I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it anymore!


Tonight I was awakened from a fitful drinking binge while watching UFC 127, shortly after six o’clock at night by a shrill, sibilant, faceless voice. At first I thought it was Joe Rogan. It was not.

               
I couldn’t make it out at first, in the dark living room.
                 
I said “I’m sorry, you will have to talk a little louder. I’m pretty drunk.”
                
And the voice said, “I want you to tell the people the truth. Not easy,
because they don’t wanna know the truth.”
                
And I said “You’re kidding? What the hell should I know about the truth?”
                 
But the voice said to me, “Don’t worry about the truth.”
                 
“I will put the words in your mouth.” And I said “What is this? The burning bush? I’m not Moses.” 
And the voice said “I’m not God. What has that got to do with it?”
                 
The voice said “We’re not talking about eternal or absolute or ultimate truth. We’re talking about impermanent, transient, BJJ truth. I don’t expect you to be capable of truth, but at least you’re capable of self-preservation.”
                 
And I said “Why me?”
And the voice said, “Because you write a blog, dummy!”
                       
“You have 6 or 7 readers. After this you could have 12! I’m not asking you to wear sackcloth and ashes, preaching the Armageddon. You write a blog, man!”
                
So I thought about it for a moment.
                 
And then I said “OK.”
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad.
It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work, or scared of losing their means of paying gym dues.
The dollar buys a nickel’s worth of a crappy UFC pay-per-view that could have gone towards a BJJ tourney. Gyms are going bust. People are lying about being a blackbelt. Arm bars are taught without mentioning that you knee to squeeze your goddamned knees together!
                 
Punks are running wild wearing their shiny Ass-fliction shirts, and nobody knows what to do. There’s no end to it.
                 
We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. So many people refuse to wash their gi.
                  
We sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had over-paid douche just signed a $10 million contract to throw a ball, as if that’s the way it should be.
We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy.
                 
Everything is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more.
                
We sit in the gym, and the worid we live in gets smaller. All we say is “Please, at least leave us alone on our Zebra mats.”
                 
“Let me have my gi and my rashguard and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”
                  
Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad!
                 
I don’t want you to protest or riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman. I don’t know what to do about the depression, the inflation and the rubber guard.
                 
All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad!
                  
You’ve gotta say “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”
                 
So… I want you to get up now.
                  
I want all of you to get up out of your chairs.
                 
I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it and stick your head out then immediately sit down in butterfly, De La Riva or x-guard and yell “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  
                                    
“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Then we’ll figure out what to do about dicks that scream for the fight to be stood up. The wrestlers that are afraid to be on their backs. The assholes that claim they would never tap to a submission.
But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out and yell “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

…okay, hold on a second, let take a moment and compose myself. I’m on my sixth margarita and just ate a whole box of Cadbury Creme Eggs. So my tummy hurts.
Yes, that entire rant was stolen and bastardized from the incredible movie Network, but still, homeboy’s got a point.

Minnesota and Wisconsin Grappling Events After 02/20/11

Here is a list of the upcoming grappling events in Minnesota and Wisconsin (links provided where available):

03/12/11: MatMania Ground Grappling Tournament. Saturday, March 12 · 9:30am – 12:30pm. At Petushin Martial Arts 2930 146th Street, Ste 110 Rosemount, MN (entry cost still to come). $20 entry fee.

This is a “start from knees” tournament. Sorry wrestlers and judo guys, gotta win the old fashion way (through scrambling and flailing). Paul runs one of – if not THE- safest events in the Twin Cities. Make sure to get their early to hear exactly what you can’t do.

03/12/11: Iron Man 3 at Neisen’s Sports Bar in Savage, MN. FREE (as of the posting of this blog), No Gi tournament. No points, submission only event. If no submission after the initial time period, competitors will chose either standing, bottom guard or top guard starting position. The first to secure a dominant position will be awarded win via advantage point.

At the last event, every was scheduled at least two matches. If you won both you could choose from a shirt they had available. If you won three (either because you were scheduled 3 or because you asked to do an extra) you got your choice of clothing/equipment. No guarantee it will be the same situation at this event.

Weight classes to be determined based on weight, BJJ experience and wrestling experience. NO SANDBAGGING! Call (952) 846-4513 for more details.

04/09/11: Spring 2011 St. Croix Valley Grappling Games in Hudson Wisconsin. This is a “Gi Trumps” event, meaning that if one of the two competitors wants to wear a gi, both have to wear a gi. To avoid disappointment, DO NOT COME WITHOUT A GI. Click HERE for registration packet and more info.

For those of you that attend the Sub Hunt as your largest competition of the year, this is an excellent prep tournament. Good attitude, great skills, same point system and cheap! $25 before 3/21, $30 after.

04/16/11: Combat Corner Grappling Championships Vol. 7
Featuring two $400 cash prize  Absolute divisions for 170 lbs. and under and 171 lbs. and up.            
At only $45 (pre-register) for both GI and NOGI divisions it remains one of the cheapest best run tournaments in the country.  All 1-3 places in all divisions will receive custom Die Cast medals, the division winner will get an additional prize from our sponsors.

Friday Night weigh-Ins  @ 5:00-7:00 PM Combat Corner Fight Shop.
Saturday Weigh-Ins  9:00-10:30 AM @Pius High School.
Rules Meeting @ 10:30AM
Grappling Starts @ 11:00AM


Follow LINK for more information

04/30-05/01/11: NAGA Chicago (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Pre-registration is open. Click HERE for details.

05/21/11: Submission Hunt (Back at Champlin Park High School… Thank God!) Click HERE for website and details.

Pre Registration Fee:
One Division = $50- (Kids & Teens may compete in both divisions for the price of one)
Both Divisions=$70
Late Registration Fee:
One Division = $60- (Kids & Teens may compete in both divisions for the price of one)
Both Divisions=$80

08/27/11-08/28/11: NAGA Midwest, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

11/12/11-11/13/11: NAGA Illinois, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

BJJ: The Political Party

I’m not sure what it is about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but for some reason, politics seems to come up more than I would like. Which is to say it comes up at all.

Perhaps it is because the typical BJJ gym owner is a small business man (or woman, never met one, but I’m sure they are out there). The ideas of taxes and outsourcing and all those other words I don’t understand seems to be on the forefront of conversation tangents.

So, I got to thinking, could BJJ be it’s own political party?

I say, why not? A vampire ran for governor of Minnesota a few years back. And then there is Jesse, but we don’t talk about him.

First, let’s look at the main point. We are practitioners of a combat sport. I like to think that we all support our troops. And we have a healthy dose of testosterone that we want to get out.

Then again, this is the “gentle art”. We are unarmed combatants that don’t finish submissions or go for the kill. We have found a peaceful median between violence and pacifism.

Okay, let’s take the Eddie Bravo route. Weed.

While I am neither a user or proponent of marijuana use, nor interested in the legalization of it, I do understand the potential medical benefits that it can give to terminal patients. It increases appetite and reduces pain.

Oh, you have ADD? How about instead of weed you sit the f*** down and shut the f*** up!

Sorry, not sure where that came from.

There is a lot of weed use amongst BJJ practitioners. The idea that it increases flexibility, loosens the mind and allows the body to flow are all key arguments. A very liberal stance.

However, BJJ is a combat sport and could some day come under scrutiny of drug testing. Not sure why, but if some office drone has to take a piss test, why not a combat athlete?

Hmmm… our actions and ideals seem to jump around the political spectrum.

Perhaps religion is the key. Most, if not all, of us have sputtered an “Oh, God” or (my favorite) “help me Jesus” at some point in an intense session of rolling. Invoking a deity would seem to suggest that we leave ourselves open to a higher power.

Then again, those deities tend to come in human form and go by the names Rigan, Rickson, JJ, Roger, Renzo, Helio and the like.

Crap, stuck somewhere in the middle…

Wait, that’s it! We’ve found the way to bridge the party gap! We have found a way to stretch our hands across the aisle.

Of course, we are going for an arm bar while we do that, but still. It’s something!

We are the young. The old. The liberals. The conservatives. We are BJJ.

Vote BJJ in 2012! Not just for the Olympics, but let’s get someone in the White House that might just go for a flying triangle if peace talks break down. Then offer the submitted a hit off his oneie.

Minnesota and Wisconsin Grappling Events After 02/20/11

Here is a list of the upcoming grappling events in Minnesota and Wisconsin (links provided where available):

03/12/11: MatMania Ground Grappling Tournament. Saturday, March 12 · 9:30am – 12:30pm. At Petushin Martial Arts 2930 146th Street, Ste 110 Rosemount, MN (entry cost still to come).

This is a “start from knees” tournament. Sorry wrestlers and judo guys, gotta win the old fashion way (through scrambling and flailing). Paul runs one- if not THE- safest events in the Twin Cities. Make sure to get their early to hear exactly what you can’t do.

03/12/11: Iron Man 3 at Neisen’s Sports Bar in Savage, MN. FREE (as of the posting of this blog), No Gi tournament. No points, submission only event. If no submission after the initial time period, competitors will chose either standing, bottom guard or top guard starting position. The first to secure a dominant position will be awarded win via advantage point.

At the last event, every was scheduled at least two matches. If you won both you could choose from a shirt they had available. If you won three (either because you were scheduled 3 or because you asked to do an extra) you got your choice of clothing/equipment. No guarantee it will be the same situation at this event.

Weight classes to be determined based on weight, BJJ experience and wrestling experience. NO SANDBAGGING! Call (952) 846-4513 for more details.

04/09/11: Spring 2011 St. Croix Valley Grappling Games in Hudson Wisconsin. This is a “Gi Trumps” event, meaning that if one of the two competitors wants to wear a gi, both have to wear a gi. To avoid disappointment, DO NOT COME WITHOUT A GI. Click HERE for registration packet and more info.

For those of you that attend the Sub Hunt as your largest competition of the year, this is an excellent prep tournament. Good attitude, great skills, same point system and cheap! $25 before 3/21, $30 after.

04/16/11: Combat Corner Grappling Championships Vol. 7
Featuring two $400 cash prize  Absolute divisions for 170 lbs. and under and 171 lbs. and up.              
At only $45 (pre-register) for both GI and NOGI divisions it remains one of the cheapest best run tournaments in the country.  All 1-3 places in all divisions will receive custom Die Cast medals, the division winner will get an additional prize from our sponsors.

Friday Night weigh-Ins  @ 5:00-7:00 PM Combat Corner Fight Shop.
Saturday Weigh-Ins  9:00-10:30 AM @Pius High School.
Rules Meeting @ 10:30AM
Grappling Starts @ 11:00AM


Follow LINK for more information

04/30-05/01/11: NAGA Chicago (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Pre-registration is open. Click HERE for details.

05/21/11: Submission Hunt (Back at Champlin Park High School… Thank God!) Click HERE for website and details.

Pre Registration Fee:
One Division = $50- (Kids & Teens may compete in both divisions for the price of one)
Both Divisions=$70
Late Registration Fee:
One Division = $60- (Kids & Teens may compete in both divisions for the price of one)
Both Divisions=$80

08/27/11-08/28/11: NAGA Midwest, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

11/12/11-11/13/11: NAGA Illinois, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

Is BJJ Too Expensive?

Does this scene look familiar?

Ah, the joy a BJJ gym owner must feel on a regular basis when guys like this walk through the front door.

At first I thought that the idea of this video was a bit ridiculous, until I talked to my instructor who laughed, not because it was over-the-top, but because it hit close to home.

I think that if you are reading this, it is safe to assume to know all too well how expensive this sport is. Around the Twin Cities alone I have heard of monthly enrollment costs that range from $75-$175, each with their own rules and limitations in regards to how many classes you can attend.

Few of these schools have black belts as their head instructors. Even fewer have more than one.

Don’t get me wrong, having a black belt isn’t everything and the color of a person’s belt alone isn’t enough to make you forget the dent in your pocket book, but try to look at it from a more objective point of view.

First, rent costs money. Go figure, that gym you train in is either being leased or rented.

Second, these gyms aren’t national chains (at least most aren’t). It isn’t like a major gym like Lifetime Fitness. There aren’t thousands of members that can pick up the slack (most of which never even going to the gym, all-the-while having $50 a month or more taken out of their dues).

Third, you are being taught. Personal trainers at the gym are $50/hour if you find a cheap one. Break it down and even if you are only going twice a week for an hour that’s 8 hours a month. Which would cost $400 at a major chain. Sounds like value to me.

Fourth, this is a specialized field. This is a sport and talent all rolled into one. We claim that anyone can do this sport and yet something like 75% of everyone that ever starts this sport quits at or before they get their blue belt. Less than 10% survive to get their black belt. This isn’t something where you can put your money on the counter and just do it yourself. This is talent. This is dedication. This is a BJJ Lifestyle (shameless plug).

And finally… you know what, if you need any more reasons than this, maybe you should head down to Strip-Mall Karate. As long as your check clears you should be on your way to a black belt within the year.

Comp Review: MKG Tourney in Minneapolis 02/05/11

Sorry folks, no pics for this one. My camera was recently seized as evidence and by advice of council I will not explain any further.

But that’s okay, I can come up with a thousand words or so to make up for a missing picture. And in the case of just about any tournament put on by MKG, they will all be good.

Minnesota Kali Group is situated rather nondescriptly in South Minneapolis of Chicago Avenue, just far enough from the part of town you would want a working knowledge of kali, muay thai or BJJ to walk through… probably not the case, but I am a sad, scared little man from the suburbs.

Gym manager Fabio always puts on a good show that exists for the simple purpose of having a competition in the Twin Cities. It is small, not very well hyped, but always attended by some truly high-class grapplers with great skills.

Mainstays at this tournament seem to be the guys from Fargo BJJ, Mario Roberto’s in Rochester and Revolution fitness. But there are usually the scattered offerings of other (some much larger schools) like Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, MKG Duluth, Midwest Center for Movement, McCune Martial Arts (formerly No Rules, new link will be provided once complete), and even the less BJJ competition oriented Warrior’s Cove.

This was an adults only competition as well as being a Gi Only competition. Normally when you throw both of those qualifiers out there, numbers tend to dwindle. It tends to scare away the rubber guard practitioners and the MMA fighters/wrestlers that only want to grind in out.

And you know what? That’s okay by me.

What you get are those dedicated grapplers that not only want more chances to compete and train against other schools, but also those that want to show their support for the sport and any school that is willing to go through the headache of putting the event on.

I would say that there were around 50 or so grapplers at the event (I have been there for far fewer numbers in the past) and all of them seemed to have that look in their eye like they were ready to compete. The event itself cruised by.

Fabio and his associates did their best (for the most part) to keep the matches going, even if it meant starting new brackets to give recently finished grapplers a chance to rest.

A “Duh” moment that other events just don’t seem to understand.

Fabio did make a major change to his scoring format. His old format only gave 1 point for each position and no additional points could be earned unless all positions had been achieved. This was in an effort to keep grapplers searching for the submission instead of point stacking.

Evidently this was met with some harsh criticism as of late (at least for the Gi tourney and I am guessing it was by wrestlers) and Fabio switched to the more widely used IFBJJ rules to accommodate (although not all points were getting noticed, again, no big deal as it didn’t seem to matter much in any particular match).

There was an energy and camaraderie at the event that is rarely witnessed. Beyond the customary handshake, hugs were given, posed pictures taken, even jokes voiced mid match. All of which lightened the mood and made for a very fast paced flow to the day.

And with few muscle tweeks here and there (all of which pure accidents caused from unfortunate positions) the event went off without a hitch.

I, for one, always look forward to MKG tournaments. And it seems that Fabio, in an effort to keep events moving quickly, has decided to do Gi and No Gi tournaments separately, it just makes for even more chances throughout the year to get out there and compete in this great state of Minnesoooooota.

Special props to teams from Fargo BJJ, Duluth MKG and Mario Roberto’s in Rochester for not only making the drive, but seemingly always making the drive to the Twin Cities to show their support and lend their top notch talent to the competition.