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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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

 

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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

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Hero

Hero is defined as 1. A person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. 2. A person who is greatly admired. 3. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. 4. A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

I think most Americans agree that members of the United States military are heroes, they go into a foreign land and risk their lives for the interest of the United States. That said, to our enemies they are no heroes, they’re villains destroying their homeland. I also believe that the majority of Americans consider law enforcement to be heroes, however there’s a large portion of people who consider the police to be bullies or worse. I think we can all agree that firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are heroes. To kids growing up their favorite athlete can be a hero, to a young boy his father, and to a young girl her mom. The list goes on.

There really is no clear cut criteria, it’s all subjective, a hero to you may not be a hero to me and vise versa.

Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

There are lots of ways to look at this as well. It takes courage to go fight a war, go into a burning building while everyone else is running out, apprehend an armed criminal, get into a cage and fight another man, go to school on your first day when you don’t know anyone, fight cancer, tell you mom you did something you weren’t supposed to, admit to yourself your family and friends that you are gay, etc, etc..

Just because you may disagree with what others perceive as courage doesn’t diminish their perception of it. To compare someone who’s fighting cancer, to someone who lost a leg in war, to a transgender person is not fair. The phrase apples to oranges come to mind.

So did what Bruce Jenner did take courage? Yes

Is Caitlin Jenner a hero? To the others who are going through the same struggle, Yes.

I personally do not see Bruce/Caitlyn as a hero, but I do think he/she showed courage. Either way none of this affects my life so I move on.

Why are so many of you so angry over this? Keep scrolling, change the channel, whatever. Why must everything fit within your realm of what should be. We all need to accept the fact that we are all different, with our on views, needs, and beliefs.

And stop bring God into everything it’s irrelevant to the conversation, and from what I understand about Jesus he would be not only tolerant of all this, but helpful and supportive.

Peace

Mr/Ms Perfect

I’ve been a musician for a long time. I know my limitations, I’m not a great bass player, guitar player, or singer. I’m aware of what I do well and where I’m weak. I know when I have a good performance and a bad performance. By the way a good performance doesn’t mean I played every note perfectly, if it did I never had a good performance in my life. Being critical of every note is completely ridiculous. If thats how you listen to music you’re cheating yourself of enjoying the experience. Nobody plays every note perfect, and I do mean nobody. Musicians at the highest levels are not perfect 100%.

Another thing, although I like most music there is good and not so good in every genre. There is music I really like that most people I know think sucks. In my opinion (for what it’s worth). No music sucks. You may disagree with how it’s created, the way it sounds, whatever, that doesn’t make it suck.

Anyway back to my original point. I’m not the greatest musician, I make lots of mistakes, I have to read charts to play songs I’ve been playing forever. When I sing I go off key at times, hell sometimes I can’t even get back on. I have good nights and bad nights. But the most important thing is I get out there and do it. I put my fears and insecurities and social anxiety aside and give it my all every time I step out on that stage. Whether it’s the smallest bar with my cover band or a big stage with my original band, you get 100% of my heart and soul in every performance.

Think about that next time you say someone sucks. Especially those of you who have never put yourself out there for all to be critical of. So if you can’t even play the guitar you probably shouldn’t be talking about how much someone else sucks at it…

Just something to think about..

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Peace

Just some more thoughts…

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There is a ton of great new music out there, you just need to go and find it. Don’t just listen to what the record companies and radio stations are trying to jam down your throats..

The fact that “Tips” are now called “Hacks” irritates me.

I don’t understand why it’s suddenly cool for the younger generations to like Tony Bennett. Yes he’s a great singer, I know.. But really….

If you keep mentioning K____ W____ every time he does something: he wins…

The Odd Couple was the best sitcom ever.

If you’re going to ignore me on social media, ignore everything, don’t suddenly appear when you disagree with me.

Slaughtered Grace. (I’m lucky to now be a part of it).

I have the best daughter in the world.

And the best, most beautiful girlfriend.

Peace…..

Cardio

IMG_6846Cardio
Cardio is a much more complicated issue then most realize. There are many ways to approach cardio training. First question; why are you doing cardio? Do you want to lose fat? Do you just want every day life to be easier? Are you training for a sport? This needs to be established before you start your cardiovascular program.

I know that you must be thinking, what’s the difference, if I run my heart rate will go up my lungs are getting stronger, my cardiovascular health will be good. Well for the most part this is true, but not completely. As any boxer who tries Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will tell you, when they grapple they “gas” pretty quickly, and vice versa.

Now if you are just trying to lose some fat, drop a few pounds, or just be able to perform everyday tasks easier, or you’re the parent of a young child and you want to be able to keep up. Then by all means run, ride a bike, walk, take a spin class, dance, Zumba, etc, these are all good forms of cardiovascular exercise. If you are training for a sport, well then you need to do sport specific training.

If you’re a boxer and you want the ability to go 12 3 minute rounds well you better get in that ring and start sparring, and spar hard, don’t fake it. Of course the road work will help out, but, it’s not enough. If BJJ is you’re game do your road work then start rolling (sparring) and when you get tired keep going. If you rest when you get tired your progress will be slow at best. When you feel your tank is empty, give it more, you may just surprise yourself.

Push yourself beyond the limits that YOU set for yourself. Yes, you set the limits and only you can stop you from blowing right past them. You think you’re tired, go 5 more minutes, then 10 more, or better yet go 1minute longer as hard as you can. Then take a short rest, and I do mean short, and do it again.

As always if you have any questions or would like to get into more detail and start a program, contact me and I will be happy to get into it.
Train Hard
Peace

Hit the Gym

Unless you’re planning on being a bodybuilder stop lifting like one. Does your workout look a little like this? Back/hams/biceps – chest/triceps/forearms – quads/shoulders/traps? Are you doing 3 sets of 8, pyramids, tri sets, super sets, etc? Well if all this looks familiar, good luck at the Olympia.

Now I know most of you are not training to be bodybuilders so why are you lifting this way? I would rather see you join the cult; C—-fit. Now I don’t agree with their complete philosophy, and I think the Paleo diet is a bit ridiculous, however they do have some pretty good workouts. That being said, they also take things too far for the average person and that can be quite dangerous.

So if you’re working out (lifting) just to stay in good shape, cut fat, put on a little muscle, and just get a little stronger you should be hitting all your muscles in each workout; to some extent. Start each workout with a major movement and then follow with exercises to support. I typically divide the workout by 4 parts, military press, dead lift, flat bench press, and squat. You can do this however you feel comfortable just follow the format.

Here is an example: Day 1 – Military press, barbell row, close grip press, dips. Day 2 – Dead lift, straight leg dead lift, barbell curl, rack pull up. Day 3 – flat bench press, incline chest press, and pull ups, bent lateral raise. Day 4 – squat, shrugs, leg curls, and hang cleans.

The next issue I would like to address is how much weight, how many reps, and how many sets to perform. I see it all too often, people just through some plates on a bar do 8 or 10 reps, add some more weight and repeat with no rhyme or reason. Well I’ve developed a formula that works well and lets you see your progress, and most importantly you will feel your progress. The rep range I work in is 8 to 12, if I can’t hit 8 reps; the weight is too heavy, if I can do more than 12, well then it’s not heavy enough. Next is sets, I typically do 3 sets increasing the weight by 5 pounds per set. Here’s an example, set 1 – 100lbs set 2 – 105lbs set 3 – 110lbs. Now as long as I hit my rep range the next time I do this exercise I will start at my middle set weight: example 105, 110, 115.

Next, be sure to write down your workouts and record everything, by writing it down on paper you know exactly what you need to do in each workout. I don’t care how good your memory is there is no way you can remember every weight and every set and every rep. Also by writing everything you can see you progress on paper, as well as in the mirror and in the way you will feel.

Now each time through the 4 workouts is 1 cycle. I recommend that every fifth cycle is used as an active rest period. This will help prevent reaching a plateau and or burning out. To achieve this active rest you will be doing the same workout as in the cycle, the only difference will be in the weight used and reps, during this period you will use the weight from the middle set of your previous workout and performing 8 reps for 3 sets. After 1 cycle of active rest resume the above format.

Be sure to start each workout with a good full body warm up, and stretch when you finish lifting. I’ll address flexibility training, cardio training, and abs in future blogs.

If you don’t fully understand or would like more detail on this please message me and I will be happy to give you more info and explain in great detail.

Peace