Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I'm a shitty blogger. I just don't have a lot of time for this shit. I'm not quitting though.

So, where have I been? Mainly not training as much as I'd like. I'm still getting 2-3 session a week, which works for me. Last week, I didn't go at all because I had some sort of weird rash on my arm. I think it is some allergic reaction, but I don't want somebody to get some sort of necrosis because of me. I'm starting back tonight.

I have made A LOT of progress in my jiu jitsu game since my last post. I've traveled, and trained with new people. I've started getting the hang of takedowns and having an active guard. I've gotten pretty decent at sweeps. I still suck at finishing people, but i'm cool with that. A couple months ago, I was honored to receive the fourth and final stripe on my white belt. I know that Brian doesn't give that shit out lightly, so I'm very pleased. I also acknowledge that I have a lot of work to do. I think I'm on track to meet my goal of being a blue belt within two years.

Brian noted to Paul that I need to work on scrambles and getting more submissions. I'm decent at surviving, but even against our new, athletic white belts, I have trouble. One thing that Brian seemed to be pleased with was my takedown ability. We're a Carlson School, so he hates to see guard pulling. Honestly, I'm going to be working on my scrambles and submissions, but I'm not too concerned with my progress. For me, progress is having fun. I don't want to fight UFC, and I don't really care about rank. The color of my belt isn't going to change who can and can't submit me.

Realistically though, I know its something that's coming, and I do want to be worthy of that honor. I have also decided that I should at least do one competition at white belt. As such, I'll be doing AGC in Ohio in January. I'm hoping that spurs me to put in the hard work to improve my trouble areas.

In other news, one of the reasons I haven't had time to do BJJ is that we've been having trouble with my daughter. She's two, and doesn't talk at all. For a long time, we hoped that she would talk on her own, and hoped that there wasn't a serious issue. Like most parents, we see the best in her. However, it got to the point that we couldn't ignore that she wasn't like most kids. She doesn't know things most kids know, she doesn't answer to her name or talk, and doesn't play like most kids play.

She was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, and possibly autism. While we think that this is something that we can definitely overcome, I've had to stay home a little more to help out with her therapies.

I am pleased to say in the past three months she's made IMMENSE progress. I credit some of this to the therapies she's been doing, but also we changed some things. Mainly, we started giving her a fish oil supplement. Within a week of giving her the fish oil, we saw noted improvements in coordination, cognition, and every other developmental area. She still doesn't talk, but she is vocal...she'll get there. She actually answers to her name now, and is much more social. Honestly, see her go from, essentially, a baby to an independent little toddler makes me want to cry. (But I won't, because I'm super manly and don't know how)

Anyways, that's my update. I hope to start posting more again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Oh Hai

I know, I've been a shitty blogger and haven't written for awhile. Sorry, bros, I've been busy.  I was out of town for like a month, and I just got back a couple of weeks ago. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of work, family, and training.

While I was gone, I fully expected to have no opportunity to train in BJJ. I was at an Army course in the middle of nowhere. I was surprised, and happy, to meet a purple belt that trains out of New Jersey. He is an MMA fighter who is in incredible shape. We got to roll three times in the month...but that's better than nothing. He was equally pleased to have somebody to roll with.

We had to improvise training space, because they didn't have actually training mats available to us. The first time we went into one of those old Army tire pits (shredded tires that creates a soft surface for conducting physical training). That was actually fun, but the rubber was very dirty and some got in my mouth. Horrible experience.

The training was good though, and I learned a few tricks. I got to roll with somebody with an unorthodox style, and actually surprised him a bit with some of my moves. Never submitted him, but came close a few times, and he had to work to get subs on me. That's all you can ask for as a white belt.

Since I've been back, I've only gotten into the gym a few times. I've been doing stuff like retiling my kitchen floor and working late. The beginning of fall is always my busiest time at work, and I've had to work late a few nights. Or I've just been too tired to go to the gym.

I'm trying to pick up my training schedule. I am a three-stripe white belt, and I'll probably get striped next month when we do our seminar. I don't really have a time frame on getting blue belt, but its getting close. We generally have a seminar/promotions every 4-6 months. I really want to be at the blue belt level by the time the next grading rolls around, which will probably be February or March. That is also, conveniently, my two year anniversary with Jiu Jitsu! I just want to make Blue Belt before I'm 30.

I've been rolling pretty well in class the last two weeks or so. After going away for a month, I came back handling people a lot better than I was when I left. I'm not killing people, but I'm more active in my rolls. I'm getting more subs on white belts, and getting subbed less by upper belts. Yesterday, I was only submitted once by the blue belts I was rolling with. Of course, our black belt could have killed me like 20 times, but he was just flow rolling with me.

I've been getting better with my guard work too. Something recently clicked with me, and my guard game improved quite a bit. I've always been a guard player...but now I'm actually comfortable there.

Overall, I've been having blast and learning a lot. I'm just so thankful I found Jiu Jitsu. It really has been a positive force in my life, and I can't wait to learn more.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Alright people, I'm back.

I know it seems like I take sabbaticals from this blog very often, and that is definitely true. I'm not a writer by trade, and writing isn't always the most efficient use of my time. However, I should have more time for this old thing now, since I'm officially a college graduate. I graduated a couple of weeks ago with a Magna Cum Laude BS in Security Operations. I know you're probably thinking "Security degree???wtf???", but don't worry about it. I'm not. I already have a fairly well-paying job in the field. My career and my advancement in it were never dependent upon my graduation. I went to college for a couple reasons that were independent of my career goals.

First, and most importantly, I was paid to go to school. I utilized my post-9/11 GI Bill, which paid me a small stipend (on top of tuition and books) to go. I'd be dumb to turn down free money. Second, I went because I come from a very poor family. Nobody else on either side of my family, except maybe removed a few degrees, has graduated from college. My cousins are mostly drug addicts, and my brother is a mechanic. He's good at his job, but has no interest in academic pursuit. I went because it gave me a sense of fulfillment, and I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I sometimes struggle with self-esteem issues, so the fact that I accomplished something completely unprecedented in my family cannot be understated. You're goddamn right I'm proud of it. But, that isn't the only thing that drove me to complete my degree. I probably would have quit if it hadn't been for the birth of my daughter and the death of my sister. In many ways, I wanted to honor my sister's memory by completing something that she had faith in. I also read that children who's parents went to college are something like a billion times more likely to go themselves. I want my daughter to have ever advantage possible.

Anyways, back to jiu jitsu. I've gotten up to attending class three times a week fairly regularly. I've been feeling a little impotent in the BJJ area, since everybody seems to whoop my ass with ease. I know I'm getting better, but two days a week just isn't enough to improve as rapidly as I'd like. I'm not really built for grappling, like some other people I work out with, so I have to train hard to be good. Jiu jitsu is not really an area where I can afford to be lazy. I'm honestly just going to start attending class as much as I can get by with. I just get frustrated when some 16 year old kid comes in and can nearly finish me with very little training. I guess I'm just used to going against very controlled blue and purple belts, and when a strong new guy comes in and smashes...I just don't handle it well. Unfortunately there aren't very many other people in my skill range for me to spar with. I mostly just get my ass whooped. When the strong, spazzy newb comes in and smashes me, I just feel bad about having to work so hard just to not tap.

Though, I guess that survival mindset is a good thing to develop.

My goals in the future are continue to lose weight. I was doing good before my final semester, in which I put on about 10 lbs. Being out of school takes a significant amount of stress and gives me a lot more time to focus on the important stuff, like not being a fatty and working out. I hope to lose 20 lbs by December. I know that is pretty ambitious, because I'm not really that large. I'm 5'8 and weight less than 180, but I'd like to get down to my ideal weight, which is around 155.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A little something extra

My laptop crashed, so I have to keep this short.

We have a three hour seminar today, and I was promoted to 3-stripe white belt. Can't wait for school to be over so I cam kickstart my training. Other stripe promotions all around, and Rod the Bod got his blue belt. Very happy for him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It Has Been Over A Month Since My Last Confession

Dear Diary,
Quick Update: I'm still training, but not very much. This semester has been so hard on me that I've had to sacrifice mat time for book time. The good news is that I graduate May 10th, as magna cum laude bachelor degree from EKU. I feel so relieved, but I'm going to my phat GI Bill check at the beginning of every month. The extra money has allowed me to be a little frivolous...so maybe its good that its going away :P

BJJ-wise, I'm still improving, albeit a bit slowly. We're having an evaluation this weekend, where I'm likely to get my third stripe. Brian usually does testing for us every six months or so, meaning I'm likely still a year away from my blue belt. My goal is to get my bluebelt before next march, which marks my 2 year point in BJJ. If I don't, I won't sweat it. I've really just been working on sweeps and improving position.

I have recently found myself much more "dangerous" to people I haven't ever been a threat to before. Certain people I still can't touch, but others I am able to, with difficulty, submit. I love seeing improvements in my game, and I've found myself getting creative with sweeps. I've also been working on some lapel use, mainly because I have weak grips and I'm trying to improve that. I have so much I want to experiment with that I don't have time to work on it all, especially with my heavy schedule.

Anyways, I'm just checking in. I'm still alive and kickin' (or choking, since this shit ain't TKD!).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Relections on One Year of BJJ Training

Yesterday marked one year into my training. I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on that.

I found out about my BJJ club from a girl at a bar on my birthday. She was part of a bachelorette party that was running around soliciting guys for drinks for the bride. Being a nice guy, I bought a few dollar shots. We got to talking, she told me about her BJJ club and I was definitely interested. At that point in my life, I was somewhat depressed. My sister had just died the year prior, and I was looking for something to get me off the couch.

I’d trained Karate before, and enjoyed it. I looked around, but there weren’t any Karate clubs worth a damn in my area. I enjoyed the grappling aspects of my Army Combatives training, so I was interested in BJJ to begin with. It was serendipity that she was at the bar on that night.

The first time I went in, I wasn’t sure about the club. It was being taught by two blue belts. I didn’t think much of the facilities. However, I got in and tried it. I rolled my first class and I was hooked. One of the reasons why the facilities are so unimpressive is because they only charge $40 dollars a month. The price was right, and it was fun, so I stuck around.

I haven’t gotten to train nearly as much as I’d like. I have a day job, a toddler, and I go to school. I’m also a military reservist, and I have drill at the worst possible moments. I have, however, logged over 100 hours on the mats in that year. While that doesn’t sound too impressive to some, it is an achievement for me. I’m proud of the time I’ve put in.

I’ve also suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for years. I’m happy to say that my symptoms are much better since I’ve started BJJ. I used to have spells where I could barely get out of bed. Now, I merely get exhausted easily, which is the primary reason I have avoided competition. While I’m not cured, and I still have bad days, they are much fewer and far between than they used to be.

As a grappler, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds. That is a direct reflection of the good training partners I’ve had. I’m at a point where people have trouble submitting me. I still don’t actually submit that many people, but everybody I roll with is either much more experienced or much larger than me. I will take not being steamrolled by the 240lb man over submitting somebody my own size any day of the week. I am still actively hunting for submissions though.

Over the next year, I have a lot of goals in mind. Obviously, I want to improve my physical fitness. I recently started putting on weight again (happens every winter), and have started cutting that off. I’m happy to say that I’m down to 170.6 as of this morning (started at 177 10 days ago). I’m trying to get down to around 160, but I’ll just be happy with an improved physique. I try not to put too much pressure on myself over the weight thing. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and I’m not a professional athlete. I’m generally just worried about overall health.

I also want to improve my Jiu Jitsu. I want to be assertive and get more submission. I want to be better at escaping bad positions, and maybe even compete. I know for this, I’ll have to dedicate myself to coming more often that I have (I average 2 days a week). After I graduate in May, I’m going to rededicate myself to attending at least 3 classes during the week, and then the Saturday class whenever I’m able. I know it sounds like excuses, but I really do have a lack of time these days.

My goal is also to become a blue belt by next march. I’m a 2-stripe white belt now. I’ll likely get a third stripe next month during our next grading. This is a highly doable goal, as long as I train consistently, and two years seems to be the median goal in our association for average players.

I also want to compete this year. I know there is a large competition in May, but I have drill that weekend. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually; just life conspires against me at times.

Overall, I’m so happy with my progress over the last year. I love being associated to my club, and I love that I can see my progress every time I roll. I’ve learned so much, and made so many friends. The only thing that I would try to change is adding more time on the mat.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Roll-Fest 2014

So, yesterday I went to class and the instructor and I were the only ones there. Weather has been bad, so this isn't necessarily a surprise. He asked me if I had anything I wanted to work on, essentially offering me a private lesson. I couldn't think of anything, so I asked to roll and see if anything comes to mind.

He announced that we were going to do six 9-minute rounds. Excuse me? what?

I did two with him. The first round I was fairly aggressive, taking the initiative to get him in side control. I spent the rest of the time defending like a mad man. During our second round, a blue belt came in, so we kinda rotated out. Everybody did two rounds, then got a break. I ended up rolling only five times instead of six...but that was enough.

I'm pleased with the way my defense is coming along, especially against armbars. I've started using my feet when defending them. If I can't get a hitchhiker's escape, I'll rotate my legs up and use my feet to break their grips. Apparently, nobody has ever seen that before. I'm sure somebody else does it, just nobody at my school.

Anyways, it was a great learning experience, and really pushed my cardio...which is awesome. I'm getting fat again, so I need that.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I don't know if derailment is the right word. I'm still training, and still trying...but I'm definitely feeling a bit down. Its mainly school. I have a very hard semester, and am struggling to juggle everything I have going on. I'm making it happen, but I just feel so run down.

Of course this affects me on the mats. I can't train as much as I'd like, and often times when I can I just don't. I'm still at doing at least two days a week, but my goal was 3-4 times. Even when I do get to train, I'm just exhausted. I'm still improving though, which is honestly why I keep going. Its just hard for me to suddenly get surpassed by people who I've been able to handle in the past. Part of it was that when I was away for work, they were all training for a competition. Their games improved by leaps and bounds.

In the end though, I have to check myself when I compare myself to others. That isn't the point. I didn't start BJJ to get better than other people. I started jiu jitsu to be a better me. I've largely accomplished that, so I'm happy. The main thing that gauls me is that I see their improvement and realize that my own could be so much better. I will note that most of my training partners are not married with children, juggling work, school, military reserves, and trying to become an artist. I think, after I graduate, I'm going to be much better positioned to start making steps towards the improvement that I seek.

Last night was a good class. We didn't have very many people show up. A new white belt showed up halfway through the class, but until then I was there with a senior blue belt, a purple belt, and a black belt. This is about as good a learning environment as you can ask for. After doing some take down drils, we drills some mount positions. Because the class was so small, we started rolling earlier than normal.

I was pleased with my rolls, because the blue belt couldn't tap. Obviously, the purple and black belts toyed with me...but I learned a lot. I was amazed when the new whitebelt showed up. I'd been rolling for four rounds, and I was his first match up. I controled him so easily that I was actually thinking "holy shit, this is awesome."

Its very rare that I can actually control the pace of the actions so completely. The kid has trained before at our sister academy, but moved into our area for college. He's a national guardsman that just got back from basic training, and is absolutely tiny. He was probably only 125 lbs or so. He actually reminds me quite a bit of myself at that age, I was a similar weight and had a similar background. Anyways, He's inexperienced, but not unexperienced.

I just want more white belts to come in like that. It gives me a chance to try things out. I try not to go to hard with them, and I let him work...because that benefits me too. I'm just so used to getting smashed that when I don't, it makes me giddy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back from Business Trip

So, I'm back from my trip. I was away for two weeks for my company, undergoing training at a US Army base. My intentions were to go to the gym every day, keep my cardio, and eat right. As we all know about the best laid plans, that all went to hell. The gym was closed for remodel and I was surrounded by fast food joints. I did do some calistenics in my room every day though. I won't really go into the horrendous details of the trip. All my flights got canceled and I was forced to drive 7 hours to the training, which turned into 11 hours because of the horrible weather. The class was boring and largely just a formal certification on shit I've been doing for 10 years.

When I got back to training on monday, It was definitely aparent how much I'd lost in those two week. Of course, the whole gym was training for a large competition, so they had been amping it up the whole time I was gone. All of our personnel medaled, but largely they were disappointed in their performance. Personally, I'm proud that we can send a team of six people to a large tournament and everybody walk out with at least a third place finish in something. I doubt I could have done as well.

I might be competing at a very small local tournament next month. It depends on how I feel. Right now, it just seems like I'm so far behind everybody else. I really wish that we had somebody of roughly the same size and experience level as me. I'm in the 170 weight category. The smaller guys are very senior blues or higher, and the younger white belts are so much bigger than me that they just smash me. I know that I'm not horrible, its just kind of frustrating at times.