Another great day: sightseeing, training, eating
Slept late again. Linh was already off to work, and Darin was packing us a lunch to take to Cumberland Falls. It was a rainy day, but the falls were beautiful. I didn’t get to see a moonbow, though this is the only place in the western hemisphere where you can see one. In the gift shop, I bought a couple of postcards and a souvenir refrigerator magnet, before I remembered I don’t have a refrigerator to put it on. I started buying them when I went different places b/c they are portable, as well as fun reminders of places I’ve been. So after I bought this one and realized I don’t have a place to put it, I figured what the hell and am going to buy them everywhere. That will give me incentive to get a fridge sometime in the near future, which implies a home to go with it.
At the falls, we saw some beautiful scenery as well as two cranky ducks. I say they were cranky because a couple we saw fishing said they (the ducks) had tried to bite their (the couple's) toes.
This time, on the way to the falls, the BJJ conversation was about how your techniques don’t need to be flashy to be effective, how Carlson Sr. is still so missed, and how the politics in BJJ is so frustrating and can’t everyone just get along? See, when you train BJJ, depending on the school you kind of pledge allegiance, and it’s considered bad form to jump around from school to school. What I’m doing isn’t bad because I’m not going to different schools in search of a promotion because I feel my main instructor isn’t helping me progress fast enough. But like with any other situation where human beings are involved, egos are involved in BJJ, which means you need to tread lightly. There are places where people from different academies do get along, but it’s not always the case.
And Carlson Sr, is Carlson Gracie, Sr., a BJJ legend who passed away earlier this year, and under whom Darin and I had the privilege of training for about 4 years before his death. We talked about how if Carlson Gracie, Sr. gives you your brown belt, which he did Darin, or your purple belt, which he did me, then you deserve it. Not many people can say that a living legend awarded them such an honor, down to tying the belt on our waists himself.
Anyway, we chatted about this on the way to Cumberland Falls and then again on the way to Darin’s parents’ place. I got to meet his mother and father and see his niece, Amanda and Luke’s daughter again. She had chased—and caught—a lizard AND a frog that day, and was in the process of making a caterpillar out of Play Doh when we arrived. Darin’s mom is sweet as can be; she made me some banana bread for my trip and fussed over us while we ate lunch. I also got to meet his mother’s parents, who live down the street. It’s really nice that his family is so nearby, and they love Linh like she was their own, which she basically is.
We stopped by Amanda and Luke’s to pick up a DVD Darin had loaned Amanda: the 2005 Abu Dhabi women’s competition. Abu Dhabi is a no-gi competition, and 200 was the first year they had a women’s division. I also met Gracie
and Sugar Bear there.
I'll fix 'em, I promise!
Then it was on to the academy for more cleaning before the competition cardio class. (Fat Tony, I took your advice and bartered for training!)
And here's me trying to look tough in my Submit Pit t-shirt. Mostly I just look irritated. And God in heaven, how I hate my hair.
I worked with Amanda again and gave her some unsolicited advice about just relaxing and enjoying herself. We exchanged email addresses and I hope we stay in touch. I love dispensing unwanted advice, and in all seriousness, it’d be great if she sticks with BJJ and goes as far as she wants to with it.
Linh arrived around 7 to train Carey, though I don’t think they got much done because Carey took lots of pictures of our class. The dumb batteries in my camera had died, so I’m going to get copies from her. Meantime, here is one picture of Chad and me sparring on the feet. Judging from the look on my face, either I’m having fun, or Chad has just insulted me in some way. (I WILL fix these! I'm just running low on battery power and have other things to do before the computer dies.)
Back at Bandit’s house, we watched the Abu Dhabi DVD while Bandit licked my feet again.
Bruce Buffer, the veteran voice of the Octagon, was also the announcer for this event. He was in the background on the DVD and was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It kind of threw me (at the UFC, he’s usually in a tuxedo). Those women are so amazingly technical. It’s like watching a dance.
Well, even though everyone in town, it seems, has tried to get me to stay an extra day, I am heading out tomorrow. The longer I stay here, the harder it will be to leave! And I joke that I’m becoming a BJJ bum, but that’s too quick a transformation. Anyway, I also want to train with Soneca, and if I don’t get to his school in Knoxville tomorrow, I will miss him because he’s leaving for Chicago after the evening class. I didn’t know he was leaving, so I need to decide whether to stay and train there again on Fri without him or see if I can find someplace farther west in TN to try, maybe in Nashville somewhere. I’ll post on the forum and see if anybody has any ideas.
I guess this is one of those times when I just go with the flow, or flow with the go. I mean, I had my itinerary but it is changing. So I’ll just see what I feel like doing—what a crazy concept, being that free to do whatever the hell I want to. Life is getting better and better.
So the plan tomorrow is to fold my laundry, pack up (including Mrs. Durham’s banana bread), figure out where Soneca’s school is, find a Panera nearby (they have free wireless), and scope out a motel (also preferably one with free wireless). I also need to call various people and write the postcards I bought; my list of people who want them is growing exponentially. Fortunately I love to write them.
Anyway, I’m babbling now. It’s late—it’s amazing how busy my days are, in terrific ways. But I look around and all of a sudden it’s 1am when I had decided to get up at 7:30 to say goodbye to Linh. And I still feel like I have tons to do and say! Well, it will keep.
I’ve had such a great time in Somerset. I can’t thank Darin and Linh enough for their hospitality and inspiration, and I look forward to coming through again to see all the people I met this time around.