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

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

 

 

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

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

Just some more thoughts…

sabjits sample 8

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…..

Yoga Saturday

Yesterday I took a Yoga class for the first time in about 5 months. There is no way I can let that happen ever again. I love Yoga and I need Yoga, actually I think everyone does. My 25+ years in the martial arts (the past 10 as a career in MMA, fighting and training fighters) has been brutal on my body. Currently I’m trying to recover from 2 injuries; a torn knee and a lower back pull. Due to these issues my training is extremely compromised, making this the perfect time to fire up my Yoga practice.

When it comes to Yoga I am a novice. However that being said I am also extremely spoiled in my Yoga practice having the majority of my classes being private one on one instruction (with my friend who I think is the best Yoga teacher ever), and the group classes I’ve attended were at Jivamukti Yoga in NYC. If you practice yoga and have never been to Jivamukti, you need to make this a priority.

Now that I plan to start a regular practice I have to find a studio to practice at that is both local and affordable. I will still be practicing with my friend, but it will only be about 1 time per month and it will be in a group setting, and I will try to get to Jivamukti about 1 time per month but that leaves a lot of space to fill. There are plenty of local studios and a couple of them have been highly recommended, but they have big shoes to fill (in my eyes). I’ll let you know how it goes.

So after Yoga at Jivamukti the plan was to hit up the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival was only about 4 or 5 blocks from the Yoga studio so after a quick stop at the Union Square farmers market we walked over to the Pavilion. As we turned onto west 18th the line to get into the festival was huge (you would think the new I-phone was coming out). The festival was only letting in 50 people every 15 minutes and there had to be 500 to 700 people standing in line (looks like they need a bigger venue next time). Needless to say we never got into the festival which was a disappointment. Veggie Heaven and a Daydream Believer (when you bite into this cupcake it’s like biting into a cloud) from Sweet Avenue Bake Shop (the best vegan cupcakery ever) made everything better.

Great Yoga, Great food, and a Great friend = A Great Saturday….

Peace……

Missing Pieces

The most neglected components of a complete fitness program are; the warm up, cool down, and flexibility training (stretching).

For starters let’s talk about the warm up.

Often times I see people walk into the gym, walk up to the weights and start lifting, or jump on a treadmill and just start running. Another mistake I see often is stretching as a warm up. Trust me your muscles don’t like being stretched when they’re cold. If you want to perform a light stretch before your workout that’s okay, just start off with a 5 to 10 minute warm up, than stretch.

What should you do for proper warm up? Well that all depends on what kind of exercise you’re planning. I believe it’s best to warm up by doing what you’re planning on doing. For example; if I’m planning on going for a run, my warm up would start off with brisk walking for a couple minutes, then a light jog for a couple more minutes, then gradually pick up speed to my run pace.

If I’m going to the gym to lift weights I’ll grab a light resistance exercise tube and do high reps of exercises that mimic the exercises I’m planning for my workout. If I’m planning a leg workout I like to start off with 5 minutes on the upright Lifecycle to get my knees nice and warm. Then I’ll do some body weight squats or lunges.

Finally if I’m planning on cross training or a boot camp type class I’ll do a mixed warm up. Maybe I’ll start with a light jog or jumping rope, then I’ll grab a medicine ball and do some wood choppers, and finish off with some body weight squats, this will warm up my entire body and I’ll be ready to work.

Next would be the cool-down period. For every work out its good practice to keep moving as your heart rate comes down. The best way to do this is to walk or pedal a Lifecycle lightly for about 5minutes, than go to stretching part of your workout. It is important to get your body back to the pre-workout state after exercise. A proper cool down followed by a good stretch can help lessen post exercise muscle soreness.

Every workout should be closed with a good whole body stretch. It only takes about 5 minutes and your body will thank you by making daily everyday tasks easier. Start with your legs and work your way up to your arms stretching each muscle group along the way. Hold each stretch about 15 to 20 seconds than move to the next. Just think how much you quads hurt 2 days after a heavy leg work out, a good cool down and stretch after that workout would lessen that pain and cut down on the duration of it.

To really amp up your flexibility I recommend Yoga. Yoga will give you an awesome workout and will help you build strength, burn fat, and improve total body flexibility.

In the future I will come back to each of these topics in greater detail, but for now you have some basic info on each. So starting immediately, add these components to your program.

More to come, stay tuned…

Peace…