Sunday, March 22, 2009


I was in KL over the weekend for the wedding of a good friend, and had Saturday afternoon free. So of course I decided to go to open mats at KDT. It wasn't that long ago, just a few months, that I would just go "hi, boss!" to the guards at the gate (in the interests of preempting any confusion, KDT is located in a small gated community-type development), hand them my KDT membership card and drive through.

Now though, I have to wait while the guard (odds are he won't be someone who knows who I am, as the company who supplies the guards rotates them among different assignments) fills out the details in my driving license in his book, then hands me a big laminated sign saying "VISITOR". It's quite a new thing to have to get used to, but I usually run into one of the guards who does remember me and we exchange pleasantries.

I showed up about a half hour early, which was nice, as I got to hang out and just be with the atmosphere. I really miss sitting alone outside the gym with nothing but the afternoon breeze and the sounds of birds chirping and the occasional car driving past. I sat there for a bit and chatted with some of the guys who arrived later on.

When Vince got there he told me Adam was just there a few days ago to say hi. Vince also handed me some of the new CMD shirts, which look super cool. Really slick design and the shirts themselves are dri-fit. Sweet. I didn't pack my gi, which was fine as I just put on one of my CMD trainer shirts and did some no-gi. I got to roll with Leong and Wee Li, did some standup with Rizan, Adrian, Fidael and Mike and just horsed around with Vince.

It was such a great time, I don't even know how to describe it. It was like I never left. The whole afternoon was extremely fun: high energy, everyone laughing, a real spirit of play. An excellent time spent with good friends is just plain hard to beat.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In reviewing my competition plans for the year, I've hit on some stumbling blocks. Firstly, there are the (perhaps rather obvious) problems with wanting to go to both America and Australia for competition. Leaving aside the fact of the entire world's economic slowdown, it's just not very responsible to close up shop in both June and September. Which means I'd need to choose one over the other.

If you asked me 2 years ago, the Mundials would have been as much an option for me as, I don't know, winning the Tour de France 7 years running. Even suggesting I consider taking part would have been Spaceballs-level ludicrous. Now though, I think I may actually do quite well for myself. Plus, this year is - and I was more than a little shocked to find out - the only opportunity for me to compete in the Mundials and NOT. ALSO. BE. ELIGIBLE. FOR. THE. MASTERS.

So then, if I can manage to get a US visa, I'd have to forego attending this year's Machado Nationals. Which was not the funnest decision I ever had to make. I was really hoping to go for a bunch of reasons. In terms of atmosphere (and if I'm being totally honest, sentimental value), this competition is the best one I've ever taken part in. There's loads of really cool people there. Plus, I was actually kind of really looking forward to, you know, defending my title.

However, it's looking like I won't be able to take part in any competitions outside of South East Asia next year, and if I had to pick one, I'm not sure I would be able to live with a "what if?" this big. Not to mention, there's a slight conflict with the Thailand competition. They aren't on the same day, but Australia is set for the weekend right before Bangkok, and I'm not quite that crazy.

So now I'm thinking my (still very tentative) schedule looks like this:

May 2,3: Pan Asians, Manila, Philippines

June 4,5,6,7: Mundials, Long Beach, California, USA

September 19,20: Thailand BJJ Open

A lot more spread out than last year, so I'm wondering how this will pan out.


Also, I've just found out that Adam's just been given his black belt! Very cool stuff, and extremely well-deserved. Congratulations Adam!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Things have been moving along over at the studio. Not really at any kind of breakneck speed, but fast enough to keep me on my toes and perpetually fatigued. In a good way. Honestly.

The CMD class is starting to grow, with a couple more people signing up recently. The play drills are very popular and it's always a great time to coach people when they're laughing and having fun.

The BJJ side is also seeing some encouraging growth. For us having done zero advertising, I think it's pretty good. There have been a few signups lately, with regular attendance in both weekly classes and pretty good feedback. We've been working from a conceptual standpoint and then focusing in on more specific stuff.

For the end-of-class rolling, what we've been doing is working purely on positional control, i.e. no submissions, while also throwing in random handicaps for every roll. It's been a lot of fun and we're seeing a lot of cool stuff come out in rolling, just from putting in a small change to the rules. It's funny how whole games can change for the better, and all I had to do was say "OK, in the next roll you can't use your hands to grip or post."

Just last night we did this drill where the object is to lose. I've read a lot about these kinds of drills - while I do agree it's very important to not fear the tap, I wonder what it would be like if both guys were competing to lose. I mean, if this was the case, then nobody would ever go for submissions, since tapping your opponent is an instant loss. So the best we could come up with was to roll, and the winner would be the guy who finished in the worst position at the sound of the buzzer.

It was tremendously fun, not just for the novelty factor, but with the play drills in general it's a good change to cut back on the competitive aspect of rolling.

Speaking of competition, I've been trying to plan what I want to do for the year. Firstly, there's the Mundials in California this June.

Really, the only thing standing in my way is the absolute pain of trying to apply for a US visa while living in a muslim country. Since to my knowledge there's no American embassy in East Malaysia, I'd need to fly back to KL for an in-person interview. Bah. The only other problem would be that I'd have to close up the studio for possibly up to 2 weeks, but I'm working on a plan to keep things running.

Then there's also the Machado Nationals in Melbourne, which should be in September. I'm really keen on going to that one, as for me it's always an awesome time down there.

Finally, I'm hoping that Luke and the guys over at Bangkok BJJ will be organizing another tournament this year, I'll definitely make an effort to swing by for that one!
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