Life, the Martial Challenges, and Everything.

Month: January, 2013

Injuries Ahoy!

We all get injured in life, it’s a simple fact.  Some of us are injured more often than others, and some heal faster.  I’ve been quite fortunate in my time alive to avoid major injuries, but 2012 gave me a run for my money.  Truthfully it started at the end of November 2011.

Let’s begin!

-November 2011: There’s a First time for Everything.
I attended and participated in the West Coast Combat Championships in Richmond, competing the Gi and No-Gi divisions.  Or so I had planned.  Less than two minutes into my second match, I stuffed my opponent’s bump sweep and fractured my finger between the mat and his back.  I would go on to win the match via rear-naked choke, and then off to the hospital.

-May 2012: Cartilage ain’t worth a damn.
Monday nights at the gym are sparring nights.  We strap on our gear and start practicing what we’ve learned.  I sparred a South-paw – Mark de Souza – who came at me with an overhand left while I was trying to feed him uppercuts.  It caught me square on the nose and instantly bled.  On Wednesday I would be rolling No-Gi with Coach Christiaan and he would jokingly punch me lightly in the nose.  I heard the worse crunching sound as I lost most of the connection between bone and cartilage.
After weeks of searching, I would finally find a clinic willing and able to cauterize my nose, but only after being prescribed a cortisone spray (side effects which included causing the nose to bleed … what?!)

-June 2012: My Tough Mudder is tougher and muddier than your Tough Mudder.
If you haven’t heard of Tough Mudder, it’s an international long-distance obstacle course/run that promotes being a team rather than individual accomplishments and time.  We assembled a team from the gym and attended our local event in Whistler.
Our first obstacle – not counting the six-foot wall we scaled where Christiaan took a boot to his mouth – was a plunge into freezing waters with giant ice chunks, and dyed green, pink, purple or yellow. You had to submerge to make it to the other side.  On my way to the surface, I apparently collided with a giant ice cube.  After pulling the rest of the team out of the water, I shook the water out of my short hair and noticed that some red was coming with it.  Our frozen tub was green.

-July 2012: That thingy actually has a name.  Process, Xihpoid Process.
This one mixed things up a bit: I didn’t bleed!  Instead, with a quick 5-minute sparring round against a heavyweight, I took a great shot to my sternum.  It winded me a bit, but given where he hit, I didn’t think anything of it.  Later as I loaded my gear into my car, I realized it still hurt, and was quite tender at that little nub of cartilage that hangs there.  The only way too heal it was to take it easy for a couple of weeks.

-October 2012: Red red … it rhymes with “wine”
During another sparring session, I pushed some physical boundaries, trying to work my aggressiveness and ring control.  At some point I took a roundhouse kick to the left side of my body.  Didn’t think anything of it at the time, I just reacted and fired off a few shots of my own.  When I got home, I went to the bathroom and received quite a shock at the colour.  You ever drain the fluid out of a can of kidney beans?  Well, it was like that but not as thick.
Funny that I should mention kidney beans, it was my kidney that was damaged from the kick.

-November 2012: In retrospect, that’s a bad way to stall.
I participated in CBJJF’s BC Open II, and should have been able to fight my way to at least a Silver, but in the last 90 seconds of my second match, I tried running out the clock by preventing a take-down.  Big mistake against my opponent who had a number of years of wrestling under his belt.  He managed a HUGE take-down and tried his best at crushing my forearm with his shoulder.  Short story even shorter, he managed to put my right arm virtually out of action without breaking anything.  He did feel bad when he saw me in the sling, but I told him it was my fault for trying to keep our match standing to ride it out.

-December 2012: I dislike cauliflower, understand?
I won’t post a picture of what it looked like before it hardened, because it looked pretty bad, even to someone used to seeing it.  I had the unfortunate luck of getting my right ear crushed while trying to escape a submission.  Over the course of three drainings, I had over 9CC’s of fluid removed and spent two weeks with a gauze-stuffed ear and a tensor-bandage wrapped head.  My ear still isn’t so pretty, but it’s not bulging like it’s about to explode and give birth to an alien.

There are my major injuries to date, not including multiple paintball injuries and other minor everyday stuff.  If I included that, we’d be here until the internet shut down.

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian

This Is War

Copyright 2010
DISCLAIMER: This Is War is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The flashes from the muzzles of the artillery very briefly lit the area, serving to let the enemy know that another salvo had been fired. Smaller flares from machine gun nests shot over the distance as the tracer bullets lit the darkened sky. The otherwise brilliant moon couldn’t penetrate the haze of clouds and smoke.

Several men used various objects as cover for their advance, trying to join up with the rest of their platoon and engage the enemy head on. With all the jamming from both sides, satellites and even homing beacons were useless, and no one wanted to send up a signal flare to mark their position. It would probably invite certain death.

Armoured boots crunched over the soil and grass and bits of concrete as one soldier came to hide behind what was once a pillar. His elbow pads clicked faintly against the concrete and he slid down to one of his armoured knees to peer around the remains. Other men rushed past him, the rustling of their fabric audible to him as they passed. Everything seemed so much louder when they were trying to be quiet. He waited a few seconds, scanning behind him with his helmet – one of the few pieces of tech that hadn’t been jammed in this war – and then moved forwards again, continuing the leapfrog.

They had gained almost one hundred meters of ground when bullets hissed past them. “Close,” the man muttered but continued onwards. They didn’t return fire, for all they knew, the enemy was simply firing at random for targets of opportunity, or to scare them into thinking they were discovered.

But when a bullet snapped right beside him into the former building foundation, he knew that they knew. Crouching again, he looked over at a few of the men he was with who were hiding some metres away under their own piece of rubble. They cocked the hammers on their rifles and readied themselves.

He took a deep breath to calm the shakes that were starting, and as his team swung their rifles overtop of the rubble, he followed suite and they opened fire as one entity. It was blinding and deafening, he could barely tell if his rifle was firing or not amidst the noise. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a man go down from a shot to the throat – one of the few body parts unprotected – and then somebody yelled “Grenade!”

The explosion outdid the noise and muzzle-flares from the rifles tossing them all. He felt pain all over, and noticed that some of his body was warm while other parts were cold. He felt fragments of metal shift in his body as he sat up. His rifle was nowhere to be seen and his helmet was missing as well.  The situation was getting bad, bleeding from wounds all over, few options and fewer weapons.

Boots crunched soil, grass and bits of concrete as many pairs approached the area where he sat. The lit visors that surrounded him weren’t blue like the one he once had, but red. His enemies. They could see him as he pulled a grenade from his vest and hold it out and he could feel the rifles aimed at him as they all waited for what he would do. “This is war,” he said and pulled the pin.

As the grenade dropped to the ground, the soldiers pulled their triggers. It was a nanosecond race between the bullets and the grenade to see which would kill the man first. But with all the light and noise, he couldn’t really tell.

Or even care.

It was war.

Your #1 Canadian

Lights, camera, elbow in the face!

Near the end of November 2012, I assisted my friend James in a photoshoot he was doing for some of the fighters belonging to Echelon Fight Management.  In return he added me into the photoshoot line-up.  We did kickboxing, we did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we did MMA, we did profile shots, still shots, and action shots.

I sparred against Daniel McIver first in both BJJ and kickboxing.  My eye accidentally collided with his elbow during the BJJ portion, gracing me with a bruise and a bit of swelling.  I have no doubt that the gi saved me from bleeding.  In return, I gave him a bit of tag on the chin with a lovely roundhouse kick.  Every once in a while I remember how to kick properly and the result leans towards a KO.

Next I would go through the kickboxing motions with Wael Gharieb, keeping things extremely light since he had a fight coming up the following week.  I’ll just say that it’s been a while since I’ve towered over and outweighed an opponent.  I did let a few through my guard, my punishment for getting cocky.

Finally, there was Micah Brakefield, newly turned pro MMA fighter under the Battlefield Fight League banner.  We did some mitt drills and then moved onto MMA.  Even at half-speed, I was soundly trounced by Micah’s experience.  It was a great experience and lots of fun.

Your #1 Canadian

A stable of Sumo

For almost a year now I have been watching live streams of Sumo tournaments out of Japan.  These tournaments run 14 days, with each wrestler competing once a day.  Each wrestler is in a ranked division, and the better record you create and amass, the higher you shall be promoted.  Of course, if you consistently lose, you risk the opposite: demotion.

For this Hatsu Basho, our hosts have decided to start a betting pool along the lines of a fantasy team.  I’ll quote directly from the e-mail:

We’re running a betting pool for the Hatsu Basho. Cost of entry is $15. Each entrant selects 10 wrestlers: 5 from the Juryo ranks, 5 from the Maegashira ranks (no yokozuna, ozeki, komusubi or sekiwake allowed selections!). This is your Heya for the tournament.

The selection process is not elimination-style: two people can select the same wrestler for their stable; but a single person cannot select the same wrestler more than once.

Each day, we tabulate the results. Whomever’s Heya has the most wins for a given day (ties are allowed) wins $1.

At the end of the tournament, there will be two prizes awarded:

The Fighting Spirit prize (1/4 of the remaining betting pool) will go to the person whose heya generated the most kachi-koshi (winning records).

The Emperor’s Cup (and all remaining cash monies) will be awarded to the person whose heya generated the most cumulative wins for the tournament.

In the event of a tie for either the Fighting Spirit or the Emperor’s Cup awards, the tie-breaker will be decided in the following order:

1) Winningest rikishi for the tournament.
2) Roll 3d20, add the results. Highest number wins.
3) Swimsuit contest.

Some additional rules:

*It is possible for a person to win both the Emperor’s Cup and the Fighting Spirit prizes.

*In the event one of your wrestlers goes kyujo (withdraws due to injury), you will be short that wrestler for the remainder of the tournament. This is sumo. Suck it up, Huckleberry.

So there we have it.  I’ll post my stable just below the link to Goo-Sumo.

Sumo stable “Senshu”

-Juryo division:

-Maegashira division:

The screening begins tonight at 7PM, which I may or may not be tweeting, depending on how much sake is consumed.  Here’s to Senshu, and those who will follow!

Your #1 Canadian

Welcome to the New You

Maybe it’s just a North American thing, but people love their New Year’s Resolutions.
Typical resolutions include:

  • Getting in shape/losing weight
  • Finding an enjoyable job
  • Learning a new skill
  • Spend more time with Family/Friends
  • Enjoy life more

And unfortunately, most of those resolutions don’t last long.  Gyms and Martial Arts clubs see a rise in people, which quickly diminishes come February or March.  Excuses are made with the weather, not feeling up to it/lack of energy, and plenty of others.  I was among those, I once resolved when I was young to do at least 10 sit-ups a day.  I think I made it to day 4.

I have some new goals in mind this year, and some of them are going to take longer than a year.  It just happens to be around the time of New Years that they were conceived:

  • Compete internationally in BJJ
  • Re-learn French to the same standard I once had
  • Go beyond my former standard of French
  • See what I can do about making sure my niece(s) and/or nephew have an aunt by the time they’re born

And of course I still have a few long-term goals to accomplish:

  • earn my blue belt in BJJ
  • compete at the 2015 Pan-Ams

The Pan-Ams was my first goal since I started BJJ, especially since Toronto is hosting it.  If I can start getting international experience as a four-stripe white or a fresh blue, then all the better.  The Pan-Am Games are ranked below the Mondials in California, but I’m fine with that.  At some point I’ll have to start getting used to civilian spectators that I know in the crowd, my parents would probably come watch me compete, and any other  family I have out there as well.  I don’t look forward to explaining the details of a match to them, I have an idea of how it looks to an outsider.

All of this will come to pass once I get over this horrible semi-flu that I caught on Thursday.  In the meantime, Santa gifted me with a new computer, an HP Envy.  As I recover bodily fluids, lost weight and strength, I’ll be setting up my new rig and transferring all required files.

Until next post!

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”Your #1 Canadian