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Revolution Tournament Video-My Match July 27, 2009

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And the tournament footage….ugly I know, but I promise to get better. For those who don’t know, I’m the guy who starts with his back to the camera, with the green indicator belt.

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First BJJ Tournament Experience…the aftermath July 27, 2009

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On a whim a little over a month ago, I decided I was going to enter a local BJJ tournament here in the Seattle area. I pre-registered, $40 bucks got me my spot, and a free competitor’s tshirt. This being after absolutely no training for the past 8 months, minus the 2 days I went for trial classes at Gracie Barra Seattle. I really am meaning to get back to there full time, I just have had a few setbacks. OK. So in realizing this would be the first time I ever started any type of match from the standing position, I realized my take downs were going to be horrible. So I ended up studying Cesar Gracie’s Instructional Videos for like a week straight. I’m glad I did, as my take down was the one thing I felt was positive. What follows is the note I blogged on my “home BJJ forum” afterward:

So I ended up being one and done….

First things first, my division got called to the mat at 1130 am, saying warm up, you’re next…..next turned into right after….3 more divisions…..first match of my division started at 4:01 pm.

My goal going in was to just survive. I knew I would probably be out pointed, but I was going to call it a win if I could go the distance and not get submitted. I drew the oldest guy in the division, I think he’s on the same super hormone drugs that Ed and Otto (two of the older guys on our forums)are on, because he was as strong as an ox.

I was most worried about my stand up game, as I have…none. But it turns out it was the highlight of my tournament. I remember thinking he isn’t taking me down, I just could feel that he didn’t have the skill to take me down…he tried a few trips, and I successfully evaded them, I told myself, the next time he goes for it, you wrap your leg, around his, and trip him instead….and low and behold, I took side control, and was up 3-0. This was really the beginning of the end for me. I was in solid position, I cannot for the life of me figure out why I decided to go to north/south, but as soon as I gave up that pressure on his hips, he was over, and reversed me, passed my feeble attempt at guard and eventually took the mount. I struggled here, as I knew and saw what I could do, but for some reason, I couldn’t make my body respond. I ended up turning away from him, he took the gift willingly and finished me with an arm bar, with what I think was about 30 seconds to go.

It was hella fun, I can’t wait for Revolution in November. Just like I thought, it sparked my drive again, and I am trying to clear my schedule so I can get back to training full time by the end of the month.

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel April 19, 2009

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I haven’t posted since I told you all I would have to stop training for a while do to financial concerns. 3 months later, it’s finally looking better. To celebrate, I decided to give my running program a second shot. I’m going into my second week now. Last time I tried to do it, I made it through a week and a half, and then made excuses, too busy, too rainy out, too whatever…not anymore. I stepped on the scale last week before my first run and realized to my horror, that i had gained back all the weight I had lost since I started training jiu jitsu. I am now back up to a staggering 289 pounds. I immediated vowed to stop that trend. I haven’t had much soda pop at all, I’m really making sure to eat 4-5 small meals daily, and running 3 days a week with a day of a 30 minute walk in between each day, just to keep me motivated. I also started shadow skipping some rope. I don’t have a jump rope, and never have been very coordinated to skip rope well, so I was in the parking lot, in a nice quiet spot hopping up and down, making the rope skipping motions with my hands. Just like the Muay Thai fighters back at ASMA did. 3 minute rounds, followed by a set of 10 pushups, squats, and crunches. I’m sure I look like an idiot to all the young kids running around playing. I don’t really care. It feels good to be active again. Now to get the loot together to pay for fees going into first month of training back on the mats. I’m guessing around 200-250 or so, I never actually got that far talking with Professor Lopes. That shouldn’t take too long as long as I stay on my new found cheapskate attitude I have acquired.

Saturday afternoon, I went out to lunch with 2 friends from work. They chose the Teriyaki place across the parking lot from Gracie Barra in Bellevue. I was longing to go in and hit the mats. Turns out, that same day they were hosting an in house tournament. I took it as a sign that soon, very soon I can throw on my burlap pjs and roll around again.

Til then, Its running shadow skipping, getting my diet under control, and stretching…alot. Which I need to do right now before my muscles tighten up from the run. Until next time friends, may your triangles be tight, and your scissor sweeps be sharp…

Couch to 5k Week 1 Day 3 February 20, 2009

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So I had the day off from work today, my younger sister wanted to hit the mall to do some clothes shopping. I tagged along to check out some running shoes. I went into three stores. The Finish Line, Champs, and Footlocker. Footlocker was the only place that had someone come up to me and ask me if I wanted some help after staring at running shoes for 10 minutes, so I was happy there. The clerk pointed out some decent shoes, most of which topped over $120. A little out of my price range. Maybe if I can do this a couple weeks without any set backs I will allow myself to go after some shoes.

I just got back from run 3 for the week. I had picked up a new pair of shoes for around 30 bucks that felt the same to me as the running shoes I found, and wore them around all day. Tonight I went for my run, I felt really good. It could have been the shoes, it could have been the crisp air, it could have been the 3rd day and getting into a groove. But honestly, it’s probably the music selection. I was in a particularly patriotic mood today, I had been watching a documentary on the Military Channel about a Marine Company in Iraq. I found a gem of a CD on iTunes before I went out running today. It was a compilation of a bunch of running cadences for the Marines, Army, Rangers, SEALS, Air Force, and Navy. I had forgotten how easy it is to run when you do cadences. There’s something soothing when running while listening to a bunch of others stomp out the pavement along side you. Towards the end of my run today, I found myself singing along with the cadence, made the last 10 minutes bearable, if not enjoyable. I think I might be understanding this runner’s high thing I have heard about.

Couch Potato to 5k runner: Week One February 18, 2009

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WEEK ONE: (3 Days a Week) Weight: 287 pounds
-5 Minute Brisk Walk for a Warm Up
-20 Minutes Run/Walk.
*Alternate between 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.

I’ve been through Monday and Wednesday runs, my thoughts so far. It’s not as bad as I remember. I think maybe my learning to breath during sparring sections has taught me to breath better running as well. I have found though that the outside of my calves burn after the first 10 minutes. I’m wondering if it is because I have 287 pounds pounding on my legs? Or if my form sucks. Runners? Have any insight here?

I’ve also decided Tuesdays and Thursdays will be 30 minutes of Rhythm Boxing on the Wii Fit. Don’t laugh boys and girls. This makes you sweat like crazy.

Life has a seriously tough guard to pass. February 15, 2009

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So in my last post I was excited to report that I had found a new training home. I am now going on 3 weeks since my last training day at Gracie Barra Bellevue, and am sad to report I must again put my technique training on hold for the time being. Long story short, I have some financial obligations to take care of because of a lack of responsibility of my part that will keep me pretty much broke until sometime in the middle of April.  So I have decided to use these next 10 weeks to train out of the gym. I’m taking on a couch potato to 5K challenge. The idea is that over the next 10 weeks, follow the training schedule given at:http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
to be able to run my 285 pound frame into shape to where by the 9th week, I can run uninterrupted for 30 minutes. It’s going to be tough, but I think I can do it. It’s a great exercise in discipline for me. It also gives me a chance to work up a bit of cardio gas tank to build some grappling cardio off of when I finally DO get back on the mats. I’m very disappointed in myself for being so foolish, but live and learn. I’ll be back, I promise….I want my black belt….even if it takes me to live as long as Helio Gracie did to get there…I’ll be using my training blog as an accountability tool, so if you don’t see an update.. Spam my email, facebook, myspace, phone, or whatever contact tool you have, even on here. To get my happy butt off the computer chair, and out on the pavement. Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.

Finding a New Jits Home February 3, 2009

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Yesterday, after taking just over 3 months off, I hit the mats again. My first training session since I had moved out to Seattle was both a success and part failure. I had been checking out schools for a while, and finally think I found the perfect one.  Gracie Barra Seattle has opened up an “Eastern Campus” in Bellevue, where I live.  Yesterday was the first day of classes in the new school. I had the day off from work, so I packed up my gym bag and headed off. GB Seattle is headed up by Professor Rodrigo Lopes, a 1st degree black belt. I was extremely excited to go to class, to train under a black belt. I have the utmost respect for Eric and what he has taught me, but the value of training under someone of Rodrigo’s calibur is just, well you can’t put a price on something like that.

So I went to the school to check it out in the afternoon, and met Cindy Hale, who also has her blackbelt, under Rodrigo. Cindy teaches women’s self defence, and the kids program at the school. Very nice, very personable. She gave me a bit of background on the school, and said there was a beginner’s class at 6:00 and I should come. I said I would be there, and left to pack up my gi and do some serious stretching. I figured the beginner’s class would be a great introduction back into training, no pressure, just doing some basics. When I arrived, I immediately met Rodrigo, who came right up and welcomed me to the school. I changed into my gi and hit the mats to stretch and warm up. The first thing I noticed, this was NO beginner’s class. On the mat by the time I got there, were 4 blue belts, with stripes and a couple purples. By the time class started, we ended up with 5-6 white belts, 5-6 blues, a few purples and 2 brown belts.

Back at the old gym, we would warm up with a few shrimp escapes down the mat to warm up, then stretch. Here? We started with calistenics… jumping jacks, pushups, crunches, squats, and some hip movement warm ups… then we shrimped down the mat twice….I was dying. 3 months of no exercise combined with the adreneline i had built up knowing I was training again had sapped all my energy, I felt like a first day white belt again. Rodrigo showed us a couple of different ways to pass half guard,  I drilled with a couple of blue belts, but 45 minutes into training for the day, I started feeling pretty light headed, and was pretty much done. I finished class watching from the sidelines, feeling very embarrassed, and my ego was definately bruised.  I slugged some water and started feeling better by the time I left, but I learned I have a long way to go to get into the type of shape I was in before, and even longer to get into the shape that these guys were at. Half of them  compete in jiu jitsu tournaments, MMA, etc…I would have been dead if I had sparred with them.

I’ll definately be back. I really like it there, and I think it will be a great place for me to continue my education of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Stay tuned friends, I’m back in the saddle.

Remembering Helio Gracie January 29, 2009

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Founder, Helio Gracie

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Founder, Helio Gracie

Helio Gracie, the pioneer, the innovator, the legend, has passed away today at 95 years old. The father of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, father to my jiu jitsu heroes, Rickson, Royce, and Royler Gracie passed in his sleep today at his home in Brazil. This is a monumental moment in martial arts. In my opinion it’s right up there with the passing of Bruce Lee. His dedication to the art, to teach it to his children, who in turn have main streamed one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as basically gave Mixed Martial Arts their starting point has touched millions. He will be missed. He will be remembered.

Hitting the open road…errr skies October 23, 2008

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It’s been a long while since I last wrote. Alot has changed for me training wise. Sadly, my time at the American School of Martial Arts has come to an end. I am taking a job in Seattle working for Nintendo, and I am moving this weekend. So Monday, I drove into class for the final time. Eric, Bryce, Derrick, and Andy were there to wish me well. Then we worked on gi chokes during  classtime. Finally, at the end I got one good roll in with Bryce, and a few good rolls with Andy. I’m excited to find a new place to train out west. There are plenty of good schools. The search is on. On the planeride, I plan to study my books, and write some notes.  I read on a well known forum that a few of the blackbelts there have kept a journal of sorts, filling it with techniques, insights, revelations, etc. I may try to do the same thing. Keep my jits fresh in my head until I can find a new place to train. Til we meet again my friends

Roll Hard, Roll Smart, and Roll Safe

Armbar Week September 13, 2008

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This week, we practiced Armbars from mount/guard, escapes from armbars, and counters to the escapes. All week long I focused on keeping my knees tight around the shoulder, creating a heavy leg over the face, and concentrated on controlling the wrist. Thumb up, so the armbar is effective. I also started having some success with chaining attacks in my rolling. Working sweeps, armbars, kimuras, and other attacks have left my sparring partners open for more gi chokes than I remember achieving in the past.

Yesterday was sparring day, my shoulder and neck are fairly sore. We have a new guy, Joe, in at school. He, despite telling us he has no wrestling experience, is very very strong, and very good at staying tight and compact. He doesn’t give up much. And when he does, if you explain to him what he did wrong. He typically doesn’t do it again. He seems to be a natural. Good thing he plans to train during the mornings. It will be nice to have a guy with his ability in morning classes.