Cheonan or Bust!

OK, here’s the update. I just accepted a job offer teaching in Cheonan, South Korea at a school called ILS (International Language School). It’s pretty close to Seoul, the water and a bunch of city life that I’m excited to explore.

I start November 3rd, so I’ll be hanging around the USA a bit longer than I originally planned, but patience is a virtue. Hoping to be productive, get some more freelance work and maybe travel a bit domestically in the meantime.

I must say, I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of advice given to me along the way by people who have been there and done that with the ESL teaching thing. I wouldn’t have figure it all out on my own in time, I’m sure, so thank you! You know who you are!

If anyone’s interested in checking out ESL teaching jobs in South Korea, I’m pretty much an expert at the process now, so feel free to ask me!

Anyways, that’s my news for now. I’ll be updating more as time goes along.

An Update On Pretty Much Everything… Oh, And I’m Moving Overseas (Probably)

Where I’ve Been

2014 has been an interesting year. I haven’t posted much on my blog because I spent the early half of the year in a bit of a daze as I packed up my life in Colorado and slowly trekked back East, interviewing with various companies along the way. It simply has been too hard for me to write about in explicit detail. But generally speaking, I went through a breakup. Not just a breakup with a woman whom I loved very much, but with an entire family, with friends, with a city and a lifestyle that I had come to be quite comfortable in. The heartbreak was real. I’d be dishonest if I said the first half of this year wasn’t some of the hardest times I’ve been through in my entire life, yet somehow I managed to experience some of the biggest stretches of growth in my life as well. As one of my favorite quotes from a BJJ Master says: “Reduce your elements and become efficient in very small details.”

Gratefully, with some help and a lot of space and time I got some things physically and mentally back in order that hadn’t even realized were holding me back. It wasn’t a fast or easy process, as I so wanted it to be, but sometimes the right place and time happens upon you and you have to agree to go through the entire process of healing and growth, regardless of what it takes to get through. Or you could just choose not to grow, but that’s a whole other matter…

So here I am at a turning point. A moment that will shift my entire life as I know it. I’ve prepared myself for this by getting in shape and losing over 40 lbs through diet and exercise. I’ve also doubled-down on my mediation practice and mental fortification through reading more.

So here we find ourselves.

Bye Bye Wheels

Yesterday I sold my 2008 Toyota Yaris. That car was damn good to me over the years. It’s seen a lot of this country with me and has never failed me when I needed it. I was in a pensive and grumpy mood when I was closing on selling it because everything about the situation seemed like it was stripping me of my identity and mobility. Yet, it was my idea to sell my car under these circumstances. I could have waited a few more weeks, taken a few more job interviews, or just put it off a little bit longer for maybe more money, but what as I signed the car’s title over and accepted payment, all of my anxiety about the transaction vanished and was replaced with gratitude. I had just sold off the single most valuable asset I owned and I now had what I needed to take the next steps I’ve been planning for so long.

Where I’m Heading

In about a month, I’m planning to move overseas to South Korea to become an ESL teacher for a one year contract. I’ve held off on telling many people I know because I’ve had various potential employers here state-side whom I’ve been speaking with over the past few months and I was sort of just waiting to see if they made me an offer that would convince me that going overseas wasn’t worth it. But, after spending months researching what teaching ESL in South Korea was like and lamenting on a past decision to pass the same opportunity up I realize that this is exactly what I need to do right now in my life. I’ve wanted to do this before and never did it. Now is the time. So, besides selling my car, I figured publicly announcing to the world my intentions to move across the world should seal the deal on my options. Bold action breeds bold results, or so they say!

So, now what? I am car-less for a few weeks and I don’t know my school, city or departure date yet. Figuring out the exact place I’ll be traveling to in October is of utmost importance. I’ll also consider one or two short trips to take that I’ve passed up this year because of various reasons. But, besides that, I’m taking the next 4-5 weeks to essentially deepen my relationships with friends and family before I go. It’s important to me that everyone know exactly where they stand with me leading up to this.

I’m not sure what else to say except that this choice I’m making truly is an expression of who I am and where I am at in life right now. I am trying to live my truth regardless of how it makes me look to others. I’d encourage everyone else to try and do the same, for that matter. Life is too short. You really don’t know what could happen to upset our perfectly laid plans at any moment, so how much true happiness and expression are you willing to put off and sacrifice in order to have a life that appears safe and calm from the outside?

More updates to come on where I’ll be going and when.

Book Review: Is This Legal? Inside The Story Of The First UFC From The Man Who Created It

I consider myself to be somewhat of an MMA subject matter expert. Of course, I am humble in knowing that I only know what I know from following the main-stream media coverage of the sport and its athletes and figures. However, I’ve been around since 2003 obsessing over every event in the UFC and overseas as well.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 at 12.37.54 PM

So, when I got an email from Art Davie’s media team asking me to review the book “Is This Legal?” I was instantly intrigued. I really enjoy tell-all books. I think the last book I read from an insiders perspective of MMA was Pat Militich’s biography which I absolutely loved. But, I was a fan of Pat’s before reading it and frankly, I had only heard of Art Davie’s name a handful of times before getting this book in my hands to review.

I’ll be very honest about something – I came into reading this book with a real bias against it. I know a lot of people in the MMA world dislike Dana White or the current UFC as a business and have gone their own ways in saying how they built MMA, not White and the Fertittas. I was just hoping this book wasn’t going to be chapter after chapter of arrogant bullshit and shit-slinging about stuff that is way under the bridge.

I was pleasantly surprised to read the opposite of that. Art Davie does a great job of painting himself as a humble, passionate, eccentric business man who was in the right place at the right time in creating the UFC. He does, however, give some insight into the dynamics of the Gracie family that made me slightly squeamish to read about. I’ll attribute that feeling to the fact that I’ve come up and gotten my blue belt under a really old-school black-belt and it’s sort of just understood that you don’t air other people’s personal dirty laundry, especially when they are considered the grand master’s of the sport. I suppose Art Davie took off his own blue belt and put on his businessman coat when he decided to do that. That’s his call.

All-in-all, the book was entertaining to read, had a lot of cool stories about early-stage figures in the original UFC that frankly don’t get brought up anymore and gave a peak into the world of what many for us take for granted – an un-charted and largely illegal new sport that took over the world in later years.

While a lot of the fighting terminology and general descriptiveness is based on terms that seem somewhat antiquated in modern MMA circles, this also gives you a feel for what the atmosphere for this sort of event was back in 1993. It’s almost hard to even consider what it would be like.

My main criticism of the book is that Davie describes one of the tournament fighters, Gerard Gordeau, as a potential member of the Neo-Nazi party, only going on to clear that description a few hundred pages later in the book saying that the salute he was doing wasn’t a Nazi salute, but actually a martial arts salute. I even thought myself that Gordeau might be a Nazi when I read it, only to find out later that he wasn’t. If I hadn’t finished the book, I would have had a forever-spoiled view of Gerard Gordeau and that wouldn’t’ have been fair.

I’d recommend “Is This Legal” to anyone for entertainment value and as something to bolster your knowledge of the sport of MMA and it’s roots in the original UFC. While it seems like this book is set on another planet at times compared to what the UFC is today, it should give you some perspective into how far things have come since then.

Note: Thanks to a reader’s comment and doing some extra digging it turns out Gerard Gordeau does have a Nazi Swastika symbol on his arm, which I never saw before. See here: https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/g6fbg/ufc_nazi/