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Monday, July 20, 2015

An Itroduction To a Journey

The following words, are the start of what I hope to be an autobiography on my journey through Jiujitsu. Please feel free to read, leave feed back and share with others.

-Brandon Ryan


    Everybody grapples, they just don’t know it. My life was a grappling match from my very first breath, being born with Cerebral Palsy, a doctor informed my mother and father that I would not have the best chance for survival. I was born pre-mature at 4 pounds 4 ounces, the oxygen had been cut off from my brain due to the umbilical cord wrapping around my neck several times. That same doctor would tell my parents that I would never walk on my own, let alone complete everyday tasks like feeding and grooming myself. He also told my parents that I would “grow out” of this condition, it’s always interesting how doctors try and resemble the grand creator of the universe. Thankfully though, my parents didn’t take the doctors two faced remarks as gospel. My mom fought tooth and nail to get me to gain weight, and my dad worked tirelessly at trying to get my small frame more mobile.
Mornings were always a fight, especially when I was at the age of started kinder-garden, or any early stage of schooling. It was especially difficult for my mom to get me dressed in the morning, due to the fact that my limbs were so very stiff. Almost like someone trying to pin a limb down in a grappling match, but the opponent does all they can to resist and fight it off. But as any experienced grappler will tell you, if you try and force and submission that isn’t there, often times you waste needed energy and open ones self up to counter attacks and reversals. Often times I could see that my mom getting frustrated because my body would not cooperate with her, constantly it would resist. She would close her eyes and take a deep breath and continue to complete the task at hand.
    Cerebral Palsy in a nut shell, is a disconnect between the brain and the body. When my brain knows what it wants to do, the rest of my body reacts in its own way. As a result, miscommunication is the culprit. In spite  of the resistance my body would put fourth, my mom would persevere under the pressure.  Which is what you have to do both in stepping onto the mats and in life. Jiujitsu (as well as other grappling arts) are a reflection of life, the following pages will be a inward reflection of what Jiujitsu has done for me in all areas of my life. My hope is to serve people well in their own Jiujitsu journeys, regardless of the fact that one might be a seasoned black belt or just starting off. My deepest desire is that people discover that Jiujitsu is in its self, joy. It is a gift and something to be embraced and respected by all. Jiujitsu is part of what has made me the man that I am today, it has taught me lessons that I don’t think I could have learned unless I was on the mat.
    I long to pass something on to the next generation of grapplers, for I believe that there is a lot missing in modern day grapplers today, in character, honor and respect. The way of the Bushido (the way of the warrior) is missing. Through out my journey, people have stated that I’m “obsessed” with jiujitsu, and that might hold some truth, but until one actually see’s, experiences and understand what the art of jiujitsu can do for ones life, claiming it as an obsession only derives from lack of understanding . Jiujitsu can do much for a person, if you let it. In many ways Jiujitsu leads one down a road of personal self discover, it can reveal things inside you, you never knew were there.
It can unlock physical abilities you never knew you had, most importantly it can create a warrior spirit and give you the ability to endure in all seasons of life. This isn’t only my journey, but yours too. My hope is that as you read the following pages, may your heart, mind and ears be opened. In order that the spec of knowledge that I have on this knowledge, may be passed onto you, and thus passed onto the next. The same way a rock in a pond creates a ripple effect that can continually pass on.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Finding What's Real (And an update too)

Once again, its been a long time since I've updated this blog. I finished my first semester as a junior and in just a few days the second half begins. College is going by so fast. Since I last wrote, I have brought home another gold medal.

I competed at the 10th planet Omaha in house tournament, and won with a double wrist lock. Training is going well for my big tournament in April. That being the fist ever physically challenged grappling tournament, presented by Amazingly enough, it will be hosted at the Renzo Gracie academy in Manhattan. What a honor it would be to meet Renzo Gracie himself.    

I also am competing at another local tournament February 28th. Since I last wrote, I feel that I've gotten much stronger and aggressive. With that, I have found a new desire to win and push myself like I never have before. I'm only 30 years old, and feel that I've found my stride, or am starting to at least. 

Lastly, I have acquired my first Jujitsu sponsor:

As much as this blog is about my journey in Juijitsu, I want to take a break from writing about the tournament scene. I want to talk about matters of self-defense, as it mainly relates to others like myself who have Cerebral Palsy or any physical challenge they live with everyday.

I have been a life long Martial artist, I've had the honor of training with a handful of amazing instructors in various styles. At heart, I'm a grappler, the clinch and fighting on the ground is where I find I am most at home. However, the question I now am asking myself, is how am I going to defend myself standing up? That is, being attacked by punches, surprise attacks, weapons (Knife, stick or gun), how am I going to defend myself when I am using my crutches? Let alone in my wheel-chair or scooter?

As I mention before, I am a lover of the submission and clinch fight game. I have trained in a vast majority of stand up arts and understand their methods exceedingly well. So in theory, I know how to show and talk my way through stand up fighting methods when it comes to teaching. When it comes to teaching the self-defense class at my college, I show a technique from my knees and have my assistant instructor translate it for me standing up.

That teaching method however, hasn't come without criticism, a fellow student at my college apparently said behind my back that I shouldn't teach stand up fighting, simply because I can't stand up. While these words are harsh, perhaps the words are needed though.

Because, in all honesty, when it came to a real self defense situation I'd probably get my ass handed to me. That is unless I do something about it. Why am I trying to figure these things out now? 1) There is no better time like the present, and if I ever had to defend myself, I don't want to have my ass handed to me. 2) I have the dream of adapting a self defense program for special needs people as a whole.

The hope of it would be to make people with various physically feel safe, its easy to see that programs like this already are in place. But most of them, I find, are rooted in traditional martial arts. Not that I have anything against traditional methods. I just do not believe that when it comes down to an actual encounter, can actually save ones life.

What I would propose, is something more straight forward and nasty. This would mean the three C's method:

Cover: That is, useful methods of covering the head and body.

Crash: That is, using various cover methods to crash the attackers center line.

Clinch: That is, grabbing onto the attackers body in a dominant way, where you are in control and dictate the finish.

Obviously, after the clinch, one would add in dirty boxing strikes from whatever context the found themselves in. As always, physical violence should be a last resort, one regardless of physical limitations should learn how to have situational awareness and learn to talk their way out of an attacker. Or as Bruce Lee once said in the movie "Enter The Dragon" "You can call it the art of fighting, without fighting".

There would also be fire arms training, which is why I am taking the steps needed to purchase my first gun (something my mother isn't happy with). Not only do I want to learn to defend myself with a gun, but others who are like me as well. let's be honest, a gun is sometimes the best option if your house is being broke into or something of that context.

I know that a ton of research is in order, but that's why I'm taking the shots to the face now and learning all I can. The brutal truth is that we all must search to find what works for us in combat. There's no one size fits all answer.