I could get used to this
Holy cow, the days fly by when you live at a jiu jitsu academy. Wake up around 9, futz around a little, take a morning class that ends up lasting for hours because you are having lots of fun training and shooting the breeze, clean up, eat, rest for a bit, take an evening class that ends up lasting for hours because you are having lots of fun training and shooting the breeze, clean up, eat, go to sleep around 2am. Repeat as necessary (and necessary = daily). I asked my roommate Sean whether Ouano’s academy is kind of like Hotel California, in that you decide you want to leave but somehow never do, and he said yes. And since he’s been living here since February, he knows whereof he speaks. Johnny actually has an apartment in another town, but chooses to live here. And my stay somehow seems to keep lengthening too. There’s a big tournament coming up on the 24th right around here, and I want to stay for that, so it looks like I’ll be here for another couple weeks. I can check out any time I like, but apparently I can never leave.
Anyway, I had a great time at Rey’s academy on Wed. He taught a guard pass and a transition to the mount that I had sort of seen but sort of not—story of my life with this trip. There are so many ways to teach a given technique that the way I have learned may not be the way it is taught at an academy in another city. Even though Rey basically grew up with Carlson, Jr. and considered Carlson, Sr. to be a father figure and was thoroughly educated in Carlson jiu jitsu, he has developed his own take on various techniques. That’s how it works; the more skilled you become in BJJ, the more creativity and individual personality you bring to bear on your own game and the instruction you provide your students.
Rod and Joe, two forum friends (Sweepem and Creek Warrior, respectively), were at Rey’s, as was Andreh, a brown belt who is knocking on the door to black. Rod is injured, but I got to work with Joe and Andreh, and here are some pictures of us and one of me and Rey. Unfortunately, Rey’s wife Tatiana, a brown belt, was not at class that night, but I will go back and will hope to see her then.
Rod, me, Joe:
Andreh and my friend Dave Jacobs (a black belt under the Yamasaki brothers who runs a Yamasaki academy in Chantilly, VA) have a fake feud going on, so I was happy to stir the turd by telling Dave that Andreh and I burned a fanny pack in effigy. (Dave considers a fanny pack to be a vital fashion accessory, and this makes him the butt—pun intended—of countless jokes. Don’t ask.) After class, Andreh, Rod, Joe, and I went for Mediterranean food and talked more BJJ, and then when I got back to Ouano’s, I went for dessert with Johnny and blue belt Vince. I give two thumbs up to multiple dinners.
Yesterday I pretty much followed the schedule above: Johnny and I went to R1 to train with Cindy Omatsu, who is a really cool person in addition to being an awesome BJJ player; I cleaned up, ate, and sat on my keister until John’s gi class and Sheldon’s takedowns class; I cleaned up; and then Johnny, Vince and I went to dinner at about 1am. I started the day risking life and limb by waking Johnny up at 8am to do laundry; he usually doesn’t emerge before noon, if possible. But I have clean clothes AND managed to stay alive, so as laundry days go, it was pretty typical.
I also spoke to my father about my mother’s radiation, which was supposed to start yesterday. Apparently the computer was down or something, so she’s not going to start until Monday. That’s kind of stinky; I have no idea what it’s like to psych yourself up to get radiation, but I imagine it can’t be easy. So Mom, I’m rooting for you! Have a great weekend and kick radiation’s ass on Monday!
Today was more of the same: I talked to Debbie for her birthday, ordered her a present or two, and took Johnny’s no-gi class. He’s a great teacher, and we’ve actually had some interesting conversations about instructional design; since I have that degree in education, I supposedly know something about how people learn and how best to teach them. Based on what I’ve seen and experienced, Johnny has basically stumbled upon really solid pedagogical principles without knowing anything formal about instructional design, and we’re going to look at his curriculum to see if/how we can make it even better.
So that will be a REALLY fun way for me to use my degree! Hot damn. Johnny, Vince, and I had just enough time to grab lunch (at 4pm) before the 6pm class, in which Johnny taught the same things he taught in the morning class (great for me, because a lot of it was takedowns, and we all know by now how I feel about takedowns). Then I watched the MMA class, and now, close to midnight, there is still a handful of people here just hanging out. I’m hoping some of them are going to want to get something to eat, because I’m about ready to start feasting on my own hand.
Tomorrow is a tournament that I’ll go to to watch and to hang out with some of my west coast pals. I promised to bring Stan’s donuts, so I gotta figure out the directions. Ooh, and just now Johnny said the word “quesadillas” to me. I think that’s a good sign!