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|Raul Leyva Promotion to Judo Shodan|
|December 11, 2019
Congratulations to Raul Leyva on his promotion to Judo Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt)!
Mr Leyva came to me as a Judo Green Belt from California in 2013. His Judo school in California was a competition oriented school that was heavy in to the sport aspects of Judo and Judo training. Mr Leyva has had quite a bit of Martial Arts experience prior to coming to the United States from Cuba.
When he found us, he didn't have any Ne-Waza (ground) skills other than kind of knowing Makura-Kesa-Gatame (basic scarf hold). His techniques were very speed and power based. I just started showing him some of our variations as well as started teaching him the Ne-Waza techniques and concepts. It didn't take long for him to adopt our way of learning and techniques.
"Screw that sports crap I have been doing! This is a million times better! I'm all in with this system!"
After a several months of training, I promoted him to Judo Sankyu (Blue Belt). Shortly after that he had gone back to California on a business trip. While he was there, he visited his old Dojo. When he was there he was able to fight and throw Brown Belts he was never able to touch before coming to Team Haas. He said it was to a point, were everyone in the class, including Black Belts, were asking how he was able to do some of the things he was doing.
Dallas Invitational Judo Competition. Mr Leyva went to fight in Dallas and ended up fighting in the Black Belt Division. After winning and losing matches, Mr Leyva walked away with a Silver Medal in the Black Belt Division as a Blue Belt. At the podium getting ready for pictures, the other guys told him, "Get your Black Belt on for pictures.", he replied, "I'm not a Black Belt. I'm a Blue Belt.". They were all in shock wanting to know where he trained. Some members of a competing Judo school in South Austin immediately started trying to recruit Mr Leyva in to their school.
Mr Leyva wasn't interested in going backwards in his training, so he never gave them any time.
On top of training, Mr Leyva has a crazy schedule working for an international tech firm traveling all over the world all the time. He has an amazing wife and 2 awesome children. With all of the scheduling and availability challenges, he still makes time to get in to the Dojo at least once per week, sometimes more.
Mr Leyva is always working extremely hard, still looking to improve, and is always helping anyone on the mat with patience and knowledge. I am extremely proud that Mr Leyva is one of my Black Belts and has found a way in life to still show up, work, and give back to Judo.
Mr Leyva is the 6th Judo Black Belt I have been able to promote and I am extremely honored that he is one of mine.
Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Rokudan
Head Instructor - Team Haas Judo Jiu-Jitsu