Combat Sport is not Violence

Combat sports. categorically, is not violence; it does not normalize violence. Violence is an act that is either uncontrolled, unregulated, or happens without consent. If the bleeding hearts of the health profession truly want to address and eliminate violence in society, they should encourage the control and elimination of violence by bullying in schools and the workplace, as well as in social groups.

Tiger Balm 2015

On the first day of Tiger Balm 2015 I volunteered, did score keeping, timekeeping, judging, and I entered in BJJ and won gold in my division. That win was the product of a long term effort and getting the guts to test my abilities. But the swagger for winning a medal can only last a few minutes. Here are some photos from the event that I hope will be far more lasting.
 

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Link to full set on Flickr.com: https://www.flickr.com/photos/superwebdeveloper/sets/72157651510502472/with/16722319659/

Interview with BJJ Black Belt and Instructor Don Whitfield

 

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how did you get started in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu? Were you doing other martial arts?

I started training in 1997 after training Judo and Boxing back in Germany.

When and how did you know you were hooked on BJJ? How long did it take?

I was intrigued right away since it challenged me in ways no Martial Arts had challenged me before. I tried several Martial Arts after moving to Canada in 1995 but Jiu-jitsu made me question everything I though I knew about Martial Arts.

Did you have a mentor early on that pushed you the right way?

No I didn’t, but I am grateful to every coach that taught me Jiu-jitsu from Team Megaton to Marcus Soares and I know that they did the best they could.

Your proudest moment?

I don’t think I have proud moments but I enjoy the moments when I am able to help my students to grow as Martial Artists on and off the mat.

The student you are proudest of?

You may be surprised by my answer but it were not the students that went on win belts or Championships but those students that didn’t think of themselves as Martial Artists and that found the warrior inside themselves win or loose.

How do people improve their lives with BJJ?

I believe that Martial Arts help our students to get out of their head and become more present. By simply training or sparring without thinking about anything else including winning or losing.

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There is way to much thinking people do and not enough awareness, appreciation and simply people being themselves. As you grow as a Martial Artist you realize the importance of these skills.

How did you start WCBJJ?
Royce Gracie gave a seminar in Maple Ridge in 2005 and I went. By the end of the seminar Royce gave me a purple belt and the students that were there asked me to start the first BJJ club in Maple Ridge, which I did. Later I opened the first BJJ club in Port Coquitlam and in Burnaby and West Coast Martial Arts has been growing ever since.

What is the personal style in your training?

I see myself as a facilitator meaning that I try not to teach my personal style like most instructors do. I understand that every student has different abilities and needs and I try to respond to them the best I can.

 

Among all the Arts BJJ is probably more of a hardcore Martial Art since it is very physical and threatening to one’s ego. There is no space, there is no escaping and you need to face your fears without reservation. People who like to train BJJ can feel the power that rests in it…

 

What is the most important thing you want to imprint on your students?

The most important lesson I have for my students is to become a true Martial artist on and off the mat by practicing their courage every day and by committing themselves to give 100% in everything they do.

What does a student have to do to improve in BJJ?

The key to learning Jiu-jitsu is to understand that it is an art. It is individual, non-repeatable and unique in every moment so in order to learn it the student has to stop trying to think but instead trying to become present and simply feel and perceive what is happening and what is about to happen. Sounds deep, but so is BJJ.

What is the value today in belt rank? Do you think it is important?

Other than to let yourself other student know at what level you are it I would not try to take it too important. I had one student switch teams after training for years with us because he felt he deserved to be a purple belt when he was a four stripe blue belt and all I can say that he completely missed what it means to be a Martial Artist.

What must a student know or be able to demonstrate in order to be awarded stripes?

All the belt levels are individualistic in Jiu-jitsu. That means that an average students has to improve a certain amount while someone much more athletic has to prove much more to get the same promotions.

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It has to be that way since an absolute measurement may prevent some student from ever achieving a black belt. That belt is a sign of mastering one single persons journey only.

What else should a good BJJ practitioner do besides train in the sport?

I recommend my students to apply the lessons of BJJ by never to giving in to the ego, looking at your short comings without judging themselves, simply to be yourself and be open to learning every day something new.

I used to have students in the past who could fight very well but they did not have the courage to look at their own lives even for a second. These guys may become good fighters but they never will become champions since being honest with yourself and dealing with your own shortcomings are signs of a true champion, winning or loosing.

What kind of person is attracted to BJJ, or what about BJJ attracts them to the sport?

Among all the Arts BJJ is probably more of a hardcore Martial Art since it is very physical and threatening to one’s ego. There is no space, there is no escaping and you need to face your fears without reservation. People who like to train BJJ can feel the power that rests in it since once you learn some techniques you know that you can look after yourself in a self defense situation. The drawback is that if you just teach Jiu-jitsu without educating students to also be Martial Artists, people with low self esteem will be also attracted to it since it gives the the false sense of power and control. This is why we monitor our students closely now to eliminate these kind of students that walk through life with an inflated ego, but actually really low self-esteem, which shows under pressure when they are giving up as soon as things get hard. When properly trained a BJJ students will be much better equipped than the average person in dealing with everyday stress and pressure from others and will have excellent will power to achieve whatever she/he sets it mind to.

 

Put Two Men In A Cage And Make Them Fight Because God Intended It

The Young Turks: Put Two Men In A Cage And Make Them Fight Because God Intended It – Message From A Church Near You

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There is a growing movement in the Evangelical church to take christian faith to the octagon. Yet again, people take the bible and make it mean whatever they want it to mean. Didn’t Jesus say to turn the other cheek? An MMA fight is the product of years of training in stand up and ground fighting, and then more time still to put it all together.

One pastor says it is about bringing masculinity back into the church – and then blames Christianity for feminizing men. I dont know exactly what to tell people like this. I know a few lady fighters, and I am quite sure that their skills as fighters don’t stop them from being as feminine as they want to be, in the proper sense. But then again, if we ever say that femininity is a cultivated way of being, perhaps masculinity is something for men that should not merely be left to chance.

But fighting is about something else, otherwise, there wouldnt be any LGBTQ athletes in sport. I am sure there are other fighters out there beside Nong Toom the transgendered Muay Thai fighter, while being much less visible possess more than the common traits associated with ones sexual identity.

When I had my two Muay Thai tournament fights, what passed through my mind as I stepped on the mats was how I was completely stripped of all artifice the moment it began.  Its not about anything else but the fight. Mommy and daddy arent there to hold you hand; noone cares about your social class or the languages you speak or the way you keep your hair. Just fight as well as you can and be done.

But as much as I love MMA, I would never say its for everybody. I am looking forward to discussing this with my friend who is in a gender studies & women’s studies program presently.

 

Official Trailer:

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In Memoriam, Ronan Golby

Ronan Golby was the first person I met at West Coast BJJ. He welcomed me kindly into the club where I chose to rekindle my love for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu after more than a year off. And now, about 9 months in, I learned that this fit young man of 19 years age, a martial artist, passed away in his sleep for no apparent cause, with no prior warning, on Thursday, December 4. Still mostly in shock, we all met at the gym at 5 for a hastily planned memorial, and shared our thoughts on our life with him. It was a unanimous outpouring of love and affection towards him the likes I have rarely seen about anyone. And for good reason.

I am the new guy at the club. I had only known Ronan for less than a year.  Many at the club had known Ronan and trained with him since he joined the club 10 years ago. The first time I walked the club he made me feel welcome immediately. He was known to everyone there as a sincere and kind hearted person, who always said hello warmly to everyone who arrived to train, said goodbye warmly to each person as they left. He had a warmth and openness that was readily apparent to everyone who met him. Everyone at the memorial agreed to this.

One of Ronan’s jobs at the club was as instructor to the children’s class for martial arts. Myself, being old and stiff, I have always made it my business wherever possible to show up early and stretch before class. Often I watched Ronan in his role leading the students before  class started, where he instilled the noble traits of a martial artist in a pack of little ones who can hardly stand still. He did it with kindness and care to each student at every moment of the class, and always managed to win them over to what needed to be done. Many at the memorial also remarked how naturally talented he was at training the children.

I didn’t say much at the memorial. I listened to the people who had known him for 10 years or more say the same things about him that I could have said, while having known him for only such a short time. Ronan Golby was such a genuinely kind and caring person, who was so natural in his demeanour this way. Ronan impressed with his positive attitude every day. I remember thinking how I used to have some of those qualities of character as Ronan shared with the rest of us. I thought to myself how he had such qualities better than I have seen in myself for a very long time. It made me wonder where those qualities had gone.

Ronan Golby was this genuinely kind hearted person, to a rare degree among people, who loved martial arts, who loved life, by all accounts was a person who shared his happiness with everyone who came it contact with him. We are devastated by his sudden and unexplained passing. He was a young man in the physical prime of his life, with his whole life ahead of him, and then suddenly, he is gone. That such a good human being leaves us so soon bewilders all of us that much more.  Osu.