I have been going to this gym for more than ten years. I haven’t skipped any classes, I’m constantly watching videos online and I’ve done everything the coaches told me…and after so long, I finally got my brown belt.
The satisfaction I felt that day is something that I still remember. I really felt accomplished because I had been waiting for so many years to reach this level, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed the months following that promotion.
Sure, it’s not a black belt, but we don’t have any black belts in this gym and I’m regarded as one of the fittest and strongest people in here; I have competed in several competitions securing many second and first places, and in the past I have beaten many people with higher belts than mine, including black belts.
I’m not complaining at all about the grade I’ve reached, and in recent months I’ve even started ignoring it to be honest. But everything changed when that guy showed up … Manuel.
The first few times we saw him he seemed like a normal teen; he was given a white belt, the basics of this sport were explained to him, he started to train alongside the others white belts … but already after a few days I started hearing the first stories about him.
“That guy is really strong.”
“Look at the technique he has … so beautiful”.
“He says he’s already done combat sports in the past, maybe that’s why he’s so good”.
One day, driven by curiosity, I decided to closely follow some of his fights and I too was impressed by his movements: they were precise and impeccable, and seemed accompanied by surprising strength; all the guys who trained with Manuel were literally overwhelmed, there was no room for any kind of competition between him and the other white belts, he was exaggeratedly superior both in strength and technique and he didn’t hold back from showing it.
His was pure and simple domination … and I loved to watch that kind of show.
The day I was really amazed was when Manuel was paired with a purple belt for practice; that man was not only several degrees higher than his, but he was also bigger and heavier … yet the boy destroyed him with apparent ease, handling him as if he were little more than a puppet, humiliating him in a ruthless manner.
Manuel is little more than a kid, I think he’s not even twenty years old, maybe he’s still a minor; the purple belt he demolished is almost thirty years old instead … so that was a chilling… and exciting show.
Manuel reminded me why I got into jiujitsu, which is the sweet sensation of absolutely and totally controlling another person’s body with your own… and he knew how to do it damn well.
I had never seen in all my years of training someone so talented at that young age…maybe Manuel has been playing the sport since he was little and is pretending to be a novice just to have some fun with us. He seems like the guy who likes to make fun of people after all, he often walks around the gym with a cocky grin and the chest puffed out with confidence, however I doubt he practiced jiujitsu on an official level in the past as the guy explained to us that before coming here he had practiced Muay Thai and even obtained a black belt in karate.
<<Now I want the jiujitsu black belt, then I’ll go get the judo one. And then I will throw myself into MMA.>> he also said.
But we laughed and explained to him that it takes a lot of years to get a black belt. The boy asked if it was possible to speed up the process given his skills, but the answer was no. The maximum he could achieve “in a short time” was the blue belt, and even then we told him that he would have to wait months if not a year.
The boy didn’t take it very well and stopped showing up.
That event devastated me. Manuel had awakened in me my old and dormant passion for domination. By then the normal jiujitsu, made up of long competitions almost on par, it’s not something I like anymore. I wanted his kind of jiujitsu, characterized by brutality, ruthlessness, and undisputed superiority.
I missed Manuel so much that in the end I looked him up myself, and by rummaging through the gym data I retrieved his phone number and sent him a message explaining that I would really like to have him back in there.
He didn’t answer me.
I persisted, making impossible promises (like getting the black belt in no time) and getting more and more desperate and pathetic, until one day I got the answer.
“I’ll be back, but I don’t want to pay. I will participate for free.”
I obviously told him yes, that someone as strong as he deserved free gym membership… but there was a problem. I wasn’t the one making the rules.
“They told me I can’t have free training. So I’m not coming.”
When I received that message I immediately replied that I would take care of his membership by paying in his place … and honestly I expected a “thank you” from him, but instead he wrote: “Buy me the gi too. I sold mine.”
“Oh…okay. No problem.”
“Do you have a car?”
“Yup. Why?”
“Because the gym is far away. You will drive me there.”
That last request seemed a bit much to me, especially since it was made in a peremptory and authoritarian tone … but I accepted anyway.
And so he came back to train with us… fiercer than before.

Manuel was back, so the fun was back as well.
I became his “mentor”, even though I didn’t really have anything to teach him… that role allowed me to choose who to have him fight against during training though, and of course I used this power to ensure I had as much fun as possible.
I sent Manuel against those I disliked the most, against those who were overconfident, and against the novices who would have been literally annihilated by Manuel’s superiority … I made them fight for the entire duration of the training if necessary, and I enjoyed every single moment of it.
With those of low rank (blue and white belts) he trained very calmly, dominated them firmly but without haste; he rolled with them on the carpet for many minutes without ever giving them the opportunity to answer but without even bringing them into submission … it was like seeing a cat playing with balls of wool.
With those of higher belts was brutal though, so much that he was even asked to put less force during the fights because in the end it was not a real competition.
After the training Manuel waited for me outside the gym, and I had the task of accompanying him back to the square from which he would then go home. Usually those trips are silent because he spends them with headphones on and the phone in hand, but one day, just before getting out of the car and walking away without even saying goodbye as he usually does, he decided to make conversation.
<<When do you want to try?>> he asked me.
<<Try… what?>>
<<To be my toy.>>
I gave him a confused look <<Eh?>>
<<You and I have never fought.>> he clarified <<When do you want to experience the feeling of being crushed by me?>>
At those words I limited myself to a nervous smile; I didn’t know how to respond because I genuinely had no idea what to say, and so I said nothing.
After a moment of silence he sighed and changed the subject.
<<I’m eating out tonight.>> he told me.
<<G-good for you.>> was my reply.
<<I’ll send you the bill by phone.>>
<<Uh… what?>>
<<I’ll send you the bill by phone, together with my account number, so you will be able to send the money without problem.>> and having said that he went out, leaving me there in the car with a rather surprised expression.
That evening Manuel had respected his word: I received a photo with the bill for his dinner, followed by various online payment methods and a message.
“Round up, so you also pay for the return journey.”
Perhaps the strangest thing about this whole situation is that I seriously decided to pay for his dinner.

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