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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jujitsu and the need of physical touch.

 Hello all,

Tonight’s practice was good; I discovered that a version of the north south choke is becoming a go to move of mine. It mainly comes from Judo; better know as Kuzure Kesa Gatame. In the tenth planet system it’s referred to as twister side control. The main thing that I have to work on is sinking my strong arm (left) deeper around the neck, while trying to connect both my hands together, the challenge then is getting my right arm to flow along with me. Due to my CP, it has a habit of sticking to my body. Several years ago, I had Botox injections in the palm of my right hand and arm. It really was painful, and the doctor was a real nut job… Most doctors wear gloves when handling needles right? He would jab the needle into my palm, and I would scream out in agony, in a small way, I think maybe I know how Jesus felt. Anyway, the particular system of Tenth Plant forces me to be flexible, in terms of working the high guards with my legs. Though to be truly honest, in a tournament I don’t think I’d spend so much time trying to get my leg up that high, I’d much rather do what I do best and go for the kill. There were a few moments during the session where I could feel my self growing angry, due to the fact that a lot of times I get got in what’s called a snap down, what pretty much means the person hanks your head down towards the mat and as able to go for a choke easier. My problem is my lack of control in my trunk, and when my body gets tired, it leaves me open. I’ll tell ya, when I’m out there on the mat I tend to forget about every thing else that’s going on in life. And, it also plays a huge role in physical interaction, I’m actually writing a book about something called Skin Hunger, which has to do with physical touch and so on. Jujitsu really meets that need. Most of us don’t think of it in those terms. Skin hunger is all about the longing of physical touch, and the lack there of it in society. It’s proven that physical touch can boost one’s over all mood and outlook on life. So I find it interesting, what 40 some minutes of wrestling can do for a person, sure, you can get upset, but my over all point is that we sometimes have no idea what are physical interactions could do for someone. Some people don’t get many chances in a day to be around people, either because their reserved, or something else is preventing them such as being able to get out of the house. So maybe if we have these interactions maybe would could stop and think about what were doing. Because maybe some people don’t have even that much interaction, and so for them a body slam or head lock is awesome. Haha!

Lastly, in last weeks post I used a mountain as a way of describing the climb to the top. I thought tonight that, maybe being it the bottom isn’t so bad, because when you get to the top, you have to get back down, and sometimes you have to pull others up along the way.

I was going to compete in a tournament in August, but my coach lovingly said that I needed more time on the mat, and I appreciate that.

Also. I might think about filming a short video of takedowns and throws that can be done on the knees, that most anybody of any condition can do. Hope these thoughts provoke thought into your own mind; lets use our bodies until we no longer can use them.

Until next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reflections on Pride


Another practice down and more lessons learned. Members of the 10th Planet crew have a meet this Saturday, so a lot of tonight’s session was a lot of rolling and positioning drills. I did what a white belt is meant to do. Survive. I had the privilege to roll with someone by the name of Michelle, she has been practicing for eight months all together, and man she is pretty good. I’m not ashamed to say that a girl tapped me out, via my favorite arm bar .  I tried to fight it as best I could, but things happen, and at the end of the day, its only practice right? Which leads me to what I’d like to talk about today, and that is pride.
Erik Paulson has a great video on pride, which you can watch here:
 His words are very convicting for me because they speak right to me, I admit that I hate being on my back when fighting, or when people pull guard on me, or worse yet people take my back and work for chokes on. Then I’m left defending and fighting to get to a better position. Nearly 98 percent of the time in practice, I’m on my back. And the only things I can think of at the time is that I have got to get this person off of me, but your body is tired and you can hardly move so you have to dig deeper. I think of it as a mountain, every time you climb, you have to start from the bottom and find your grip, along with the strength to pull yourself up, which is hard enough. Even in doing so, sometimes you slip off and you have to fight back up again. Are greatest enemy in terms of personal achievement is only ourselves. Okay, maybe not just ourselves but maybe when we allow the evil voices to get the better than us. Sometimes you just have to tell them to shut the hell up and die. So in the process of scrapping of the rustiness, I want to learn as much as I can. This isn’t just about me, my mission is to prove to people regardless of physical ability, this is possible. Hell, I’d love to see more kids with CP out on the mats choking people out. It’d be awesome!

Goals and things to work on:

Compete in my first Tourney in August.
Work on keeping my defenses up.
Keep a good attitude and smile on my face, even in getting submitted.
Control my breathing, and keep moving and attack in every position.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How I got started.

(I promise a better picture of me soon.)

The thought came to me to start a blog, when I found myself discouraged and wanting to quit. I was
sitting on the edge of the wrestling mats thinking about walking out of the school I was training in. It
hadn't been long since I signed up to learn the system of Tenth Planet Jui-Jitsu. There had been an
extended period of time since I was on a wrestling Mat, meaning that I didn't show up to my first night
of class like a fish out of water.

Growing up, Martial Arts were my first love, or I should say that Grappling was my first love. I was
first introduced to the art of Shoot Wrestling, by the late Sifu Larry HartSell, who was one of Bruce Lee's original students. Sifu Larry was also a black belt in Judo, as well as JKD instructor. I traveled with my family to attend one of his clinics. My Dad at the time was teaching Martial Arts out of our garage.

This was around the early UFC days where Ken Shamrock along with the Gracie Family would
make grappling become mainstream. I remember sitting in my wheel-chair watching my dad and
Uncle Joel practice leg locks on each other. I was amazed at what I saw. Shoot Wrestling was
a system that covered all the rangers: Kicking, boxing, clinch, standing grappling, throwing and ground
fighting. (I.E. joint locks and chokes on the ground)

It was like discovering a pot of gold, I loved that you could grab someone, throw them to the ground
and make them cry wolf. Sifu Larry was amazing to watch, he was also a very gentle man, despite
teaching such a combative violent art. He would the building blocks toward my passion for the
Martial Arts.

On a lunch break of the seminar, my dad brought me out of my chair and placed me on the purple
wrestling mats, there is where I'd learn my first choke, a figure four choke using the legs. Also known
as a triangle choke in todays age. I remember Sifu standing there with a smile on his face, as I
was learning to use my legs to make someone beg for mercy.

I was hooked. Sifu Larry would not only be my first grappling instuctor, but he would teach me the
art of Kali, which is a form of stick fighting. I'd sit in my chair with a grin on my face as he'd teach
me how to use my new toys.

Fast forward a few years, I was then introduced to the art of Judo, by a close family friend. Judo
is known as a gentle art. Made for the smaller person to toss the bigger man. All of my Judo
throws were done off my knees. My instructor at the time modified every single throw, so that
it could be done from a kneeling position. It was awesome. I'd throw someone on their back
and then go in to either pin them to the mat or make them tap out.

I made it all the way to orange belt, until I had to have a major operation, which would take a year
or more to fully recover. My Judo school had moved and my instructor (Dr. Lee) had retired.

My dad at the time had just opened his first school, teaching JKD concepts and all that he learned
from Sifu Larry. There were other instructors along the way that shaped my life. Sifu Terry Gibson
taught me how to throw elbows and headbuts, all from sitting in my wheel Chair.

Fast forward a few more years, and I would obtain a level of instructorship (in Jeet Kune Do) under
Marc Mcfann. Then, I'd go on to serve as the youth instructor for my dad. which I believed lasted
a good three years. For personal reasons though, we parted ways with Marc and my Martial Arts quest
would come to a stop.

So... Here I am, jumping back into the fire. Part of me was hesitant in writing all that, because it's
never my intention to brag about my history in Martial Arts. My past and up bringing in the arts,
has kept me from never my roots. which I think is something that has been lost, but that is for another

I'm 26 years old, and want to get my black belt, in something, before my time is up. I've tried going
back to Judo, but the rules have changed so much, it makes the game change almost ten fold for me.
Catch wresting, along with Shoot Wresting are all almost not heard of any longer. Which breaks
my heart in ways you will never know. I love the Gi though, putting on the Gi and belt can become
dull over time, especially when you have to depend on someone for help.

Anyway, so I find myself back in the no Gi game. Which I'm no stranger to. The deal is, I'm rusty
after years of not being on the mat. But I'm hungry, and you can't stop someone who's hungry, unless
you put a bullet in their head. When I was coming out of practice a week ago, I was getting into
the car and my dad told me:

"You have to fight harder than most people, you have to learn to work around one strong arm.
You can move forward or you'll just stay where you are."

I know I have Cerebral Palsy, and I can't change it. I have to work with it, or shrivel up and die.
That's all there is to it. Almost every person I wrestle with is bigger and stronger than me, but
I keep getting back up and coming to practice. Even if it's one day a week, I show up. And thats
all that matters.

My instructor told me that being a white belt is all about survival, and at times I do a good job of
it, others, not so much. But I will have my victory, in reaching my goal.