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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rolling Downhill...

Weight: 200.2

In Jiu-Jitsu, life lessons can be learned, if you just pay attention and apply them.
Talking to my coach about what the things are the I need to work on that differentiate where I am from where I am currently to where I wish to be.(Faixa Preta)...He said that tiny tiny mistakes, are all that are there to fix and I am there...The problem with tiny mistakes is that they are so tiny and imperceptible even when looking for them, that they are the hardest to eliminate. The problem is though, that at this level you realize, that tiny tiny errors, turn into really huge horrendous errors. Same goes for life.
Rolling with Marcus in training a little while back, the tiniest of errors in my style/set-ups/movement, turned into the worst errors...Like a big snowball, once I made a small mistake or did not work a set-up properly, that was it. Rolling with him made me feel like a white belt at times as I got a lot of my game from him and he would shut things down before I even thought of moving to do them at times...That said, I learned a LOT from that session...I did have bright spots that I am happy about, as I worked a couple of things as far as reversals/defenses that I can feel confident in now, but really the smashing I took in that session of just over an hour has given me enough information that I could probably carry on for a year and not cover...
That said, once back in class setting, I could see how I was more conscious (on an unconscious level) of making sure I wasn't starting the avalanche of error by performing techniques and positioning correct from the jump. I have a lot to work on, but I am going through these areas and cleaning up shop...In the coming months (IF I get to compete as it looks as if I am missing Pan Ams, Brasileiros, etc because I honestly can not afford it and have no monetary sponsorship) , I must be much more wary of these things as they can be capitalized on by opponents at the level I wish to attain. Like when I don't position myself correctly once I've passed, I can not attack but must work to prevent being swept and then work from a dangerous position..Or when I do not execute correct positioning or handling of a submission or sweep, I end up expsing a foot or leg to a submission attempt that is difficult to stop...Or when not controlling the hands to my feet I allow my legs to be controlled for the pass and can end up really in a world of hurt...These things need to be eliminated by being early in proper technique as well as having a mindset, that I CAN achieve the proper position/movement/submission/etc...that energy, that attitude is important as well...
This theory of snowballing works in every day life. Today started off very bad, as far as transferred energy, and slowly is working it's way downhill. Honestly, this was allowed to start, because instead of working to make certain of fixing an issue from all angles, I merely believed it would be handled, and allowed it to come back to be bigger than it should have been. That works it's way downhill, bigger and harder to stop than if I had not allowed the imperfection in the first place...
Anyways, that all stops. Everyone gives these diatribes about how the new year will be great etc etc, and I am no different. I won't do that anymore, but I will just bury myself in the art, both literally, and figuratively and eliminate tiny imperfections...In that way, I fight on...

Thought For The Day: “Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother." - Khalil Gibran

Monday, December 15, 2008

Success Equation

Weight: 202.0

Have a lot going on...Trying to heal right and that seems to be coming along well...But life's lil screenplay keeps throwing plot twists day by day...That said, this picked me up, as I was feeling a bit down at not having mastered a few techniques/principles I'd scheduled myself to have done by now, and the looming probability that some of if not most of the tournaments I plan to make to proceed down my path I don't think I will be able to dispute. Anyways, I hope this give you, in your travels through the gentle art, whatever your chosen path may be, or just life in general, the same glimmer of hope it gave me...

God Bless you and thank you for the time you give out of your day to follow what I write.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How You Gon' Walk With No Feet? ... Old And Breaking Up.

Got To Get Back At It Soon

To Win Here Next Year... A Quest
They Can Rebuild Him... Have To Do This Again Soon :(

The Scene Of The Crime

Weight: 200.2

As in the last post and the one before it, I'd come to the decisions about where I wanted to go, and knew the things I needed to do in Jiu-Jitsu as far as training, and was to set about doing so. I read an interview with Romulo Barral, after he'd done so well at the 2007 Mundials, where he was asked what the difference was that allowed him to make such an improvement....He said, when he started thinking, acting and training as a champion, as a professional, he started getting the results he wanted. He was always pretty good, but to get where he wanted, he had to train as those who won at the highest levels did. I realized, I was not doing this. I was not methodical enough, not persistent enough, and I did not have enough focus.
Well, I made my plan, laid out the parts of my game which needed to be worked (Top side submissions and control, decisive actions, half guard sweeps, take downs, de la riva counters, and guard passing in no particular order). I decided among other things, to work very hard in rolling as I had not worked as hard as I should have before...Also, I made a decision to increase my drilling before classes...This past Monday I go to work at training, and work drilling my passes before class...I worked my variations on the knee through pass to either side, and I need to work a lot harder on my control and positioning once the knee goes through...It's coming but I am not driving my weight through my opponent...Also need to make certain of my hand placement to prevent the opponent from getting to their side once the pass is almost finished....Anyways we move on to training and coach showed some attacks from side control as well as the flower sweep from guard...That was one of my favorite so when people asked me questions and I had to answer that was ok, but when working the side control techniques it was a bit hard to take as I need the work...Well, we then had a talk about the team's performance at this past NAGA...I wasn't able to compete:(...Anyways...We took 1st in No-Gi and were very close second in GI, had I been able to compete I think I could have helped us to win...But afterward we had a student get blue belted, which is always a great time for the gym (Note: this past Wed. we had a student purple belted), as coach doesn't promote very often...Anyways...time to roll...
Well there weren't too many people who wanted to roll so I sat and did positional and movement drills the first round...about halfway through I get asked to roll and got a chance to work on a different kneebar set up and worked my positioning in side control (I got a compliment as he exclaimed that my base was really heavy and solid) and though I moved my positioning , I kept very good control even when transitioning and isolating limbs...I could stand to improve still on my decisiveness though...I pulled off my submissions(about 4 or 5 I think in a few minutes) but I want to make them a bit more crisp...Well after that I grabbed anyone I could get to and rolled ...I even got to roll with coach which was a good workout, as I worked a lot of different setups I wished to try, and had a few moments of success moving to highguard and attempting some choke set ups and sweep entries....Had a few people I rolled with afterward and started to get tired a bit...I made a pact with myself that I will roll 10 to 30 more minutes after I am really tired no matter what happens...To increase my stamina, as well as to increase my efficiency under duress...So I grabbed one of our very good guys...a VERY strong guy who is great at wrestling, he hasn't been training that long but picks up everything very quickly and already has a Pan Am gold at Blue and more than a few advanced absolute victories at tournaments under his belt...Well we roll and I kept myself from working closed guard as well as working any triangle or related armbar setups...It was REALLY hard not to do as I could see them from every angle but I made myself work to prevent his head control and to work from open guard preventing his passing as he has a really good top side pressure game, and that would allow me to gain confidence in my open guard...I have a pretty good open guard, but, for some reason I abandon it, or do not use it effectively at tournaments...I need to put it into play as I can use it very effectively...Anyway, The work is going well, as even though I am tired, and not using my A game, I am not passed, and even when I allow him half way past to recover I can easily...Well, the thing with not playing my game fully with someone so good and aggressive, is that the mistakes I make wiht techniques I am developing can be capitalized on...I was working for a new kneebar set up which I can transition into a sweep and or taking the back as well as to an armbar (though I didn't allow myself this one) ...The problem is, I was telegraphing it, and did not keep my left foot inside as it should have been...he pounces on it and turns away from me...I, thinking that he is trying a kneebar of his own(I feel his hand on the side of my foot, and heel), do the kneebar defense where I figure four my legs and bring my heel to my butt....Wrong move as I do not realize since I cannot see his hands, he is after a toe hold but really has either side of my foot and is wrenching it to try to finish...i think I am fine s when he rolls and puts his force into it, I still feel I am OK until I hear a couple really distinct pops over the din in the room...I then feel an intense pain in my knee, and ankle...Why me?
Well, he stopped as soon as he heard it, and everyone crowds around, and it starts hurting even worse...Once, I finally get calmed down and sat for a minute, I realize i have to get to the hospital to have it checked...I decide to go to the Towne Center Emergency room community place near my house instead of risking sitting in an emergency room of a hospital all night...Coach says he will take my daughter and meet me as I can drive with my right foot so they help me to my truck I get in and drive as that place closes at 10 and it is 945...I do feel heartened that my cardio felt like I could continue rolling for another hour if need be, but I digress...I get to the place at 957 and think immediately, this is a bad frickin idea!....I have no help to the door! lol...So I hop in...Worried that I might accidentally hit the foot as it even hurt when I drove over bumps in the road...I make it in hopping, and see a lady looking through the frosted glass door to the back and wait like 2 minutes standing at the reception desk on one foot...This chick comes to the window and says "can i help you?"...I say well I've been hurt training and I need to see the doctor...She asks me for my insurance card...I don't realize that since I had not changed out of my GI pants I didn't have it with me...So she gives me this look like...go get it....NOW I'm pissed even more than when the chick was staring in the back like I couldn't see her silhouette...But I am in pain and need attention so I hop BACK to my truck, and hop back in with the card...I wait again for her to come to the window...Mind you, there are NO cars outside so they ain't seeing anyone...She comes, I give the card to her, she says: "oh we don't take that insurance, best I can tell you is go to the hospital down the road" Now...this BITCH...and yes I typed it...if I had two good legs would have had me jump across the desk and choke the dog piss outta her but as I am hurting, I just say fuck it and hop out...(Note: This place takes cash, so the insurance was a non-issue...I have no idea why the chick did it, maybe she wanted to go home since it was close to 10...whatever the reason, she didn't even try to offer any aid...If she is a nurse, that;s her ass as I WILL report her.)...I call coach and they r right close and tell them I am going to the hospital...I decide on the Baylor hospital instead of medical center of Las Colinas as that one is always full...I pull up to the emergency room, and EVERYTHING is dark..I see no one, even the security cart is just sitting there vacant...I say screw it and decide SOMEBODY gonna help my doggone foot and park right at the door, and hop out...well this lady comes out and helps me in...turns out the glass i so tinted it seems there is no one inside the emergency admitting room...Well, I get examined, and x-rayed (the woman grabs my damned foot and truns it every whicha way like it don't hurt...if it wasn't so painful and she had been in arms reach ...she'd have got it...) and it seems I have a strained MCL, and some ligament damage, one of which seems to be torn....I am supposed to get a boot and see a doctor..BUT, in a hospital...they have no they give me a generic ankle brace and some crutches and tell me come back ....I get the boot the next day, and dont get to see my regular doctor as when I take off at lunch to get checked out, i get there, and after about 30 min of waiting get told the doctor ain't there! WTF? Well I keep the boot on and work the crutches this week and got to finally see the doctor today(Saturday)...well it seems where the attachments are on either side of my ankle/foot I have some places where the bone is chipped from having been stressed in the injury..There are some floating chips but the little micro fractures are there...:( ...The ligament they thought was torn completely isn't ...Just a bit...and the knee seems to be better...The prognosis is 6weeks to total recovery and I have another week in this boot...The places where the bone/tendon separations are is VERY painful, but everything else is feeling ok...We will see how it reacts when I take the boot off in a week and start doing things again...I will have to try to train and not hurt it somehow...
Reason being is that a sponsor came through with a plane ticket for Portugal...So European Championships are a go...Hopefully Alliance can win this tournament and I can contribute to that...i just don't know how much training I can get in....And I STILL need some sponsors/donations for hotel/entry fees/etc if at all possible, but the main part is handled...That said, I'm bout broke as the ten commandments, and as I write this I am high as giraffe ass on Lortab...Even so, focused is what I am...I will persevere(I'm the bioniq man dammit...ain't i?)...I just started this road...I will prune my tree...I will endure...I have to...This is what God gave me to do...Even though it seems obstacles keep getting laid there to stop me, my personal life seems to conspire to keep me from being mentally in the game, and the wear and tear on my body start to get a hold of me and weigh on me...I fight on...

Thought For The Day: "Do not let the body be dragged along by mind nor the mind be dragged along by the body." - Miyamoto Musashi

By the way, you may have noticed the little video screen at the top of this page...In addition to adding videos from my tournament and training, as I usually do, NOW, (once I get a replacement phone which works correctly from Sprint in a few days) I will be able to add LIVE broadcast from anywhere I am...That's right, LIVE streaming video from my camera phone no matter WHERE I AM!!! I will announce times and places and if u are watching the page at those times you will see and hear me live...Don't worry though, if you miss it, those video streams will be archived so you can pull them up later...Just hoping that can give a little more to the blog by showing competition, training, doctor visits, before and after trip activities, etc etc...So stay tuned...Peace...

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Quest For "Beauty"...Refocus

Weight: 199.0

So what is beautiful BJJ?
(Guidelines Based on Thomas Aquinas' definition of Beauty...Taken From Crosschoke's Blog)
  • Proportion: the parts of the system are no bigger then necessary and nothing is missing
  • Clarity: no unnecessary complexity
  • Integrity: the solution is well-suited to the problem

To me, this means, that the game must be complete. Instinctive reactions to any, even unknown, situation must come naturally. The aim of finishing an opponent efficiently, quickly, and completely should be achieved. No extra flair nor luster is needed when things are done correctly. To eliminate all space, to apply so much pressure, that in the end, when you are executing the submission perfectly, your opponent gives it to you because they are so uncomfortable mentally and physically, is what I see as beauty in jiu-jitsu.
Based on this, I have much to strive for. In my goals listed in the previous post on my blog, I listed the places I wish to go to pursue my elevation in the art and things I would like to do to progress. That said, it almost immediately became apparent, upon scrutiny of my current life situation, funding (lack of it), and issues with planning related to funding; that right off the bat, I will miss most of, if not all of the major tournaments in the first part of the year (including ADCC trials, European Championships, and Pan American Games) at least, and all of them through the end of the summer of 2009 at worst. Rather than agonize over how to find sponsors, worrying about how to exchange priorities in food and shelter for opportunities to compete, I had to ease my mind and let go. Refocus. The gentle art has always done this for me in one way or another, and once again, it came through. One of my goals is to have black belt level jiu-jitsu in this year. Not to receive the belt, though that is a main aim of mine at whatever time it happens. But the goal I wish, is to have jiu-jitsu that is "beautiful". To the learned eye, I wish my game to be complete, whole, efficient, and instinctive. I've often thought of, and mentioned to a few, that after a conversation with Xande Ribeiro about what jiu-jitsu was, and what was the aim, that I wanted to have "beautiful" jiu-jitsu. Not many , if any of that few truely understood what I said, because I could not verbalize it. Reading the post on Crosschoke's blog gacve me that epiphany though. I am greatful for it. Even when my soul is in turmoil...Even when my body is broken...Even when I feel lost and alone...On the mat, in the moment, I am at peace...Tonight, I start working on polishing the ugliness that is my game properly. I rededicate myself to this aim. The tournaments will come and go, no matter how major I find them to be at the moment, and when they are gone, the jiu-jitsu is there. I will keep those goals up and those I do not get to dispute, will serve as a monument to that which cannot be controlled, and deflected, then turned to aid me in progression nonetheless. Had my preparations in life been better, they would not be in question. My aim now, is to build my game, to a point that I have nothing that I "should have fixed". Everything else outside care for my daughter, work, and jiu-jitsu has to support one of those aims or it is gone. that will be my biggest goal of the year. If I can do that much, then I will achieve much more than I ever thought possible, even if there is no one there to see it.
Top-side resumes work tonight. Passing takes precedence, but the top side transitions and control will have attention. Sweeps come after that. Hopefully tonight, no matter whom I roll with, I will gain the pass, not only effectively, but efficiently, purposefully, and most of all beautifully. To let go of all I must let go of, internally, and externally to make my concentration complete will be extremely hard. But for my betterment as a jiu-jitsu artist, in the years I have to be able to still fully physically bring to bear my knowledge, it must be done. It may not be for me, to dispute those championships, and thus, the position I am in, but I am sure this art is for, in my quest to make my jiu-jitsu "beautiful"...I fight on...

Thought For The Day: "Jiu-Jitsu constitutes the natural defense the weak person disposes of against the strong person. It is a sort of leveling process through which brute force, confronted and dominated by the wise application of rational mechanics, is led to admitting that the human being, usually taken as a body endowed with a soul, should actually be deemed a soul that happens to reside in a body" Grand Master Carlos Gracie (1902-1994)

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Kingdom For A Sponsor....Goals And Thangz


Gotta Go Again

THIS Is Where You Win
The Gym

This Is The Beginning

Weight: 203.2

Well...Here we are...The end of the year is coming...Almost feeling a tad bit rejuvenated as training seems to be really productive when I've been there...Had a minute there a month or two ago where I was really feeling like I was going to fall apart physically and mentally...Things are still hard, but at least forward movement is being felt...Have had some good developments in my top game which I have worked on very hard...Have a few passes that are natural and I am able to move between fluidly now, and my control is a lot better....I am working very hard to make my top submissions as natural as my bottom ones are...Also, in teaching my classes, my students are making some really good strides(even though they don't see it most times), as well as I. I feel like my understanding of the philosophy of techniques and the adjustment to fit different people and situations has moved up a notch...I hope to be able to gain a better insight into not only helping students to improve but to make it where they can actually see the improvement as that is one of the biggest sources of frustration in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Anyways....I came up with a new goals list...One of the huge parts of this is always the tournament scene...As it stood, when it was time to come up with the means to get to these competitions, it was out of pocket. This is said not to leave out the contributions from a few really great and wonderful friends and family as without them I would not have had even a chance to attempt any of the things I've done this year. I am really blessed to have them...This year, because of how things have been going lately, and how they seem to be going now, I do know that I really won't be able to make many if any of the tournaments on my list...And I also know being blessed with such generous friends is a great thing, but with things as they are in the world today, that won't be something to be relied upon as it was by the grace of God, and often at the last possible moment that they were there to help... Most of these trips are really big ones, and even though I do a great job at keeping costs down, they are always very expensive due to the distance, time, needing child (and now dog) care when I am gone, etc....SO, that in mind, if ANYONE who reads this, knows of any company, person, or entity, who would be benevolent enough to wish to support the travels and journeys his year on my path to a beginning(faixa preta), PLEASE let them know to contact me through here or I may come up with something a little more formal. I have the ability to have custom made patches made for whoever does so placed on my GI and apparel, and would be willing to do any appearances, private lessons, seminars, etc etc in return (open to other suggestions as well) for helping me to continue my dream...I could really use the help....That said, here is a list of my Goals/Etc for 2009...

  • --Help My Daughter Improve Her Game And Place 1st in a Tournament
  • --Open My own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu School
  • --Have Black Belt Level Jiu-Jitsu by end of the summer
  • --Coach one of my students to a 1st place medal in a Tournament
  • --Have a student worthy of being Blue Belted by end of the year
  • --Get Walking Around Weight To 210 With No More Than 5% Body Fat
  • --Train 6 Days Per Week
  • --Have No Major Injuries
  • --Win A Judo Tournament
  • --Increase My Wrestling Skill
  • --I would Like to Win my Weight Division And/Or Absolute At Each Of These Tournaments
Jan.10/11(West)&Jan.16/17(East) --ADCC North American No-Gi Trials - Long Beach, CA.
Jan.30-Feb.1 --European Championships - Lisbon, Portugal
Feb. 27 --ADCC PRO GI Trials - Melbourne, Florida
Mar.27-Mar.29 --Pan American Games - Carson, CA.
Apr.18 --New York Internatonal Open - New York City, NY
May9,10,16,&17 --Brazilian Nationals - Rio, Brazil
Jun.4-Jun.7 --Mundials (World) Championships - Long Beach, CA.
Jul.24-Jul.26 --International Masters & Seniors World Championships - Rio, Brazil
Jul.24-Jul.26 --Rio International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championships
Mid-Sept. --American National GI and No-Gi Championships - Carson, CA.
Oct.3&Oct.4 --Pan American No-Gi Championships - New York City, NY.
Late-Oct. --U.S. Open Championships - Santa Cruz, CA.
Nov.8 --World No-Gi Championships, Carson, CA.
Late-Nov. --Asian Championships - Tokyo, Japan
This doesn't take into account the NAGA tournaments here in Dallas, Battle of H-Town and major tournaments in Houston, Louisiana Open/etc in LA., and perhaps the Copa Alliance tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Also, at SOME point, I would like to go and train in Brazil for a few weeks.

As you can see, this is a pretty ambitious schedule to try to keep. I think that I can get my performance up to par, and definitely feel confident in my chances, IF, I can make it to these. This art has given me my life back. In many ways, I was really lost without it. Reaching my black belt(in skill level), to truly be able to start my journey, and be able to give to others even half of what I have been blessed with would really be something to be proud of. All that said, life and the reality of finance etc are already rearing their head. If I don't work something out in the next couple weeks at the most, then the January trips are going to be off. :( We will see how it goes...

Anyways, got a few good piece of things to say...

First, my boy Marcus "The Wrecking Ball" Hicks is going tobe fighting Razor Rob McCullough in January...Can't for Marcus to whup him so he can get another crack at the title! It's his, he just gotta Go Gettem!!!...

Coach Allen received the Instructor Of The Year Award from NAGA....This is a great accomplishment for the school and for Coach...shows that a lot of great work is being put in at the gym, and shows his work to be as good as we all know it is who train under him...

My boy Kelly Rundle got mentioned in a nice article in Gladiator Magazine (The one with Robbie Lawler on the cover) for his accomplishments at NAGA as did Coach Allen get a mention as well...

I was mentioned in Gracie Magazine (#141 - December 2008) ...On page 20, I have the WHOLE FREAKIN PAGE! Two pictures and an article!!! It comes from this year's U.S. Open....Funny thing is, I was just sitting and talking to people, and had no idea anyone I talked to was going to do something like that...Anyway, Coach Allen called me tonight and told me so I rushed over and got a copy from him...Thinking it was a joke...But no..there it was!...So if you read Gracie Magazine, please pick up a copy and check out ya boy!!!!!

Anyways, Back to training, as I have to prepare like I will be going to these tournaments in January...The ADCC Trials will be one of the biggest in terms of implications of winning I've been in, and I need a lot of work to close up some of my No-Gi sticking points such as tightening up some submissions and making my guard passing a lot more close, powerful and efficient...But we will see how things go...I feel like achieving these things, can allow me to take the next step in my progression in the gentle art, and give me a body of work and knowledge sufficient to validate where I am now, and show me I can get where I want to be...I really want to make this 2009 the year I prove that I am worthy of my rank...So...I Fight On.....

Thought For The Day: "Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely - lay your life before him."Bruce Lee

Monday, December 1, 2008

Are You Experienced...Is It Me?

SeeqPod - Playable Search

His Time Cometh

Go Gettem!

They Made Me Bring Him Out

Once More Into The Breach

Back In The Day

Weight: 200.2

Just popping in to add a tad bit of an update on some things that have been bugging me. Well one big thing is I need to up my workload in an intelligent manner if I am to get my passing game correct. To do this, I need more work against people my size and ability level. I have to go above and beyond what I have been doing and be a bit more aggressive and focused in training. Lately, I've been scattered a bit when training trying to help others with their problems and also just kind of not following strictly enough the process necessary to improve on one thing at a time. Not sure what I need to do, but I have found that I have a few favorite passes (Knee up the middle, double under-hook to crush pass, and my half-guard option passes...The bullfighter pass is one I can do well but I prefer others) These will get priority, especially the knee up...
I also have to get more decisive and authoritative with my submissions specifically, but with everything in general. The difference I see from brown to black is to act decisively and achieve what you are acting on efficiently...I have not been doing so for a few reasons. One, as Marcus has said to me before as has Coach Allen, is that I am too nice. Bad intentions have to be had in order to make certain my aims are met. Often times, submissions or passes or positions I could get, I allow to pass and transition so as not to cause discomfort or punish my partner. This happens even as I roll with people whom I should not show such feeling to due to their level or intent. I must beat this out of me. Not sure how I will do it but, I will. This brings me to a situation I had rolling with a very new student who is strong as an Ox. Basically his level of strength afforded him the opportunity of just holding onto my arms or whatever he could in attempt to survive which caused a lot of problems as his strength was greater than mine to the point at several times I had to move and cause his grip to release in order to continue transitioning. My positioning and movement was dominant but I did not pull the trigger on several submissions (they presented themselves left and right as I used his grabbing and holding against him) so as not to discourage him by submitting him over and over. I attempted to do this by positional dominance and pressure so as to allow him to know he was being worked over but not have him feel it was hopeless...Bad mistake. The problem is, knowing that he needs to be taught by submitting him as often as possible does help to work against strength greater than mine, but it just feels wrong to do to someone so new. I gotta get rid of that feeling too.
anyways, brings me to something Coach Allen said which bothers me to this day. One day while riding he asked me why I didn't do many privates. He asked if I was just trying not to as he never really saw me doing any, and the other assistant instructors have plenty it seems. Now I have one guy who does get some, and another one or two who will every now and again but I help out with their technique anytime anyway as I do with the first guy I mentioned, but really, I haven't even been approached by many if anyone for privates. I've had one situation where I was asked about privates, quoted a price, and then had the guy go to someone else without ever telling me why, then coming back to ask about techniques often (That shit will stop.). I have alos had one guy ask and say he wanted some, but never said a thing about it again, and found out he was having some with another assistant instructor. That said, when in class, I am bombarded with questions. I stop what I am doing as I feel as an assistant instructor, it is my job to do so, and I help as much as I can. Even without being asked, I tell people what they should and shouldn't do, as it pains me to see things not done correctly if I can help. That said, through all I have done, been through, taught in class, and achieved, it kind of validates the feelings I have had of not being worthy of my belt. If people do not see me as someone with valuable skills enough to wish to pay for (i.e. they choose not to do so with me but with other people), then how can I hope to attract people to a school to learn from me? How can I feel like I am where I should be, if after all I've done to date it doesn't seem to matter where it counts? All I have done in tournaments etc, and it seems it is felt by my fellow students, that I am not enough to warrant helping to get ready for their own tournament forays. I hope that I have done nothing to offend anyone, or acted in a way that makes people shy away from wishing to have me train them for privates. I will have to make certain that I continue to progress and improve in my performance better than I have been doing so I will show myself worthy. Anyways, that all said, there are a very few who I will continue to give tips to if they wish it, and I will continue to teach the class on Sundays, but outside that, my role as an assistant instructor/coach will be as limited as Coach Allen will allow. I have lots to focus on, and have to make certain I am progressing and going forward as I already have enough problems in every day life holding me back, so this needs to be let go. Funny, this all comes on the heels of me having a semi-epiphany that I would just go for it and work on getting into my own school before my birthday (preferably in Late Jan. or Early Feb.). Guess I need to re-think that....Anyways, I have a lot I need to work through. I guess putting it here is therapy....I fight on...

Thought For The Day: If you can accept losing, you can not win.

Something To Cheer You Up:
(It Definitely Does Cheer Me Up)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Loss Is A Win...Or


Beginning again...Maybe
Weight: 203.0

Hey people's sorry I've been remiss in posting the past couple weeks but life has been on me...Hope everyone had a great holiday...Let's get to it...((THERE IS VIDEO BELOW!!!))

Well today I had a nice first, and we will talk of it later because I am pretty proud of it, but for now, back to training...The past few sessions I have had, I have been able to work hard on my passing, and my take-downs as well as working on perfecting my top-side submissions, as we had an old student of coach's who has been a student of the art from a LONG time come back into town for the holiday season...He is about 6'4" and maybe 5 or 10 more pounds than I weigh, and plays a very technical and strong game...A very solid purple belt, and perhaps close to brown but I don't know....
First I saw him, he showed up at my class on a Sunday, did not want to roll with him then as I thought he was a new visiting guy, and I'd put everyone through a vicious cardio workout before competition roll drills...didn't seem fair...even though I had just driven in from out of town and had gone through a worse strength and cardio workout before I anyways...he came the next night, coach showed some mount techniques and some attacks from the back and when it came time to roll I had a couple rounds with two of the guys in class, and worked my passing...It really is coming along, especially my double under and crush pass...I have a few variations and can move smoothly between most of them now without thinking so, it will be time to put them to the test next tournament I think...all the while I was watching him really give it to the two guys he rolled with who were very good but not on his level yet...that said, was looking forward to working my passing and submissions with our new old guy, and when we were getting ready to start and going through the obligatory (where do u wanna start, uh anywhere u wanna, nah you choose, uh uh whatever u want to do) start up posturing, coach walks over and says to him that I have a terrific guard(found this out after)...Well I didn't notice so he turns back to me and says well I hear you have this unpassable guard so I wills tart there...I've got a good bit of Marcus' attitude in me about that and perhaps I took it wrong but sounded like he felt it wouldn't be so hard;))(he's a great guy so i know he didn't take it that's just an automatic reaction i have to work on)...Anyways, we start and I work for a few sweeps but he sits extremely well based out, and I move to a few others back and forth (I've been working on more chains which revolve but just randomly change order to achieve the desired result...) and then start to use a behind the head grip to work for the cross choke/armbar/sweep/etc...he grabs the sleeves to prevent and this allows me to work my hips out and up to high guard...I have it in tight but move too soon and don't clear the sleeve when I try the pendulum sweep...I have to do it without having his leg, and lose the sweep mid arc...I go back and even though he is wary of it, I work to high guard once more...even tighter this time, but this time I make the mistake of not controlling his far lapel when I drag the leg across for the arm bar and he postures, I roll to the belly down armbar but don't have it as he withdraws and tries to pass... I fend off the passes easily which frustrates him I think...We work from open guard for a bit, but I see a chance to grab closed guard, do so, and immediately allow him to try the same standing pass I was shutting down earlier, but only to spring a rolling knee bar from guard...He tries to defend so I switch to toe-hold and right back to knee bar and get it...I LOVE leg locks lately...
We roll again to a triangle set up, as I wanted to be sure that I can still work them the same in finishing when I set it up from a new technique...Been working on that too for next year.!!! Just wait...Will talk about this one in another post...
Well the next night we are back, and after working a few side control submissions (I needed this drilling badly...MUST devote some more time to the control in the set-up of my favorite side-control subs!)...Once we get to rolling, I speak up (as I should have the night before) and start in his closed guard....I was a little cautious before we started as I felt he must have the same type guard as I do, but decided to throw that into the wind as I needed to see if my breaks/passes work for real against someone I was not familiar with...Well, my breaks work perfectly, and my transition to combat base (knee up) and then to pass readiness(stand and step over to be ready and able to go either way with the pass are really where I want them, but, I KEEP frickin forgetting that when I go to the knee-side I need to cross the far side ankle over that leg to allow me to escape guard easier...If I do this, then passing is a thousand percent eaiser...that said, I do not do it once, though I set myself up for it MANY times in our rolls...the one good thing this showed me was where I need to concentrate on, also showed me I can adapt as after the first time, where a brain froze and allowed him to scoot away , I worked three different halfguard passes and got my pressure and head control where I wanted them, one of which even passed directly to mount...I did get to start the cross choke from mount, but the side control didn't go as I wanted...three times I allowed him to get almost to his side, and moved to transition...twice, I got to the set up for the baseball bat choke, and another for a lapel choke, which I had to modify, but was too slow in application as my control made me too wary...I ended up with a lot of notes in my private blog/diary to get to work on!
Well, training has been refreshing in that not only have some things shown themselves to be tools I can use naturally, but I have been seeing directly what I need to address...THAT is a blessing as it is hard to know even what u have problems with at times...This feels good as coach said it marks a progressing in my belt...

Anyways, another of my holes I have been working hard on is my stand-up/takedowns...I feverishly study Judo throws and work with the VERY good wrestlers we have at the gym in our King of takedown games and been drilling my takedowns and defense a lot...Well, today, they had the Dallas Judo Invitational....A Judo Class E (meaning the highest level) event here in town and went to support a friend who trains at the gym in jiu-jitsu but studies judo as well...He always helps me with technical aspects of throwing...Well I get there, and I do feel the bias against jiu-jitsu guys and think that I can definitely do this and show myself where I need work, so I sign up!...Well at sign up I weigh in at 93.2 Kilos...and ask to be placed in the Novice class as I have never competed nor trained formally in Judo...They ask where I train I tell them I haven't but study some at my jiu-jitsu school...the head guy asks me if we do any takedown training at school, I tell him yes, but it is a vast mixture of whatever is effective...he also asks if I know how to behave properly on the mats and do I know the rules...I tell him I have watched judo matches, know how the formalities go, and as far as the rules I know the basic ones...well he tells me that I can be placed in the Masters division but not novice...Novice is for beginners...Masters has guys that have been black belts for years on down...He says he isn't comfortable with me in the novice division and as I ask if there are black belts in the Masters, he tells me yes, so he asks if I am ok with that, and I tell him yes and kind of dejectedly walk away....Have to change my line of thinking from attack and see how well I am at my level of Judo, to not get thrown on my head or face....
Well the first match starts and I have a tad bit of trouble as I walk onto the mat in my nice white GI and white belt (It KILLED me to wear a white belt again...gave me all sorts of bad falshback memories of my times as a beginner) , not realizing I had to put on a blue belt for designation of which side I was on...So I go back and get it, and put it on, and we start...I fight grips for a while, and allowed him to put an over the head grip...He does, and I duck under and trip the outside leg and get the takedown...on a BROWN BELT in judo...I go to side control, immediately and start to work for a baseball bat choke...I get both hands in but the guy grabs my arm and lays there...apparently, if you can defend for a few seconds and have a shoulder up, the referee stops the match...BUT, as I am working and the referee sees that I am in control and working on a choke, there is a count going on, 25 second later, they stop the match, and I WIN! I am surprised as hell...But happy...
Next guy is a brown belt as well, and doesn't look particularly imposing or threatening (kinda sorta a really big beaver cleaver looking guy, but very nice fella), but when I lock up with him, it is clear he has a plan and I can see by his hip movement and the little tugs here and there that he is angling me for a hip throw...I have been practicing dropping my hip and blocking and moving to the counter hip throw or ankle pick, but that's against jiu-jitsu players with no judo...He starts for it, and I drop my hip too late, so I do have a tad bit of control, I push against him and land on my shoulder instead of my hip and allow his momentum to drive him over and past and come up to top side...Well, in Judo rules, they don't allow that...He wins...It was explained to me, that the judge thought he had control (how does he have control if I am rolling/reversing him???) , ehh anyways, I Lose that one...At least I know the rules now but it still sucks ass...
I get the next guy without even trying...a black belt....apparently he didn't come back after losing his first match and getting hurt in his next one which he apparently I win in a walk over....
So I am back in the semi finals...I get a SKRONG corn-fed Iowa farmboy lookin dude...I actually I got video of this one...lucky I carry my camera in the truck at all times...this one, I actually felt a bit more comfortable, as I worked grips and worked the over hook a few times, but never quite had the hip movement or footwork to get into position and throw him, as his upper body strength was incredible...That said, I worked a few times on an inside trip that has become a favorite, but he got enough of a block on my upper body each time to ward it off...Well I got bold and decided to forge ahead, and try the over hook, and went for it, this time he shifted his hips forward and blocked wish took me backward...As I fell, I remembered the rules and went to my side...The judge, standing behind the guy, obviously could not, or did not want to see, as there are three judges and the one on the outside could have said so...But they called it an ippon, and I lost once again...this time, I came off the mat, and my teammate from jiu-jitsu said it was bullshit...He thought they were just picking on the jiu-jitsu guy, and maybe to teach a lesson to a white belt not in the novice division...Either way, I was told by this older lady there, that it was a very good match and she applauded my technical skills (hell I didn't knwo I had any! lol) and I was flattered...Well, I got thrid, and losing there, showed me that I CAN compete and my stand up has come a LONG way...If I knew the rules better and had time to actually work judo, I think I could do pretty well at it...I will dabble in it a bit as I got invited to a couple judo schools to try it out by some instructors, but I may take a bit more of an interest, once I one day reach black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to further augment that rank...But I will definitely keep working on it as I am happy to say that in BJJ my stand up has come up to where I wanted it....Felt good to learn to yoga, back to wrestling, back to judo, and before all that, back to the gentle art...watching myself lose to Rodrigo Pinheiro and having Marcus talk to me through the mistakes I too painfully knew, really has me hungry to be better...I have a LOT of work to do, and really, it seems like I do not fit the mold of what my goal sets forth as far as I can see, but....I Fight On....

Thought For The Day: A Set back, is only a set up for success.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanks For Nominating

The Rest Of The World Is Waiting
I Think It's Time For Me To Go...

MAN, I Need Some Of This Today

Somehow It Will All Work Out

Where I Want To Be...The Top
At Preta One Day

The link above is to the Fightworks Podcast site and their BJJ Blog Of The year contest...They hold this contest yearly for the best BJJ related blogs, and in addition is home to the best podcasts on grappling and bjj in the world...You should subscribe if you love the art, or even if not....Thank you to all who went and said kind words about the blog on there to nominate this place for the contest!!! I really appreciate it...God Bless...

Weight: 202.8
I've had some really good practices lately, but my body is feeling pretty broken up...Especially my back...I cannot get this little series of nagging very sore spots in the mid to upper spine area to go away...That said, yoga has helped every other part of my body IMMENSELY....The successes I have had in training lately, I do owe to an increased study of the art, as well as to upping my training regimen, and definitely the flexibility and power throughout my range of motion gained from yoga....I enjoy it a lot and has helped very much to break through a little plateau I have been on...At least in my mind...
I must also tout Saulo Ribeiro's new book "Jiu-Jitsu University"...If you study the art....get it...period. It is laid out very well, very concise, and definitely easy to understand and follow...The tiny details and thought processes to techniques are laid out in a concise and progressive manner...I have found many little helpers to some of the holes in my game I am trying to fix...As for training tonight, I am going to focus on shutting down and passing De La Riva guard and reversals...and do some hard guard passing drills, and into rolling work on passing and very heavy control...Also working on being able to focus, to block out all that is swirling around me in my everyday real life outside the gentle art...Need some sort of change there too....We shall see...
Working on my goals for next year, and hoping that I can someonehow up my workload to be able to be worthy of attaining them. Honestly don't knwo if I can, but...I fight on....

p.s. I will leave them on here sometime in the first week of December...

Got to teach class tonight...was very refreshing and because I had to explain a few positional things to some of the people training, I also learned a lot myself...Funny how teaching someone actually allows you to go further in depth to subjects you thought you had a good handle on. Tonight while teaching the cross choke from mount as well as a few armbar variations, I had to explain to some of the newer people nuances of holding mount in high and low mount as well as using thebody to place the arms through for the choke....I picked up some tiny details that will help me finish at my level i am sure by walking them through the basics of the position...Also while teaching the brabo cros choke from side mount I workdd my way through a control issue i've had by slowing down and showing a student who had a question how to place and vary pressure from place to place in side mount...Love how things like that happen...Through all the crap I deal with daily, all the doubts about my place and skills in the gentle art, things like this...the tiny trumphs keep me deeply into Jiu-Jitsu in a way that keeps me level and sane....I fight on...

Thought For The Day: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor ; spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dreams Of Being Your Worst Nightmare...

New Ink

Have Him with you.

"A Warrior Must Only Take Care That his Spirit Is Not Broken"
I'm Close


Weight: 196.8 sucks ass. People places and things can alter your perception of even your most beloved possessions, activities, and peace of mind. Lately, things just get in the way when I try to lose myself in training. I have been trying to bring my passing game up to the level of my guard game and my top control game...I feel, as does coach, that if so, then I can be at the level I need to be to advance. That said, to train effectively one has to be into what they are doing to both be able to work on the things they wish, and to be able to remember and note what went right and wrong with the session...Well tonight, as a result of a LOT going on in my life, I walked in with a very nasty attitude. That said, I followed the techniques very well, which were attacks from the back (bow and arrow choke), back escapes, and an over-hook take down...Once we got to rolling, it was even better as one of our really good brown belts was at class and I got to roll with him as well as one of our really good purple belts...I did a LOT of things that I have been working on well, such as a very nice knee bar from a different set up, as well as some nice passing and control from side mount which Ive worked on to...That said, I got lazy a bit working in my guard and gave up two reversals without really fighting for them, which is something I have been fighting as it is in my nature to go to guard. Had a competitor say to some people that this was something he noticed in my game, and I wish to eliminate it so as to have my whole game as good as my guard play. I must work on this much better as I also need to work on my control in my high guard to alternate attacks...I also need work on adding a few more passes to my game. I deliberately went away from my strong ones and worked my problem areas...Hated it but it is what I need. anyways, the problem is...When I went to write in my private blog, to get an idea what needs to be done...I couldn't remember any more than I wrote here. (It should be noted I keep another private blog for detailed training notes, very personal feelings, etc that I don't want opponents knowing etc...)
i know it was my anger/frustration at things in life that kept my mind from remembering...When going to train ego, and problems should be left at the door. I always loved jiu-jitsu as without even trying, this was something that allowed me to get myself free of the day to day bullshit...Man, I can't lose this too. Anyways...I do know some of the things I need to work, and will try to do so. Hopefully i can get it done.
I got Saulo Ribeiro's new book - 'Jiu-Jitsu University' today and must say it is very refreshing and effective...EASY TO FOLLOW and the rprogression make everything fit together. If you are serious about learning new things outside your regular training this is a good tool to get.
Also need to note, if anyone wishes to get anything from my Cafepress shop:
You must get it before tomorrow night (18 November 2008) as I will be taking it down then.
As for me and the things I am frustrated in and with in my Jiu-Jitsu travels, I must work harder, as i do not worknearly hard enough. In addition, I must pray. While I do that, for now I fight on...

Though Of The Day: The Entire Book Of Job

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Me On the Raydeeohhhh

Weight 202.4

Not too much of an update...Just still feeling a little run down but definitely better...Have been out for a week and tried to get some rest even though some life things had me moving around a bit. I taught class today and really felt good to be back on the mats...I worked on basic guard breaks and worked a pass and a submission from there...I tried to get across the tiny tiny details that are the difference between success and failure...Some got through and some didn't but it is always rewarding...I really enjoy teaching Jiu-Jitsu...
Wanted to drop a note to say that I was honored recently to speak on the Fightworks Podcast...Caleb is a great guy and the Podcast is a frequent visiting place of a who's who of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu...He does a really great job with it, and I have been a fan of it for quite some time...There is a LOT of great information on the podcast and should be checked ou t by anyone interested in bettering their game as well as just learning about the gentle art...

Click Here To Hear Me On The Fightwortks Podcast - #142 Braulio Estima, Copa Alliance in Sao Paulo

Also check out the website here:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (recommended)
[mp3] Download the show

As for my travels...I am back to work this week...Will be workign on closing up the hole I have defending De La Riva sweeps as well as working HARD on making my guard passing top notch...I fight on...

Thought For the Day:

William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

Friday, November 7, 2008

O pesadelo está aqui.

O pesadelo põr o para dormir!

Weight: 201.2

Been taking a little bit of a break to heal up. Mentally and physically and definitely emotionally I needed a break. 15 competitions this year, and a lot of stress have broken me down. My life issues and my body being hurt had me to where when I went into class Monday, I had to leave and did not WANT to practice. that's a first. My mind occupied by b.s. of daily life combined with just being physically exhausted brought me to a place I'd not been ever I think in my travels in Jiu-Jitsu. Well, I am working on it, and hopefully starting next week, I will have a renewed sense of purpose as I really have a few goals I'd like to get to, and do not want to feel like I felt Monday ever again. Making adjustements and will see how things work out. I sure hope I can bounce back.
speaking of one goal (besides advancing to Faixa Preta), I would like tocompete in the Abu Dhabi trials (Jan 17 and 18). I know I am not good enough to win, but would like the experience of competing amongst the greats in my art, as well as one of the most prestigious events in grappling in the world if not THE most. If you don't know much about the Abu Dhabi championships...
See here:
Only held every two years...We shall see..My training would have to be increased exponentially, and I'd have to improve on so much to even be able to be competitive that it is daunting, but I'd liek to try while I am young enough to do so. Just have to focus.
I am happy to say the design for the logo is finialzed...See above...Hopefully I can begin working towards my own free-standing school soon.It would be a big help toward peace of mind...But we will see...Thing are hard rightnow, and it seems I've lost a lot, but God is good! All day everyday...with Him beside me...I fight on...

Thought for The Day: Psalms 27:2 --- When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

I will not fear.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Believe Anything Is Possible (For The 1st Time In My Life!)

The 44th President Of The United States
Barack Hussein Obama

Today, History Was Made!
I Am Truly Overwhelmed!

Monday, November 3, 2008

18 Hours In Brazil On $150 or Less....

All Thanks To God For Giving Me This Gift

Pesadelo In Progress

The 800 LB. Jiu-Jitsu Gorilla

Weight 201.6

Well, the Copa Alliance tournament was calling, but the funds weren't answering. LOL in other words my money was very Chris Rock-ish....(For you non-ebonic comprehending people that means my money was funny...ok dammit put simply I was BROKE!)...Anyways, with the assortment of aches and pains (my knee is STILL jacked up...doc said a slight tear and bad sprain of the mcl) and fears of not being able to get out of any unforeseen jams with my limited funds being alone, I boarded the plane anyway. I've been blessed with friends who have been supportive in every way when it comes to helping me train and follow this path...God has allowed me such blessing in this that I am overwhelmed...Not only do I intend to pay back with interest that which I have been given, but to attempt to pay forward those blessings so someone else can enjoy what I do to this extent....
Anyways... I get on the plane to MIA and immediately after takeoff something seems wrong...just doesn't smell right...I mean it is like eye watering bad...turns out someone has had too much buttermilk and beans ...I think they try to let em out silently, but they let one rip that I can hear...Damn...and the recirculation of air on planes ain't sh#t!....anyways, I don't get much rest on this flight, but I feel ok still...On to the plane to Sao Paulo...I pop a sominex and actually get a few hours rest...Wake up about 2 hours out from landing, and watch some of Pe De Pano's ultimate guard videos on my ipod...There's a LOT of things here that I notice now that I hadn't before and need to work on...Details I see now that I never knew existed...This makes me feel at once encouraged and disheartened...Encouraged that I can see them to work on, but kind of down that I know I have so much to do to get to Black Belt level...During landing I am getting a bit nervous as I don't think I prepared very well for this tournament...I get to the airport and clear customs...Once all this happens It is about 7 am or so local time...The tournament is to begin at 10am...I ate before I left home, but kinda conserving money so all I had was the lil beef and mashed potato dinner and some peanuts on the plane to eat...My neck is killing me so before I get to a taxi I do some stretching....Head is hurting too..not sure if from lack of food, or the neck or both...Anyways...I'm here...
I get int he car from GRU airport to the Esporte Club Pinheiros....
One thing to say...Sao Paulo is HUGE!!!!!..I mean New York ain't got SHIT in Sao Paulo...It takes me literally about an hour of driving through the city on Highways, to get there...I have no idea how the taxi driver knows how to get anywhere, and Claudio, my cabbie...He seems to be lost as the ark of the covenant! Eventually we make it there...I get out and (glad I kept my luggage as carry-ons so no lost GI this time! lol) into play comes my lack of Portuguese! I get to the gate and after about 10 minutes of wrangling, finally get directed to the entrance which is around the corner from this particular gate to the complex! I walk around this huge block to that entrance and then have another 10 minutes of trying to understand and be understood before being granted entrance...It seems they knew nothing of jiu-jitsu! lol...Well I get in and the actual complex is really nice...many different gymnasiums for different sports...I get to the one where the tournament is to be held...And there are no mats, no nothing...So I go in and sit and wait...A few workers come in and say hello and look at the tatame mats int he corner but don't do anything so now I am worrying that I am in the wrong place or perhaps I came all this way for nothing...But, after a while, i just decide to lay on the bleachers and sleep....I am awakened to my friend "Batista"...Antonio Peinado...Newly Black Belted by Professor Gurgel..He is Really surprised to see me and we catch up a bit event hough we both have limited command of each others language...
I help him and one of Professor Gurgel's brown belts...Monstro...put down the mats anmd try to stretch out while doing so...As we are finishing up, Professor Gurgel comes in and greets me and the teams start coming in...I see a LOT of old friends and catch up with them as best I can...Not knowing that I have a long wait ahead of e, I start preparing in my mind to fight early....Bad idea...The tournament starts on time actually and goes from lower belts to upper...As here in the states, White belts are PLENTIFUL to say the are the blue belts...the kids as everywhere else are very cute and enthusiastic...The level of technical skill in the white belts is incredible as compared to back home it seems...I will also say I was shocked to see that in the kids divisions, they really let submissions be held and finished...and not ONE kid that I saw ended up hurt or crying...This is a big difference from home where we jump in quick on submissions with kids....
anyways, the tournament moves along quite nicely, and I find out from Professor Gurgel that I have been moved up to Pessadissimo as the guy who was in my own age bracket at Super Pesado (Which I was just barely in anyway) was older and he said had no chance against me...even with the guy being as he said, this was still a good feeling...I would also be competing in the open division...which the prize money was 1000 Reis ...So I was to go against good younger really big guys...Now I am kind of second guessing myself as with each increase in belt level the technique and ferocity increase exponentially it seems...this could be due to the fact that this tournament would be kind of a weeding out process as the Brazilian Team Championships will be held in two this being the Alliance championships from all the affiliated teams, the winners would compete for the team against all the others at that tournament...a big honor....As such..there were NO third places...You either win or get second..period...
That said...It was still a long wait...I met a couple of friends (Paulinho and Natalia) who sat and tried to talk to me all day...Neither having much if ANY English...and I not being much better at Portuguese made for passing the time with a lot of confused looks between us, but they were nice and kept me company as they figured I was not from there I guess...the people in Brazil have always been unfailingly nice ....A VERY welcome thing...Anyways...Here comes my about 430pm!!!!...
My first match, my opponent attempts to pull guard, and I pass to half guard...we jockey several times as I attempt my Marcelo pass but I keep having issues with keeping shoulder pressure...He attempts to throw a shoulder lock at me very quickly and surprises me due to his large size (about 250 I'd say) and as I see it coming I block and jump through to side mount...I get the points and work from side to 50/50 and back several times but as it is hard to contain his movement I do not chance submission attempts and almost get a warning for stalling...That said, I attempt to go to knee up on stomach and put my hand in the back side of his collar..He attempts to move away but I slide to his back and because I had the collar I use the other hand to form a triangle and choke with his lapel...I hold for so long that I do not know how he doesn't go out...But he taps eventually as my forearms start burning...Good win, but My top game and passing need WORK!...
Second Match...I work to grab the sleeve and the collar and throw a flying triangle...Dude is like..uh uh...him, being a good 240-260...Basically flicks me away with one hand and I fall..Hard....He tries to get to half or side control but my scrambling (one of my strengths) allows me to feint a kneebar and have him react by placing his weight on that foot, which allows me the reversal/takedown...He quickly takes me and presses me into the air and turns me over and works for side control which gives him 2 points but I recompose closed guard....My wheelhouse...I work for high guard but he shrugs his shoulders back through...I take advantage at that moment to switch hips and work for the pendulum sweep which he blocks...I take my hand deep into his lapel and widen the elbow....Shoot the other hand in and pull the knees into my chest and squeeze..this time I only try to use about 60-70% as prescribed for the cross choke and it works...
Gold in my division...
I go to sit down but the absolute is called...Come to find out all Roxa, Marrom, and Preta are lumped together, and the matches are 10 minutes...Everything goes pretty much....My first opponent is about 195lbs....We go back and forth and he gets a single leg as I attempt to pull guard...He works feverishly for a pass but I scramble...I work and eventually get a set up for a Gordo Halfguard sweep I have been working and teaching for a while now...pts tied 2 to 2...I keep working mainly just to avoid being swept and eventually work allllllllmost to side control...I get an advantage as he eventually regained guard...he shot lots of subs at me but I defended well...I could break but not make any headway against his guard....My passing needs WORK!!!!!!!....Time is up..I win....guess what...the opponent was Faixa Preta!!!! I was very happy but still...need a LOT of work...
Second match was against a Brown belt...really uneventful as he pulled guard before me...I fought off a lot of halfguard sweeps and we fought to a tie for about 3 or 4 minutes....He ends up working De La Riva against me and half due to frustration at my inability to pass...and half due to this is one sweep I have a hole in my game for...I allow the sweep and get to guard...I do not let him set and work the push pull set up and get the triangle...he works to strong arm counter but this only lets me lock it in deeper..I get the tap...
Next was against a 3 stripe purple belt about my size...I am REALLY nervous b/c I do not wish to lose in front of so many to a lower belt...also b/c Id seen him and his guard was extremely good...
He used a different set up to pull guard on me and I was damn near helpless to stop it...He could never compose guard and worked back and forth from open to De La Riva...I worked furiously back and forth between my passes but he fought them all off...All at the last minute..again..I need WORK! My passing game is not where I wish it to be, but I have to attribute my problems also to some very VERY tough opponents...Honestly the level I faced here was higher than even the Pans and near to Mundials as far as determination and talent...He stands a few times and each time I work a single and get the take down to the tune of 6 pts....I finally work to get the bullfighter/X-pass and work to the side...As I am controlling the legs and leaning in on my shoulder..something pops!...I guess I screamed as I fell to my back off my opponent and he comes up on top...So as the referee is coming in I do not notice and try to defend but my arm is NOT moving...As I lay there they come out to check on me...And as they lay me down I hear and feel another pop...and I can move it again but it is sore as hell...As I sit and type this it is VERY sore right now but not bad....Anyways I lose that match...I would have faced Batista in the next round had I won...He went on to defeat that guy and moved on to the next couple matches...
Mark my words...Antonio "Batista" Peinado will be the next big thing in 2009, just as Sergio Moraes burst onto the scene in 2008!!!!
I sit and watch as Monstro Faces Gabriel Vella ....One word of NOT anger Vella the Destroyer...Monstro is about 235-240...and looks like a Brazilian He-Man clone...He fights grips and works takedowns back and forth to a tie for about 5 minutes or so... with Vella which is very good...Until he dips his head as Grabriel is head snapping him and lunges forward..He headbutts Vella and opens up a cut above Gabriel's eye...The match is stopped and Gabriel gets taped up...He comes back and is visibly pissed...He has a muy thai clinch and basically balls up Monstro taking him down...He works heavily passing to the side and then works to mount ....He takes hold of the lapel and brutally crushes down with the other hand for the cross choke with so much force that it seems he will crush Monstro's face...he works for the tap...
Meanwhile Batista just cruises...basically walking through a really tough brown belt and another black belt I do not know...He meets Vella in the final...
Everyone expects, that as Batista is so newly belted, that this will be one-sided...well it is, but not in Vella's favor...Batista works and gets to foot trip takedowns and then works knee up on passing and really dominates the match from top control and eventually working to mount...It is an eye-opening and surprising result as he wins be a convincing decision....Vella is more than world class, so it is shown through that match and all his other matches, that Batista is a force to be reckoned with at Faixa is good to see someone with about my exact build and weight, work to be such dominating and heavy as well as fluid...It is good that I am friends with him and will get to work with him before the major championships next year as His game is where I am trying to elevate mine...With him in the fold, a few of the new brown belts and old ones like well as purples like Paulinho among others coming next year into the major championships....We will have more than a stranglehold on the top spots next year for teams! Just watch..It feels great to be a part of this....
After this I got to see Emanoeala who speaks great english and helped me translate a lot when I was in Rio of the championships in July...we sit and catch up a lot and she offers to help me to the hospital but I am afraid of missing my flight so I just ask for her to help me get a taxi...She does and I keep my wrapped up arm (in a belt slice with ice) and my things on the other arm and we walk the blocks to the taxi...We also are talking with Professor "Gigi" Paiva on the way and all vow to keep in touch and I work on my Portuguese as they work on their English...That should help me a lot...Perhaps will talk to them and Batista and Gabriel Goulart by Skype...We will see...Anyways...I get a taxi and Emanoela tells him to take me to the airport and not to delay...he agrees, and we are off...It ends up taking like 20 min which throws me off as it was like an hour to get in from the airport..I chalk it up to maybe my first cabbie did not know where he was going, but realize my error when I get inside and there is no American Airlines desk to be found...It seems I am at the wrong now I am worried that I have an hour to go and dont know if the $ I have left, will get me to the other airport...I go outside and a gringo hawk(they ask to "help" u get a taxi and take a percentage off the cab ride...which means u get charged a lot more for it)...Dude tries to charge me like 200Reis...Hell naw I tell him...He doesn't get it so I just walk off...He curses me in Portuguese and I give him a "Porra" and a few other choice phrases which reaises his eybrows...LOL he thought I didn't understand...Anyways I catch a cab and we get caught in Sao Paulo gridlock...I end up making it to GRU just in time and get a surprise as the lady at the desk asks what my medal is for...I tell her jiu-jitsu, she says she does Tae Kwon Do and likes jiu-jitsu but can't find a spot to study....Go Figure!!!! In Brazil!?!...any way I tell her about Fabio's academy and she thanks me by giving me a whole row to myself which allows me to stretch out fully and lay down to sleep on the way back as the flight is not full...This was GREAT...but there is an asshole, that instead of moving to an open seat...decides to sit in the middle seat in front of mine...and recline al the way back, which bumps into my every time I am on that side, he attempts to lean back...and i knee the seat repeatedly...Honestly by the time we r about to get breakfast served, I am SOOOOO close to rear naked choking this bastard it's not funny...We eventually get off the plane and his punk ass looks at me sideways like he's pissed...I get a tad bit of revenge at customs though...b/c while i slide right through, he gets caught up into an immense line of foreigners entering the country...I give the italian under the chin brush off and keep steppin....My knees are hurting as was my shoulder which made me have to stay on that side...Punk ass....
anyways..I end up back home early as when I hit MIA they allowed me to hop an early flight...This one was great as I slept from taxi to the gate...Get home...put my things in the car..and went off to teach class...
Only had like four folks show up for this Sunday....don't know if i am pressing too hard on the students or if it is the time change or if it is the new location...But I have to figure something out as the attendance is dwindling...
Had coach tell me that this travel and competition schedule is going to catch up to me...I hate to say it, but haven't been letting on much but it is....During class, I picked a few techniques to show, that I've explained a hundred times...I know them in much detail, but in explaining them to the students that day, I could not help but to keep missing very important, though small, details that made the techniques almost impossible for them to pull off, and it took me almost until the end of drilling to realize! :( Travel is a bitch, but this year, in addition to the things I am going through in my personal life just have taken so much of a toll on me it's ridiculous...
Everything hurts...Knee is injured...Shoulder is sore...arms are extremely mind is wandering...the stuttering is getting worse and it's hard sometimes even to form the thoughts to get the words out instead of just the inability to speak them...I wanted to compete this coming weekend at the Atama Open and in Dec. for Naga but I think I need to shut that portion down and break my game down as well as work harder in Yoga and conditioning to get myself where I want to be for next year...I do not know what or how I need to do this particularly, but I need a break while maintaining my workload as I have many things that are in dire need of repair as my performance this weekend and recently just in rolling have shown me...
No matter what though, I will die before I break...I fight on...

Thought For The Day: Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely - lay your life before him.

Other Thought For The Day: When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style. <---This Is Where I Strive To Be By Mid Next Year