Nightmare on Adams Ave

Swept, but not tapped.

Rob Lovi is my Jiu-Jitsu instructor and more importantly, a good friend. The guy is so talented and yet so low key about it that I always felt it was a privilege being able to train under him.

When we first met he would talk about his dream of one day opening his own academy. On a shoestring budget and with some help from friends, he made it happen. Having a small BJJ academy is not going to make anyone rich -- it's a labor of love.

Thursday night, April 2, I got a call from Rob at around 10pm. The police just contacted him. Apparently there was some type of traffic accident that involved his academy on Adams Ave. He hadn't yet left his house so neither of us knew what to make of this news. I grabbed my camera, car keys and sweatshirt and immediately hit the road not knowing what to expect.

When I pulled up to the academy, there were two police cruisers outside, with officers on the sidewalk holding clipboards conferring with one another. The entire storefront was gone, with a gaping hole in the building. The interior looked ike a bomb had gone off. The officers told me that a woman had allegedly turned the corner of 35th heading East, turned left just after the corner, revved her engine and slammed through the wall of the storefront.

The world's worst driver

Fortunately, a local resident witnessed the accident and followed the woman after she fled the scene. He got her tags and a description of the vehicle she was driving. She was a suspected drunk driver -- the less likely theory is that maybe she was executing the world's worst 3-point turn. And no, she was not driving a Prius. Had she not fled the scene, the situation would somehow seem more manageable. There would be answers, apologies and reciprocity. But this woman had no idea what kind of real debris she left behind. She had crushed the dreams and hard work of a hard working entrepreneur who was trying to build a business through challenging economic times.

One bite at a time

Meanwhile, Rob, Kelly and I silently waded through the rubble, dust and glass, not uttering a word. Anthony and Courtney showed up to help out and expressed their sympathy -- it was a very nice gesture that meant a lot to Rob. Life doesn't come with a blueprint, so when stuff like this happens you have to just improvise. Despite the amount of damage, we all thanked God that nobody was there at the time -- that's the part where the cup is half full.

We had to start turning chaos into order somewhere so I sped off to Walmart to buy some gardening gloves so we could manage the debris without cutting our hands. Back in the days when I studied computer programming, the professor asked us a riddle that I still find meaningful to this day. "How do you eat an elephant?" The correct answer was "one bite at a time." And so, bite by bite, we cleared debris, swept dirt and glass and managed to sort of triage the situation until there seemed to be a semblance of order. We called in a guy who does 24-hour storefront repair to throw up some plywood for the storefront. He worked throughout the night.

Sometimes, craziness just happens, and our challenge is how we deal with it. In Jiu-Jitsu terms, this incident is a sweep. We just got swept so now we need to recompose the Guard.

Our call to action

Taking the drunk driver to court will be a long and involved process that doesn't guaranty any sort of reparation--she is denying any involvement. We need new mats and replacement equipment to get the academy back up and running again. Any donation you can make will make a world of difference. I believe that karma will always reciprocate for your acts of kindness.

Jiu-Jitsu is not just something we do, but something we live. We are a worldwide community that takes care of each other. We want to thank each and every one of you for your support, whether moral or financial.

I write this on behalf of Rob, his students and his academy.
Alex Gray

For any local donations of $50 or more, Rob will offer a special group 2-day weekend workshop when the dojo is back in ship shape.

When you hit the donate button, you will see that the Paypal recipient is "TG Trading". Do not be alarmed. This is Rob's personal merchant Paypal account. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rob at or (619) 209-0586.

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Copyright © 2010 Robert Lovi Jiu-Jitsu. | Tel: 619-209-0586 |