Monthly Archives: December 2013

What’s your favorite color? Mine: BLUE!

Just a quick post this morning to share the great news.  Last night was promotion night at Iron Dog Jiu Jitsu here in Northern Virginia.

Congratulations to all of my teammates & friends who received stripes and belt promotions!!  Along with several stripes bestowed, Professor promoted Terry, Joe, Roy, and me to blue belt; Zach to purple belt; and Emil to brown belt w/ red bar.   After promotions and pictures, we had a great 40+ mins of rolling … just to make sure those new belts didn’t stay clean and sweat-free for long!

Promotion!

Promotion!

Me with Professor Rios after belt promotion.

Me and Professor Rios.  After seeing this picture, I realize I need some patches on my gi…let the sponsorship begin!

A fantastic night!

On a personal note – last night was a big deal for me.  Since joining Krav Maga Northern Virginia in January 2012, I have worked harder than any other time in my life.  Prior to 2012, the most difficult physical challenge I faced was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007.  That was hard, no doubt about it.  But after that, it was year-after-year of watching UFC while slamming back Guinness and stuffing fried-whatever into my face.  [Note: if you do this long enough, you’ll eventually reach 255lbs…I do not recommend it.]

Aside from losing 30 lbs and being stronger physically (although I still have many improvements to make), the greatest benefit of these last two years is becoming mentally stronger.  Even though BJJ is practiced in a safe/structured environment, it’s still a FIGHT.  You have to use both brawn AND brain to work your way out of a bad position or submission attempt.  There’s still a mental toughness required to keep rolling when you’re completely exhausted.  There’s a mindset needed when you know you are entering a match with someone significantly better than you…getting tapped…then getting up and diving right back in [not head-first, mind you…or Zach will guillotine-choke you until you blow snot bubbles].

Anyway – BJJ has neatly woven itself into my life, and I’m not looking back.  I may not be a black belt until I’m 55…and while that’s my goal, it’s certainly not the most important aspect of this journey.  It’s really about camaraderie.  It’s about hard work and dedication.  It’s about discipline.  It’s about pushing yourself and those you train with really hard…

All those things you learn about when you’re young, but somehow forget as you sit at your desk choosing fonts for your next PowerPoint presentation to the boss.

Hi – I’m Kris, and I’m the newest and happiest BJJ blue belt on planet Earth.

Take care of each other.  Cheers!


Weak side, foam rollers, and Jason Statham

Scrolling through my BlogRoll, I came upon a particularly relevant post yesterday from Nick Albin – aka Chewy.  Chewy is the author of the blog “Chewjitsu”, and is an instructor at Derby City MMA in Louisville, KY.  Chewy’s blog is a wealth of information – so stop reading this for a few minutes and go ‘follow’ his blog.  I’ll wait.

Back?  Ok, good.

What really caught my eye is a concept that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time…the concept of having a weak side.  This is something I know I have for many techniques, as well as some muscle memory.  For some techniques I feel ambidextrous: americana, rear naked choke, sleeve choke, triangle choke.  When rolling, these techniques come naturally on either side (yes, they are easy, I know).  For others, I definitely have a stronger side.  This is blatant when I’m passing guard.  I ALWAYS go clockwise around my partner/opponent.  I say ‘stronger’ because if passing in the clockwise direction doesn’t pan out, I can quickly shift to a counter-clockwise motion.  But the clockwise pass, especially if I have control of my opponents legs/gi pants, is definitely stronger.  Finally, there are some techniques that I can execute to one side, but it feels completely wrong in the other direction.  I find myself thinking during a roll, “Wait, I know this….but why does it feel so strange??  Oh yeah…I’m used to the other side.”

So reading Chewy’s blog just reiterated to me that during drills, I need to be conscientious about working both sides.  Another great suggestion he had was to favor one’s weak side when rolling with someone less skilled.  (“Hi, this is your first class?  Fantastic!  Today, I’ll be using my weak side…”   HA!)

I also took note of Chewy’s (and many others) suggestion of using a foam roller to work out sore muscles – this works especially well on my back.  And I’m quite proud of myself in this regard!  Instead of dropping $30, $40, $60 on a fancy-pants foam roller found in the yoga sections of sports stores, I bought a $3 two-foot section of PVC pipe from the depot and wrapped it in a towel with some heavy duty tape.  Sure, it’s ugly.  But it definitely gets the job done for just a few bucks, and the PVC is unlikely to wear out after years of use.

Finally on my mind today is Celebrities who practice BJJ.  I recently read an article about Jason Statham, who has been practicing BJJ for about 12 years, is a purple belt under Renzo Gracie, and talks about the positive aspects of martial arts in general (he also likes BJJ because he’s not getting smashed in the face…which is, for Hollywood, the money maker.).  I love Statham movies – they are always so action packed, he’s ridiculously action-movie-cool, and while many things are far fetched…it’s always good fun.  So that got me interested in learning of other celebs who train BJJ.  Google, can you help me out?

  • Ed O’Neil – Black belt, 20 yrs training under Rorion Gracie.
  • Michael Clarke Duncan – Purple belt, trained at the Gracie Academy.
  • Sean Patrick Flannery – Black belt under one of Renzo Gracie’s professors.  Opened Hollywood Jiu Jitsu several years ago. If you haven’t seen The Boondock Saints, well, I can’t help you.
  • Rikki Rockett – Drummer from the band Poison…Black belt under Renato Magno.
  • Ashton Kutcher – Blue belt who trains regularly.
  • Joe Rogan – Black belt under Jean Jacques Machado, and a black belt under Eddie Bravo in 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu (no-gi style)
  • Paul Walker – Brown belt under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller.  Sadly, I learned last night that Paul Walker died last night in a car accident.  How sad – he was only 40!
  • Chuck Norris – Black belt under Machado family.
  • Naomi Watts – trains regularly.
  • Nicholas Cage – trains regularly.

I’m sure there are many others…this was just what popped up during my internet search.

Ok, that’s all for this morning.  If you see me, please remind me to work my weak side!

And in the mean time, let’s take care of each other.  Cheers.


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