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.

 

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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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.

 

All Time Low

“We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal.” — John F. Kennedy

Regardless of who wins the election a few things are clear.

  1. The people who voted for the winner will be happy and continue to defend their candidate regardless of good or bad performance. The good will be I told you so and the bad will be blame on everyone else for not letting the new president accomplish goals.

2. The people who voted for the loser will continue to cry foul (rigged election, voter fraud, etc) and continue to attack the winner and all who support the new president. Hillary is a killer crook who belongs in the big house not the white house, Donald is a sexist, racist, and so on.

3. The conspiracy theorist will continue with the man behind the curtain pulls the strings and the president holds no power so it really doesn’t matter who the president is anyway.

4. The media will continue with attacks on the party opposite of the signature on their paychecks, which ensures we never get any real news or facts as to what is actually happening.

5. The internet will continue to have equal stories to support both sides of the coin so whether you a heads guy or a tails guy you will be able to easily find information to back your stance. The problem is most of the info is bogus like the sites that publish it.

6. Far to many people get their information from memes. Most memes are created by people with a specific agenda. So whether it’s political, health related, or my favorites; quotes (the same quote on 6 different memes crediting 6 different authors) the accuracy of that meme all always be questionable at best.

I’m going to stop counting now because this can go on for ever, but here’s what I will say.

I’ve been voting since 1984. I’ve seen quite a few elections from local on up to presidential in that time and I’ve never seen anything like this current election. Election campaigns should be focused on 1 thing and 1 thing only; the issues facing the office of which the candidate is running for, and how that candidate will tackle the issues to best serve the people he/she is representing. Unfortunately no campaign in the history of this country has followed that simple criteria. Go back to day 1 and you will find attacks on opponents has always been the norm. However, I think this current presidential campaign has turned it up a notch.

Now what has changed over the years is the size and presence of media. Included in this is ALL media, television, radio, news papers, magazines, and internet. Included with the internet, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs, pod casts, Youtube, and everyone and their mother has a personal website now-a-days. While this is great it also creates the overabundance of false information. Satire websites by the dozens writing off the wall articles that the majority believe to be real news stories (this to me is the most scary of all).

Now here is the biggest issue of this current election and something I have never seen before. People disagree, everyone has their own opinion on everything and that’s good. Debate is good, you may get me to see things from a perspective I’ve never seen before which in turn will change my mind on a subject or a the very least get me to respect it even if I continue to disagree. Debate or have a conversation, a civilized debate or conversation; but that’s where this has taken a dramatic turn.

On Facebook in the past 6 months or so I’ve seen friendships end, strangers, complete strangers who have never met or talked and know absolutely nothing about each other venomously go at each others throats. Why? Because they have different opinions on who would best run this country, all civility has gone straight to hell.

Here’s a few things to think about. How hard is it to be respectful of someones opinion whether you agree or not? How hard is it to think before you speak? How hard is it to just be kind to each other? Remember once you say it, you can’t take it back; so does it really need to be said in the form of disrespect or in an attacking manner. Just because my views differ from yours does not make me blind, ignorant, uninformed, or whatever other names every is calling each other.

It’s really mind-boggling how so many adults are acting like 5th graders over the current political landscape. I feel in the long run we all basically want the same thing. Peace, health, wealth, and happiness for ourselves and friends and family and everyone else we share to planet with.

It all starts from within.

Bottom Line: Everyone has their own truth. Regardless of the election outcome, if we continue to act this way we all lose.

 

 

“Oh no I’ve said too much, I haven’t said enough”

 

 

Peace

 

 

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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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.

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Oss

 

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