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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learn The Lessons That Losin' Some Fights Taught Me

Weight: 222.8

Well I've wondered where my level is for some time now, and had gotten a pretty good feeling about where I was and what it took to get where I wish to be...That kind of shattered a bit over the past weekend as I did some things in a match that I have NEVER done. I mean not EVER. Not even as a white belt. One of the things I have noticed and been instructed on, is it will be the tiny mistakes or tiny adjustments which would win or lose matches at the level I am now and will be on later. In addition, it will be the ability to instantaneously capitalize on the mistakes of my opponent without thought or hesitation which will allow me to prevail. Well I was a participant in a Super Fight at the Texas International Grappling Festival in Houston against a very good competitor names Lance Rammoth from Urban Jungle. He is a really nice guy and strong as hell...VERY sound and relentless in his Jiu-Jitsu. Short and sweet, We work standing for a while trading grips, then he works to pull guard. I get to combat base and pressure the guard pass twice while he works to reconstitute guard, but I have done my drills well it seems as I worked on making sure the legs were X'ed to prevent guard closing. I get the hip/Fabio pass...I work to side control and grab the inside of the collar with a cross face...I switch shoulder pressure and work to secure the under arm the rotate my weight back over and work for the paper cutter. I walk my body around to north south too far and take my weight off him which allows him room to do his escape. He was really hard to control there anyway...We get back to standing, work grips and I pull guard again...He works to sucker me into throwing a triangle by feeding his hand behind him like Brad often does in class...I had promised myself I would not work a triangle in this event as I wanted to work my sweeps and top game/submissions...My instincts though had me working to get him to give up some of the little clue moves for me to set it up though.
He had good posture and very good technique with his elbows inside though so there was no opening to do so, and my inability to overcome what is so natural to me had me ignoring sweep attempts etc...I end up going to open guard and he worked furiously to pass but I did a good job of replacing guard and fending the pass attempts off...I worked for a triangle set up subconsciously which he saw and backed away...We stand and I worked to pull guard way too predictably...I am still up 3-0 at this point with an advantage for the choke attempt...When I get tot he ground he does not allow me to close guard and inexplicably, i grab the same side lapel, stiff arm him and attempt to do a technical stand up. I have NEVER, EVER done this. I have no idea why I got up but I tried, and when I did, He pressured forward, which did not allow my back foot to establish position. He opened the angle to my left(the hand/lapel side) and as I turned into him to close the hole, he hops to the other side. Again, I did something i NEVER do, I leave my hand attached to his lapel. As such, when he gets to the other side, he is not only passed, but he has my left arm trapped beneath him. While there, I did another no-no, instead of moving to open the angle and rotate myself around and out to escape, I wait for him to move. At this level, he is moving, but only moving very tightly to secure the arm. When he releases top pressure, he only does so to further secure the gift wrapped arm. Here's where him being a nice guy comes in, He works the Kimura, and as I rapped my own arm underneath me I could not counter. I am sure he knew this and did not rip my arm from it's socket. Nice guy! I am very honored to have participated in my first Super Fight and felt good to have everyone in attendance stop what they were doing to watch us compete. Lance is a great competitor and I hope to see him again soon in competition, though I am sure he will be a Black Belt before too long. This weekend was really necessary as I had not been really threatened in a match in a very long time(since sometime last year) and even when I made mistakes, I was never really feeling like I was in trouble. The mental part of the game is where I need to grow, as I can understand what my problems are, and how to fix them physically/technically, but I feel the understanding of what I need to do to eliminate this type thing is what I need to work on, and it bothers me, as I have no idea why I did things I have never done. That means I have no idea how to fix it.

I did pick up a sponsor! Kelly' s Lawn Service which agreed to provide $200 per event in exchange for some GI patch advertising so look to see that patch next time I compete! Hopefully, that will show other potential sponsors that I can do a good job representing their brand and getting their name to more people...That said:
I am looking to find a sponsor to help me get to compete at the Brasileiros (Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championships)! About $1,000 would handle the airfare and hotel. If you know anyone or would like to sponsor all or part of this upcoming trip (It needs to be paid for by end of next week as the tournament is in Rio the weekend of May 16&17!!!)...This tournament along with the Asian Open in Tokyo are the only two majors I have not yet made. To feel worthy of promotion to Black belt, I need to get to this one at least and do very well as this tournament has been said to be much stronger at times than even the Mundials and Masters/Seniors World's. So hopefully, I can come up with some sponsorship to help me make this important stop on my journey to the Black belt. I can offer GI Patch sponsorships and/or private lessons in the gentle art in exchange for sponsorship. I am also well versed in doing radio ads etc and will make concessions necessary to give back equal value for your generous donation. Please contact me at if you are interested or know anyone else who would be. Thank you and God Bless!

My school opened last week and things seem to be going pretty well. Though the Tues/Thur commute and schedule is kicking my ass. (5:30-7:00 at my gym, 25min drive to Plano, 7:30-9:00pm teaching in Plano, 25min ride home)...That said, I have had teaching class be a really liberating experience...Classes went well last week. They were really small, but some guys I have trained with before dropped in here and there making it an easy transition and I had a few folks I am waiting on to see if they will sign up. that said, I had my first two official sign ups last night. Two ladies! I am very excited and hope to see if I can get to have five students on the official rolls by the end of the Thursday night class. I am hoping in the next two to three weeks to add a couple day classes to the schedule. I signed up and officially became a member (well the school is) of the Gracie Magazine Association ( ) which will afford the school some advertising space in the print and online editions of Gracie Magazine ( the foremost authority on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) as well as give an outlet for me to be able to recognize students from the academy in a worldwide forum! Hopefully I can get more sign ups soon as my next goal is to have my school become an official member of the Alliance network (Read: paying member)...That will happen when I reach 10-15 members on the roll. That will afford the school and members some other benefits as well. I fight under the eagle flag now as Coach Allen is a member but I want to have my school and students under the banner as well...Business side of this is really something I need to work on. I suck at marketing etc...

Anyways..Mundials is coming up, and I really hope to have a good showing. So I am going back to my drilling and aggressiveness/attacking thought process training on some things I worked from Marcus and continuing to ramp up my passing and top game. If my pass this weekend can be said to be a bright spot, I feel like it will be to good use there as many wish to pull guard on me to avoid my guard. Getting my top submissions and positioning even better will take that option away if my passes are heavy and tight. I will work to get them there...

Physically, my weight is close to where I wish it to be. I seem to be gaining without putting on a lot of fat and gaining strength as well. My lower back problems have flared up again though and at times it locks up and feels like someone is stabbing me in the back! Going to have to hit the ortho/pain doc and see what can be done. I have a little tweak in my ribs so I have to be careful as I do NOT want another rib injury so close to hese major competitions coming up. Shoulders still bothering me as is my forearm issue back, but...all that said, I have lessons to learn a,d miles to go before I sleep, so I will sleep when I'm dead...I fight on....

Thought For The Day: (A Repeat Because I Like It!) "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."

Monday, April 13, 2009


A Man In Turmoil


Weight: 218.2
Tonight went GREAT! Had some good friends come through to share the night and roll, and had a few new students come through...Even had some women come and looks like I will have one lady sign up. The class flew by actually and just really served to remind me that This is what i want to do with the rest of my life! Everyone who came through tonight, and everyone who along the way who has offered, help, training, friendship, motivation, support, and/or even just a kind word along my travels through the gentle art to date, i thank you all from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to get to this point and helping me to have a meaning to my life. I only wish that I can give back even half of what I have received. My day was really horrible.Not only did people and things make me feel bad about myself, but really my energy was sapped and I really doubted a lot of things about how I live and what kind of person I am, as well as just was discouraged and frustrated. Tonight's attendance and the kind email/comment from pcauwels (you can see it in the comments of this post) I got were proof that if you just wait, God will catch you when you are just at your breaking point. To be honest, I felt as if no one would really want to sign up with me. with all the excellent options for learning the art in the area, it just seemed like I would be doing this more as a function of peace of mind rather than being turly worthy of the respect that comes with being an instructor. But the few that came and wished to actully sign up with me really made me feel worth something. It was truly humbling. I've realized that as much as we go through it's just being patient and learning that within you, you have what you need to make it through. I still am not good physically (have some issues with my lower back locking up on me terribly...i tried not to show it in class but it was and is KILLING me...making an appt tomorrow as it's getting hard to walk), and definitely have issues to sort out in everyday life, but, I can make fight on....

Weight: 220.4

Tonight's the night. My own school. All my responsibility.
Pesadelo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at The DFW Gun Range is born at 7PM, 13 April, 2009.
I have great role models in Jiu-Jitsu and in business and only hope that I can follow well in their footsteps, and be able to add something to the rich tradition of good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the area!
Hope I have a few people at least stop through, if not to actually train tonight so I am not sitting there alone for an hour and a half! lol. Setting a goal to have five students sign up tonight!

As for training, I have been effective, but still don't feel like I have closed anything up to a black belt level that I need to yet. Have a few things to work up, especially sweep defense, half-guard/X-guard defense, as well as working on a few new sweeps to be able to chain with my attacks and sweeps I currently have in my tool box. I need to sharpen a few things up for the Super Fight I am to have this Saturday in Houston at the Texas Int'l Grappling Festival. Hope to have a good showing and not look silly.

Personal life is a shambles, financially a bit of a wreck, also worried that teaching will take away greatly from my training and preparation time, and definitely nervous about my time management and ability to be successful business-wise, but, I at least have the school to focus on. No matter what's going on, it normally at least FEELS better after an hour or so on the mats...So... I fight on...

Thought For The Day: It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Hammer...Needs To Keep Working

Weight: 212.8

Sometimes you're the hammer, and sometimes you are the nail. Tonight was my first night back from resting a week without practicing, and I was definitely the hammer. Transitions were crisp, I actually felt like the pressure I put on when in top side as well as passing was heavy, and I even felt confident enough in my guard to attempt to play spider guard ala Cobrinha at this year's Pan Ams(i.e. using my feet on the lapels not grabbing the sleeves but the bottom of the GI top)...Even set up a triangle from there...Worked in paper cutter very easily from top side several times where I realized the broken bone in my hand has not healed yet. :( When you have an night where the only thing you can look to get upset about is a reversal given on a scramble to a top level wrestler after trying for an ill advised submission attempt you haven't ever really drilled, you had a good night. On top of all that, I felt that my cardio was really still there....In fact, it was even better as Marcus said it would be when he advised me to take sometime off...
All that said, I got asked a few times about being belted as the word of it floats around and looked at what I did tonight and over the course of this level...In a phrase: I am simply nowhere near ready. My reversals are still too rudimentary for the next level. My passing, though much better, is not even close to what's needed to be effective at Preta. There are still tiny things that I simply do not know, and don't know that I don't know until presented with them. I am not fluid, not smooth and effective like Black belts should be and are in my opinion. I simply do not have the time in to deserve promotion IMO. I am nowhere near the guys who have made it to that level in a comparable amount of time. Merely being able to compete with people at a higher rank doesn't give me the same credentials as them I don't think. The frustrating thing is that I do not even know how long it will take for me to get there. And with my school opening, the time I have had to train a lot will dwindle to the point where I am not sureI can keep progressing as I have been. On top of that, what else do I do competition-wise? I have won pretty much all the tournaments I have been to at my level and in the last two specifically (Euro and Pan) I won all by submission. I think I am ahead of the curve for my own level, but do not thing I am close to the next. I honestly don't know what to do. I just know that I need more work, so...I pick up my hammer and I fight on...

Thought For The Day: "If you can't come when I need you, then I don't need you."

Though For The Day2: "When on the brink of complete discouragement, success is discerning that... the line between failure and success is so fine that often a single extra effort is all that is needed to bring victory out of defeat."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"It Be Callin' Me..."

Weight: 217.2

Well, I admit it....I have a problem....They say, admitting I have a problem, will be the first step in solving that problem...So here goes:
Hello, My name is Stephen...
***Imaginary Voices*** "Hi, Stephen."

...and I'm a Jiu-jitsu addict!

***Imaginary Applause***

Well, the mind is willing but the body is weak...I am pleased with the outcome of this week's tournament(Two Gold Medals, All matches won by submission), but the manner and way the matches went, I really see much to improve upon. Coach Allen has put it out there that if I won the Pan Ams and the Master/Seniors World's that he would belt me. I don't know how to feel about that. I have some really deep seated life issues about completing things that I may or may not pour out about the time the day of my promotion comes whenever it may be, but in my mind, I do not feel at all ready, nor worthy of that rank yet. Seeing where I wish to be, watching those I hold in high esteem teach and compete, and knowing what I and others expect and think a Black belt should be; I do not feel that I am any of that. All that said, I was inspired to put more effort into my training, smarter thought and preparation into it as well....I know that I do not work hard enough (not as hard nor as frequently as those who have done what I wish to do in the art). To do so, requires a re-dedication of mind and body that will take a lot out of me as the opening of my school looms, as does a few other tournaments which I'd hoped to compete in come up...Well, I consulted with Marcus today as I do with most of my preparation and competition questions, and pretty much he confirmed what I thought...I need to shut it down for a bit. On that note, no more training for me until next Monday. Haven't had a week off in as long as I can remember. I'd always say I would, but would keep visiting the gym and eventually(usually a day or two) I'd end up back on the mats...I'm like Pookie from New Jack City, except I fiend to choke people out not smoke out with people! LOL....I know I need to scale back some things but doing so seems to take me farther from the ending which will begin the rest of my career(Faixa Preta)...Lack of sponsorship in addition to just not having enough to do it on my own, will prevent me being able to compete in Brazil in May for the Brasileiro(Brazilian National CHampionships, and perhaps from another couple tournaments so that schedule will lighten up, but I need to take care in scheduling training once I start teaching April 13. Witht he hours in place, I will have to add some day training, and private scheduling to make sure I continue my progression. We shall see how it is..Hopefully, some decently skilled people in addition to some new comers will enroll at my school making it easier for me to have some good training...Anyways, I will listen as I've never been steered wrong by Marcus and put myself on the shelf until Monday...Against the pull of the addiction to the gentle art, and in general just to get better....I fight on...

Thought For The Day: When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible. Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.