What Do You Want To Be

What do you want to be? This is a question often asked to children as they grow up and progress through their school years and life experiences. The question is usually asked as what do you want to be (when you grow up)?

A few questions immediately come to mind when I hear this question, first how would a 10 year old have an idea of what he or she wants to be “when they grow up” when they don’t really even know what is available to them. My second question is how many “grown ups” really know what they want to be? 

Here’s the bigger question, why is this usually defined by the job people decide to pursue? If you chose to be a doctor, lawyer, police officer, teacher, custodian, or burger flipper is that really who you are, or is it just what you do?

One more question, why do we not ask this question to adults? Do you know what you want to be? Do you define what you are by what you do to earn money? Does what someone does for a wage define what they are, or does someones character and value set define what they are. Is the person who decided to be a doctor more valuable than the person who decided to be cashier? What you decided to do is not what you are, it does not define your value versus what someone else decided to be.

So what do I want to be? Honest, reliable, kind, healthy, a good father, boyfriend, and friend. In short a good human being who cares about others.

What do I want to do? Now thats a whole other question.

Stay Human 

Peace

Step 1

Step 1, start. Doesn’t matter how you start, just start. If weight loss is the goal and you don’t know how to lose weight starting may be reaching out to a trainer or a nutritionalist, it can also be as simple as a 10 minute walk after dinner, or skipping the sugary coffee drink you pick up on the way to work. 

The important thing is to do something, and keep in mind, the easier the first step is, the easier it will be to stick with and build upon. If you decide your first step is an hour of cardio followed by weight lifting and a 900 calorie diet I can pretty much assure you will fail.

Start with small easy steps, but START…

Peace

Behavior Change for Health

In order to achieve long term success in your health and fitness you need to address the thought process that brought you to your current state of being. Trying to start a new diet plan and exercise program without addressing and correcting negative thoughts and behaviors will inevitably lead to failure; to have good physical health you need to have good mental health. All 3 areas are important to address, however your thoughts drive the entire experience and must be in order to lead you on the path to success.

The behavioral change process is based on self reflection through guided sessions where we find healthier thoughts to replace less than healthy thoughts which usually lead to less than healthy actions and a less than healthy life. You cannot control the thoughts that enter you mind but you can control your reactions to them and replace them with constructive helpful thoughts to move you onto a productive, healthy life.

 

Mobility Vs. Flexibility

Mobility is the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.

Mobility is based on movement and motor control.

Flexibility is the ability of a muscle to move passively through a range of motion.

Flexibility is temporary. 

You can’t effectively stretch a muscle that crosses a joint with limited mobility. 

Proper execution of mobility exercises will improve free movement through a joints full range of motion. When performed consistently mobility training may help correct imbalances, help reduce the risk of injury, and help with the performance of resistance training and free movement. 

Mobility movements are ideal to use as a lead in to resistance training as they prepare joints to move through their full range allowing proper form and full range throughout each exercise.  

Stretching muscles prior to resistance training may result in decreased performance as stretching muscles sends a signal to the muscle to relax and will have a detrimental effect on the muscles ability to fully contract for maximum strength. 

Stretching is most effective post resistance training. 

Peace

Close the Gap

All common sense and decency has left our society and what we have left is a division without compromise or empathy and a close mindedness unwilling to give on anything regardless of the greater good. 

I have always been a strong supporter of law enforcement (almost to a fault at times) and tried to become a police officer but due to poor decisions when I was younger was unable to make that happen. Throughout my martial arts career I have trained many law enforcement members from the local level up to the federal level. With all this being said I will not hesitate to call out any law enforcement officer who crosses the line from enforcing the law to abuse of power and/or flat out breaking the laws they pledge to uphold. I believe the overwhelming majority of the law enforcement community are good people who chose this career for all the right reasons and I would never condemn the entire community based on the actions of a small percentage of bad actors within it.

For all the progress we have made it seems we have stepped back to a time where people are tired of being treated differently for the color of their skin, their religion, or anything else that makes them different from the majority. I constantly hear about the change that Dr Martin Luther King Jr was able bring and believe he has, however here we are 52 years after his death with many of the same issues. 

Now in small towns and major cities throughout the United States we have protest and marches pretty much daily with the intention of bringing attention and ultimately change and full equality for all people. Unfortunately with protest comes the opportunist who will take advantage of a situation with bad intentions which cast a dark cloud on an entire movement. As descent people who care and empathize with the struggles some go through just for the skin color they were born with or the conditions they were born into or a variety of other situations and reasons we should support these protest and also want and fight for these changes for the good of our society as a whole. 

Just like in the law enforcement community where the percentage of bad actors is small, the overwhelming majority of protesters fighting for equality for all are peaceful and they should not be grouped in with the bad actors. Protest needs to make people uncomfortable in order to effectively bring about change, while this may inconvenience some it’s not destructive or violent yet is often portrayed as so and in some cases met with force and violence. 

All everyone wants is to be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, financial status, and whatever other categories we are separated by to keep the division. Im not really sure why this is such a hard concept for so many to grasp yet there are still so many who feel superior based on these classifications and continue to look down upon, suppress, and vilify those they feel are inferior, or think differently than they do.      

Just like you don’t want to be grouped and/or categorized you shouldn’t group and/or categorize others. If you are going to call out someone you oppose, you should be willing to call out someone you support for the same offenses. It really doesn’t matter which side of the political isle you stand in, human decency should be paramount and people should come before politics. I would never condemn anyone for supporting a specific politician or party or ideology but if you venomously attack any who oppose you thats a different thing. We all have our own beliefs and values and this is good, however we all need to be respectful of each other and accept our differences. 

It’s really quite simple: Be who you are and let others be who they are, and treat everyone the way you like to be treated. 

Oh and by the way, you cant be a silent majority if you never shut the fuck up…..

Be nice

Peace 

Free Your Mind……

The big picture has already been taken, the problem is most refuse to see it. Most everyone instead chooses to look at their own little snapshots that support their own views. Most are afraid for even 1 second to step into someone else’s shoes and maybe open their minds and see the issues through the eyes of another, open their minds to absorb the data and let it process unfettered and possibly accept the facts and god forbid change their minds on a subject based of the info received. You see most seem to feel that changing their opinion is some kind of weakness or flip flop as opposed to the strength of having an open mind and ability to learn and grow. 

Most listen to respond and refuse to listen to hear and understand those who’s views differ, and if you cant take the time to process the information you cant understand or intelligently respond. It comes to a point where 2 people are just talking at each other and eventually ends right where it began.

Getting Older in Jiu Jitsu

As an older, not old (53) jiu jitsu practitioner/instructor I can easily admit that my physical abilities are weening. After a lifetime of physical abuse to my body by way of sports and martial arts training resulting is several surgeries my body just doesn’t do everything I ask of it with the same efficiency it once did. I’ll continue to roll as often as I can but, my focus has shifted.

On the other hand my knowledge continues to accumulate and my ability to pass that knowledge as a coach/instructor continues to expand daily and at this point in my life my main goal is to the best possible instructor I can be.

The best coaches are not always the best competitors and the best competitors do not always make great coaches.

I feel that as a coach/instructor I have far more to contribute to the growth of our martial art/sport then I could ever contribute as a competitor and at this point in my life I feel good about this.

Why Does Press 1 Bother You So Much?

I really don’t care which tribal label you give yourself, whether you’re republican, democrat, libertarian, socialist, green, communist, or team Renzo. I don’t care if you’re black, white, red, or yellow. I don’t care if you’re a man, woman, SIS (I don’t even understand what that means), gender fluid, trans, gay, straight, bi, or still confused where you fit in. I don’t care if you’re  a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or carnivore. I don’t care if you’re Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Atheist. I don’t care if you like rock, country, blues, disco, jazz, classical, electronic, R&B, or even opera for that matter. I don’t care if you like the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, or White Sox, Go Pirates. I don’t care if you like baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or soccer. Merry Christmas, happy holidays; who really cares, someone is wishing you well why do you care how they say it. On, and on, and on. Sorry if I excluded your tribe. 

While I agree far too many are looking for reasons to be offended, far to many are also going out of their way to intentionally be offensive.

I think that wherever you fit in we all have the same goals and that’s to be happy, healthy, and loved. If everyone put it a little effort it would really be quite easy. Let me be me while you be you. 

Be Kind

If everyone would just be kind to others this trip would be way easy. 

Peace

Basic Anatomy of a Jiu Jitsu Class

 

Okay so what makes up a BJJ class? In my opinion there are 3 basic parts to a complete BJJ class. This can be interpreted in a few ways but here is how I break it down. I’ve also included the issues that typically come with each part.

  1. Warm-up/stretch
  2. Drill 
  3. Roll (spar)

The class should start with a light warm-up and stretch. I combine these 2 components together because they should both be light and the stretch should be an active stretch and both the warm-up and stretch should be specific to the class to follow and the fundamental movements of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Far to often I see pre-class warm-up sequences that rival a full blown HIIT work-out and the students are spent before the actual jiu jitsu starts, or the warm up is just skipped all together. 

The second part of the class is where we learn the techniques and drill, drill, drill them. It’s also the part where the students like to talk more than the drill, do the technique 1 time and start looking to debunk its validity by resisting a partner who doesn’t even know the move yet. It’s also the most important part of the class because in addition to learning the technique whether it’s a transition, a sub, or a control technique, etc you should also be learning the theory behind the move, (when and why). 

Finally the rolling portion (sparing) of the class, the part everyone wants to skip straight too. This is the most fun part of the class and the part most people understand least. At the end of class when we roll each student should have a specific goal and that goal should be the same for each student. That goal is to try and apply the technique you just learned in class to a resisting partner who is trying to do the same to you. The thing I hear most when I tell this to students is “Yeah, but we just did this he’s going to be expecting it,” yeah, no shit and what better way to work the technique and develop a better understanding of both sides of that specific technique. 

This is also the part of the class that turns into a world championship fight to the death for some students, this serves no purpose other than the potential of injury and loss of students, it also causes students to not want to train with specific students for the above reason. Everyone should understand that the academy is a team with the end goal of improvement for all in a fun safe team environment. 

This anatomy of a BJJ class can be further broken down to subsections depending on the training atmosphere, for example is it a class or a seminar, length of the class, and if the class is training for a specific goal (upcoming competition). 

Have fun, train hard, train smart, and have fun 🙂

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Phish Adventure & the Days That Followed Part 2

Part 2

Before me and Jason split up at the Phish show I told him I need to bring Tara’s car in to his shop for a service. He told me Monday or Tuesday morning would be good, I said I would bring it on Monday at 9:00 am but that didn’t happen, I don’t remember why but I called him and said I would be coming in on Tuesday instead. 

I woke up on Tuesday 2 July 2019 prepared and ate my breakfast then headed to Lodi to Jason’s shop with Tara’s car. I got there right around 9:00 am and pulled the car right onto the lift (with Jasons guidance). Jason raised the car and did the oil change and tire rotation while I just walked around the shop and talked with him and John just like hundreds of times before. When the service was finished Jason lowered the car and pulled it out of the shop and parked it in the driveway and we went into the office, Jason printed up a bill for the service and we talked for a little bit about the typical shit we talked about every day specifically the concert from the weekend. A few minutes later a customer pulled in for a wheel alignment. Jason and I  walked outside to the car and before he got in the car to pull it into the shop I said Tara will be back later today and I’ll stop back in tomorrow to take care of the bill. He said whatever dude no rush, we shook hands, I said see you tomorrow. Jason got in the car and pulled onto the lift, I got into Tara’s car and split.

When I left the shop I drove home to drop off Tara’s car at my house and get my car and head to the gym to lift. While I was working out my phone rang (Eye of the Tiger ring tone), I glanced at it and it was Tony, I couldn’t answer but because Tony rarely calls me I called back right away. I figured he was in the area and wanted to stop over. Tony answered the phone and said Abe called him and said Jason had an accident at the shop and got hurt. I stated I just left the shop and everything was okay but Tony seemed really concerned so I decided to go right back to the shop. 

As I was driving back to the shop I figured maybe he hurt his hand trying to loosen a bolt or maybe something fell onto his foot or something stupid along those lines. As I crossed over Harrison Ave and the shop came into my sight horror set in as the entire corner was taped off with yellow police tape, there were a couple Lodi police cars and the Bergen County investigation truck all parked along the road. I quickly parked my car in front of the county truck and jumped out. One of the Lodi police officers was a friend so I called him over and asked what happened. He wouldn’t tell me much except that a car came off the lift and pinned Jason and it wasn’t good. He also told me that they took Jason to Hackensack University Medical Center. I jumped into my car and quickly started to drive to the hospital. As I was driving down Westervelt I decided to call Kevin (Jason’s brother). Kevin answered the phone with 2 words “he’s gone”. I had to pull over at this point. My phone call back to Tony was a difficult call to make. I didn’t want to say the words. 

I still can’t comprehend that about 30 minutes after I left the shop Jason left us. I’m so grateful for the friendship I had with Jason, and that I was with him for a while on that day. Jason was one of the best people there ever was. 

We had a great time at the Phish show and he owes me a Slipknot concert so Im sure he’ll be there with me. 

Like many others I spoke to Jason every day and stopped in the shop at least 1 time a week.  There’s a huge hole that can never be filled.IMG_8997-2