Posts Tagged ‘blue belt’

20140224-070138.jpgWho knows what the next day will bring? The sun will rise. .

Last post, we were on vacation visiting the sister of my girlfriend in a town near Sleepy Hollow, New York. It was the same creepy place as the story of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

On the fifth day, Tuesday, the sister, 48 years old, had a stroke while in New York City. She had business downtown. Luckily, the sister arrived NYU Langone Hospital, acute stroke care unit in time to be stabilized. She was released on Friday. If she doesn’t get better in a month, some doctors want to operate. She will need physical therapy for walking and speech therapy. It was all shocking.

We may move to New York for the summer so as to help the sister and family, or until the sister returns to normal, such as being able to drive and look after her daughter. Her husband was not handling the change well. He’s job requires traveling which means he will not be home often.

If this all happens,  I won’t be training for a few months. There is a train station near by. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour, one way to get to NYC. I’m pretty happy with the Valente Brother’s School. I’m not sure about training in NYC, or other schools. I will probably just wait until I get back.

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Physical Body:
184 lbs, now 162 lbs
Before. tight, rigid body, now, because of stretching routine, becoming much more flexible.

Lifestyle Changes:
Last alcoholic beverage: April 18, 2013
Slowly converting to vegetarian. Not completely following Gracie Diet but desiring that goal.

Mental State:
More in control of emotions.  Developing Equanimity.


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128px-HeadlockThis week in fundamentals, we learned how to get out of a head lock when an attacker has a wide open stance.  See picture. In fact, the bigger the attacker and the stronger the neck crank, the easier the take down.  As in the picture, grab the hip of the attacker, the arm that was on the back,  and the other hand hooks under the knee of the attacker. Next, swing the back foot through the attacker’s legs as far as possible, the other foot stays side by side the attacker’s foot,  and the victim would end up in the side mounted position.

The school gave us a warning the other day.  Motorcycles are dangerous and should be avoid.   From our school, a purple belt died two months ago and another purple belt is in critical condition both from motorcycle accidents. They mentioned that even Master Helio Gracie, when he was nineteen, was in a serious motorcycle accident.  The doctor wanted to amputate his leg but obviously didn’t. Motorcycles are dangerous.


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To be honest, I took the week off.  At 45, I felt I needed to give myself some time to heal.

What happened?  Two white belts did me in.  While practicing the single collar grab, thumb down, I lost my balance, fell,  and put my hand on the floor. The nervous practice partner stepped forward onto my hand, the heal of his foot  came down on top  of index finger.  I heard a loud pop.  I felt bleeding but no cut.  Blood pooled under the nail of my index finger.  Gui taped up the fingers and I finished the class. I didn’t go to the doctor. On the internet, I found the injury. It was called, jersey finger, the opposite of a mallet.  The finger has been healing and no deformation. I went to class with the fingers taped up but on the third week, I wanted sometime out.  I was having trouble typing.  Not to worry, the finger has almost completely healed.  Last week, a bouncer, while doing knee on bellie drill fell down hard and bruised an internal organ.  Perhaps I need to do more exercises out side of class.

Sorry I am not trying to make a blog of aches and pains.  It has been a long time since , I had a physical.  Nevertheless, I eat very healthy and am very fit..  I want to make sure the veins and arteries are clear.  I need to find a new doctor in my area.

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This week, I worked out with a Brazilian white belt that only had private lessons, one on one with  black belt instructors.  It seemed to me that even though he wore a white belt,  he was executing in the techniques review part of the class on level of an advanced blue belt.  Private lessons were a good way to learn. If I was not doing jiu jitsu as a hobby, it would be worth the investment to take private lessons.  So, I had never taken private lessons..  Even though I wasn’t learning one on one with the black belts, I felt that I was making jiu jitsu mine through the group classes, with all my mistakes and all.

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Answer:  Small changes, or corrections, in a golf swing,  facial symmetry, and jiu jitsu technique have big gains in performance, appearance, and survival.

A few weeks ago, I watched a video on YouTube, motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nZcbIGlCQk .  Tony Robbins spoke about how small changes could have big gains.  Tony gave a few examples, the plastic surgeon and the golfer.  The first one, according to scientific study which has shown that beauty was a measurement, for example, the ideal distance from the top of the lips to the nose was 3 mm, just as an example.   So if a persons distance was four mm then the plastic surgeon would try to reduce the distance by one mm, which would be a very small measurement for a big change in personal attractiveness.

Tony Robbins also gave another example of a golfer not able to hit a ball with accuracy.  When the golfer was taught to adjusted the slope of the club by 1 mm, he was able to hit the ball with better accuracy. There was a flaw in the golfer’s swing that was corrected.

In the Fundamental class, lesson number one, this week, which felt like the 20th time,  I had missed a point in the steps.  In all, I made four mistakes, so I made four corrections to the techniques.  After class, I wrote down the corrections.

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At the fundamentals class on Wednesday, I was very rusty. I need to go back and apply myself to the fundamental program. My practice partner, a three stripe purple belt, made me humbled. Also, Gui noticed that I had fallen back. Most fights are won with fundamental technique. The advanced class was double the lessons of fundamentals, almost overwhelming. The Helio Gracie Tournament, a techniques tournament, is in October, maybe I should focus on that?

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For the record, I am all about technique, and trying to execute technique perfectly.  Also, I am working on in my study of jiu jitsu to be patient, self-aware, and calm under stress.  I fully believe in the Gracie Jiu Jitsu techniques and my instructors.

On Tuesday, in the advanced grappling class, I was frustrated. We were learning defense from the bottom; however, my class partner was focused more on sparring. This was the sixth Russian student that I have worked out with at the dojo. I was choked out about six times. I couldn’t careless.  At one point during the class, I advised my partner that I wanted to focus on technique and to take it easy. He didn’t respond.  At one point, I was getting baited into sparring back. Professor Pedro Jr. didn’t like what he was seeing.  The truth, I found the arm and hand positions difficult and even more so while being aggressively choked.   I didn’t fully learn the lesson and I doubt my partner did as well.

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This week, I partnered up with an enormous guy.   When I was in high school, I didn’t have the experience of wrestling with a heavy weight, so this was virgin territory.   I estimated him to be at least 6-3. and possibly 260 lbs or more.  I’m 6-0 ft and 168 lbs.   I could barely put my feet together around his waist when I had him in the guard position.   All he had to do was move around which would cause my legs to immediately open.   That class we practiced the amass pan and the amass pan defense.  The Amass Pan is a kimono choke where the  pinky knuckle and knuckle next to it are pressed deeply into the side of the neck next to adams apple, which painfully cuts off blood flow to the brain. When I was defending against the amass pan, that is when you grab the top of the knuckles and pull back on the opponents choke hand, he put his full body weight on his arm.  It was a lot of weight, a lot of pressure.  If I didn’t bridge and pull back with a lot of effort, he would have choked me out just from his body weight.  It was an enlightening experience to say the least.

From an earlier post you know that I was knife attacked when I was an exchange student in Madrid, Spain.  I escaped with no harm.   Professor Pedro is considering including some weapons defense techniques in the fundamental classes since people are attacked with more than just fists.  It could be a knife, bat, stick, gun, etc.  Today was special, we studied a knife attack defense.  Normally, weapons self-defense is a separate class that you pay extra for. So, if someone tries a stab attack to the heart, my arm should raise to defend automatically.     As a blue belt, we are focused on learning reflex action. For the record, I don’t recommend anyone taking on an opponent with a knife or a gun just because you took a self-defense class,  but if you don’t have a choice,  you should know how to defend  yourself.  This reflex defense could save your life.

On Friday, Valente Brothers Headquarters had a seminar taught by Professor Ryron Gracie, truly a great teacher and the grandson of Master Helio.  Also, I want to give the BBJ view on the Trayvon Martin case.  I will write two separate post on each.


 — “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”       Buddha  500 b.c.


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This week I had a great class under the instruction of Joaquin, the youngest of the Valente Brothers.  The class was a realistic fight sequence leading into the pedalada, a foot strike from the guard position.  The sequences were clearly explained and easy to follow.  Also, there were a lot of new white belts that recently joined.

How many years of study does it take to become a black belt?   From what I have learned, it will take up to nine years of regular practice.   In today’s world, businesses come and go in that time frame.   I think that the Valente Brother’s Studio, dojo,  will be here nine years from now since there are at least four capable people to do it.  I definitely believe it will be around in 2021; hopefully, so will I.

Since I have started training, I have become more peaceful.  In an interview on Youtube.com, Grand Master Helio mentioned that this would occur with the study of Jiu Jitsu.


He who formerly was reckless and afterwards become SOBER, brightens up this world, like the moon when freed from clouds.”

Buddha, Bhammapada, 2500 years ago.

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