Upcoming Tournament

And some associated ramblings rather characteristic of this blog’s author.

I swear, I always have so much to say throughout the week. Then Wednesday comes along, and something happens. Blinking cursor, blinking cursor, blinking cursor, no writing.

There’s a tournament this weekend in Austin. The Texas State Championships 2012 is taking place this Saturday, April 21st. Not being able to stomach the idea of ‘being square,’ I will ‘be there.’ Actually, I just, only moments ago, finished registering for purple belt (170 through 184.9 lbs) and the purple belt absolute.1 That, I guess, is the good news.

The bad news? I spent all last week at home, some five-hour drive south of Austin, eating mountain upon mountain of garbage while simultaneously forgoing even the slightest bit of exercise. As a conservative estimate, I pegged my probability of dying from a goddamn acute myocardial infarction brought on by “Tuesday Class Overexertion” at approximately 13%.2 I mean, I obviously survived – otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing to you, my audience. But that particular probability really confounded matters further by perfectly playing into what the DSM would characterize as Stage IV triskadekaphobia. And for those of you who do not have an innate suspicion for the number thirteen, I have some bad news for you: 13s are the end result of a day-long surgery performed by “doctors,” who show up at your house unannounced and successfully manage to separate the freakish, conjoined twin, ‘B,’ that you keep behind a perimeter of electrified chicken-wire in your basement. Be suspicious of them. They deserve their revenge. And they are coming for it.

I…do not know where that came from.3 That was unusually dark, maybe even for me. Maybe. Today, I am just sore from yesterday’s class, and a little loathe to write anything that will require even mental exertion.

I’ll be sure to put the tape of my matches on the blog as soon as possible. Hopefully my record, since I began competing in the purple belt divisions, will remain unblemished (minus that one time I got strangled unconscious).

By the way, did anyone catch the match between Rodolfo Vieira and Rafael Lovato Jr. last year at the Mundials? I saw the match a week ago or so, and was completely flabbergasted. To the extent that I am qualified to judge, I am not sure if I have seen a more resounding expression of positively immaculate timing. It’s all the more daunting to realize that Vieira is doing this to some of the best in the world.

First, here’s a 90-second example:

 

And this is what happens when you stretch that out over ten minutes:

 

Thanks for reading. I’ll update about the tournament as soon as I can.

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1. For the first time ever, I actually registered for the purple belt division without having to beg anybody to let me do it! Pretty exciting.

2. Physicians call this “TCO.”

3. I hate ending my sentences in prepositions.

Mote of Dust

Below is a photo of the planet Earth from 3.7 billion miles away.

“We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imaged self-importance, the delusion that we have some privilege position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits that this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, pg. 6

JJW Double-Feature

First and foremost, I must stand before you here, my audience, and admonish myself for not thanking my teammates last week when I was promoted. It is through their continual trials, along with the excruciatingly patient tutelage of my instructor, that I have risen to The Standards at our academy – high as we all know them to be. It is really the first thing I should have done – ‘my first act as purple belt’ or some such nonsense – but at the time I had not the focus, the presence of mind.1

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions are something, in the strictest sense, that we do alone. To believe that my modest gains and achievements were something I accomplished strictly by myself, however, is simply nonsense. My training – technical instruction, positional sparring, self-defense, and all that lovely rolling – is done with a team. We test, we sharpen one another. Without a team, there is no training. Without a team, there is nothing.

Particularly, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude toward Ian, Taesung, Tantrik (congratulations on the blue belt), Vidush, Phoenix, Joseph, Roy, Roli, Derek, Seth, Jordan, Dan, Jim (Captain America), and Donald.2 Whatever I do, it is always with your collective help.

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Iowa Wrestling Documentary

So, the documentary is pretty self-explanatory. And I’m not sure what to say about it, other than listening to what these young men had to say about their mental states, what they were thinking while competing MELTED my face, exploded my brain, and, worst of all, made me reticent to call myself a man.  I mean…LOOK at that crazy kid’s face.  Look at it!

While I would probably not advocate a person ever sincerely espousing opinions I have enclosed below, it is interesting (frightening?) to hear what the toughest among us are thinking as they compete.

19 year-old: They’re trying to destroy me, trying to destroy me. And I have the right to kill them. He’s afraid of what I’m going to do to him in front of his parents, in front of his family.

I think wrestling is a good sport because you can break somebody. You can break their spirit – you know, make ’em be a different person for the rest of their life.

Presumably when answering a question along the lines of “What is it that you are trying to do with your opponent while on the mat?”…:

Monster B: Make him feel like a fool. Break his spirit. Trash him. Pick him up by the singlet on one side, and his backside, just like a little kid, and throw him out the door.

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Aaand there is literally several dozen more quotes like that which, when you hear them, make you wonder how those Iowa coaches broke that many sadists and sociopaths out of the most dangerous mental asylums in the United States, and why these patients are so damn good at wrestling.

Anyway. It’s an interesting watch, and worth your time. Thanks for reading.

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1. Girl problems.

2. Afraid of forgetting somebody, I started with the lowest belt color and worked my way up.