adversity, bjj, competition, strategy, triumph

TIME OUT FROM JIU JITSU: THE BACHELOR EDITION

Let’s just take a five minute break from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and talk about my second favorite thing: Reality Television. While it’s not my favorite, the Bachelor is definitely the show that provokes the strongest reactions from me.  It simultaneously captivates and enrages, which is a rare quality in anything.

And like any competition, you have to know the rules.  If you ever get shanghaied onto The Bachelor, stick to these rules and you’ll be fine.  Who knows, you may just win and find yourself in a contractually obligated marriage! So please, accept this rose.

1) BE WHITE

Let’s just keep it real and talk about race.  If ABC could cast walking clumps of cream cheese it would. They don’t even bother hiding it anymore.  I wish we could take racism, put it on a rocket ship and shoot it into space, but I can’t do that.  “But current bachelor Juan Pablo is Hispanic,” people say.  Juan Pablo has blond hair, blue eyes, and is about as ethnically threatening as a Chi Chi’s Restaurant.  Worse than descriminating against minorities, The Bachelor ignores or minimizes any thing non-white or mainstream.  OH IT MAKES ME SO MAD BUT I LOVE IT ANYWAY. 

2) TAKE FEMINIST IDEALS AND LIGHT THEM ON FIRE

If you are cast to be on the Bachelor, take a moment and write down all the positive feminist ideals you can think on a note pad.  Then slowly cross them out with lipstick.  And then light them on fire.  Then bury them in the ground, salt the earth, and sell your house to bunch of bikers who’ll cook crank in your kitchen.

Because nothing kills the Bachelor’s boner faster than feminism.

3) SUBMIT TO THE LOVE

This is the most important rule. You have to  love the bachelor immediately, but not really know him.  And you have to convince him, and all of the women in the house its love at first site. All of this accomplished through a series of contrived encounters and interactions, in front of your bitter rivals.  Like a cross between Downtown Abbey and a North Korean Propaganda event. And if at any moment you falter in the illusion the other contestants will turn on you and be devoured. They will smell your fear.  

Its like some sort of group delusion everyone has to buy into, lest the curtain falls and all are forced to be witness to the hideous beast.  Are you prepared for that?  I’m not. Are you?

That about covers it.  Three simple rules to love and happiness that fucking moron could follow.

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adversity, competition, disgusting, Inspirational Monday, nutrition, strategy

Advice Time

Sometimes people ask me for advice about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Since I’m a post modern semi millenial, I’m going to start a semi-regular advice column where I answer people’s  questions with the unblinking honesty and laser precision they have come to expect.

Have a question you need answered?  Leave it in the comments or email askheavytraining@gmail.com.

Without further ado.

Long time reader, first time question!  I’m new to bjj and nervous about competing.  How do I mentally prepare for my first competition?

Good question!  Being nervous is part of the game.  A good way to get in the right headspace and fight those butterlies is to close your eyes and visualize success.  So let’s try it together.  Close your eyes… what do you see?  What you SHOULD be seeing is a flaming skull, floating in the darkness, laughing into the void.  Laughing at all your hopes and dreams and at all the aspirations that came before you and shall come after. You should see this every time you close your eyes, actually.  Just open yourself up to the darkness, man, and those jitters will fade in no time!

What supplements do you take?

Good question!  Just lots of organ meat and diet coke for me!

Hi!  I’m a blue belt who feels like I’ve really plateaued in my training.  The white belts are catching up to me, and the high belts keep smashing me.  How can I break through? 

Good question!  Like any sport, plateaus are inevitable and can be tricky to break out of. Whenever I’m stuck in a plateau there’s a little exercise I like to do.  After my drive home I shut the car off and just sit quietly in the driveway.  I start whispering “what am I doing?  what the fuck am I doing?” again and again under my breath.  After a few times, I  get to a state where I can really have a cathartic experience and weep and weep and weep.

whatamIdoingwhatamidoingohmygodIdon’tknowwhatI’mdoingwhatamIdoingohmygodohmygodohmygooooood. 

After a few years of this I feel completely blank, an empty vessel ready to learn again and break through my plateau.

If you don’t have a car, doing this in front of a mirror works too!

Love your website! I feel like I’m ready for a belt promotion.  Should I talk to my instructor about it?

Good question!  NO.  Do not do that.  If anyone else gets promoted ahead of you, just stare at him/her sideways with as much sadness as you can muster, and mutter sotto voce “horseshit” every time anyone has any success.  They’ll take notice and give you what you deserve!

I feel like my gym is too dirty, and the instructors won’t enforce any sort of standards.  What should I do?

Good question! I feel like if you have approached your instructor without results, a more indirect approach is called for.  Phase one: Seek out and roll with the dirtiest, scuzziest dudes at your gym. The really filthy pigs who hate detergent.  Once you contract ring worm and god knows what else (and you will),  that’s when phase two starts.  Cultivate your filth.  Sit in a dark, wet, warm room for a couple weeks as still as possible.  Once your body is completely overtaken, show back up at class.  Once class has started take you gi off and make all bear witness to your festering body boiling with fungus and rot. You will be a horror show. They’ll get the picture and clean up their act.  It’s the Jiu Jitsu sanitation protest equivalent of that monk who burned himself alive in demonstration against Vietnam.  Which is fitting, because you and all of your possessions will probably have to be incinerated to protect the public health.

____________

Those are all the questions for now.  Glad to help, and hope to hear from you!

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bjj, improvement, strategy

Body Mods

The human body is a weird and wonderful thing.  And also super gross.  But if the unseen hand that would shape our evolution would change our bodies to be more comfortable while doing bjj, we would be truly mutant freaks. 

To that end: a few tweaks I would make:

No Nipples.  This one is for the bros, obviously.  Why do I even have them, other than to get chafed by gis? Just snip ’em right off, I say.  Which leads me to my next point…

No Finger or Toenails:  Why do we even have these things?  Are they vesitigil claws?  I guess they serve to protect the sensitive upper portion of your toes and fingers.  But why is that portion sensitive?  The only logical answer is the powerful mani/pedi lobby is intervening somehow in our evolution, probably helped by the illuminati.

No External Sex Organs: That means no nuts for the dudes, and flat chests for the laaadies. You would think that we would naturally evolve into having our precious sex organs protected, perhaps by some sort of hard keritin carpace.  But alas, no dice.  So that leaves me to getting smashed in my tender groin on the reg.  Which can be a drag sometimes.

All hail our smoothfingered, teat free,  genderless comrades.

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bjj, fat people, improvement, strategy

Simple Tips to Step Up Your Game

Part of the territory that comes with being a purple belt is that people ask you questions about bjj.  Questions about strategy, technique, etc.  I do my best to answer these questions, but there are few tips anyone can use right now to take your game to the next level.

 Tip 1:Find the best athlete you can.  Take some time to notice their routine.  How much do they eat?  How much do they sleep?  How much time do they actually spend at the gym?  This information will come in handy when you formulate your plans to kill and eat him or her to gain their power.  It’s quite simple.  They have some sort of power that can only be gained by eating their flesh. 

Pro Tip: Eat their heart last.

Tip Two:  Draw Inpsiration from Your Family. You don’t have to look to the stars to fnd a way to success.  Living vicariously through your children is the fastest and easiest way to athletic success without even lifting a finger.  The key is sync the successes and failures of your child’s athletic career with the well being of thier psyche. When your beautiful daughter Emily fails to place at the big swim meet, don’t let her go to prom.  Or when your twin sons, Zach and Robbie don’t start on the varsity squad, buy them one Christmas gift to spilt amongst them.

Pro Tip: Injuries always occur because your children are weak and unskilled.  Be sure to let them know that.

Tip Three: Stop trying. Eventually you will fall into a routine of training, diet, and hopefully improvement.  At some point you will realize, like anyone with half a brain does, that it doesn’t really matter what you do.  Ultimately, you will come to find out, that your life, and the lives of the ones you love are devoid of any inherent meaning.  So why bother?  Taken on a cosmic scale, you are a subatomic particle of a  subatomic particle, and all of your toils are no more important than the random bouncing of protons.  Your successes and failures will be forgotten, and when the camera pulls back, and the curtain parts, its just blackness.

Pro Tip:  What’s the point?

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competition, Inspirational Monday, matchups, strategy

Office Fist Fights!!!

Like most people I go through periods of hating my job.  Lately things have been rough at the cubicle farm, and we only know one way to buck things up around here.

The office atmosphere, thick with tension, breathes a collective sigh of relief when the memo comes down from management. Its time to arrange the cubical walls in a circle, and have bare knuckle fights between staffers. Everybody loves it, and everybody has a good time. Old scores are settled, new ones are made, and its just good clean American fun.

Sure, I’ve got some skills.  Big and strong, with a thousand yard stare that turns thugs into butter.  But the competition is fierce.  Let me tell you a little bit about the people I work with to illustrate my point.

When I started my job in 2006, there was a fire alarm on my first day.  Half the staff didn’t even give a shit, and sat there, ignoring the federally mandated rules that govern fire saftey in government facilities.  The other half shuffled out of the office, and when they reached the outside, shuddered and winced at the sun, like they have never seen it before, and were bucking at the fresh air and vitamin D they were getting.  In other words, many of my coworkers have become like the creatures of the movie The Descent, once proud human workers, but morphed by their environment to become Morlockian killers.

As you can see, there’s some tough hombres in my office.  Let’s see how this plays out.

Quarter Finals. Opponent: Ray Ray.  Position: Mail Room.  Strengths: Not afraid to head butt. Possible mental handicap leading to enhanced strength.

Ray Ray is anywhere between 30 and 60 years old. He works in the mail room, listens to crunchy hippy rock, and smells like ferrets and patchuli.  Since our names are picked randomly, I couldn’t help but feel that I got an easy matchup for my first fight.  That is until we climb into the cubtetagon together, and Ray Ray come after me like a junk yard dog.  He strikes me with a vicious head butt, sprawling me backwards, falling over.  Ray Ray, quick as a  cheetah, jumps on top of me, and wraps his hands around my throat.  Grinning, choking, he leans in, face to face to finshing me off.

Has it come to this? Is Ray Ray going to finish me, pathetically, in the first round?  Not today, Ray Ray.  Ray Ray has leaned in so close, it gives me an opportunity.  I buck him forward, and open my mouth wide, bringing down over his nose.  Then I bite his nose off.

Then I spit it back in Ray Ray’s face, and struggle to my feet.  He’s still down on his knees, so it’s just a quick kick in the chest to send him sprawling, and me high fiving my lunch buddies of the walls of the cubetagon.

Winner of Round One: Jason

Semi Finals: Opponent: Albert.  Position: Unknown.  Strengths:  Makes a good pot of coffee.

Albert is an institution.  He has been here since 1972, and does not plan to retire any time soon.  Albert doesn’t have a computer, and his sole job seems to be to hang around the breakroom, making coffee.

Albert climbs into the cubetagon gingerly.  Again, I think I have an easy second round.  Albert barely defeated the intern to get to the semis, so I fully expect to make it in to the finals.  He strips down to the waist, revealing a huge cobra tattoo on his stomach, and suprisingly bulging muscles, in that ropey way that only old men seem to have.

Turns out Albert is a sandbagging son of a bitch. Turns out Albert was the two time all Navy boxing champ.  He immediately starts stinging me with jabs and body blows, and I find myself against the side of the cubetagon, covering up my face and kidneys.  The blows seem to be losing intensity…has Albert punched himself out?  I sneak a look and I see his red, sweaty face, and heaving chest.  I push off the cubetagon wall and shove him hard away.  I motion to my intern the prearranged signal (devil horns) and he reaches over the walls to hand me an flat screen computer monitor.  One step, crow hop, and BAM! In a flat arc, I connect with the side of Al’s skull.  Bonelessly, he collapses on the shag carpeting, his legs spastically kicking like a dreaming puppy.

I lean over Albert.  “First rule about me, Al. FUCK ALL THE RULES!”

Onto my coffee break and the finals.

Finals. Oppenent: Terry. Position: Regional Manager.  Strengths: Cold blooded, ruthless.

This is it.  This is for all the marbles.  Fate has decided to make it truly epic by allowing me to fight my boss in the final round. The fights have grown from simple bloodsport into a blunt manifestation of class and economic warfare.  But casting aside symbolism and analysis, I was just happy I got a chance to beat up my boss.

We climb in the cubetag0n, eyeing each other warily.  She circles, I circle.  Grim determination set on our faces.  Both of us made up our minds before getting in the ring that only one person is walking out of the cubetagon.  Neither side is willing to make the first move, the first mistake, knowing their skilled opponent will seize at any opportunity and strike.  Strike like an ancient cobra, possessed by an Oriental Demon seeking only to destroy.

Unfortunately, five PM rolls around, and due to our union contract, all work ceases.  We drop our guards, punch out for the day, with the understanding it’s back to business as usual the next day.

I’m not one to leave business unfinished, so I wait behind by bosse’s BMW with a sock full of nickels and subway tokens.  When she goes to get in her car, I ambush her with the sock, knocking her right eye out.

Game.

Set.

Match.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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bjj, matchups, strategy

Not the pope.

You hear a lot of grandiose statements about bjj.

“Jiu Jitsu is the best self defense art available.”

“Perfect of smaller people to defend themselves”

I am a big proponent of BJJ, and I do believe that the benefits of training are numerous. But there is a segment of the BJJ community that has, I feel, a condescending attitude towards others sports/styles.

Slow your rolls, my dudes.

The concept of Infallibility, applied to BJJ, the roman catholic church, or the unflagging nature of my libido, is hubris of the highest order. There are plenty of situations where you would be required to fight for you life against opponents that render all your training useless.

A few examples:

1. 10,000,000 Butterflies.

You are 36 year old man, going on a nature trip with your step daughter’s third grade class. You and your step daughter are walking through Wharton State Park collecting bark samples, when a cloud of butterflies descends on you. At first it is beautiful, even calming, before you feel the terrifying weight of millions of insectoid bodies on you. You become panicked, and whirl around frantically as if on fire. When you go to scream for help, thousands of butterflies plug your mouth and nose, suffocating you to death. Jiu Jitsu did not save you in this situation.

What would have worked: A can of Raid. A butterfly net.

2. A haunted Christmas Tree.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you just got an email from your only Daughter saying “Sorry Grandmom, the kids and I can’t make it to Seattle for the Holidays this year. This divorce is hard on everyone. ”

You are heartbroken, Grandma, but you make a resolution to make this christmas tree your most beautiful yet. You buy the finest tree you can and set it up. It’s a blank canvas, ready for you to impose your will on. You set about decorating the tree, and when you are finished, your work can only be described as a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, the Christmas tree farm  was located on an Indian burial ground; and your tree carries an awful curse. It slowly makes you go mad. By January you couldn’t stop staring at it. By March you were trying to feed it food and by April you burn down the tree, and your house with you inside. Jiu Jitsu could not save you.

What would have worked: A witch doctor. A greater awareness of the plight of the native American.

3. The executives who want to ruin your independent film.

You are a plucky 20 something Independent filmmaker whose film about a quirky middle-aged woman falling for a 17 year old autistic boy has been picked up by a major studio. While at first it seemed like you hit pay dirt, things have quickly spoiled due to the studio’s demands.

“We should add a roller skating bulldog scene where the couple meets.” and “The autistic boy angle should be replaced with a lovable, but secretly hunky ad exec. We think that would play.” You tell them that they are ruining your vision, and that this isn’t what you signed up for. Eventually a long contractual battle will play out, and the ad execs get their way. “Small City Girl” will be a smash success, and although you reap untold fortunes, you will become filled with disillusion and rancor at the Hollywood machine. You will slide into a life of decadence and debauchery, overdosing on cocaine three years later. Jiu Jitsu could not help you.

What would have worked: More creative flexibility. Putting the system on trial.

So, as this has demonstrated, BJJ cannot help you in every dangerous situation. I just listed three scenarios that could happen to anyone. Bjj has its benefits, but it is not some kind of panacea from the world.

Stay safe, my friends.

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bjj, improvement, strategy

Romantic Comedies and Cat Vomit

I don’t watch a lot of romantic comedies, because on the whole I find them to be deplorable. But I’ve seen my fair share, and I’ve noticed something bout them that really turns me off.  Namely, everyone in them is always so interesting.

Everyone in these movies always live in either New York, San Francisco or Seattle.  People in these films are almost always writers, architects, record label executives, fashion designers, blah blah blah.  (Don’t even get me started on the socio-economic overtones of those being the three most expensive cities in America.  My inner class warrior will erupt and punch your face in.)

But how many gorgeous entertainment bloggers do you know that live in a 1,000 square feet  apartment in downtown San Francisco? 

Apart from being, you know, a work of fiction, I find these movies disgusting because they show impossibly glamorous people in impossibly great jobs in happening cities.  Its flashy, unrealistic, and I think, plain stupid. But I think that a lot of folks apply this flash to their training in BJJ and life in general?  How many people want to learn a million chokes, the flashiest sweep, in the quickest time possible?  A lot, that’s how many.  They want the flash, but not really the substance; figuring that if you can get the “big things” down, you don’t have to worry about the details. But if you strip away the veneer, it’s hollow, as there is no firm grounding in principles, fundamentals, and reality.

Allow me to propose an alternate view.

I think that people who want to be good at anything, especially BJJ, should take a “dusty corners” approach to training/learing.  Every saturday, I take time to clean my house.  And every saturday, I always ignore the same little swath of the floor, the tricky place that is hard to reach behind the dining room table.  So far, I’ve gotten away with not cleaning it, because no one has called me out on it, and my cats haven’t decided to throw up or piss all over that spot, letting me slide.

I’ve been thing about my progression in bjj, and I’ve realized I’ve got a lot of dusty corners I ignore in my game.  So far, no one has been able to totally exploit them, but eventually, a cat will come along, and he will shit all over that corner, making a big fucking mess for me to clean up.  Rather than wait for that day, I need to muster up the will to be humble, admit that there are some dusty spots, and get to work cleaning what needs to be cleaned, and improving what needs to be improved.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a very high tolerance for error, and dirt, for that matter.  Hell, I’ve eaten at Denny’s before.  But there comes a time when you need to stop dicking around, and be a touch more conscientious.

So from here on out, less He’s Just Not That Into You, and more Mr. Mom.

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