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

Bio-Logic 2

So when I received the Ancestry DNA test results in addition to biological nationality they also showed a large number of biological relatives; there were 2 at the top of the list of interest to me. Both were from opposite side of the parental DNA and indicated possibly 2 sisters, a short while later a third hit popped up also indicated close family. Since I had the adoption info I immediately knew who 2 of the matches were, the third I wasn’t quite sure; I am know. 

So it turns out I have 3 biological sisters and 2 biological brothers oh yeah and theres also twins I’m not sure of anything about them, (5 sibling on bio-father side, 2 on bio-mother side).  I started talking with my sister and aunt on my biological mothers side and we hit it off from the start. Tara took a ride with me out to Long Island to meet them for dinner one Sunday, I wasn’t sure what to expect and while I wasn’t nervous there was a weird feeling about it. Within seconds of walking through Michelle’s front door I felt 100% comfortable, like I’ve know her my entire life, there was never a second of awkwardness, it felt like home.

When we left that night to drive home I started to feel a little resentment, kinda like I was robbed of 47 years of having a relationship with Michelle. Tara who always has the right perspective talked me down, she said now that we have finally found each other I should embrace this and I should look to the future of our relationship and she’s 100% right. Since that initial meeting we talk often and Im looking forward to good times to come. 

Also since the initial meeting I have had contact with the 3rd close family DNA hit on Ancestry. This contact would be a bio-logical sister on my bio-farther side, and we have been talking a bit lately. She has another sister and had a brother (who passed a few years back) with my bio-father. He also has twins from a different marriage who I know nothing about. 

A lot of info has come in a short time and it can be a bit overwhelming but, I’m really happy to be finding all this info and talking with bio-logical siblings I never knew of. Being adopted has always left me with lots of questions, I now have some answers. 

Most likely To Be Continued……..

Here’s a picture of a strawberry for no particular reason 🙂

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Jiu jitsu in St Barthélemy 2

I’m going to jump back a little here to try to get a little more detail of this amazing trip. Christian (the creator of BJJ Globetrotters) and Katla picked up a group of us from the ferry, from there we drove to the hostel where we all stayed for the camp. The facility was built by the local government to host athletes visiting the island and is quite impressive. The way the facility is set up there are a number of “cabins” with dorm rooms and bathrooms in each. I stayed in cabin 1 dorm 1 which was a small room with 2 bunk beds and 2 closets for 4 of us to share. I’m not sure how the other dorms were set up (there were different options available) and we had to share a common bathroom which had 2 sinks 1 toilet and 2 showers in a common stall. Now anyone who knows me or has read my blog from the beginning knows as recent as 3 or 4 years ago there was no way I could’ve survived this setup, boy have I come a long way. There was also a common kitchen and an area with tables where we spent time eating, playing games, and just hanging out and also common bathrooms.

The gym where we trained we at was next door to the hostel. This was a big steel building divided in half. One half of the building is operated by the local BJJ and Judo club, the other half is a tae kwon do academy. During the camp the local club still held some of their regular classes. I was able to be involved with assisting during one of the kids classes which was a lot of fun; 2 of the camp instructors and myself played some jiu jitsu games and rolled with the kids. It was pretty impressive to see how well they behave and how receptive they were to 3 instructors who were not only strangers to them but also speak a different language (they speak French). 

Each day of the camp there were 3 or 4 classes and 1 open mat. The classes covered a lot of different areas of jiu jitsu in both gi and no-gi format. The initial open mat of the week was an outdoor open roll on the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, this experience is hard to describe with words so I’ll just attach a couple of pics.

Much like every other camp I’ve attended I met some pretty amazing people, people with a common interest and a common goal; jiu jitsu. Ego free, no politics jiu jitsu. An environment where everyone has the common goal of learning jiu jitsu and having fun in the process. Through the BJJ Globetrotters I’ve made some really great friends; people who I look forward to seeing when the next event comes along.  

To be Continued…….

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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……..

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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…….

I’m Back

Re-posting one of my past blog entries yesterday made me realize how long it’s been since I wrote anything new. As the new year came in I made a list of things I would like to accomplish in the coming year. This list includes starting a sauerkraut business, being consistent with making soap to grow that biz, release a weekly podcast and several other things I already do but incredibly inconsistently. I just added post a new blog weekly to my list.

This coming Sunday I will be heading to Saint Barthelemy for my 6th BJJ Globetrotters camp (4th time as an instructor). I will be teaching 2 classes at the camp, the 1/2 guard sweeps class I also taught in Iceland last July, and a new class I recently developed on the lasso guard. I’m really looking forward to this camp because it takes me away from the New Jersey winter for a few days even though this has been a mild winter. As much as I’m looking forward to going to the camp I still get an incredible amount of anxiety every time I attend BJJ camps. I think the fact that I’m usually one of the oldest if not the oldest martial artists at the camps contributes to my anxiety, also flying makes me very uncomfortable especially flying over water, however this usually passes quickly one I arrive at the camp.

My BJJ journey has been a long amazing trip and is finally at the junction where I feel like I’m passing knowledge to those who I reach through teaching and training. Although I’m not very old (52), when you spend a lifetime physically beating on your body 52 can sometimes feel like 100. Myself and most of the martial artist I know and train with do a variety of things to keep ourselves in good shape to continue training, teaching, and to keep our bodies strong and healthy. The catch 22 is the things that keep us in that condition can also be the very same thing that break us down. At this point in my life my main goal as a martial artist (BJJ specifically) is to be the best instructor I can possibly be and share my knowledge with as many people as I can. As much as I love to roll (spar) I need to be smart about it and limit myself so I can stay healthy and teach and train for many more years.

One more subject to cover here.
As most my friends and family know I was adopted from birth. Although I consider myself 100% American and I grew up in an Italian family (Sicily and Bari) I never knew my actual biological background. I do now…
Stay tuned………….

 

Eat Fresh

So let me start off with this; when someone tells you a specific exercise, diet, cleanse, or whatever the latest buzz happens to be will help you burn fat from a specific body part it’s in you best interest to walk away. This also applies to “cleansing” specific organs. Drinking lemon water, ginger water, apple cider vinegar water, salt water, pepper water, or any other spice water isn’t going to make your liver or any other internal organ cleaner and more functional, what it will accomplish is that you be drinking shitty tasting water all day which in most cases will cause you to dink less water than you should be drinking; end result, dehydration.

The people who making these claims come from one of the following groups; people who will gain financially from you believing their claims, or people who are not properly educated on the subject.

The truth is, if you follow a good diet eating fresh food and drink at least half your body weigh in water (body weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water) on a daily basis, (if you’re very active add 10 to 15 % to this), eliminate processed food, and excessive sugar, and do some exercise daily you will start to lose excessive body fat.

Supplements, do you need to take them; well, the 80 katrillionbillion dollar supplement industry will tell you that you need every vitamin, mineral and herb on earth to maintain a healthy balance, strengthen your immune system, have a strong healthy heart and digestive system. Truth is if you eat fresh foods and in great variety you are most likely getting everything you need to stay healthy. Best way to find out, go get a full physical and blood work to test for deficiencies. Better yet, do you feel good, eat fresh food in variety? Yes, you don’t need supplements.

If your diet eliminates specific foods you may need to supplement, for example if you follow a vegan diet you will need a B12 supplement. Also in the winter when you’re not getting the proper sunlight you may need a D supplement. Of course with varying issues there may be some exceptions to this, but I speaking to generally healthy people.

In summary:
Eat a good variety of fresh food, eliminate processed food and sugar, and move your body.

Peace

Peace Chester

Chester Bennington’s death by suicide affects me but not for the same reasons as most. You see I like his music, but only casually. He didn’t influence me in any way and I don’t feel he pioneered a new sound in music. I think he capitalized on a sound and took it to a higher lever, at least with “Hybrid Theory”, I don’t care for much after that. This being said I do realize the impact and influence he had on the younger generation; the music we grow up with has the biggest impact on our lives, and his death definitely leaves a void for many fans.

Chester’s death and that of Chris Cornell affect me because I too deal with depression every day of my life, and every day I also consider the same route they ultimately decided was the only way. It’s not an act of selfishness, and it’s something you will never understand unless you live it. The best we can do is try to find a way to manage it 1 day at a time, 1 hour at a time, 1 minute at time, and second by second.

Where I feel a lot go wrong with this is going the drug route, whether prescribed or not. At least in my situation this made things worse. I know many people use anti-depressant drugs with great success, however they’re not a fix all for everyone. For me personally physical activity has been the best medicine, when I’m on the mats training and/or teaching Brazilian jiu jitsu my mind is free and I don’t have a problem in the world and I’m happy. I truly believe Brazilian jiu jitsu and physical activity in general can help everyone who fights with depression.

I privately train a USMC vet who has PTSD, we have very similar issues although we have them for very different reasons. I see how being on the mat training makes his load lighter for the time we train and I see how his face changes the second he walks through the door. I know this is the very best therapy available to fight through depression. I also know everyone is different and needs to find what they feel is best for them in dealing with depression and the thoughts and pain that come with it..

Over the past couple of days I’ve seen a lot of posting on Facebook about Chester, mostly positive but there are always some who feel they know it all and feel the need to go the douche bag route. To the douche bags I say enjoy your perfect lives. To the positive and all the people who are hurting from the loss of Chester, pop in Hybrid Theory and crank the volume and enjoy the gift he gave us all…

Peace..