Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Austin

The landscape for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Austin is about to change.

A few days short of six months ago, my instructor and a select group of students broke off from one academy to start another. It would be best, he decided, if we initially did not take any additional students. There were three reasons for this:

“First, we are building an academy that will be free of all the elements that are so often a part of today’s Jiu-Jitsu schools – ego, pettiness, unsportsmanlike behavior, rumor mongering, disloyalty, and general poor character. And we can only achieve this ideal if we start fresh. A building is only as strong as its foundation, and we are working hard to build a foundation that will withstand the test of time and the inevitable setbacks associated with continued growth.

Second, it is our goal to have an academy that can be open to anyone who loves Jiu-Jitsu. Gone is the time when academies in one city viewed each other as ‘rivals’ or ‘competitors’. While we believe deeply in loyalty to one team, we are firm believers that opening our doors to share our Jiu-Jitsu with others will only promote the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu and encourage the camaraderie that should be common amongst all Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

So, out of respect for all the other academies in Austin, and with particular regard for Phil Cardella and the Relson Gracie Academy in Austin, we will NOT be taking any students (blue belt or above) who are current students at any other local academy until the start of the new year.”1

The six-month grace period is almost over. In fact, as far as I understand, we’re taking students starting January 1st. That, my friends, is pretty exciting. The days when a dozen student class counted as ‘busy’ are going to be long gone. I’ll take the liberty of speaking for the whole team when I say that the change will be good for us.

Don’t miss out. Gracie Humaitá Austin.

———————

1. Fresh start, looking to inculcate a particular culture, and out of respect to Phil Cardella and Relson Gracie Austin, to condense down the writing of our Warrior-Poet.

Here’s the link to the original post: http://www.gracielegacy.com/2011/06/hello-world/

Christopher Hitchens

“It’s strange to mourn the passing of a person you’ve never met. It feels hollow, just a little unjustifiable, and as though you’re somewhat unequipped for the undertaking. Usually we are left with a myriad of moments to recollect and reconcile, to render into something approaching the complexity of life. Here we are left holding scraps of paper, dog-eared and lovingly wrecked, that we must read again for clues, or even simply the pleasure of a previously overlooked aphorism.

For those of us who only read (and watched and heard) Christopher Hitchens, who were never lucky enough to play spectator to the late night drinking and later night writing, who had to wait until the morning to see in print the fierce disputation and bone-dry wit that marked his life, the hole left by his death is not a dramatic wrench to the heart, but one that will appear more slowly, deepening and widening as his absence is felt more and more with every passing event.”1

So it is that I am left ‘holding scraps of paper, dog-eared and lovingly wrecked,’ feeling a chasm slowly deepening and widening – all the while feeling stupid, self-conscious, and unjustified for feeling anything at all. But I feel a great aversion toward writing something ‘in my own words’ (as they say) when there is so much already written by people more capable than me. Like when Steve Jobs died, I read post after Facebook post along the lines of “Steve Jobs, visionary.” Reading that over and over again, I couldn’t help but think, “Well, no shit. Do you have anything to positively contribute to the conversation? No? Then silence.”2

This aversion now revealed to the general public, I share something lengthier with you from Hitchens himself. In the hope of shedding some light on why I admired him and why I, justified or not, so poignantly feel his loss, here are his closing remarks in a debate against The Uninspiring William Dembski:

“But when Socrates was sentenced to death for his philosophical investigations and for blasphemy, for challenging the gods of the city – and he accepted his death – he did say, “Well, if we are lucky perhaps I’ll be able to hold conversation with other great thinkers and philosophers, and doubters, too.” In other words, that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure, and what is true could always go on. Why is that important? Why would I like to do that? Because that’s the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don’t know.

But I do know that it’s the conversation that I want to have while I’m still alive. Which means that, to me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way is an offer of something not worth having.

I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet, that I haven’t understood enough, that I can’t know enough, that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And I’d urge you to look at those of you who tell you, those people who tell you, at your age, that you are dead ’til you believe as they do – what a terrible thing to be telling to children – and that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don’t think of that as a gift. Think of it as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside, however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” – Christopher Hitchens

The third and final quotation for today is from the closing paragraph of an obituary written for Hitchens, published in The Independent, written by one of my favorite authors.

“Farewell, great voice. Great voice of reason, of humanity, of humor. Great voice against cant, against hypocrisy, against obscurantism and pretension, against all tyrants including God.” – RD———————–

Happy Holidays. I absolutely promise to return to Regularly Scheduled Programming this coming Wednesday. Lots of news, and a tournament! Sorry as ever, my lovely audience, for missing the previous deadline. I swear, it’s an honest mistake (each and every time).

———————–

2. On a related note, this line of reasoning is precisely why I will never EVER refer to my Jiu-Jitsu training as a journey, why I have never and will never use the word ‘journey’ on this blog. It’s such a cliché that I find it painful to read on the page; and I doubt I’m the only one.

Six-Month Anniversary

So here I stand at the six-month anniversary in the life of this blog. Behind us? Now behind us, my audience, are articles involving soreness, injuries, tournament results, a modern major-general – “I am very well-acquainted, too, with matters mathematical” – Tyler Durden, and a photo of me dressed as a woman. At this hodgepodge juncture, it seems appropriate to step back for an entry and see what has been accomplished.

What is it exactly that people think of your humble Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer and his blog?

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, to say the least. And while I could not hope to exhaustively cover the kind of mail I receive by plane, train, or automobile, I would like to share some with you.

Excerpts of Preposterously Magnanimous Exaltation for The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer:

“I thought about blaming the telephone lines in Myanmar, but let’s face it,” phoned The Village Drunk of Naypyidaw, “the beer in this country is almost too good. This may or may not be the first time in a week I’ve been sober enough to do this!” Fancying himself an authority on all topics foreign and domestic, the certifiably-insane Burmese man said “I can tell you without a trace of hyperbole that The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer is the literary equivalent of bathing in the blood of a Slovakian man…who – I might add! – had recently made love to a Finnish dame in the backseat of a Toyota Camry.” When asked to clarify the statement or explain why he knew so much about my personal affairs, he responded cryptically and in accusatory tones, “You’re not the only one who hangs off the edge of cliffs in Chechnya!”

“Better than your average man-on-man erotica,” summarized Christian Bardsley of The Comprehensive Guide to Man-on-Man Erotica, Volume IV. The only guide on this planet able to boast ‘temporary blindness’ and ‘spontaneous nose bleeds’ as side-effects, The Editor-in-Chief continued, “Reading The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer is a certainly a welcome break from our rather…understandably messy editing process. I highly recommend the blog to anyone with an aversion to being struck either blind or with a red, gushing, fountainous nose bleed. 5 out of 5 stars.”

“Reading this blog is more fun than getting kicked in the junk by a mule,” enthused the infamous, comically tall, adrenaline-junkie Michael Coradi. Having made a name for himself juggling flaming chainsaws while gurgling nitroglycerin, enough PCP coursing through his veins to kill several large land mammals, he expressed genuine surprise to learn that most people would not consider ‘getting kicked in the junk by a mule’ to be fun whatsoever. “Really?!” he exclaimed, “Well…when given a choice between reading The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer and, after a few drinks, submitting to some consensual––” is the last sentence I heard before hanging up. “’Except-when-I’m-lonely, I almost always choose The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer,’ is what I was going to say!” he managed to get out in blurt on the second phone call, before I hung up again and unplugged the landline.

“Reading The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer has done two things for me,” came the testimonial from esteemed primatologist and avid reader Dorsey LaMartina. “One, it has definitely made my jiu-jitsu better. Just the other day, in fact, I caught and tapped a rampaging chimpanzee in a RNC; and I have The Wanderer to thank. Two, it satisfied a deep scientific curiosity I once held. Now I know what it would be like if a 6 foot tall, 190 pound bonobo – subsisting on a strict diet of Blue Diamond almonds and Chinese fish-head soup – was kept intoxicated and encouraged to publish an article online about martial arts.” With a deep sigh, she concluded, “Ignorance really can be a kind of bliss. My Wednesdays’ve never been the same.”

———————

If this post made you laugh, then (a) comment, (b) rate, (c) repost it, (d) subscribe, or (e) write me a love letter at thejiujitsuwanderer@gmail.com. This blog is usually about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I swear. Next week, I’ll return to the Regularly Scheduled Programming.

And should someone seriously ask you why they should take time out of their busy day to read this blog, my audience, just remember to tell them, “The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer: When he comes home from a late night of drinking, he promises to never smell like sin. And he’ll never call you good-for-nothing. Even if it’s true.

Thanks for reading.

My Footage From The Pro-Trials

Friends, fans, and family, I got my hands on my matches from The Pro-Trials.1 Without further ado, here is the second installment of…:

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

Match 1

JJW vs. Kevin Johnson

Match 2

JJW vs. Nicholas Greene

Match 3

JJW vs. Shon Diaz

I must again thank my teammates who helped prepare me for the tournament. Thanks to Seth for taping my matches. And a special thanks to my instructor, who has continued to push me into the space beyond the signposts of my perceived limitations.

——————

Oh! Uhm, I’m back on the once-a-week horse. So next Wednesday, prepare to be blinded by The Myth, The Magic, and the Self-Indulgent Obscurantism as The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer celebrates its six-month anniversary!

———————-

1. There has to be a hyphen between ‘pro’ and ‘trial.’ There has to be one. Every time I’ve typed them as separate words, I’ve had the impulse to type “[sic]” behind it. Literally every single time.