Monthly Archives: June 2013

The joy of blogging

Thank you WordPress!

You’ve given me (for free, mind you) access to this world of writers, BJJ players, Krav Maga practitioners, and generally a wonderful group of people who I enjoy interacting with through this much-gentler art called blogging.

Since I started my blog in January of this year, here are some pretty interesting stats:  Followers: 17 from bloggers, 207 from my Facebook account (they count, right?).  Visitors: 1,679 views from 46 countries around the globe.  This is an amazing stat to me…people from Botswana, Oman, Algeria, Greece…all have viewed my blog.  Wow.  Also, 20 ‘likes’ from my posts.  To you more experienced bloggers, these stats are child’s play I’m sure.  But it’s more than what I imagined when I started.

Lately, I find that I enjoy reading other’s blogs just as much as I enjoy writing my own.  To hear other’s successes, frustrations, setbacks, victories – it just shows that we are all in this together.  Some are just further along in their journey than others….he says as he reads a blog this morning from someone who described herself as a “20 something jiu jitsu brown belt.  Brown belt at 20-something?  Impressive!  Hopefully I’ll be able to change my ‘about me’ to read “50 something jiu jitsu brown belt”.

My professor might have to award me my black belt at the nursing home.  In celebration, we’ll have jello.

So keep up the good work everyone!

Let’s take care of each other.  Cheers.

PS – Quick story about the ‘gentle art’.  We were drilling a move on Wednesday, which I have no idea what it’s called – let’s see: you’re in side control, you capture his arm with your arm you would normally have around his head, and you adjust your hips so you can use momentum to swing your leg over his head (facing his feet now), which rolls him to his side, and you basically mount his head, then modify the grip you have on the captured arm to work a kimura.  (Sorry, that was a horrible description.  I can do it, but apparently I can’t explain it well).  So our professor was roaming the mats offering ways to refine our technique.  One student apparently wasn’t capturing his partners head well enough…and he vigorously encouraged, “you got to squeeze his head HARD…get heavy on his head and SQUEEZE your knees together.  THEN you can take the arm home with you!”  As he walked away, one of our senior purple belts caught my eye, and mouthed in a hushed tone, “…the gentle art.”  HA!


And then there were four

Quick blog entry tonight…

I simply wanted to let my BJJ family, friends, colleagues, and blog followers know that last night our Iron Dog Jiu Jitsu team held promotions.

Professor Rios gave me the honor of two more stripes on my white belt. That makes four total – very exciting!

Now it’s time for me to improve technically, athletically, and continue along this BJJ journey I absolutely love.

A sincere congratulations to all my teammates who earned a belt promotion or stripes last night. A new purple belt, two new blue belts, and several stripes at all ranks – fantastic!

It’s an absolute honor to be part of this team.

Take care of each other. OSS!

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Supplement Review: T+

This is a first-of-a-kind post from me, because I’m going to make an attempt to provide a product review on a supplement I recently found…and I’d love to share my thoughts with other like-aged BJJ and Krav Maga enthusiasts.

Caveats – I’m sure there must be some.  (1) Dammit Jim, I’m a paper-pusher, not a doctor!  (2) My views are my own, although I’m easily persuadable. (3) I’m receiving nothing from Onnit Labs for this review – although if they want to give me that million-dollar endorsement and let me be the face of 40 yr old BJJ/Krav Maga students around the world, I’m happy to do it.  I’d even go as low as $750K.  (or even a free can of T+?  what about a $5-off coupon?)

So first, a word about testosterone.  You hear about it daily in UFC news: this athlete is on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), or human growth hormone, or something-or-other metabolites, or deer antler bone marrow ninja powder.  Whatever the reason, men (and athletes) realize that this is the good stuff.  More might be better?  Not too much … few want to fly into a hulk-like trance and trash their office in a fit of testosterone-fueled rage.  But to support your athleticism, your energy, your body composition, and all other things manly, you certainly want healthy testosterone levels.

So when I turned 40, I had my levels checked.  Let me paraphrase what my doctor said: “Healthy testosterone level range between 200 and 800.  You are at 310….so you’re perfectly normal.”  Ok, umm.  Well, I’m no mathematician, but the halfway point between 200 and 800 is 500, right?  Which means 310 seems like it’s on the low-end of normal.  Then, he and his colleagues lectured me on how taking a daily multi-vitamin is dangerous to my health.  Ok – time to exit this crazy train.  (Note: I already said I’m no doctor…but really?  Multi’s are dangerous?).  Future post: finding a new doctor.  But I digress….

So while I toil away three times a week rolling with men 10-15 years younger (sure, some of our more experienced students are my age…but they got me beat on technique), I wanted to find something that might help me recover better.  Basically, I want to wake up the morning after training NOT feeling like I was in a car accident.

Research on (legal) testosterone supplements was frustrating.  Every review was from a 23 yr old athlete who claimed that their T levels skyrocketed after taking produce XYZ, and they blasted through that last set of squats.  Well, I’m not sure that’s how it works – that sounds more of a pre-workout thing.  And who needs extra testosterone at 23??  Your body, young whippersnapper, is cranking out testosterone like it’s your full-time job.  So I can’t really go by what you say.

Another fear of mine was the fact that most products introduce something into your system to ‘act like’ testosterone.  But as I read on, it appears that your body will sense this, and decrease your natural testosterone production….likely resulting in a net loss.  Ok, I don’t need that.

So the boys and girls at Onnit Labs came out with T+.  You’re welcome to go to the website (onnit.com/t-plus) to read all the technical stuff about Macuna Puriens, Eurycoma Longifolia, and Stinging Nettle Root.  Basically, this formula claims to, “…focuses on well-researched ingredients designed to help the body increase its own levels of free Testosterone, while assisting with minimizing excess estrogen production. In addition, we included a blend to help the body further fuel athletic performance and recovery, making T+ a healthy way to help your body maximize your virility.”

So it’s not introducing testosterone-like things into your body…it’s introducing ingredients that support and energize your own body’s production of the good stuff.  Ok, I’m in!

I took my first dose of T+ on May 17.  One canister lasts for 30 days, after which you take a two-week break.  You take it preferably 30 mins before training – but still consume daily to maintain levels in your body.  As I sit and type out this post (non-training day), I’m drinking my last T+ serving.  Yep, I didn’t get quite 30 servings from the canister, but pretty close.  Tomorrow I begin my 2-weeks off…which will give me time to order another can.

The taste was ok – many reviews of T+ original formula spoke quite ill of the taste.  This new formula improved the taste.  It’s watermelon-y.  It’s an acquired taste, but after a few days, you barely notice it.  It mixes well in 16-20 oz of water – I use my protein blender bottle.  The first few days I didn’t really feel anything.  I didn’t really expect to – this isn’t magic.  About day 6, I felt for the first time that ‘tingle’ Onnit CEO Aubrey Marcus talked about during the product intro video (also on the website).  Somewhere during week two, I noticed that I wasn’t as drained the morning after a heavy training session.  By week three, my energy levels were much higher (both training and non-training days)…my recovery from training seemed much quicker…and (girls, close your ears) all the claims of supporting a ‘healthy libido’ seemed fairly accurate.

As I drain the last of my crazy watermelon drink, I guess the crowning achievement of this (nearly) month’s worth of T+ was felt this morning.

Yesterday was a double-dose of BJJ.  We had our normal hour-long Saturday morning session (no-gi).  I felt fine during that session, and went home to prepare for our longer gi session with a sister school across town.  This school is filled with higher-level blue and purple belts.  Walking out on the mats with my two-striped white belt was a little like wading into shark infested waters….you can see it in their eyes.  HA!  Bring it.

So we rolled hard for 90 mins.  I left feeling happy, humbled, beat up, and quite pleased with the day.  After eating everything in sight last night, I went to bed thinking to myself, “oh boy, tomorrow is going to be bad…my poor body is going to be really sore/tight.”  I slept in a bit…but actually woke up feeling great!  No muscle soreness, with the exception of a few tweaks that I’ve felt for weeks.  A few weeks ago, yesterday would have put me down for a bit…I would have been recovering for two days.  But alas, I attribute my much-improved recovery and energy levels to T+.  It’s the only thing I’ve done differently.

So there you go – my enthusiastic endorsement of Onnit’s T+.  If you are a 23 yr old beast who can lift a SmartCar, or a girl for that matter, please, do NOT venture into testosterone supplements.  But if you are 40…and need a little oomph in your recovery and energy levels, I highly recommend researching and investigating T+ to see if it’s right for you.  (Another caveat: if you take T+ and suddenly grown horns, an eyeball falls out, or you transform into a mutant worthy of a cameo in the next Avengers movie, I will not be held responsible. I’m just talking about my experience.  After all, this blog is all about me…not you.)  I hope to get my T levels checked again during this 2-week layoff.  I’ll report whatever I find.

Until then – happy testosterone-ing.  And while you’re at it, train hard, and let’s take care of one another.  Cheers.

T+.  Snapshot taken from onnit.com

T+. Snapshot taken from onnit.com


Carlson Gracie Jr. Seminar

Oh my – has it really been 43 days since our Carlson Gracie Jr. BJJ seminar?  How time flies!!

On April 27, 2013, Krav Maga Northern Virginia, and our Iron Dog Jiu Jitsu team, had the honor of having Professor Carlson Gracie Jr, as well as Professor Paulo Mushu, join our gym for a fantastic 3-hour seminar.

Most of the members of our Iron Dog Jiu Jitsu team were there, as well as a handful of BJJ brothers and sisters from the local area.  What a great afternoon!

The beauty of this seminar for me – aside from having such high-level instruction – was learning open guard.  That was the foundation of the seminar: when to transition to open guard, how to sweep from open guard, and how to work submissions from open guard.  My favorite move of the day?  Transitioning from open guard to triangle.  I’ve managed to pull that off three times during live rolling since the seminar, and I love it.  So many times I learn techniques that I find difficult because of my long legs/torso (I mean, how tight of a ball can one roll into at 6’5″?).  But open guard seems quite natural with long legs…

We ended our seminar with everyone enjoying a quick 5-min roll.  Because as Professor Rios says, “… it’s not a BJJ class without rolling.

In the end: a great day of BJJ instruction…wonderful camaraderie in a sport that I’m learning more and more each day is filled with respect and honor…and a very tired 40 yr old.

Life is good.  Take care of each other.  Cheers.

Three Professors

The Three Professors

Kris and Prof. Carlson Gracie Jr.

Kris and Prof. Carlson Gracie Jr.

Kris and Prof. Paulo Mushu

Kris and Prof. Paulo Mushu

 


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