Wednesday, January 11, 2017

From the Mind of Babalu... Follow your own path

So a week or so ago I had a conversation with a teammate of mine. This gentleman, who shall remain nameless, is about a year into his training and is really a great guy! He expressed his concerns to me stating he just didn't know if he was picking it fast enough or he had doubts that he wasn't BJJ Material. He asked me if I had ever had the feeling that I just wasn't getting it. To be honest, I told him, that it happens all the time. Not just white belt, but almost every belt from white to black. This happens with everyone from time to time, you start feeling sluggish or timing just feels off, but you just keep training and sooner or later things start to return back to normal. I understand that everyone preaches "NO EGO" which is true 100%, but everyone is competitive by nature and we all want to see immediate improvements to our techniques and more "wins" than "losses" on the mat. When I say "wins" and "losses" I'm not talking about beating any of your teammates, but maybe avoiding a submission or recovering guard from side control etc... Wanting that immediate satisfaction of improvements puts way too much pressure on yourself and you wind up overthinking everything instead of reacting and letting our training take over.

Instead of getting frustrated, you should always remember why you started BJJ in the first place. I would guess that 95% of the BJJ community didn't start training BJJ because they had aspirations of being a BJJ World Champion or a UFC World Champion. So just keep in mind why you started training in the first place, which in most cases for everyone it was probably one of the following:

1. Lose some weight and get in better shape
2. relieve some stress
3. learn something new and "cool"
4. meet some new people
5. most importantly HAVE FUN!

If you have covered all the reasons why you have started training in the first place, then keep showing up and you can't lose. You have already made one of the best decisions in your life by stepping on the mat to train on a regular basis, so in my book you are winning. What you really need to understand when starting out in BJJ is never compare yourself to any one else on the mats. We all live different lives with different goals, some people can train all day, everyday and that is great for them, but a lot of us have full time jobs, bills, kids, and many other responsibilities. So we have to train when time permits which is ok as well. Just remember if you make the most out of your training, your abilities, and your time on the mat you will be winning. There is never any shame in tapping in training, its never considered a loss. It's always a learning opportunity, an opportunity for you to learn, move forward, and get better day by day. Your journey will not be like anyone else, so take it session by session. Its a marathon not a sprint. And always remember, BJJ is for EVERYONE!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

From the Mind of Babalu...Haters, Naysayers, Shit talkers

The main reason I started this blog was first and foremost to have some accountability for myself to keep me on track on my diet, on my workouts, and training. I had gotten away from this for a while, and during that time I let things slip. Secondly, I used this blog as a positive way to spread the word of BJJ, its teachings, and how its helped me in all facets of life. I will be the first to admit that I've made some mistakes in my life, but I have learned from them and have become a better person because of it. If I was wrong I can admit and be the bigger person and apologize. This wasn't always the case for me, but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I can honestly say has humbled me and has helped me in becoming a better person. It has contributed to all my successes on and off the mat.

Your average person, who lives an unhealthy lifestyle, doesn't do anything to better themselves physically or mentally, or has never tested themselves will never understand just how difficult it is to become a BJJ Black Belt. They will never understand the sense of pride, accomplishment, or what it means to be called a Professor. To put it into perspective a bit, some can go to college get a four year degree, go to medical school and become a doctor in less time than it will take most people to earn a black belt in BJJ. That is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that your average Joe Schmo would more than likely not have the balls to go through. I've seen it, working in the academy and seeing students come and go. Over half the people that start are more than likely to quit before receiving a blue belt, which could take a little less than a year in most cases.

I have always been a person who marched to the beat of my own drum and have always considered myself a leader and not a follower. I will continue to do what is right for me and continue spreading the word of BJJ. I will continue using this blog to help myself and to help others to achieve whatever goals they may have. I will continue to surround myself with positive and like minded people who want to better themselves through this great art and those who have an open mind. In a nutshell, I will continue to do me, block out any haters, naysayers, and shit talkers, I don't need negativity in my life. If you don't support or respect what I do for myself and for other people that is fine, but don't expect support or respect in return. Don't ever let anyone who has never walked in your shoes, who probably would not survive 1 minute on the mat, disrespect what you have achieved or what your trying to achieve not only BJJ, but in all aspects of life. You will always have haters, shit talkers, and naysayers who will make fun of your passions, but they can't and won't do it themselves. If you are trying to better yourself in a healthy manner keep doing what you're doing.

To all my real friends, team mates, training partners, family, and followers, I thank you all for your support! I hope you all have a very Happy Holidays! I hope 2017 brings you success on and off the mat. Keep training!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Great minds think alike!

I ran across something today posted on social media and thought to myself hey I said something very similar to that. The quote below comes from a very bad man, Professor Rafael Lovato Jr. If you have been living under a rock for a few years now and don't know who he is an extremely successful high level BJJ competitor as well as an undefeated professional MMA fighter. He is the 3rd American born man to win the Brazilian National Championship at the Black belt level. He is a certified beast on the mat and in the cage. Here is his quote.

It's funny how all of my teachers & coaches preach the same thing - BASICS are the key to long term success. This is coming from Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, to Muay Thai & even Strength & Conditioning. Master the fundamentals, put your energy into making everything simpler & more efficient & you will have a system that can last forever & continue to get even better. You wanna know the sweep I've used the most in my life? The Scissor Sweep! You wanna know my strongest submission? The Cross Choke from Mount! Food for thought...

When I saw this, my first thought was "hey I've used the scissor the most in my life" and then "the Cross Choke is also one of my strongest submissions as well!" Did we just become best friends?!?!?! I kid, I kid, but seriously this is so true and something that I preached a few posts ago. Remember I said "Basics, Basics, basics", so I guess the title of this post is 100% accurate, great minds do think alike!

If you don't believe when I tell you that Professor Rafael Lovato Jr. is one bad dude, check out some of his highlights below!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

From the Mind of Babalu... Injuries

Let's talk about that scary subject of Injuries! When I was growing up playing sports there was question that was always asked "Are you hurt or are you injured?" I lived by this for such a long time. In every walk of life, whatever you do there will be bumps and bruises along the way, but if I could tolerate some pain and still train, practice, or workout like most competitive athletes, that is what I did. Throughout my BJJ journey I have trained through the pain of jacked up fingers, toes, ribs, knees, feet etc... you name it I have been through it. No I don't want a cookie or a trophy for this (or I might) I just did what almost every other athlete would do to get better. Training with pain can help you in some ways and can hurt you as well. For example, I am right handed, I do almost everything in BJJ as a left handed person. That stems from jacked up fingers I suffered as a white belt. For a period of time I didn't use my right hand, so I did everything left handed and it has stuck with me for the last 8 years!

Now injuries are a totally different animal! Maybe you can still deal with the pain, but you risk further injuring yourself worse than you already are. Keeping you off the mat for longer periods of time. I have been here as well. Take it from me, don't go about it like I did. When I got injured I stayed completely away from the mats and the academy. I used the bullshit excuse, its just too hard to watch and not be out there. Which is true, it is hard to just sit and watch, but to be honest with you this is the course you should take. You should try to spend as much time as you can hanging out at the academy, watching classes, and hanging with your team mates. Why you ask? In my opinion coming in watching the classes won't help your timing or speed up your recovery, but it will keep the techniques fresh on your mind and keep you engaged in the art that we love. It will help with your state of mind and keep you from feeling sorry for yourself like I did. Just being around everyone and seeing your team mates get better will put you in such a positive state of mind. Lets face it being injured sucks to no end, so every bit of positive energy you can get will help. If your injury allows you to help on the class but you still can't train, by all means do it. You would be surprised just how much teaching techniques will help your game in the long run.

When its time to come back do yourselves these favors.

1. Take it easy, go slow, don't risk getting injured again. Do what you can.
2. If you need to work your defense then do that.
3. Don't stress out, once you've been back on the mat things will start to fall back into place, things will be sloppy and you will feel like you are terrible at BJJ. You won't be able to do the same things you did before the injury. Just keep training and the improvements will keep coming.
4. Work hard! Not only at your BJJ, but also getting your body stronger and losing that weight you gained. This is probably one of the hardest things to do especially if you're over 35. As you get older its harder to lose weight, to find time to put in the extra work, and sometimes its even harder to push yourself to work as hard as you did before the injury.
5. Drill everything you can.

If you're going through an injury now I hope this helps you. I need some positive energy head to the academy. If you have questions or comments click below!

Monday, December 5, 2016

From the Mind of Babalu...Motivation

I know BJJ can be frustrating, irritating at times, and can down right just make you mad. You aren't alone! Whether your a beginner or an advanced student there is no doubt in my mind you have felt this one time in your journey or might even be feeling it now. It doesn't just happen to beginners, it happens to all of us. Trust me, I have felt this way for a better part of this year, and I've been training almost a total of 10 years now and I'm also a black belt! I'm sure most you have heard the saying "A black belt is just a white belt who never quit" and its honestly so true. I've only been a black belt for a little over four months now, but truthfully I'm still learning everyday just like a white belt, I still have some of the same frustrations as some that have just started, and I still keep showing up to train 3-4 times a week.

Jiu Jitsu really is just like anything else in life. The more you do it, the better you get at it. For the better part of this year I've been stuck training just twice a week. Which to me that is better than no training at all, but being away from the mats for a better part of a year last year those extra days are extremely important. Once I started adding more mat time things started getting back to the standard that I have set for myself. My technique has gotten cleaner, things are flowing much easier, and of course my BJJ cardio has gotten way better. I was able to start having fun training again and that is the most important thing. People put so much stress on winning and losing in training and it really doesn't matter. Go out have some fun and relax. One saying that I like to say to white belts is, "we all started in the same place as you" we all have gone through or are still going through some of the same issues you go through. We still have questions, but we ask those questions. We still get frustrated with our games or not being able to get a technique correct. The main thing is we never gave up or quit on our journey. We keep grinding, regardless of how frustrating or hard it may get we keep showing up and trying to get better. Stick with it, keep working and it will get better. If you don't understand something ask questions.

Now for a trip down memory lane. Below is 2 pictures, the first one is my first promotion under Professor Draculino. Since I had about 2 years of nogi and MMA experience before training at Gracie Barra Texas my first promotion was 3 stripes on the white belt from him.

The second picture is 8 years later, and 6 of those years were spent working and teaching at Gracie Barra Texas under Professor Draculino.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Another Quote from Professor Tom DeBlass

If you aren't following Professor Tom DeBlass any where on social media you are honestly missing out! Not only is the guy an amazing BJJ Black Belt, he isn't shy about spreading his knowledge. He is always on point with advice, posting techniques, and workouts. One of my favorite guys to follow on social media. This quote, below is some of the best advice you can give anyone just starting out in their own journey of BJJ.

Dear White Belts...below are a few tips to make your journey easier, in no particular order.

In order to make the most out of your Jiu-Jitsu experience it's important you understand some things.

1. Focus on basics. Stop trying flying arm bars and kimuras along with fancy leg locks until you have a solid base. Stick with the hierarchy of Jiu-Jitsu. Pass the guard, control position, submit. Or if on bottom if you cannot submit make sure you sweep, get on top, stay on top.

2. Work on your weaknesses as soon as you realize you have them. If you have a hard time escaping mount, work from there. Make your weaknesses stronger.

3. Listen to your Professor. If you join an academy it's important you trust the teacher. Look at your teachers history. What have they done? What has their student's done? What has their teacher done? Can they help you achieve your desired goal? If so, enroll and trust!

4. Stop competing with your teammates!! NO EGO. Do not compare yourself to others on the mats. We have different lives with different goals and we will achieve our goals in time as long as we do the above.

5. Find a way to leave the mats happy everytime. You are walking down an amazing path. Appreciate it, embrace it, the hills and valley's. Learn to love all of it.

If you are just starting out all of these are great points to focus on. Everyone who is starting something new, could be anything, so many people are too quick to try to become an expert overnight. Don't get me wrong its great to have passion and to obsess over BJJ, but take your time. Don't be in such a rush, BJJ is a marathon not sprint. If you want to obsess over something obsess over the basics. Basic submissions, Basic sweeps, basic setups, basics, basics, basics.... Fundamental Jiu Jitsu can and will take your game to the next level. You just have to trust it and the process. I am no World Champion, I have won my fair share of tournaments, but I'm positive I have earned my Black Belt and I earned it by focusing on Fundamental BJJ. My game is 95% fundamental, its what has always worked for me and continues to work for me to this day against all belts. Sure I'm always looking to add new wrinkles and learn new things to add to my game, but your fundamentals is what will always save you when you get in a sticky situation or just so damn tired you can't even see or think straight.

So if you are new to BJJ keep these points in mind. Soak up as much knowledge that you can during class time and live training. Don't be afraid to ask a more experienced teammate or your professors questions or advice on techniques, positions, or opinions. Listen to guys when they are talking about techniques or positions, even if you aren't part of the conversation, just soak it all up. You would be surprised at just how many people are more than happy to help you! And last but not least, for the love of god, for the time being don't try techniques you saw someone do on YouTube. Most of it will confuse you to no end. Trust the curriculum that your Professor has laid out for you, try to perfect it as much as you can then later on down the road you can venture out and try the YouTube route.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sensible Portions Weight Loss Meals Update Week 1

Well its been 7 days since I first started this journey! Let me be totally honest with you, we all know trying to diet and lose weight just sucks. Now I'm of the opinion that I am responsible for having to diet in the first place, I take the blame and let me tell you that is the first step. Take ownership of it and once you come to grips with the fact that you do indeed need to lose weight it will become easier. You and you alone are responsible for what goes into your body, so when you do decide to lose weight do it for yourself. Not for anyone else, no not your momma, not your wife, not your kids, but for yourself!

Now I have gotten that out of the way, I want you to know that dieting is never easy, especially if you are going at it alone. That is the first thing that is great about this company, Sensible Portions Weight Loss Meals, they do it all for you! All you have to do is warm the food up and BOOM you are ready to go. No prep, no clean up, no serving, nothing its that simple! Now the first week, be prepared to be hungry, which is a given. I am hungry right now!!! That's why I'm typing this blog, to take my mind off of it and stay busy! Being hungry is to be expected though, you are eating smaller meals and less calories and that is a recipe of success to losing weight. If all you do is just eat these meals and don't do any exercise you are still assured to lose weight. If you are exercising your success rate will be increase quite a bit without question. Second thing that makes this company great, is the variety of food they offer. The menu changes every week, so you can't get bored with same food over and over again! This is something else that makes the process so easy. I'm always looking forward to my next meal! Not only because I'm hungry, but also because of the different options.

So I ate these meals, trained BJJ 3 or 4 times last week and did other workouts twice. In seven days I lost 7 lbs. I am happy with the first weeks result, but it probably could have been a bit more. Thursday, we had a Thanksgiving potluck lunch at work. I just love this time of year, so of course I participated. I ate, but didn't go absolutely crazy. Over the weekend I tried to make smart decisions and for the most part I did. Saturday I indulged in a delicious dinner of Gumbo and boudain balls from BBs Cafe, which wasn't smart but hey I'm human! If you've never eaten there before and you're not dieting I highly recommend it! I also had some adult beverages this weekend. If I hadn't done all this, I probably would have been closer to 9-10 lbs, but I made the choices and have to live with it. Of course the weight loss on the scale is great, the numbers going down is always a great thing! The inches coming off is another HUGE plus for me! I put on a pair of shorts today that I haven't worn in a while! I kid you not, I actually tried on these same shorts on 2-3 weeks ago and could not even button them up and today they fit comfortably!

If you have any questions please let me know. Again these meals are just $80 a week for 15 meals, which is super cheap! You can also check the link below and see the owner of the company explain the process. I look forward to continue down this path and hope you follow along and possibly join me!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Companies Please Read!!!

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for following along! The views have been steady and I appreciate all of you! If you are BJJ company (gi's, rashguards, etc..), a supplement company, any company involved in health and wellness and are looking for someone to review your products or sponsorship please let me know. I have done many reviews in past and love letting the people know my honest opinion of your products and getting the word out there. If you are wondering, cause I know some of you are, no I'm not under contract with anyone (not yet at least LOL). So I can wear and promote anything I want to.

If you are looking for that special BJJ athlete to sponsor I would love to speak with you! I have a solid following on here and on social media, as well as looking to get back to competition and every little bit helps. I'm not asking for handout or any kind of money, I would just love to have some solid companies supporting me in my journey! Have a great day and see you on the mats!

Friday, November 18, 2016

From the Mind of Babalu... Confession

I follow a lot of very interesting people on social media. A lot of things I post, write about, or ideas for the blog come from these people. Last night while scrolling Facebook, I ran across a shared post that really hit home for me and has a lot of truths, one way or another for all competitors out there. This was written by a BJJ Black Belt by the name of Tino Martinez. See the quote below.

I compete, because I hate it. I hate it, because I'm afraid. I'm not afraid of my opponent. I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of letting my teammates down. My family down. And most importantly, myself down. Afraid of training as hard as I do only to come up short. I compete, because I choose to not let my fears control me. I will not let fear of failure dictate what I will and won't do. I choose to confront my fears. To overcome them. To overcome my self-doubt. To overcome that voice in my head that tells me I can't. I compete to show my kids that fear shouldn't dictate what they strive to achieve. I compete.

Now for me, I used to compete quite a bit, then suddenly something happened. I just stopped, even after a great accomplishment like placing 3rd in the IBJJF Masters Worlds, I just stopped. It wasn't like I wasn't a successful competitor, because I was. I lost my first match as blue belt, took second as a blue at the IBJJF Houston Open and didn't lose again until my last match as a purple at the Masters Worlds. I never quite understood what happened. Where did that fire go to? How come someone who has competed in most major sports and one at a pretty high level just suddenly not want to compete anymore? These kinds of questions have been in my mind for a few years now.

Sure, sometimes life gets in the way and you may not want to compete as much, but there is nothing like testing your BJJ against someone else who has put just as much or maybe more mat time as you. So this was my excuse, life got in the way. I have 2 kids with busy schedules, I don't have time to put in the extra work on the mat or in the weight room for Strength and Conditioning. Didn't have the time to meal prep and keep my weight on point to be a steady competitor. I was just too busy (or lazy you choose) to make the commitment. I know that probably 95% of today's competitors are just like me, family, career, difficult schedule, bills, etc... There aren't very many that are just plain professional BJJ competitors so it had to be something else.

Then I read that quote and a light went off in my head! If this was my quote and it would read like this. Here's the Confession

I don't compete, because I hate it. I hate it, because I'm afraid. I'm not afraid of my opponent. I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of letting my teammates down. My family down. And most importantly, myself down. Afraid of training as hard as I do only to come up short. I don't compete, because I have chosen to let my fears control me. I have let my fear of failure dictate what I will and won't do. I have chosen not to confront my fears. Not to overcome them. Not to overcome my self-doubt. Not to overcome that voice in my head that tells me I can't. I need to compete to show my kids that fear shouldn't dictate what they strive to achieve. I will compete!

So thank you Tino Martinez for posting that very inspirational message last night! You have opened my eyes to my truths and my fears of competitions. This has lit a fire under my ass and hopefully I will get back to it soon. I hope this message helps out anybody else who has the same kind of fears as I do or make the same excuses as I do. Competition is not the be all end all of BJJ, but there is just a special kind of feeling that you get when you represent your Team, your Professor, your BJJ, and yourself on the mat! See you on the mats!

How can Students help your Academy grow?

I ran across a posting yesterday and thought it was great! Of course having a legit instructor is a huge key to an academy growing, but there are many other factors as well. I fell in love with Gracie Barra Texas not only because Professor Draculino is the best in my eyes, but also because everyone that is part of the team.

There are so many different walks of life and professions that come through those doors and none of it makes a bit a difference when they step on the mats together. Working at GBTX for over 6 years I've seen Police officers training together with ex convicts, Doctors training with mechanics, the list could go on and on. BJJ really is for everyone. When everyone steps off the mat some people go their separate ways, but others hang around and start forming that special bond that build that family environment within the academy. When I say family, I don't mean you hang out outside of the academy only. I'm talking about people willing to help each other in the time of need. I personally have had teammates help me fix my cars, help plumbing issues in my house, bought cars from, and probably the most important improved my career by giving me a better full time job. Its not only your instructors job to make everyone feel welcome, its also the other employees within the academy, and also you the student. Lets be honest, the owner of the academy can do all the marketing in the world to reach people and those people will come, but the team won't grow if there are a bunch of egotistical jerks that train there and these new students don't feel welcome. The one thing all upper belts should remember, is you were all once a white belt. Remember the first day you showed up? How nervous were you? Everyone training regardless of belt color or experience deserves respect, if you do this as well as the write up below you should have your mats packed!

Words by Kyle Hand at

Just like all other sports, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Etiquette needs to be observed. Here is what you need to keep in mind. I’ll do this in order of ‘good advice’ to ‘essential’.

Greet every partner with a smile & handshake

If you don’t know your training partner, take a quick second to introduce yourself and get their name. If this the second or third time someone has gotten your name and not remembered it, don’t worry about it. A Jiu Jitsu mat is a terrible place to play the name game. You have probably forgotten a name or two as well.

Use the proper title for your instructor

Watch what the other students do. Most places I have been to don’t require that you refer to instructor as sifu, or teacher but use some tact and see what the others do. Most schools have Brazilian roots and Brazilians are a pretty informal group of people. On special occasions, the higher ups may call each other ‘Professor’ or ‘Maestro’.

Clean Gi & Clean body

Come to class with the gi totally clean. Jiu-Jitsu mats are not always the cleanest places. They are often home to pathogens and bacteria. Gis can pick up mat diseases. So do your part and clean your gi directly after every practice. Same goes for your body. This shouldn’t have to be said but shower after every BJJ class. Trim your nails as well. Nails can slice and cut your training partners. Pretty standard stuff here.

Mind the Rule book

This is a big one. If you are a white belt, don’t go into practice matches and start slamming and striking. If you’re new to BJJ and it is still not clear on the rules start here

Don’t strike
Don’t slam
No eye gouges
No hair pulling
Don’t grab and bend the individual fingers

Never take your opponents actions as personal

This is the big one. Never take your training partners moves as personal. Even if they are offending this rule, do not play into this downward spiral. This is a difficult point as we are in a very close quarters martial art. There is a very fine point to clarify here, so pay close attention. I am not fighting another human being. I am in contest against my practice partners ‘game’. Jiu Jitsu is a series of offensive or defensive moves against an opponent taking similar action against me. I may like or not like this person. But during the Jiu Jitsu live training session, it is not relevant what my personal feelings are about that person. Master this distinction and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will be a lot more manageable.

Show Respect

One of the best things about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the show of respect. There is an air of mutual reverence that is infectious. You don’t see this level of good behavior in other areas of life. This shocked me when I first joined. One would think that a BJJ gym consists of a bunch of anti social, maladjusted men giving each other the stink eye. We watch people use disrespect as a tool to harvest respect. This only works in situations where people cannot measure others. In the BJJ school the hierarchy is clear. Black belts have the rank and the ability to back it up. The senior belts show respect to everyone regardless of belt and rank. They do this because their journey has been stained with hardship and humility. Anyone can make a claim that he/she is the best, but they will be expected to back it up. The best route to take is smile and be friendly with all of your practice partners. Thank them for the roll they just participated in with you and always remember that if you are disrespectful on the mat you are not getting the essence of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Leave the ego at the door

You cannot develop your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game and maintain a bloated ego at the same time. Big egos in the dojo just read like mental problems. Don’t be that guy. One would think big egos would be super useful in a thing like Jiu JItsu but they aren’t. In fact, after a couple minutes of live mat time the people in the class will have a great understanding of who you are and your abilities. If you walk into a new mat room with an air of superiority they will throw their Alphas at you and quietly celebrate when you get tapped. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very revealing that way. So again, leave the ego at the door.


At Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s center is a martial arts system for dealing with larger, stronger opponents. All the other stuff like the ‘tough guy’ acts, disrespect, big egos and bad hygiene have nothing to do with BJJ. They are distractions. Do your best to stay away from the above examples and you should do great.

See you on the mat & Keep it Gentlemen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

From the mind of Babalu... What to eat for dinner after training.

A couple days ago I ran across a post on Facebook by a friend of mine asking people where he could get so menudo in our area of town. First of all, me being a current fat body and knowing the restaurants in the area I gave him an option where he could probably get some. Secondly, menudo is terrible! If you don't know what it is google it... basically its a traditional Mexican soup that has cow stomach or tripe in it. The texture of the tripe... yuck... gives me goosebumps just typing about it. If you take the tripe completely out of the equation, the broth and the hominy that's in it is actually pretty good. This turned into an idea from him, what are some things that we should could eat after training. If you are like me, I don't eat dinner until after training. Sometimes training can run kind of late, so he needed some ideas of some healthy meals to eat when he is done. Well Eddie this is for you!

In a perfect world you would have spent a few hours on Sunday prepping your meals for the week. When I wasn't fat this is exactly what I did. I would grill or bake a couple of packages of chicken breast each Sunday. Now I know that plain chicken breast doesn't really taste that great, so I would buy marinades. I personally like the KC Masterpiece 30 minute marinades, Honey Teriyaki and Classic Steakhouse. Now these may have some sugar and sodium in it, but it makes the chicken taste great and its better for you than eating pizza. Another thing I would make on Sundays would be a pan of Lean Turkey Meatloaf and the only thing I would put in there would be a packet of Lipton Onion soup mix. So those would be my proteins for the week, lunches and dinners. The sides are easy you can buy the single cups Uncle Bens brown rice, some sweet potatoes, for your carbs. I would also have plenty of veggies like green beans, broccoli, or whatever you like. So I would eat 6-8 oz. of protein, either a cup of rice or a small sweet potato, and 4 oz. of veggies. I wanted to mix it up a little I would just make a salad with the chicken breast. So that is a perfect world. It worked for me for a very long time, guess what I got away from it and was inactive for quite some time so I became obese lol!

Now what to eat if you don't meal prep? You still have some options. They all won't taste as great as an A1 Thick and Hearty meal from Whataburger, but they will work in a pinch. A lot of major grocery stores will carry Rotisserie Chicken. The chicken is usually quite tasty, since you are at the store already get you a cup a of brown rice and a can of green beans and you're set. If you don't feel like Rotisserie Chicken, most of these stores have a deli with a salad bar. You can make your very own salad. You really have to be careful here, salads are not always healthy. If you are adding bacon, fried chicken, and tons of ranch you are doing it wrong. Add as much greens as you like, add a protein to it like chicken breast or turkey breast. I also like to add some hard boiled egg whites to it. For dressing use a vinaigrette of some sort or my favorite fat free Honey Mustard.

Now if you must eat out here a few options to consider. As always you have the Subway or sandwich shop option, Chicken or Turkey breast on wheat, no mayo (mustard is fine) filled with greens and no chips. Any restaurant that has salads, but always keep in mind what is on the salads. Another option you have if you must east out is a Mexican restaurant. You can always choose the chicken fajitas with the onions and peppers. You are going to have to stay away from the beans, rice, and tortillas. You could possibly have 1 flour tortilla or 2 corn. Some of the large chains offer black beans which would probably be fine. If its beef you want, you can find you steak house that has a lean cut of steak and eat 8 oz. just choose your sides wisely. Seafood? Usually anything that is grilled fish or shrimp would be good. I am not a fish person at all so you are on your own for that one.

In most towns or cities you should be able to find a restaurant that serves something somewhat healthy that you can eat. A lot of these big chain restaurants will probably even have a portion of the menu that has healthier options for you. You just have to make the right decision. Trust me I know, it's not always easy making the right decision! That's why its just easier to not put yourself in that situation and have your food prepped already. Don't forget you can always have one or cheat meals per week, just don't blow it out of the water and not get back on track. In closing don't forget PIZZA IS DELICIOUS!!! #teamweightloss

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Did you say leg locks?!?!?!?

This week in our academy has been leg lock week! Remember when I said in a previous posts that I am still learning, well this is something that I am DEFINITELY still learning on. Ever since I started training BJJ, I've known that leg locks were there and to be cautious of them. Sure I've learned some set ups for straight ankle locks, toe holds, etc... and also how to defend them properly, but today's BJJ foot locks has become all the rage! Its so crazy right now that there is even an Instagram profile based solely on foot lock set ups and finishes. There are so many different set ups and variations that I personally don't know where to start and sometimes what to look for. This is a serious problem for me. Being a former basketball player for most of my life, I have suffered broken feet, fractured ankles, and terrible sprains. You name it and it has probably happened to me. So I've always had an issue when someone has come even remotely close to touching my feet. To say the least these next couple of weeks should be very interesting for me. I am nervously excited to learn more about them, and more than likely I will be tapping regularly hahaha! Share some of your thoughts on leg attacks and some of your favorite techniques you use. If you didn't know there is a comment section below, please use it!

Here is a video with only 105 Leg lock variations! 105 WTF!!!

On another note, today was probably the most comfortable I have felt on the mat in long time, except for that one roll with Professor Marcelo today, lol he likes to play with my emotions and toys with me! It has been no secret that I have struggled this year, coming back from injury and getting back to where I know I should be with timing, cardio, etc... Today was just a step in the right direction. Things seemed to flow better then they had in a long time, my timing felt good, I wasn't forcing anything just taking what was given to me and capitalizing on others mistakes. I am very hopeful!

Good Article on Bloddy Elbow about Tom DeBlass

If you are a student of BJJ and love learning new things about the art, one of the best follows on social media is Tom DeBlass. He is not only a beast on the mats, he is constantly showing techniques, workout ideas, and his opinions on BJJ and life. He is a great follow for sure! Check out this link and learn a little bit more about him! This interview was done by Roy Billington on

When it comes to grappling, there are few people more influential than Tom DeBlass. DeBlass, a former World No-Gi champion, two-time ADCC trials winner, and a two-weight Ring of Combat champion, has been at the forefront in popularizing jiu jitsu in the New Jersey area. And after an illustrious competitive career, he is about to try his hand at promoting.

DeBlass' martial arts journey began through pain. Following a highly successful high school athletic career as a long jumper, he was recruited to compete at a collegiate level. DeBlass' dreams of achieving greatness in the long jump were pulled from beneath him when he suffered a devastating ankle ligament injury, which forced him to retire from the sport. While recovering from injury, De Blass' competitive fire still continued to burn and it was at that point that he decided to give submission grappling a try.

Following a stint training under Eric Colon, DeBlass, then a white belt, elected to join UFC veteran Ricardo Almeida's academy. Under the tutelage of Almeida, DeBlass began to rapidly ascend through the jiu jitsu ranks. On the surface everything seemed to be going well for DeBlass - he had a good job and was a college graduate, but he wanted more from life:

"I was 23 years old, I was a school teacher. I thought to myself, I love teaching but I'm teaching the wrong subject. Jiu-jitsu is the subject i need to teach."

At that moment DeBlass decided to dedicate his life to jiu jitsu, leaving behind his comfortable job as a teacher to embark on a journey of passion. In 2006, DeBlass, then a 24-year-old brown belt, opened up his own academy in Ocean County, New Jersey.

The following few years were very successful for DeBlass. As a brown belt, DeBlass won the Pan Ams and the No- Gi worlds. Once the New Jersey native earned his black belt, he began to have success at the highest level, earning medals at a number of illustrious events - most notably winning the ADCC North American trials in 2009. The ADCC trials acted as a litmus test for DeBlass, and while he didn't take home a medal, he showed he could hang with the best after putting on a very competitive match with Andre Galvao.

After ADCC 2009, DeBlass chose to follow in the footsteps of his grappling fathers, Ricardo Almeida and Renzo Gracie. In 2010 DeBlass choose to swap the gi for the gloves and began a career mixed martial arts.

"Fighting felt like the natural next step for me. I wanted to face my fears and fight to prove to my students that it was it is imperative to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations."

DeBlass' aptitude for MMA was natural. Over the course of 18 months, Tom DeBlass would rack up seven straight wins inside the cage, winning the Ring of Combat title in both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. DeBlass' winning streak didn't go unnoticed - he was pegged as a highly-touted prospect and following an injury pull-out, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva offered him the opportunity to take on Cyrille Diabate in Sweden on 10 days notice.

DeBlass would taste defeat for the first time on that night in Stockholm, but despite being injured he saw the fight as an important lesson:

"I don't regret taking the fight against Diabate. I learned so much about myself in that fight. Most people don't know this, but I had a broken ankle when I took that fight. Despite the defeat, that fight was a great learning experience for me."

DeBlass would go on to make the move to middleweight to fight Riki Fukuda, in the UFC's inaugural trip to China, but following a 30lbs weight cut he again came up short. His loss to Fukuda signaled the end of his UFC tenure, but in the background his academy was growing from strength-to-strength.

Back at Ocean County Jiu Jitsu, the future of grappling was taking its first steps. Alongside top women's competitor Jen Russell, a young Garry Tonon was learning his trade. While juggling his MMA career, DeBlass was ushering on the next generation of grapplers.

Months removed from his UFC stint, DeBlass signed with Bellator in a bid to continue on with his MMA career, but unbeknownst to him, he was soon to become disillusioned with the sport he once loved. After a stoppage victory against Carlos Brooks, DeBlass took on UFC vet Jason Lambert in what would be a one-sided domination. In the first round DeBlass knocked out Lambert and it was that fight that made him reconsider his fighting career:

"In my heart I always missed jiu jitsu. I wanted martial arts to be fun again. I didn't find pleasure after knocking out Lambert or stopping Carlos. To me jiu jitsu is always so much fun and I couldn't find joy in MMA anymore."

Despite being given the opportunity for big-name fights in the Bellator cage, DeBlass hung up his gloves for the final time in 2013 and made his return to grappling. Just weeks into his return to grappling, DeBlass won the No-Gi Pan Ams in the Ultra Heavyweight division, which would act as a springboard into a successful 2014 for the Ocean County Jiu Jitsu family.

2014 is the year that jiu jitsu began to permeate its typical niche and this was partly due to the success of DeBlass' first black belt. Garry Tonon would illuminate the world of grappling in 2014 with his victory at the inaugural Eddie Bravo Invitational, while his professor would begin to reassert himself as one of the most impressive heavyweight grapplers in America. 2014 would see DeBlass defeat Babalu Sobral, win the Professional Grappling League's super-fight and most importantly, win the ADCC North American trials for a second time, booking himself a place at ADCC 2015.

2015 would bring DeBlass mixed results; while he failed to medal at ADCC, DeBlass took home gold in the Masters absolute at the No-Gi World Championships, without dropping a single point. On-mat successes aside, 2015 would be the year that acted as a springboard for DeBlass to move to the promotional side of the sport.

After becoming somewhat of an online celebrity within the jiu jitsu world for his Facebook videos, which receive hundreds of thousands views per month, the team behind the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission World Champions approached DeBlass to be the promoter of their North American trials. DeBlass, a two-time trials winner, duly accepted and sees the trials as an opportunity to move his career to the next step:

"It's a huge honor to work with ADCC. I won the trials two times and I always thought of ADCC as the pinnacle of grappling. I take the responsibility very seriously and hope to bring the competitors a smoothly-run amazing tournament. They already have registration open seven months early and I am looking forward to a good tournament."

As DeBlass moves into his grappling prime, his goals remain simple:

"My primary goal is to continue to inspire as many people as possible and of course win every competition I compete in. I have been very lucky and blessed to have achieved all that I have at 33 years old."

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sensible Portions Weight Loss Meals Begins!

So today marked the beginning of my journey with Sensible Portions Weight Loss Meals. Let me tell you to start, everyone knows dieting is no fun. Everyone knows that there is an adjustment period, where your body has to adjust to eating less food and your mind to stop having those cravings! Its especially hard to stay on track when you're eating same stuff all the time. I did this for such a long time, eating 6-8 ounces of chicken breast, 4 oz of veggies, and cup of brown rice for most of my meals and it worked. There is no secret to it, it worked, but no matter how many different ways you try to cook the chicken eating it all the time gets old really quick! Sure there are other things you can make, but throwing a bunch of chicken breast on the grill or in the oven was just easy.

What is great about this company is they do it all for you! Not only that, they change up the what they ship to you every week so you don't get tired of the same meals. I received my first week of meals on Thursday of last week when I did the video and like I said they were packaged awesome. There was only one issue and it was no fault of theirs, but the box clearly stated how it should be facing. I guess fedex didn't take the time to read it and place the box on the side. So some of the meals may not look as pretty as they intend, but let me tell you right now this first day I was pleasantly surprised. I had 3 meals today and they were all delicious! Now I will admit that, forgot to take a picture of my lunch, because well I was starving! I never realized just how much I really eat per meal, so I am having to adjust to this. I was hungry all day, but I fought temptation so far... YAY!!! I had to drink water to keep the cravings down and had to stay busy. I went to BJJ this evening and that is another adjustment. With eating so few calories and carbs your energy level is low and you get winded quicker. It happens and you adjust, I'm too heavy right now so this needs to happen and I need to stay on track to help with not only my BJJ, but also everyday life.

So my breakfast today was a cheese omelette, 2 slices of bacon, and some colorful potatoes. Everything was delicious! Here is a photo.

I didn't get a picture of my lunch, but it also tasted great! It was pot roast, that was shredded up, some steamed carrots, and some more potatoes. The pot roast had some really great flavor and wasn't dry at all. Carrots were crisp and flavorful as well.

My dinner was probably the largest meal of the day and it was meat loaf, green beans, and potatoes. I really enjoyed the meat loaf. Since I'm a meat and potatoes guy this was a perfect meal for me. Again, the meat loaf had awesome flavor! I am really excited to try everything else I have received and the other weeks to come.

Photo of My meat loaf:

If you're interested here is this weeks menu:

Please follow along as I try to I go through this. Your support means a lot and I need it. I love, pizza, burgers, mexican food! You name I love it, but this needs to happen and there is no better time than the present. If you are interested in you starting your own journey give it shot. At $80 for a weeks worth of food (15 meals) you can't beat that! #teamweightloss

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ouch! Shots Fired!

I am looking forward to this fight. Eddie looks like he starting to take things very personal! I think guys like Eddie Alvarez and Frankie Edgar would give Conor a real tough time. What are your thoughts? What are some of the other fights on this card that you are excited about?