I should not had the slightest chance in a struggle with him.
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes author’s quote sums up a personal struggle with the theories and science of jiujitsu.
Never will it be mastered in my lifetime, and I know it, yet I still adore the journey. Grateful for every tear, both strokes, surgery (four in total), every time I got submitted. Hundreds of times since 2001. I have mastered going into any laundromat to wash and dry my gi, thousands of times. Packing my heavy gi in my luggage or mailing it home because it will cost extra due to weight requirements. A journey filled with ordinary human moments, witnessing human transformation on every level; some people lost weight, a few battled with PTSD, a few were arrested, or addicts. Some dojo attractions lead to beautiful families whose babies I got to kiss, some parents' cheeks were kissed at funerals, most quit. Because it's hard. Precious and hard to grasp. A prolonged battle dulls the weapons, strength can end it quickly. Every word in my first attempt at a blog before and behind this paragraph is bonded to this theme. The mental part is key to the pursuit of the weapons we spend time forming. Cobalt from earth, some forge a needle to weave in and out of techniques, some a knife. Time spent off the mats is just as important as time on. How you train a technique in the dojo is how you will perform it in crisis. How do we cope with adversity or challenge? Our habits dictate behavioral response. I tell my students, you should not be the same person that walked into class tonight. You should have come closer to who you truly are by the time you leave. I only trust what I do. Not what I intend. Life always in a flux of change. Adaptation. Rocking with change is a constant. I forged an axe. A business partner wants to get into the bjj world. In a small community of submission artists he asked one; “tell me about Kéi.” The response, "Kéi won’t get with the program... when you spar him it feels like he trying to kill you.” I chuckled, but it hurt to hear that is how I’m perceived. Not to mention awful for business. My business partner listened to a defensive man the rest of our conversation. Don’t get it twisted. I am not even that good. I can name over 50 people I have sparred that are far better than me. The long list of guys I never tapped. Perhaps I never will, I’m at peace with the path. Defeat is part of it. My outrage is the betrayal. Bjj schools that promote by attendance. Equivalent to tuition paid. Being tested and promoted like the American karate business model. Perhaps I’m just outdated. Weakness has funk to it. My struggle has graduated into business aspects. I give classes instead of showing up to class. How do I soften my approach to fit the present day industry standard, or is there room for my contribution to this way of life? It is good to be promoted based off time spent? Thankfully not me and mine. We endured. The art of jiujitsu is a hardship, a tremendous struggle to get proficient. The potter’s hand is every class that molds our clay. Old world philosophy meaning, kung fu, refers to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice. Hard work and practice are a hard sell these days. We simply aren’t the school for everyone. We welcome anyone into our family. We protect them. I appreciate small classes to give my undivided attention. Focused. My mind is far greater than this little skin bag my soul owns. My sport game is stealth and bait. Such creatures must have undeniable strength. Here is a story. A sum of experiences. Daily gi or nogi; can’t wait to get to bjj class. Sometimes with two little boys in tow. On occasion I may be walking in late. The teacher often would make some funny comment about my tardy interruption, while demonstrating some technique surrounded by familia of huffing sweaty beautiful faces, all looking at the late guy. Embarrassed. No salutation. Along with the diverted eye contact nourished the anxiety. When you wear melanin-rich skin in this era; Dave Chappelle or James Baldwin, I forget which, calls it; healthy paranoia. Why was everyone acting funny? Shed street attire and that day’s stresses and got redressed in a gi. Rushing to get the boys undressed and redressed, making sure their gi pants weren’t on backwards, belts tied, short pep talk. Ready to learn. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Body willing. Sat down next to someone familiar, exchanged greetings. My partner for the night reveals why the awkward silence. “Phil was explaining how to defend against some technique you use.” This made me aware I was annoying my team mates. Yesterday's technique don't work today. I know I’m not alone. One day its works, tomorrow it evolves into something else. The Relson Gracie quote; “The big, strong, tough guy goes to class, and he keeps getting tapped by the skinny, technical guy. It begins to change him. It makes him humble. That’s what Jiu Jitsu does to you.” Master teacher Relson was a champion street fighter and master sport jiujitsu teacher. He insisted I study self defense.“Self defense Kéi, can you defend yourself in a street fight?” Pieces of conversations over the years that followed my journey. “When I want to see if a technique works, I try it on you.” “You use too much strength”, “No thank you I don’t feel like rolling with you, is a commitment.” .
“Just keep doing what your doing the sport will evolve to match what you are doing.” Resume
• 11-12 years it took to get a black belt
• raised productive children while training daily at Balance studios under
Phillip Migliarese III and his brother Ricardo 6 and 7 degree black belts under grandmaster Relson Gracie
• Coach and personal trainer
The flesh grows weaker. The soul is eternal. This art is a personal struggle. Go to class. Trust that you're being watched.