach California to take to the mats and win the Gold Medal becoming Cypress Texas and Team Tooke’s first World Champion.
46 Year Old Miguel Castro also known as Coach Mike is the Owner and Head Instructor at Team Tooke MMA in Cypress Texas. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt under Black Belt Professor Travis Tooke and has been training under Travis for the past 7 years. In May of 2009 he opened a Team Tooke Mma Academy in the Northwest Area of Houston in the town of Cypress.
This year Miguel set out to make a come back to competition and had not competed since March 2009.
Miguel explained the cause of his long layoff and his comeback to win the Gold:
"After competing in the 2009 IBJJF Pan American Championship I decided to leave the corporate world and follow may passion for Martial Arts. So in May of 2009 I opened my school. I never intended to stop competing but I underestimated the time demands of starting your own business. That first couple of years I had to put competing on hold.
Then in 2011 I got the bug to compete again and my schedule opened up. I was getting back to training and competing but suffered a sports fracture and labrum tear in my left hip. That took me out for about a year. After about 13 months I got back on the mats and making another shot at competing but in June 2012 suffered a neck and back injury, which left me with some herniation of disks.
Now that I think about it June has not been a good month for injury prevention. After some Epidural Injection procedures and rehab I was back to being able to walk around normal again but the Doctors were telling me to stop training.
I was shocked and blown away by this. How was I going to stop what I loved to do and gave up my career for? I pretty much fell into a depression and was contemplating selling my school. I felt I would never reach my goal of earning my Black Belt or much less ever competing or training with my students. I was pretty negative and not fun to be around much back then. My friends and students started to see I had taken on an “I don't care attitude”.
Then in January of this year my wife pretty much told me:
“You are miserable without training Jiu Jitsu and miserable when your hurt, but you are better now with no pain. So go train Jiu Jitsu where you will be happy and may get hurt or never get hurt or you can live being miserable because you are unable to do what you love and train. Either way go do something because I can not take you being like this”.
I thought about it and it made sense. So in mid January I returned to training again with the thought I would never compete again.
My Professor was excited that I had decided to get back in their and gave me a lot of support and positive energy when I told him of my decision to train again. He invited me to a private class for the guys that where getting ready for the upcoming Pan Ams and I went. After the class he told me “You should go to the Pan Ams and compete with us”. I asked him if he was crazy, this was my first real training session in 18 months and you want me to go to the Pan Ams in 6 weeks?
Later on during the week I told some of the guys, the old timers of the school that Travis asked me to go to the Pan Ams and to my surprise they were all telling me to go for it. It would be like old times hanging out, training and laughing. It would be a good trip. So long story short I jumped in.
I started training twice a day and doing Strength and Conditioning sessions. Long story short I competed, I lost on points but did a lot better than I thought. I could feel that fire relight for competing wondered what would happen if I kept up the same training routine and competed later on in the year. I started to feel my confidence growing again.
So later on in the year I did the Masters and Senior Worlds I was in shape and felt good. I lost my match by 1 advantage with the score 0 to 0. I was pleased but disappointed at the same time I felt I should have won but my competition timing was off still.
Fast-forward and I once again find myself being talked in to competing again by Travis but this time in the No Gi World Championship. One of our young guys asked me to go to the NoGi worlds to coach so I said yes. Well Travis finds out and tells me “You should compete, you will be out there already and your in the best shape of your life go for it”.
So what’s the big deal I competed in 2 major championships with good performances why not this one. Well for the people that know me I haven't competed in No Gi since December 2008 and I am a Gi guy. I hate training No Gi.
People ask why I don't train No Gi? and I jokingly tell them No Gi is the Devil. They laugh but really with my history of neck issues No Gi bothers my neck, since pulling on the neck happens, much more than the Gi. I probably trained 7 times in No Gi in the last two in a half years, and now Travis was telling me to go do it. So I said absolutely not, but in the back of my mind I was weakly considering it.
After a couple of days and a lot of egging on I secretly started debating whether to do it. So with about 2 weeks till the actual competition I decided to do it. The next day I let Travis and my closest training partners know. We trained about 3 hard No Gi sessions before I left for California. I couldn’t believe I decided to do this and was questioning my decision the whole time.
So Sunday comes and we head out to the Pyramid and Cal State University Long Beach. I make it to the Semifinals and get the win to move into the finals. The awesome thing is that the win is over the guy that I lost to at the Gi World Championship earlier in the year. It was pretty awesome to walk off the mat and see my Jiu Jitsu hero Bjj Half of Famer Xande Ribeiro cheering for me.
I was a little tired from the Adrenaline dump but that quickly past and had 5 matches before the finals so I felt good and ready. I walked on the mat for the finals and felt really good. I actually felt calm, confident and ready. I knew I was in better shape than he was.
As the match started I secured the take down established position and passed the guard and mounted. Worked but ran out of time to get the submission but won on points 9 to 0. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy and excited I looked over as they were raising my hand and I could see everyone from Texas cheering and Xande pumping his fist for me. It was a great day one that I will always cherish.
I could not have done this without my awesome Coach and mentor Travis Tooke, my main training partner and assistant Coach Jose LLanas, Dr. Minh Luu and his incredible staff at Plex Sports Performance and Conditioning and all my students and staff at Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts in Cypress Texas.
Team Tooke MMA Cypress is located at 11700 Barker Cypress Road Suite B Cypress, Texas