Jiu Jitsu in St Barthélemy – 1

Question – What’s better than a vacation in the French West Indies? 

Answer – A jiu jitsu vacation in the French West Indies. 

So this was the 6th BJJ camp I’ve been to and although I love them all for different reasons this one I believe to be my favorite to date. More on the reason for this thought later. 

The trip started with a flight to St. Maarten. After getting through customs I jumped into a cab to Philipsburg so I could catch a ferry to St. Barthélemy. When I got there I had a couple of hours to walk around town and grab some lunch. The biggest thing I noticed in Philipsburg is that they have yet to recover from hurricane Irma. The city seemed pretty run down and although there is rebuilding in progress it seems some areas are forgotten and it’s going to take quite some time. I did sit in a small bar/restaurant for lunch (I don’t remember the name but the wifi code is buybeer). The place is what I pictured as a stereotypical Caribbean bar and while I don’t drink I was hungry and the place looked really cool so I felt compelled to get lunch there. My lunch; an awesome vegetable wrap and fries.

Did I mention I ate like shit for the past 9 days? 

*Side note – left Saddle Brook 10 Feb 174.8 pounds, this morning 19 Feb 171.6.. Scratches head…..

Ok, the ferry from St Maarten to St. Barthélemy, where do I start? Do not, and I mean do not under any circumstances sit outside in the last row on the left side of the boat unless you dig the smell of diesel fuel and like being soaked with salt water, by the time we docked it looked like I swam there however, I was in St. Barthélemy and about to begin a week of surfing, jiu jitsu, and all around fun with a group of awesome people.

Now I need to address what’s makes this camp so special,  besides the prefect weather and island life of course. Most of the camps I’ve attended have anywhere from 100 to 200 participants so training partners of all size and skill levels are readily available however, it’s hard to meet everyone and people tend to group off. This camp has about 35 to 40 people in attendance so it was easy to meet everyone and actually get to know them. We ate dinner together ever night, went to the beaches together, trained together and just had a great time hanging out and playing games, one night after dinner I witnessed one of the most intense games of pick up sticks ever played. 

Cliff Hanger…..

To be continued……..

fullsizeoutput_3cbc

Bio-Logic

A while back I started writing my story. It started off with the fact that I was adopted from birth and although I grew up in a 100% Italian family I did not know my biological back ground. Before I could finish the story Tara told me she had a gift for me and would be giving it to me later that night. What was the gift you may be asking; an Ancestry DNA kit. At first I wasn’t sure if I would even use it and I let it sit there for a while before I made the decision to spit in the vile.

Now just to take you back a little bit, my family somehow had a connection with the family of the woman who gave birth to me. Also my mother had all the papers from the adoption and gave them to me before she died so I had all the information on the adoption. A while before Tara bought me the DNA kit I did a quick google search and within 5 minutes I knew quite a bit about my biological mother and her immediate family. 

Just to makes this clear I had the best mom I could have ever asked for and wouldn’t have changed that for anything. My father died when I was very young and after that we struggled a bit. My mom worked extremely hard to make sure me and my sister had everything we needed, she sacrificed her time and happiness for us. Im sure she would’ve loved to go out with friends and possibly meet someone but she didn’t because we became her top priority. For this I am extremely grateful but also feeling a little guilt because she deserved to be happy and Im not really sure she was. 

Getting back to the DNA test I really don’t care much about the nationality part of the test. I was born Bayshore NY, grew up in Lodi NJ, and I carry an American passport; I am 100% American plain and simple. I did’t think I would care about biological family, turns out I was wrong about that. 

 

To be continued…….

Sab-Jits The Podcast Episode 3

Podcastlogo_1

 

Sab-Jits the Podcast Episode 3

Today I sat and talked with my friend, student, and training partner Oscar Martinez at The Edge Ultimate Martial Arts Academy in Saddle Brook NJ. We talked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Self Defense….

Thoughts V1.0

1. I’ve been training in the martial arts for a lot of years and will continue to do so for as long as I can physically do so. I’ve had my share of injuries over the years which have slowed my training and given me barriers to climb and I have always managed to get over them. I have to admit it’s frustrating as fuck sometimes and I’ve had to change the way I do a lot of things but, I still feel pretty damn good overall.

2. Vegans be vegans, meat eaters be meat eaters, and whatever the fuck else you would like to categorize yourself as do whatever the fuck you want. Can we at least agree on one thing, the animals in factory farms should no be abused. It’s bad enough they’re bred for slaughter, at the very least they should be respected during their short lives. I don’t understand the constant back and forth argument about what we’re “meant” to eat. It’s all bullshit. There’s science to back every opinion because whoever pays for the science gets the scientific result they want. I do realize there are radical vegans who take things to far, there’s a fine line between passion and aggression.

3. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Socialist, conservative, liberal, left,right, center, blah, blah, blah.
How about do whats best for the people and stop deciding everything by party lines. Common sense, and right or wrong no longer matter. At the federal, state and local levels politics have come down to just opposing each other without regard for the people they are supposed to be representing and looking out for. What makes this situation far worse is the “we the people” (hahahahahaha) let them divide us, so while they continue to bend us over we’re to busy fighting each other to realize it.

and lastly. I find it funny how many from my generation seem to have forgotten all we did growing up. Constant complaints about the current generation, millennial this and millennials that, well let me tell you this; every generation has its good and it’s bad, and by the way, if the millennials are fucked up please remember which generation is raising them. Oh yeah, I forgot; “not my kid”.

Lastly 2. Hey christians, you can’t pick and chose which parts of Jesus’ teachings you like.

 

If you find anything offensive start by looking at yourself. Typically if something offends you it most likely means it hit home…

Please don’t call me professor.

Have a great day 🙂

Peace

 

 

Fall Camp, Heidelberg Germany

 

Fall Camp Heidelberg Germany

I guess to start by saying the camp was awesome would just be redundant as all the camps are awesome. This was my third BJJ Globetrotters camp and the best to date. As always I met and made friends with great people from all around the world, but this time, for the first time, I taught a class at camp. My fear was an empty mat, the reality was just over eighty participants, how awesome is that. My class was on passing the butterfly guard and I taught with my typical combination of technical instruction and sarcastic wit. I received a lot of positive feedback from many of the students and some great feedback from a couple of the other instructors. I would say my first class teaching (of hopefully many more) for the BJJ Globetrotters was successful.

The second reason this camp was so important to me was because just like the first globetrotters camp I attended it helped my overcome an anxiety trigger. The prospect of sharing a cabin with 9 others and sharing a bathroom was a total nightmare; however, I decided I needed to do this to overcome one aspect of my social anxiety and I did. The trigger to overcome this time was to travel outside the United States; yes, in my 51 years this is the first time I left the US, you would think as close as I live to Canada I would’ve made that trip at least once by now but; I have, well had this thing about leaving the states. Anxiety trigger 2 conquered.

The camp itself is an amazing experience. You get to meet and train with others who share the same passion for Brazilian jiu jitsu that you have. These other campers come from around the globe and bring their style of BJJ with them. Although we all train the same art it is a very personal and unique experience for every participant due to all the variables that come from everyone’s individuality. Seeing other people’s little variances on techniques is a great way to improve your training by opening previously overlooked options.

Heidelberg, Germany was an excellent choice for a camp location. The sports complex was quite large and the mat space easily accommodated 200 plus globetrotters. Classes transitioned smoothly from one instructor to the next and the open mat periods flowed nicely. The sports hall also had clean locker rooms equipped with showers and a great cafeteria that offered inexpensive food options for those who did not participate in the food plan.

I wasn’t sure what it would be like staying in a hostel but even that turned out to be a pleasant experience. We were 4 to a room and we had a private bathroom and it was clean with comfortable bunks.

The city of Heidelberg may be the coolest place I’ve ever visited. The old part of the city with its narrow cobble stone roads and small homes was like traveling back in time. In the city center the streets were lined with small shops, bars, and restaurants were you can get any type of food you could possibly want. Then there’s the castle overlooking the city, a nice climb to go in the back way, or you can drive up to the main entrance, a great experience regardless of your choice with breath-taking views out over the city and the Neckar River.

Speaking of the Neckar River, there’s a really cool park on the riverside that has beach volleyball courts, and outdoor bar, and music playing continuously, a great place to hang out and just relax and soak it all in. There is also a bike/walking path that extends for miles on the riverside.

The other thing that struck me about Heidelberg was that a large percentage of the residents ride bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. They have a rent a bike system in place with pickup/drop off points all over the city and virtually every place you go there are bike racks, also there are bike lanes on almost every road and they even have traffic lights specific to bicycles.

The one negative in the entire trip was the lack of internet access. Heidelberg has free wi-fi in the city which I was able to access however there was no internet access. The only 2 places I was able to get online were the cafeteria in the sports center and the hostel lobby.. Oh, hold on a second, that’s actually a good thing too. Never mind it was 100% positive.

All in all this was an amazing trip with great Brazilian jiu jitsu, great people, great food, and I cant wait to do it all again…

 

Peace

But I Thank………..

I don’t necessarily believe in the concept of God as this supreme being that has created everything and has predetermined our existence, however I find myself thanking him (or her) every day. I do believe that most of the stories written in the Bible are true, however in the cases where God is speaking to some of the cast I feel there is another explanation. Don’t ask me what that explanation is as I don’t know the answers, all I have is more questions.

 

BJJ Tournament Rules

It seems like every week a new grappling federation is popping up and holding tournaments. I think this is both good and bad. Good in the way that our sport is growing in popularity, and bad because with this growth usually comes the watering down of the original intent of the “art”. The original intent of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was self protection, self protection in the way that a smaller person could defend themselves against a lager attacker. The original intent of Tae Kwon Do was self protection, typically meeting force with force with defensive maneuvers and punching and kicking. With the popularity of Tae Kwon Do tournaments the rules slowly began to change. First the punching began to fade then the contact began to fade. When I trained in TKD we fought when we sparred, there was contact and if the fight went to the ground as most fights do you’d better know how to fight there as well. We didn’t go for points for one simple reason; if you get attacked your attacker will not stop attacking because you scored a point.

While I feel that sport martial arts are good it’s the rules that water down the martial art itself. Traditionally speaking, if you got a black belt it meant you could fight and defend yourself, now if you get a black belt in a martial art designed for competition that meaning isn’t necessarily true. A lot of black belts today have a false sense of security due to the sport aspect of the what they are learning.

Now here’s the issue I have with all the grappling tournaments that are popping up every week, each one has a different set of rules, and much like what happened to TKD this is watering down BJJ. More and more schools have a sport based curriculum (if they have a curriculum at all) and this takes the self protection out of the art. While I agree that for children there are certain things that need to be modified in both training and competition for safety, however adults need to train the art as it was meant to be. Therefore as an adult in competition there should not be limits on the moves and submissions that are (or least least should be) part of every adult BJJ academy curriculum. I realize there is no easy answer to this issue, however I feel it needs to be addressed.

 

To be continued…

Peace

 

My First Sleep Away Camp

Now I know based on the title you probably think this is a story about when I was a kid; However, you be wrong. You see I never went away to camp when I was a kid, I never even went to day camp for that matter. I remember watching TV and there were always commercials for sleep away camps. The commercials made to camps look like so much fun and I’m sure they were. Then “Meatballs” and “Little Darlings” came out and I really wanted to go to camp. But let me get back on track here.

On Wednesday Sept. 7th I will be leaving for Camp Winaukee in New Hampshire located on Lake Winnipesaukee. Now you may be asking yourself at this point; camp, why is he going to camp now, school starts that week, and he’s 50 years old. Well I’ll tell you why, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I will be attending The BJJ Globetrotters USA camp 2016. I’m hoping this will be the first of many Globetrotter camps to follow. I am truly looking forward to training with people of all skill levels from all over the country, and world for that matter. There will be over a dozen instructors teaching classes from morning until night and I’m excited about the prospect of learning new technique and getting new perspective on technique I already practice. I’m also looking forward to rolling with some different partners, I believe this will take me out of my comfort zone which will bring new growth. One of the goals I would like to take from this camp is the ability to instruct at future camps and expand my involvement with the BJJ Globetrotters.

I think what I’m most looking forward to is meeting, training, and just talking with Chris Haueter. If you’re not familiar with him go to YouTube and look him up. Chris is a pioneer in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the United States. He was part of the “dirty dozen”, the first non-Brazilians to earn black belts which he did in 1996 being promoted by Rigan Machado.

I’m really looking forward to making new friends in the BJJ community from beginners to seasoned black belts.

I feel this camp will be the first step in taking my martial arts career to new heights.

Finally I would like to thank my beautiful girlfriend Tara for the gift of this camp. 🙂

Peace

 

IMG_5628

Leave it on the Mat

When you get on the mats it releases all the outside distractions and stresses of life. You are pushing yourself physically and mentally and growing every session (whether you realize this, or not). You will have good days and bad days, days you feel every technique is working with minimal effort, and days it seems nothing you do is right. You may tap an upper belt, you may get tapped by a lower belt, either way you will learn something about your technique and more importantly about yourself.
Leave it all on the mats, don’t brag and don’t pout, never leave the mats angry..
‪#‎brazilianJiuJitsu‬ ‪#‎LeaveItAllOnTheMats‬
Oss

sabjits sample 8

My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Journey

 

My martial arts career started around 1985 with Shukokai Karate under sensei Shigeru Kimura. I never felt very comfortable in this system as it just felt very rigid to me causing me to struggle. Needless to say I didn’t last very long and set out to find another art that I could excel at and not leave class frustrated every night. After trying a few different schools I eventually decided on a Tae Kwon Do Academy that taught a more traditional style of Tae Kwon Do based on fighting and self defense; NOT sport. After years of training I then found the art of Sil Jun Do which to me seemed to make more sense than anything else I’ve seen in my martial arts training and I’ve been there training under Master Richard Raciti every since. In my years of training with Master Raciti I have gotten to the level of 3rd degree black belt in his Sil Jun Do system and I’ve also earned my Black kruang in Muay Thai.

About 13 years ago Master Raciti brought in Sean Alverez for a seminar in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Sean brought with him one of his students Jojo Guarin who was purple belt at the time. The seminar was amazing and I was hooked immediately. I wasn’t the only Edge student who felt this, there were about 7 of us who wanted to continue this journey. So Edge BJJ program was born. It started with Jojo coming to our academy on Saturday afternoons for a 2 hour BJJ class. After a few weeks of this we added a second night of training on our own with the drills and techniques we were taught. I feel this commitment to drilling gave us a solid foundation on which to build.

After a few years of training and some changes in the program we were training under we had the need to find a new affiliation. Enter 8th degree Coral belt Master Joe Moreira who we have been under ever since, and the evolution of our BJJ program.

I feel that under Master Moreira my Jiu Jitsu has grown and developed to the point where I have a sense of confidence that combined with my other martial arts skills there is no situation I can’t handle with calm and deliberate action.

On Thursday April 7 2016 for Master Joe Moreira along with Richard Raciti and Justin Rios, I was put to the test to prove these skills. After first demonstrating my attacks and escapes along with BJJ principles I was then put to the task of defending myself using these skills from various positions of disadvantage. After this I had to fight using only my BJJ against a fighter who had the ability to kick, punch, and whatever else he could throw at me, and finally roll (spar) pure BJJ. This test lasted hours and when I finally finished the test I was completely spent. I was mentally and physically drained, but it was one of the best days I every spent on the mats.

On Saturday April 9 2016 at the conclusion of Master Moreira’s seminar at The Rush Defense Academy in Bernardsville NJ I was called to the front of the class were Master Moreira awarded me with my Black Belt and Certificate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Master Moreira also awarded Richard Raciti with his 3rd degree Black belt and Justin Rios with his 1st degree black belt and instructors stripes and certificate.

I feel extremely honored to receive this promotion from Master Moreira and share the day with both Richard Raciti and Justin Rios. I also feel grateful to those of my Edge Family who were there to witness this promotion. I am also so thankful for having the best girlfriend anyone could ever ask for and that she was there to share this moment with me.

IMG_5628

Oss