I liked everything to have a plan. Everything in my life had a checklist, an order to it. I didn’t stray off the path, everything planned and accounted for. My parents perfect little school girl. Graduate college, become a lawyer,marry my high school sweet heart, raise kids. The American dream.
Of course, that would have been too easy.Just when i thought my life had been made up, fate, or my ex boyfriend, decided to shatter my plans like a broken mirror. He wanted “to do it on his own” he said. Unbelievable. Five years of my life and not a second thought. To say I was lost would be an understatement. So for the first time in my life, I did something out of the ordinary.
I put in for an immediate transfer at my law firm and would finish my internship abroad. My plane landed at Heathrow airport, London, England a week later. I figured if I was going to find a knight in shining armor, id better start from their beginnings. Chivalry was certainly dead in my neck of the woods.Having had my shoulder cried on from friends and their “boys” broken promises over the years, I decided I would not be a victim. I would survive this.
I arrived at my new residence, a small flat off of Hyde Park, across from Kensington Palace. A fitting place to find Prince Charming. A fellow American girl named Adrienne, or “A” as I nicknamed her was to be rooming with me. She was studying business at the Imperial college nearby. A mutual ballet friend of ours had suggested the rooming. I had begun dancing in ballet when I was three at my mothers behest. The stage was the one place I felt invincible, where I could truly be me. “To see me dance was to see through a window into my soul” my mother would say. Adrienne and I became fast friends, she was easy to talk to and the least judge mental person I had ever met.
We did everything together. From sunrise to sundown we took in all the sights London had to offer. Big Ben, the eye, The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, all of it. Once, while viewing the Royal Golden Carriage, we overheard a little girl say in the sweetest voice ” mommy, what can’t I be a princess “. I loved Adrienne’s reply “I was just thinking the same thing” . We all laughed and bonded in that moment. Just four peasant girls, a speck in the universe. And we were happy.
The night life was never dull in London. We would go to the different pubs and local hangouts or even a club if we wanted to stretch our dance legs. One night we attended an exclusive club in Mayfair called Mahiki. After hours of dancing we took a trip to the restroom, where I nearly ran into a tall man, who upon looking down at me I realized was none other than his Highness, Prince Harry. He smiled an apology to which I replied with a scowl and walked passed him. Seconds later I realized what I had done and kicked myself throughout the night. Nice one, there went my shot at royalty.
The months flew by, the trips to stonehenge, Bath, all the places I had read about as a little girl. My internship and time here was coming to an end. I never found my knight, for whatever reason, they all seemed to be lacking the quality I was searching for, never the right fit. Sure I was a sucker for the English accent and smooth charm the London men seemed to possess, but something was missing. Lots of first dates and gifts, nothing worth keeping. It didn’t matter, I had found myself again. I wasn’t the same heart broken girl that had first stepped off the plane. As I hugged my best friend goodbye before my trip back to America, we both promised to keep in touch, to see each other soon. We would of course, sisters would find it hard to be as close as we had become.
Back in the states little had changed, it was the same repeat of Malls,McDonalds,Target, gas stations on every corner. American culture is shopping and eating with very little history to look at. I met my cousin for lunch in L.A. where over the last year she had become quite the fashionista. She was interning for a high end clothing company. That weekend she was going to be attending an event in Las Vegas for her company. She asked if I wanted to join her, not having anything better to do, I agreed.
After checking in to our hotel, we headed to the mall where my cousins brand was opening a store. The turn out was really good, tons of people had shown up to check out the ripped up jeans and faded tees. I was more of a Gucci girl myself, but was happy to show off the free clothes she had given me to rock around. After the event my cousin pointed excitedly to a poster of two shirtless guys staring at each other. Apparently a there was to be a UFC event that evening. My cousin had been a long time fan, often going to events and being able to name all the fighters. She said we have to get tickets. Not wanting to spoil her fun, I told her I would tag along.
We got to the fights early, my cousin wanting to take pictures with all of the fighters and MMA names. It was all lost on me, I had never been into the violence or sweaty men rolling around. Take me to the theatre for a musical or broadway any day. She would rush excitedly back and forth in all directions to snap a shot with this guy or that guy, all the names went over my head. The show started we sat in the nosebleeds, watching the Big screen more than the actual cage, the result of the late notice tickets. I played with my phone most of the night, feigning excitement when my cousin said something. The main event came and went, finally, it was over.
We worked our way through the crowd, I was exhausted as was, my cousin buzzing with excitement still. I spotted a Starbucks near the exit. My savior! While she was snapping photos I rushed to get in line. Ordering my usual, tall vanilla latte, I paid and waited on the other end of the counter. Scanning the crowd for my cousin, I finally spotted her mid cheesy smile with a fighter who had fought in the event, his cuts freshly stitched. I chuckled at her enthusiasm, she loved this stuff.
I grabbed my latte off the counter and walked back to her. Noticing someone else, she walked towards a group of guys. She chatted them up, seeming to know one of them, a short stocky guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos. Fighters everywhere! I scanned the group, my eyes stopped on one in particular.The first thing I noticed was his neck, it was so thick, like a bull. Then his ears, they were mangled like most of the guys around, a testament to the savagery of the sport. Cauliflower or something my cousin had said. He had long dark hair, a square jaw, aquiline nose that looked to be unbroken, rare for his profession. He was built like most of the guys there, well muscled, but his chin made him look even more the superhero. A regular clark kent lookalike.I envied my cousins easy outgoingness. Not the type to put myself out there, ever since the break up, my confidence had been shot. I exhaled, finally. Sour Grapes. He was probably a meat head anyway.
After a few minutes my cousin wandered back to where I had been waiting. I was exhausted. I had worn heels that night, my feet were aching. My hotel bed was calling my name. As we were walking towards the exit I asked, in the most nonchalant way I could muster, who the fighter that looked like superman was. “An up and comer, not exactly in the big time but on his way” she had said. “Oh, he’s cute”I told her. Just then the fighter with the shaved head walked up and invited us to the after party. I declined, I’m really tired but thank you I said. My cousin, with her mischievous smile “I bet you superman will be there”. And so we hopped in a taxi and we were off to the club.
I spent the next hour looking around, dancing, throwing back a drink when I was asked. I’m a total light weight, after one I’m buzzing. I kept looking for him. Finally I spotted my cousin, dancing with the shaved head fighter from earlier. Interesting. At least I was getting warmer. I walked up to them and asked him, cooly, or so I thought, about his friend he had been with earlier. “Oh him? He never goes to these things, hates partying. He went back to the room”. God dammit, I thought. Just my luck. “Hey, you guys want to come back to mine and hang for a bit?” Um, yeah! I thought. ” sure, I guess we could come by for a little bit”.
This is not how it’s supposed to work. My knight was at home in bed while I was coming to his rescue. If I wanted a fairy tale I would have to go get it apparently.
We took a cab back to his hotel. The ride over felt like an eternity. I was a little kid all over again asking are we there yet over and over. I practically leapt out of the taxi when we arrived. I had to tell myself to calm down. It was just a guy after all. An extremely, good looking, guy. You got this girl. Keep it together. The elevator arrived at their floor, I had to stop myself from rushing them. We tiptoed into the room, the lights were out. Then I saw him. He was half under the covers, one arm dangling over the side of the bed, a tattooed arm that I had not seen earlier. Suddenly the other guy jumped onto the bed and said “hey buddy! I got a present for ya!” He groaned as he awoke. Probably not the best way to wake up. Stretching, his eyes scanned the room, he got up, no shirt. ohmygodohmygod. What a view. If their was an ounce of fat on him I couldnt find it. i told myself id start hitting the dance room again next week. I averted my eyes, My blush must have painfully obvious. I sat on the coach, kicking my heels off, finally. He walked to the bathroom without a word. The two drunks started chatting away about the fights from earlier. I had little input, it was all Greek to me. He came out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand, brushing away absent-mindedly. He asked his buddy how the night was. My cousin and the friend talked enthusiastically, telling him all about the after party and how a fight had broken out between two famous fighters, I had been touching up my makeup. He excused himself and went back to the bathroom. Well hello to you too, I thought.
I heard the water running from the sink. I sat on the coach in the corner of the room. He came back out, walking towards the coach. Thumpthumpthump. Stop blushing! He extended his hand, ” sorry I didn’t catch your name, or do you not have one just a pretty face.” He laughed at his own line, I smiled, telling him my name.
He sat on the other end of the coach. Think of something to ask him, come on. ” so you fight huh “? Smooth. ” yeah I try, so far so good. And you, what do you do”? I told him about my internship in London and how I had just gotten back.that seemed to spark his interest, thank God he didn’t want to talk about fighting, it would have been a short conversation. He asked me all about my travels. Did I try fish and chips, did I meet any of the royalty etc. he was surprisingly easy to talk to, I found myself relaxing more. The flirty comments back and forth were fun too. Not a meat head at all. Touché.
My cousin and his friend had passed out on opposite ends of the bed. I hadn’t expected that,at all. He asked if I wanted to sleep on the couch, that he would lay on the floor. How about on me I thought. “I think there is enough room for the both of us”. His eyes widened. Finally off guard superman? He smiled.
I lay next to him. He didn’t make any moves, leaving his arms by his side and facing toward the couch. Ugh. You can stop being a gentlemen now, I thought. Put your arms around me already. A few long, awkward minutes passed. Finally,he turned towards me. “Miss, I know we just met, but time is just a measurement and this is terribly uncomfortable. Do you mind cuddling,for comforts sake?” Duh. “Yeah that would be fine”he put his arm under my head, curled between his chest and bicep. He was so hard all over. Nice. I breathed in deeply. His smell was different, no cologne or axe like most guys seemed to bathe in. It was more of an earthy sweaty smell. I imagined this was how a man ought to smell. So intoxicating. I wondered if he could feel my heart racing. He ran his hand through my hair. Butterflies!? I was a teenager all over again. I looked up at him. His eyes were a dark green flecked with gold. Pretty. “I’m not complaining, but why’d you brush your teeth earlier”? He glanced down, a cocky smile on his face. “Thought I might kiss a girl later”. So sure of himself, it was infuriating and attractive all at once. Fine, fair game. “Then what are you waiting-” My eyes closed as his lips met mine. His lips were soft. I felt the room spinning all around me,the light headedness overcame me. His arms pulled me in tighter, crushing me to him. I felt his hand cup my cheek, the tingling sensation was intense. I was losing myself and I didn’t care. “Damn girl, damn girl, damn girl, damn girl damn”. Mfer!The ringtone on my phone going off. This was the first time in my life I wasn’t happy about Justin Timberlake. I scrambled off the coach, rummaging through my purse. I checked the caller ID. Mom! Of all times to check on me, now!?
I answered. “Hey mom can I call you back”? I looked over at him. He smiled, adjusting his shorts. “I love you too, I’ll call you in the morning”. I hung up. Just as I was about to lay back down, my cousins voice interrupted with ” hey what time is it? Oh my God it’s so late, sorry I passed out. We better get going.” Nooooooooooo! This can’t be happening, after all I had gone through. My body was aching, I wasn’t ready to stop. He sat up now. A look of annoyance crossed his face. He looked over at the bed, his friend still passed out.I wanted to tell her to go ahead without me, but she was clearly drunk still, I couldn’t do that to her. After a few awkward minutes watching her gather her things, I stood up, he walked us to the door. Out in the hall now, I smiled halfheartedly and waved my hand. Disappointment etched all over his features. “So I’ll see you around” I said. Turning away I felt a firm grasp on my arm and he twirled me back into him. He stood a head taller than me. He looked down. ” Don’t get short with me miss”. Ha. ” I’d like to call you tomorrow, or is your phone just for your mom to check in on you”. That same cocky smile splayed across his face. I gave him my number. Walking, Floating, one hand carrying my heels, my feet would be gross, but I didn’t care.I thought of a cheesy pick up line I had heard a long time ago. I wanted to call my mom back now. She always told me to call home when I fell in love.
First off, background on this game and I. I love history, the thought of archaeological sites excites me, pyramids, coliseum, Petra, all of it. So when a video game based on exploring these hidden away places comes out, I beg my parents to get it for me. Boom, by some dumb luck (or a lucky gambling streak by my mom) , I end up with the game. I’m hooked, this chicks a bad ass. She rides a motorcycle, has cool sunglasses (back then) you jump, climb, explore all the places I dreamt of going. Also shooting a tiger or two at the Great Wall to break up the tomb diving. This is what I want to do when I grow up, go to legendary places, climb walls, shoot stuff, find treasure and live in a mansion.
Fast forward to the present. I’ve done a lot of cool shit. I have 5 pairs of Wayfarer sunglasses, have a motorcycle, fight things, go to places worth taking pictures of, I rock climb and would gladly fight ANY tiger given the chance. I haven’t discovered anything new, I came to find out that archaeology is 95% in an office with very little field work. No thanks. I like to think that I grew up to be a lot like the heroes I looked up to.
So now to review the NEW Tomb Raider. It’s basically a reboot. It takes place during the time Lara Croft (the hero) becomes the Legend, kind of like batman begins. You find yourself ship wrecked on an island near Japan and armed with nothing. You are a scared girl with no experience in combat or survival. You are vulnerable, sneaking rather than engaging enemies, hiding and scavenging for food and shelter. It’s suspenseful, a nice change from the all powerful heroes in modern gaming like Master Chief and Kratos. Then you get your first weapon, the bow and arrow. Suddenly you have a fighting chance. Mercenaries are everywhere, but nearly getting raped has brought out something primal in her, the warrior within arises. I love this! There is something raw about humans being stripped down to the bare essentials, we revert to our animalistic survival sense that technology has suppressed in us. This is what I yearn for, to throw away my iPhone, put on my trusty backpack and set off into the world not knowing where I’m going.
The hunting segments of the game, the free climbing up mountains, the hand to hand combat that is realistic (no Kung fu bullsh*t), simply awesome. And then I found a pistol. Things got easier. Then an assault rifle, shotgun, grenade launcher etc. dammit. There goes that primitive survival mechanism. You went from scared girl to animalistic survivor to God mode. By the end of the game I could literally stand out of cover and shoot anything I saw without fear of death. Climbing even became a joke with a pick axe and rope ascender. Mfer.
The problem with technology is our reliance on it. Sure it saves us time. I can boil a pot of water in seconds, check what next weeks weather is, order a meal to be delivered and cooked to my house, all with my finger tips. But in doing this I have eliminated what is best in us, our ability to adapt and overcome. For heavens sake we outlasted the saber tooth and velociraptor! We are the worlds most cunning animal! But drop 99% of people today in the jungle, we probably won’t see them again.
So in closing, this was for the first half exactly what I wanted, a raw survivalist barely scraping by, exploring cool places. After that I lost interest. The game was perfect in my eyes until I received a gun. Game makers, please develop a game that takes place before gunpowder and modern technology. Vulnerability brings out the best in life and games.
I’ve had some pretty bad nightmares in my time, we all have. Sometimes there is a monster, others we are falling. The one with the plane crash always scares me because I fly so much. But there is one that has haunted me so many night since march. It’s the one where I go into the cage after a perfect training camp, I feel great. Then suddenly after a little bouncing on my feet, my leg pops. I’ve torn my hamstring, but I’m there, I fight anyway. Two minutes later the agony of my leg is unbearable. They carry me out of the cage in a stretcher. I wake up, I feel the pain in my leg, I toss and turn a bit, it’s real, it happened. A deep sorrow and depression threaten to overcome me.
Weeks went by before I could walk normal again. It’s been months and I still can’t run. I sat on my couch for three weeks before I got up and did anything. I began to understand why samurais commit seppuku upon defeat, the shame of defeat is too much. No amount of sessions with my mental coach Scott Stevenson were going to pull me from this. Xbox and subsistence eating were all I did, I wanted to escape. Bad.
I received an email one day. Do you want to fight the Egyptian again in may? YES. I went to Bjj class with Prof Olavo that day, I’m terrible with a gi but it’s the only thing my leg could handle. I went everyday for weeks. It was all I could do between upper body workouts with Mark Mariani and woody at TFW(training for warriors). Anger and self loathing drive me where my body couldn’t, I didn’t want to be the person that had just lost. I couldn’t live a full life, I was a shell of my former self, no superman at all.
By the time the fight rolled around I was as ready as I could be. Sparring had gone well, with rob lesita and the leone bros, and giom and Olavo overseeing everything, giving advice where they could. My leg isnt healed, not even close. I couldn’t kick, explosive movements hurt. I’m sick with a chest cold, breathing is difficult. Doesn’t matter, either live in shame or die on your shield. The shield it was.
The day of the fight I was a nervous wreck. For those who have never fought professionally, it’s not the fight that scares us, it’s the unknown. We don’t mind getting hit, it’s in the back of our minds. Anxiety is powerful, the waiting saps our energy. Even the best fighters like GSP have pre fight jitters, it’s part of the sport, it’s what separates us from bar room fighters (that and a bit of training). The internal demons are strong, they attack all of your weaknesses at once. Doubt creeps in easily.
The warm up is good, I had veteran Ray Elbe (recently moved to Kuwait to teach Bjj at Kuwait Combat Athletics) in my corner. I’m glad he was there, his experience helped a ton. Blake Grice was the referee, an experienced ref from the states. This made me feel a lot better, the last fight saw me get soccer kicked on the ground with barely a warning for my opponent.
My opponent is confident now, having beat both Ray and me (both of us took the fights injured, hubris). He has a right to be. He doesn’t respect jiu jitsu.
The fight starts, gloves touch, I shoot right out of the gate, taking the fight to the cage. My nerves were running wild, I’m sure I look calm but inside I’m churning. I secure the takedown after various punches and a knee, landing in side control. After a few transitions I take my opponents back with ease, a testament to my months in the gi that I had previously neglected for Nogi training. I secured the gable grip choke (variation of the rear naked) and my opponent taps, I hold until Blake stops me, a habit picked up from opponents tapping and protesting/acting like they didn’t. Fight until the bell rings or the ref stops you is a good rule of thumb.
I do the normal pre fight interview except with the Kuwaiti flag draped over my shoulders (they make me feel more at home than the US, we aren’t a loyal people anymore ). Fights over, I’m the welterweight champion with a pretty new belt. My soul is cleansed, I don’t have a dark shadow that will haunt me for the rest of my days. My heart can be happy again. I can lift my head up. I owe my daughter lost time. I’ve neglected her these past few months, anger and shame drove me insane. It’s time to go to the beach and build her castles to destroy again. Good days are ahead. The sun is back, it’s time to smile again.
Thanks to all that put up with me and believed in me, I appreciate you all,will see you soon. Shukran.
When you are young life is simple. The things you want, toys, cake and balloon are pretty easy to come by if you play your parents right. My kid has enough to go around. I wasn’t so fortunate in that territory, I wanted other things. My dad to come home and save me from my older brothers, my mom to keep her promises and for the monsters in the dark to leave me alone. I got older, we all matured, my mom is my mom and the monsters aren’t as strong as me. The wants changed. I found out about hunger.
Off to college I went chasing a pipe dream. Found out the hard way that college wrestling doesn’t pay well. I went hungry some nights, others a 99 cent loaf of french bread never tasted so good. Disappointed a few people when I dropped out to pursue MMA. I met some good and bad people, all of them taught me a lesson for better or worse. Fortune smiled on me when I met a good friend in need of a life change.
I met a lady in need of weight loss, which I knew a thing or two about. We became friends outside of the gym, I cried over my girl problems and she cried over her dude problems. It was a good friendship. But the greatest thing she did for me was introduce me to her parents. Mom is a hairstylist extraordinaire with most childlike,beautiful soul. Dad is full of old time wisdom, full of sage advice and an unwavering belief in God. The best part? They let me eat over. All the time. I would lay in the family hammock, the two family dogs laying with me, dad and mom would cook. Some of the best days of my life, a second family.
A few months ago I received a call. Dad has cancer. Talk about the last guy you’d expect to receive/deserve cancer. I can think of a hundred people off the top of my head that could use some cancer, rotten people. How could this kind man get something so awful? After my last Bellator fight in SoCal, I went over and visited with them, hugged him and gave him my walkout tee before I left. his faith in God to make it better, amazing. A deity couldn’t ask for a more faithful follower.
This morning I woke up to “dad has 1-4 weeks left”. Wow do I take things and people for granted. I’m a gamer, I hit the reset button on the Xbox when ish isn’t going well. Apparently this is life, no reset button or do overs. The talks after my fights won’t be happening, no more bbq’s, the girl advice, the ammo reloading, it’s over. I’m going to miss him so much. He took me in at a rough time in my life.
I know it’s part of life to pass on to the other side, heaven, reincarnated as a wolf, a mansion in the sky where you have everything you ever wanted. I haven’t found a faith or belief system outside of the man in the mirror is the one that I look to. But with all that I am I hope he was right. That he goes to the place where there are no burdens, no hunger and the crippled walk. I envy his surety of God. No fear whatsoever. Only the good die young.
Gods speed Gary Brooker.
After a really good nights rest I woke up and did my normal routine, vitamin popping (vitC,b-12,omegas,fishoil,etc). Anyway one of the vitamins in a peanut butter flavored chewable. It’s pretty much the highlight of my morning, I could care less if its good for me or not, they are wonderful. I walked over to my Korean friend Tommy’s room to check my weight. Forgot to mention yesterday’s Tommyism: “the building here like a sand castle. I wonder if they do on purpose.” Gold. I’m a kilo under. B You T full. Back to my room for more Sopranos marathon. They don’t make too many good shows these days, CSI and all the spinoffs aren’t my cup of tea. Every so often I repeat older shows, Rome, Deadwood, Chappelle show etc. classics.
After a nice ice cream bath this morning, I indulged in one of my favorite fruits, the date. If you’ve never had it before, imagine a donut hole. Literally, amazing. They are highly nutritious, great for work outs, but be careful, they are also high in sugar and calories. Highly recommended. Shake recipe: 1/2 cup of cashew, 1cup water, 2bananas, dash of cinnamon and dash of nutmeg, 5 DATES. Amazing meal replacement shake that I don’t mind skipping a meal for. Try it and leave me feedback.
We are on our way to weigh ins now, tommy is on weight finally, a couple sweat runs and ice cream baths later and he is one hungry Korean. His first request “can I have a coke after weigh in?” Was promptly rejected. Tommy and I did a mock weigh in, the promoter of G.F.C Adel Wawan and family overseeing. We both were under by 2kg. Piece of darabeel ( Arab cake ). Took some photos with the owners sons, one of which has some great hair.
Now we are chowing seafood, lobster, fish, crab, etc.
While eating with my Arab friends it dawned on me. Khalid should be Batman. He has all the makings of the hero this city needs. He’s very unassumingly ridiculously wealthy (mfer owns skyscrapers). He’s a good guy to boot. I keep telling him, it’s time for him to don the black cowl, start building hopping and saving the people. Me personally, Id love to be batman. I’m poor yet blessed with super strength, I’m superman out of necessity, not choice.
So i haven’t mentioned Mishari, my royal Arab friend yet. Standing at 6’11, he’s a gentle giant but that’s not all. He’s a direct descendant of the Kuwaiti royal family, you wouldn’t guess it by meeting him, he’s another unassuming guy who doesn’t wear his status on his sleeve ( I have a few people in mind that could learn a thing or two from them ). Anyway, he walks into my room, opens the window and says ” Wooow bro! The view! It’s so majestic! “. Not what I expected from a giant royal Arab. Cool guy though, not at all homosexual as I’m describing.
Just did the face off. I hate him. I don’t like tough guys, he’s Dead.
That’s all I have for tonight guys. Going to Starbucks. ma’asalama
I fell asleep at around 8am this morning and was promptly woken up by housekeeping an hour later. I’m one of those unfortunate souls that if woken up can’t fall back to sleep. It’s a curse. Anyway I got out of bed and checked my weight, 1kg under weight. Today was going to be a feast day. My previous weigh in at Bellator a few weeks ago set the tone for a lifestyle change. Normally I’d take a couple weeks off after a fight and ease back into it. Not this time. The last fight just made me hungrier. I can’t wait to get back inside the cage.
My friend Khalid picked us up from the hotel and we drove to lunch. We ate fish as well as some of my local favorites, hummus and tabbouleh. Kuwaiti fact: it is a dry country, meaning zero alcohol. This means that men and women go out of their way to be noticed, women wearing their Sunday best everyday and the men being extremely aggressive. To the point of hopping curbs in cars to catch up to the possibly beautiful girl in the white jeep (yeah that really happened).
After a fun drive after lunch we went to a local bazaar, kind of like the night markets in Thailand but on a higher/fancier scale. The building are very old in this district. The air is heavy with Arab perfume and spices, local fruits and rugs hang from show windows. I can’t help but feel like I’m walking through a scene in Assassins creed (yes I put my hood up). I have a few things on my list: Magic oil lamp (Aladdin), dates (dried fruit, delicious), and saffron (a very expensive spice used in payala). I quickly found the dates I was looking for of which the quality blew the ones I had eaten before out of the water, and the saffron, which was a quarter of the price usually charged. I stocked up on both. I had no luck in finding the lamp, apparently every star crossed idiot had the same idea. Luckily I found a Janbiya, a curved dagger traditionally worn by Arab men( more so in Yemen than Kuwait ). So armed and with my hood up, I stalked the crowd, blending easily (like a white beacon) with the dishdasha wearing crowd. I was almost spotted by the guards a few times, but with my local dialect(all five words I know) perfected and easy going Arab mannerism, I was a chameleon.
The last stop on our list was a local pharmacy to buy bath salts, not the zombie kind, the weight cutting booster.
Amazingly fly enough, one of the most abundant resources in the world was out of stock at three different pharmacies. So we got back to the hotel and down the elevator to the hotel spa. With bright shining lights on it and Angels singing ahhhhhh in the background, there was the bath salt. This wasn’t any bath salt though. It was Hawaiian ice cream bath salts. Done. I jumped on the tread mill, ran for thirty minutes and filled up the tub. Dropping the scoop of ice cream in the water gave it a pleasant ice blue color. After 20 minutes of watching “it” float (usually I take bubble baths so that it isn’t a visible problem), I got out of bed, put my Egyptian cotton bath robe on and climbed into bed. (Hilton, you are thee best)
Tomorrow is weigh ins, ill be meeting my Egyptian opponent who made the mistake of accepting the fight. I didn’t come here to eat lamb and hummus all day (kind of did , I came for a belt to hang on my mantle and something Juliet can play dress up with. That’s all I got. Afwan, sahby.
As I said in a previous entry it’s my birthday, just another day in my book. It just so happens I’m flying out today with Mark Mariani and Tommy Yang to Kuwait. Celebrating is out. Ill blow candles later and steal my opponents belt for a present.
Anyway we had a quick layover in Qatar( the ammount of dishdasha and ninja robes sky rocketed) pretty uneventful except my S.Korean friend Tommy and his “Rambo car”. We asked him what a Rambo car was, I was thinking tank. His reply “you know like a ramboghini”. Boom. Tommyism for the day.
A quick hour flight and we landed in Kuwait. Stopped at the visa desk, picked up my free 90 day visa (guess that little skirmish we had with Iraq paid off) and Tommy got his 3kd($10) visa (S.Korea was no where to e found during the war). Grabbed our bags and found my Kuwaiti Combat friends Ebrahim and Khalid. They don’t exactly fit the stereotypical image, no robes for them. I’d say Khalid looks more Cuban than he does Arab. Quick fact check: 95% of Kuwaiti exports are oil. Dave Chappell was right :/
Anyway just checked into my hotel, the Hilton Kuwait. It’s 6am, I’m wired. Going to check my weight, try out the bidet, maybe hit a jog at the 24hr fitness center and hopefully crash out.
I didn’t realize it was my day today. I wake up every morning at around 6:30 depending on my daughter kicking me awake or not. I go down the two flights of stairs, into the kitchen and prepare my juice. One apple, carrot,celery, ginger, spinach/kale, beet and whatever else I can find. Drink up and head to practice. It is this routine that gets me out of bed, the familiarity that is as comfortable as an old couch. I like this part of my life, the easy familiarity, the starting the day right. If I diverge from this I don’t feel right. I am paranoid about my health. When all my ducks are in a row I’m a happy, care free person.
Today, feb 6, is no different. It’s just another day to me. Christmas, new years, halloween. same Sh*t. I was given a birthday cake from the gym owners wife, which I regretfully will not be able to enjoy (Juliet will instead blow out the candle and indulge). Today I’m getting on a plane bound for the desert sands of the Middle East.This weekend I will be fighting the current GFC champion, an Egyptian stand up specialist. It doesn’t matter what day it is, nor who my opponent is. My day looks the same either way, I will fight and I will win because I have walked the path, I have paid the price. What I find joy in isn’t the same as most. I never had a taste for alcohol and am too engrossed with my own reality for drugs. I have thee worst sense of guilt if I indulge in sweets, one that far out weighs the fleeting pleasure they give. I’m not sure what my opponent is doing, it matters little. In the Middle East they say Inshallah, Gods Will. I respect all Gods, religions and ways of life. If they are correct, then Inshallah I will win because I have sacrificed the most and my will is stronger than his. I’m not saying this out of arrogance but by fact.
To all who wished me a happy birthday, thank you. I appreciate you taking time off of your journey to wish good things in my life. Up up and away.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Dropped off Juliet for her first day of school today at British International School, which looks more like Hogwarts from Harry Potter. It’s a highly touted school in Phuket and many prominent people from all over the world are alumni. I went to a public school myself, I turned out ok, but then again I just punch people in the face for a living :/ so it was a proud moment knowing that she will have every advantage in life that I didn’t.
I look forward to the next milestone in her life, when she tells me she wants to be a ninja/ballerina I will do my best to find her a black tutu to go with the black mask. Reach for the stars.
In Kuala Lumpur getting ready to corner Adam Kayoom for his second OneFc fight tonight against an Indonesian fighter named victim #2 (I’m bad with names :/ ) . I brought my swim/mental coach Scott Stevenson. In preparation for my fight in Kuwait next weekend, he’s been running me through all sorts or circuits and drowning me in the pool/ocean. Little by little I’ve been improving my breast stroke and front crawl, I’m no Michael phelps but I’m happy with my progress. Today we decided to up the training by swimming in a local swamp where I challenged some crocodiles to a thumb wrestling competition. Needless to say they didn’t show up. So we did sprints and butterfly/unicorn/princess flutters in the mini lake and called it a day.
Play time now over, time for Adam and the team to go to work. Watch live on http://www.sherdog.com and special shout to Kuwait Combat Athletics for believing in me, there faith is well placed, the belt is mine. Inshallah I will win because he’s not ready for me. Cheers
When i was a kid all i wanted to do was see the distant places i read about in books. Now after non stop flights every other week, I need a break. Kuala Lumpur today, Phuket Sunday, Kuwait, Wednesday, Phuket the following Monday, Manila a week later. Phew!
Anyway I’m off to corner Adam Kayoom with fellow Phuket Top Team member Andrew Leone and sports psychology guru Scott Stevenson. Adam made weight today for his OneFC welterweight fight. Easy cut, great training camp. I can’t see his opponent making it a round with him, but then I’m extremely biased Catch the Live feed on http://www.onefc.com and follow me on twitter @superjjambrose for live updates and sexy shirtless photos.
Cool interview I did with
Lots of big things happening for me in 2013. I’m staying busy, fighting more often, deflating some chests and just enjoying the path. Thanks to all that support me, bigger thanks to the haters fueling the fire.
If your arm is holding you back from achieving what you want in life, cut it off, or anything else that would hold you back.
“Guys, make sure when you hip escape you go all the way down the mat. There is no halfway in life, you go all the way to the end just as you started.” Wow, not three minutes into Mestre Olavo Abreu’s BJJ class and I’m blown away by philosophy. It’s interesting, I’ve been taught moves in all ranges of martial arts from Muay Thai to sambo, I’ve kept some and lost more, but the professors philosophy’s always seem to resonate, etched into the mind. I might not use a single move from the gi in my MMA career, but Prof. Olavos philosophy’s on life will carry me through this journey. Abrigado Mestre. Oss.
I’m still crazy jet lagged, sleep and eating patterns are garbage at this point. I’m two weeks out from my fight in Kuwait, so I sucked it up and met my swim/mental coach Scott at Chalong pool. Well, as it turns out they close the pool on Thursdays, Perfect, I hate swimming. Of course Scott being English and predisposed to terrible ideas, suggests the beach. My heart sank, I couldn’t say no. So we rode to the always popular Naiharn beach, which is nice but very crowded in high season. Stretched out a bit, looked around, stared at an older gentleman’s overly large breasts until it dawned on me that yes, it’s actually an older woman. Almost threw up before the workout even started.
Anyone that is close to me knows I hate the water. I don’t like being vulnerable, whether it’s in the air or in water, being at the bottom of the food chain bothers me. Hour and a half goes by, I’ve sprinted, swam underwater with weights, thrown underwater combinations etc. I’m dead. But after all the bs, I realized it was yet another fear overcome. My policy on life used to be to avoid what I’m not good at or afraid of, but since I started these mental sessions/hypnotisms, I’ve become a lot stronger. I thought I was strong before, I had no idea. I was my own worst enemy, holding myself back from achieving what I want to do. I’m not patting myself on the back, I couldn’t have done it without proper direction.
It’s funny, a few years ago I scoffed at the notion of a mental coach. What the heck could a shrink do for me? A lot apparently. It’s so important to be open to positive change. Ill do anything to achieve my goals (except cheating, steroids.etc) even if it means losing pieces of myself in order to make room for better ones. ~Face your fears and you will conquer death
False evidence appearing real
Growing up my brothers and I shared a room with bunk beds. Me being the youngest, I had the top bunk. The rule before bed was that whoever was the last one to bed had to turn the light off. Unfortunate for me, because I’m afraid of the dark, and it’s a long ways up a ladder to get in bed. Like Ali once said, I flicked the switch and was in the bed before the room was dark.
To this day if I watch a scary movie i have a sense of foreboding when the lights are off. I don’t lay in bed quivering at night, but I don’t sleep as sound as most after a good horror flick. Don’t get me wrong, should a monster/anything appear in the dark, ill put my cape on and go to work. Confrontation isn’t the problem, I revel in it. It’s the unknown. The things I can’t see. I am not the scared girl running through the woods aimlessly. Ill gladly fight anything that is threatening me.
The dark, heights, the unknown, spiders. I could do without. But one thing ill never be afraid of is failure. I remember each and every failure, it is what drives me. Give me a challenge and Ill go after it with a vengeance. I hate being afraid, the dark will not conquer me. This fight is an unknown, but I’m going to leap into it, gaze locked and fists ready. Join me tonight at 530 on spiketv.com as I conquer my fears.
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Made weight with out cutting water, thanks goes to Mark Mariani for the perfect weight cut plan. Time to go to work tomorrow. Tune into http://www.spiketv.com at about 5pm pacific time to catch the fight. Up up and away
No matter who you are, where you are, what you are doing, always remember you are special. No task is above you. Conquer it. Hold your head up like a hero and charge into the fray.
A long time ago, there was a battle on a grassy field. Knights and squires, common folk and servants alike lay down their lives upon the grass. I myself sustained many wounds that day. I wandered the field aimlessly, barely conscious. Dragging my sword behind me, I wandered to a lone tree,to rest for a time, to gather my strength. Who’s side I had fought on, I couldn’t recall.It had been another battle, another day for a poor hedge knight to ply his trade, weaving my sword in a bloody tapestry.
I sat down in a heap, most of my armor long since discarded or broken. My shield had splintered in the first charge from an ax mans wild swing. My sword, my grandfathers sword before me, rested on the ground beside me. It had lost its edge to the many blows dealt and turned aside. How it had not shattered on that mercenaries skullcap, ill never know.
I thought of my life, my dreams long forgotten. So much loss, my family, my fathers burial. Not for him the cold mausoleum of my ancestors but a lonely plot on a hill. A tear spilt onto my cheek.How could he let it all go! it mattered little now, they were all gone, and i lay bleeding from a deep wound in my belly. A gift from a dead man.I smiled. A veteran of more than a score of battles laid low by a peasants spear thrust. If only they could have seen it. So thirsty! Where was my horse? I just need to find him, my water-sack is in the saddle. I just need to rest a while longer, gather my….strength.
I woke as if in a dream.it was dark now, the sun long since retreating in the horizon. The tree, the bloody field, everything, gone. Gone. I climbed to my feet, the wound in my stomach was closed, the pain had vanished. Reaching for my sword, I found i couldn’t lift it. My hand seemed to pass through it as if ethereal. No matter, what use was a blunted blade.I began to walk, to where I didn’t know. A feeling of loneliness overtook me. I had been alone my whole life, the scared boy hiding from his brothers, always tormenting and haunting my every breath. Why so suddenly did I feel this emptiness. Where was everyone?
As I walked I came upon a richly dressed man, wearing gold and jewels from head to toe, surpassing the greatest of Kings. Even his shoes seemed to sparkle with diamonds and his robe glittered with jewels. He smiled at me. I asked him “My lord, what is your name?” His smile widened ” I am fortune Sir Knight” he said “I seem to be lost my lord, will you show me the way”? ” I cannot Sir Knight, it is your path to wander”.
Disparity threatened to overtake me, sinking into me,but long had I become resilient to disappointments.My life had been rife with them. Why did mother leave me alone with them, those monsters always at my heels? It wasn’t fair.
I wandered a bit further down the narrow road. I came upon an enchanting maiden.Her hair was shimmering even in the dark night, her smile beaming brightly. All except her eyes, so empty, so lost. I said ” My lady, may I have your name? “Yes, Sir Knight, my name is Beauty” she said. “Will you accompany me my lady, the road is dark and I can’t find my way” I asked.” I cannot Sir knight, it is your path to wander”.
I walked away, heart heavy as the day I was spurned by the crofters daughter. Courtney I think her name was, I couldn’t recall. How could she be seen with a squire who’s family had sunken so low? The memory burned into me, the shame only a dejected heart knows.
Continuing on, I came upon a traveling merchants wagon. He was from the Far East, his robes were plain but well made. His turban tightly bound, a wickedly curved dagger at his side. Looking at his wares, trinkets, bobbles, figurines of a thousand deities I had never seen nor imagined.I finally caught his eye, he had been busy polishing an old oil lamp. He smiled expectantly. ” Good merchant, may I have your name?” I am Possessions, Sir Knight”. he replied. ” I seem to be lost sayyid, will you show me the way”? I asked. “I cannot sir Knight, it is your path to wander”.
I began to despair. Everything in my life had seemed to slip from my grasp. All my friends,long dead or back turned. My old warhorse had finally collapsed under me in the last battle, his heart giving out. I had nothing to show from a life of war and banquets but a body crisscrossed with scars.
I walk on, my heart heavy. So many regrets. I should have married the merchant princes daughter. I stole her heart and kisses like a thief in the night. I couldn’t be tied down I had told her, there was too much world to see. Leaving her that last time,she had said goodbye with a tearful smile. I had rode off, never to return. She had slipped a letter into my pocket. In it she confessed her undying love and final farewell.I heard she married a rich lord and had many sons. I smiled at the thought, it’s what she deserved.
Finally I came upon a small boy sitting on a tree stump, fiddling with a toy sword. He was dressed in a plain tunic, with no adornments. Walking toward him he looked up, smiling. “Boy, what is your name”? I asked. ” My name is Good deeds, sir knight”he said. “Will you accompany me boy, the road is dark and I am lost” I asked. “Yes, I will follow you sir knight, as I always have”. Said the boy.
We walked together, down the dark road. I looked down at my bare feet, laughing. I had given my shoes to a blind layman. I had passed him in the street, his walking stick rapping about, prodding the way for its master. His shoes were all but rotted from the many miles only a pilgrim knows.Stopping him, I gave him my cowhide boots I had bought recently
Though the path seemed endless,I was content.we passed many people, of all races and cultures but didn’t stop.Finally after what seemed an age, we came upon a large hall. It was made of strong oak with solid rock foundation, a lordly hall, fit for worthy men. I stopped for a moment, staring at the high arches and intricate carvings in the wood. I began to move on. The boy ran to me, took hold of my hand and pointed at the hall. The door opened wide. Long forgotten faces, loved ones, friends, the blind beggar, the merchants daughter, my lost love,My father. All smiling warmly. Tears spilled to my cheeks.Tugging my arm,the boy looked up. ” Come Sir knight, they have been waiting for you”.
Ever since i was young i broke life down into stages. My great grandmas on both my mothers and fathers side lived into their late eighties. With advances in modern science, medicine, exercise and a good diet, i figure ill live to be at least a hundred years. Sounds like a long time, but when you just turned twent five and realize you’re a quarter of the way there, mortality starts to kick in. The older I get the more the sense of urgency kicks in to do something big, something great, to be remembered for. I dont have a religion to fall back on like 85% of the world, for me when they bury me six feet deep its over, lights out, no waking up to bright lights, no fathers, no fat bald men, no mansion in the sky. Im not saying that none of this stuff exists, its just i dont know, so if I dont know, who am I to pretend otherwise? So while i keep searching and asking questions, i have to stay hungry.
Every young boy thinks hes invincible. My generation grew up on Arnold,Van damme, and stallone. We are the ninjas that dont get caught, the commandos that dont get shot, the bullet dodgers, the tireless warriors. I was Macho man doing a flying elbow drop off the top of the couch onto the dazed pillow below. And then something happens. Someone tells us that its make believe, we see someone die, we fall down and crack our heads. That one traumatizing moment that we realize that we cant just hit the reset button when something bad happens, we are stuck with our actions/events that change our world for better or worse. No time machines to take us back and change our fate. Its a sad day when we lose that amazing part of us. We dont do back flips on the trampoline anymore, no more jumping off the bunk bed pretending your spider-man, we start using our brakes on our bicycle rather than peddaling as fast as we can to hit the big jump. I used to be fearless. Now I have to settle for being brave, I miss not knowing fear.
Everyday is one step closer to the finale. When you think in that way, you tend to be a little more ambitious than others. Most religions preach suffer now, dont sweat this life because someday if you’re lucky you’ll get that mansion in the sky and float around with all your homies from down south. Whoever wrote that wasnt rich because i want my mansion now not later, let me get my piece of the celestial pie now, not later. Its kind of just lazy if you think about it. Shouldnt we be go getters, the ones that change their stars, the gatekeepers of our own destiny? I want my day in the hot sun now not tomorrow. We should keep striving to do all we can, see the pyramids, walk the great wall, run a marathon, kiss the most beautiful girl in the world and fight in the biggest fight of our lives. Whether their is a God or not, I cant imagine an all powerful being wanting us to wait til the end of our lives to start living.
So as i just hit my quarter century mark i look within to see where Im at in life. I have a lady that somewhat likes me, I have a genetic offspring to pass on my bloodline, im a middle tier mma fighter that hasnt quite made it yet. Am i satisfied with it all so far? No. I want it all, I havent seen King Tutankhamens coffin yet, havent walked Ghengis Khans stepping stone, havent fought a fight that defined who I perceive myself to be. I have so much more that I want to do. Patience has never been a virtue i possess, i want it all now, i planned on seeing the pyramids this march. Instead im going to fight that fight that ive been fighting since i could throw a punch. I used to fight imaginary warriors en route to that climatic battle with the end boss. The fights changed every time, sometimes i was Superman and used my pure awesomeness to overwhelm him, other times i was batman, digging a little deeper within myself,bruised and battered, coming back from the brink of failure to overcome my opponent. When I step into the cage I always hope to show that im the last son of Krypton, earths champion that never wavers even for a moment. But should superman not show up, Batman will find a way, waiting for his moment to come through, pushing adversity aside to win the day.
Quarter century down. Three more to go.My face and body are covered with scars,aches and pains, by the end of this ill have many more. I have so many things to see, so many questions to find the answers to.God?Buddha?. I have a couple teenagers i still need to meet/threaten to murder if they touch my daughter. I stopped counting the grey hairs a long time ago, thats a battle im not going to win. I have goals to accomplish and new ones to make. One thing i always hold onto is that when we stop having goals we start to die. Some people say they are ready when God is, im not one of them, i refuse to be on that once a year plane crash, im not bungy jumping, im not swimming with sharks. I prefer my feet on the ground anyway. I envy that security people feel about dying. But i dont envy the ones that wait to start living. Now is the time to live, bring that mansion down from the sky today, fight that battle that would make Hector and Achilles proud. Januarys Bellator fight cant come soon enough. Im stronger now. My heart and mind have have walked paths my feet have not. And my hair is heroic. Walk like Lions my friends.
Well, actually I’m still in Phuket. But I stumbled upon a Vietnamese restaurant in rawai named Saigon, I think its named after a communist? After eating pad thai everyday for the last two years, it’s nice to change it up a bit. The war is over, after all. We tied. Check your American history books. As a show of peace, the owner brought Juliet ice cream. WINNING
Every legend has a beginning,before the wanderer, was the son.
A long time ago, in the urban forest of Los Angeles County, lived a mother bear and her cub, Noah. Noah was a special bear, full of joy and play. His mother raised him to care for others, while his cousins, the wolves, taught him what tough love meant. Noah was a good bear, he kept his temper Tightly bound in chains.Knowing the bear for who he is now, it is hard to believe. How could such a violent, hard, stone even! Bear be such a kind and loving cub? Ill tell you, for tis a sad tale, one that set the tone for the great bear today. The moment that changed the peace lover into the war mongering wanderer.
When Noah was six years old, mother bear told him of a legendary rabbit. A rabbit that hopped from tree to tree, delivering treats and chocolate covered eggs to all the boys and girls of the forest. Noah was thrilled! He was going to be visited by the white rabbit any day now! He was so excited that he rode his bike next door to his cousins, the wolves, cave, sharing the good news. The wolves, who had heard of this white rabbit, warned Noah, because the white rabbit only gives if he knows he can take.
Noah didnt understand. Why would the white rabbit take something from him? Shrugging it off as no negative thoughts could overcome the loving cubs mind, tomorrow morning he would have chocolate covered deliciousness. He pedaled home, barely able to contain his excitement. Raiding the honey jars before mother bear got home, he fell into a deep, deep, hibernating sleep. He dreamt of chocolate covered eggs falling from the sky, into his mouth, into baskets, jelly beans, giant chocolate covered rabbits.
Waking up he stretched, put on his favorite blue LA cap, and opened his door. Their was dirt all across his living room, even half eaten carrots and celery! The rabbit had mad a mess! Then he spotted his favorite honey jar, upended. Running to it, he lifted it to find it empty! That rotten rabbit took his honey jar!Noah was mad, he had made a mess of the bear cave, bad bunny bad! Following the candy trail that the bunny had left for him, he walked outside. Following the trail that led to his garage, he opened the door. There wasn’t a basket in site! No chocolate covered eggs or jelly beans. Then realization hit him like a ton of honey combs. His bike was gone! The white rabbit had taken his favorite bike!
Running into the house he screamed! “Mama! Mama! He’s a stealer, he’s a stealer! I never want him back here ever and he took my bike!”
Noah the cub was heart broken. His cousins the wolves had warned him. Driven by the promise of chocolate eggs, he didnt listen. The white rabbit had stole his bike. From that day on, Noah was a changed bear. He would never ever trust a white rabbit again. Noah grew up with a squint in his eye, every story told was now open for skepticism. He could no longer be bought. The love for his mother never changed, she was his rock, the one he clung to in dark times.
Noah the bear would go on to do great things. He would touch many souls with his dark humor, his quick wit, and his honeyed drinks of deliciousness. All would come to love the bear. Even the author would go to him for advice in times of need, even asking him to accompany him on duels. The bear was a stalwart friend. But be warned ye white rabbits, should ye cross him, it’s to your own doom.
The first day was pretty rough, out of habit I go to the fridge every hour. It’s pure torture. So many cravings. On a side note I lost 2lbs the first day, not bad. I train a lot better at a lower weight, so the sooner I can get to a comfortable weight the better my training camp will be.
During my second session today I got a bit light headed. Had to sit down for a few minutes before I resumed training. I don’t have any stomach pains as the juice fills me up. It’s the simple act of chewing that I’m missing so much at the moment. In my next life I want to be black so I can eat whatever and still look amazing. Lucky mfers. Anyway ill leg you know how the next two days goes. Stay classy kids. Up up and away.
So i woke up this morning to a big eyed little girl using me as a jungle gym. Juliet was up before me, swimsuit in hand. last night i told her we’d go to the beach. I use the beach as a bit of therapy for myself. My morning run sets the pace for my day, good or bad. As a side benefit, my hair looks great after, something about the salt air, #Herohair.
Doing a four day cleanse starting this morning. Last night I made two days worth of shakes, 6 for each day. Ill make the rest later for freshness. Training is really hard when you aren’t getting the necessary calories/nutrients to sustain intense workouts, so I’m going to be doing beach runs and light BJJ rolling. I weighed myself this morning, 184lbs or 83.5kg. I set a goal weight of 174lbs or 79kg. In preparation for my next fight I’d like to lean out a bit. I’ve been doing more strength/bulking work out routines, trying to get stronger. Next ill be shifting into a power routine, which is the combination of speed and strength. Anyway, ill be updating on what I drank, how I’m feeling, and my daily weight loss. 4 days with out meals, I’ve done it before, can do it again. Im ready to fight again. Im HUNGRY.Small price to pay to look and feel SUPER. Up up and away.