In 1998 I became friends with Dustin Denes, just a white belt in Jiu Jitsu at the time, but that didn’t matter he was a force of nature, a vortex of greatness and huge influence when I was around him there was Zero non productivity every second of everyday was spent chasing excellence Dustin was 1000% dedicated to becoming a world champion in Jiu Jitsu on day one . He would always travel several hours one way to Miami to train with the very best . . I mean these were the top brazilias stateside . Then he’d return home to our living room dojo with the latest and most devastating Techniques in Jiu Jitsu. This was my very first taste of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and though over the years I had trained at some other academies nothing ever came close to those days with him in our living room dojo . . He held me up to a standard; whether it was morning , or the midnight hours he would bang on my door “ Yo Mike .. Mike I need 100 escapes from mount let’s go “ sometimes I dreaded it , however afterwards without fail I felt stronger and more empowered. I knew this was the force the universe was instructing me to follow .Cleans style of Jiu Jitsu was the way and the truth.
One early morning I can’t recall if we planned it , or if it was off the cusp we headed out into the street in front of our house and took off on what was to be to this day an Epic run that only true athletes , gifted runners could pull off. The first five or six miles I’m pretty sure was at a sub six minute thirty second per mile pace. I do recall we were running through a pretty tough neighborhood that led us into the Doak Campbell Stadium where we embarked on a treacherous bleachers attack. I remember leaving the stadium thinking where do we go now? It didn’t matter we were just getting into the zone. We continued on for another six miles maybe seven still cruising at something like a seven and a half min pace per mile during which led to the last mile of the run. I remember some laughing between us realizing how hardcore this run was, and how it was getting very tough to maintain composure, right then the pain set into reality we had a shared sense of Oh shit this last part back to the house is gonna be harder than what we had already done let me tell you when your body stops a mile is an epic journeyin itself.. We split up at that point Dustin pulled ahead andI lost sight of him I began to walk and run and have body lock up this was getting serious, but inside I was smiling cause I knew without doubt that I had earned respect from someone who was to become one of the greatest Jiujitsu Champions of all time , and let me tell you that felt really good. All in all we figured it to be a 13 mile run, plus the entire stadium ,and we ran it Warrior style side by side.