Thursday, July 31, 2008
Living in Malaysia is a bit of a mixed bag as far as training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The local scene is pretty blah overall, with only 2 gyms on the peninsula, there were 3 until recently when one closed down. So the bad news is you need to leave the country to get any kind of competition experience. The good news, if you can call it that, is that Malaysia's relatively central location makes travel a bit less painful. Not what I would consider a fantastic trade-off.
There is a pretty packed cycle of tournaments coming up soon, in the next couple of months really. I'm trying to finalise my plans but I've settled on this so far:
Aug 23-24 - Taiwan
Aug 30-31 - Singapore
My dilemma here is mainly financial, coming down to "plane ticket" vs. "bus ticket and hotel stay". It would be nice to go to both but I'm not sure that will fly.
Sept 13 - Melbourne, Will-Machado Australian BJJ Nationals. I basically nailgunned myself to this one as soon as the last one finished.
Sept 27-28 - Bangkok, Thailand Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu / Sub-Grappling Open. As I understand it, some good friends will be there and I'm looking forward to meeting them again...just waiting for the online registration to open up.
UPDATE 10th August: Have just dropped off my registration for Bangkok, and am looking at the Singapore registration form now. I really, seriously wish there could be a standard set of weight divisions across the board. In Singapore my division is <77, in Bangkok it's <70 WITH GI, in Melbourne it should be <70 with a 3kg gi allowance. Should be interesting.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I just got back from Hong Kong, where I spent the weekend with my super hot (yes it’s true, I don’t mind telling you) wife. She was in town for a dance conference, so for at least a little while I was on my own. Fortunately Imran and Yulius, friends from KDT who are currently based here for work, invited me to dinner – and to go train BJJ with them. Even more fortunately, the class would be held at the exact same time that I was free.
Having made no plans to do anything in Hong Kong but buy the soundtrack to The Dark Knight (since Malaysia takes freaking forEVER to get movie soundtracks that in other countries I can get pretty much as soon as I leave the theatre on opening night) and then eat lots of pork when that was done, I felt a bit bummed that I didn’t bring any of my gear. No worries, I was told, nobody else except the coach has a gi yet. I am also informed that this would be only the second BJJ class at this gym, the first class bring held earlier that week. Right then.
We set a time and place to meet up. The gym is near Causeway Bay MTR station and I got there early, so I braved the insane crowds and popped into a mall to go shopping for knee protection. I managed to find a really nice pair of Nike supports so I was all set. A short walk later, I was introduced to the coach, one Mr. Silvio Braga, a 2nd-degree black belt from Brazil.
I was immediately put at ease. From the word go, Silvio came across as a really cool guy – down to earth, funny and easy to talk to. I was seriously impressed with his ability to coach, and he definitely showed that he could take his skill and articulate it concisely and effectively for others. He was very adept at giving the right coaching cue at the right time and it made a huge difference in my understanding of the material and my enjoyment of the class.
He also ran us through some stretches and drills to warm up (that I will be shamelessly appropriating for my own use), and then showed us a nice guard pass and an armbar from mount setup that I particularly liked, as I can secure and keep my position for as long as possible. I never try armbars as, not only do I hate losing top position, in doing so I would frequently crush my own unmentionables. With this setup, I feel pretty confident in being able to avoid both pitfalls.
I got to roll for a little while with Silvio at the end of class and it was quite the experience. It was super fun, we had three quick rolls and I got armbarred as many times, and it was then that I was even more impressed with him. He would coach on the fly and give me opportunities to escape or attack, flowing right around anything I tried – it was all about mutual respect and having a whole lot of fun. Destroying me would have been about as hard for him as making a bowl of cornflakes, and the whole time I felt completely safe.
After we were done, Yulius and I spent a couple of minutes chatting with Silvio. He shared a couple of anecdotes with us and was really encouraging, a real class act. I left that class completely inspired and – since I wouldn’t be able to attend any more classes before my flight back – all I wanted to do was get back to KL and train.
It was great to meet up with Imran and Yulius; good guys, good training partners and good friends. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get back to Hong Kong anytime soon, but as long as Silvio is still based there, I’m definitely packing my gi!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I've only just watched your new Hulk movie. I'm sorry, I know, I should have done it a month ago, but I've been busy.
Thank you for doing such an excellent job with casting. Ed Norton was an inspired choice to play Bruce Banner - though to be honest I also really liked Eric Bana's portrayal (shame about the rest of that movie).
And seriously, William Hurt as General Thunderbolt Ross? Like, whoa. BEST. CASTING. EVER. And by "ever", I of course mean "since you cast J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson".
Thank you for staying true to the spirit of the comics and still managing to make awesomely nerdlicious movies. I completely squealed when I saw Stan Lee get Gamma poisoning, and it would be so sweet to see the Leader in the next Hulk movie.
I loved Iron Man too (its soundtrack will be a near-permanent fixture in my conditioning classes in the future) and you have got me so completely pumped up for Thor, Cap and THE AVENGERS! YAAAA HA-HAAAA! WOOOOOO!
As an aside, thank you for giving DC a big wake-up call, and showing them exactly what they can accomplish - in terms of continuity, content and sheer butt-kickery, if they can only get to work. I mean, I love DC, but nobody can deny that right now you have the clear advantage in terms of storytelling. Overall, that is. To be frank, for me, you haven't done anything that tops Batman Begins, and with The Dark Knight coming out soon, they still have the edge in terms of stand-alone movie goodness.
Thank you again for being so utterly cool by giving so much respect to the TV series (the theme? VERY classy) and to Lou Ferrigno. If I wore a hat, it would be so totally off to you.
Thank you for giving people a whole new reason to give the comic book industry the respect it deserves.
And finally...because I need to justify putting this post up on a BJJ blog...
Thank you so much for casting Rickson Gracie! I went nuts in the theatre when I realised who it was. So very cool. So much respect. It was sweet to watch him..."the man who slapped Hulk in the face"!
...But, why was Rickson credited as "Aikido Instructor"?