Monthly Archives: April 2013

Happiness – thy name is Combat Jiu Jitsu

Krav Maga.   Self Defense.  Boxing.  Muay Thai.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  General Bad-Assery.

Put them together, and what do you get?  Combat Jiu Jitsu!

Yes indeed, folks.  Starting last night, and once a month from here on out, our BJJ school will hold Combat Jiu Jitsu training.  This morphed self-defense, kickboxing, muay thai, BJJ mashup that has us in Gi tops and belts, MMA shorts, wrestling shoes, MMA gloves, shin guards, headgear, etc, and we’re let loose on each other (in a controlled way, of course) to punch, kick, knee, elbow, takedown, grapple (and more punching), and submit.

What a blast!

My first ’round’ was with a more experienced BJJ blue belt.  We each threw a few kicks and punches, and quickly things went to the ground.  I was on bottom, so I immediately tied him up and started working to sweep him.  As I held onto his gi sleeves in closed guard, I hear the other students, “Punch him!”  Ohhh….yeah!  This isn’t BJJ.  So we both took  that cue and started throwing punches.  I was able to shrimp out from under him and take his back.  I couldn’t sink the choke (he has great defense), but since I had him locked with a body triangle, I threw a few punches to the head – like I’ve seen MMA guys to a million times to distract their opponent long enough to sink in the rear naked choke.  Alas, it didn’t work.  But, it was WAY cool.

The next few rounds were just as fun…and a great learning experiences.  Like, if you catch an opponents roundhouse kick,  grab their gi lapel, slide your foot behind their only good one, and push…they will go down.  What you don’t want to do is follow them to the ground and let them grab your neck and choke the crap out of it.  You only end up thinking, “Dammit!  That was a great takedown…how did I end up in a guillotine?”  Oh, because it wasn’t a good takedown, apparently.  Keep your head up!!

But all in all – great training, and tons of fun.  And no one got hurt.

There’s something about Krav Maga.  There’s something about BJJ.  And there’s something about the people who do Krav Maga and BJJ.  Sure, there are egomaniacs all over the place – but one thing is common at the gym: we respect one another.  Yes, even as Phil peppered my ribs with these round-house kicks that I could barely half-ass block, in the end, we thanked each other for a great round.  Even as Emil punched me about the head and body (at will, I might add), we thanked each other for the opportunity to spar.

I’ve mentioned this before: there’s something about fighting (or rather training to fight) that makes a person respect other people.  Sometimes I look around me – in public, at the airport (don’t get me started), on TV, and even in my own office – and there are rude, insincere, and flat out jack-weasels who don’t know how to treat other people.

And for them, I can only think, “…if that guy/gal just came to a few Krav Maga and/or BJJ classes, they would experience respect, triumph, and a little humility…and they probably wouldn’t carry themselves like that.”  

Ok, truth be told, sometimes I simply think, “…that guy/gal needs to get choked for a bit…just until they start blowing some snot bubbles…”  I know, it’s wrong.

So thank you to all my teammates who punched me in the face, kicked me in the ribs, and choked my neck last night [Remember? I can’t seem to keep my head out of a guillotine choke when I take someone down].  Because from this, I feel humbled.  I experience respect.  And I feel a little triumph when a technique works as planned.  This carries with me as I walk out of the gym, into my office, in public, etc.

Perhaps it helps me become a better man?

Combat Jiu Jitsu…I’ll see you again next month!

In the mean time, we have regular class tomorrow night.  And we have a seminar coming up this weekend with a very special (and famous among the BJJ community) guest.  More on that Saturday.  Stay tuned!

Take care of each other!  Cheers.


Non-Jiu Jitsu News Update…thanks Julia!

Has it really been 21 days since my last post?  Wow.  Well, I guess that’s understandable.  For the past three weeks, I’ve either been on business travel, or fighting a stomach bug turned head and chest cold.  So now that I’m home, and the stomach bug turned cold thingy is nearly over, I guess it’s about time I quit whining and actually posted something.

Of course, I haven’t trained in 21 days.  Has it been THAT LONG???  Yes, Kris, it’s been 21 days since you’ve been on the mats – the longest stretch from training since the broken finger incident.  So quit your whining and GET BACK TO TRAINING!  Saturday is the day.  I might have forgotten how to tie my belt, much less how to defend the triangle choke from guard.

What I did do in the last 21 days is read some great blog entries from the blogs I follow.  And, one struck me…..nay….inspired me, to get off my backside and post something, even if I’m not training.

So, internet world….in the spirit of Julia’s Jiu-Jiu’s BJJ Blog (which, by the way, is an awesome blog if you are shopping around) recent entry titled “Non-Jiu Jitsu Update”, I thought I’d add to her dialog on what’s going on when not training.

Thank you, Julia, for the inspiration to (when not training) keep my blog current.  Here are my responses just as you structured your post.

Entertainment: (also) Books

I love books.  I guess that if faced with the prospect of watching regular TV and reading, I’d choose reading.  I have a 3d gen Kindle, which I put to good use in the evenings and on my frequent flights too and fro.  I’ve gone through phases in my reading: there was the Michael Crichton phase, the Leadership phase, the short story phase, the non-fiction/learn something phase, the biography phase, the autobiography phase, the history phase, and the speed reading phase.  Right now I’m reading a book on how to organize and shed unwanted things in your life (titled, wait for it….SHED), and also a book on how to write books (yes, really).  The speed reading phase was primarily work focused, and certainly a paper-book thing.  And, yes, it works.  Kevin and I went into the course reading ~400 words per minute (WPM) at 70% comprehension, and left the course reading 3,450 WPM at the same comprehension level.  Yep…three thousand, four hundred, and fifty words per minute.  That’s a page flip every second or so.  The horrible thing is that without regular and recurring practice, my top speed has all but vanished, and I probably read for pleasure at about 1,200 WPM, and much less than that at work (maybe 800?) where I have to be technically accurate.  The lesson here is best said in a line from the Kevin Costner movie “American Flyers”…Once you got it up, keep it up.  Well, I certainly didn’t keep it up.

Entertainment: TV (sometimes), and Movies

This is easy, because I don’t watch much TV.  I’m loyal to two things: The Ultimate Fighter, and Archer.  If you don’t know what The Ultimate Fighter is (think American Idol with face-punching), I guess I can let it slide.  If you don’t know what Archer is, then we have a problem.  Stop reading, fire up your Netflix  (or DVR, or whatever), and watch an episode.  Wikipedia says Sterling Malory Archer is “184 lb, 6’2″, 36 years old, and is considered the world’s most dangerous secret agent. He is extremely egotistical and self-involved. Though he shows proficiency in stereotypical spy skills—weapons, driving, martial arts—his only real interest in the job is the opportunity to enjoy a jet-setting lifestyle full of sex, alcohol, thrills, lacrosse, fast cars, and spy gadgets.”  See what I mean?  Go watch it.

Professional: Job

I have one, which is good.  I work for Uncle Sam.  He keeps me busy with all of his bureaucracy and red tape and TPS reports.  And just so you know, we actually have red tape.

(I’m kidding, we don’t actually have red tape.  Except for in the supply cabinet…and it’s dusty, which means nobody has used it since FDR.  Come to think about it, who uses tape any more at work?)

(I’m kidding, we don’t actually have a supply cabinet.  When I need tape, there’s some on the guy’s desk one office down, and I just steal his.)

(I’m kidding.  I never need tape.)

Pursuits: Writing

I thought about this for a while.  If I had any one pursuit, I would say ‘writing’.  If I won the Mega-Millions Lottery tomorrow, I’d likely quit my job and become a writer.  What could be better?  Walking around in my PJs and bunny slippers 7 months out of the year as I drink coffee and write?  What about deadlines, you say??  Already got  too many of those, and I can’t even wear pajamas to work.

I’ve  actually entered local writing contests a while back (and won 1st one year)…but life, family, job, etc, usually takes precedence over sitting in front of Scrivener and just writing.  I know, excuses, right?  To be honest, they are.  Most of the best authors today were ‘something else’ before they were writers, and wrote their breakout novel on legal pads and sticky notes during lunch and on the subway commute.  I need to stop complaining and just write.  But in the mean time, this blog is a surrogate, and I enjoy watching my stream of consciousness thinking turn into an online presence in the matter of 20 minutes or so.

Health: Weight

I probably wrote about this in a previous blog.  BJJ and Krav Maga have changed my health in a truly positive way.  November 2011 I was nearing 260lbs and had the cardio/endurance of an injured sloth.  Today I’m 220lbs, and can survive an hour of Krav Maga, followed by an hour and fifteen minute BJJ class, with no ill-effect.  Am I tired?  You bet.  But it’s not killing me.  And I’m stronger and leaner and more fit than EVER before.  So – this is a win, and it’s all because of being on the mats consistently.

Hobby:  Does BJJ/Krav Maga count?

I guess since this is a ‘non-BJJ’ update, those don’t count.  So, if I do have one hobby, I guess I’d say drumming.  I started playing drums a few years ago.  “Playing” is a relative term.  I picked it up quickly enough, and got to where I could play along with a few songs.  (Nirvana’s “In Bloom” was my shining moment in basement drumming play-along).  However, the fact that I don’t have access to a band, it’s hard to stay fresh and motivated to learn new stuff.  Sooooo… ‘hobby’ is like an unpruned tomato plant wasting away in a pot stuffed in the corner of your patio….withering, dying, yielding no fruit.

On a totally unrelated matter – if anyone is in the market for a Roland V-Drum series electric kit with all the fixin’s…give me a call.  I know a guy.  🙂

Self Improvement:  Stick-with-it-ness

Those who know me know that the much younger me would have listed 4, 342 things in the ‘hobby’ category.  I’ve tried it all.  I’ve stuck to none.  Triathlons.  Yup.  Model airplanes.  You bet.  Trains?  A little.  Road cycling?  Got the t-shirt.  Woodworking?  Probably.  Falconeering….well, not that, but how COOL would that be??

Those who also know me best know that I’m a brilliant ‘ideas guy’, and yet have a total and complete inability to execute even the simplest of ideas (ahem, Kevin…how’s our community-written book coming along??  Yeah, I thought so.)  So my self-improvement focus is just to find something I love and stick to it.  And this blog, dear reader, is in that category.  I’ve had the idea of blogging for a long time, yet I could/would never execute.  So the fact that you are reading this post (provided you didn’t stop at the second paragraph) is a testament to me sticking with something.  Four months.  23 posts.  And counting.  And I love it.


After rolling with my BJJ teammates, I would roam the lands hunting for protein replacement shakes with my awesome Saker Falcon. His name? Archer, of course. Come one, you know you want one.

So there you have it.  My Non-Jiu Jitsu News Update….inspired by Julia’s Jiu-Jiu’s BJJ Blog.

Go check out her blog!

And for my teammates at Iron Dog Jiu Jitsu, and Krav Maga Northern Virginia, I’ll see you on Saturday.  Cold and congestion free.

Let’s take care of each another.  Cheers!

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