Thank you for joining me!

Welcome to the Happy Grappler. The key to a consistent practice is joy. As an aging athlete, I continue to seek out methods that help to keep a smile on my face, relatively fit and pain free. This is my mental graffiti. Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

So this just happened.

So here I am at a Commando Krav Maga seminar at my Academy, minding my own business, when this happens...

Saturday, after 7 years of training Brazilian Jiu jitsu, and after training the martial arts for 37 years, I was awarded my first and hopefully only, Black Belt. I am humbled and flattered beyond words. During my acceptance, for the first minute, I was speechless. Thanks to my constantly supportive and long-suffering wife, to my Pop for instilling a love of the martial arts when I was a boy by telling me incredible stories of when he trained Judo in Japan in the 50's as a U.S. Marine, to Professor Marcos for being the best instructor I have ever had, to His Imperial Supple Leopard for being the best training partner I have ever had, and the best Academy to train jiujitsu in, bar none. I am now investigating ways to pay it forward and spread the art that I have come to love.

My journey continues.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A long overdue update

Greetings tribe!

It has been a long, long time since I have written. Mainly due to the super business of work. I have debated over and over if I want to continue this blog, but you can pretty much assume with this post that I want to keep it going. But in all fairness, due to work, I cannot any more promise a regularity of posting. Whenever, I can, I will post. But it has certainly been an interesting summer. Here are some updates:

When we finished weight watchers, I had lost a total of 42# and have pretty much stalled there. I am not as ridiculously strict as I was, however, I have kept a majority of the weight (95%) off. We just returned from vacation, and I followed no diet while I was there, so it will feel good to return to disciplined eating. I have been IF'ing for about a month again, which is a great practice. I am playing around with some vegetarian eating after reading Scott Jurek's "Eat and Run" which is an incredible foray into Ultramarathoning and Vegan eating. The lion's share of sugar in my diet comes from fruit and I am greatly moderating my alcohol. I also feel better when I take a natural approach to low carbing, drink more water, and restrict things like bread and pasta.I am also going to play with the Gracie Diet idea of not mixing starches. I also like it when my pants fit.

Non-bjj training- I have got the running bug again and my wife got me some new minimalist shoes for father's day. I am settling upon the following split for my non-bjj training: A run day, a KB day, a run day, then a Calisthenics day in a split fashion. This will ensure an even spread of strength and cardio. I still do mobility work every single day. Currently, I am mixing the Big 5 pressing reset from "Original Strength", the 5 rites of Tibetan Yoga, the Founder and the prone decompression drill from "Foundation Training" and the Baker's dozen of mobility work from Steve Maxwell. I have also been playing around with the Bio-energetic "Charging and Grounding" routine from Eliott Hulse. For KB work, I am mixing it up with some Hardstyle Drills and some GS style work of LCCJ and OAS in timed sets. Circuits seem to work the best for me when it comes to bodyweight calisthenics and while I may get the occasional bug to deadlift (I have access to that stuff at school) for the most part, my barbell days are over. I have read Al Kavadlo's books and the Convict Conditioning, Jailhouse Strong, and Solitary Fitness as well. There is much wisdom in using your bodyweight as resistance.

BJJ- still training 2-3 times a week. Still working to be as smooth and efficient as possible. Marcos just gave me the fourth stripe on my brown belt and to say that I am slightly freaked out is an understatement. In 37 years of consistently training the martial arts, I have never achieved a black belt rank. It is so close, it is rather intimidating. It has been one hell of a journey, that isn't over yet!

My wife and I just returned from an amazing vacation. I am starting Nick Ortner's Tapping Solution, Timber Hawkeye's Buddhist Boot Camp and Jack Kornfield's "The Wise Heart."

That is all for now. I will write more soon.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sad day...

Yesterday, the world of grappling lost a legend.

Billy Robinson, legendary catch wrestler, passed away.

The later years were not kind to him, but he leaves a legacy of brilliance.

This man has done more to influence my grappling than almost anyone.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

What I have learned from Weight Watchers

So far it is 38# down, with 12 to go.

My wife has lost over 30!

I have given the plan so much grief through the years, made fun of the meetings, thought that it was a method for the untrained, but I have really benefited from the program, so WW, I apologize.

Here is a short list of the things I have learned so far:

Food is not the problem, overeating is the problem.
There are no "evil foods".
A properly kept food journal is worth its weight in gold.
Everything is an experiment, I have to figure out how I respond to certain foods and either use them to my benefit or avoid them. (Turns out that I may have some issues with wheat.)
I was using the "good fats" and "red wine is good for your heart" excuse as license to over eat and over drink.
We vastly overestimate the calories we burn via exercise and underestimate the calories we take in without keeping track of it.
"Cheats" and "treats" need to be planned and not spontaneous.
Having an accountability partner is essential.
In order to lose weight with exercise, you have to work out HARD.
In the past, I have tried to compensate for a poor diet with exercise-it doesn't work.
Little "slip ups" can add up and cost valuable pounds.
Having experience with meditation has helped immensely, by anchoring myself in the present, food tastes AMAZING!
Focusing on real food and dropping things like bcaa's and whey protein was a wise choice for me. I still take D3, fish oil and ACV and the numbers don't lie about their benefits.

When the weather warms up, I am going to start walking/running again. I am also going to experiment to see how intermittent fasting works within an approach like weight watchers.
I heartily recommend WW to anyone.

In other news, training is going really well. My guard is becoming dangerous and my training partners are wonderful.

I recently listened to the JRE with Kron Gracie and it is fabulous. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

I have not forgotten you!

Greetings tribe!

Today is a very short post to say that I am still around. I have been incredibly busy and sometimes life does not allow for blogging. I am still weight watching (down 35! wife has lost close to 30!) Still training (doing bodyweight and some kb stuff) still rocking the bjj and meditating. I pinky promise to be more regular when it comes to blogging. Stay tuned more posts to come.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 in review

Greetings Tribe!

This will more than likely be my last post of the year. So I thought I would take some time and review some of the changes and memorable points of the year and sum them up.

The berimbolo: the year started of with one of the hottest drills in jiujitsu and I couldn't do it to save my life. Uncoordinated, unathletic and for the most part, immobile. Thanks to my training partner, we drilled the position for almost a solid year. While I am far from a Mendes or Miyao, I can pull it off in drilling. I am far from doing it in sparring. But it has turned out to be a very revealing and rewarding drill. It began to teach me the concept of flow (more on that later).

Brown belt: Totally shocking when it happened. This has been the belt of passing the guard (Riberio) and getting mean (Roy Harris). Brown belt has been a period of quantifying the fundamentals and expanding my arsenal. It has been the time of refining the most basic sidemount escape, and the pleasure of training the rolling backtakes. I no longer fear inverting. I no longer stop in half guard or in side mount, I am always attacking mount or back. I have gotten lighter (thank you WW!) but feel heavier. Flowsparring with Bill has helped me move more quickly and react manytimes without thinking. Bill and I are attacking legs, feet and knees with more ferocity and abandon. I have learned better ways of defending kimuras, reverse and mounted triangles, and figured out an entire array of attack from quarter guard. I am watching and dissecting more videos and I am having fun share what I know with others. The prospect of a black belt still scares the shit out of me, but I am reflecting back on my journey with admiration. Professors Marcos and Bill are jiujitsu giants and I am eternally thankful for their guidance and knowledge.

Geezers: I have broadened my passion for bjj, wing chun and the filipino arts, because they are "geezer" methods. They allow a person to age and they get better. Watching Dan Inosanto or Paul DeThouars (RIP) or Renato Paquet (RIP) gives ample insight into how well "old men" can move. It gives us something to strive towards. I cannot wait to get to the point of rolling without any strength, where it is nothing but balance, timing, rhythm and leverage. This year was the realization that I am a martial artist having trained in something for 36 years. I no longer watch youtube for the latest technique, but to watch Rickson or Pedro Sauer spar, to see Paul or Bill DeThouars move, or to watch the influence of Dan Inosanto, Hawkins Cheung or Jin Young. It still has the same fascination for me.

Conditioning: I have utilized programs this year from Pavel, Dan John, Jon Hinds, Eric Goodman, Steve Maxwell, Eric Orton, Tim Anderson and am just now investigating and trying kettlebell sport. I am more mobile, leaner, and stronger than I was last year. I am becoming more efficient.

I was able to go to 4 seminars this year: Marcio Feitosa and Flavio Almeida, Flavio Almeida, Phillip Della Monica and Rener Gracie. Truly amazing and inspirational events. I will never forget: "Bro, your kimura is dope. Daaaannnnnggg!!"

I have secured hopefully the last job of my career. I am truly fortunate to be at a place that I love.

It has been a wonderful year. Here is to 2014!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I am a martial artist

What's up, tribe!

Sorry for the delay in posting. I used to be able to provide weekly updates, sometimes multiple daily posts, now due to work, I am lucky if I can post monthly. No complaints, though. I realize that I am where I am supposed to be. We are currently in finals week and just about 2 weeks until a winter break of about 2 weeks.

What's been happening in my world...

Weight watchers: In 6 weeks I have lost 21.8 lbs and my wife has lost around 15! The online tracking tools are great! For all of the crap that I have given WW in the past, it is a system that works. I can reasonably expect to drop 30# by the end of the year and hopefully another 20# by my birthday. What I like is that this teaches the principles involved with reasonable life-long weight loss and is not based upon deprivation. It is an accountability based system and since my wife and I can do it together, it helps bolster a chance of success. My joints feel better, my gi fits better and I have better endurance. Thumbs up!

My non bjj conditioning has seen an increase in joint mobility practices, kettlebell and trx use as well as going back to some of the drills in my stick and wing chun days. It is the reason for the title, I am not just a bjj guy, I am a martial artist.  It has also brought back some great training memories and whacking something with a stick is always fun. I will include some of the training videos that I have been watching.

BJJ training is going really well. We have been doing flowsparring drills during every open mat and I am moving like a different animal. Bjj just frickin' rules.

Cyborg is the man!

Have a wonderful holiday season!