I just came accross this story. I haven't seen it posted before, so I thought I'd share. Good Stuff.
During the summer of 2003, I had some time off from my full-time job in Boston and went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to enjoy the sun and world-class BJJ training at Gracie Barra. I visited one of my favorite places, Pedra da Gavea. It is a giant rock, almost like a mountain that people climb up to get a workout and enjoy the beautiful views of greenery and waterfalls. Here I could forget about my bills, job and worries back in Boston. Although my back was sore from the hard training, I knew this mountain was where I had to be, as I always felt a powerful energy from this mountain, and greatly respected it.
While descending down the mountain, passing under the waterfall, my group decided to go off the path and explore. There were branches everywhere, ledges, and wet moss all over the rocks. I was very careful where to walk after I saw my buddy slip and land on his rear. As we continued down the rock, I suddenly lost my footing and slipped. I began to slide down the rock feet first. My friend saw that I was getting close to the ledge and moved to grab me before I fell off. He tried to grab my shirt and hold on, but almost fell off himself. Although he let go, he had flipped me around, so now I was heading head first and backwards off the ledge.
I remember falling off the cliff for what felt like an eternity. I also remember coming to the realization that this was how I was going to die. I felt completely sad as I thought about how there were so many things I had wanted to do with my life. I would leave this world without saying goodbye to family and friends, without having any kids to carry my name, without leaving a mark or impression on the world and without getting a chance to live a life I could be truly proud of. Granted I had graduated college and was working a decent job, but I was doing it to earn money and pay my bills. I had always wanted to do something I really loved. I loved teaching martial arts and loved competing in BJJ tournaments, submission wrestling and MMA, but never had the courage to truly dedicate 100% of my time to that endeavor.
I finally landed with my back on a rounded rock. I heard my friends start to freak out. One yelled, "Oh my God, I think he is dead". Another started crying and the others who were laughing at first were now silent. I landed about 15 feet from the ledge. The rounded rock protected me from not hitting my head and I was good about tucking my chin to my chest and slapping out, much like a breakfall one would do in BJJ or judo. I was convinced I was a dead man in the air. I got my wind back and realized I was alive. There were two options for me after that: laughing or crying. I started to laugh hysterically as my friends climbed down to see if I was OK. I told them I was fine and actually felt better now that my back was cracked back into place! As I got up, I looked around and looked down the mountain. If I had not landed on that rock, I would have fallen off of another ledge and fallen hundreds of feet to my certain death. I was lucky and very grateful for that rock.
This experience changed everything about me. After the fall, I was convinced that I was here in the world for a reason and that it truly was God's way of giving me a second chance to make my mark. I needed to do something I loved doing and needed to live my life to the fullest and pursue those things I was most passionate about. It made me appreciate life so much more and pushed me over the edge to make a decision about my life. I did it with a sense of urgency. Many things in my life changed after this experience.
Coming from a hard working and conservative family, it was expected that I get a job like everyone else and go out to the city to make money. I decided I wanted to make my own path in life. I wanted to leave a trail behind me and instead of following in somebody else's. I made the decision to teach martial arts and compete full-time in BJJ and submission tournaments with an eventual goal of tackling MMA competition. It did not matter to me anymore that I would be losing my annual income or that I may not be able to make any money in the future. It was all about trying to turn a dream into a reality.
I made a promise to myself that if I ever came to the realization that I was dying, I wanted to be proud of myself and go with a smile and a full heart, knowing that I did my best to chase my dreams. You see, my life could have ended that day or it may end tomorrow, so I owe it to myself to give it my all today towards living and loving life and doing what I love. It was a great risk leaving everything I was most comfortable with and going against my family's wishes, but I am so happy I made that decision.
If there is ever anything in your life you fear, don't let it stop you from chasing your dreams or getting what you want. A wise man wrote, "The risks of taking action can be less than the risks of inaction." I don't know what the future holds for me. I don't know if this journey will make me the most successful fighter in the world or if I will be the world's best martial arts instructor. I do guarantee that I will enjoy the trip while it lasts and will try my best to live my life as a decent human being, doing my absolute best to chase a dream. Source