So often people tell me they need to get to a bigger and better school to realize their dreams. Or they see some new equipment, different gi's, mats, exercise equipment etc etc. In fact the single most important factor in determining how far you go in jiu jitsu or any other endeavor is PASSION. Only if you are sufficiently passionate about what you do will you put in the requisite training time, research, auxiliary work, and overcome the inevitable disappointments and heartbreak needed to excel. No amount of fancy exercise equipment, world class instruction and training partners will ever make up for a lack of underlying passion. Passion is the soil in which the other elements needed for progress towards your goals are nourished, take root and grow towards the sky. I am often astounded by the high level of visitors to RGA in NYC who train in small local gyms and yet display skills out of proportion to their pedigree. Their passion for the sport made them take the extra steps and despite seeming disadvantages, they made great progress. Always remember that my teacher Renzo Gracie spent more than half of his time in the USA teaching out of rented kung fu studios, racquet ball courts, drug rehab buildings, exercise gyms and any other place that would have us, before he settled into our current location. IN THAT TIME HE PRODUCED THREE JIU JITSU/GRAPPLING WORLD CHAMPIONS AND NUMEROUS HIGH LEVEL BLACKBELTS WHILST FIGHTING PROFESSIONALLY AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS. In all honesty I tell you - WHAT LIES INSIDE THE DOOR OF WHATEVER GYM YOU TRAIN IN IS NOT NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS THE ATTITUDE INSIDE YOU THAT YOU BRING TO THAT DOOR AND ENTER WITH. Every Monday night I love to go up to the Bronx to see my dear friend, Doug Pelinkovic and help teach at his local school. The Bronx has a very different vibe from Manhattan where I work and live. In that small gym there is passion and dreams. Sometimes my students from Manhattan come up to get a third workout in for the day - here kohai standouts Ethan Crelinsten and Oliver Taza share the mats with Stanley Rosa and the Bronx crew to work on the skills that can elevate them closer to their goals.