Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gracie Barra 6th degree blackbelt Nelson Monteiro accused of felony domestic violence

This is Danielle Martin, a new black belt and longtime instructor out at Gracie Barra Encinitas (California.) Like many instructors, she is an ambassador for her academy and the sport, teaching groups from Girl Scout troops to corporate seminars, women's classes, self defense, and children's classes.


On November 15, 2014, she received her black belt.  This is an honor most jiu jitsu players dream of.




She was promoted to faixa preta by Nelson Monteiro, a 6th degree black belt with whom she used to have a romantic relationship. Her promotion to black belt was marred that night, when Monteiro also allegedly punched her in the face and head numerous times and drove off with her half in, half out of his SUV, dragging her several feet down the road.

That night....



Excuse my amateur redaction of address etc.







Two gentlemen friends of Martin's waited with her in the parking lot until the deputies arrived.  At least one of them has allegedly been threatened by Monteiro not to speak against him, although this has not yet been confirmed by me personally.  Because the deputies did not witness the assault, and because Monteiro avoided returning home that evening, Monteiro was not arrested at the time.  The case and photographs have been turned over to the prosecuting attorney in Encinitas (near San Diego.)

The usual process of filing criminal charges in California is outlined here.  A common misconception is that when a crime occurs that is later reported to law enforcement, police stop what they're doing and rush out to arrest right away.  In fact, many times the prosecutors will take the case to a grand jury and get indictments in felony cases, before any arrests take place.

Some days after the assault:







The detective on the case indicates that Monteiro claims to be the victim, and asked him through his attorney to provide photos or evidence of Monteiro being assaulted.

At this time, no such photographs or evidence have been provided to law enforcement, either by Monteiro or by his attorney, contrary to Monteiro's claims (below.)  In fact, the detective delayed filing the case with the prosecutor's office for days, waiting for any such information, but none was forthcoming.

The officer photographed Martin's hands that night, and indicates that she had no apparent marks that would be expected if she assaulted someone else.  No finger-mark or grab-type bruising on her arms. As you would imagine, her nails are so short as to be nonexistent.

Ten days later, Monteiro's business partner and co-owner of GB Encinitas, Rafael Ramos, instructed Monteiro and Martin to stop participating in academy events:

From: Rafael Ramos
Subject: GB Encinitas
Date: November 26, 2014 at 9:53:39 PM PST
To: Nelson Monteiro , Danielle Martin
 

Nelson and Danielle,

in light of the recent events, we believe its best for you to cease your activities as a member of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

This administrative decision has been made believing it is the best for our school, students and Gracie Barra while the situation follows its course.

The school is grateful for all levels of your involvement in the past and please understand, this is not a permanent decision.

Respectfully,

Rafael Ramos

Gracie Barra
"JIU JITSU FOR EVERYONE!"
www.graciebarra.com
www.gbencinitas.com
www.gbcompnet.com
"Organized like a Team, fighting like a Family!"


But that has not been enforced.  Individuals at that academy allege that Monteiro attended both the instructors' dinner and the holiday party. (Martin did not.) Also, as mentioned above, some report that he has taken steps to encourage/intimidate people to take his side, or to remain silent if they cannot.

I've communicated with Flavio Almeida, one of the "head honchos" of Gracie Barra, about this incident.  He indicated that it was inappropriate if Monteiro was still participating in academy life, and facilitated me getting in touch with Monteiro and Ramos.

Monteiro's response to me was very polite:

  Hi Georgette,

Hope you are doing well. Me and Danielle Martin have very views of an incident. Please understand that at this point i do not intend to get involved in a public argument about it. I have provided information to the Sheriff's department, including photographs of  my injuries, that show that i have not done anything wrong or illegal. About the school, Rafael is sending you an e-mail soon.

Keep training, hope you get your black belt one day, best regards,

Nelson Monteiro


Email from the detective on the case denies that any information was provided by Monteiro or his attorney.

Ramos' reply to me was also very polite:

Hi Georgette,

below is a message that i sent to Nelson and Danielle in the name of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

Until all the facts are analyzed by someone with the capacity to do so , i think everyone should stay unbiased and not take sides, since the versions are so different.

Message sent to them below:

"In light of the recent events, we believe its best for you to cease your activities as a member of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

This administrative decision has been made believing it is the best for our school, students and Gracie Barra while the situation follows its course.

The school is grateful for all levels of your involvement in the past and please understand, this is not a permanent decision."

Respectfully,

Rafael.

Sent from my iPhone


Why, then, am I writing this post-- when, as Rafael Ramos points out, the versions of events are so different?  Should I not stay silent and wait for the courts to do their thing?

As Ferguson, Garner, and the NYE rapes in DC showed, sometimes even events on videotape do not result in criminal charges and when they do, sometimes no conviction.  The jury does not decide innocence... the jury decides whether the prosecutors have met their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  And, too, the justice system is a slow beast.

I hate thinking about a person who, like many of us, finds comfort, social support, intellectual stimulation and fun in jiu jitsu being denied those things at a time when she may need it most-- only to discover that her alleged assailant is enjoying it with the tacit approval of his business partner, and then allegedly pronouncing to all and sundry that she is a liar because he hasn't been arrested yet.  That's not how it works, and I seek to educate the people who may read this blog.

I don't pretend to know what happened the night Martin got her black belt, because (although I offered) I have not seen any photographs of alleged injuries suffered by Monteiro.  I have only seen one side of the story.  But the side I've seen so far is pretty ugly. 

Looking at the offense report, we see she's a very slender 136 lbs at 5'10" tall... he's got at least forty pounds on her.  Not to mention that he is a freaking sixth-degree black belt.

A healthy, male, sixth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu should be able to defend himself and restrain a smaller female of lesser rank without beating the crap out of her.

If I were researching a school, looking for self-defense instruction, high-level technique, or even a nice teacher, and I read this... I might have second thoughts about learning from this guy Monteiro.  I mean, really-- if you can't exercise technique and judgment sufficiently? and (assuming for argument's sake) you "had to" put goose-egg knots and a black eye and horrible bruises all over this skinny lady's face in order to "protect yourself?"  That does not make any sense to me.  MAYBE you bruise her arms trying to hold her.  Better yet, stop the car safely and tell her to get out.  If she refuses, you take the nonviolent path.  Call the cops if you have to.

But You Do Not Bash Her Head.

You Do Not Punch Her Face Repeatedly.

And You Do Not Drive Off Dragging Her On The Road. 

That, of course, assumes the best possible scenario for Monteiro. I only know Martin from a brief introduction years ago at a tournament... don't know either of them well at all. I don't know if she instigated any physical contact with him, but if she did, he shouldn't have responded as the photographs reveal he did.  And if she didn't, then his conduct is a million times more reprehensible.

Gracie Barra handled the Yakima rape incident well by "excommunicating" Cristiano Oliveira when he was arrested for raping one of his juvenile students, and Gracie Barra Northwest established wonderful policies to prevent future occurrences and help deal with any that occur despite best practices.

Edited to add: According to Flavio Almeida, Gracie Barra supports survivors of violence and welcomes Martin to train and teach at another location while she waits for resolution of the case and disapproves of Monteiro being permitted to resume participation at the school.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Gear review: Deus Fight

Well, I meant to write this review before I left for the holidays, and failed.  So I put all the photos into google drive so I could write it from my family's house.  Or.... so I thought.  And rather than wait till after Christmas to post this, I'll show you my thoughts and what pictures I do have.

I reviewed the Deus Fight gi, two pairs of workout/running tights, a sleeveless rashguard and a sleeveless workout top.  They're made in Brazil, not Pakistan or China, too.

From their site: "First, who is DeuS? DeuS is Portuguese for God. Genesis 1:1 No começo Deus criou os céus e a terra. We capitalize the D and S in Deus to emphasize that HE is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega.  Next, who are we? We are a FAITH based fitness brand for the active wear market with an emphasis on yoga and martial arts."

They have also instituted a number of projects to give back to communities.  The Favela Kids project speaks for itself: 

"DeuS is working in Brazil to make a difference in the poorest areas of the country.  By pulling kids off the streets and out of the favela's using Jiu Jitsu these academies are not only saving lives, but giving kids an opportunity and hope for a better future. DeuS Fight contributes through their #Gis4aGi Campaign. For every 3 products purchased, DeuS Fight donates one to these academies. DeuS Fight also provides on going financial assistance from the sales of their products, too, by giving a majority of their profits away. This not only provides these children with the equipment, food, and supplies they need to keep their programs going, but it also allows them to participate in occasional competitions to enhance their skills, motivate, and encourage them."

Please visit the site for more information about several other projects under this banner including Terere's project... DeuS also promotes what it calls the "Witness Protection Program" which visits churches and church schools teaching self defense.

But, back to the gear review. The short version: well-made lightweight gi, noticeably Christian embroidery, suited for longer limbs, doesn't shrink much at all... one of my new favorite rashguards... workout wear with style.

The long version....

I wish I had the photos of me wearing this gi.  It looks great, except the sleeves and pants are quite long.  For reference, I have an A1 (my usual size) and I'm 5'2" and, in these photos, my winter insulation weight of 145. :(   36-29-39 :(

I'll add more pictures when I get home, but the sleeves came well past my wrists but not all the way past my fingertips.  The bottom of the jacket is down past my bum.  The gi pants were about 2"-3" past my ankle bone.  I hoped I could shrink the heck out of it with hot washes and dries, but (good news for you) it really won't shrink much at all. This will be great for taller, slimmer people who don't want all the bulk of a bigger gi, or people like Meerkatsu who feel they have unusually long limbs.  The size chart says an A1 should be for people 5'4"-5'8", but the A0 gi was for slenderer folks than I, weighing under 120 lbs.  I can just get the length altered pretty easily.

Measurements, unwashed, and then after 3 washes on hot and 3 dries on hot:
Jacket:
Sleeve length, top, from cuff to edge of lapel: 30"/29.5"
Length of jacket from shoulder top next to lapel, to bottom hem: 29.5"/28"
Width of jacket bottom at hem: 24"/23"

Pants:
Waist, across laid flat: 20"/20"
Pant length, front: 38"/37.5"
Pant length, back: 40"/39.5"

I liked the colorway, crisp white and medium grey accents.  Here's the clean sholder embroidery. 


All the seams are double or triple sewn.  Here's the inside of the jacket, you can see the weave of the fabric is different, smoother next to your skin.  A minor bobble in one of the triple seams shouldn't affect the wearability or durability.

The pants are ripstop, but they feel cottony instead of plasticy which is how I prefer them.  I have concerns about the differently-colored crotch gusset though... it's a medium grey twill, very comfortable, and probably not visible unless you're looking.  However I have been told that the IBJJF does not permit gi pants with more than one color. The wording of the rules themselves is debatable.  Deus Fightwear assures me the gi has been vetted by the IBJJF and is legal.

Another little sewing mistake in the pants I received, but not a huge deal.

The lined portion of the front of the pants comes to just above ankle length for me, mid-shin for taller folks.


I especially appreciate the shorter rise in front, longer in back, which makes room for a butt.  I also really liked the number and placement of belt loops.  The cord is slim and not too springy, and just long enough for a square knot at the waist.  Doesn't come undone during hard sparring either.

Inside the left lower lapel of the jacket, this quotation.  Doesn't flake or peel yet.


Stress points are well reinforced, and the split hem is nicely covered in twill tape. Cuffs are triple seamed at the wrist without any scratchy lining or tape.


The most noticeably Christian logo appears on the front lower left of the jacket and is about the size of a grapefruit.


They sent me two pairs of workout capris.  I think either could be worn under the gi pants, possibly for nogi as well, and very easily for running, working out, or just around town with a sweatshirt.  I loved the "racing stripes" which are appliqued strips of white and grey fabric.  The material of the pants is not shiny, that's just from the camera flash.  Not sure what size this is on their website, but the label says "3" and I'm thinking it's a large, because they'd first sent the other pants (below) and they were a little small at size "2".

The waistband is contrast white, and on the front over the right hipbone is an embroidered cross inside a laurel wreath.  On the back in the center is a small Deus emblem.  They're very comfortable... I see myself wearing these a lot, especially when it's a little warmer.


The other pants are REALLY cute.  Again, small cross over the right hip bone.  The red accents are a nice touch.  I was also sent a red sleeveless top of the same stretchy, perforated material (like basketball shorts) which I love wearing under a gi and do not have photos of, sorry.


LOOK!  they're actually very low-profile pockets!  Just big enough for an ID/license, a small ipod... but stretchy and slim, so highly unlikely to catch a finger when rolling nogi.

Here's the red workout top I mentioned, as shown on their site:


And then, I LOVED the grey-and-black sleeveless rashie (below).  Couple reasons: the grey accents on the sides create the optical illusion of a more defined waist.  Sadly, with all my comfort eating and working from home lately, I need all the help I can get.  Also, the material is a velvety-but-sleek feeling fabric unlike any rashguard I've ever worn. 

My only negative comment on this sleeveless rashie is that the cross in the center back right under the neckline (not shown in pictures, sorry) is not sublimated but "painted on," so it cracked and started to peel within 3 wears.  However, it's small, about 1.5" tall, and not noticeable unless you're really looking. The cross in front on the hip is embroidered nicely.


They also have traditional rashguards, fight shorts, yoga pants, and other workout wear.  All in all, if you know a Christian grappler who'd appreciate repping the philosophy, or if you don't object to wearing a discreet cross on your workout gear, this is nice stuff to put under the tree. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Hampshire BJJ instructor on trial...

Aldo Batista dos Santos' first trial ended in mistrial when his victim's relative shouted at him.  Now, his second trial is underway.  I will keep you posted on the verdict and sentencing if any.

*****

From www.nashuatelegraph.com, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nashua man’s second trial underway at Superior Court; accused of multiple sexual assault offenses

By DEAN SHALHOUP

Staff Writer

NASHUA – It wasn’t long after the young, athletically inclined girl and her dad and two siblings had settled into their new home in Hudson in February 2012 that she discovered the world of martial arts. And even better, she took to the sport immediately, enjoying class immensely and improving her skills rapidly. And better yet, everyone at ABC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the Nashua studio owned by black belt holder Aldo Batista dos Santos, considered themselves one big family.

By August 2012, six months after she joined ABC BJJ, the girl, who was then 13, was doing so well she signed up for additional classes. By then she was spending about four hours a day, 4 to 5 days a week at the studio. But all that was about to change.

The girl, now 15 and a high school sophomore, described in often–excruciating detail Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court South how her instructor­student relationship with dos Santos descended into one of alleged sexual abuse that prosecutors say caused the girl to suffer physical and emotional distress and led to dos Santos’ arrest in May 2013 on multiple charges stemming from the alleged pattern of abuse.

Testimony in dos Santos’ second trial on the charges, which include two felony counts of felonious sexual assault and 10 misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, got underway Tuesday morning in Superior Court before Judge Jacalyn Colburn. His first trial, in August, ended in a mistrial after a relative of the victim interrupted proceedings with an angry rant against dos Santos and his attorney, Tim Bush.

Colburn found the relative, Victor Traverso, in contempt of court, fining him and sending him to jail for one day. Traverso later apologized, saying he wasn’t prepared for the explicit nature of the testimony. On Tuesday, Colburn reminded those present in the courtroom of the rules and warned against disruptive behavior, saying anyone who acts out will be removed from the courtroom.

Colburn also excused one of the jurors, a man, after a brief bench conference with him and Bush, Gill and David Tencza, the other prosecutor. That left a jury of eight men and five women, one of whom is an alternate.

Gill called the victim to the stand shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after she and Bush completed their opening statements. Bush was in the process of cross­examining the victim when testimony ended for the day. Cross­examination is expected to continue when the trial resumes shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Gill in her opening statement described the victim as a “very social” girl who “liked to be part of the community” of dos Santos’ studio. Soon after the victim joined the studio, she and dos Santos’ wife became fast friends, Gill said, going places together and spending time at the dos Santos home with their son. “That’s when he developed a relationship with her,” Gill told the jury. “It began with a kiss.” Gill said the victim’s testimony would outline how her unwanted relationship with dos Santos
escalated from that brief kiss to him directing her to change her clothes in front of him and eventually to the day he allegedly brought her to his house, led her to the bathroom, undressed and had her do the same, then led her into the shower where, Gill told the jury, “he started washing her naked body ... and had her do the same (to him).”

After the shower, Gill said, and the victim later testified, dos Santos picked her up, brought her into a bedroom, lay her on the bed and performed sexual acts on her. The victim grew emotional during that part of her testimony, sometimes struggling to answer Gill’s questions and crying at times. The victim several times told Gill she didn’t tell anyone what was happening because at first she was confused, then “scared,” and as to why she didn’t tell dos Santos’ wife, she “didn’t want to tell her ... I wasn’t ready to tell anyone.”
 
Bush, in his opening statement and again during cross ­examination, focused mainly on the dates and times the victim was allegedly abused by dos Santos. He pointed out some inconsistencies in statements the victim gave to police and the Child Advocacy Center, where she was also interviewed in May 2013, shortly after she and her father went to Nashua police headquarters to report the alleged assaults. They went to police late the night of May 11, according to the victim’s testimony, shortly after she told her father that dos Santos had allegedly been abusing her.

She told the court that she “began shaking ... crying, hyperventilating” as she talked to her father. She said he made some phone calls, then sometime later that evening they went to Nashua police. Bush, upon cross ­examination, suggested the victim’s physical and emotional problems may have stemmed not from the alleged encounters with dos Santos, but from a difficult breakup of a relationship not connected to this case.

“The reason you needed to go to the doctor was because you were hyperventilating because of the forced breakup” of the relationship, “not because of Aldo, like you said earlier,” Bush said. Bush also challenged wording in the victim’s statement to police, in which she stated that dos Santos “performed oral sex and penetration” on “multiple occasions.” “But you said today that there was only one (incident of) oral sex,” Bush said. The victim responded that what she told police “was meant to be taken that he did stuff multiple times.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

Published: Thursday December 11, 2014.

Text messages, dates of martial arts events and alleged victim’s recollections discussed during Wednesday testimony in dos Santos sex assault trial

By DEAN SHALHOUP

Staff Writer

NASHUA – Defense attorney Tim Bush Wednesday morning showed posters, photographs, cellphone records and two brief videos to the jury in the sexual assault trial of his client, Nashua martial arts studio owner Aldo Batista dos Santos, telling the jury and the alleged victim that the exhibits support to some degree his assertions that the victim’s statements and testimony contain multiple inconsistencies.

The victim, now a 15 ­year­ old high school sophomore, reported in May 2013 that dos Santos, who owns ABC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Nashua, molested her on multiple occasions between August and November 2012 when she was 13. The girl was a member of the studio and was taking martial arts classes from dos Santos during the time of the alleged assaults, which began with embraces and kisses then advanced to fondling, oral sex and attempted digital penetration, according to her testimony and prosecution documents.

Wednesday was day two of dos Santos’s second trial, which comes about three months after a mistrial ended his initial trial after about two days of testimony. The girl, who joined dos Santos’s studio in February 2012 shortly after moving to Hudson with her father and two siblings, responded to Bush’s cross­examination by acknowledging she could have gotten some dates and times mixed up and that it’s possible her various statements and testimony didn’t match up word for word, but insisted she never knowingly made inaccurate or untrue statements.

“I was nervous ... that’s why I forgot some things here and there,” she told the court. As the legal process went forward from May 11, 2013, the day she and her father reported the alleged assaults to Nashua police, the victim said she started to remember more details. “Trial is bringing some things back ... I start remembering things more clearly,” she said. Dos Santos, 39, of 32 Gingras Drive in Nashua, was arrested in May 2013, shortly after the victim went to police. Her parents also filed a report with Hudson police, saying that their daughter told them some of the alleged assaults took place in that town. In all, dos Santos is being tried on two counts of felonious sexual assault, Class B felonies, and 10 counts of sexual assault, all misdemeanors. One of the felonies and one of the
 misdemeanors are alleged to have occurred in Hudson; all others allegedly happened in Nashua.

Dos Santos, a native of Nova Esperanca, a city in the southern Brazilian state of Parana, moved to the United States in 2003 with intentions of opening his own Brazilian jiu jitsu studio, according to Bush.

One of seven siblings, dos Santos spent a year in the Brazilian military then took up jiu jitsu, Bush said. “He came to New Hampshire, all legal and everything, and worked three jobs” in order to save money to open his studio, Bush added. He indicated to the jury that dos Santos will likely testify during his trial “not because he has to, but because he wants to,” Bush said. “He’ll tell you, ‘I have no interest in 13­ year­ old girls. That’s not me.’” Two interpreters have been taking turns sitting with dos Santos, whose first language is Portuguese. He speaks English, but not fluently.

The victim, who spent about four hours on the stand Tuesday and two more Wednesday morning, became emotional when describing details of the alleged assaults but later Tuesday and Wednesday she remained composed throughout questioning. Prosecutors Leslie Gill and David Tencza, and Bush, took turns redirecting and cross examining the victim Wednesday morning. Bush brought out posters showing text messages the victim exchanged with Sonia Batista, the defendant’s wife, with whom the victim had become close friends after she joined ABC BJJ studio.

The records show the two communicated via text messaging the night of Oct. 6, 2012, which, according to the victim’s testimony, would have been just a few hours after dos Santos and she showered together and he allegedly put her on a bed and performed oral sex. In the texts, according to Bush’s exhibit, the victim and Sonia Batista appeared to be making plans “to hang out” the next day, with one of the victim’s texts stating “you should know ... I want to hang out with you guys,” a reference to dos Santos, his wife, and their young son. “This is the same night of the alleged assault, right?” Bush asked. The victim said yes. Bush, citing texts by Sonia Batista suggesting that her family and the victim “hang out” at a city playground that next day, said he was surprised the victim agreed to meet them after what allegedly happened earlier that day.

“You went to that playground one day after those unspeakable acts? Despite what you say he did to you, you still went to be with him the next day?” Bush said. Earlier, the victim told Gill in redirect that she felt OK about going to the park “because I knew I wouldn’t be alone with him." In response to Bush’s suggestions that the victim may not have begun curtailing her friendship with Sonia Batista as quickly as she said she did, Gill produced an expanded version of the victim’s text­ message records.

While the two communicated a number of times in October, records show they texted on only four days in November, three in December, and just once a month from January through April. Gill also asked the victim about one of the videos Bush showed earlier, a roughly 30­second segment depicting a 2012 martial arts event that the victim had said she attended. Bush pointed out that since the victim didn’t appear in the video she wasn’t there, contrary to what she said earlier. But when Gill asked the victim about it, the victim said she spent about half the event in the weight room – one of the places she said she would sometimes go when she didn’t feel up to participating in training or a match.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The elf on a shelf....

I never personally participated in an "elf on a shelf" tradition but I think it's cute. Here's an idea for those of you who do...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What you should make, now that you're not cutting weight...

Gingerbread snack cake and hot buttered rum, of course.  Good for post-shopping, post-training, decorating a tree, or like me, just sitting around the house procrastinating work.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart

gingerbread snacking cake

This cake may not look like centerpiece material, but it is no less worthy of your full admiration. As written, it makes a maximum intensity (via fresh ginger and a full cup of molasses) gingerbread cake. For a moderate intensity gingerbread cake, skip the fresh ginger (I usually do because I’m a wimp) and swap 1/3 cup of the molasses with honey or golden syrup. If you can’t get molasses, use black treacle syrup. I suspect it would also make a wonderful layer cake, maybe with eggnog filling and whipped cream for frosting. It can be baked in 1 9×13 pan or 2 9-inch round or 8-inch square pans. I cut it into 32 petite squares.

so many spices

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pan
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting finished cake
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, essential for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment and sides of cake pan, or spray both with a nonstick baking spray.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan (or large one, if you’d like to make the cake entirely in there) and add baking soda — it will foam up! this is fun! Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in butter until melted. Whisk in dark brown sugar, molasses and fresh ginger, if using. Mixture is usually just lukewarm by now, but if it still feels quite hot to the touch, set it aside to 10 to 15 minutes to cool further before using.

Place flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a fine-mesh strainer or sifter so that you can sift them over the wet ones in a minute.

Transfer molasses mixture to a large mixing bowl if your saucepan isn’t large enough to make the batter in. Whisk in eggs until just combined. Sift dry ingredients over wet, then stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack and let cool completely. Once fully cool, cut around cake to make sure no parts are sticking to the side and invert cake out onto a rack, then onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Please, promise you’ll serve this with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream. They’re made for each other.

gingerbread snacking cake

Do ahead: Whipped cream needs to be stored in the fridge, of course. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to a week in an airtight container.

Hot Buttered Rum:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.

Emeril Lagasse, 2002

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday BUY EVERYTHING!!!!

FIRST, happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays :)

My first stop for holiday gifting is Detales, because I love their womens' short sleeve rashguard and spats... They're offering 15% off with this code, too, through December 15: #givingthanks.

Second is Raven Fightwear's Brony spats and rashie, on preorder now to ship out December 20.

Third is the half-off discount at Groundfighter, with the coupon code BLACK.... some great instructionals including two new ones from Ryan Hall....

My budget is already spent, but if it weren't I'd be perusing THIS LIST....

Happy shopping peeps :)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Jack Taufer gold.


Up here in Edmonds (Washington, just north of Seattle) we were blessed with a visit from Jack Taufer recently.  Jack is a blackbelt under Dave Kama (Rickson Gracie's first nonBrazilian blackbelt and one of the original Dirty Dozen.)  Jack teaches in Laguna Niguel CA and trains with Rickson couple times a week, when Jack's busy work travels allow. We profited from Jack's visit to Seattle and look forward to him returning.  Why?
  • Solid foundational high-percentage moves
  • All the "invisible jiu jitsu" you want and hope for-- the little tweaks and details which finally make things like the upa escape, the cross collar choke, the scissor sweep work.  Those "whitebelt basics" that never seem to work? Now they will.
  • He reads his audience very well and gives what the group can absorb.  This is a skill that stems from lots of teaching experience... instead of teaching to the highest belts in the room he teaches in layers, so there are takeaways for every level in the class.
  • His instruction begins with a useful warmup.  I know we all get in ruts as far as the warmup before class, so it's nice to see a new/different take on things (we did a nice self-defense/judo toss/moving warmup drill thing I've never seen before.)
  • He's really good about involving everyone in the class as an uke at some point, and allowing everyone to try their "before" version of the technique on him really helps.  In our case it was a cross collar choke, and he had everyone in class try to choke him.  
  • He's also great about walking around and doing the technique with every person in the class.  Either you'll do it to him or you'll feel him do it, or often both.
  • He teaches one fundamental technique, but then fills in followups for those who are ready to absorb the next link or two in the chain.  (For instance, after teaching a better way to maintain posture in the guard, he added a hip-bump counter, and then a back take from there.)
  • You don't walk away feeling like you wasted all your previous years in jiu jitsu, because he makes it seem like you just needed a little adjustment instead of a major wipe and overhaul.
  • Finally, he's a genuinely nice guy (and a ginger!) whose love of jiu jitsu shines out of his language, demeanor, attitude.  He geeks out over details the way I do, he's articulate in his explanations, and always includes the whys and rationales for the specifics. 
He just posted this video, if you want a taste:



He appeared on This Week in BJJ:





Here's his thoughts on triangle finishes:



And here, on the day Jack got his blackbelt, some secretly recorded rolling video...



Someone else writes up Jack's teaching style, here.

 Lucky us, he'll be back here next weekend, and we can't wait.  I hear he's going abroad to teach as well.  If you want some elegant Rickson jiu jitsu, get in touch with Jack and fit your school into his travel schedule.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

$1000 Women-Only Submission-Only!!!

Ladies, finally, a big cash prize for women only... plus, double elim, gi, sub-only!  AND a prize for the winning coach... which might cover their airfare.  Who doesn't want a little weekend in Florida right before the holidays?  Plus this is being organized by my good friend Dory, who has supported his two kids (great wrestlers and grapplers, both) through years of grueling competitive successes... I'm so excited to help support their efforts with this tournament.  Check it out!!! :)

Contact: Dory Bele                                                    
Tel. 954-701-6326
Email: fearthefinisher@gmail.com

THE FINISHER
$1,000 WOMEN’S SUBMISSION ONLY ABSOLUTE GRAPPLING CHALLENGE

$200 to the Winning Coach

The Finisher is a True Double-Elimination, Submission-Only Gi tournament.

 It is being held Saturday, December 20th (9am check in/ 10am start) at the Markham Park Corporate Pavilion, located at 16001 W. ST. RD. 84 Sunrise FL 33326.  (I had to look it up too.  It's Broward County, north of Miami, about 10 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale.)

Entry-$100, Spectators are $5.00 (There is a $1.50 admission to the park per person).
This is sponsored by GrapplersDiet.com and Detales Clothing.

The Finisher is not another ho-hum tournament where everyone gets a medal. This format is designed to produce the best fighter, not the best staller or the one who knows the rules inside and out. Fight to win! You battle the opponent and the clock. No points, advantages or referee’s decisions. You submit and you win, it’s as simple as that.

We are honored to cater our kickoff event for the women of BJJ. They deserve a nice cash prize and a showcase event. Don’t worry guys we have something for you planned in a few months. Everyone should prepare themselves. The Finisher is a Mt. Everest in grappling competition. It will legitimize or break some people. The Finisher is daring you, will you answer the call?

About The Finisher

The Finisher is a Partnership of Grapplers with varied backgrounds who want to put the excitement back in competition. Why? Because we all love winners. The Finisher’s sole purpose is to give a proper showcase to grappling in its purest form prior to modern day sport bjj craze. Check us out on Facebook - www.facebook.com/fearthefinisher and visit our site https://fearthefinisher.squarespace.com, or call us at 954-701-6326.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Less frustrated :)

Still training a ton.  Still working from home (a ton, too)... and happy to report my rolls have been a good bit less frustrating lately.  I think one of the resident blackbelts was getting ready for a tournament and I'm flattered he says he was using me to experiment on. Now that it's behind him, he's gone back to a more pleasant lighthearted (aka-- it's more about me) style and I feel more in the game when we roll.  Or maybe I just lightened up and opened up my game somewhat, that's a more remote possibility but I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

Last night had a great class with a good friend and second-gen Rickson blackbelt. which I will write up separately.  Right now I gotta get serious work done on this appeal due the fourth. 

happy training :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A nifty wristlock...

My buddy Anthony Argyros, a blackbelt under Carlos Catania (Sergio Penha lineage) and NAGA Grappler of the Decade, 2000-2009, has a "technique of the week" channel on Youtube now, and his guard passing drill is sweet.  Oldy but a goody that I'd forgotten since the days of the Coach Giberson and Jordan Silverman warmups that lasted an hour at the Relson school...

Also, he posted a nice wristlock.  I have been seeing them (as victim and attempted perpetrator) lots lately.

This is Anthony's channel.

I like the videos-- they're quick and easy to watch, with good explanations.  Here's that wristlock...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The many layers of frustration...

So here's why I'm whining...

1.  I'm at a new school in a new city in a new life (this is a great place, by the way-- good people, good grappling, good vibe, good instruction.)  But it's different.  And I mean, different.  I'm coming from one side of the BJJ family to the other, and wow, they really are.. on separate planets. 

2.  Now I get lots of one on one attention from the upper belts and instructor.  LOTS.  Lots of rolling time, every day.  This is great.  But it also means I am always frustrated. 

3.  My purple belt conferred no magic.  I am still a small, older female.  This means when grappling larger, younger, stronger men, I get stuffed.  Less than before, success... but when I get somewhere with a brown or blackbelt... I know they let me, at some level.  And I get pissed.  But I also get pissed when they don't let me.  And I'm struggling (still) to discern when the aren't letting me by virtue of using their strength (so not cool) or because their technique is so awesome. 

4.  I find myself comparing the way I was taught to do things with the way I'm currently being taught and I want my old way to be the better way (because if Donald and Henry taught it that way, then by golly, it's the right way).  So when I ask about the new way and their preferences versus mine, I am frustrated that I don't always remember the reason why we did it this other way.  And I am double mad when I can't execute the "right way" against the new people.  Because I want to rep my origins.

5. When I am allowed to get somewhere, I find myself blanking and returning to the same old boring 3-4 subs and series.  I need new material, writers! 

6.  Those same old series aren't working! so I need to find new sneaky ways!  and hello, against browns and blacks, that's not easy at all.

Sigh :)


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

About time to get back to blogging...

It's been a while, but I'm back... back to training every day, back to thinking about Jiu jitsu and back to lots of parts of my life that kind of got back burner'd for a while.

Just wanted to show off my latest indulgence... this Mizuno gi, the Rickson model.  It's lovely, heavy, soft, with a very thick collar.  Size 3.5 is just a smidge big on me but I can't seem to shrink it and i don't want to alter it, so it's fine. You can see the Rickson embroidery is close to the pants hem, so if I shorten them, that proportion will be awry.  I bought it used from a good friend. Who also got it used, as his name isn't Ishimaru (if Ms. or Mr. Ishimaru is out there, I'd love to get in touch...)

Anyway, been adjusting to a lot of life changes and enjoying the chance to train daily.  I'm always working on my guard, and i feel most of the time like a purple belt (except when playing guard ;) )

More soon...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gregorio Rivera, BJJ instructor in Claremont CA, arrested on sex charges

Thanks to the person who brought this to my attention.

Someone with inside information posted a thread a few weeks ago on mma.tv about a BJJ instructor in California arrested for “child sexual assault.”At the time there were technically no charges. He was only being held in FL for extradition back to CA at that time.

Here is his site: http://gmrjiu-jitsu.com/instructor-brazilian-jiu-jitsu-in-claremont-ca/ 

The mugshots from FL showed the same individual.

http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm is the LA Sheriff’s search page. When his name is entered as “Gregorio Rivera” and the capcha is filled, the linked booking number comes back as 4083564.

Clicking through that link leads to more info. Case No. KA10706901, $150,000 bail, scheduled for 9/24/14.

Here is one reason why we should pay closer attention…

http://www.edarabia.com/73264/palms-sports/ 

Last year, it appears he posted looking to teach in the UAE, mentioning kids classes a couple times.

I will keep this updated as more information becomes available.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lloyd Irvin is starting an after-school how-to?

I couldn't even listen more than a few seconds.  Anyone have additional information about this?

http://freeafterschoolprogram.com/

Edited 9/18/14 to add:  Apparently they've taken the website down :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why is Dateline filming a piece about Lloyd Irvin?

I'm told by a good source that Dateline NBC was filming at Lloyd Irvin's this week and they'll be back in September. 

If you agree that Dateline should be investigating the rape culture aspects of TLI, call them and make your opinion known.  their number is (866) 639-7244.

An email address, if you prefer that: contact.nbcnews@nbcuni.com

Sample comment with links to share (feel free to make it your own):

Please consider the real problems behind the Team Lloyd Irvin facade before you get manipulated into writing a fluff piece to help Lloyd Irvin rebuild his fading money maker and cover up his reputation.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-12-05/news/ufc-trainer-lloyd-irvin-cult/full/

http://deadspin.com/what-happens-when-teammates-rape-a-teammate-1460111117

Brent Brookhouse's story stream was very well done:
http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2013/1/10/3856994/team-lloyd-irvin-rape-case

http://georgetteoden.blogspot.com/p/the-truth-about-lloyd-irvin.html?m=1

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friday, August 08, 2014

Crispy cool summer salad

Lots of changes in my life these days and been really busy, but I wanted to share something yummy that requires no cooking...



Chinese Cucumber Salad (from SewPetiteGal)

Prep Time: ~10 minutes

Marinating Time: ~30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 English cucumber (can use regular cucumber if that's what you have)
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
Dash of Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Chili Sauce (we use Sambal Oelek, amount is really up to you and your preferences)
Sesame Seeds
Salt and Pepper
Green Onions (optional)

Directions:

Combine garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Ladies' rashguard and spats by Detales

I'm so excited to review this rashie and spats for you ladies!  This rashguard is already my favorite (and I have a fair collection, trust me.)

Kristin is the proprietor of a new company, Detales, focused on making grappling gear for women..  Detales Clothing has two lines for Brazilian jiu jitsu, one for wearing under other clothing called FirstGuard, and a nogi line designed to stand on its own as your outfit.

She very generously invited me to try out whatever I liked, so I picked the short sleeved rashie and capri spats from the nogi line.  Initial impressions right off the bat were awesome.  The material is not the super stretchy thin show-every-bump cling-to-you stuff, but something a bit thicker, very smooth and pleasant feeling, and less stretchy (but still plenty stretchy in a good way.)  It's thin enough for comfortably wearing under a gi but thick enough to wear all on its lonesome (no board shorts over top.)  The material is antimicrobial and 92% polyester/8% spandex.

I liked the seaming (looked like racing stripes to my idiot self) and the fact that if I have a hangnail (or as I later figured out, if I have to bite off a fingernail midroll, don't hate) it didn't seem to catch and snag the fabric as readily as some thinner stuff like Underarmor.  After lots of wear I can report those flat seams don't irritate or rub (I can't even feel them) and they haven't displayed any loose threads or gotten abraded that I can see.

According to Detales, each item in the no gi training section "is designed to maximize comfort, flexibility and durability to enable you to train hard, and often, in style. Each item is constructed with a thicker top-of-the-line high-performance athletic fabric that effectively absorbs sweat without being see-through."  My experience says this is true.



For reference, I am 5'2", 138 lbs, 34C-28-39.  I consulted with Kristin on the sizing, and she sent me a medium rashie.  MY FAVORITE EVER because it is the perfect fit, and more importantly, SHAPE.  Why do I rave so?

Because most rashguards are cut straight up and down (LIKE A MAN'S BODY) which ends up being sort of loose around the mid-body/underboobs/waist, with a tight-feeling hip area (because they're all cut so long, I guess so you could tuck into the pants?)  What happens next?  The tight longer part doesn't like being tight so it migrates upwards to the waist, giving me an obvious flash of fishbelly white skin during every roll no matter how I tuck it in.  Ugh.  Whereas this rashie is cut to flare a bit from waist down and isn't nearly so taut... so it follows my curve there, and stays down amazingly well.  Sorry I don't have better photos, this is selfie-time.  I'll post more if I can remember to get more taken.

I like the plain black, it goes with everything (ba dum bump.)  Am I the only person who occasionally pays attention to pleasing combinations of grapple gear?  Sometimes I will wear Meerkatsu's rainbow unicorn rashie with his peacock spats-- but sometimes it's nice to offset with a solid color.  I do hope Detales comes out with ranked rashies though; I will absolutely buy a purple. :)  The seaming is also very flattering to my shape.  There's no tag inside, just a sublimated, small D logo on the back at the neck and on the front over the chest as seen above.



I also dig the spats tremendously.  They're capri length, with more good seaming.  A nice wide/flat waistband prevents muffin top.  I can't believe I'm calling attention to this, but some ladies will know of what I speak.  Look right below the curve of my tookus.  There's cellulite, in there/on there, and it doesn't look that smooth "in the flesh" so to speak.  But this fabric is very forgiving and kind, in case there's anyone else out there with cellulite.  I usually want craaaaazy patterns on my spats because I'm not a fan of board shorts and I want camouflage, but it's not necessary with these.  Smooth and not excessively tight and not too warm, either.

Fit, for my particular shape, is a little problematic.  Kristin sent me a large, which was perfect (again I have a 28" waist and 39" hips and it's all in the ghetto booty.)  But the waistband of this first version has no drawstring, and it is a bit of a hip-slung, low rise cut.  VERY comfortable, but the first time I squatted down low, I could tell I looked like a plumber from behind, so I did have to wear board shorts on top.  Kristin tells me future production runs will include drawstrings as well as another cut that is higher-waisted.  This is awesome customer responsiveness and amazing investment on the part of a small business.

DETALES Gi/Kimono Patch

(Gi patches are only $4.50.)

The FirstGuard line offers compression shorts, an athletic bra, and capri spats, made of 84% polyester/16% spandex (thinner and stretchier).  They're available in royal blue, medium gray and black (except the spats which are gray only.)

The no gi line is black only.  My rashie is $36 (worth every penny, I can tell you my cost-per-wear is headed into the pennies range and I've only had it two months.)  The spats are $53 and again, very worth it especially if you are not so round in the rump.

I have machine washed on hot and machine dried on hot every time, and both nogi and gi training have made no appreciable difference in terms of snags, threads, pilling or anything.  Both spats and rashie still look brand new, with zero shrinkage.  I encourage you to reach out to Kristin for sizing questions, though, so I didn't take measurements.

LOVE! :)  And I love encouraging women-led small business too.

Monday, July 28, 2014

listening to...

I have three new gis, one of which was used and no longer made, from ebay, and one of which is sold out.. but I plan on posting a brief review of all three here...

Right now I'm working on big answer at work and here's what I'm listening to right now.  Hope you have a great week.



You've got your ball
you've got your chain
tied to me tight tie me up again
who's got their claws
in you my friend
Into your heart I'll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
and sweet you roll
Lost for you I'm so lost for you

You come crash into me
And I come into you
I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I'm bare boned and crazy for you
When you come crash
into me, baby
And I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

If I've gone overboard
Then I'm begging you
to forgive me
in my haste
When I'm holding you so girl
close to me

Oh and you come crash
into me, baby
And I come into you
Hike up your skirt a little more
and show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
and show your world to me
In a boys dream.. In a boys dream

Oh I watch you there
through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
wear it so well
tied up and twisted
the way I'd like to be
For you, for me, come crash
into me


***************************

Who got you off when you got yours?
Who was the first to spill your soul?
Who got you off? Well, I'm the one
Dreamed of doing it day and night
Oh sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock and sweet you roll
Oh I swear over and over
It's you like a wave into me

When you come crash into me baby
Please come crash into me
Come crash into me
In a boy's dream
In a boy's dream

No miss you all (?) what runs your way?
Who runs up side you and begs everyday?
Who's watching you through your window?
Night Comes
Who celebrates with the moon?
That you're like a wave come again

Come and crash into me baby
And I come into you
In a boy's dream
In a boy's dream

Oh now it's here I build my soul
I swear, friend, don't you know
I'm bare boned and crazy for you

Oh when you come crash into me yeah
And you come into me
And you come into me

Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
In a boy's dream yeah
In this boy's dream

(Dixie Chicken outro)
I'll be your Dixie chicken
You be my Tennessee lamb
And we will walk together
Down in Dixie land

Crash into me
Crash into me
Crash into me
Crash into me

Oh I wanna play with you



And I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't wanna go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
When sooner or later it's over
I just don't wanna miss you tonight

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah, you bleed just to know you're alive

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spicy sesame noodles, for Bobby :)

I made these for the academy potluck which was held immediately following the big promotion... wow, they turned out really good and super easy.  You can make them more or less spicy as you like, and adding more veggies or some shrimp or chicken would make this a full meal.  Original recipe (before my alterations) and photos found here.

TPW_1367

16 ounces noodles (I used spaghetti noodles) cooked and drained
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
8 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 tablespoons rice vinegar depending on your taste
6 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot chili oil or more...
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or other sauce, like sambal oelek)
6 tablespoons canola oil
8 whole green onions, sliced thinly
1 each red, yellow, green bell peppers, seeded and diced (can substitute or add pea pods, celery, carrot, water chestnut, sliced almonds, cooked, peeled shrimp, etc.)

Preparation Instructions

Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

I poured some chili oil and canola oil on the noodles and stirred well, leaving it sit in the serving bowl for about 3 hours before the meal was served.

Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat, immediately before serving.

Sprinkle with add ons and toss.

Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

TPW_1363

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faixa Roxa 7.12.14

I started training jiu jitsu inadvertently, because I began training in kajukenbo before I got married in the spring of 2008 and jiu jitsu and judo were part of the curriculum.  (I learned sort of a triangle, and the rudest closed guard break ever, the one where you dig your elbows into the meat of their inner thigh, but the knee-cut part of that pass was part of my bread-and-butter for years.)  I was off and on with kajukenbo because, after all, I was planning a wedding and the reception was at our house.


But in June I started training for about 3 weeks with William Vandry, a Machado bb here in Austin.  Then I went on my honeymoon, and came back in July, had an ugly interaction with him, and left his school.

I started training at the Relson Gracie school under Phil Cardella and Christy Thomas in August 2008.  Got my blue from Relson in January 2009.

And July 12, 2014, I got my purple from Paulo "Coelho" Brandao, 5th degree under Royler, and Donald Park, also a Royler bb.  :)


I won't even try to list everyone I'm grateful to.  That would be insane-- every single person I've watched, trained with, talked to about jiu jitsu has taught me something.  But special mention goes, of course, to certain folks who have had more influence than others....




My instructors-- left to right, top then bottom-- Donald (make every rep your best), Paulo ("Red hair!"), Jordan "Wristlocks" and the "Jordan Pretzel" Silverman, Jim "Captain America" Shipman, and Tim Kennedy (he of the patriotic singlet)... I'm lucky to have you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also past instructors Phil and Christy and Richard Giberson and Josh Lauber at Relson's, all my foundational stuff is because of you, and Richard Power and Kirk Smith... super influential!

Henry Akins (HUGE!) Darren "Keebler" "C-L-E" Branch. Hillary Williams, Marcelo Garcia, Bernardo Faria, Emily Kwok, Val Worthington, Ryan Hall, John Ouano, James Valentine, Charlie Liu, Sophia McDermott Drysdale, Sonny Nohara, Alvis Solis, Griff Sombke...

Robert Reed and Tom Krausz for getting me into this crazy business...  past and present teammates: Scott Reis, Courtney Fuqua, Rebecca Varady, Dan Dau, Vidush Rana, Roy Olivarez, Scott Reed, Marc Morales, Anthony Rodriguez, Doug Connolly, Ivelin Ivanov, Zade Samuels...

Friends at other schools (brothers from another mother/sisters from another mister):  Devlin Kostal (where are you!), Andrew Leftt, Aparna Modi, Chuck Hardin, Sam Browning, Chrissy Linzy, Elyse Goldberg, Julia Johansen, Peter Sanchez, Tara Talanco Varon, Kat Harrison, Mike Calimbas, Mike Donovan...

And my sponsors, Steve Turner at Black Eagle, Christopher Lane at Happy Kimonos, Matt Kirtley at Scramble, Mike Ripberger at MMAOutlet, Justin Garcia at Rough Zen/Jungle Gym, Neal Fletcher at Bullshido, Vanessa Bush at SubMISSion, ..

You've all supported me and made beautiful marks on the paper of my jiu jitsu life.   Which is an enormous and precious majority of my real life, and my dream life.  THANK YOU.

Cheers to the rest of the journey!