Jan 162012

Two things going on with this post. First, I’m bummed. That’s the amount of snow that it takes to effectively shut down Seattle and the surrounding areas. While it may not seem like much to people in the Midwest or other areas where it snows a lot, when you only see snow once or maybe twice in a year, it’s pretty traumatic.

The other thing was just to play around a bit with the video upload feature in my iPad WordPress application.

So, to recap. No class today (boo). And the video feature seems to function as designed (yay).

Jan 152012


After practicing jiu-jitsu for 15 years, Gene Pace is awarded with highest common belt in Brazilian martial arts.”

This is such a terrific story. Not only does this demonstrate once and for all that if you train smart and listen to your body, BJJ is a legitimate life sport.

And whether the author of this article knows it or not, she articulates in just a few sentences several of the 10 Commandments of BJJ:

“He’s Mr. Consistency. He never misses a class, not ever,” said Buckels, who holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, as well as kru in Muay Thai kickboxing.

In those 15 years, before Pace, Buckels had only awarded one other jiu-jitsu black belt, and it was to another instructor.

“The best way to describe Gene is that he just executes what you teach him to do,” Buckels said. “If you show him a move, he will go after that move.”

Gene Pace earned his black belt in BJJ by being consistent. He trained twice a week and never missed a class.

He earned it by being fearless. When his instructor shows him a move, he “goes after that move.”

He earned it by being patient and he earned it by being humble. The general estimate for earning a black belt in BJJ is 10 years, which is already a very long time compared to most other styles of martial arts. He earned it in 15 years. This epitomizes for me what I’ve said before. I’d rather train for the rest of my life as a purple belt than get my black belt tomorrow and have to give BJJ up forever.

BJJ is a life long journey and a true life sport. Stories like this just make my day.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this really makes me look forward to class tomorrow!

Jan 102012

Bing Crook opened up Phantom BJJ, his Foster BJJ affiliate school, in Maple Valley a few months ago and it’s been excellent training consistently again.  As of right now, he only has two classes per week, but he’s working on adding a third, which would be AWESOME.

As it stands, technically, I’m starting to get my groove back… a little.  I was pretty much out for an entire year, from October 2010 to October 2011.   As I said, I didn’t exactly drop out completely, but I was extremely sporadic and as a result, I surely slipped somewhat in technique and definitely took several steps back with regards to conditioning.

The cold, hard truth is that I’m once again overweight.  A year of beer and Pick Quick burgers (best in the area and, sorry guys, but better than In and Out) and I was a solid 210 lbs in October.   The good news is that, while my cardio is still terrible and I’m making slow progress there, exercise and diet go hand in hand.  What I mean is that when I’m active, I want to eat better because I want to be able to exercise more.  It’s a positive cycle, and as of this morning, I weighed 201.5 lbs.  I’m going to work hard over the next few months to get back to my relatively stable weight of 180 – 185 lbs.  I felt good when I was there, and that’s where I need to be.   I’m on track to lose a healthy 3 or so lbs per month, which is great.

James Foster came out to the school yesterday and trained with us.  It was really good to see him, and I”m going to try and get down to Kent at least one day each week.  I’d like to get back to training 3 or 4 days per week.

Jan 042012

Back to class this evening and man, Bingo really took it to us. Warmups included all kinds of torture. After 30 minutes of huffing and puffing and doing my best not to have a heart attack, we started stretching. Between my proud Norwegian heritage and my complete lack of cardio, I think I looked pretty overdone.

I’m not going to lie. When I started training in BJJ, I was in terrible shape and it’s a little daunting to be… not quite starting over, but pretty close. It took 3 months before I felt like I was going to make it. After 6 months, I’d lost quite a bit of weight and was starting to work on progressing. And that’s about where I’m at now. Realistically, I’m looking at 3 or 4 months before my conditioning will be back.

All of that said, there’s no doubt I’ll get there. I’m enjoying class and looking forward to training. The group that Bing’s putting together is a good one. The guys all have terrific attitudes and there’s no ego. Everyone’s there to learn, work hard and have fun.

I’m looking forward to next week, when Coach Foster will be coming out. Bing wasn’t sure if it would be Monday or Wednesday, but either way it’ll be good to see him again.

 Posted by at 10:01 pm  Tagged with:
Dec 132011

Class was fun last night at Phantom BJJ. Had a small group of about 8 people, the guys who seem to be forming the core of our group. Good group of guys, overall. We have Bing and Scott, who are both brown belts. I’m there regularly as a purple belt, and then Brandon just received his blue belt last week from James in Kent.

Other than that, there are several guys who are just starting out in BJJ. Kenji is a kid I really like. He’s small, but wiry and he’s very game. He’s learning really fast and I think he’s going to be one to look out for if he stays at it. Colton is another young guy who’s been very consistent and seems to be picking things up quickly. And then there’s Aaron, a big, Viking looking guy who’s really strong and has a solid grasp of the basics. Aaron is one of those guys who has about 7 years of training under his very tattered white belt. He’s got some holes in his game, but overall, he’s pretty solid.

Everyone’s really friendly and so far we’ve had no problems with ego or anything like that.

We worked some escapes from back control. I was able to roll with 3 of the new white belts, as well as both Bing and Scott. Bing shut me down. I got out of a couple of tight spots, but he was always a few steps ahead of me.

That said, I feel like I’m getting my groove back a little, feeling more comfortable on the mats. I definitely have to think about how I’m going to improve my conditioning. I’m out of shape, and I don’t think two days of training per week is going to do more than keep me static. Things are busy right now at work, but I’m considering taking some time at lunch for a quick workout. It’s not much, but if I do it consistently, it would help.

I noticed that Coach Foster posted a new video today, a quick technique instructional on the bow and arrow choke. The first video is his newest one. The second video is a modified bow and arrow choke he posted last year.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Dec 082011

It’s been a while since I’ve dusted this blog off. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I think, frankly, it became too much like work. I love to write. I also still love jiu jitsu, but when I begin taking things too seriously, I have to back off and put things into perspective. Last October, I got a promotion at work, which consumed quite a bit of my time. Add two teenagers and a toddler to the mix, along with a spouse who travels quite a bit for work, and I had a lot on my plate. As a consequence, it took a long time to figure things out.

I still train under James Foster and, frankly, can’t imagine moving outside of the FBJJ family, but I was excited to hear that Bing was going to open up an affiliate much closer to my house. Bing is a brown belt under James Foster, and he’s now the proud owner of Phantom BJJ in Maple Valley, WA. While I am now technically his student, we are all under the FBJJ/Lotus Club umbrella.

As a happy consequence, I’ve trained more since October than I had in the entire previous year. I’m beginning to find my groove again, slowly clawing my way back into shape. It’s been good. While I never completely fell out of training, it was so sporadic that I wasn’t really making any progress. It feels really good to be training regularly again.

There’s a serious crud making its way through the area and I guess it’s Bing’s turn. He asked me to run the class for them. There were 5 guys at class yesterday, and all were white belts. So we worked some basics. For technique, I showed them how I like to use a cross collar grip from closed guard, with a couple of chokes that work well as a combination.

Anyway, I can’t promise I’ll be posting regularly again, but as my training begins to settle back into a rhythm, so will my posting.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 212011

BJJ was good last night. I am SO out of shape, but we started with light rolling to get warmed up and Ethan showed us a couple of sweeps from half-guard, for when the opponent switches his hips and is facing back towards the legs.

I was pretty exhausted. I felt like I rolled well, technically, but man, I was gassed fast.

On the screenplay front, the project is marching right along. I’m at 82 pages now, and working on winding down Act 2. The story is pacing pretty well, in that my protagonist is crashing hard. The world is falling apart on him, and he’s rapidly reaching the point where he’s at his most defeated. It’s from here that he begins the climb to the climax of the movie in Act 3.

I got home from class last night, ate a piece of pizza and got to writing. I was so into the dialogue that I realized after the fact that I’d written something about one of the characters which was a complete surprise to me. I had to laugh, because it wasn’t in my head, but after I started writing out the scene it just made complete sense. And it’s going to work really well in the context of the story.

Slidey, I haven’t forgotten about you. What I’m going to do is finish this rough draft and then get one rewrite in. There are some obvious things that I need to address before I have what I’d consider a working first draft. If that makes sense. Having read your writing, I would really appreciate any feedback you have, so I’ll definitely forward you a copy. Look for it in the first week of May (if not sooner.)

This is also an open invitation to anyone else. If you’re interested in helping me out, drop me a line in the comments.

 Posted by at 1:34 pm

Sunday Morning Class

 BJJ, MMA, Training  Comments Off on Sunday Morning Class
Mar 062011

Todd, one of the three black belts at my school, began running a series of morning classes many months ago.  Todd’s a funny guy, and I’m glad I finally got off my lazy ass and made it to his class this morning.  I had thought that it was a “Guard Drills” class, but I think it’s more of a general gi class now.

We worked what to me seemed like a modified X-guard sweep.  It’s pretty slick and seems like a logical next step off of a tripod sweep.  I’ll see if I can get that to work for me.

Todd’s as mellow as ever.  The class was pretty small, which is cool, allowing for a lot of individual attention.  Seven people, including Todd, myself, Bobi and Doug (both much more experienced purple belts than I), a couple of tough blue belts and a tough white belt who came to us after training in Judo for a while.

Overall, I’m tired.  My conditioning is crap, but I had a good time and hope to make this a regular gig if I can’t make the afternoon class.  There’s a nogi class on Saturday  mornings I might try to get to as well.

Congrats to all of Jeff Hougland’s guys who fought last night at the Rumble on the Ridge XVII at the Snoqualmie Casino.  Three guys fought and they all won.  Ian the Mule pulled a win by guillotine in his pro debut.

 Posted by at 8:32 pm
Mar 062011

Just sayin’.  I realized that this blog is more about personal accountability and keeping my own commitment to make time for training than anything else.  While I still train, my attendance has dropped.

So, I intend to start posting regularly again, even if it is a simple post to acknowledge classes attended.  Posting from a phone is cumbersome but better than nothing.