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Posts Tagged ‘jiu jitsu’

govt bjj repres in fl 2013

October 1, 2013, at the Newport Beachside Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, 300 plus jiu jitsu students in white komonos celebrated the 100th birthday of Grand Master Helio Gracie.  Sadly, as many know, Grand Master Helio Gracie passed away in 2009; however, the memory of Helio, his teachings, and practice of Jiu Jitsu lives on.

The birthday celebration began with awards presented by the City of North Miami Beach which proclaimed October 1st as Helio Gracie Day.  There was another award, presented by a state congressman, a purple belt.  All in all, very good propaganda for jiu jitsu and good representation in government.

Right after the awards was held a special event, the Helio Gracie Challenge, a self-defense techniques contest.  This special event featured five contestants whom were the winners from previous years.  In the end, Roberto Flesishmann won.

Pedro Valente gave an excellent speech on Helio’s ring fights from 1932 to 1936.  Ten fights from the best fighters from the United States, Japan, and Poland.  Impressive was Helio’s tremendous courage to fight incredible opponents.  In post fight interviews with Helio’s opponents, they praised his superior defense.

After the speech was a video presentation by the Valente Brothers, Pedro, Gui, and Joaqium. In the video, they told stories of their experiences with Helio at his home and on the mats.

Finally, a slide presentation of Helio’s amazing life.  The presentation ended with the last time he was seen alive by Pedro.  In his door step, smiling. a hand wave of good-bye.

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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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One of my goals for 2013 is to use science to improve my health. Even with a healthy diet, according to Dr. Oz, food today still lacks the mineral and vitamins of food grown 100 years because the soil has being depleted. Supplements are a low cost investment with big returns.

Below is what I take every day in addition to a healthy diet along with exercise.

Optimal Health

1) Multi Vitamin.
Product: Men’s Alive
2) Joint and Ligament
Product: Flexamin Double Strength. I will switch to Animal Flex, a better supplement, when my supplies run out.
3) Brain and Arteries
Product: 365 Wholefoods omega 3, fish oil with dha
4) Whey Protein
Product: Joe Robby Whey protein.

Longevity Health

Focus : heart, brain, and bone.

I obtained the below information from a medical doctor. I take these supplements daily as well.

1) Heart
Product: Hawthorne Berry Extract, Increase oxygen to the heart and repairs heart muscle.

2) Brain, protects memory cells
Product: vinopcetine

3) Bone, strengthens bone and repairs.
Product: calcium derived from plants. Not from rock.

I will up date the list in a few months if I add a new supplement or find a better product.

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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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˝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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This week during randori, throwing sparring, I had a hard time moving around my opponent.  Getting the opponent to move is a precurser to a good throw.  I need to get clear in my mind where to move my opponent, and to be prepared for the right throw. I will start training, focusing, more on trying to control the movement.

Probably just a dream goal, I wouldn’t mind putting on 10 lbs of muscle.  This would require weight lifting. In conjunction with the weight lifting I would take a muscle supplement. I found a product that claims to help rebuild muscle tissue lost from aging, ensure with revigor. It is sold at cvs and walgrens. When I can’t win with technique, I like the power side. I used to have great curl strength about 12 years ago.

I’m looking for a meditation instructor or a group. I wasn’t impressed with what I found locally, south Florida. I admit that I didn’t put a lot of effort into my search. I may try something via skype.

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It took a lot of positive self talk to get me to sparring this week. I totally didn’t want to do it but that is the time I needed to go. As I waited for my name to be called, I felt like a bloody steak just about to be tossed into an alligator pit. I had four opponents, one American, one Brazillian, one Colombian, and one Russian.  I received the most damage from the Russian, but I also learned the most from him.  My body is all messed up.  I will be ready for next week. I gave up my back at least eight times. This is not sports Jiu Jitsu, so giving up your back is the end of the fight. I tapped out at least five times.  I did a few things right, I didn’t burnout.  I had conserved my energy throughout all my matches.    I didnt get overly aggressive and I remained calm under the pressure. I did a new take down,kukkiki toashi. I think thats the name. So, my goal for next week is to try to not give up my back as much. Work a new throw.

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After two weeks of rest, I wasn’t ready for the throwing class so I put it off.  Why? I didn’t feel confident about my falling ability.  I am older than most students so I need to be sure that I am limber enough to move around.   It is important that you feel confident about your actual ability to break a fall.  As a general rule, every time I attend, I warmup with falling exercises. In the future, I’m planning to practice falling on a beach because of the soft sand.

However, I did go to sparring this week.  Back in December, I took my first sparring class. It felt like an MMA event.   I had four opponents and two were overly aggressive.  I had never seen them.  I was fighting for survival.   At the end, I was completely exhausted and had marks all over my body and face.  I violated the rule, To fight the slow fight, and conserve energy.

So, for the second sparring class, the one on Thursday, I took the advise of other students to conserve energy and not be overly aggressive. I communicated better with my opponents.  The 2nd class was more staged.  If one person wins passing the guard, you are supposed to stop resisting, wait, wait for them to move,  and then you react.  I didn’t have any injuries.  For my first and second class, I admit that I was using everything but  Jiu Jitsu.  I used a judo pin with a choke hold.  I used wrestling moves.   Next sparring class, I will try to only use Jiu Jitsu.  If I can do a throw, it will be from the clinch.  Professor Pedro Jr. made it clear that he doesn’t want to see any throws that aren’t from the clinch.

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What is the best defense in a bar brawl ???  That question comes up a lot during Jiu Jitsu practice.  As a Jiu Jitsu student, you adapt to the situation.  Generally,  I know that I don’t want to take it to the ground. Bars are known to have broken glass on the floor.  If your on the ground, someone could throw a chair on you or you could be kicked in a group attack.  In my opinion, the best defense is not being there.

June of 1987 , Greg S., a friend from high school,  and I went to Ocean City, Maryland.  It was a tradition for recent High School graduates from Baltimore and the surrounding  area. Ocean City, Maryland,  is a small run down family vacation town on the Atlantic Ocean with a sandy beach.   Near the O.C. boardwalk, there was a night club with a dance floor, which allowed 18 year olds into the establishment, but were not permitted to drink. We happily paid to get in and had to wear yellow wrist bands.   Meeting women was on our minds.   Note, we had a couple of beers on the beach before we entered.  To be honest, I don’t recall drinking or how much but it definitely wasn’t an unreasonable amount.

As we were entering the bar, I believe we were being watched.  It was about to get very ugly.  The place was dark.    As we were scoping out the dance floor for women,  a ring of guys formed around Greg.  Greg was in the center and another guy facing him.  The guy next to me said, ” Stay out of this and you won’t get hurt.”  Greg is a big guy and he could hold his own so I didn’t immediately object.  Thirty seconds later, the man who told me to stay out of the fight,  sucker punched Greg in the face.   Just as his hand recoiled, I noticed that he was wearing brass knuckles. Brass knuckle is a small metal weapon; worn over the knuckles on the back of the hand.  Greg was stunned and stumbling.   To make things worse, as Greg stumbled, the attacker in front of him struck him.  There was no time to get help.  I didn’t remember seeing a bouncer at the front door.   I had to act.  Right or wrong, I forcefully grabbed the back shoulder shirt of the guy with the brass knuckles and the other guy  on my other side by his shirt shoulder.  I charged forward while dragging the two guys by the shoulder into Greg and the other guy.  In a second, we were all laying on the floor in a pile and I was on top.  My hope in collapsing the ring was to create chaos so that Greg could escape.  This is when the whole situation gets really unclear.  I don’t know what happened to Greg S. after that point.

My next memory is jumping to my feet after the pile up.  When I got to my feet, there was a guy in front of me with his hands up with clinched fists.   I quickly looked around.   I didn’t see Greg.  I jabbed the guy hard in the jaw.  He returned with a hook.   I immediately felt a cut under my eye.  The cut on my face was from the attacker’s jagged ring.  Blood ran down my face.  I don’t have memory of the events after that.  Perhaps there was another attacker, out of view, that choked me out? I believe I was knocked or choked unconscious at this time.

Next memory, I saw K. Hopkins, she graduated with me and Greg,  standing with her boyfriend in front of us.  Her boy friend was manic, wide-eyed, breathing heavy, and holding a broken tennis racket.  It was weird.    Her boy friend said that he thought he saw the attackers leave the bar.  I don’t know if he came to our aid or after I broke the fight ring, the fight evolved into a brawl.    After that, I remember the sun had risen.  A cop was making a report.  We started making our way to the exit.  Someone yelled, ” Let them go, they had nothing to do with this.”

Next memory, I was in Greg’s car.   Greg was in bad shape.  One of his eyes had a broken blood vessel.  He kept repeating the same sentence over and over. He had a concussion. I wanted to go to the emergency room but he insisted on going home, so I drove him home in his car.

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