I received my brown belt in Jiu Jitsu last month. I have been at Maven Jiu Jitsu since 2018. I took a year off to recover from surgery in 2019. In total, I have been doing Jitsu for over 12 year, give or take some time for inactivity, surgery rehabilitation, and laziness.
Whenever you switch academies or move, sometimes you have to start over. In my case, I had to learn the school’s system, ideology towards Jiu Jitsu and the instructors has to reevaluate my skills. My instructor has been a friend, mentor and Jiu Jitsu instructor during my time in Texas. He has been a pivotal role in my growth as a person, Jiu Jitsu practioner, student, and teacher.
What does the belt mean? It contains meaning if I give the belt meaning. Nothing changes currently in my journey. I want to grow, improve and help others with Jiu Jitsu. Hopefully I can still keep doing this martial until I’m an old man.
I know, I know. It has been a long time between posts. It just isn’t on my to do lists.
A few things to report on the past few weeks.
Purpose of the Drawings. I want to get better. I need to work on a portfolio. I think back of Daniel Adel’s Paper drawings. Amazing. It really is practice. I went back to drawing instead of water color because to paint you really have to be a good draftsman.
A failed Comic book. On my birthday I tried to do a 24 hour comic since I couldn’t travel or do anything I wanted to do like Jiu Jitsu. I wanted to do a comic about my travels in 2017. It was a good subject. I just didn’t have enough skill, experience or drawing endurance to complete such a task. It was a major undertaking. I learned a lot from the experience. My curiosity peaked to study the world of comics and drawing more. I read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud again. Then I read Making Comics. Now I’m reading Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner. It is a project I still want to do in the future.
Some provoking questions to ask myself. What do I want to do with my Art? Do I want to make beautiful art. Yes. But that can’t be the only reason to make art. Anyone can make a pretty pictures. How do I transcend the surface of it? Story. Maybe a narrative to connect the viewer/reader with the art. Beauty gets boring. I like to laugh and have fun. How can I steer my work in that direction?
My friends and family came to visit. It felt great to get out and experience Houston with my guests. I have friends here in Spring but childhood friends have a special place. We laugh and reminisce. They are also very creative and doing different things with their lives. Its interesting to hear their stories. We did a myriad of things. We visited the Johnson Space Center, watched a pro wrestling event in a parking lot in Montrose, saw the Fighting with my family movie, ate Texas BBQ at Corkscrew BBQ and tacos at Bigotes. Larry and Fernando are going to start a pro wrestling podcast. I fully support them because of their wealth of knowledge and experience of the industry. I pitched them a travel show where they go to different countries and interview the wrestling scenes in each country. There are subcultures in every country and pro wrestling is no different. I suggested the countries I’ve visited or want to visit. South Korea, Ireland. South Africa or Mexico. I can be their camera man I think its undiscovered territory in the Vloging world.
My mother and sister came. I can’t thank them enough for their love and support.
A few days after the Copenhagen Camp I ended up in Porto, Portugal. I wondered what I would do when I got to Porto. From the start of my trip I knew my family was coming to Portugal. I had to decide what to do before I met them in Porto. My options were I would either walk another Camino from Porto to Santiago, hang out in Porto for a week, or…. wait for it. Go to a surf school.
Porto will be an unforgettable chapter in my trip. I learned to surf and met other beginners from all parts of the world. I trained Jiu Jitsu in the afternoon and nights after surfing. I drank and hung out with cool people whose couches I could use in the future. I was reunited with my family and I had old fashion family vacation.
I booked the camp when I was in Vienna after talking to Tina, from Leipzig post, who described her love for surfing. I thought that I should try it out. One should push themselves outside of their comfort zones. How else can you grow as a person? I found Surfivor on Google. A great place with very comfortable accommodations. Bruno and Albert are very good surf instructors. It seems they still have a lot of enthusiasm for it after many years. There were plenty of beginner students just trying it out. Most nights the students ate dinner together and drank together. This experience has made me really enjoy surfing. I will continue to surf in the future.
I get my recommendations where to train from the BJJ Globetrotter Facebook Group. I simply remember or search where people go to train on the forum. So far every place I’ve trained at has not disappointed me. I account that this is also a very open community that loves the sport and showing people their love for Jiu Jitsu.
Focus Jiu Jitsu in Porto, Portugal was one of the best places I’ve trained. Manuel Neto, the head instructor, was very friendly and welcoming. Focus has Jiu Jitsu three times a day Monday through Friday with one class on Saturday. The location of the gym is located inside a bigger gym/crossfit/MMA place about three blocks from the beach. I rented a bike and it took about 15 minutes from my hostel. A large amount of higher belts, one them just came back from Worlds and was awarded Black Belt. The facilities are clean, showers and a large mat space. The majority of population of Porto could speak English and the gym was no exception. I will definitely return to this place in the future.
My family visiting Porto before they attend a wedding in Lisbon was my favorite part. I love Jiu Jitsu and surfing, but I enjoy spending time with my family. It’s a good recharge from the months of travel I’ve been through. There were many times on my journey where I get homesick. I would call my sister and see how things are doing back home. I did this more on this 4 months of travel than my 7 years in the Navy. I took them to the restaurants that Tiago, the surf camp owner, recommended to me. They enjoyed the Francesinha, Restaurante Ababia do Porto and eating at the grilled fish street. We spent roughly two days in Porto together but I instilled them the love for Porto that I felt.
My plan is to come back for a month to Porto maybe next summer. The surfing, Jiu Jitsu, and the amazing Portuguese food are a few reasons why I will return. I’m already planning my return to Portugal. I want to continue surfing when I return to California so I will be better when I come back. The lifestyle is very similar to something I imagine myself I would be when I grow older.
My first BJJ Globetrotter Camp. When I first decided to travel around the world this was the first thing I booked, it was also one of the cheapest camps. All I had to do was travel to Copenhagen, lodging not included in price. I didn’t know what to expect for my first Jiu Jitsu camp. I kept my mind open and trained as much as my mind and body let me. At the end of the camp I gained many friends and invitations to different gyms all over Europe.
Some of my favorite tips from the Copenhagen Camp Information Guide by Daniel Bertina. Pace yourself, take notes and be social. Six days of 8-9 hours of Jiu Jitsu is a lot for anyone. I didn’t want to burn myself out so I went to open mat at least once a day and I attended an average of 2.5 classes. I would have liked to have attended more classes but it will just be a goal for next time. I took notes for the classes that I did attend. A tip that I will do next time is record myself doing the moves again in sequence with a partner to accompany the written notes. I should have been more social during the camp. This is one aspect that I did not take advantage until the end of the camp which was too late. Next time I will attend the welcome meeting/ Jiu Jitsu speed dating, dinners and a few drink afterwards. The trick is to have a right balance of socializing and rest for the next days training sessions/classes. As you can tell I’m already convinced that I will attend another camp. The next important question is which one?
A rolled with the original BJJ Globetrotter on the last day, Christian Graugart. Many years ago he went on a trip around the world to train Jiu Jitsu in as many different gyms as possible. It spawned into the friendly travel community we now know. He is not the first to make Jiu Jitsu camps but his BJJ Globetrotter brand has the most amount with 10 camps in different locales around the world. I felt honored to roll with him. He rolls like a black belt, relaxed and very composed against a lower belt, like myself. Although very playful and fun. A very approachable guy, it was interesting to pick his brain about the camps and his travels.
I trained everyday during the camp. I didn’t go to every class even though I wanted to. I socialized more on the last few nights. I should have went out more in the beginning especially for the Jiu Jitsu speed dating session to meet people. I should have recorded myself summarizing the techniques I just learned. A Gopro is good but my iTouch with a tripod would have been fine. I met people from all over the world and received many invitations from gyms and gave out just as many. I wonder when and where my next BJJ Globetrotter camp will be?
How I came to visit Leipzig is one of those serendipity moments. I met a girl from my hostel in Vienna and she invited to visit Leipzig after Dresden. It wasn’t on my plan, but why not I thought. At times I think about how I travel before and how I travel now. I make more room to meet different people and have unique experiences. For example, I don’t have a concrete itinerary and I couchsurf through friends of friends. I’m glad that I had room in my schedule to see this city.
Tina showed me around her Leipzig during her off day. We had lunch then we walked around the city center. We went to a museum about the GDR( German Democratic Republic), it was all in German but I had a translator with me. While traveling through Czech Republic and East Germany/ Dresden I am learning more and more about that time. Tina said Germany is a young country when you think about the unification of the West and East sides. Germany is only 26 years old. Germany is a millennial?
She took me to see Völkerschlachtdenkmal, it’s a famous monument that symbolizes Napolean’s defeat in Leipzig. I should read more about Napolean, his legacy is still lingering in Europe. He is one of those historical figures that I studied in History but I don’t remember the details. History tends to be buried underneath new history on top of present day news. For it’s worth learning more about a continents history because in turn it affected the United States become what it is.
Music was everywhere in Leipzig. Not only can you find it walking around down town or in the park, but when I was at the haupbahnhof and a traveling choir started singing in the atrium. It was an incredible experience that I can only give thanks to letting things go and see where things end up. I will definitely come back especially since I didn’t have time to train Jiu Jitsu.
A summary of Bratislava. I arrived on a Monday and I left on a Monday. I stayed in a Botel. I attended my first Polyglot Gathering. I also helped the event as a volunteer. I went on a tour of Devin Castle and a wine tour. I added a few more friends to my Facebook network. It was incredible new experience.
I took a bus from Vienna Erdberg to Brastislava Einsteinova. The worst part was if I just stayed bus till the end of the line I would have been closer to my hotel. Since I got off a bus stop before the end I had to walk an extra 30 minutes to my accommodation. Lesson learned for Bratislava. It wasn’t a big deal, it could have been avoided if I possibly knew German or Slovak. The growing pains of traveling, its almost impossible to not a make a mistake, cultural or logistics during travel.
I stayed in a Botel, not quite a hotel, not quite a boat on the Danube River. It was the more economical choice when it came to lodging options for the Polyglot Gathering. It’s location was the selling point. It was about a 10 minute walk to the bus stop and it was a 10 minute walk from the city center. It was very convenient for the conference. Many other attendees or polyglots were also staying there. My roommate was from Lithuania, he spoke many languages. We mainly conversed in English and Spanish, the only languages I can converse in. Having a roommate made the experience better and put my whole anxiety at ease.
My first Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava, Slovakia. I felt very intimidated because I only spoke two languages, and one of them wasn’t at a high level. There were people there that spoke 4-5 languages fluently, then there were Rockstars in the community like Richard Simcott who can speak as many as 20 languages. I felt at awe when I was walking around and seeing all these people I watched on Youtube. By the second day I realized that these people are just human beings, like me. I started talking more as I got over the intimidation factor.
I helped as a volunteer since I got there a few days before the event started. As I wrote before I was apprehensive of my language skills so I decided to volunteer to help get over my anxiety. By being a volunteer you see more behind scenes and how things operate from a stage left point of view. It’s something I learned in the Navy, by being behind the so called magician’s curtain we can see that some things aren’t that special or magical. I met other people that spoke only three languages, a few didn’t even speak English, they were from Slovakia. I even saw Esperanto exist on a working level with the volunteers. I enjoyed volunteering and had more one on one time with the other staff. I was glad that I was able to help such wonderful event.
I took some tours that the organizers of the Gathering had set up. The first day was non-stop talks in the morning and afternoon, it felt like school. My tour of Devin Castle was in the afternoon of the second day, it was a good break from the talks. It was good to meet and talk with the other people from the Gathering in another setting. I didn’t want to go to Slovakia and not see some historical monuments. Another was a wine and old town tour. On the afternoon of the third day we walked around the old town and heard the history of Bratislava. Which ended in drinking wine in a cellar near the center. I enjoyed the tours more for the socializing with the other attendees than hearing the history, though it was interesting. I was engaged with a lot of interesting conversations about languages and where people are from.
I ended up connecting with more people in the end. I was able to open up more by the end of the conference. I think the tours were a good icebreaker to meet other people, especially when wine is involved. I practiced as much of my Spanish as possible, usually when I practice Spanish it’s with native speakers. I hope meet all the people I talked to at future events.
If you are a language learner or if you are wondering about attending one of these events? I recommend it and I plan on going to the next one. Whether you only speak one or 13 languages, everyone is welcome. As long as you have an openness to learn and speak. Where else would you meet people who are as passionate about learning languages, travel, food, and cultures. I’m glad I was able to stop by in Bratislava for this conference. I’m incredibly fortunate to attend all the events I wanted to do this year.
Langfest- Montreal, Canada.- August 25-27, 2017
Polyglot Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland.- October 27-29, 2017
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Somewhere between Peru and Chile I decided to take a detour and visit my old home, Guam. I lived on Guam for 3 years when I was in the Navy. I look back on my time on Guam as my transformation into Adulthood. It was the first time I really was away from home. I lived by myself without room mates. I paid rent, utilities, cleaned my home, cooked my food, and solved my life problems on my own. There were many ups and downs that came with the experience which is why it feels like a home.
Guam is a small island in the Pacific Ocean. It is a United States Territory, like Puerto Rico. Citizens on Guam cannot vote during federal elections but they do have a delegate in the House of Representatives. The US military is the islands #1 employer. The bases cover 27% of the islands land mass. Most of the income comes from tourists that visit from Asian countries like Japan, China, and South Korea. Here is a video by Wendover productions for an overview.
It is very expensive to fly to Guam from the United States. The average round trip ticket is around $1000 USD. I was initially going to spend three weeks in South Korea. My thought process was that I can take a cheaper flight to visit Guam now than when I return to the States. So I took a detour and made some arrangements with some friends that were still on the island.
My friend, Jordan, and his wife, Emily, were hosting me during my stay. They live in Mangilao, Guam. They gave me my own room and bathroom. It was a luxury that I rarely had during my trip. Both of them were working during my stay but we caught up at night. Jordan even let me borrow his car while he was at work. Jordan worked during the day and Emily at night but she comes home at 8 to 9ish. At that time we would eat dinner and have catch up on life.
I visited my duty station, Naval Hospital Guam. I was a Hospital Corpsman at NH Guam for 3 years. One of the most frustrating jobs of my entire life. Though it helped shape the person I am today because of my experiences there. I ran into some old peers that were still there. It felt great to catch up but it didn’t feel good to listen to the consensus of low morale. It was a good reminder of why I left the Navy to travel the world. I know where their dissatisfaction comes from because I lived it. I hope they find their peace with the Navy. I compare the hospital visit felt like going back to your old high school, if your high school took care of sick and dying patients.
My friend told me it would be a good morale boost to be on American soil and be around friends. I didn’t realize until I left how true that statement was. The ability to speak English freely without thinking if the other person understood me was comfortable. I used to live on Guam, so when Jordan let me use his car, it felt like driving around my home town. I revisited my favorite restaurants McKrauts, Gabriels, Cafe Tu’re, Asu Smokehouse, and Pikas Cafe. I cooked risotto for Emily and Jordan as a kind of payment for hosting me. I’m so thankful to have friends on the other side of the world.
I trained Jiu Jitsu twice. I went to Vida once. It wasn’t too far from where I was staying. It had a good core of students. Some are MMA fighters on Guam. Every night was competition training for them. It was a good push. They waived the mat fee too. Then I trained at Spike 22 at Steel Athletics. I had to pay a $15 mat fee for that day. Only two people showed up for lunch open mat. Rohin was training for a MMA fight in July and Mike was there training with him. It was good training with heavy weights that just used technique, especially Rohin. Rohin could have crushed me, he looked over 250 lbs. It was a chill rolling session. Despite the $15 mat fee and the few people it was a good experience.
I went to see Gabe Baker, my coach when I trained at Carlson Gracie Guam. We had lunch at a Thai place next to the academy. It was getting renovated, new mats, so I couldn’t train at my old gym. Getting a one on one with my old coach was what I needed. It felt at times that I was stumbling through the dark with what I needed to work on. He gave me some guidance that was worth more than the two training sessions I had on the island. He had an interesting philosophy on the belt system. I’m grateful for the training I received on Guam and I thanked him for all that he taught me. I will visit Guam and Carlson Gracie Guam again some day.
“Purple belt is the longest belt, and is the belt most people quit at. A brown belt is just waiting for his black belt. “
How is my school life going? Terrible. I’m behind on a lot of my work. I’m stress all the time. What’s worst is that I failed/did not pass my STR. (Science of Teaching Reading)(sigh) I was perturbed. This is just one obstacle in a series of many. I have to keep going. I have to keep going. When I get knocked down I have to get up. I know its hard, I get home from school and I don’t want to do any school work or study. I just want to relax. I have to find the time, the energy, and the motivation to keep going.
Tengo muchas tareas pendientes en mi clase de español. Tengo mucha ansiedad en mi clase porque soy soltero en el mar de hablantes nativos. Sin embargo, yo hablé con mi profesor. El dime muchas estrategias para resolver mis tareas. Estaba haciendo mi trabajo más duro que lo necesite. Yo perdí algunas colegas que empiezan conmigo al principio. Lamento este cierto.
Recently I received some tools to play around with. I got linocut tools and a printing press. Slowly I’ve been fascinated with relief printing, specifically linocut printing. Why? I like the look. It was the first form of mass production. It reminds me of MC Escher. I think it was an MC Escher exhibit. I love it all. Its a form I never really explored. I always loved drawing but I never explored other art printmaking like intalgio and planographic. I would like to incorporate my art into class or a class lesson. The lino cut tools are dangerous for kids. But I’m thinking if I learn more about the screen printing process. That may be a better fit for students. I think the printing a graphic and using the light bulb technique on a screen.
Para que– So that
Sin que– with out
Antes de que– before
Por mucho/poco que– no matter how much/no matter how many
Estoy atrasado en mis clases de español. Es muy difícil hacer mis clases en español mientras que mis otras clases son en inglés. Todavía no se conocen las reglas para el tiempo subjuntivo. La mayoría del mi tiempo yo nunca uso este tiempo.
Mi idea por este problema. Voy a escribir oraciones por cada blog/post.
Tenía pensado “to drop” en mis clases de español y tomaré el próximo semestre. Pero no se. Aqui es un buen tiempo para practicar subjuntivo.
“ After a verb or impersonal phrase that expresses a wish, desire, preference, suggestions or request.
I turned 38 two days ago. (sigh) I’m not a fan of my birthday. I never really cared for it as an adult, especially past 30 years old. It’s just another part of life. I hate when I used to get facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday. The last time some of those people contacted me was my last birthday. Where were you the last 364 days of the year.
My college club knew my birthday because it was a required information. So went along. It feels so forced or contrived. When I receive it. I do say, ” Happy Birthday!” to people when it is their day. I think people like to hear it and feel special. But for me. Don’t bother.
That was my negative part. Here is what I do appreciate from my birthday. I appreciate the messages and calls from my friends and family. When I receive messages from them I really feel like they care. I was able to talk to my friend who lives abroad. I haven’t spoken to her since I visited her over the summer. It felt good to connect and laugh again. That’s something I miss, reminiscing the good times. I don’t get to laugh as much as I would like to.
My friend, Juan, sent me a birthday message. That’s a friend who reaches out but I have been bad at staying connected. In that aspect, I am a hypocrite. I have friends that reach out. But I don’t meet them half way. These connections could be lost, or grow weak. Friendship is a joint effort.
My takeaways. I should be more appreciative of the life I am currently living. I always think about how it could be worse. It can also be better. I can also do better work that I’m doing now.
I didn’t want to go to class tonight. But I glad I did. I had a break down right before class because I spent all afternoon doing a practice test for certification. I finally completed it. Then I forced myself to go. I’m glad I did. I think that little battle that I fought was a small win in the war against my ego.
Una de mis estrategias para mejorar mi escritura es escribir un libro de gramática entero. ¿Por qué? Mi hipótesis es que voy a revisar las reglas, tiempos y practicar mi escritura/ “handwriting”
Si alguien está leyendo este post. Dime consejos para mejorar mi nivel. Algun dia, ,quería tomar un examen por C2 en CEFR. ¿Por qué? Supongo, “C2” es el estándar de fluidez. Si yo puedo lograr esto, tal vez me voy a sentir más cómodo en español.
NO quiero escribir ahora. ¿Por qué? Porque estoy cansando de mi día. Es un poco tarde. A las nueve de la noche. Pero yo sé que la única manera de mejorar mi nivel de escritura es escribir todos los días en español. ¿Verdad?
Todos los aspectos de aprendizaje de idiomas son como músculos. No quiero que mis músculos atrofiquen. Oral, escritura, lectura, y comprensión.. Tengo que hacer ejercicios de todo cuerpo. Mi escritura va a ayudar mi habilidad de lectura. Mi comprehension de oral.
Acabo de asistir a mi clase de español de la universidad. La misma situación del semestre de primavera del 2022. Yo soy el único hombre entre las mujeres que son hispanohablantes nativas.
Tengo que mejorar mi nivel en español. Tengo que escribir más. Tenía una idea para escribir en este blog en español sobre mi tiempo en mi beca. Ahora estoy trabajando en una escuela primaria. Estoy ayudando a los alumnos allá con sus tareas. Los alumnos hablan español y varios niveles de inglés. A veces tengo dificultades cuando tengo que explicar las instrucciones o cuando un alumno no entiende la tarea.
He tenido una gripe los últimos días. Mis síntomas empezaron el sábado por la tarde. Hasta ahora. Ahora mismo, hoy, miércoles a las seis de la tarde. Mis síntomas eran fiebre, escalofríos y dolor en mi cuerpo entero. Quería hacer mis tareas pero en realidad no quería hacer nada excepto respirar bien y relajarse.
Cuando tenías una enfermedad, te sientes muy soledad. Especialmente en mi caso porque vivo solo. Me acuerdo el peor tiempo cuando tenía gripe. Mientras viajaba a través de Perú. Yo me quedaba en Cuzco. No se que se llama mi enfermedad pero tenía mucho problemas con mi dormido
Estoy pensando en mi colega. Ella siempre tiene críticas por mi. Creo que ella tiene un problema conmigo. La próxima vez, le voy a hacer una pregunta. ¿Por qué siempre tienes criticas para mi pero nunca tu tienes cumplidas de mi trabajo o mi dia? No soy perfecto, pero quisiera mejorar mis técnicas y habilidades en enseñanzas. Dime consejos porque si siempre tu estuvieras diciendo que estoy equivocado, eventualmente no querría estar cerca de ti. También no quería recibir cualquier cosa de ti. Podemos arreglar este asunto.
Mi vocabulario nuevo
Estar en contacto- Stay in contact
Tengo una amiga en Eiche, pero no estamos en contacto. Que triste.
siempre me siento que estoy atrasado en mi trabajo por universidad
Hoy aprendí muchas palabras. Como que? Depredadores, extinguir, nidos y otras. Voy a poner las palabras abajo.
En mi último post, creo que fue injusto con hispanohablantes de Estados Unidos. Si, la mayoría de las personas no entienden mi viaje español de aprendizaje. Pero ellos tienen otro problema. Ellos pueden hablar, leer, y entender español, en cierto punto. ¿Qué significa eso? Tengo un mejor amigo que tiene padres de El Salvador. Él habla inglés y español, pero inglés es dominante. Si, el tuviera que escribir un ensayo académico o leer un libro entero en español. Creo que fue muy difícil para él. Muchas personas tienen este problema.