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 

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.

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………….

 

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

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

sabjits sample 8

Things to Ponder

sabjits sample 8

  1. If you are not a productive contributor to society shut up. Stop complaining, stop giving advice, stop discussing politics/religion/health/music, stop saying how the government is fucking the people, just stop…..
  2. If “they are poisoning us; they’re poisoning themselves as well.
  3. Things happen in this world. Not everything is created by the government/new world order/illuminati or whatever else you want to call it. Not everything is a conspiracy or a cover up.
  4. The government is not trying to take your guns away from you. Gun control doesn’t mean gun confiscation.
  5. It’s easy to push the blame, you have more control than you realize. I’m in the situation I put myself in, so are you.
  6. Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand. However, a good healthy diet with minimal exercise will yield more positive results and health than exercise and eating a garbage diet.
  7.  All food is “real” food. The saying “eat real food” is stupid. It should be “eat natural food”.
  8. No GMOs.. Sounds good, right? Do you use a microwave, smoke, drink alcohol, milk, or soda, eat fast food, or processed food, canned food, use anti perspirant/deodorant, This list can go on forever.
  9. How do you know that vegetables you grow are not GMO. Do you really know where those seeds came from.
  10. Dana White, love or hate him but know one thing that’s for sure; you would not have MMA without him. Think what you want, but he saved the sport and made it what it is today. Also you can complain all you want about fighter pay but they make the choice to fight and know what is going in, and don’t compare it to boxing because most boxers make less. They are business like any other, the CEO makes millions they guys who do the work make a few thousand. Right or wrong…
  11. You’re in competition with no one but yourself. Wake up, work out, eat, work, relax, go to sleep, repeat.
  12. If you hold a door for someone and they don’t thank you who cares, if you’re holding for the thank you you’re holding it for the wrong reason.
  13. This I’ve said before, It’s better to be politically correct than mean.
  14. You go on Facebook and tell the American people they’re “sheepole” and better wake up, meanwhile you’re getting your info from a source just as skewed, so what’s the difference. Going onto a social media site and spewing your holier than thou bullshit just makes you an aggressive, pompous ass. What you fuck are you doing to make change for the better?
  15. I’ve also said this. Music: there is no good or bad, it’s personal. Music makes everyone feel something different. I happen to like almost any music, I like new rock, and country. Just because a certain music is complicated it’s not better than a simple 3 chord pop song, it’s just different; just because I happen to like simple music doesn’t mean Mr. prog rock or jazz in more educated musically.
  16. I try to be the best me I can be, I may not be doing so good, but I’m trying the best I can…

 

That’s all for today. Live you life the best you can and Be Happy.

 

Peace

 

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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