Rest In Peace, Ramon Dekkers

I’m shocked and saddened to write that one of the best kick-boxers to ever live has passed away. Ramon Dekkers at the age of 43 appears to have died in a motorcycle accident. Details are not flushed out yet, however it is a huge loss to the combat sports community as a whole. His style of thai boxing was the most thrilling the world had ever seen during his peak years.

I’m being honest when I say that this guy is who got me into kickboxing. I studied thai boxing in Boston years ago and watched Ramon Dekker highlights constantly, wishing I could be as fast an fierce as he was.

Terrible news. R.I.P. Ramon Dekkers.

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The Morning After…

Days and weeks that have sort of blurred all together. Very late nights in the office, sneaking away for me time, for relationship time, for BJJ time whenever possible, but far too little…

No real time to bask in the success and fruits of labor. Not yet, anyways. We did good work.

But as I say this, here comes another wave.

Rolling with a Crossfitter

This morning at BJJ class I rolled with a dude who does Crossfit. He might even be a trainer there.

We’re about the same experience level and I must tell you… it felt like I was grappling with a gorilla. Dude wasn’t that big by appearance (nobody looks ripped in a Gi), but holy shit was he strong.

I casually (a.k.a. not enough) cross-train with kettlebells, but I’d love to be able to afford both Crossfit and BJJ subscriptions.

All that being said, I’m still a big, hard, firm believer in technique > strength, so at the very least I can work at becoming more technical every day.

 

What Will IBJJF Doping Testing Bring To Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

I’ve never taken performance enhancing drugs in my life. It’s easy to believe this because I’ve never put athletic performance and championship winning at the top of my life’s goals. I’ve always taken a rather casual approach to my physical well being. Not to say that’s the way to do it. I’m overweight and have been for most of my life, so that just goes to show you that my recent commitment to doing a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has altered my view on what it takes to be good, not even very good or elite at something.

So, am I “committed to excellence” like some people say they are? Well, I’m not sure. However, I know from the second I meet these types of people. There’s a fire in their eye. They’re willing to suffer through injuries while training. They’re not “holistic,” they’re all about the output from the input. Gold medals and first places simply are the only measure to their efforts. They’re also very hard on themselves.

The IBJJF (regulating body for international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition) is going to start drug testing. I’m not totally with how this will be implemented across the world, however there has been much criticism by some out-spoken BJJ competitors (Caio Terra for one) about how so many BJJ world champions are using juice. People are afraid that pure physicality will take away from the technique driven progress the sport has seen over the years. I’m guessing that is the case.

I’m not a black-belt. I don’t roll in the championship circles. I’ve never met a BJJ world champion. I don’t know first, second or third hand who may more may not be doping to win competitions. I’m thinking it’s going be to sad seeing the initial BJJ heroes fall from grace who might try to mask their doping and get caught by the IBJJF. Very poor people in poor parts of this world have been able to put food on tables and shelter over their family’s heads with BJJ. Egos will be shattered, but hopefully the sport will come out better for it.

Stay tuned.

The Accountability of Community

What’s the difference between reading a self-help book on Subject-A and developing or joining  a community around that topic? Well, I believe the difference is that many types of people can get inspired by these concepts of helping themselves, but the lack of accountability and mentorship are a limiting factor in the quest for success.

We can develop support around anything. That is a powerful idea. Where have I failed in the past where I could have succeeded? Where have I failed to offer support when I chose to look after myself instead?

I see so much potential for human growth in the purposeful building of communities alongside ideas. It’s not easy. There are a lot of barriers, but the age of togetherness can’t be ruled out because of how we’ve embraced seemingly isolationist-by-nature technologies.

I am here to build community. I am here to be held accountable and hold others to their highest potential.

Physical Self-Awareness

The days can really blend together and change seems more of an abstract, sudden concept that isn’t currently happening to anyone. That’s how I usually look at it, anyways. I learn a new technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, then I forget it weeks later when I get put in that position when rolling. It’s sort of crazy to think of how many moves there actually are to know in BJJ. I learn one and feel great about it and think, okay, I’ve got that down, now, time for the next one.

But, you never are actually progressing if you don’t learn and retain it all. Black Belts know how to do pretty much every fundamental move and then-some. They understand positions before they occur. They also drill all sorts of situations and techniques to make them muscle memory.

I get frustrated with not retaining everything, because I feel like I’ll have a repository in my mind like Neo in The Matrix. But no, that doesn’t happen. I do put as much time into BJJ as I can, considering my schedule.

Then I grapple with a blue belt and a purple belt and I don’t get tapped right away. I am more aware of my body and of theirs. I go for submissions before they are completely obvious and I’m stoked that I even thought of it.

Suddenly, without thinking about it, I am in my body and am totally aware, without trying to be.

That is beautiful. That is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.