Thursday, May 19, 2011

Change is good

The decision to change academies was definitely the right one for me. Now that I am back to training, I actually enjoy it again. It has been a very long time since I have felt that passion for training that we all know. Like I said before, I loved my old academy but it just didn't fit me. I think my style, my personality fits much better where I am now.

I think that I have progressed in my game more in the past few weeks of training there than I had in the last two years (albeit I have had a lot of time off the mats) at my old academy. I am finally getting the attention, encouragement and correction I need to progress. I am starting to get confident with the things I do well and that is allowing me to feel comfortable enough to reach out and expand my game, trying things I would normally never try. I played spider guard with a behemoth of a guy the other day and actually did very well, stifled his pass attempts and managed to sweep. Trust me, that never happened with my game, until then.

Being back on the mats has taken a bit of a toll on the body. Seems that my skeleton isn't used to the extremes we put ourselves thru in training. I aggravated a long time hip injury and just a few days after I hurt my shoulder when I let an Americana go too long before escaping. The funny part was my shoulder felt fine. Until the next morning. I was in agony, had to wear a splint for two days.

Don't worry. I think that I am beginning to acclimate pretty well. I have already seen huge gains in my cardio and strength. Plus, as an added bonus, I have dropped about half the weight I brought back with me from Louisiana. My gi pants are getting baggy and I'm finding myself fitting into things I have not been able to squeeze into for over a year. Too bad styles change. Oh well.

I'm very excited to be back in it again. And to top it off, the Mundials are just around the corner. I didn't get to go last year because I was out of state, but this time I will be there on Saturday and Sunday to soak up all the action and root for some friends competing..

Now that I'm back, its time to update my goals for the rest of the year, update some of my other information, and get myself back in the rhythm of writing about all this madness we love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Back

It has been so very long, the phrase "where do I begin?" seems to dwarf in comparison to all that I have to tell. In my absence from posting, and my absence from training for that matter, my life has changed dramatically and I am finally finding that "normal" again.

Let's see. My last post was about the Braulio Estima seminar I attended in February of last year. Yes, that's over a year without a post. Without a whisper, without really training at all. So, what happened in that year? Where did I go? What could have posessed my soul so deeply that I was unable to train? Who is asking? Well, since you are reading, I'll take it that you are asking. And, since we are such good friends, I will fill you in.

I did train again after that Braulio seminar. It took about a month or so for the back pain to subside. It was miserable. If you have the chance to opt out of a pinched nerve in your back, I'd recomend doing so. When I finally got over the pain I attended yet another seminar. This time at my (then) home academy. The seminar was held by Samuel Braga.

Samuel was one of my original instructors in BJJ, when our gym was Gracie Barra in Lancaster California. Since then he has moved on and has opened his own academy in Tennesee. If you are having difficulty in placing who Samuel Braga is, look back to the 2009 Mundials. In the featherweight finals agains Guiherme Mendes, Samuel performed the "shove heard round the world" when he took exception to the Atos team member performing their trademark sword gesture after the win. This momentary lapse in sportsmanship  is not indicitive of the man I know, of the instructor who taught me. Yet, I digress. The seminar was incredible and it also marked my last bit of training in California, until two days ago.

You see, my company (a large, areospace and defense contractor) has a location in Lake Charles Louisiana. This location had taken on a contract that they were not prepared to perform on. As a result myself and several others from all over the corperation were sent there to help get things in order. What was supposed to be just up to 90 days of work turned into almost an entire year. So what could have happened in that year away from home you ask? Well be patient. It's coming.

During this time, my marriage came to an end. Not because of the distance. You see, the relationship died long before I was sent away. I think it was the time we spent living independently that made us both realize that whatever we had, ended long ago.

Not one to dwell, and being ever so lucky, I found someone in Louisiana that I have grown to love so very much. I have never ben a believer in fate or destiny, but meeting this girl has made me start to question that. Sometimes we need to take the longest road to reach our destination; that way we truly appreciate it when we get there. And I sure do appreciate it.

I also discovered that while working in an unfamiliar town (that only has one BJJ school) it becomes difficult to perform at work, rebuild a life after divorce, find yourself again, and fall in love all at the same time. Add training into the mix and it becomes downright impossible. The school in Lake Charles was a nice place, full of good guys. I managed to get there about 3 or 4 times in the last year. I never quite felt at home there but I still value the time I spent there. So, Lake Area BJJ I salute you. Thank you for your hospitility!!! Truly a bunch of southern gentlemen.

I had fallen in love so much with the region that I was wanting to go native. I planned on starting my new life there. In fact I was in talks with my company to make that happen when it finally arose that they cannot afford me. And so, back to Cali I came. That was in February. So, after a few months of false starts, I have finally gotten into a rhythm and things are starting to go right.

Now that I am back, I have also changed academies. I had no real problems at my original school. In fact, I love my instructors and training partners there, but for some reason I just never really fit there. I had a great instructor and a great group of guys but it just didn't fit my personality. It was a very hard thing to make that change, but once I decided and realized that the move was what was best for me, it was very easy.

More to come on all that soon. For now, it is so very good to be back in it! See you on the mats!