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!!!

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!!

Pictures of Horror

I’m reading an amazing book called Voices of Yesterday by Michael Yarwood. It is set in the Warsaw Ghetto during ’42-43 and the oppression and systematic extermination of the Jews by the Nazi’s. And the vivid words of the writer got me to thinking and imagining what these people went through, the suffering and brutality forced upon them by the Nazi’s (and not just Jews, but Romani, homosexuals, ethnic minorities and many more). The figures stand at around 6 MILLION Jews wiped out by the Nazi regime (2/3 of the European population of Jews). If you include the other  groups killed by the Nazi’s this figures rises to between 11-17 MILLION PEOPLE! All non-soldiers.

So I’ve done some surfing and found some pictures I’d like to share with you. Next time you hear someone verbally abuse someone or say racist or homophobic comments, show them these photos and ask them to look into the people’s eyes and put themselves in their shoes:

April 12, 1945: Lager Nordhausen, where 20,000 inmates are believed to have died.

A member of Einsatzgruppe D is about to shoot a man sitting by a mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1942. Present in the background are members of the German Army, the German Labor Service, and the Hitler Youth.[94] The back of the photograph is inscribed “The last Jew in Vinnitsa”.

Jews captured and forcibly pulled out from dugouts by the Germans during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The photo is from Jurgen Stroop’s report to Heinrich Himmler

A child dying on the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto

Starving prisoners in Mauthausen camp liberated on May 5, 1945

Romani children in Auschwitz, victims of medical experiments

A grave inside Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

I’m sure some people who see this will still stick by their disturbing views of racial and religious superiority, but these people have no soul. No human being can look at these images, think clearly about what is being done and still condone secular violence or hatred of any kind. Please, I beg you all, educate each other and the youth of today.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
-George Santayana

I’ve Finally Jailbroken my iPhone

I’ve taken the plunge and jailbroken my iPhone. All I can say is……. WOOHOO!!!!

Now I’m no app developer or IT whizz. Far from it. I know what I know, and I enjoy what I know. I also like my little enjoyments in life and this jailbreaking business is certainly going to give me the enjoyments! Already, my phone now has a background picture, sounds different (Star Wars theme so a light-sabre sound emits when I lock and unlock my phone…….yes I’m a geek) and performs differently.

I have noticed that the performance is a little……haggered. Nothing drastic, but a definite slowing. Athough at the minute, the enjoyment it’s giving me is far out weighing the sluggishness (however small).

I’m now at the point where I want more. I’ve been flicking through google trying to find different apps, themes, things I can do with my newly released iPhone. If anyone has any hints or tips, put them in the comments and we can all benefit from the wealth of knowledge!

And Who Said British Politics Was Boring

Today is the day for the General Election in Britain. It’s the closest run election in years and we’re looking at a hung parliament if all sources and opinions polls are to believed. The main problem for this is the age old issue of our politicians being untrustworthy, slimy, dull private school boys with no touch on reality.

In the last round of elections for our MEP’s, the British National Party got a shock result by gaining two seats. This outraged the nation as the BNP are believed to be a racist political organisation. The BBC invited Nick Griffin onto Question Time in light of the result and he was torn to shreds and shown for the farcical plank he really is.

But one thing the BNP are is not dull:

Now I have to say, I think the young Asian men walked over looking for trouble. You can tell by their saunter, needless language and the spit in the face. But this only showed the BNP for their true selves as, after this spit, the gloves came off (literally) and everyone piled in for a huge street brawl! Obviously, the young guy should NOT have spat in Mr. Bailey’s face, but his reaction was a total disgrace. How can this man hope to represent a constituency of people when he reacts like this? Politicians are always being abused (verbally and physically) but they have to accept that as figureheads, they will be inline for this sort of attention.

The worst part was his entourage. Instead of trying to split the brawl up, the jumped in and started kicking and punching also! Absolutely, the three asian lads were so wrong and should be punished within the law, but so should Mr. Bailey and his cronies. Would David Cameron and his Torries kick off in the street?

Everyone needs a Master

I looked on Facebook the other night and my friend’s status was a legendary quote:

Nuk Soo Kow!

Of course, it could only mean that he was watching the movie Kickboxer with the immortal Jean-Claude Van Damme. Straight away, I changed the channel so I too could watch this 80’s classic.

For those of you who have not sampled this cinematic delight, it goes along the typical 80’s martial art line of: white man who thinks he’s hard as coffin nails gets slapped silly by ethnic nutter. Family member wants revenge so seeks the aid of little old man (who is a social recluse) to teach them the secret ways of martial arts so revenge can be had. Final show down always consists of a bloody battle with our hero the victor and little old man standing in the corner smiling and nodding knowingly.

You can’t help but love these films! I’ve watched this one, Karate Kid (1, 2, 3 and 4!) and many others and the one thing running through them all is the little old master who transforms the hero from being a useless whelp to the big strong, ass kicking hero. Wouldn’t we all love one of these!

Xian Chow took a lowly karateka in Jean-Claude and trained him in the ancient art of Muay Thai (although the training they did looked suspiciously like kata which, of course, doesn’t appear in Muay Thai. Not to my knowledge in any case) and gave him the ability to extract his revenge against the hardcore Tong Po!

I’m sure this man needs no introduction. Which child of the 80’s wouldn’t want Mr. Miyagi as their friend and mentor. Daniel LaRusso turns up with no friends and instantly gets bullied (granted he has a dodgy hair-do and deserves it for this reason alone). Then out of no where, the mysterious and masterful Mr. Miyagi comes in, saves the day, teaches him kick-ass karate and mentors him in becoming a man. Daniel gets the girl, beats the bully and becomes a town hero all thanks to the little old man.

Now, who can honestly say they DON’T want

Honeymoon in Bali – Pt 1

So, my honeymoond estination was the island paradise of Bali! Carla didn’t have a clue where we were going until my speech at the wedding. I had it planned to unveil in huge grandeur. It was going so well, I handed over the piece of paper saying “Bali”…… She said in an excited voice “Bail……. Where’s Bali?” My heart sank.

Never mind. Once I showed her pictures on my Iphone at the airport and we arrived, she loved it.

Flight was good. Change at Kuala Lumpur. We arrived about midday local time and were collected by the travel agent driver. I’d booked us into this lush hotel, top suite etc. What I hadn’t banked on was that it was 5* and they would do everything for us! They took the suitcases, were making drinks, cold towels to freshen up, everything but wiping my arse! I’m not a person who lets people do this and I felt incredibly uncomfortable because I didn’t want them thinking I was a fat, slobby, stuck up prick.

Anyhoo, the hotel staff were lovely and so friendly, as were pretty much the entire population of the island! As it was our honeymoon, we went into our fantastic room to find petals on the bed in the shape of a heart and petals in our bath. The wife certainly appreciated that touch!

Our first day was spent trying to get over the jetlag and relaxing poolside. On our second day, we ventured a little further out. Now the hotel where we were staying was within a huge complex of other hotels. But about a 5 minute walk was the local village, with restaurants and shops (much cheaper than in the complex) So we went for a stroll.  This was what I liked to do. Leave the tourist part behind and go and try to experience local Bali.

Anyway, we basically got lost. We were walking for miles, past all the houses and what appeared to be local shops (some no more than garages). more than a few times we’d pass a group of men sat around on a wall or in a door way, few teeth missing, tattoo’s, very rough looking….. The wife got very scared. She needn’t have. Every time we walked past, these same scary men turned and gave a huge smile and all said hello in the friendliest many. It turned what could have been a long, worrying walk into a great afternoon. The chickens on the path were probably the most worrying thing (apart from the drivers and the motor bikes going the wrong way and often than not on the paths).

Still, that was our first day in Nusa Dua, Bali. So as not to drag it out, I’ll post a few other stories and bits in different posts, otherwise this will be fucking massive!

So Annoyed..

I’m So annoyed

I’ve been training in San Da (which is Chinese kickboxing, similar to Muay Thai, but you don’t use knees or elbows, but you can use wrestling throws) for about 3-4 months now and I’m really enjoying it. I can feel I’m getting better, probably not as quickly as I would hope, but it’s a work in progress.

I’m currently training for the chance to go to a tournament in April with the VERY slim chance of being picked for the British team (not that I’m ANYWHERE near good enough for that!!). I’ve told my work this since I started it and they’ve supported me, or at least sounded like they did.

Because of the importance of this tournament, my coach is saying I need to train more (which is a given). Unfortunately, training starts at 6 and I finish work at 6.

So I asked my boss if I could start 30 minutes earlier and leave 30 minutes earlier. They said no……. How unfair!! Granted, I’ve got a lot of work on, but still, it’s my time and it’s not as though I’m asking for time off, just a little shuffle of my hours. But thats just typical of my head office (as I’m sure you’ll find out)

I guess I’ll have to speak to my coach and see what he says. I’m really disappointed though as I’m really enjoying it. Hopefully he’ll still let me compete.