Reflections On Wednesday Morning

The Fight To Win Tournament scheduled for 9/24 was mysteriously canceled a few days before it was to be held. I was a little bummed at first, as I wanted to go Super Saiyan on everyone.1 But the good news was that our second Open Door Seminar, hosted by my instructor and our team to promote fraternity in the Austin BJJ community, was held on that particular Saturday instead.

And what a seminar it was. Though the location only permitted space for approximately fifty, an amazing ninety-five people signed up. We received at least one representative from six different academies – and I’m not sure if that includes the fellow from Colorado who was in town for the tournament and, instead of going home after it was canceled, stayed for our seminar.

I’m going to submit official requests, in triplicate, for permission to cover one of the techniques here on the blog (like last time). For now, suffice it to say that it was an excellent seminar, and I have no doubt that all the attendees learned something valuable.

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Tuesdays are one of the days when we forgo technical training in lieu of sparring. We do six-minute rounds, with a one minute break in-between, for an hour. In case you do not realize, my audience, a one minute break between rounds is just enough time to tie your belt with fingers stupefied by adrenaline, just enough time to realize that you are irrevocably tired, your lungs aren’t working, that your next match is going to be harder than the previous one, that that brown belt is not just trying to beat me but is trying to make my mother cry.

Before the rigor, before the exertions, before the training session (and after) it all makes sense though. We train hard so that it will be easier on the street, and on the competition floors. We train hard because it makes us better. I’m just writing to say that remembering these crucial facts can be, sometimes, difficult – as I wake up groaning in the morning over a squeaky bed, using all the colorful language I’ve learned over the course of twenty-something years, petrified with soreness, and grasping for the water and motrin I keep by my bed, like “Someone. Help. Me. Please. !”

Good training yesterday, friends. Thank you.

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1. It would be really embarrassing if I lost after saying this.  I’m obviously joking.  It’s a joke.

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Grapple America

The Blog Entry In Which The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer Is Shown In Action

I got a hold of the tape for my matches from Grapple America, a tournament in Austin which took place on September 3rd, 2011. This was the “185 lb and above,” purple belt, with, I believe, four people in the division. It turned out to be an average-sized local tournament, even if my particular division was not that big.

I’m posting the second match first, and the first match second. The reason is that I caught the guy from the second match with the first move in the series; and the guy from the first match got caught some moves further down the same sequence. If you look carefully, I even used the same takedown. These two matches round out my weight division.

Match 2

Match 1

Match 3

As I remember, the brackets initially had ten people registered for the purple belt absolute – including the two guys I had just finished beating. But when it came time to grapple, everyone had either left or otherwise withdrawn…with the exception of this fellow here. As we waited for the ref to arrive, he made fun of my blue belt. 😦

The first forty seconds or so of the match are missing. After making a brief attempt to take him down, I pulled guard on him (along the same lines as the earlier match). He jammed my butterfly guard, and worked his leap/sprawling-like pass twice. Both times he nearly passed and was up two advantages to zero.

If you watched the video of the match, and I hope you did, then you know this point here is precisely where I should insert some witty aphorism about this third and final match.  “He who laughs last…” or “Don’t judge a book…” or George Carlin’s thoughts on white guys who shave their heads would probably suffice.1  But because I might have broken this guy’s collarbone, because he yelled in my ear, then sat up, and keeled over as though someone had shot him mid-match, I…will abstain. I don’t want to, but I will.  But I don’t want to.

Incidentally, the last photo is not of the actual finish.  But I had to include it because the photos taken of me are very dramatic.  A special thanks to Shama Ko for taking said dramatic photos of the tournament.

Let me again thank my teammates for helping me prepare.  I know that all of them could have, in their own way, done what I happened to have accomplished two Saturdays ago.  And thanks, of course, goes to my instructor who has labored over these past six months to put the disparate pieces of my bjj into a more cohesive whole.

With bigger stages laying as of yet untested, I bid you adieu my audience.  Have a pleasant rest of the week.

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1. That was from “You Are All Diseased” if memory serves me correct.

Digression and News

A number of things have kept me from my beloved mats this past week. Let me say that I try to train at least four times a week, Monday through Wednesday and at least once on the weekend. And I try to do at least some exercise every day.1

What has been occupying my attention lately? The gigantic fire in Bastrop which has eaten over a 1,000 houses, for one.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/bastrop-county-information

http://www.kutnews.org/post/bastrop-fire-50-percent-contained-1554-homes-destroyed

My aunt and her family live in Bastrop. As it happens, their house did not burn down. But according to my cousin, word at his high school was that about one in four families in Bastrop lost their home.2 She took me to see some of the burned areas; and I’m not sure if I have the words to convey what the scorched lands resembled. Nor am I sure whether it is my place to do so. Ash forests. Blackened trees. Solitary fireplaces standing in grey powder clearings. I don’t know. It was awful. And I’m stopping. Now.

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Last week’s entry was by far the most popular entry I’ve ever written. Being a member in a clutch of witty, writer-types does not have a plethora of benefits, admittedly. But the few benefits one does reap are both specialized and bountiful.3 By the way, my audience, if you feel inclined to submit a review of my blog, I invite you to do so. thejiujitsuwanderer@gmail.com Good, bad, outrageous – if you give me permission, I’ll publish it in the next round of reviews. Seriously.

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Gracie Legacy is hosting a free, open door seminar Sunday, September 25th. If you get a chance and have the time, sign up for it.

http://www.gracielegacy.com/2011/09/open-door-seminar-series-2/

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From the tournament last week:

Thanks for reading.

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1. In exchange, I allow myself to eat whatever I want and as much as I want. You think this is a joke, but my ability to eat would shock you,(and rock you like a hurricane). Lame. That. Was. Lame. But true.

2. Let me say here and now that I have been unable to corroborate this claim with any official source. Just to take a fast and dirty approximation (as my Greek physics professor used to say): the population of Bastrop is 8000, the average US household is 3.14 people, and there were 1554 houses burned —> 5 out of 8 families lost their homes in the Bastrop area, as a ‘gisting’ approximation. Before you flip out, there are problems with each variable: The fire did not exclusively take place in the city of Bastrop, the average-sized US household may not hold for rural populations, and the number of houses destroyed by the fire is expected to go up. Two conclusions. 1. The Bastrop fire was devastating. 2. To say one in four people in Bastrop lost their homes is at least plausible.

3. “Hey, can you blurb my blog for me? You know, give the audience a compelling reason to read it.”

“The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer: There Might Be Tits.”

“No, something a little more appropriate.”

“The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer: Inane Ramblings of a Syphilitic Mind.”

“…I’m probably not going to use that one…”

“The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer: Now in Iambic Pentameter.”

Three-Month Anniversary

My blog is three months old today, or thereabouts. And I am happy to report that the reader responses called in, sent via letter, fax, email and messenger pigeon have all been overwhelmingly positive. My audience, both home and abroad, love me.

Excerpts of Extraordinary International Acclaim for The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer:

“Super snarky,” writes Former Poli-Sci Major, Tarleton Alumnis, and The Greatest English as a Second Language Teacher to ever live in Pohang, South Korea, Paul Mason Krieling III. “It’s brilliant. OMG IS THAT PATRICK?! You just got added to my bookmark bar. You are next to cnn.com. Congrats,” and “The greatest blog f [sic] all time!”

“This kind of spelling and grammar puts my eight-year old ESL students to shame,” faxed The Globetrotting Canadian-Ginger Jeffrey Ferguson who has an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure movies and is the reason I started taking Martial Arts lessons five years ago, “Suck it, Sook Jin.” The content engages him, my stalker explained, despite never having taken a single Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class in his life. “Well, it’s certainly more interesting than reading this month’s restraining order.” [Author’s Note: The rest of the faxed pages were blank, except for a small excerpt of handwriting at the end which read “…Justin, why won’t you love me?”]

“I don’t always read blogs. But when I do, I read The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer,” read a note taken off a messenger pigeon addressed from ‘A yacht, The Mediterranean” and signed ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World.’

“A friend of mine was reading this blog,” said known atheist and known Australian Christia Faulkner about allegedly miraculous events surrounding my sizable fan base in Vietnam, “and suddenly regained the use of both her legs, which have been paralyzed from birth.” Also known to spend her time building model airplanes while espousing the belief that ‘the closest living relative to the Hippopotamus is the Whale,’ she clarified her statement, saying, “Now I’m not saying that there’s necessarily a connection here, but clearly there’s some greater power at work…” After an awkward silence, she cleared her throat and screamed into the receiver “And it’s coming from the blog!” before hanging-up entirely.

“This blog is my morning coffee,” began the email from the enthusiastic and infamous disciplinarian, my elementary school physical education coach Doris E. Eddy. “It makes me want to go better, harder, faster, stronger, and for longer,” the 74-year old native of Massachusetts shared. “Please remind me to personally scissor-sweep your candy ass, Sally, next time I see you!”

“To me,” enthused the random, disheveled, and stinky hobo when I informed him testimonial about my blog was worth $20, “this is like a well of inspiration; and that well is filled with…rainbows.  Every once and awhile a new rainbow appears and I take it out and it protects me from the harsh realities of the mediocre world outside.”

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I’ll update in a few days.  Thanks for reading.

Gracie Legacy Jiu-Jitsu

Saturday, I had the extreme pleasure of being the second person in the history of the Universe to enter, when given a tournament registration form, ‘Gracie Legacy’ as my team. My teammate beat me by thirty seconds, or so.

How did the tournament go?  It went well for both my teammate and me. He had one match in his weight division at blue belt and, after a relatively brief struggle, subbed him from mount. Then he, at 140 lbs, entered the absolute division. His four matches in the absolute division were all against veritable giants, surprise surprise. Nobody scored a single point on him. In the finals, with the score zero to zero and the match over, the ref gave the decision to his 205 lb, Grecian-statute-looking opponent. I do not know what your sentiment might be, my audience, but if I was a solid 60 pounds heavier than someone and found myself entirely unable to pass their guard, and had obviously made the decision to play conservatively enough to not lose, and still at the end of the match had not scored a single point, I would have told the ref to give the match to my opponent.1 My sense of honor, dignity, propriety would impel me.

Anyway. How did I do? I did surprisingly well. Or not surprisingly, depending on what you believe about my abilities. While the first place medal in my weight class, at purple belt, was a little lackluster – the actual, physical medal I mean – the dagger they gave me for winning the absolute purple is pretty gnarly-looking.

I’m almost positive I’ll use it one day…if I ever need to slay a dragon. Or if I need to cut things that normally don’t cut…like the chains Bowser uses on Princess Peach Toadstool, or a large block of metal, or the Sun, or a cutting board…or something.

Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I’ve had my blue belt for four years now.

That’s me, the fall of my junior year in college.  Sadder, apparently.  And with a little more hair.

Yes yes, so I did quite well. All my matches were taped; and if/when I get my hands on said footage, I’ll post a match for your perusal. Thanks!

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1.  And believe me when I say that I wanted to pile on clause after clause after clause into that sentence. There are objective reasons why I think my teammate won that match. An additional contributing factor to my clause-happy approach is that I have few grammatical inhibitions when hungover. I admit that fact here and now.