Life, the Martial Challenges, and Everything.

Month: February, 2013

Past and Future

The beginning of February, I travelled to Tulalip with my friends Stuart and Dani.  We had many conversations among the shopping, and chief among them was moving back to Edmonton.  You see, the three of us are from the Edmonton-area in Alberta.  Stuart and I attended the same high school, which is how we met.
Now the two of them have completed their post-secondary schooling, and have their eyes focused towards the future.  And that gaze has set returning to Edmonton in their sights.

So they asked me what lay in my future, and if I would consider a similar return to our home city.  At the time, I told them I didn’t know if Edmonton was a possibility or not.  I learned a lot of life skills in Edmonton, like driving through a blizzard, unable to see the road or the deep ditches on either side.  But my short time in the GVRD has taught me quite a bit as well

Let’s list some pros and cons of a return to my home city:


  • Edmonton is cheaper, not just gas and to buy and own property, but tax-wise as well.  There’s something to be said about 5% GST.
  • My immediate family is in Alberta, including my newborn niece, and my arriving-in-the-summer niece/nephew.
  • It’s almost 670 metres above sea-level, a good start to getting a free boost to all of my cardio workouts.
  • There are four major routes through and around Edmonton, and the few required bridges aren’t tolled or crucial to travel.


  • It has an actual winter, which means snow, and stereo-typically means nine months of not spring or summer.
  • Said winter typically drops to -40 Celsius for at least a week, at least once per winter.
  • Because of winter, I would have to wear pants again.  It could be a steep learning curve.
  • I would have to find a new gym to train out of, and get to know a whole new team.

The last point I made in the Con section is truly what makes me pause.  I spent almost two years in the industry, meeting and getting to know people, making friends before finally joining Infinity MMA and Christiaan.  My two years with the team has challenged everyone and myself to new heights.  It’s brought us from being people who sweat together to get fit to being a family of friends … who still sweat together.

I know so many people, so many teams here.  And at the end of the day, all rivalries aside, we all enjoy what we do.  We band together, compete at the same tournaments, learn the same moves – some of them sooner than others – and have a good-nature ribbing at each other.  I camped with the RDC Jiu-Jitsu crew when I competed on the 23rd in Vernon, and was a familiar face to them.

I’m not sure I could give up all of that hard work and start over again.  Maybe in a few years when I’m a veteran Blue belt, or fresh Purple belt, and have a few international competitions under my belts, but as a veteran White belt, there are still many things I want to accomplish with my team first.

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian.

P.S. As previously mentioned, I competed on the 23rd in CBJJF’s Okanagan Winter Classic in Vernon, BC.  I took Silver in the White belt Gi Middleweight (181lbs) division.  I won my first match via cross-collar choke, and lost my second match by one advantage point when I stacked my opponent’s armbar.  I think that’s where my two points came from, they might have considered it a guard pass.

The Alliance guy, camped with RDC.  Gi sponsored by

The Alliance guy, camped with RDC. Gi sponsored by

The Little Goals

Several days ago – on recommendation of a good friend – I signed up for Reddit and went immediately to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sub-Reddit.  Okay, so I’m predictable, but what’s wrong with that?  While browsing through the many threads, I cam across something quite interesting: 100 things you should do before reaching black belt.

The article was written for, and quite unsurprisingly is Gracie Barra-centric (e.g. 75- Have a favourite Gracie.).  Despite that, it was still quite an interesting read, and provided me with many little goals to achieve.

Let’s start by listing off the ones I have already accomplished:

1- Like Jiu-Jitsu.
2- Love Jiu-Jitsu.
3- Respect Jiu-Jitsu.
8- Have a gruelling training session with your own master.
9- Make a lot of close friends at the gym.
12- Realize that deep, deep down points and the clock do not exist, while nothing is more real than those three little taps.
14- Learn to speak English. The way the Jiu-Jitsu market is going, you’ll have to get around in other continents.
21- Learn to lose.
25- If surfing isn’t your thing, work on another outdoor activity to invigorate you on those days you’re not in the gym.
29- Shave your head, even if just once.
31- Offer yourself as your master’s sparring partner, especially in private classes, as you, too, will learn a lot.
38- Use your technical abilities and stamina to get out of a bind. Adventures are a part of every black belt’s story.
54- Forget steroids.
60- Get turned down by women because of your ears.
64- Understand how your body works, after all each body type adapts to Jiu-Jitsu differently. Your game should be in tune with the type of body you boast.
65- Respect the white belts. And the blues, purples…
69- Tap, tap, tap and tap, over and over again. And, who knows? Maybe even pass out from some choke. That’s part of the game, and it’s all a learning experience until you’ve been decorated with the highest honours.
70- Do a no-time limit fight (at least in training), to the finish.
86- Find a way of deriving pleasure from the big and little things in Jiu-Jitsu, from warming up to even the bad days in the gym and the losses.

Some of them are on-going of course, accomplishments that I do – or try to do – after every session.  Others just make sense, like #69.  I tap to armbars quite often, because I need my arms, their joints, tendons, ligaments and everything else to be in working condition.

Next, let’s look at some of the goals that really pique my interests:

4- Learn to balance force and technique so as to fight as long as you can without tiring.
5- Understand that the belt is not the only objective, but the result of effort and learning. One whose only objective is to get a new belt limits his own potential, which is always enormous and unknown. Rather than focus on that, concern yourself with developing technical aspects of the fight.
10- Enter a tournament – and return home with a gold medal.
13- Participate in a seminar conducted by your greatest idol.
15- Learn to perform a flying armbar.
16- Compete at a World Championship.
17- Invent a hold or move.
18- Give the move a really creative name like “the flying butterfly,” “get-that-sucka” or “fireball,” for example.
22- Learn to win.
30- Try to take private classes – vital for refining your technique and learning tricks from your teacher.
36- Encourage a child to start learning Jiu-Jitsu. After all, they are the future of the sport.
37- Gain self-control.
42- Get yourself a physiotherapist buddy who after all the appointments gives you that discount when some new little injury crops up…
44- Find out when the best time of the day for you to train is, figuring out whether your body responds better to training hard at night, in the afternoon or early in the morning.
50- Be flexible; discover your favourite stretching routine.
51- Get your bottom game on par with your top game – or at least close to it.
52- Face off with athletes from other styles, like wrestlers in submission grappling tournaments, judoka friends and so on.
53- Have a lot of talks with higher ranked athletes and old masters.
55- Document the best shape you’ve ever been in in photos. Besides serving as a record, this will motivate you to not keep in shape, even as the years – and belts – go by. You will also have a beautiful photo to one day show your kids and grandkids…
56- Go on an unforgettable trip to compete or train Jiu-Jitsu with the team.
57- Represent well and divulge our Jiu-Jitsu’s flag abroad.
61- Pick up women because of your ears.
63- Donate your old gis to the needy and social-benefit projects.
71- If you have friends in other academies, visit new environments. “I would like to have trained more with other athletes to have tested my Jiu-Jitsu without the pressure of doing tournaments. I feel I missed something for not having trained with Amaury, Libório, Roleta, Cachorrão and Pé de Pano,” reveals six-time world champion Saulo Ribeiro.
72- Be somebody’s hero – even if it’s just your little brother.
73- Explain Jiu-Jitsu philosophy more than once to a number of friends, and don’t lose your patience when you hear, “But fighters are all kind of stupid, aren’t they?”
82- Find out what motivates you before a training session and what makes you feel better after a bad day at the gym – be it music, reading or positive thinking.
83- Develop your own style as a fighter.
84- Develop your own style as a teacher.
87- Learn CPR.
88- Learn to deal with the fear, insecurity and anxiety we all have in us, some more, some less than others. That is why competition is one of the best environments for us to get to know ourselves not just as athletes.
98- Write up your own list of 50, 100 or 200 goals you WILL meet achieve reaching black belt.
99- Apply the principal law of Jiu-Jitsu (“Minimum effort for maximum efficiency”) to your own life. Face challenges in the simplest way possible, as this will certainly be the most efficient.

Obviously I have a lot of goals I need to complete, but that’s what makes life interesting.  The goals will be signposts in the road of life, accomplishments signifying – if even just to me – improvement, understanding and acceptance.
A special note for #71: Saturday the 23rd I’ll be in Vernon for a tournament, and quite possibly the only familiar faces will be my cousin and the RDC team.  I will be in “enemy territory”, no teammates, only those whom I have beaten.  Maybe if I ask nicely enough, Sterling will coach me – assuming I’m not against one of his guys of course.

For the complete list in order, head over to

We finish off with 20 commandments before reaching black belt:

1-   Thou shalt not stall.
2-   Thou shalt not wimp out.
3-   Thou shalt not skip practice for silly reasons.
4-   Thou shalt not drink alcohol excessively.
5-   Thou shalt not partake in excessive slamming.
6-   Thou shalt not wear stinky gis or neglect your hygiene.
7-   Thou shalt not whine about refereeing.
8-   Thou shalt not be a “creonte” – respect your master and gym.
9-   Thou shalt not heed orders that go against your values.
10- Thou shalt not be rude during training.
11-  Thou shalt not make a trophy of your mangled ear.
12-  Thou shalt not succumb to cupcakes, candy bars and the likes.
13-  Thou shalt not show off – be discreet. After all, the more exposed you are, the greater the target.
14-  Thou shalt not talk too much smack nor cause discord between training partners.
15-  Thou shalt not take cheap shots.
16-  Thou shalt not take Steven Seagal films seriously.
17-  Thou shalt not count advantage points.
18-  Thou shalt not delay in letting go of your opponent when he taps.
19-  Thou shalt not take the stress of life out on training partners.
20-  Thou shalt not steal training partners’ flip-flops.

I’ll tell you right now that I don’t follow #12.  By not following it, I allow my coworkers to have a better chance at following it.
#18 is key.  Once I feel a tap, or hear the words “tap tap tap”, I immediately let go – or at least loosen up – and begin a quick and gentle untangling of whatever position we were in for the submission.  Some are easier than others: chokes I usually just have to stop flexing, but joint-locks I have to be more careful lest I do actual damage.

I’ll try to update these goals as I accomplish them.  Until next week!

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?

Eye for an Eye

Copyright 2008
DISCLAIMER: Eye for an Eye 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.

There were days that you were unstoppable, and there were days where nothing you did was right. For Sanen Kyom, Enhanced Individual, this was clearly one of the latter days. His fight with Hasa Suyei, Common Person Protector, was ending, and it probably had something to do with the plasma carbine pointed at Sanen’s head.

He pulled the trigger and instantly Sanen’s vision disappeared in a flash of white-hot. Hasa laughed as his opponent fell back, writhing on the floor in pain. There was no blood, the caustic energy contained in the beam burned through all of the veins.

“You’ll pay the price for defiling the natural law and order of things,” Hasa stated, and not for the first time.

Sanen continued to writhe on the polished floor, clutching at his face. He couldn’t even groan in pain it hurt that bad.

I’m shutting down your higher brain functions now Sanen, a voice said inside Sanen’s head.

‘Wait Ain!’ Sanen thought forcefully.

You won’t survive the pain; your body is already going into shock, Ain told him.

‘I can still beat him,’ he tried to argue.

You don’t have a hope in hell Sanen, Ain said sadly, but give me control and I can beat him.

‘You weren’t designed to maintain control for long periods of time,’ Sanen reminded Ain.

That’s not going to be a problem; we aren’t going to last long either way. We won’t die alone; I’ll make sure Hasa dies with us.

Sanen reached his decision. ‘Do it.’

The effects of his words were immediate. Sanen Kyom quickly stood up and straightened, trying to bore his now-vaporized eyes into Hasa Suyei’s.

“How is this possible?” Hasa demanded.

“It is possible because we do this for every EI Citizen!” Sanen/Ain roared, lunging forward and slamming a powerful fist into Hasa.

The CPP doubled over clutching his stomach and stumbled backwards. The urge to vomit rose sharply, but there was no time to entertain such thoughts, Sanen was already bringing a fist down on him again. Hasa spilt blood over the white floor and was on his way to meet it when a hand gripped his eyes and temples quickly and aggressively.

“You end here,” Sanen/Ain proclaimed, lifting Hasa up off his feet.

“No! Mercy!” Hasa pleaded, but it fell on deaf ears.

“You cry for mercy?” Sanen/Ain felt like laughing it was so pathetic. “You, who denied so many innocent people of their lives, cry for mercy? You, who relentlessly hunted down my brothers, cry for mercy?”

“Please,” he tried, futilely struggling to get the hand off his face.

Sanen/Ain closed their grip, digging fingers into Hasa’s skull. Flesh gave way first, dribbling blood. Soft cartilage was second, followed by numerous veins and nerves before finally Hasa’s eyes were crushed as his face was ripped out.

“An eye for an eye. Hasa Suyei,” Sanen/Ain said, dropping the body to the bloodied floor.

We’re reaching the ends of our limits, Ain informed him.

‘We’re dying,’ Sanen translated.

There is nothing more I can do, I’m sorry.

‘Can you teleport us to the next room?’

I believe so, but it will likely kill us.

‘That’s hardly an argument; we’re minutes away from death as it is.’

Good point. Very well, Ain conceded.

‘I’ll see you on the other side Ain.’

Ain laughed inside Sanen’s head. Not likely. AI’s aren’t programmed with a heaven or hell.

‘Neither are humans, EI or CPP, but some choose to believe nonetheless. But I meant after the teleport.’

My mistake. Sanen, thank you for everything.

In a blue flash, they left the room and appeared in the one where they had left the other EI rebels. Sanen dropped to the floor and groaned.

Goodbye Sanen Kyom, Ain said as he shutdown.

‘Goodbye Ain,’ Sanen replied knowing he was too late.

“Oh god, Sanen!” Sanen’s sister Mika cried out.

She rushed towards his body, cradling his head in her lap. “What happened?”

Sanen coughed violently, leaking more blood from his mouth. “Is that you Mika? I can’t see.”

“Yes Sanen, it’s me. You’re going to be okay.”

“No I’m not,” Sanen coughed again. “Hasa Suyei is dead. I’m not far behind.”

“You can’t die, not now, we still need you,” Mika argued. “I still need you.”

“You’re strong Mika, you’ll keep going.” Sanen convulsed painfully, wracking up more blood. “I’ll miss you.”

My sensors indicate your brother has passed away, Mika’s AI announced.

‘Thank you Ait, I noticed,’ she replied bitterly, fighting back her tears.

I’m also detecting movement four rooms away. It could be more CPP forces, Ait warned.

‘Any suggestions?’ she asked, gently lowering Sanen’s head.

We need to regroup, Ait said simply.

Mika stood, straightening her shirt. “Ait is detecting movement, but he doesn’t know if it’s EI or CPP forces. We should regroup and figure out a game plan.”

“What about Sanen?” another EI asked.

“Ain was the only one who could teleport. I don’t like it, but we’ll have to leave him here.”

The EI rebels left the room behind, seeking out more of their people. As they left, Mika took one last look at her dead brother.

‘Goodbye Sanen.’

Goodbye Ain, my brother.

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian.

Fancy Titles

I don’t keep up with reading blogs as often as I mean too, which is unfortunate since there’s a lot of good stuff out there.  Here are a few that I follow, and I encourage you to take a look as well.

-Allies and Sumo Hosts Extraordinaire Jennerosity and Benevolance

-Friend and Fitness/Nutrition Expert Tony

-Overseas Cosplay Mistress Katyuska

-Canadian Babe and WMMA Amateur of 2012 Erin

-Fitness Model and Ring Girl Mindy

-Musician and Martial Artist Justin

-Prairies Warrior Poet Denton

If you have a blog/Twitter account and would like me to check it out, leave a comment below!

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian