One other thing, because I know my mom will worry...
Don't worry, Mom!
Love to you and Dad.
I quit my job, sold my home, and drove around the country in the summer and fall of 2006, training BJJ, finding myself, and landing in LA. I still travel a lot and get to train in amazing places. Some of my friends are irritated that I "prance" around the world and think I "suck" for doing so.
Was just dinking around on google (looking up some song lyrics) and this blog post from someone named Jezza came up randomly:
Speaking of pictures, here are some more of the ones I keep meaning to post, dating all the way back to Turkey, still. I've been remiss. Yikes.
The ladies of Team USA: Tara, Midget, Crystina, Lisa, me, Felicia, Bahar
Me and Jeff Monson (Ultimate Fighting Championships veteran). BTW, less than a week before this competition, Jeff had lost a hard-fought MMA competition via TKO against Pedro Rizzo in Texas. Then he flew to Turkey to participate in this competition. He's a badass and a cool dude. I'm lucky I got a chance to get to know him a little bit.
Me with Midget, my jiu jitsu daughter.
Bill the Grill and me:
Me on the scale. I look like a sausage in that rash guard.
The ladies of Team USA, on the bus after the weigh-in. You can't hear it in this picture (because pictures don't have sound), but we were loud and even raucous.
I'm getting flak--and curiosity--from people for my post about being cranky that one week when white belts were telling me what to do. Flash, a blue belt I drilled with the other day, gave me crap about it; when we were working on a technique and I asked him whether it felt solid when I did it, he said, "Well, I'm not gonna be like one of those white belts who pissed you off, but it felt fine." And then we called each other names and I punched him on the arm, so I THINK he has stopped thinking I'm a belt snob. (For the record, I love Flash. He's a smartass, like me, so we get along fine. At least, I think we do. :) Other people just wanted to know what had happened to make me feel that way.
Irregardless of the fact that you didnt like my speling of the word "discomfited," you and Steve72 can goe too hel.
First, I forgot to mention that on Thursday, on my flight from LAX to Phoenix en route to Albuquerque, Mike Tyson was sitting in the row in front of me. In coach. I wasn't sure until he turned his head and there was the tell-tale tribal tattoo on the left side of his face. He is shorter than I had imagined; when you see footage of him biting Evander Hollyfield's ear, he looks pretty damn big.
Ouano made some prototype pink gis for me and Monica, a blue belt at New Breed. It was really sweet of him. I'm not sure how I feel about it, mostly because I do everything I can NOT to draw attention to myself or my jiu jitsu. Rick likes to say that you shouldn't wear a crazy colored gi unless your jiu jitsu's worth watchin'.
But John is happy with it, as you can see. The thing that really bothers me is that my purple belt clashes with it. I'm thinking I should just go back to my white belt. White goes with everything.
BTW, here is my picture with Barata! I had such a great time training with him. If you are ever in Albuquerque, go visit.
Had an AMAZING open mat session (gi) yesterday with Barata at Albuquerque BJJ. He's about my size, and he let me play, and he had some really good suggestions for me when I'm in open guard. I tend to just press forward rather than stepping back and even standing up to disentangle my legs from the de la Riva guard. That leaves me vulnerable to being swept, because I'm leaving space for him to thread his legs through. So he let me practice standing up and backing away.
Uh, I can distinguish between San Diego and Los Angeles. Whichever Anonymous said that Alberto Crane is living in Glendale happens to be correct, I believe. I have only met Alberto once or twice, but I'm pretty sure he's in Glendale now, teaching with Wander Braga. And Glendale is Los Angeles.
Just arrived here to visit my friend Adamarie and get a change of scenery. I'll also train tomorrow with Don, my teammate from Turkey and the person who took over Alberto Crane's academy here when Alberto moved out to LA. Looking forward to that!
Okay, my attitude is much better. At least, it was before this latest cheat meal. We’ll see how things go tomorrow, after my movie popcorn (Michael Clayton—good movie), Winchell’s donut, Ben & Jerry’s, and power bars. Right now I feel fine; just full and a little headachy. And almost relieved that I don’t have to have another cheat meal for another week. Weird. I still like to like all those “forbidden” foods, and getting over that psychological tic will take a little doing.
Here's more in my continuing attempts to post all my pictures, from Turkey and beyond.
Pretty view from the beach wrestling stands.
A whole buncha people after the beach wrestling competition is over. I'm wearing the sunglasses they gave us at the North American Trials in Las Vegas. I didn't realize until I saw this picture that they make me look like an insect. I still wear them.
Felicia and me with our Turkish friends. We shopped at their souvenir store and then on our way back to the hotel, they invited us to have tea with them. You drink the tea out of a glass with a handle and put a sugar cube between your teeth to sweeten it.
I got rhythm. Oh, and look at all the evil eyes over my left shoulder.
Okay, so maybe it wasn't the cheat meal that made me cranky, seeing as how I still am. Taking some time off from training has messed not only with my timing, but also with my attitude. The past couple days I have found myself bristling when white belts give me suggestions or correct my technique. Normally this doesn't bother me, because if the suggestions are good ones, then I can use them, and if the suggestions are bad ones, then I can just chalk it up to an ego issue, but I think this time the ego issue is mine. I can tell I'm a little rusty, and it's making me defensive. So I'm not being what I like to think is my usual relaxed, even beatific (okay, that's going overboard) self.
This is a video montage of the Fight Gone Bad fundraiser. I'm not in it, but you can see a lot of the people I work out with, including my teachers Andy and Dawn, and my fellow 7am classmate Chris.
My jiu jitsu pal Greg is asking for help in getting new lights for a sports field in Danbury, CT, where his daughters go to school. It doesn't cost anything; just go here http://www.newfridaynightlights.com/ and vote for Danbury. Good luck, Greg!
Finally putting up more pics. It just takes a long time.
...while I did not because Ricky kicked me in the head once or twice in the name of "shifting position" on those uncomfortable airport chairs.
Flash forward to Antalya, where we waited for a while for a shuttle to take us to the airport. Wow, I wish it had been that quick while we were traveling.
The shuttle took long enough so that Tara, Lisa and I had time to go to the restroom. We passed by a row of offices and when I peeked in, I saw a few prayer rugs on the floor--as well as a praying person lying near them. Turkey is 90% Muslim, and this was the first indication I saw of that. I had been concerned about the political and religious climate there, but there was no reason; everyone was so friendly and nice. Antalya is a resort town, so I'm sure it is fairly secular in order to be attractive to tourists. But I also got the sense that the Turks I met were genuinely friendly. More pics on that eventually. Meantime, I decided not to take a picture of the prayer rug and praying man out of respect.
Okay, here are some random pictures:
Me and Midget on the way to the venue to trainIn Turkey, the Dur sign is just a suggestion rather than a mandate. That's fine, although since everyone takes it as a suggestion, it seems like there are many near misses.
Did I mention that every meal was a buffet? Here are Darren and Felicia in the breakfast room. It's safe to say there was probably some ball-busting going on, on both sides.
Juliano and Bryce, being themselves as only they can.
The beach is that way.
Or is it that way?
Tara breaks the tie, and Bill is right! BTW, this pic is from the weigh-in. More of those to follow.