My 3rd Jiu-jitsu Competition At CCSF

The beginning of the match. Vincent and I starting on our knees.

The beginning of the match. Vincent and I starting on our knees.

This video is of my 3rd jiu-jitsu competition at CCSF on Friday Aug. 21, 2017. This one we started on our knees as some of the students didn’t have much training with falling.

There were a few divisions based on weight and then one division he called blue belt which is the one that I completed in. There were maybe 5 other people in that division that included white belts like myself with quite a bit of experience, 2 judo brown belts and one jiu-jitsu blue belt.

Me doing a collar choke on Vincent. I won with a collar choke like this, however I don't think this one was the one. It doesn't look quite deep enough.

Me doing a collar choke on Vincent. I won with a collar choke like this, however I don’t think this one was the one. It doesn’t look quite deep enough.

Matches were 3 minutes long. I had one match that finished with a tie and then we went like another 4 minutes until I got a submission.

This took place at CCSF city college in San Francisco.

I won three by submission: collar choke, armbar from guard and kimura. I lost 2 by points. Sensei said I lost my last match because I didn’t attack… I played defense.

Triangle choke from the side. I let go of his arm you can't see and did a kimura on his arm you can see.

Triangle choke from the side. I let go of his arm you can’t see and did a kimura on his arm you can see.

When I watched the video I look pretty half there. Friends said I looked pretty gased out.

Richard taking my back.

Richard taking my back.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to compete in this one as sensei asked on wednesday if I would ref. I also tweaked my back and thought it might be wise to rest, but then come Friday sensei said Robert would ref and I should compete.

Me going for an armbar and Richard defends.

Me going for an armbar and Richard defending.

So I did.

It seemed long. I did 5 matches and one lasted nearly 7 minutes.

I edited this video to make it short and just focused on some of the techniques being done.

Getting promoted to blue belt. Sensei, myself and Samir. Both are judo and jiu-jitsu teachers at CCSF.

Getting promoted to blue belt. Sensei, myself and Samir. Both are judo and jiu-jitsu teachers at CCSF.

At the end of the match sensei promoted me to blue belt.

Jiu-jitsu: The Road To Blue Belt

My white belt for jiu-jitsu

My white belt for jiu-jitsu

Wondering how long it will take you to get a blue belt in jiu-jitsu? Funny I was thinking of writing this article “the road to blue belt” about a week or so ago and then I got one.

I remember when I first started I had a goal where I wanted to get a white belt in a year. I wrote it on my wall. I was kinda destination driven. Then there was a bump in the road that knocked me out for 6 months or so.

I hurt my knee. But I got back into it. As time progressed and when the year started to come to a close I started to think I wasn’t a blue belt and I scratched the goal out and replaced it with something like “have fun learning jiu-jitsu”.

That became my goal. Sure I still wanted to get promoted, but it wasn’t the main thing. I thought I’d rather be a good white belt than a bad blue belt.

I had learned that intrinsic rewards were better than extrinsic ones too. In other words you should do something because you enjoy it not because you want the carrot, paycheck, black belt or whatever.

So anyways…

The road to blue belt in jiu-jitsu was a pretty long one for me. I looked back over my history and added up the time that I spent on the mat practicing jiu-jitsu.

I practiced in 3 different schools. Here’s my technical answer to how long it took me to get a blue belt in jiu-jitsu…

About 35 months of training on the mat

  • 14 months with Romulo Melo
  • 4 months CCSF Aug-Dec 2015
  • 4 months CCSF Jan-May 2016
  • 2.5 months Caesar Gracie May-July 2016
  • 4 months CCSF August-December 2016
  • 1 month Romelo Melo December-Jan 2017
  • 4 months CCSF Jan-May 2017
  • 1.5 months CCSF June-July 2017

Normally I practiced 4 days a week. That translates to 16 days a month x 35 months = 560 days. There were times when I managed 5 and others when I did 3. Over the recent summer session at CCSF I did 2 days. But again normally I did 4 days a week.

At Romulo Melo I normally did hour long classes. Occasionally I would do an hour and a half. I’d estimate 4.5 hours a week, 18 hours a month for 15 months = 270 hours.

At Caeser Gracie I did a mix of classes that were 1-1.5 hours long. I’d estimate 4.5-5 hours a week. I’ll round down to 4.5, 18 hours a month for 2.5 months = 45 hours.

At CCSF I probably spent more hours a week on the mat. I also took judo classes there a couple hours a week. Jiujitsu classes were 1-2 hours depending on the class. I’d estimate 6 hours a week doing jiu-jitsu, 24 hours a month for a total of about 17 months = 408 hours.

I actually started at CCSF when I was still going to Romelo’s. I didn’t go there much my first semester so I didn’t include it above.

So between the 3 schools that’s about 705 hours of jiu-jitsu.

So that white belt above saw quite a few hours. In fact I replaced two of the stripes that fell off. The only original stripe on it is the really dark and dirty one. Those stripes were from training with Romelo Melo. They were from 2014-2015.

These numbers are just my experience and are kind of arbitrary

For you – if you’re wondering I have no idea how long it will take.

For me I think it took longer because I changed schools and had a few injuries. Had I stayed with Romelo (my first school) I think I would have gotten it a while ago. 

But…

I couldn’t afford to keep going there and also I wanted to learn some judo. So I went to CCSF.

Obstacles and pain on the path

I hurt both of my knees (bone bruises and a torn meniscus). They seemed to heal pretty good though. I had a rib that bothered me for a long time.

A couple of armbars. Yes, I tapped, but not fast enough as in both cases the person didn’t let go immediately. Tap hard and tap early. Nothing ever popped, but the joints locked.

The only thing that ever popped was my ankle in a toe hold. I didn’t see that coming and then the next thing I knew I heard and felt a pop. It bugged me for a while, but it’s o.k now.

There were a lot of bruises, jammed toes and fingers and I recently cracked the enamel in my tooth. I wasn’t wearing my mouthpiece when I got kneed in the face…

Ahhh…

White belts;)…

Funny some say white belts are sometimes the more dangerous ones. They are a bit more unpredictable and spastic as they haven’t learned much technique so they rely more on strength.

As sensei says, “do the technique”.

CCSF summer 2017 jiu-jitsu class

CCSF summer 2017 jiu-jitsu class

Fun and friends on the path

I have made a lot of friends through jiu-jitsu. Most of the people that I have met have been pretty cool. And despite the pain I have had a lot of fun.

There’s been ups and downs when you don’t think you’re learning or your getting tapped out, but mostly it’s been fun.

I think jiu-jitsu gives you energy too. There have been times when I went in there not feeling very good and then I’ll leave pumped up.

Fear

Jiu-jitsu is scary. Competing is twice as scary. I still get a bit scared before every class. I would get scared of getting hurt. Sometimes it’s scary sparring with new people too.

But I remember and say to myself something sensei Palacio said, “Do the technique”.

I think I also just imagine dark sh*t happening sometimes too. Maybe I have a dark mind. It’s not just jiu-jitsu. Walking over the bridge to the competition the other night I just thought what if I fell of that bridge? And got hit by a car.

Game over.

But actually what’s really scary is not jiujitsu, but the anticipation of it. When you are doing it all the fear pretty much goes away.

It’s a weird mix of excitement, fun and fear.

Sensei promoting me to blue belt

Sensei promoting me to blue belt

How long will it take to get promoted?

Probably longer than you think.

I guess it depends on a number of things, but based on my experience you’re more likely to get promoted if you stick with one school.

Although I think moving around was actually good for me. I got instruction from different teachers, but as far as getting promoted goes it probably didn’t help.

Different schools have different ways of promoting. Guess it’s up to the teacher.

Romelo Melo only did promotions like twice a year or so. During those times he would promote a bunch of people at the same time.

Caeser Gracie seemed to have no formal promotion. I saw Alessandro promote someone at the end of class once.

CCSF doesn’t seem to typically do jiu-jitsu promotions. I only know of one other person who got a blue belt there. CCSF is more focused on judo. They do promotions once or twice a semester for judo.

Sensei, myself and Samir. Both are judo and jiu-jitsu teachers at CCSF.

Sensei, myself and Samir. Both are judo and jiu-jitsu teachers at CCSF.

Getting promoted

I actually got my blue belt after the recent competition on Friday July 21, 2017. That was unexpected. Funny I got a little choked up too. I don’t know it just kinda seemed like an abstract thing.

At times I thought maybe I am doomed to be a white belt forever. Self doubt…

But…

Most of the time I just figured I’d get it eventually and just tried to focus on doing it and having fun. I know other people who trained at CCSF who were white belts for a long time. Some even longer than me, like 4 or 5 years+.

At one time I wondered how long it would take.

It might take longer than expected or it could come sooner. So I’d just say enjoy the ride.

Is a college degree worth it?

I am going to speak from experience here. It’s not worth the debt. Don’t take out debt. I still have debt from 20 years ago. Yikes sounds scary. Time flies.

It’s a good experience and it might help you, but for me not really. I mean by itself it didn’t get me ahead. I studied art with an emphasis on painting.

If you are not sure then wait till you are. Do other stuff. Travel, learn, get experience and do the things that you want to do.

I guess it depends on what you want to study. But I repeat it’s not worth the debt. Stay debt free. A lot of people are going to tell you to do it probably but…

THE HAGWON

This is my latest creative work that I posted on Youtube and on ESLinsider. It’s about teaching in Korea. If you are a first timer then to teach in Korea you basically have 2 options for schools to teach in.

You either teach in a hagwon or in a public school. Hagwons are private institutes. There are quite a few horror stories online about teaching in hagwons.

Yet they are not all bad, but I decided to make my own horror story to help promote one of the latest ebooks that I wrote.

What’s it like to be famous?

I think I might have a little bit of an idea of what being famous is like.

I remember reading once about a famous actor who punched some paparazzi in the face. I totally understand. I have felt like doing the same thing countless times.

It’s about them it’s not about you. They don’t care about you. You look cool to them and having your picture on their Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram feed is going to make them look cooler.

I remember looking out the window of the bus the other day in Chinatown and this guy had all these pictures of himself with famous people: Yao Ming, Jeremy Lin, and others outside of his shop.

But I think his shop had nothing to do with sports. I think it was maybe a book shop.

Want to know what it is like to be famous? Dress up, paint your face, be weird, do something totally different that is somewhat appealing to some people and then you’ll get a taste of what it is like.

You’ll get attention and it can feel nice, but it’s not really about you.

2 months on the ketogenic diet

A few months ago I made a post about sugar, the ketogenic diet and time restricted feeding. And not so long ago I completed 2 months on the ketogenic diet.

That diet is a low carb and high fat diet. Some of the benefits are:

  • weight loss
  • cancer fighting
  • lower cholesterol
  • lower blood sugar and insulin levels
  • decreased inflammation
  • less tooth decay and gum disease
  • mood control

Read more about the benefits of keto.

It was hard to adapt to at first. It definitely took a good month until I felt normal. I remember feeling a bit weak and irritable.

Ketosis is a state where you burn fat mostly instead of sugar for energy. If you fast then this is what happens. The sugar runs out, but the fat is a more sustainable source of energy.

Changes from keto?

I don’t know if I noticed any changes really. It hasn’t been long. I might have lost a few pounds, but not much. Before I started it I think I ate relatively healthy but I did eat a fair amount of carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice, bagels and fruit.

As of recent I haven’t been following it so strictly as I have been eating some beans. They are a cheap form of protein, but they are high in carbs. To remain in a state of ketosis it is said that you should aim for eating less than 50 carbs a day.

A can of beans has close to that or more.

But aside from that and a few foods my parents sent on my birthday I still have been following the diet. In fact I found some new yummy foods to eat since then.

  1. Nutritional yeast. I have been sprinkling it on things like eggs or just as a cheese substitute. It’s really good.
  2. Chia seeds. You can make an interesting pudding with them as they gel like tapioca.
  3. Coconut flakes. I can eat a couple cups of these a day.
  4. Inchi seeds. Trader Joe’s has these salted ones that are really good. They are supposed to be high in good fats.
  5. Almond flour.

Wheat is sweet

It’s funny after you stop eating sugar and fruit you start to taste the more subtle flavors that you didn’t before. Like I never thought coconut flakes were sweet, but they taste pretty sweet now.

Then I ate a cracker with wheat in it and it tasted pretty sweet.

I have eaten very little fruit, but was thinking that raw cabbage tastes kinda sweet the other day.

There’s sugar and carbs in a lot of food. Vegetables have them too.

I don’t really miss the carbs like rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. I can live without those. There are other yummy foods out there. I’ll continue eating mostly keto foods, but I probably won’t follow it so strictly.

Yoga for forward head tilt

Looking at a computer or your phone will give you forward head tilt if you are not careful. Forward head tilt can be learned as well.

So I made this video by doing yoga to improve your posture.

I think it may also be created by your mindset. Stand tall and confident!

I fasted for 2+ days & this is what happened

For the last year or so I have been fasting on Sundays. I’ll stop eating sometime between 8 and 10pm on Sat. and then I won’t eat anything till 7pm or so the next day.

But this time I decided I would go a little longer. It wasn’t planned out, but I just thought it would be good. There was no jiujitsu this week so… good timing.

The first day is not that hard. Yes you still think about food, but you just drink water when you are hungry.

I found that it’s good to get work done. You have more time if you don’t eat.

I slept pretty good the first night.

By the second day night I was pretty consumed with thoughts of food. My energy was low and not so focused. Meditation is good when you are fasting I probably should have done that even more instead of trying to work on my website.

I remember lying in bed thinking about food. I did go 3 days (81 hours) once without food. This time seemed harder. Fasting is difficult.

Changes your digestion going off and coming back on. Fasting is difficult, but good.

I am going without dairy for 2 weeks too. Just to see if I notice any differences. Been doing the ketogenic diet and I will report on that soon enough.

I said ummm 35 times & made this video

I recently made a video called What’s your kung fu? I did a lot of editing in that video of little bits like ummm, ahhh or ughhh.

I edited it because it seemed to drag on and ughhh like slow it down. After I decided I would try to make something with it. So I did.

  • First I made a beat with stuff I chopped and sampled from Garage band including my voice in the video.
  • I cut all the little bits up (35 total) and started a new video.
  • I took the audio from that video and ran it through my computer to my turntables and then scratched it.

Voila!

I added a few more bits like a dragon fly from Shanghai and some rock jumping in New Hampshire.

So I tried to make a piece of art from my own junk. It was kinda interesting and fun. I think I like it too.

Sugar, Time Restricted Feeding & The Ketogenic Diet

I have been making some changes to my diet. Experimenting with a few things that I have learned.

One thing led to another. I saw the first video below about sugar that was interesting. My teeth had been hurting so I decided to reduce my consumption of fruit including dry fruit which is loaded with sugar.

Sugar

It seems like pretty much everything breaks down into sugar. Well not everything, but potatoes, bread, rice, grains, pasta, fruit, etc.

So what’s the difference between eating brown rice and straight sugar? Is it just the vitamins?

Time restricted feeding

Then I saw another cool video about time restricted feeding. Sounded kinda similar to the fasting I was doing for the last year or so on Sundays.

Well actually sounded more like the first fasting I tried the Warrior Diet (eating 4 hours a day).

Some of the benefits of that which appealed to me were a leaner body: less fat and more muscle. Apparently some studies of mice showed that just restricting their diet to eating in a window between 8-12 hours made them less fat even if they ate crappy food.

More interesting it also made them more muscular. So I have been mostly keeping my feeding within 10 hours and still fasting for 21-24 hours on Sundays.

I used to eat all the time. From when I woke up to until I went to bed.

Apparently eating many meals over a long period of the day isn’t as healthy.

She also made some interesting comments about sulphuraphane and the benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables.

Ketogenic diet

The first video with Gary Taubes mentioned this. I got curious and looked it up and then it showed up again. First with this video.

I guess your body can burn fat instead of sugar and carbs. There are a lot of benefits I guess to this diet. Lower inflammation, less fat, etc. It’s supposed to be good for fighting cancer as cancer cells can’t feed on fat or something like that.

Basically it’s a high fat diet, some protein and few carbohydrates – no pasta, no potatoes, mostly no fruit, etc.

I have been experimenting with this a bit. I haven’t been real strict yet, it’s been a little tough. I was gradually reducing carbs like potatoes, brown rice and sweet potatoes to none.

I guess it can take 6-8 weeks. It’s different for everyone. We’ll see. And I’ll post a future update.