Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Do Photos Too!

Did I mention that I do photos too? Yes, it is one of my many glorious hobbies. I decided to turn to photography during my year long hiatus from Jiu Jitsu, sort of an escape mechanism.  It turns out that recovering from two meniscus repairs and a pinched nerve at C5 doesn't just happen overnight. Continuing to focus on Jiu Jitsu while not being able to actually train was pretty depressing, however photographing training and competitions allowed me to be around the action while not actually being a part of the action. It also turns out that people enjoy seeing their photos, especially if they are captured on the podium or in the middle of finishing a nasty submission.

I haven't been shooting as much lately only because my passion for training is way greater than my passion for photography. If I am going to be in the gym I'm going to be training and focusing on the techniques which does not allow me to focus on photography. I know some people think, "how much effort does it take to shoot photos?" I challenge you to look around and count how many competition or training photos you see with body parts out of the frame (usually a foot in Jiu Jitsu), blurred body parts from improper shutter speed, or how many people completely lose the rule of thirds. Either way I usually have to choose to do one or the other and I can always go out and shoot landscapes so Jiu Jitsu wins.

So my question is, what are some hobbies you do when you can't train or workout? Most people think the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle is surfing, Jiu Jitsu, working out, and eating healthy (of course family) but I know that there are more hobbies out there. I'm interested in your comments. Post below

P.S. Follow the new page on Facebook - Work-Play-Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu where there will be more discussion!!

All photos taken by me

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Open Mat & Interview w/ Ken Brown

Today is Sunday Funday or open mat training at most academies. Sunday open mat around this time of year is pretty slow thanks to the NFL and those who put their favorite football team or fantasy football line up ahead of their Jiu Jitsu progression (I'm not judging BTW). There are three of four academies that I like to visit depending on how far I want to travel and what time of the day that I wish to train. I'd like to add that list, I'll train anywhere that I am invited. Lately I have been going to Soldier Fit in Columbia Md for their open mat from 1000 - 1200. Brodie Halbfoster, a blue belt at the academy, normally hosts the small group of guys that swing through. He's technical and fun to roll with and he keeps the atmosphere relaxed and conducive to learning. I enjoy training with the group because most of the guys are over 175 Lbs and big guys always enjoy rolling without having to worry about you frail little guys. I am not saying crazy, out of control, or muscling I mean more pressure and smashing with impunity.     This week I originally planned to interview Alexi about his gold medal at the 2016 Masters Worlds, his upcoming superfight, and his 2 recent battles with Anthony Bourdain at the IBJJF New York Events. Unfortunately, he had to run out to another training event so we rescheduled for a later date. Turns out that his departure was a blessing in disguise when Ken Brown arrived to train and agreed to do an interview. If you haven't met Ken or watched one of his YouTube videos then you have some catching up to do. Check out his YouTube channel Kenneth Brown BJJ Techniques  and search for his Facebook page as well. Ken is a fountain of Jiu Jitsu knowledge and always willing to lend a helping hand with training or coaching. Instead of rambling on and on and further exposing my poor writing skills I invite you to listen to the interview (located at the bottom of the main page) we recorded earlier today. I apologize for the background noise as I am still learning how to edit audio and getting rid of background noise was quite the challenge.
Ken and Alexi Rolling I
Ken and Alexi Rolling II

Friday, October 21, 2016

Closer To Launch

Podcasting is something that I have been interested in doing for quite some time now. It allows me to capture ideas in a neat orderly fashion, it could provide the information/ inside someone needs to make that next achievement, and it could be the spark that gets someone who was "close to joining /rejoining" back on the mats. Well good news for me, I'm close to launching a podcast with my Ground Control training partner @Zarkayne (Twitter) from the Life and Jiu Jitsu YouTube channel.  We plan to discuss all things Jiu Jitsu as they come up on the "news", Jiu Jitsu / Grappling tournaments in the DMV and of course any drama we dig up (this one doesn't have to be related to Jiu Jitsu). Also, just to keep things interesting we plan to elicit ideas from our viewers and of course conduct interviews at academies around the around. That's the beauty of Jiu Jitsu; the lifestyle, the passion, and the willingness to engage with anyone who loves the art regardless of where you are or where you are from.  So be on the lookout! I'll be interviewing,  I'll be conducting informal surveys and of course I'll be on the mats. All for the love of the art and in an attempt to bring new audio / reading material to those who enjoy the art and the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.   

Jiu Jitsu training at Ground Control 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Work Gets in The Way

I'm on the road right now on a business trip and it just hit me that work always finds a way of getting in the way of Jiu Jitsu. I enjoy my job and all of the benefits that come with it so I'm not thinking or talking about a career change. I'm simply griping about the times that the work schedule butts heads with my training. We all have to deal with it from time to time; meetings, special events, travel, or job training / recertification. Those 2 or 3 day requirements can be really frustrating especially during a competition training camp where every minute of mat time could mean the difference between champion and first loser. Even worse is when the work day is going smoothly and you're all set to leave for noon class and an impromptu meeting pops up where your input is critical.           Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. Get your shit straight buddy.   Maybe it's just me but social media has only made the matter worse. I'm not a hater per se, but watching my teammates train and have fun or seeing their posts on Facebook or Instagram really grinds my gears (in my best Peter Griffin voice). People posting about how fun class was that day or posting their failed berimbolo back take to transition to the Mackenzie Dern Rear Naked Plata that they hit on the new white belt (I know, white belts are friends not food).   
  All jokes aside, how do you cope with missing multiple days of training? Cross training, binging on Jiu Jitsu material, snapchat more than DJ Khalid? All viable options if you ask me but I'd like to hear what works for you so maybe I'll have a new trick to try. I will admit the time off is good for the old body but I'll rest when I'm dead! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

DMV Jiu Jitsu Scene Part II

What a great weekend of Jiu Jitsu for the DMV. US Grappling stopped by Laurel, Maryland and the turnout was incredible. I know that I will miss a couple of names but I counted representation from TLI, 50/50, Crazy 88's, Ground Control, Evolve, Conquest, GFT, Pedro Sauer, Matt Larsen's Combatives, Gunn Academy, Noel Smith, etc. Its really exciting to watch and be a part of the sports growth in the local area so I was pretty hype. I took plenty of photos, shook many hands, and cheered on many competitors. Fun Times

Gary Gjoni in action during brown belt Gi

Lauren Tongs in action at white belt Gi

My Saturday trip was followed by a neat Open Mat Workshop at Baltimore Martial Arts Academy (BMA) hosted by Bruno Cesar, a GFT brown belt instructor at the academy. On hand were black belts Gary Berger from BMA, JP from Ground Control, and Professor Pimenta from Bel Air BJJ. The instructors took turns showing different techniques that flowed into the same series. It was like the BJJ version of Voltron where all of the techniques merged to form a bad ass sequence that could save the world from destruction (and I'll form, the head!). I think it is really beneficial to all when you can drill / partner with someone from a different school in a calm environment free from judgement. You tend to open up and learn neat little details that are taught differently at other academies. At the end we closed with an hour of open mat, 6 minute rounds, where I had the great opportunity to roll with some new people who I just met. No egos just learning, and dare I say, "keeping it playful." But I'll admit that it was strange to hear "one more round" at least 4 times. Must have been a language barrier.

Before I took off to watch the Giants put a beat down on the Ravens I had the opportunity to sit down with Bruno Cesar and conduct my first face to face interview.  During the interview I learned a little more about his background, martial arts experience, and future plans. This could be considered the first step of my journey into podcasting which is the ultimate goal down the road.

The interview with Bruno can be found in the audio tab to the right, just click download. Please give it a listen and feel free to comment. It can be Jiu Jitsu related, podcast help, or just to say my writing and grammar sucks but I'll take a comment as proof that someone actually read this blog which in essence = success.

Baltimore Martial Arts Academy

Bruno and Professor Pimenta

Bruno demonstrating a technique with JP

JP teaching some Reverse DLR passing