2016 IBJJF Worlds Masters Championship

I wrote the post below super early this morning and was too chicken to post it, but now I know I should. Today I became an IBJJF World Master Champion! All glory to God and thank you to all my coaches and Stronghold, Cobrinha and Alliance family for your love and support! Coming home with a shiny medal to show my kids and a tweaked arm, but this was the best birthday present ever! Never ever give up because God is faithful. I had a brand new mindset before coming in to compete and more than ever do I believe in miracles. I was hungry, thirsty and exhausted even before my matches. I used to think praying, repeating Scripture and singing songs to the Lord was such a chore – but now I know it’s my lifeline. I have been so humbled by God’s grace the past year. This was the first time I had a true smile on my face before I walked onto the mat, despite all the anxiety I was feeling. I injured my arm my first fight and hesitated to do my second one, but the true miracle was being able to win that second fight using only one arm. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me prepare. My hope is to always give back more than I have received and to all of you who coached and trained with me or prayed for me during this journey, I appreciate you so much! All the losses this year have made this win worth more than its weight in Gold.
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August 26, 2016 – 5:17AM
“God gives His hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.” I have seen this quote often and in the past year I have come to the conclusion that I believe the opposite is actually quite true: “God gives His hardest battles to his WEAKEST soldiers.” It’s only in our weakness that God makes us strong.

The answer is simple: Why would God use an already strong individual to show His power? David was a shepherd boy (not a soldier like his brothers) and he defeated Goliath. If you read the Psalms, you can understand David a bit more. That man was an emotional wreck half the time and he begged and pleaded with God for strength daily. God delivered him constantly but that didn’t mean David went through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout his life. The fact remains though: David knew he was weak, and he humbled himself daily and asked God for strength. I think people nowadays get it wrong when they say truly strong people don’t show their emotions. In my experience, the most strong people I have met especially this year aim to be open, vulnerable and humble.

Today I am fighting at Masters Worlds. This is my 7th tournament after being back on the mat for 11 months and training almost 20 hours a week. I’ve had 8 total matches, with 3 wins and 5 losses. I almost quit Jiu Jitsu a few months ago because I was so frustrated. I felt I wasn’t progressing fast enough. I thought I should be doing better, performing better. I put all this time and effort and I had nothing to show for it. It took me awhile to realize my heart was in the wrong place. I received my Blue belt in 2007 and looking over the past 9 years I have been so hung up on all the reasons I couldn’t train. “I could have been a Black Belt by now if __________ didn’t happen.” I was trying to prove to myself and to everyone that I deserved my belt and I was worthy of it. Those thoughts were so incredibly selfish.

This month as I was preparing for Worlds, I also was convicted at how much time I wasn’t spending with my children. When I mentioned this to friends they would ask “aren’t you with them all day? What do you mean?” So yes, although they are with me, it’s been a long time since I ever gave them my undivided attention. I was always either training or working at home, and giving them my leftovers. I didn’t spend as much time nurturing them like a mother should. So at the beginning of August, I took a whole week off of training. We cooked, played outside, played video games, went on field trips, shopped together. While I missed training, I had an absolute blast with my kids. It reminded me that first and foremost, I am a mom, and while training can still be one of my priorities, I need to find balance.

My heart and mind are at a whole new place while I prepare for my matches today. I am doing this for God’s glory and to hopefully bless and inspire others. I am spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically drained this morning, and I say that with pride only because I want God’s power to always show through my life. I have put in my time and my effort, but I know it’s in God’s hands to do the rest. I am okay with that. Win or lose, I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete. Thank you to everyone who has coached me or trained with me to prepare for this day. I hope to fight my best!

Psalm 18:2: The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my STRONGHOLD.

Posted in About Me, In Christ, Jiu Jitsu, The Stronghold

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About StrongholdMom

Raquel Cusi is a wife, mother of 4, and owns The Stronghold CrossFit & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with her husband, Mike, and brother Ray. She loves to blog about Marriage, Parenting, Health, Fitness, Christian living and her love for Disney. She's also an aspiring crunchy mom who loves organic and natural products, breastfeeding and babywearing.

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