Life lessons from the ice cream King of Mumbai

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

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

IMG_4940.JPG

Namaste bullshit from India and Kuwait

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

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

20140610-173409-63249447.jpg

20140610-173403-63243583.jpg

20140610-173406-63246619.jpg

20140610-173409-63249309.jpg

20140610-173408-63248005.jpg

20140610-173406-63246235.jpg

Anderson Silva and the Achilles Syndrome

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!

20131229-193051.jpg

Accomplishing the New Years resolution

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!

20131227-165904.jpg

20131227-165945.jpg

Big Buddha Cheat Day

My Friday nights are pretty boring compared to your average twenty-something year old male.  I play video games until about 9:30pm if Juliet lets me, Dora or Lion King usually owns the TV.  I wake up at 6:30am regardless of what day it is.  The sun is the alarm clock.  Saturday I like to go for a run early, it’s super hot here in Phuket if I wait until the afternoon.

This Saturday I invited some guys from the gym to run a back trail up to Big Buddha with me.  I like this particular run because it’s not paved, it’s through the jungle, away from all the commotion on the main roads.  I’m not one to marvel at natures beauty.  I’m not some double rainbow hippie.  I look at things appreciate them for a second and move on. Maybe 30 seconds into the run we came across a heard of pigs, not the pink domesticated ones, full on wild boar looking pigs – a few full grown but mostly babies. They scatter away immediately, thankfully because I didn’t want to end up like King Robert.

After making a couple wrong turns, we finally made it onto an elephant trail that I recognized from previous runs.  Of course, there were 4 big ones at the moment, I had to slow to a walk to get a picture so that you skeptical folks wouldn’t doubt me 🙂 We continued up the mountain and finally hit the top, posed for a picture with the enlightened one, and doubled back the way we came. 

A hard run like that deserves a treat. Saturday or Sunday, depending on which day has a better brunch, is my cheat day. We spent the day at Friendship beach, had a lot of previous nights stragglers show up including Noah the bear, Biggie Ol, and one of his un-named lackeys.

After getting my ass kicked on my run, I decided to take it out on a mushroom and eggplant pizza.  Freakin destroyed it! Nothing left!  RAWR! Carry on 🙂