Life lessons from the ice cream King of Mumbai

In my travels I’ve met a lot of interesting people. Some real Assholes that I couldn’t wait until the door hit them on the way out and others who I wish I could put in my suitcase. Both types of people teach me lessons, either “be more like them”or “slap me if I’m ever like them”. I wasn’t “enlightened” in India like all the hippies and yogis claim to experience. Way too many starving begging kids in the streets. At the heart of my trip I found people that were a lot like me, hard working and hungry for knowledge. But of all the students at evolution Mumbai gym, one really blew my mind.
Everyday when I woke up, I had this guy knock on the door to fetch me for practice. He tried carrying my gym bag for me, always asked me If I wanted anything, coffee, breakfast etc. And every night he’d walk me to the door, making sure I had everything I needed until the next day. I assumed he was just another gym lackey, especially one night when he started offering to take my laundry to have cleaned. Boy did I feel like an idiot when I found out the truth.
So one night we are driving home from a day of sight seeing, he asks me if id like to go for ice cream. I don’t know who he talked to beforehand but ice cream holds the key to my heart and soul. So off we went, down a few side streets before pulling up to an ice cream shop. I was excited. We walk up and my unnamed friend walks behind the counter, passed the employees and into the freezer, grabbing this and that. My jaw dropped a bit as he handed them to me, the employees of the shop not skipping a beat at all. Come to find out, this is his shop. He not only owned this one but 28 others just like them. So basically I stuffed my “fat kid at hearts” face, even rubbing it in a little bit to the guys that had fights coming up. The joys of not cutting weight are infinite.
Anyway on the drive home me and the The ice king cream talked a bit, I had to know what this ridiculously humble and unassuming guys story was.
“When I was a boy, I wanted to own an ice cream shop so that I could eat all of the ice cream I wanted”. That one sentence is at the heart of every young mans existence. He took it to the next level. He moved to Mumbai with $40 in his pocket and a dream. He got a loan from the bank and got started. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, he took his losses, having to restart a few times with nothing. He told me there were days he worked 20 hours, sleeping on the floor of his ice cream factory with his workers, he couldn’t afford a place of his own because he put everything into the business. Police constantly looking for bribes, mafia dipping their hands Into the ice cream pot, set back after set back. He cried himself to sleep sometimes, ready to quit, to give up. But he held onto the dream, opening his second, then his third shop. He’s now in a position where he doesn’t have to work, he has managers and employees who handle the day to day. He’s 31 years old now, pretty much mission accomplished. He is the ice cream King of Mumbai.

I asked him what’s next, he’s basically the ultimate ice cream champion of the world, where does he go from here? He says he’s happy with where he is at, that life is good, but he is not satisfied. That resonated with me instantly. I feel the same way after a fight, like cool, I won, nice shiny belt or medal, but that’s not it, I’m not done yet. In a few years he’s going to sell the business, his home,car, etc buy a backpack and travel the world. If I didn’t know better, with him being rich and doing martial arts, this guy is on his way to being Batman. Amazing. That’s the secret with the hugely successful types, a hunger for the next step. But let’s not forget; this guy asked to do my laundry. Humility isn’t the right word for this guy, it doesn’t cut it. He’s on another level. This guys story should be in the bible, forget the guys who have God like power, this is a man who came from nothing with a dream and faced setback after setback, triumphing in the face of adversity to reign supreme over all ice cream cones. To add to his character level, he would say no to having his name written in stories. He doesn’t want his name in this blog, doesn’t want recognition for being who he is. He isn’t the ice cream hero Mumbai needs, he’s the one it deserves.
“V” you have my respect and my admiration. If you ever visit the US, you can sleep on my couch, I’ll buy you yogurt-land every night and I’ll have someone do your laundry.


The importance of an alter ego

Pretty much every superhero I can think of has some form of alter ego. Whether it’s who they were before they became a superhero ala batman/Bruce Wayne or a disguise to hide their abilities like Clark Kent/Superman, most superheroes have an alter ego, someone they become when the mask comes off. Those that have superpowers/special abilities and don’t have an alter ego become something else entirely: the super-villain.
Imagine, you wake up, you have the ability to overcome or overpower any man on earth. By force or mental abilities, the world is at your disposal. But you have a bit of character in you, a spark, a jimminey cricket that says to use your powers for the greater good. You help others with your talents, you are a beacon of charity and hope in an otherwise dark and unforgiving world. Go Superyou!
After saving the world/a cat in a tree, from the brink of destruction, you go home to your mansion/apartment, put on your reading glasses, read a chapter in your favorite book while your dog is curled up at your feet. You might even have a family who thinks you just got home from the office. You and the world are at peace, until it isn’t. You’ll always be ready with your cape/cowl and spandex.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Having these abilities could tempt a man or woman to become the opposite. Why be good when you can control the world? Take what you want when you want. If someone is weaker than you, crush them. The world is yours! That guy has a lot of money, take some. She’s pretty, just overpower her. That line is too big to wait in, cut to the front, what are they going to do about it?
This is the attitude of guys like “the Joker” and “General Zod”. They let their power consume them. Any sense of compassion or humanity has left them and replaced by greed and power. If they want something, nothing can stop them. There is no need for an alter ego at this point, their lives don’t require peace.

We see this on the big screen, books, comics etc. But it’s in the real world too. I’ve known John Koppenhaver for a long time, we both fought in a Mexico based organization years ago. He’s always been a cool guy to be around, constant jokes and an all around nice guy. He’s a hell of a fighter too, no quit in him. His UFC fight with Jared Rollins was legendary, and his latest fight where he went to sleep rather than tap just showed there is no quit in him. He truly is a “War Machine” in the cage.
But their isn’t an off switch with him. He was born John Koppenhaver and became War-Machine. What he did the other night to Christy Mack isn’t the person he used to be. He used his “power” to overcome those without. Whether she was sleeping with another guy or not, you never hit a girl. Since birth that’s been absolute law written in stone for my family. It’s sad to see him caught up in all of this. A person as talented as he is should be fighting in front of a sell out audience on live tv. Instead he’s a fugitive on the run, facing inevitable jail time. All of his talent will be wasted in a cell. A once bright future lost in an act of villainy.
Hearing what Josh Grispi did to his wife just sickens me. Maybe this is my bias but that man has kids, he beat the mother of his children and sent his dog after her. I have no remorse for that guy. He’s the type of person that gives fighters our bad reputation.
As fighters we need to have an alter ego. When we go to the gym or the cage it’s all business, we become animals and tear each other apart. It’s part of our sport. The savage in us should not be exposed to regular people. We need an off switch. When we take our gloves off we have to leave the savage in us at the gym. So many times in public I want to bash peoples faces in for cutting me off, being rude etc. Sometimes I feel like I’m one wrong word away from blowing up on someone. I know for a fact that I could do some serious damage to avg untrained Joe. Lucky I keep it in check, There is an off switch. It’s absolutely necessary as fighters to have an alter ego, for our sanity and for others safety.

Note: I don’t know the full story of what happened, I just know that a woman is in the hospital severely beaten and a once great person will never be the same again. I Hope you find peace Warrior.


The pursuit of mastery.

The pursuit of mastery.

I remember as a kid when I saw something on tv, I wanted to be that guy. Fireman? Yep. Ninja? Just wait til I get to Japan. General in the Army? Where’s my rifle. Not just tv, places I went too. I’d “pretend” to be it all. One time we did a family trip to sea world, saw professional people swimming with dolphins and whales. At that moment I knew from the bottom of my heart, that was my destiny. But then I got older and discovered how much work it actually took to do something like that. Suddenly it didn’t seem so appealing. You can’t be GREAT at everything.

“What the hell do you mean I can’t be great at everything , (insert inspirational quote about doing impossible)”
You’re probably right, YOU can. But Let me tell you about Michael Jordan, arguably/not really arguable at all, the greatest basketball player of all time. Dude was amazing, broke records and dunked from the free throw line, boom, the greatest. Retires from basketball, decides he wants to play baseball for a bit, not so good at it, like, not at all. Yes he was still awesome for trying, he’s an amazing athlete, but his avg baseball skills did not measure up to his “mastery” of Basketball.
History is full of these people. Just look up any decathlon athlete. They are jacks of all trades but masters of none. They aren’t breaking records in all ten events. Bad ass athletes no doubt, they have to be good at all of the events.
Crossfitters are similar. They have their strong events and their really weak ones, some lift heavy ish but can’t swim to save their lives. They get that though, it’s part of the randomness of the sport. They are trying to master the random, or whatever they tell themselves (haha)
Now to my point!
My news feed is wonderful, lots of awesome people showing off their skills in various walks of life. Hairdressers like Gerry Brooker showing off their amazing prom client do’s, master chefs like justin Lyon cooking up amazing meals for his clients, photographers like my friend Aga bringing beauty to otherwise ugly object, like me haha.

But then we get to the bullshit. Why is everyone posting about “meal prep” and “gains”. Posing in front of mirrors like a Gahd damned bodybuilder. I’m constantly face palming when I look at my feed. Why is everyone trying to highlight fitness and exercise, when honestly it all looks like the same shit. Is it REALLY your passion? I get it, we all should exercise and eat healthy, but why are you suddenly a fitness coach selling products? Inspirational quotes with your selfie? How about go do something great first. What happened to that thing you are really good at? You’re going to trade a mastery of something for a half assed effort in the fitness industry? What’s going on here?
I remember when I trained at tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, there was a massive guy, who under the guidance of Thai hulk, a bad ass bodybuilder, lost a ton of weight. Next thing I know this same weight loss guy (but still tremendously heavy, obese) was training people. Blew my mind. I get it, you want to help people, fair enough. But that’s when you point them in the right direction, like to the Thai hulk, a MASTER of his craft. Look I’m sure I could cut someone’s hair, definitely could buzz it, but I’m not cutting hair. I’m going to point them to my favorite barber/hair stylist. I can’t do it all, and I’m ok with that.
When I was a kid I realized I couldn’t be great at it all. I’m an adult now, I can’t be a ninja warrior yoga master painting actor modeling baseball playing and a fighter at the same time. I’m good at this fighting stuff, I want mastery! I spend hour after hour trying to get better and put off everything else. I would love to do other stuff like bodybuilding or crossfit competitions, but I know the preparation for that would take away from my martial training. Why the hell would I give up my pursuit of mastery to be mediocre at a few things? I want my black belt in bjj and to kick peoples asses. How cool is it going to be in thirty years when I can show my grand kids all the cool shit I won. Do you think your grand kids are going to think it’s cool that you quit what you were good at to do half ass personal training or amateur bodybuilding?
I donno, call me crazy but the thought of being a master at something is exciting. It’s going to take me a lifetime to get there, but that’s what makes it worth getting. Can we all stop trying to BE what’s popular? If every person that loses weight is now a personal fitness/life coach, it’s diluting the product. This goes with BJJ too. Lots of bullshit teachers popping up. I wish I had a sponsor that sent me to schools to debunk these supposed “black belts” that are popping up. Why am I hating on people? Because these people are taking away from the legitimacy of our sport! If anyone can have a black belt, why the hell would you want it.
Listen, I’m pleading with you. Stop hand-standing, everyone’s doing it, remember “planking”, same shit. If you lost 10lbs, don’t call yourself a fitness pro. If you just got your blue belt, don’t open up a bjj school, and if you’re a three week white belt, don’t hashtag bjjforlife because I might run into you someday.
Pursue mastery in your PASSION, there is something you are exceptionally gifted at. Go for it and don’t be distracted or tempted by the popular stuff on the sides. Food prepping is a chore, no idea why it’s suddenly a thing, especially when you’re pounding beers on the weekend, defeats the purpose doesn’t it. Maybe I’ll start videoing when I vacuum the floor because it’s the same thing. 5 lbs on your mediocre max means nothing to anyone except you, give yourself a high five and carry on. Show off YOUR talent, the mediocre is worthless filler.
When I meet someone, I want to talk about something that makes their eyes light up, an idea, a plan etc of what they want to be, the thing they are passionate about. You can’t legitimately tell me that your mediocre gains are your passion. It’s like watching a B rated movie, kinda is a movie but not even close at the same time.

Before I get destroyed by the fitness maniacs, good for you and your weight loss. If that’s the field you want to pursue, awesome. Consider who got you there, what their qualifications were. Just make sure you’re good at what you do, taking someone’s health into your hands is a big responsibility, make sure you’re qualified.


Namaste bullshit from India and Kuwait


Kuwait was amazing. The American media is one big misinforming mess of information. They don’t hate us, their hospitality was amazing and they kissed my cheeks (traditional Arab greeting). The promotion GFC put me in a pretty swank place on the beach, complete with a massive pirate ship. Every day I woke up and had my Bulletproof coffee, worked out and ate my usual fasted feast meal. Life as per usual. Made weight, fought on Friday, won the fight and met a tiger on a farm. Amazing. My last day I went to a next level palace of a spa, got a rub down from a man with very strong hands, hugged my Arab Friend, Prince Khalid and said Ma’asalama. It’s a good thing too because that Hero fighting business and dates(the fruit) were making me fat.
Moving on to India, Mumbai. I was contacted last year by Mumbai’s first Mma gym, Evolution fight team, to do a seminar. So here I am cruising the streets of Mumbai in rickshaws, the Indian equivalent of taxis.
So it’s been a week since I fought over in Kuwait, I’m still pretty sore, I jacked my arm up pretty good winging a right hand that didn’t even dent my opponents composure. I’m settling into Mumbai life. One of the gym guys soosh, I call him sooshi or sooshkabob, has been so kind as to lend me his room. I told him if he comes to America he can sleep on the couch, in someone else’s living room. He has a good sense of humor.
The weekend was eventful, I ref’d the two day grappling nationals, taught a Bollywood star how to throw properly and was taught a weird dance thing. I asked everyone if he was famous and they shrugged and said “soap opera”. I’m really stoked at the level of grappling here. It’s definitely come a long way since it’s beginnings, evolution sports a full stable of up and coming Mma fighters. One kid named “Yod” put everyone he went against to sleep. Kid had a mean grip, and is very nonchalant in everything he does, reminds me of a Fedor demeanor. Another is Chai, he reminds me of me, doesn’t talk much, just wants to train. He had a ton of questions on mma, philosophy and diet that I was happy to share my past mistakes about. “Vicki sir” is the gym owner, a very kind and welcoming person. He met all my weird requests of coffee and a chicken a day, even opening his doors for me one night to have dinner at his home. Delicious food by the way, they made it extra not spicy at all for me. Perfect.
The last guy I’m going to do a separate blog on, he wants to remain anonymous but let me tell you, thought he was some dude, turns out to be the ice cream lord of Mumbai. There were a ton of guys at the gym that left an impact on me, Rudi, I swore he wasn’t Indian, more like a Rastafarian mix of a lot of cultures, Meme, the king of the Chinese looking nagalanders, too many to name.
They schooled me a bit on the culture of cricket, Bollywood and the western fantasization of finding themselves here and the namaste hippy culture. People come here to find themselves when really it’s the same as anywhere else. After practice one day they were like “coach can we take a group photo with our shirts off”? I was like holy shit you guys are vain too? It’s universal. No one is walking around saying namaste or wearing those goofy fisher pants except tourists. People are racist here, vain, arrogant, mean, happy, loving, laughing, lost etc just like we are in America. Nothing is different as far as people go except they don’t think they are different. It’s we that assume the rest of the world is. Self centered America :)
One day they took me site seeing around Mumbai. Went to the queens necklace, a place where they built a special harbor for the queens arrival. Also we passed by the most expensive house in the world owned by the third richest man in the world. I felt it was a bit out of place, this looming skyscraper situated next to a less than ideal slum type area.
Everyone earned me about the smell, while it’s true most had BO, I’m happy to report that the gym guys did not, and I will leave reinforcing that knowledge by being stank free.
The poverty level was sad, lots of beggars and people sleeping on the sidewalk. The worst was seeing a naked boy sitting down. He was obviously positioned this way to gain sympathy for hand outs but it was still pretty rough on the eyes. Funny thing a friend said of Phuket, that it changed his outlook on life, that the best things are free. I was like yeah mfer for you, meanwhile a poor Burmese guy is working 16. Hour days paid nothing for construction or farm work and a Thai girl is sucking old dude dick. How are westerners so educated yet so dumb at the same time? Blows my mind.
A few of the gym guys got hooked on Bulletproof coffee, they were skeptical at first but now it seems to have taken off. I shattered my mason jar mid way through the trip so I had to buy a Starbucks venti shaker cup thing, works pretty good so I won’t go without.

Today’s my last day, taught class early, caught a bit of a stomach bug so I’ve been on bed rest all day. Headed to Phuket tonight for some much needed R&R and meeting up with Noah and Trent. Missed those mfers. I need a vacation from this Mma stuff. Coconuts and palm trees is all I want to see for the next few days.
Namastay over here while you idiots find yourselves ;)20140610-173404-63244928.jpg







What grinds my gears

So before fights I have a lot of down time, I get to do a lot of self reflecting, figuring out what is good for me, bad for me, and learning how to get/get rid of both. I’m a generally positive person and very rarely feel negative towards anything. I don’t self high five, I’m not satisfied with something I just did. I believe in being great or being quiet. No sense in me resting on a half ass win over some douche that barely trained. I don’t comment on people’s selfies or bs feel good posts anymore because it’s a waste of time. It makes them feel good so who am I to kick that down. Luckily this is my blog and they don’t have to read it.
Don’t read this if you are a manufactured positivity person that feels good about halfway. It will make us not like eachother even less. I’m not looking at anyone in particular, just what I see trending.

You know when I was a kid, I had posters of great athletes, heroes, movie stars etc on my wall. Muhammad Ali has some great one liners that he said before fights to build up his confidence, one of my favorites was “I said I was the greatest before I knew I was.” You know why that is inspiring to me? Because he did something with his life, something very few have done. That man was the heavyweight champion of the world at the time when that meant he was truly and undisputedly the baddest man on the planet. Insert mediocrity today.
In today’s day and age we take millions of photos and insert BS quotes that we didn’t say nor have we truly earned. What about your progress photo is supposed to inspire me to be a better person? You want to inspire people with your weight loss? Why can’t you just keep it real and say “hey look at me, I look way better than before” or check out my abs/guns/glutes/cleavage. Can we keep it real?? Don’t kid yourself. You say you don’t care what people think but you are posing a selfie with a quote from Socrates that would probably have him shaking his head over? Stop. Just, stop.

You are supposed to be fit. Each one of us is capable of being in shape and being healthy. Hell, with the abundance of information out there, it’s pretty damn easy to educate yourself enough to know that broccoli is good and ice cream is bad. We are living in the age of mediocre greatness. People are climbing halfway up the mountain, snapping a selfie and then deciding they want to teach others how to climb mountains with barely any experience (personal trainers are the worst). I spent half of my life fighting and learning a specific set of techniques only to look over and see an out of shape blue belt teaching a class or an unaccomplished fat guy sitting on a chair giving instructions on how to lose weight.
Everyone is a “warrior” these days, i am at the point where i want to be called anything but that. These self high fiving insert “bad words” are riding the mediocrity train and calling everyone to jump on, “feel good about being average”! It makes me sick all of this manufactured feel good about doing nothing positive bullshit. Greatness is something to aspire towards and hunger for, not the halfway climbing people that are flooding my news feed. The age of “qualified” has disappeared. Ask college graduates, they can’t even get a job when some drop out will do it for half the salary. It’s terrible. We are getting watered down products from unqualified people that have no desire for greatness. Bugs the mfing ish out of me!
At some point sheep started wearing suits that looked like lion pelts. Everyone is going about roaring like they just did something. It’s like people are more into the action of posting and showing off than achieving something. And this “don’t kill my vibe stuff, if that’s you being all positive and self high fiving, cool, you still have the other half of the mountain to climb up. Start stepping and save your selfies for the top of Mount Everest, I’m not impressed by the footpath all the tourists are taking.
My uncle, someone I look up to, has been practicing magic for 40+ years. The man is a master, and he got there by practicing every day. People don’t want to wait forty years for that kind of mastery so they go buy a gimmick or prop and say some bullshit lines and call themselves wizards. I could name examples like this all day. Tell me again how a two day seminar qualifies you to be a mentor/instructor of anything?
I know there are some amazing people out there that are bursting with positivity. People that are accomplished, are doing stuff with their life and love to inspire others. They are real, I can see it. Stay you. For the others, stop trying to imitate, be great, chase great whatever and stfu until then.
“Nah ima stay” over here mfer.


Last minute thoughts

The days before a fight are an interesting time. Weight cutting makes people emotional and the feeling of something coming your way is heightened. All of your senses and emotions are in overdrive, smells make you crazy, the building pressure looms over you. It’s like waiting in line for a roller coaster. You know what’s coming but the fear, anxiety and general excitement is crazy. No matter what you are thinking of, your thoughts always go back to the fight. The “what if” stuff.
Then enter weigh ins. This is the part I hate. Fake animosity, wannabe fighters saying and acting way overhyped. My whole philosophy is that I’m not fighting today, I’ll get angry tomorrow. I understand every circus has clowns, I’d just assume be anything else, a lion sounds cool. Weigh ins were easy this go around, I didn’t have to cut weight, I ate a huge meal the day of, my eating schedule and Bulletproof diet has been on point. When people say it’s hard work and dedication it’s ridiculous. It’s my job to be in shape and eat right, if I don’t I’ll suck and not get paid much. My opponent didn’t make weight, I don’t care, it’s not my job to care, I’m a fighter, I’ll fight regardless. If guys cry about a pound or two that their opponents are over, they miss the point of what they are doing. Fight, let everything else take care of itself. So many cry babies out there over this. I get paid more when my opponent doesn’t make weight, I hope that happens everytime.
The best part of pre fight? The alone time in my hotel room. I enjoy not being bothered, being reclusive in my little man cave. I’ve always been a bit introverted in this aspect, I used to play in my closet with my little action figures for hours. It’s a peaceful time that I always feel is necessary before I climb into the cage.
I enjoyed this camp, the team I had around me from Guerilla Bjj, Matt Darcy and my rolling comrades, Coach Rudi at Unlimited and all the sparring really brought out the best in me, and of course bodies by amorim made me look pretty (ha). I didn’t feel any pressure like in previous fights, I’m prepared, no positive or negative thoughts will change the reality if what is. Thanks to all who put their time in and believing in me. To the death!

Great quote from Diana Veloz, a true supporter and friend “I know what I’m capable of, I am a warrior. I am someone to fear, not hunt.”


My little pony, Dagorhir and finding a worthy opponent

My little pony “bronie” convention
So my daughter Juliet is really into the rehashed “my little pony” series. I remember it vaguely from when I was a kid but obviously was more into he-man and ninja turtles. The names and characters are lost on me. Anyway so I took her to San Francisco for a “bronie” convention, essentially like a comicon for pony lovers.
I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting, but what I got was far from it. Imagine the most adolescent grown men dressed up in pinks and purples head to toe, and you’ve got in a nut shell what I experienced. People were dressed up in various characters whilst merchants sold overpriced pony hats and purses to over zealous “bronies”, male my little pony lovers. The interesting part? Maybe five kids in the whole place, and zero hot nerdy girls like I expected (ok I found one).
I get it, the world is a big place. People are into all kinds of weird ish. But in this case I REALLY don’t understand. They are cute no doubt, but so are baby turtles. It can’t be the plot lines in the show, I’ve seen them, it’s your normal feel good, teach a life lesson kids show.

Anyway, in order to cleanse myself of this twilight zoneish place, I went to the local dagorhir Saturday battle with my buddies Matt and Hong. If you’ve seen the movie Role models you know what I’m talking about. Big fake foam weapons, battle to the short lived death and repeat. It’s just amazing, if you’ve ever talked to me you know that my life revolves around martial combat and being a knight has been a life long fantasy. Finally my adolescent dreams are coming to fruition. A little role reversal with being called newb over and over but I think we held our own enough. Now to decide on a character name, I’m torn between Achilles and Kal-el, I’ll have to think on it.
Fight camp is going well, I’m in sick shape, walking around with a six pack is nice, not a fat kid anymore toto. Finding an opponent is proving difficult for May 10th, my original opponent pulled out and the replacements aren’t signing contracts. I thought it was a beesh move pulling out a month out from the fight. I get that injuries happen but I feel like it was something else, maybe weight issues. Sucks that on the shows that aren’t televised guys don’t have a Problem quitting last minute. Frustrating to say the least but I’m still training like it’s happening.
For Easter I went to brunch at the fairmont. Are like a fat kid, Juliet got her face painted by an “Elsa” from frozen impersonator. I try to get her to do cute things done but she just wants to look like a tiger :/ after I Even got a good session in with my buddy Michael and Chesca today at Bodies By Amorim, guilt and a bloated belly will lead you to do some hardcore stuff.

Cross your fingers for me and stay classy. Happy Easter! To the death mfers!