Archive for May, 2012

Until my lower back is healthy, I am staying on the side line; however, I am planning to return to training on the mat after Memorial Day.  I found a great video on you tube made by Rener Gracie, 4th degree blackbelt and grandson of Master Helio Gracie, for lower back injury prevention.  When Rener was young,  he was  in a bad accident which caused a spinal injury, a herniated disk.  A herniated disk is very painful.   As per the video, Rener had to rest for ten months before he could return to the mat.   I started doing the strength exercises with the rubber ball just as in the video.  In the last couple of days, I am feeling a lot better.  I will be definitely adding these exercises as part of my regular strength training.   Also, the information from Non-Surgical Spine Care Center, Mountain Valley, California, http://www.nospinesurgery.com,  and the various treatments is good to know that they are available.

Check out his you tube link,

Core Strengthening – Lower Back Injury Prevention with Rener Gracie

.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mru33xLcDE

Rener has tremendous passion for Jiu Jitsu.   A few months ago,  he gave a seminar at Valente Brothers of North Miami Beach, Florida, which I attended, on the Triangle Choke.   It was valuable.  It totally changed my view of the Triangle Choke.   I used to avoid it, but now it is a move I would attempt during sparring if the opportunity was available.

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The instructors aren’t going to like this but I injured my back during lesson 20. I blame myself for the injury. My back was hurting before the class. The day of the class, I arrived late and didn’t fully stretch out. The biggest cause is that I have been sleeping on a bad mattress. The ten days before, I was not exercising like I usually do. Despite what happens in my life I need to always exercise. The good news is that I am improving. I hoping to come back on Wednesday.

Observation, once you become a blue belt, you become a mentor to white belts, not an instructor. So during review, we practice what lessons the white belts know. I have some anxiety that I maybe giving bad advise so I try just to point out the most obvious mistakes in their form. When I feel it’s not going well, I seek help from the instructor or higher belts that I trust.

We learned esquima, re learned, which I find difficult, however, in my opinion, it is a good defense against fist strikes while standing. It is also a good position for a takedown as well. Esquima, is a Portuguese word meaning fencing. It is a locking one of the opponents arms under the arm pit and holding that arm at the elbow. The other arm is grasping the other side back shoulder under their arm holding the shoulder blade. Your head is to one shoulder side. When the opponent switches grips, or swims the shoulder holding arm down, you switch to the other side, sort of like a dance.

As far as distance, esquima grappling, shoulder to shoulder, is the opposite in judo where it’s like a waltz dance distance, arms length. This judo distance is bad for a street attack from fist strikes. Professor Pedro had pointed out the mistake of my judo distance.

Next throwing class, when I am healthy enough to participate, I want to work on getting into the esquima grip and also to work on throwing from the esquima grip. I wonder how it would work in a size mismatch, a bigger opponent.

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Rectitude Tea

This week, I made a mug to keep me motivated on a legal case that I am working on. See picture.  Every time I take a sip from my mug, I read the word, Rectitude,  for personal motivation.  I define Rectitude as the pursuit of  justice without regard to the cost.

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˝In the East it is said, when the student is ready, the teacher will present himself.” 1950s documentary video about the Japanese judo master Masahiko Kimora. Before I found Valente, I had two odd experiences with two judo clubs.

I wanted to return to my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so I choose a college there and moved back after graduating high school. I had the hope of returning to my old dojo under Norm Miller. Unfortuntely, it had moved locations or was out of business. So, in the Fall of 1989, I found a club two blocks from the university from the yellow pages. It was only twenty dollars a month and at the Ymca on the 15th floor. I arrived on time and met a heavy weight
black belt by the name of Ken. He was obsessed with trying out for the Olympic team. I told him I was a student of Norm Miller. I clearly asked if he knew of him or his where abouts. He completely ignored my question. Ken’s behavior was strange. A few minutes later, the rest of the group arrived, five guys and Ken. They changed in another room when they came out, all of them were wearing black belts. I thought to myself this can’t be real. I asked where are the other students, Ken, looked at me and said your it, your the only student. Ken showed a throw and then said lets practice. They lined up then one of the black belt said white belts get to throw once while black get 10. Ken didn’t throw me, but all the others did. I hadn’t practiced a fall slap in many years and I was just thrown 50 times. I injuried myself when my knees hit each other as I hit the mat. It was one of those injuries you don’t realize right away. It was not fun. From there, we went into randori. One black belt was eager to go at me. Even though I didn’t do judo in a while, I had wrestled in a tough conference in high school so I was prepared for the ground attack. He didn’t throw me so well. We went to the floor. I escaped. He threw me. Some how he hit me with a loose elbow to my nose. Blood started slowly dripping. We stopped. The black belt ran to the bathroom for tissue. I plugged my nose and we started sparring again. I was very disappointed by that club. My knee was throbbing. I decided that it was to risky to purse my judo training with that group. I focused on my studies and gave up martial arts until 1998.

In 1998, I went through a bad divorce, no kids, and had a smoking habit. I needed to get my face out of my hands and get moving. I knew if I played a sport, it would motivate me to quit smoking. I found a judo course at Miami Dade Community College Northh Campus. It was a reasonable cost. I didn’t think that I would compete again, but maybe I could become a judo referee. Jack, a mid sixty year old, sensei, was some sort of judo guru that was training the police there. The North Campus has a law enforcement school. Part of the class was in a classroom. He would write the Japanses words for the throws. He had some good floor drills. Face of a clock warmup, pinning moves. One day he explained what happens medically to an elbow that is broken from an arm look, and what happens when a person is killed from a choke hold. I thought it to be gruesome. I guess police should know.

Jack had some remembeable sayings. His catch phase, ” You want to be a bad ass like me, you have to do what I say?” He drove a fast corevette convertible and wore reflective sun glasses. Another one, ” When you grab someone, its like taking out the garbage.” I didn’t like that one either. What that does is dehumanize your opponent. He was someone that I would consider dangerous, even at his age.

Things were going well until he realized I was training to kick someone’s ass. He did not like that. He was correct. It is a violation of the judo code. So, that’s when he made it so unbareable, anyone would leave on their own. He beat me up for six weeks. The day before I threw in the white towel, he put me in the mata leon. As he choked me, i paniked. Take it easy, he whispered in my ear. I think he debated in his mind about knoçking me out to test my dedication like they would do to you at the Kodokan. He said something like that. Miami Dade Community College ain’t kodakan. Kodakan is the best judo school in the world, located in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese did not like foreign students. As a test, they would test a foreigners worthiness by knocking the prospective student out with a chokehold. To purposefully use a choke hold to cause a non struggling person to unconsciousness ,without sparring, is like a simulation of an execution without dying. Then, they would do it the next day. If you kept coming back, you would past their test and they would teach you. I didn’t like the idea. I decided Jack was insane. I wasn’t coming back. I gave up my grudge too. Instead of judo, I played lacrosse, mid field, with the Miami Makos, for the next five years and I completely quit smoking.

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