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.
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 ;)
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.
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 “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!
When I think of professional wrestling, a few names immediately come to mind. Hulk Hogan of course, the undertaker, sting, the rock, just to name a few. I can’t say that I watch today’s wrestling. When I was a kid I believed it was real, the larger than life giants of men fought their hearts out, chasing after the glorious heavyweight title.
My brothers and I would take all the cushions off the couch, put them on the floor and stage “epic” battles. Jumping off the arm of the couch was the equivalent of the top rope. I was more of a “cruiser weight” because they were too big to lift up, so I did a lot of jumping haha. When Shawn Michaels won the belt from the hit man I remember leaping up out of my chair, clinching my fingerless leather gloved fists in triumph like it was me in there. Amazing moments for me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks when I found out pro wrestling was fake, it was the equivalent of finding out Santa wasn’t real. Terrible, earth shattering news for a twelve year old boy. I was absolutely disgusted, I quit watching cold turkey, no more wrestlemania or royal rumble ppv’s at the house, my parents were probably happy to skip that bill. I moved on to “real” wrestling in school, thus beginning my mma career.
As I got older I looked at wrestling in a different light. These men are amazing athletes. The physical demands they put on their bodies would break lesser men. The grueling schedule, the constant injury factor etc. You can only pull so many punches and slams before the impact is for real. Then you have to shake it off and keep going. Nothing but respect for these great men.
Onto the “ultimate warrior”. No one entered the building like he did. His music, the sprint to the ring, the wild hair and war paint, it was all so powerful. You can’t not get pumped up when he comes to the ring. I remember the crazy adrenaline dumps I’d get watching him perform. When he’d get clubbed and start head bashing, just awesome. Everything about him was larger than life. Even his incoherent interviews were amazing, no one could understand a word he said but it didn’t matter. This was the walking talking equivalent of Conan the barbarian, a man from a different world that was half here and half somewhere else. My long hair is a testament to “warriors” like him, a boyhood emulation in my adult life.
Hearing that he passed away, a little part of me and every wrestling fan goes with him. It made me happy hearing that he was inducted into the hall of fame. He was given his last moment under the bright lights before Valhalla called him home. I’ll never be a fan of wrestling again, I’m from the hulkamaniac days, everything after paled in comparison.there will never be another like you. Thanks for the memories Warrior, you left an impact on a small boy that will never be forgotten.
RIP James Hellwig aka The Ultimate Warrior
Belle burst through the massive French doors of the castle. Turning back, she pushed the great lock into place, barring the door. Having run nonstop from the village, she breathed heavily, gasping for breath. Determination took hold once again for now was not the time to rest. She heard a loud ROAR from high above, on the parapet of the great castle. Hemming her dress, she raced up the stairs. Not far behind her was the clamor of an angry mob, torches and pitchforks in hand.
The whole town was in an uproar over news that a great beast had taken one of their own. Long had they lived in fear of the looming castle, but the great hunter, Gaston, had spurred their hearts to take up arms. Between his uplifting words and liquid courage from the tavern, they marched. Reaching the castle doors, they hacked at them with ax’s, splintering the aged, oaken wood.
Gaston lay unconscious on the floor, a mighty backhand from the beast had leveled him. Letting out a roar of triumph, the beast threw his arms wide, proclaiming his victory to the heavens, the thrills of battle overtaking him. His revery was short lived as a lone figure rushed towards him, and he readied himself.
“Belle! You came back!” He opened his arms, grabbing and twirling her high overhead. “I thought I had lost you” he said. “The villagers are coming, you have to get away” said Belle. “Let them come. The last rose petal has fallen, it’s too late for me.” She hugged him tighter, burying her face in his coarse fur.
Gaston opened his eyes, still dizzy from the blow, he saw the two lovers embracing. She was clearly under the beasts powerful spell. Determination set in, he would save her once and for all. Rolling to his side, he pulled his knife from it’s sheath. Creeping towards them, he reversed the grip on his knife and plunged it into the beasts back.
The beast roared in agony and snatched up the foolish hunter. He lifted him high, holding him over the high parapeted cliff. Gaston struggled to free himself from the beasts clutches, but it proved futile against it’s mighty grasp. He was flung over the parapet and into the chasm, screaming as he plunged to the jagged rocks below.
The beast fell to his knees, the pain from the wound overtaking his bloodlust. Belle rushed to his side as he crumbled to the floor. She burst into tears as the beast lay dying. Seeing her beautiful face, the beast smiled, if you could call it that. He touched her face with his massive paw and she held it tight. Finally, the beast closed his eyes, breathing his last breath. “I….love….you”. No sooner had she spoken the words, a great magical beam burst from the beast, lifting him above the ground. Belle stared on in wonder as he transformed from the mighty and terrible beast, into a handsome, golden haired prince. He opened his eyes and walked towards her. Her eyes welled with tears and she sobbed uncontrollably. He hugged her tight, “belle, it’s me”. He smiled, showing his perfect white teeth. She gently pushed him away, looking closely at him. Her shoulders slumped in disappointment. She started walking towards the door. “Belle…. what’s wrong”? Said the prince, bewildered. She stopped, looking back at him with sadness and said “I only date beasts”.
Wrenching his sword from the Dragons chest, the hero stood in triumph. It’s heart pierced, the mighty dragons body shuddered as it lay dying. Kneeling on the ground, the hero grasped the handle of his sword, leaning heavily, his chest expanding rapidly as he drew in deep breaths, exhaustion finally taking him after the long, drawn out battle. Finally, It was over.
Rising from the floor he took off his helmet. Grasping his navy blue surcoat, he wiped his face, removing the sweat and dirt from his eyes. His armor and cloak were badly singed from the dragons fiery breath, his lungs burned from inhaling the fumes. None of it mattered now, he was exultant from victory, he had slain the mighty black dragon. Many heroes had come before him, broken pieces of armor and bones lay scattered around the cavern, a testament to the black dragons furiousity. He alone had triumphed, and the prize was his to claim.
He gazed up at the tall tower, studying it’s walls. High above, near the top, was a lone window, lit from inside, beckoning him. Removing his armor, he set it on the floor, alongside his sword and shield. Grasping his first handhold he hefted himself up, and began his ascent.
Time passed quickly, his determination driving him up the tall tower at a blistering pace. Finally, he grasped the window ledge and pulled himself up. Standing in the large chamber, he gazed around. The room was bare except for a very large, oaken bed. Laying on the bed was the princess of legend. She lay sleeping, her still form frozen in time.
Her beauty was mesmerizing, features a masque of perfection. A perfect jeweled tiara rested on her head, accentuating her luscious, golden hair. Walking toward the bed, he stood before her, gazing longingly, admiring every inch of her. He leaned in, brushing the softest of kisses on her perfect, pink lips. Her eyes burst open, blinking rapidly. She looked into her Heroes eyes, lost in the fierce-deep green. She closed her eyes again, waiting for the second kiss. Her lips puckered. This was the moment she had waited a lifetime for. He slowly leaned into her again. He whispered into her ear. “Wake up Bitch, it’s time to lift”.
“No citizen has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
I don’t make any secret of trying new diets, experimenting to find the right one. My will-power is pretty strong, I’m not the type to go smash a cake or go to a Buffett (except for post fight, then, glutton). It’s a never ending quest to find the one that suits me best, the one that will make me perform better, smash training partners and opponents alike :) . In terms of “goals” I put overall health above everything. Being mortal, I’m very concerned with this whole dying thing, it’s bothersome. I was fortunately/unfortunately blessed with a tongue that lacks taste buds. Plain oatmeal or gourmet restaurant, it’s all the same.
In mma it’s a constant struggle to control weight gain/loss. If I get too heavy, it’s a struggle to get back down to fight weight. So needless to say, I’ve tried every diet from lower calories, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, you name it. They all worked in different ways. I’ve made weight using all of them, so no doubt a controlled diet will do that job. But which one will make me perform the best? Vegetarian made me moody, it was like I was having a man-period at all times, damn near crying over spilled milk. Paleo taught me a lot, processed food robs the nutrients from food and the perimeter of the grocery store is where you want to be.
The latest thing? Warrior diet. For those of you who you don’t know, here’s a quick run down. 20 hour fast, four hour feast. I’m not going to get into the science behind it, a quick google search will give you a more in depth do’s and don’ts. So here’s what my days have been looking like…
1. 8am:Wake up, slam 16oz of water with green tea extract, vitamin d drops and half of a squeezed lemon
2. 830: #bulletproofcoffee which consists of two cups of coffee, two tbsp of grass fed butter, one tbsp of mct/brain octane oil and a tbsp of collagen protein, all blended. Taken in place of a preworkout, while calorically high, guaranteed to have a steadier state of energy with no crash.
3. 9am: workout, lifting/sprints/metabolic, one or the other.
4. 1030: post WO recovery shake, 1 scoop of #nutrilite meal replacement powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, tbsp chia seeds. I prefer meal replacement over protein because it has a good ratio of carbs and protein.
5. 1-130: various nuts, almonds, walnuts etc about 20 total and 1cup of mixed berries, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, whatever is on hand.
6. 3:00: salad! I chop two cups of various unimportant veggies, whatever is in the fridge, two handfuls of spinach or kale, 1 tbsp each of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
7. 5-9pm feast! All the chicken/fish/steak I want. I don’t mix proteins so it’s one or the other. I also try to have some more fat, avocado usually. Last night I had 13oz of chicken thighs and two cups of Brussels sprouts with garlic and onions.
Training session number two varies for time, usually 630 for technical training/sparring/rolling depending on the day. Some days I have a third session earlier in the day.
Water intake: I try to finish a gallon of water with cayenne pepper, lemon and bcaa’s throughout the day.
Energy levels: thus far have been good, the bulletproofcoffee is the best pre workout I’ve ever had, no energy spikes just a steady rate, love it. I broke a deadlift PR yesterday and Last night was marathon roll, 10x5min rounds back to back. I didn’t gas at all and went at a hard pace with high level guys each round.
Hunger: So the snacks keep me satisfied throughout the day, the water keeps my belly full until feast time. Usually when you don’t have cravings for fatty/sugary/salty foods it’s a good indication that your metabolism is running efficiently. Happy to say I’m not craving anything one month in.
Weight loss: I haven’t been measuring weight loss, I don’t unless I have to make a deadlined weight. My upper body is a lot bigger as I’m doing strength training at the moment, waste size is down fortunately. If take a selfie or before and after but honestly there are enough pictures of me shirtless out there, I think you get the picture. No need for more self indulgence haha.
Overall I’m happy with this diet/style of eating. I like that I can eat a bit chaotic for four hours of the day and controlled for the rest. It’s a nice balance. I’ll need to do it for a longer period of time to really see the effects, so far so good. I’m not saying this is the best one out there and it might not fit your goals/needs/lifestyle, but it’s definitely working with mine. As always, to the death and namaste, mfers.
Rough draft and incomplete, feel free to leave me comments/suggestions. Hope you enjoy what I have so far :)
You would have thought the sky was on fire with the shades of orange and red that flashed as far as the eye could see. Clouds streaked the sky canvas, painting the heavens with dazzling shapes and colors. A brilliant sight to anyone, save the two young lovers. They stood on the sandy beach, hopelessly lost in their own world.
The man brushed the hair back from her face, stroking her cheek. Kissing her forehead, he pulled her closer. She smiled, burrowing into his chest. He squeezed tightly, feeling her crush into him, as if trying to make them one being. He exhaled deeply, leaned in, and whispered, “I’ve missed you, my love.”
The soldier flipped up the Visor on his helmet. Sweat dripped down his brow, stinging his eyes. He wiped them with his red and yellow surcoat. Dirty though it was, the stinging subsided. He looked up at the battlements, the blue flour de leis banners still rippled in the wind. French archers sent volleys of arrows down at the English invaders who scurried up ladders. Smoke still wafted from the failed siege ram, set alight by the boiling pitch. A foothold had yet to be won on any portion of the walls, a testament to the resolve of it’s defenders. He slid the whet stone down the head of his hand ax, as much for the sharpness as to keep his mind busy. The mind has a way of fighting battles before the real ones even begin. He studied the edge, confident in it’s edge, he slid it into his belt loop.
A distant horn sounded. The men around him gathered up their weapons, falling into formation. He sighed, “Just one more charge”. Flipping his visor down, the soldier drew his sword, pointing at the walls “Give me glory or give me death!” Battle cries and roars erupted around him, his men buzzing, they marched.
They held their shields high, forming a turtle shell as the arrows rained down on them. A few of the men went down, screams echoing around him, some arrows finding their mark. He finally reached a ladder and turned toward his men. “See you at the top”. He laughed at his own joke. Shield held above his head, sure footed and nimble, he climbed the rung . Nearing the top, he slowed, almost bumping into the man in front of him. Suddenly, the man in front of him screamed, a spear jutting out of his back. He pitched backwards, falling towards him. The soldier swung himself off the side of the ladder, holding on with one hand as the man plummeted down the tall ladder, knocking off others before crashing to the earth. He recovered his position, shield held high and determined, he continued his climb. At the top of ladder now, he drew a hand ax from his belt. A defender loomed in front of him, spear outstretched. The man thrust the spear toward him, narrowly missing as he swayed his head to the side. The soldier grabbed the haft of the spear, pulling the spearman closer. He thrust his head forward into the crown of his foes unprotected head, sending a crimson spray of blood as the mans nose shattered. Dropping the spear, he vaulted over the parapet and onto the wall. He raised his shield, charging the spearman into the wall. A sickening crack sounded as they hit the wall. The spearman slid to the ground, his skull leaving a trail of blood on the wall.
The soldier dropped his shield and drew his sword. Joined now by some of his comrades that had found purchase on the wall, he saw their chance. Caution to the wind, he rushed into the fray, sword and ax cleaving into flesh and bone, felling men all around him. He was in a berserkers rage, battle lust pushing all thoughts of pain and fatigue aside. Head tilted back and arms spread wide, he roared. ” to the death!” and charged into the defenders with his comrades at his side. The defense was faltering, they were losing ground now. The effect the soldier had on his enemies and his men had turned the tide. His ferocity only increased as men streamed up the ladders now, unimpeded by defenders.
He was barely aware of his surroundings, cutting and stabbing with both hands, sending men to their ruin. A sword ripped into his side, breaking through the chain-mail. Pain enveloped him but was quickly replaced by rage as he launched a riposte into the attackers face, his sword going through the mans mouth and out of his neck. He hurled his hand ax into a bowman who was notching an arrow. The bowman fell like a sack, not knowing what hit him.
The castle walls had been won, the remaining defenders retreated back into the keep, barring the doors. It would take some time to clear them out, but for now, the men lay down their arms for a moment of respite.
The soldier sat slumped against the wall, exhausted beyond belief. Bloodlust had warn off and he was keenly aware of his body now. His arms ached from the many blows thrown, jarred on metal and flesh. Blood seeped out of a score of wounds, the gash on his side bled profusely. His helmet had long been discarded, lost at some point in the battle to an errant mace blow. Lifting a water flask to his lips, he sipped the water,reflecting on the day. A hooded field aid wandered up to him and began dressing his wounds. He winced as the aids cloth dabbed at his wounds. “Hold still now warrior, this will only hurt a little longer.” He presses a cloth to his side, it stung. “The men are speaking of your valor, sir…they say you won the battle single handedly”. He smiled at this, shaking his head “Relax, close your eyes… rest…You’ve earned it”. Said the aid. The soldier stared off. He thought of her, that last night, weeks ago. He wished she were here, if only for a moment. His eyes closed.
“I don’t want you to go”! She yelled. He stared at her, long blonde hair cascaded down her back. Sheer as it was, her night gown left little to the imagination.Even with her features locked in an angry scowl, she was beautiful. Her full lips kept moving, but the soldier just stared at her, the words lost to him in his revery. Suddenly he held his hand up. “Enough… Tonight I want to forget ourselves…I want to be lost with you, let tomorrow worry about itself…This night, this moment.” Her shoulders slumped, exhaling. Smiling at her He held her cheek, kissing her full lips. He swooped her into his arms effortlessly, and carried her to the bedside. “Wait. I want you to promise me that you’ll come back to me. I need you, the thought of losing you, I couldn’t bare it. Say it, say that you will come back.” She said. “Nothing on this earth can keep me from you. I will return to you, my love. Not even death and certainly not the French could keep us apart.” She smiled. They fell onto the satin sheets, lost to the world as their bodies joined.
“A messenger for you milady!” Rushing down the steps, she could barely contain her joy. News from the last battle had reached them, the English army had overwhelmed the French defenders and they had taken the castle. She had been waiting every day since for word of his return. Reaching the doorway, she stopped. “Milady” said the grim faced messenger, bowing. Snatching the scroll from his hands, she broke the wax seal and unraveled it. Quickly scanning the parchment, her hand raised to her mouth. The paper fell to the floor. She bolted up the stairs, tears streaming from her face. Her door slammed, echoing down the stone hallway. She threw herself onto the bed, burying her face into a pillow.
Later in the evening, candles flickered in the room. Her face was pale and drawn with a grim expression. She had stopped crying, resolve had set in. Taking a quill from the desk, she dipped it into the ink well and hastily scrawled an apology onto the parchment. Setting the quill down, she walked to the window, opening the latch. Pushing them open, she stepped onto the ledge, looking down at the crashing waves below. The height was dizzying, she swooned. Steadying herself, she caught her breath, and closed her eyes. “Not even death” she whispered.
A thick haze covered the great road. He could barely see a few feet in front of him as he was guided by the small figure in front of him.
The little boy held the soldiers hand, though there were no distinguishable landmarks, he seemed to know exactly where to go. It wasn’t long before they came to a massive wooden hall. The soldier had never seen the like, it was bigger even than the great cathedral at Canterbury. Using his wooden sword, the boy rapped on the massive oaken doors and shouted “Værge,åbent! The doors swung open, allowing entry. They walked through entrance and into the hall.
The room was packed. Various drink filled the mugs of the gathered warriors. A samurai touched his small ornate cup to the foaming mugs of a giant man wearing a horned helmet and another bearded warrior wearing a conical helm.”Kanpai! Skål! Za zdorovje!” All around the hall similar scenes played out; feasting, drinking, arm wrestling, knife throwing, wrestling, all forms of manhood being tested.
Looking down at the small boy he asked “What is this place?” The boy spread his arms wide and replied “Its Valhalla! Resting place of the honored dead. Come, let us get you something to fill your belly and spirits to fill your cup.” He motioned toward the stacks of barrels containing ale and wine and the tables overflowing with all sorts of roast game. Flustered, he shook his head. “No. Where is she? Take me to my love.” He said. The boy shifted nervously, “But sir, she is in another place. This is a hall for the greatest heroes, only the noblest of warriors belong here. There is no better place for a man to rest.” Said the boy. “Valhalla be damned!” Roared the man. “There is no rest without her, we belong together!” Turning towards the door, he rushed towards it. “I will not stay another moment in this God forsaken place!” Warriors all around glanced up, interrupted from their revery. A moment passed and they quickly resumed their feasting and drinking. The boy was crestfallen as the soldier stormed out of the mead hall, slamming the great oaken doors as he left.
The lady shuffled along the misty road with the others. She had no recollection of how she had gotten there, but she was compelled to follow. One foot followed the other, methodically onward, destination unknown. Curious. She couldn’t hear the sound of her own footsteps.
His opponent was good, his strikes fast and precise. They parried back and forth, the swords clanging together loudly. He ducked under a wide sweeping strike, his hair rustled as the blow passed, narrowly missing. Recovering quickly, he thrust his sword forward, his opponents eyes widening as he leapt backwards. Both breathing heavily, he smiled, and switched his sword to the other hand. His opponent visibly shaken by the turn of events, he pressed the attack now, his strong arm prodding, jabbing for an opening. He lifted his knee as if to kick, drawing his opponents eyes towards his feet while his sword arm swung in a mighty sweep. The blow connected with the side of the wooden dummy, ending the “duel”.
Sheathing the wooden sword into his belt, he ran back into the house. His father was sitting at the table, whittling a piece of wood. “What are you making pop”? He asked. “I’m finished, here, it’s yours”. He held out the small wooden figure of a knight, sword and shield in hand. The boy grabbed it, hugging his father tightly. “Thanks, pop! I love it”. A moment passed as he stared at it in wonder. He thought for a moment.”Pop, do you think mom sees me from heaven? I miss her, I her to see me become a knight.” His father looked away. “I don’t know, son”. It had been a month since the plague had taken her. His father had been grief stricken, staring into the distance and saying very little to anyone. He had lost so much weight, his skin sunken on his face. Not knowing what to do, he walked into his room. He set the wooden knight on his bedside table, next to the other carvings of soldiers and knights. He lay down on his bed, rolling to his side. He reached behind him feeling for the lump that had steadily gotten bigger in the last few days. It ached dully, but he brushed the thought away. The sound of his mothers melodious laughter echoed in his mind. He missed her. Closing his eyes, he quickly fell asleep.
He was completely lost. After leaving the hall, anger drove him mindlessly onward. The problem was, everything looked the same on the road. The perpetual mist made seeing just a few feet in front of him difficult.
*The more I do in life the less bothered I am with dying. I think that those that grow old and look back with regret have a hard time coming to terms with it. Others that jumped at every opportunity and really lived life to the fullest seem to find a certain peace that I envy. Here’s hoping to finding the road less traveled and answering the door when opportunity knocks. To the death!
Before we talk about last night, lightning striking twice, bad luck etc. let’s talk about another hero of mine that I’ve always looked up to; Achilles, hero of the Greek Army and all around virtuoso of the battle field,struck down in his prime.
My old man would read me various books as a kid, one of them was called Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton. It’s a very good intro to Greek mythology, outlining the more well known myths and legends including the Trojan war. Achilles was my favorite character. He was peerless on the battlefield, always one step ahead of everyone. His speed, agility etc couldn’t be matched and made the rest of the soldiers seem slow in comparison. When he is reveling in battle, a chance arrow is shot, one in a million, and hits him in the leg. Boom there goes what should have been histories greatest warrior, now remembered as a weak tendon in the leg.
Now back to the present. Anderson Silva is the best fighter of our generation. He’s not only fought and beat the best in the division but has done so in seemingly easy fashion. He makes his opponents look silly, seeming bored even in his fights, dancing and goofing around in the most inappropriate of times, punches and kicks whizzing by. He went too far when he fought Weidman and his antics cost him the belt after being caught by a vicious left hand.
Last nights fight was supposed to be different. We were supposed to see a hungry and motivated legend that would redeem himself. Midway through the second round he threw the same chopping leg kick that he had thrown countless other times and was checked by a well timed Weidman shin. Silvas leg shattered and he crumpled into a heap. Everyone watching was shocked, not believing their own eyes.
The part that saddens me the most about this is not that he lost. It’s that he’s going to be remembered not for his amazing fight prowess or uncanny abilities but for his one unlucky kick he threw that ended his career. If you type the words Anderson Silva right now into a google search, “broken leg” will pop up immediately with it. Not greatest fighter of all time or longest reigning champion, just broken leg or some form of the sentence.
Instead of being remembered for being the greatest warrior on the battlefield, Achilles is remembered as the one that was killed by an arrow to the leg. He didn’t get to die on his shield as they say, he wasn’t beset on all sides by warriors, taking as many as possible with him to Tartarus. No, he was simply shot down by a lucky arrow. Fate is a cruel mistress, fans of our sport even more cruel. At Silvas age, who knows if it’s too late for him to rise from this, making a comeback. For Anderson Silvas peace of mind, his families, and his legacy, I wish him a speedy recovery.
Post script: no amount of calcium, tree kicking, or shin conditioning is going to help you prevent that happening. That same injury happens all the time in Muay Thai fights where kicks are far more numerous. It’s just never happened on that big of a stage. Hope for the best and chok dee when you throw kicks!
I’ve been hearing a very pessimistic view from a lot of people about setting a New Years resolution. Like why would you set a goal for the end of the year instead of just starting today or stating the percentage rate of successful resolutions (8%). I get it, people like deadlines, it helps us get motivated. So people try things, fail, bend the goal, make a new one etc. it’s natural. The cool thing about humans is our ability to overcome, by trial and error. We fall, get up, fall again, but eventually we reach the top of the mountain. It’s what makes us so awesome! Anyway, enough about us, let’s talk about why we fail.
So you want to quit smoking, Great! I can’t stand cigarette smoke so the less of you the better. You smoke your last cigarette New Year’s Eve, boom easy. The next morning you wake up and you feel fine. The hours at work begin to take their toll. You start stressing out, the day is rough. Forget it, you go to the store, buy a new pack. You’ll start quitting after this pack.
Is it because your addiction is stronger than your will power? Do you love these death sticks more than you love your health? I doubt it. It happens, old habits die hard. Don’t beat yourself up about it, 92% of people failed along with you. You aren’t alone.
So here’s where I think (most) people that set resolutions go wrong; lack of preparation. You waited until the very last second, quitting cold turkey. A week before you should have been wheening yourself from it, one less cigarette a day or whatever system works for you. I’m not sure how it works, but a gradual decrease in anything is better than quitting altogether. The success rate between the two is night and day.
Preparation and planning is the key. If you set a dead line for yourself, great! Regardless of the day, you need to plan well in advance for whatever it is you plan on quitting/doing. Research what has worked for others, what didn’t, and what works best for your lifestyle. If you want to climb a mountain on the other side of the world, start saving well in advance, book flights ahead of time, make a schedule etc because before you know it a year is up and things can change at any given time. No warrior worth his salt goes into battle unprepared.
Another big one is weight loss. I feel for people with this goal because it’s such a hard one and most of the time it’s genetic, not a cake addiction. With media shoving models and athletes down our throats, we have a very twisted sense of what is ideal. I want to look like Arnold in his heyday, but I know that’s pretty unrealistic for my lifestyle. My best advice for people that want to change their look is to research nutrition first, make your own meals and then when that is on point, start hitting the gym. I don’t care if it’s Zumba or crossfit, something is better than sitting on the couch, wishing your weight away.
So in closing, tell the pessimists to suck it and get after it. Start your New Years resolution preparation today, it’s not too late. Whether it’s to stop smoking, traveling to a foreign country, give up binge drinking, I guarantee there is a method that will work for you IF it’s important to you. If it’s weight loss or muscle building, come see me at Guerilla BJJ or Bodies By Amorim. I’ll help you help yourself. My resolution? UFC or bust.
To the death!
Through a dark, bandit filled forest, over the tallest jagged mountains, across a gloomy, creature filled swamp, in the middle of a ring of fire, lived a ferocious dragon. It stood guard over a tall tower full of golden treasures, precious jewels and riches beyond any mans wildest dreams. But the greatest treasure of them all was the fair Princess, beautiful beyond compare and virtuous soul to match.
Kings, princes, lords knights, men at arms and even lowly peasants set out to claim fame fortune and the beauty. The wealthy lords of men would bribe the bandits of the woods only to be turned back by the jagged peaks. Some bold princes and knights would scale the mountains only to be swallowed up by the denizens of the gloomy swamp. The most daring of adventurers would roast in the ring of fire, their bones and armor blackened by the blazing inferno, fading to dust over time. Who could possibly save the princess where the lands boldest men had failed?
Just when all hope for the Princess had gone, word began to spread of a champion. A knight of knights, a paragon with the sword, was preparing for the journey….
The knight, who wore the most splendid silver plate armor, wielded the sharpest of broad swords, carried the sturdiest of kite shields and rode the most pure-bred war horse, paused before the forest. He had heard the locals tell the story countless times. The forest was full of all sorts of evil outlaws, horse thieves,cutthroats, robbers bandits and murderers. He smiled under his metal visor, it would take more than a band of untrained vagabonds to sever his courage. He nudged his horse on, the forest encasing them in darkness. It wasn’t long before the arrows zinged, daggers whistled, and spears flew at the knight. He laughed loudly, his armor and shield deflecting the cheaply made weapons, no match for the sturdy craftsmanship of his armor. He rode on through the hail of weaponry unscathed. The bandits, fearing the man who had laughed at their feeble attempts, disappeared into the woods.
The knight had made it through the dark forest without drawing his sword or bribing with a single copper. Maybe this man had the courage to scale the jagged mountains.
Scanning the peak, the knight snapped the reigns, his horse trotting on. He had prepared well for this part of the journey, the locals telling him of the jagged, barren peaks. Unpacking ropes he had bought in the village, he tied his horse to a tree, and began the climb. His hands and feet were strong, his grip sure. He climbed higher and higher upwards, the height dizzying to a normal man. Once, his footing had faltered, his body sliding off the edge of a cliff. The rope around his waste tightened, he hung, suspended in the air. The knight looked below, the ground no longer visible. He had always been afraid of heights, but he steeled his nerve and climbed the rope. Finally he reached the summit. The climb down was much easier and uneventful. He hummed a tune to himself as he reached the bottom of the mountain. Perhaps this champion had the mettle to overcome the swamps.
He scanned the gloomy waters. All sorts of creatures were teeming below the surface of the waste deep bog. He could see bleached white bones and pieces of armor scattered on rocks rocks that told tales of long gone heroes. Thinking of the rigorous training he had endured since birth, his resolve was strengthened. He trudged through the swamp, his armor squeaking from the damp. The creatures of the swamp attacked him at every turn, encircling and ambushing the knight. He battered them with his shield and slashed with his sharp sword. He cleaved a path through the swamp, his great stamina being put to the test as his sword arm rose and fell. Finally after the long march through the boggy waters he emerged on the far shores of the swamp. This man is a Legend, surely he can beat back the blazing inferno with his nerve alone!
Drying off, he gazed in the distance. Across miles of blackened earth, he could see the fire. The dragon kept the fiery circle blazing, bellowing hell fires onto the charred earth every day and night, a final test for all men. He sharpened his sword, oiled his armor and prepared for the heat to come. His horse emerged from the swamp, scratched and clawed but standing tall.The rope he had been tied with chewed through. The loyalty of the beast was beyond belief, the knight reflected, his admiration showed as he patted the beasts back. Mounting the horse, they set off.
After miles of blackened and barren earth, they stood before the tall inferno. For the first time In the journey, the knight felt hopeless. How could they make it through the fire? It blazed high and long without pause. There was no path around it, the only way was through. Speaking aloud, the knight spoke of the journey’s end with regret. With a deep sense of melancholy, he steered the reigns around, prepared to journey back. The horse held it’s ground, not budging. It stamped the earth with its hooves,waving it’s head in the direction of the flames. Staring at the horse now, he shook his head in wonder. How could a beast possess such unwavering loyalty. It couldn’t possibly survive the leap. Every time the knight tried to go back, the horse ignored his commands. Finally, with resolve set, the knight threw caution to the wind and charged toward the fire. They leapt high, through the impossibly hot fire, soaring through the flames. They landed with a crash on the other side of the inferno. The knight rose to his feet, checking himself for burns, for which there was none too serious. The horse had not risen. He dropped to its side, stroking the horses neck. It had suffered severe burns, it’s chest rising and falling with each ragged breath. The knight took off his helmet, tears streaming down his face. Love doesn’t have a greater measure than when a life is laid down for friends. The horse shuddered, breathing it’s last breath. Our hero sat for a time, stroking his most loyal of companions shoulder.
Just then he heard a loud crash from behind. Turning his head, he saw it then; the dragon, wings spread wide, savage eyes leering. The knight rose to his feet and drew his sword. Every time the dragon moved the ground trembled. Letting out a battle cry, the knight charged at the dragons massive frame. He dodged the dragons tail as It came crashing down in front of him. He hacked at it with all of his might, severing the tip. With a blood curdling roar the dragon beat it’s wings, knocking the knight off his feet. Looming over him, the dragon drew in air and expelled it’s fiery breath. The knight rose to his knees, bringing his kite shield to bear. The flames were intense but rolled off his shield, leaving him unscathed. He charged forward, sword arm back ready to cleave into the dragons belly. Just as he was about to swing, the dragon snatched him up in his clawed hands. It squeezed him in it’s grasp, his armor buckling under the pressure. He tried to wiggle and squirm out, but the dragons clutch was too strong. His sword and shield dropped, the pain unbearable. It brought him up eye level, leering at him with it’s powerful gaze. The knight looked on in horror as the dragon opened it’s mouth and brought him slowly, slowly toward its mouth…
The boy woke up with a start, his heart racingHe was covered in sweat, his blankets and stuffed animals had been flung off the bed. He sat up, trying to catch his breath and cool off. Jumping down from his bed, he walked down the hall to the bathroom. After rubbing water on his face, he reached for the towel and dried off. He stared at his reflection in the mirror and thought to himself “next time I’ll slay the Dragon”. Back in his room, he picked up his favorite stuffed animal, little foot, and climbed back into bed. He closed his eyes and drifted off, to a dreamless sleep.
We all have fear in our life. Whether its spiders, heights, or dark parking garages. It can cripple us, leaving us shaking visibly. But Fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can bring out the best in us. Without fear there can be no bravery. Here’s a short story I thought of about my childhood and how I would deal with fear sometimes.
The little boy stared at his reflection in triumph as he brushed his teeth. Rinsing his mouth out, he then scampered down the hall to his room and climbed the ladder to his bed on the top bunk. He crawled under the covers before his older brothers were even in the room, a carefully planned scheme that he had considered all day. He smiled to himself, feeling victorious, holding his favorite teddy bear, little foot, tightly in his arms. Every night was a race for him, to beat his older brothers to bed. Last one in bed had to shut the light off, it was the golden rule amongst the boys. He counted sheep like his dad had taught him, feeling himself drifting into dreamland. He was interrupted by a loud knock on the side of his bed. His big brother gave the most evil grin at him and said “you forgot to turn the bathroom light off”. His heart sank as he watched his brothers tuck themselves into their beds. Dread overcame him, this was not good, not good at all. Sighing to himself, he pushed the covers off and climbed down from the top bunk. “Don’t let the monsters get you!” His brother called out as he left the room.
He looked down the hall towards the bathroom. It seemed like a mile away now, the hallway nearly pitch black and foreboding. The boy crept as quietly as his little feet could, his eyes wide, scanning all directions for moving shadows. Finally reaching the bathroom, he paused a moment in the light. This part was going to be tricky. Once he turned off the light it would be a race down the hall, back to the room and up the bunk bed ladder. He wished he had brought little foot with him. Mustering his courage, he reached for the light switch with one hand, the rest of his body braced for the mad dash through the darkness. The light clicked, the darkness engulfing him. He sprinted down the hallway, his feet pounding the carpeted floor. He felt the things in the dark reaching for him, just inches away. He reached his room door way, got to the ladder, pulling himself up as fast as he could and onto his bed. Snatching the covers over his head, he grabbed little foot and pulled him in close, hugging him tightly. He could feel the shadows outside of the blanket, probing, searching for a way to get under his protective forcefield that was his blanket. He shut his eyes tight. He squeezed little foot hard, whispering that it would be alright, that they were safe now. Time passed by slowly, the boy sweating under the heavy blankets, protected but uncomfortable. Sleep took him.
He awoke, finding himself on the hard, dirt covered ground, with Littlefoot, still clutched in his hands. He was in a forest now, not in the room he shared with his brothers. He looked around, peering into the darkness. there were trees all around, tall, gnarled ones with long arm like branches. They all seemed to be looking at him, watching, waiting. Not knowing what else to do, he began to walk, hoping to find a way out of the woods. He wished his dad were here with him, he wasn’t afraid of anything. His dad always told him that there was no such thing as monsters, but he knew better. They were always lurking in darkness, reaching out for him from the shadows. He had been lucky so far, narrowly escaping them most nights. He hoped this time would be no different.
Having Littlefoot with him made him feel a little better. A gift from his sister, littlefoot had been at his side ever since, his constant companion and guardian in the darkness. He held onto it with both arms, almost hiding behind it is as he walked. The trees stared down at him ominously. Suddenly the wind picked up, the leaves rustling at his feet. The trees groaned, the wind howling past him. He was cold now, his thin pajamas barely protecting him from the elements. Glancing behind him, the darkness was creeping closer as he stood there. He began to run, trying to stay ahead of the shadows. Running through the woods was becoming more and more difficult, the trees growing closer together. Packed tightly now, he had to squeeze between them to move. The sharp branches ripped into his clothes, his pajamas shredded. He cried out as the branches dug into his skin, blood trickling from the shallow cuts all over his body. He charged blindly ahead, crying and bleeding, little foot still in his hand.
Bursting through a thicket, he came to a clearing. The trees seemed to make a big circle, nothing but rocks and dirt on the ground. He dried his eyes on his torn sleeve. Then cold and exhaustion overcame him. He just wanted to be back in his room, he wouldn’t care if his brothers made fun of him, he’d call out to his dad and he’d tell him nothing would get him. He sat on the ground, holding his companion close, sobbing, with realization of defeat took hold of him. The shadows would be here soon, it was only a matter of time.There would be no covers to hide under this time.
Looking up, he saw the shadows, coming through the trees, slowly but surely. He could hear them whispering, laughing, taunting even. Hugging little foot tightly, he stood up. No more running or hiding. This was it. The shadows merged into one being. His every nightmare made manifest in this hulking and grotesque pit of darkness. The mass of shadows now towered over the boy like a giant from the stories. The monster looked down at the boy, laughing an evil laugh, mocking his fear
This angered the little boy. Looking around the clearing, he spotted a stick. Running to it, the boy picked it up. With little foot in one hand and the stick in the other, he charged at the monster. He lashed out at the monsters leg, he couldn’t reach anything else. His fury blinded him, the pain from his cuts forgotten. The monster watched, surprised, as the boy struck again and again. Annoyed now, the monster grabbed the boy in his hands, lifting him high overhead, and threw him against a tree. The impact against the tree broke the little boy. His body crumbled to the floor, clearly shattered. He lay in a broken heap, still clutching little foot close. Inches from him lay the stick. The boy extended his bloody hand and reached for it. Pain seared through him, engulfing him in agony. He closed his eyes, gritting his teeth. Grasping it now he relaxed a little. It felt good in his hands, like the grip was made for him.
He opened his eyes, astonished at what he saw. In his hand was a sword. The cold had gone, the warmth from the padded armor fit him well. Little foot had become what it had always been, a shield. His shredded pajamas were no more, a full suit of brilliant silver steel armor covered him from neck to toe. He flipped the visor on his helmet up, better to see with.
The knight arose from the ground, wounds healed and back on his feet. Holding the sword in front of him, he swung it left and right, deftly cutting through the air. He turned toward the monster, it had turned his back to him. Using his sword, he banged it on shield. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! The monster, visibly startled,turned towards the noise. Seeing the knight in the clearing, he was shocked. Where had he come from? Raising his clawed hand and opening his tooth filled maw wide, he let out a roar that trembled the earth. The knight stood aloft, unfazed by the monsters display. He stared back at the monster, contempt written all over his face. Picking up a rock, the monster pulled his arm back and threw it toward the knight with great force. Standing his ground until the last moment, the knight moved his head to the side, the rock sailing passed harmlessly. Angry now, the monster charged at the knight, arms outstretched. He swung his left hand, fist clenched to crush the warrior. The knight jumped nimbly to the side, narrowly avoiding the blow. It swung harder with his right hand, claws outstretched to impale. The knight leaped back and sent his sword Slashing down. The blow struck its mark, severing the monsters hand. It howled in pain, clutching the stump where his hand had been. Falling to its knees, he whimpered as dark green blood gushed from the severed limb.
The knight stood still, cape billowing in the wind, watching, waiting. A feeling crept into the monster, something he had never felt. It gazed at the knight, watching as he slowly walked towards him. The monster knew fear, feeling himself shrinking where he knelt. No longer massive and imposing, he quivered now, terror fully taking hold of him. The knight plunged his sword into the earth, swaying back and forth in the ground. He stood in front of the monster, bending to one knee. He took off his helmet and set it on the ground, his long hair flowing in the breeze. The creature held its one good hand in front of its face, shielding himself from the blow to come. Looking into the now small creatures eyes, he spoke “It’s time for you to go now. Leave this place, and know that if you ever return, I’ll be waiting.” Gathering it wits,the creature scampered towards the trees. Being no bigger than a mouse now, he quickly disappeared in the thicket. The knight sat down against a tree, contentment washing over him. He set his shield to the side of him, close at hand. Closing his eyes, he thought of adventure and fair princesses. Before long, his breaths grew deep, and he fell fast asleep.
The boy awoke, still under the blanket, sweating profusely. Pulling the blankets off, he pushed them down by his feet. He looked around the room, barely making out his brothers still forms. Reaching out, he grabbed little foot, who had strayed from his grasp. He hugged it tight like he always did, his companion and shield. Closing his eyes, he counted the sheep like his father had taught him.
Thank you for reading. Share please :)
“Are you a fighter?” It used to be because of my mangled ears that I would hear this question. The cauliflower is usually a dead give away for pugilists and wrestlers alike. Media and the growing popularity of the sport is making the “fighter” look easy to identify.
I used to joke when asked about my ears that I was born this way. The response was always an awkward “sorry” and a quick subject change. The part that bothers me about the question is the instant classification that I get thrown into; brute,psycho,illiterate,caveman,Neanderthal etc. take your pick. I’ve even been accused of having people write my blogs/status updates for me. Fighters are generally not very cerebral in the general public, after all you don’t have to be smart to hit someone.
To be honest I can’t really disagree with the general opinion. With front runners like Ronda Rousey and the Diaz bros flipping off their opponents, we generally come off as crude to say the least. The most exciting fights get the limelight, the bloodbaths and the vicious knockouts, whilst the superior grappling/bjj oriented matches get overlooked or boo’d even. The fighter look is more akin to the 80′s punk rock scene, big, dyed Mohawks, tribal and skull tats. Newcomers dying to stand out turn to the typical tough guy monicker. I can’t help but laugh at stuff like this. What happened to just being “good” to get noticed.
Another growing trend I’m seeing is the wannabes. The guys that wear the tapout shirts and mean mug everyone they walk passed. They cant wait to tell you about who they train with and that they have a fight coming up. Its like screaming for someone to ask them if they fight. I don’t get it. Who cares what other people think of you and why would you want to look like something that you could be possibly called out on. That’s like me saying I’m a NASA scientist, two questions would debunk me. All respect to those who try and fail at whatever they sought out to do. But if you didn’t make it, don’t pretend, whether it’s football or astronaut. It’s all about being exactly who you see in the mirror. Be proud of who you are. I fight for a living, but it’s not who I am, it’s something I do.
When I was starting out I looked up to fighters like Evan tanner and Genki Sudo. These were guys role models are made out of. Tanner was a recovering alcoholic that turned it all around and became UFC middleweight champion. Sudo had extravagant entrances coupled with amazing on the fly technique that wow’d the crowd and peers alike.. At the end of his fights he always held up a flag of the world stating “we are all one”. A simple and powerful message. I truly miss guys like them and try to do what I can to spread a similar message. I’m no where near Genki’s level of showmanship, he is in a class by himself, but I’ll do anything I can to spread the “We are all one” message.
When people ask me if I’m a fighter, I tell them “no”. While I do fight for a living, it will not define me. There is no shame in fighting, its a beautiful sport, but i could quit tomorrow and nothing would change. I’d still train for my health and stress/mental release.I’m not a fighter, I’m a human being. We are all one.
Edit:there is nothing wrong with being an upcoming fighter or anything for that matter, just make sure you do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it just because you want the title of being a fighter, you’re probably going to get hurt or humiliated. Chok dee! (Good luck in Thai)
Weight cutting/body transformation week 1
I’ve been fighting for a long time, not counting the years of wrestling and boxing I did before. I turned pro in 2005 at age 18. For as long as I could remember I’ve been punching and kicking imaginary opponents/world champions.To this day when I shadow box I still do the same thing. When I first started out fighting, I’d be scheduled for a fight a month in advance, then I’d start training hard, sparring would intensify and cardio would be kicked up a notch. Then I’d fight and my opponent and I would be terribly gassed by the end of the fight. I assumed that was part of fighting.
Then the UFC started doing the countdowns, the training camps of champions and challengers leading up to the big fights. I saw guys like Sean Sherk and GSP doing all these crazy exercises and really training at a different level than what I had seen. They were in terrific shape, going 100% the entire fight and still looking strong after the. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even understand how or where to begin. I changed my ways a bit after that, doing more cardio in-between fights, cleaning up my diet a little. But it wasn’t enough.
A couple of years ago I was signed to a Bellator contract, basically the number two organization behind the UFC. In order to compete with these guys I had to take my training to another level. Not just physically but mentally. A lot of people don’t understand how much ring jitters and anxiety plays such a pivotal role in the fight business. I had to step up my game in every aspect.
I hired a great mental coach in Englishman Scott Stevenson, a sports psychology professor and all around mental Jedi. The guy knows his stuff, working with many top athletes from around the world. After many long sessions and conversations, I can attest that I have less anxiety in life and fighting, as well as not having had a Snickers bar in over a year.
Alongside Scott I worked with a couple of fitness gurus who implement Martin Rooneys Training For Warriors, a great all around program that took my fitness up to the next level. Being strong or good isn’t enough in mma, you have to have a complete package.
Since coming back to the states I’ve teamed up with a great BJJ professor, Dave Camarillo black belt and co founder of Guerilla jiu Jitsu, Matt Darcy. My technique is going through the roof and I’m actually applying proper technique, something I neglect by using more athleticism.
Last but not least my new strength and conditioning coaches, Travis and Kevin, owners of Bodies by Amorim. Since coming to them I feel like I’m going to break people. With all the tire flipping and sledgehammer swinging I’ve been doing, my body has never looked better. I’ve always had a chubbier build, strong but not ripped like others in my profession. The only time I’d see abs was the day of weigh ins. Not anymore. For the first time in my life I have a six pack. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.
So for this camp I did a 12 week periodization training and I’m coming into my last 4 weeks. I won’t tell you about the technical sides of my training, that stuff is a secret. The first four weeks I did Olympic power lifting, basically low reps heavy weight, maximum strength. I got huge! I bulked up to about 190. The next phase I did functional weight lifting. The movement under load, so still heavy weights but more movement involved, like weighted lunges, more functional type lifts to get my power up.
These four weeks I’m going to strictly be doing conditioning, body weight exercises. Today I weighed in at 182, I’ve lost a little bit of muscle mass in the last 4 weeks from not lifting as heavy, a natural and beneficial side effect. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been going into these last four weeks. Every week I’ll be documenting my conditioning, my diet/portion control and body weight. I’m excited for oct 11th, the fighter on that day will be leaps and bounds above that cocky 18 year old kid that was in over my head when i started. Join me in my journey, fly with me. It’s time to Rise.
Alpha males or stepping stones?
Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form sexist, I believe everyone should be treated equally. When I train with girls I try to smash them just as hard as I would a guy, it’s my way of showing respect. Anything less would be dishonorable.
Thousands of years ago the universe saw fit to arm man with zero sharp teeth and no claws. Our cave men ancestors instead relied on superior brain power and wits to develop weapons and traps to hunt physically superior animals. Meanwhile back at the cave our female counterparts waited patiently for the men to provide them with the days meat in return for warm beds at night. An arguably fair trade. Fast forward to the 20th century. Women win the right to vote after marching their high heeled asses off. They suddenly have equal rights. Awesome, they can do the hunting for a change whilst we wait at home, pondering the universe an the meaning of life (watching porn or sports). I’m totally cool with this. Women deserve equal rights. If they can carry the load, by all means do it.
Here’s the problem with guys though; We put the vagina on a pedestal. Girls didn’t do it, we did. Since the dawn of time we men would walk thousands of miles, hunt ridiculously large animals, swim through icy water etc. in the HOPES that a woman would honor us with a “roll”. We put it on the pedestal. Instead of saying I will give you meat and glittering prizes if you mate with me, it’s after I bring you meat and glittering prizes I hope you’ll want to maybe just might touch me in a non friendly way. We are shameful shadows of our grunting beastial ancestors.
Fast forward again. Present day. Location: any MMA gym anywhere. All the guys are focused, boxing, rolling bjj, wrestling etc. great practice. Suddenly, a girl walks in the room with a gear bag. Testosterone levels go through the roof. The wolves smell meat, our primitive instincts force us to do this, we can’t help it. It’s time to pick partners. The dedicated ones pick the strongest match for themselves, the one that’s going to push them. But a select few suddenly can’t find a partner. Oh of course, there’s a girl. These nonchalant idiots ” uh do you have a partner” to the girl. This girl could be day one zero experience, but for some reason this type of guy gets his rocks off on rolling with the girl. Suddenly mid drilling the room hears conversations of what they like to eat and movies they’ve seen recently. I can’t help but shake my head. It went from practice to a potential dating service. I’m not saying girls aren’t dedicated or good, but what the hell would I have to gain from rolling competitively with a first day white belt? If someone says you get better by teaching go slap yourself in the face. While yes it’s true, there is also a time and place. Don’t be a contrarian. Live rolling starts. The dedicated ones find the baddest mfers on the mat. Me personally I hunt belt colors. I stare at guys until they make eye contact. Sometimes I force the issue and walk up,” oh you have a partner, ok cool next round”. Locked in. The “other” guys can’t wait to roll with this girl that barely trains. And showing her moves after. What the F?? Its called live rolling not let me show you this basic move like its the wheel that you don’t know yet because you just started. The purpose of rolling is to smash or be smashed. If I want to know the move I just got caught in ill ask after the round is over. I swear when a girl walks in the room it’s like she’s the last one on earth and every guy is chomping at the bit. Disgraceful
Do girls even like this type of guy? Is this what you picture when you think cave man meat getter? Aren’t men supposed to be these manly alpha warriors that bash enemy heads in? Or is every girls dream to be with these guys that just lay down for them? I heard a great quote the other day about dancing ” used to be a guy just did a two step, one, two, while the girl got her shine on. Now every time a girl dances these guys take it as a personal challenge, trying to out dance them.” -Scruncho
My hearts desire is to be the best that I can be, I see other guys as target practice, like ladders that bring me up the mountain. Stepping stones. I want to face the baddest dudes possible. If I stopped to show every girl that walked in the room a move I would be walking in circles. I’m not saying I won’t roll with a girl, I would just prefer rolling with someone equal or better than me, that’s how I’m going to get better.
So in closing, put the vagina back where it belongs, say it with your chest, EQUAL. Roll with guys or girls that will make you better, it’s a bjj mat not a dating service. Let girls get their shine on when they are dancing, stick with the two step. Man up.
Edit to clarify, I should have said a few things better:
I have a fight 8 weeks away, I’m in training camp at the moment. Twice a week at my school we have a session called marathon roll, 12×5 minute rounds in a row no rest. The goal is to get as many taps as possible, at the end of the session we line up and dole out push-ups for every tap we earned. Simple stuff and everyone rolls pretty competitively. So at this session I try to roll with the stronger more seasoned guys, I strongly believe in the iron sharpening iron quote.
I try to avoid girls at all cost during this session, my opponent in 8 weeks isn’t a girl obviously so the more physically strong the better at this point.
To answer whether I roll like a douche or not. If I were rolling with a girl or male with significantly less weight I would try to use less weight and play a more technical game but still looking to submit. I’m not “letting” anyone put me in a triangle/rnc, I feel like that’s a disservice to them. Maybe that makes me douche, but I can’t remember anyone letting me put anything on them in the beginning.
When I say I roll the same I didn’t think my words would be picked apart and used so literally as you have. I should have said I roll with the same intent, to submit them and not be submitted by them. My competition/fight is looking to beat me up in any way possible, shouldn’t I prepare for that?
The ego in mma/fitness at the moment is terrible. My newsfeed is flooded with selfies and quotes like “get on my level” or stuff that points out how hard they work out compared to others. My favorite one is usually on Fridays and Saturdays when guys/girls post “I’m in the gym on Friday night, how’s the club?” My reaction? Mfer I’m at home with my kid because I did my workouts at a decent time, good for you ya trailblazer :/
In the pursuit of doing anything to be different we often become the opposite, the same as everyone else. We forget how to be individual, losing ourselves to be what we want to be. I’m not saying changing yourself for the better is bad, but the egoism that goes with it isn’t necessary. We forget why we workout in the first place, our health. It shouldn’t be about outdoing the next guy. It’s about bettering yourself. I’m terrified of dying young or of a health related disease, so I push myself in the gym and eat things that aren’t considered comfort food and tastes like dirt. Small sacrifice to see my great grand kids. I don’t give a sh*t if anyone I know sees me working out or eating healthy because I’m not doing it for them, I do it so I feel good about myself. Sometimes ill post a quick video of doing something cool, but it’s more to market the gym/team/coach that I’m working with. I’m not doing anything different than anyone else, I’m no pioneer in the fitness/mma industry. When I see power lifters post their stuff or professional body builders, that’s something else entirely. That stuff is impressive! My selfie probably looks like most guys, no need to post it. I’m not lifting extraordinary amounts of weight that I deserve a medal or a round of applause for. I love the way I feel before/during/after a training/gym session. That’s for me, not anyone else. Facebook or twitter won’t make me feel better by posting it, I don’t need “likes” to feel good about myself. Social media junkies are silly. If I inspire anyone along the way I hope it’s because of the way I carry myself, hopefully with good character.
I apologize if I pushed any buttons, I’m not tagging anyone specifically. Be happy and be you, don’t be one of those guys. Feel good about yourself, don’t rely on others to do it for you. Have a great, productive, lazy, exciting, (whatever!) weekend. Ous
One day, high on mount Olympus, two sisters were playing a game of Mortal Chess. a favorite game of the Gods.Venus, the Goddess of love, sat waiting as Diana, Goddess of the hunt, pondered her next move. Diana, was holding a favored piece, an Amazonian huntress, full of grace and beauty. She treasured the mortal for her devotion, who always offered her hunt to the Goddess first. Diana guarded her heart jealously for fear of losing the huntress. Would be suitors were turned away in scorn, her mind reserved only for the hunt. Now Venus, who was a jealous God herself, had come up with a plan. She whispered in her son Cupids ear….
The huntress had set out early that morning. Winter was fast approaching and she wanted to be well stocked before the snows came. She threw on a simple white toga, ripped at the thigh to allow free movement. She slid the quiver of arrows, fletched herself, over her shoulder and gathered her bow. It was a beautiful piece she had crafted herself from a yew branch. She walked out of her casa, near the edge of the forest. She stopped at a stream nearby, scooping the cool water with her hands to quench her thirst. It would be a long run.
She took off at a lope, her strides long and graceful. She ran barefoot, foregoing sandals for want of silent movement. Not even the birds stirred when she was on the hunt. Diana had blessed her with uncanny abilities, and she used them well. The perfect hunter.
After running through the forest for most of the morning, she finally spotted animal signs. Bending to one knee to examine them, she smiled in satisfaction. They were Deer tracks, and fresh. Her prey was close, she resumed her run, easily following the tracks. This was the part she loved most, the chase. As the miles melted away, she slowed her pace. Her quarry was near.
She crouched low, Sliding from tree to tree, near invisible to the untrained eye. Spotting a glade, the sun shining through, she pulled her bow from shoulder. Beautiful flowers in full bloom dotted the forest floor, odd for the season. In the middle of the glade, munching on grass, stood her prey; a beautiful doe, serene and vulnerable. The huntress crept, slowly pulling an arrow and notching it as she closed the distance. So close now. She halted her movement and rose. She pulled the arrow back, taking aim. Suddenly, the doe looked up, turning towards the huntress. Still aiming, the huntress inhaled at the sight. Time froze.
Venus smiled across the board at her sister Diana. The goddess of love had tricked the huntress and Diana could do nothing but look on. Finally, she let out a sigh, nodding her head. Cupids arrow flew.
The huntress put her arrow back in its sheath. The doe darted away, into the woods, obscured from view. Seeing her go, the huntress felt regret, not for want of lost quarry, but something deep within her, a feeling she had never had before. Despair overcame her, and she was left wanting.
Suddenly, walking through the glade was a dark skinned maiden.The huntress stared in wonder, her heart leaping. Words couldn’t describe how she felt. Never before had she seen anything so beautiful. She set down her bow on the forest floor and walked towards the maiden, their gazes locked. Without word or thought, they embraced as if longtime lovers. They held one another, their cheeks touching, lost in the moment. Hand in hand they walked from the glade, their hearts beating as one. The huntress would never hunt again, her soul content in her lovers arms, abstaining from all meat, thus becoming the first vegetarians.
Diana handed the huntress piece to her sister Venus, who smiled in triumph. Cupid floated around the room, happy to do his mothers bidding. The goddess of the hunt had mixed feelings. She did not like losing her prized piece but couldn’t help being happy for the two lovers. Watching them embrace, she chuckled to herself, got up from the table, and walked quietly to her room.
There are people out there that have a photographic memories. They read something and they can pull it up at anytime like a human google search. My brother Aaron is like that, never had homework, did it all in class, graduated with honors etcSmart mfer. I’m the opposite. Tell me your address or phone number, it’s gone before I can write it down. But ask me about the first time I said a curse word (shit, 2years old), the first time I kissed a girl (4, amber, fort Mohave) and it all comes flying back. I can recall things that happened to me over the years with crazy clarity. I can recall not just key moments like the first day of school or first time I punched someone (sorry Tyler), but the silly things, like the second day of school. But mostly, I remember the people that have wronged me.
It’s been an ongoing battle in my head. I hold grudges and wrongdoings like its a job. It sucks my energy. Yeah sure I forgive people, move on, don’t dwell etc but the second I see them, it all comes back. I remember the first time I got called a scrub, 7th grade. My parents had racked up a bit of debt, so I had basically enough clothes to last a week. I got on the bus for school as usual, when this kid, Cody secor goes” hey didn’t u wear that last week? Are you poor or something. F*ing scrub.” I was embarrassed for sure. Hurt a ton. It wasn’t my fault we didn’t have enough. I wanted to kill this guy, he was a little rat but unfortunately his cousin gene had hit puberty at five years old and outweighed me by a hundred pounds. So 7th grade I rode the bus everyday in shame, always holding my breath for the torment that might follow. Years later my closet is overflowing with clothes from sponsors and superman shirts, a testament to that burning moment. I buy ANYTHING Juliet wants. It’s been years, but I’d still slap the ish out of him if we crossed paths.
I could go on and on, throwing names out, the stories never ending. The problem for me is, it goes with friends and family as well. I hold wrongdoings up front. It effects my judgement and decisions. My mom is really sick right now. She has a tumor on her kidney, and a bit of stomach cancer. I haven’t talked to her in a long time. No point in talking about why. But I think it’s time to forgive and try to forget. I don’t want to wait until its too late. Enough people have died in my life for me to know this doesnt last forever. So with great regret ill be leaving Thailand soon. Not for good mind you, this place still has my heart. My dad owes me a hug as well. I’m getting too old to be unforgiving. My daughter is too great of a joy for me to have a cloud on my heart.It’s time to remember the good and forget the bad. It’s time for peace.
The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. -Eden Philpotts.
As I climbed down from my horse, I couldn’t help but smile. It had been a long journey, the days spent in the saddle had not been kind. My aching legs were a testament to my lack of equestrianship. But I was home. It had been many years since I journeyed out from these walls. The familiarity was instant, the main thoroughfare mostly unchanged. The bakers shop still stood. I could smell the fresh baked bread, the scent bringing back the times mother had sent me to fetch a loaf for supper. Sometimes, when the baker was in a good mood, he’d slip me a cinnamon loaf. I absently wondered if he still owned the place, he had been getting old then, he’d be ancient now. I walked on. It was good to be home. Too long had i been in the eastern lands. I had seen much and learned more.Wandering down a side street, I walked passed the old shop.
No one had taken up the business after my father had passed. I didn’t have a hand for upholstery, let alone one that could craft such pieces as him. I would sit under his work table, my makeshift castle,for hours while he cut and stitched leather works. Sometimes I would catch him staring off, as if in a dream. I knew he was thinking of mother. She had left him, the gambling and his wandering eye had been too much. “One day ill make it right” he often said. He never got the chance.
The apothecary said it was a tumor in his brain. His health deteriorated quickly after that visit, and he was soon bedridden. I sat at his bedside that last day, he had asked me to show him some of the magic my cousin, Alfonso, had taught me over the years. My father loved watching me. I made things disappear and reappear, pulling birds from my robes, my famous “red silk cloth” from my empty hands and all the clever things I had picked up in my apprenticeship. I looked up, he had that same look in his eye when he thought of mother. I touched his hand, it was cold.
I continued on, up and down the streets of my youth. Smokey, my dog, and I would roam the streets, darting through crowds, always on an adventure. A better companion couldn’t be found. Sleeping at the foot of my bed most nights, always on guard despite his small size. Shaking off the nostalgia, I wandered into a tavern.
The room was well lit, not overly crowded with patrons. Tending the bar was a giant of a man, busying himself cleaning glasses and chatting with customers. Setting down his glass, he walked across to me and took my order, an Ale. I spotted a table in the corner where a small crowd gathered around a man, shuffling sea shells. It was a game I had seen in bazaars of the east, expert cons preying on unknowing fools. Wandering over, I watched intently as the shell man “set” the coin on the table. covering it with one of the shells, he expertly palmed the coin, hidden from the untrained eye . In a blur, he deftly shuffled the shells around. The man who had wagered, chose the left. Upon flipping to see it empty, he cursed and got up, walking back to the bar. I sat down, laying a small sack of coins on the table. The con man eyed the bag greedily. “Big wager. Confident!” he said. I smiled. He matched the purse. Laying the coin under the shell, the same ruse as before, he began shuffling the shells. A blur once again. Coming to a sudden halt, he sat back in his chair with a knowing grin. I chose the middle. He leaned forward to flip the shell. “Wait” I said. I batted his hand aside and flipped over the outside shells. Empty. The blood drained from his face, turning pale. I stood up, gathered the coins, accepted praise and claps on the back from the other patrons.
Back at the bar, the big man walked over with another mug, set it down in front of me. “on the house”. And walked to the other end. I smiled, sipping the strong drink.
Disclaimer: all characters and events in this story are purely fictional and used for entertainment purposes only. I’m certainly not as cool as the guy in the story. Thanks for reading.
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 friend 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 friends 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 friend 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 friend 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 friend 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 friend 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 friend, 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 blonde hair 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 friend 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 friend 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 friend, 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 friend, 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. 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 went. They 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, missing the whole thing. 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 friend and his friend had passed out on opposite ends of the bed. It was getting late, i wasn’t ready for this to end. 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. His body was so hard, a job requiring I assume. 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 grinned. Great timing mom. “I love you too, I’ll call you in the morning”. I hung up. Just as I was about to lay back down, my friends 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. I wasn’t ready to say goodnight. What if I didn’t see him again? What happens in Vegas really stays in Vegas?! 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 still tipsy, 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.