My First BJJ Tournament – The Hardship of Loss

I entered my first #bjj tournament the other week. I finished third and got a bronze medal. As soon as I got back to the changing room, I took it off and hid it in my bag. Why? Well let me elaborate:

I’ve been training for about 6 months in Brazilian jiu jitsu. I’m loving it! I’m making fairly good progress and I can feel improvement. Now I’m a competitive person and competing in tournaments is an important thing in bjj to gage your progress and skill level. So I asked my coach about a tournament. It just so happened there was one in my home town, so I entered.

I’m a fairly big guy and entered at the heaviest weight category. This meant there is no Max weight. And I was nervous as hell about having a huge fat guy sitting on me for 5 minutes and smothering me.

My time comes and I’m waiting mat side. My first fight was against a guy at least 6’6″ and built like the proverbial brick ** house. I lost to a very quick armbar. Not happy but it was a good move.

Second fight was against a literal bull!! 5’0″ tall and the same wide. No skill, I lose my balance and he ends up on top of me (my biggest fear!). For 4 minutes he stalls and in the end I get frustrated and fall into a choke.

So I’ve come to the conclusion I have to drop a few kgs and go down a weight class.

After the matches, I had to stand there and get a medal for losing twice. It felt hollow and undeserved. The other guys won and I didn’t. Simple.

But I’ve been thinking. I’ve worked my arse off to get from having no clue what half guard is to being able to complete in one of the biggest tournaments in the country. That means a high standard. And I tried my hardest in both fights, I put my arse on the line when at least 4 fighters didn’t even turn up for the tournament. So I didn’t win, so I got tapped twice; SO WHAT?! I deserved that medal through hard work and heart. The wins didn’t come today, but they will. And when they do, this medal will mean a WHOLE lot more.

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Facebook Discussion on Holocaust Memorial Centre in UK

So I went on Facebook this morning and a friend of mine posted about the £50 million being given by the government to a new Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre in London. My first initial thought when I saw this was “great! An horrific moment in human history and something we must make sure everyone remembers and future generations learn from”. But then he goes on to say how our public services are being cut under the austerity drive and could this money be better spent else where and also why are other attrocities (his example of the treatment the Irish suffered at the hands of the British) not being given the same kind of thing. And this got me thinking.

So lets break this down and look at each part:

The first and biggest part is the rememberance of the Holocaust and the unspeakable acts that happened, not only towards Jews in Nazi occupied Europe, but to all those in the prison camps. I will state this now: THIS MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! Under no circumstance should any future generation be allowed to forget what ahppened during World War II. The only way we can learn for the future is by looking at the past and this must never be seen in our world again.

That being said, is spending £50million on a monument the best way of doing this? Would that money not be better spent going into the education system to ensure our schools and universities teach the next generation every aspect of the Holocaust, not only the surface levels that the media show us? I’m stuck in the middle. A monument does have an effect on people. Out of sight, out of mind. But if you’ve got a whacking great building stood in front of you, people go “oh yeah, thats for xyz”. Advertising at it were. It piques folks interest and then they investigate it further. But £50 million is a lot of money which I’m sure the education system would be happy to invest in teacher training/books/study aids to not only pique childrens interest, but to ensure that ALL of them know what happened.

Now we reach the part of “other attorcities”. I don’t think he gave this comment much thought at all, for two reasons:

  1. His use of the Irish is moot as the British government will NEVER erect a monument to things it did (yes, we treated you terribly, so have a statue as a way of saying sorry)
  2. Nothing like the Holocaust has ever happened before. Yes, there has been mass genocide all over the world for varying reasons (the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the genocide in Rwanda). but never on the systematic nature and speed with which the Nazis worked.

He mentioned slavery of African people sent to America and other things, but these acts were done over a sweeping time span. Through education, the countries involved in slavery were brought up and out of that and saw it for what it was, a barbaric act which actually hindered the development of their business (a paid person works much harder than a slave), because business was what drove slavery. The Holocaust was not business driven. It was a twisted ideology that infected a desperate people and gave them a glimmer of hope and a scapegoat for this position. The two, in my opinion, cannot be compared. Chalk and chesse without doubt.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I agree and disgaree with my friend. Yes, £50million during a time of austerity is a huge amount of money to spend when public services are being squeezed, but would £50million get the education system very much? I don’t know, but if this Memorial Centre is used as an education centre (almost museum) then good, I’ll go with it. No, the holocaust and slavery (of any people) cannot be compared because they arose (in my view) from very different circumstances. But without doubt, the most overriding thing of all this is:


Guess Who’s Back?!

Nearly 3 years ago, I made my last post on here. So much has changed, yet nothing really has.

New baby….. Same job.

New dreams …… Same position in life.

New ……. that’s about it!

Its quite distrubing when I look at it like that. 3 years is a long time in anyone’s books and nothing much has actually changed in my life. Sure, things have happened and I’m not saying my life isn’t good, but surely something note worthy (other than the birth of my son) must have happened. When I sit down and think, the answer is quite sad.

Yes, my son’s birth was an amazing event in my life and I love him dearly, as my daughter and my wife. And I do love my life too, please don’t think I don’t. But I look around and read other blogs and realise people out there are living life, while I seem to be existing. True, the set up of family life does hinder somewhat the adventurous potential in my life (going off to far flung countries with a 4 year old, 1 year old and a wife who likes her home comforts isn’t going to happen) but there are lots of things I can still do in my current set up. Just have to think of what and how to accomplish them.

So while I ponder on this, I thought I’d pick this blog back up and see where the ramblings take me. Maybe the flow of 1000’s of comments I receive (sarcasm was always a strong point of mine) will guide me in some desicion making, maybe someone out there can give me a guiding hand or maybe I’ll just fill up some server space somewhere in the world with total rubbish.

Either way: I’M BACK!!!

The Best Thing About Hotels

I’ve just come back from a lovely break in Majorca with my family. It was our first holiday alone (all the other times we’ve gone with family or friends, this was just me, my wife and daughter) and was brilliant!!

Of course, we stayed in a lovely hotel. This was a bit of a home from home for me as my day to day work is as an accountant in a hotel. Every day, I see hotels running from the back-office, from orders to cooking, maintenance to payroll, but I never stopped to think about the housekeepers and the work they do. Oh sure, I work with them everyday and get on well with them, but because I don’t go in the rooms I don’t see the fruits of their labour. On holiday, I got reminded of the cracking job they do.

As this brings us to the nub of my post: The Best Thing About Hotels………. Coming back to your room after a tiring day doing whatever and finding the bed made nicely, fresh towels in the bathroom and the room tidy and smelling wonderful! We all hate doing housework, even the clean freaks who do it religiously would like to stop if they knew it would get done, it’s just such a stressful monotonous job! So when you go on holiday, you want to relax and not do those type of jobs.

I can think of nothing more relaxing than a clean room and remembering you don’t have to worry about making a mess because YOU don’t have to clean it! The rest of the holiday is just a bonus 🙂

Long Time Coming

My god, it’s been a while!!! How you been doing Blog?

I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. I felt I had nothing to say and no drive to say what I did have. But I’m going to change that. I’m going to get you back on the road!

So let me start right here, right now…….. And there will be more to come, I can promise you that!!

Grit and Determination…. What Do You Mean “They Don’t Come For Free?!”

I’ve been training at my MMA gym for about 5 months now. If truth be told, at the beginning of December, I was looking to throw it off as I just couldn’t get my head around the grappling aspect of the game. Unlike my coach, I struggle immensely with personal drive and determination.

I’m going to start with my coach. He is one of the most genuinely nice people I have ever had the pleasure to have met. Many times in life, you meet someone and say: “What a nice guy” but they’re just a regular person who isn’t horrid. Then you meet someone who goes the extra mile, who genuinely cares about people and isn’t out for number 1. This is my coach. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him be negative about anything, even after one of our fighters was cheated out of victory in his first fight and the rules changed on the day of the event. Every time I speak to him or read his Facebook, I hear/see nothing but positive vibes oozing from him. Not to mention determined. He’s done things this year most people talk about but never bother. Setting up seminars with internationally renowned fighter and  without the backing of big named gyms/promotions to swing the deal.

So my point of this blog is not to say what an amazing guy he is. The point of this blog is to try and take from him that determination. I’m probably the opposite from him. The most committed thing I’ve done is get married and have a baby. Every day, I get into work thinking “I’ve got this to do/that to do and I will do it by the end of the day”…… Then I sit there and write a blog. At the end of the week, when my boss is screaming at me for late submission of accounts or something else, I get upset and wonder why!!

My problem is I have:

  1. A short attention span
  2. No self drive

Number 1 is difficult to deal with, or at least I think it is WITHOUT number 2. I deal with number 2, that will smash number 1 out of the park. But how do you go about motivating yourself? How can you change your perspective to gain a drive in your life? The perfect example is this: I sign up for a gym, do the induction, go a few times but never really break a sweat. Then I leave it and watch the money drain from my bank every month. However, I go to rugby or mma training, I bust a gut with someone yelling at me and I get so much more from it. Is it boredom? Could be partially it. Is it laziness in that I need someone to stand over me while I do things?

Not sure either way, but I have to change it soon. I’ve so many options available to me to make a better life but without this drive, I’ll let everyone single one of them slip me by. Guess I should stop blogging and get on with my mountain of work now

La Famiglia

I met my wife 7 years ago. I had moved to Southampton with my mum when I was 21 from my home in London. The reasons for my move are for another blog. So I met my wife down here, my mum moved back to London and I essentially stayed down here.

This is fine and I don’t regret this one bit. I have a great life, job, friends etc. But I drastically miss my family.

This became even more apparent to me last night.

All week, my little girl and wife have been suffering with a horrid cold/flu thing. I’ve had a head cold, but nothing drastic. We had planned for months to go up to London for my step-dads 60th birthday. All my mums side of the family were going to be there. This doesn’t often happen and I was really looking forward to spending the time with them. But due to my girls being ill, we couldn’t go.

At the time, I consoled myself with the fact that we were too poorly to go, and that was the case. But I’ve just seen some pictures on Facebook of the party last night, and it really hits home how I miss my mum, my family and being with them (even though they drive me insane!)

Unfortunately, money is so tight at the moment that going to visit them regularly is just not an option. £30 round trip in petrol a week is just crazy. But I need to figure something out. I want my daughter growing up knowing her family and I want them to be a bigger part of my life.

Maybe one day we can all live closer, or win the lottery so traveling isn’t such an issue!

Night From Hell

So I think I had an evening that qualifies as one of the really bad ones last night.

I get home from rugby covered from head to toe in mud. I only live across the road, so rather than shower, I was looking forward to a nice hot bath loving run by my wife. I put my kit in the washing machine, went upstairs, put my toe in to test the temperature and nearly jumped out of my skin………. Freezing bloody cold! For some reason, our boiler had broken down. Now exactly the same thing happened last year. Christmas eve it breaks and we spend the next few days huddled under blankets and around oil heaters for warmth. So we were smart and took out the manufacturers insurance package. They’re coming out tomorrow. Still a pain, but luckily not the depths of winter just yet.

I end up boiling a few kettles of water and washing in the sink. As I’m doing this, I hear my 18 month old girl wake up by coughing like a sea-lion! Normally, we’re not the panicking type of parents, but my father-in-law was diagnosed with pneumonia on Monday and she had been around him on the weekend. 10.45 we find ourselves at the front door to the work in centre (thought it better than clogging up A&E) only to be told they’re closed…….. So off we go to A&E.

We were ushered through to the children’s ward very quickly, but there the good luck stopped. 3 hours later, after I’ve been surrounded by brats whose parents couldn’t control them and refused to cover their mouths when they coughed or sneezed, a moody doctor decided to look at my little ‘un. She has a nasty chest, throat and ear infection, got the drugs and was told to go home.

So we get home, get to bed about 3.30am. 5 am my daughter wakes up screaming. She wouldn’t calm down. In the end, my wife took her downstairs to play. I tried to follow, but my wife insisted I stay in bed as I had work and she didn’t.

So now I’m sat at work, with match sticks holding open my eyes, drowning myself in thick black coffee and praying my little girl feels better.

I guess it could have been worse, it could have happened tonight and ruined my birthday tomorrow (yes, I know it’s  a shameless plug, but who cares!)

Funny or Bullying?

I first saw this video a few weeks back and I found it hilarious:

Of course, I found this funny for the same reason I’m sure all of you are now laughing away. Since then, I’ve found a few more videos online staring this guy:

And then an interview (of sorts from a bedroom) with the main man himself made by his buddy:

Up until this point, I thought this was still really funny. True, the guy does seem a little slow and at some point you have to wonder is it really fair to be laughing at him rather than with him, but I was happy enough wetting myself laughing at the enthusiasm he throws into his singing and the fact he really doesn’t care what people think. That was until I saw this vid:

Now I appreciate that some people do not want to hear a guy singing his little heart out on the bus first thing in the morning, especially if he can’t hold a note. But there is no need to throw things at him and be generally horrid. We live in the 21st century where we’re supposed to be accepting, kind, understanding people who look on ourselves and our community with this attributes. I can’t see that from this video. I have to be honest that I stopped watching about 1.17 as I suddenly felt so sorry for the guy and ashamed at myself for laughing at his videos. Does laughing at the videos make me just as bad as the clowns who were throwing things at him?

I’m sure we’ve all been in this sort of situation. A misfortunate person, such as Carmine, does something that we find funny. This may be singing or falling over or dancing or anything but we laugh. At the time, I’m sure 95% of don’t think anything malicious about it. It’s simply another human being doing something funny. But does that make it right? How does that person feel? Are they trying to make us laugh or just doing something they like to do and would feel upset at being laughed at?

I don’t know if I’m being too touchy, but I hate to think of someone being bullied, let alone being bullied on the scale of having a video of them posted on YouTube for millions to see and laugh at.

Then again, am I making things worse by posting the vids in this blog? Damn, having a conscience is tough!!!

What Have I Let Myself In For?!

I’ve been training mma for about 2 months now. Nothing serious, just 1 or 2 sessions a week. Before this, as my regulars will know, I trained san shou. So my background is mainly stand-up fighting. However I felt I needed to broaden my view on fighting and competing, so mma was the next logical step.

I’ve just agreed to take part in an interclub fight in December. Now, interclub fights are NOT big news. Shouldn’t be anything major, but I’m having serious doubts about my abilities. Am I really THAT good to step into the ring? I know I can handle a stand up fight, even if I lose, I’ll be able to walk out without too bad a beating. But my ground work is atrocious and I’m very worried about being on the bad end of the dreaded “ground and pound“.

I’m sure the organisers of this event will match each person with an opponent of similar weight and (more importantly I think) similar experience, so I shouldn’t be facing anyone who has 25 fights under their belt. But then there is no guarantee of that. It’s all too easy to say “this is my first fight” while trying to hide your UFC championship belt.

I’m sure some people will say not to fight if I have any doubts, and they’d probably be right. But I also REALLY REALLY REALLY want to compete. I’m not in it for the fighting or beating down on someone. I’m in it for the competition, to see if I’m good enough. And the only way I can do that, is to fight.

So I’m in a quandary. I guess I have 8-9 weeks in which to make my mind up (to give time to cancel I mean) and in the mean time, I guess I train as much as I can, cover the bare basics, get my cardio up and not let my doubts control me.

Wish me luck!