Archive for February, 2012

Great jiu jitsu movie, RED BELT.  I highly recommend it.  See the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LlkIRIQeuc&ob=av3e   The conclusion, you could interpret in different ways.   For me, the message is that there are things more important than money.  Learning and teaching Jiu Jitsu is important that it is done in a traditional way even if it causes a personal sacrifice.  RED BELTs are preservers of the tradition. Hopefully, seven generations from now, if you went to a jiu jitsu school, it should be similar to what we learn today.

This week, I watched The Valente Brother’s,  Pedro Jr. and Joaquin, on Desperita America!  See  link is http://www.graciemiami.com/media_center/featured_news/valente_brothers_on_telemundo_and_univison_.  Professor Pedro Jr. and Joaquin were great. I was proud of the professors and for our school.  The thing that I found most impressive was our female student.  Her technique and execution was truly amazing.  Size and strength can be over come.  Note, men and women classes are separate.

This week we had the pre fight fundamental lesson, my favorite lesson.  As black belt Phillipe said, ” There are a lot of ding dongs out there.”  You have gotta be ready.  I like this lesson because it has a throw in it,  and more importantly,  it’s the events that lead up to a fight.  If you handle yourself well, it can result in a non fight.  Most of the time, a few choice words and standing your ground, can make people wake up to the fact that a physical assault isn’t the way to go; especially, if it is over something minor like a parking spot, a non life threatening issue.  A good way to be is to try to treat every person that approaches aggressively as a capable fighter so that you don’t get surprised attacked.

Since my first lesson, I had two incidents, a huge over weight guy in a park that thought he was going to give me a beat down and a super fit guy that was tail gating me.  I was confident I would have prevailed in both but as a friend of mine told me, Kevin, a blue belt,  ” There was not going to be any real winners. no prize. no trophy.  You could have been injured.  Someone could have died.  You could die.  If you can’t prove your side, maybe jail time for you.”

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I find learning the fundamentals difficult.  Every time I review a fundamental lesson, I usually discover a new detail in the move that I didn’t see before.  I sometimes don’t feel confident about the move.  I think the test of mastery is when the fundamental move becomes an effortless flow.   Professor Gui is challenging us to search for hidden details in the fundamental moves that goes beyond step 1, step 2, and step 3.

Lately, I’m hearing stories of people getting injured.  When I do, I try to find out more.  Belt rank of the people involved?  How it happened?  Could the injuries been avoided? I often repeat to myself, ” Tap out early, tap out often.”      If your injured, or you’re not really ready for an advanced class, take it easy.  Don’t rush it.  Also, it is a good idea to arrive early so that one can stretch out.  That will help in preventing injury. Communicate with your sparring opponent.  Also, be aware of the age of your opponent.  If your working out with someone older or inexperienced, then I would take it slow.   You can also monitor your opponent.  If you see the expression of pain, ask them if they are in pain, or stop the move.  Be smart on the mat. Know your limits.

This week, I watched a Japanese movie, Tokyo Zombie, the English-speaking version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJEmduNwjKU  It is a horror-comedy manga feature two blue-collar factory workers (Who happen to be jiu-jitsu experts) dealing with a ravenous, flesh-eating zombie uprising in Tokyo. I tried a move from the movie, an escape from the triangle choke, it’s around 1 hour 29 minutes.  It didn’t work. I ended up getting choked. I made that choke cough noise after I was let go.  However, I liked the movie.  Note, warning, it’s not for kids.

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For the first time, I tried a no kimono, no gi,  class on Friday night.  It was a tough group of people, an ex college wrestler, an ex m.m.a. fighter, and visitors, als0 known as, people off the street.   Professor Gui taught us a few choke holds. These chokes are done when the opponent shrimps out of the side mount.  That night I was lucky to have a brown belt as my partner whom was very patient and took me slowly through the steps.  To be honest, I thought it was complicated and didn’t think that I would be using it anytime soon.  However, I was wrong.  I was able to do a guillotine choke when my opponent tried an elbow escape from the side mount.   It was my first submission.  Note, I don’t want to give the submission much attention just like when I tap out.  For me what was extraordinary was that I was just taught the move, practiced the move on my partner, and then executed the move in sparring that night.  That’s cool.

Throwing is a part of Jiu Jitsu just as much as it is to Judo.  I attempted the Makikomi. It was pretty bad.  I was able to grab both elbows for a short while but I couldn’t swim my other arm over them to execute the throw.   As soon as I grabbed both elbows of my opponent, he knew something was going to happen and immediately try to yank his arms free.  What I learned is that the execution has to be quick or it won’t work.

I was in some bad positions during sparring.  At one point, my opponent had me in a top mount position with his full body weight on my abdomen and the hooks in.  I was having trouble breathing.  I panicked.  I should have stuck it out because I was  prepared for this.   I have been practicing a five-minute meditation on only five breathes.  Here’s how you do it.  It is a twenty-second inhale, hold for twenty seconds, and exhale for twenty. Five breathes, five minutes.  Note, it takes practice to get a twenty-second inhale. You can start with a 10 second inhale, 10 second breath hold, and 10 second exhale.  At another time, I was pinned.  I tried a pressure point to get my opponent to let go.  It didn’t work but it may have made him uncomfortable.  I should have asked my opponent after the match if it was working.  Note to self,  research pressure points.  If I find any article worth mentioning , I will let you all know.

Every Friday Night after the fundamental class, Professor Pedro talks about Jiu Jitsu philosophy and life style.  I forgot about this.  I usually have prepared questions.   If any of you have a question, please on forward it.  Anyways, someone asked about the Gracie Diet.   I haven’t read the book yet. I haven’t really  started the diet.  From what I understood, the diet is concerned with blood ph levels.  It is bad to have high acidity in the  blood.   The blood should be alkaline.  To keep your blood alkaline, you have to consume the right food and not mix certain foods.

Professor Pedro also discussed taking control of your mind as with his example of salt addiction.  He made the decision to never put salt on his food.  We all know that long-term over use of salt leads to high blood pressure.   Once  you stop over consuming salt, it takes around three months before the taste of the food returns.  Back in the late 1990s, my ex girlfriend from Liverpool, England, taught me that we put too much salt in our food in America.  That night, she made a soup without salt to prove her point.  The food wasn’t important. It was a salt addiction and the food could have been anything.  I liked Professor Pedro’s message of how he instructed his mind that he isn’t going to consume salt instead of his mind instructing him to eat salt.  A part of a Jiu Jitsu practitioner’s goal is to learn mind control so that we can control our emotions.

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Inexpensive, healthy, and tasty, I call it Jiu Jitsu Vegetable Soup.  From start to finish, Jiu Jitsu Soup takes less than twenty minutes to prepare.  In addition to the soups outstanding nutritional value, it has a lot of anti cancer properties; as well as,  aiding in weight loss.

The first step is to peel all the veggies with the side of a knife blade and then chop the carrot, celery stock, green onion, and the sweet potato.  Place all the vegetables in a large pot along with the shiitake mushrooms.  Pour in 2 cups of frozen peas.  * You could substitute another frozen vegetable if you like.  Add the dehydrated seaweed.  Add three cups of water and bring to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, turn off stove.   Note, I try to minimally cook the vegetables.  Add the miso paste right after the water stops boiling since boiling the miso paste isn’t good for it.   Add tofu for protein.   Let the soup sit for five minutes with the top on.  The miso should look like clouds in the water.  Serve.

You will need:

1 organic carrot

1 organic celery stock

1 organic yam or sweet potato

1 organic green onion

2 cups of frozen organic vegetables,  peas, lima beans, or brocoli.  Your choice.

2 tablespoons of miso paste.   Miso paste can be found at Wholefoods for $5 a tub found in the dairy section.  Cold Mountain.

1 oz organic shiitake mushrooms

1 table-spoon of hydrated sea weed.

1 oz of tofu cubes.

I try to eat this soup everyday.  To keep it from get boring, switch up the frozen vegetables.  You can add garlic or other spices.  My intention was to try to consume five servings of vegetables with this soup everyday.

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It has been a week of self-reflection. Am I too old for this? What if I get injured?  What else am I going to do?  Is this the right place for me?  If I am so fortunate to earn a black belt, then what will I do?

This week, I asked a brown belt, whom is close to earning his black belt, did you ever see yourself as a brown belt before becoming a brown belt? Could you see yourself as a black belt? He laughed when I asked the question then he answered, ” No, it’s a day by day event.”   Like him,  I can’t see myself beyond the next class.

I had a blue belt moment, I learned a technique incorrectly on the A Mas Apon. My choke hand was wrong. I tried it during a sparring session but it wasn’t working because of my hand position.  I gave it up because it looked like I was hurting my opponent. Anyways, the above brown belt was my fundamentals techniques partner that showed me the correct way.  This made me think what an advantage it is to take private lessons. I would like to try a private class but I don’t have the money and I am not sure what I would work on at this time.

This week, I learned that it will take two years to advance to purple.  Basically, I will get a stripe every belt ceremony if I put in the hours of course. That is okay since I am in no hurry. However,  I am a bit upset with myself.   I am going to write an article on mental alertness since I should have asked these questions on day one.

This week, I learned a cool new throw called Soto Makikomi.  Note, the way I learned the throw and the execution is slightly different from the way a judo practitioner would do it.  I would love to use that in the near future, but I am having trouble with the unbalancing of the opponent. I need to work on it. In that same class, I was thrown a lot.  The trick is to not tense up and to not give any resistance. A throw is a good way to gain the top position. A take down will also give you top position and that is where I want to be in fight. When I wrestled in high school, I remember the coach always telling us that the person who executes the take down first usually wins the match.

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