Technically an unlucky number in North American culture.
Year of the Snake … which I’m maybe a little surprised no one has tried a half-assed Slytherin reference.
Another funny quip that I don’t actually have.
And still lots of Jiu-Jitsu.
Here is another year of important notes, days, and highlights in my year.
-January: Newly-created “Senshu” stable wins 4-large in the 15-day tournament. A decent spread considering how little we pay attention to the Sumo action on-screen some days. Also, convinced by friends, I signed up for Lavalife, because “what do I have to lose?”.
-February: Right as the month changes, my friends Jordan and Susie gave birth to baby girl Teja Marie Simnovec, at 4:38PM MST February 1st, weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces. I interrupt myself and my coworkers with a victorious yell. On February 23rd, I competed at the CBJJF Okanagan Winter Classic tournament, in the White belt Middleweight Gi division, taking Silver. The CBJJF goes out of their way to create some awesome looking medals, each tournament has a unique design, and so far they’ve never repeated themselves.
-March: Rallying forward for another victory, Team Senshu wrestles forth, but earns only 1-large. Injuries and too much singing may have played a part in their lack of decisiveness. I was also convinced to work the Sunday of the Tiger Balms, a local long-running martial arts tournament. It was pretty much a waste of my time to be there. Sumo hosts extraordinaire would host a “Samurai Night Fever” costume party, and I would finally get to use my Kamikaze Europa gi that I had purchased years ago. I also had a first date with a wonderful, beautiful woman whom I would find out shares many of the same passions as I. Our first date would not be our last.
-April: Easter weekend would prove to be a monumental event for me, having a first that I had never had before. I would also take over another round of teaching so Christiaan, his wife, and their baby girl Audrey could go on vacation. The Chilliwack UFV rec centre would find out that I can dance to Gangam Style in the pool for the entire song. That is tough ab work right there. Finally, I would join Genesis Martial Arts + Fitness under BJJ brown belt Jason Gagnon. Under his employ were my former wrestling coach Jordan Galaugher and West Coast teammates Devon MacIntyre and Jason Rueck.
-May: I would embark on my first company-paid trip to Quebec City to man a booth an the ITF Taekwon-do National-level tournament and showcase new Adidas uniforms that the company would be carrying soon. I was looking forward to seeing ITF in action, but the booths were set up in the cafeteria and separated from the action. I estimate at least half of the participants and spectators didn’t know we were there. But I did get to practice my French, which made me realize just how rusty it is. There was yet another West Coast seminar hosted by Budo MMA and Scott Boudreau, where friend and teammate Michael Hurley would finally receive his blue belt. Finally, I would compete in the CBJJF Western Canadians, but lose first round via triangle choke. My opponent burst quite a few capillaries and blood vessels around my eyes.
-June: Quite a whirlwind month with the birth of Alexis Wilson to Mark and Becca on the 5th; I was the Best Man at their wedding last year. Keri and I attended WarPath 10 on the 21st, Amateur MMA fights where Infinity teammates Cody Livingstone and Lewis Hart would fight. Both would lose first round, Cody via TKO (Knees) and Lewis via Submission (Triangle). They were both warriors for going out there and putting it on the line like that. The 27th would see the long-anticipated arrival of my nephew Ledger Beverly Perkins, born to Koji and Jana, weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces. I would compete in and take bronze at the Roots BJJ Challenge in Richmond on the 29th. As usual, I competed in the Middleweight Gi division.
-July: You thought June was a whirlwind, well July just kept on rolling! Genesis held their official grand opening on the 14th, and it was two hours of BJJ with regulars, old friends, and guests. At the end of it we went through some striping and promotions, some long overdue. I myself received my blue belt and went through a very large gauntlet afterwards. Six days later I competed in the CBJJF’s Okanagan Summer Classic tournament in Kelowna as a fresh blue belt. I stayed with my cousin Mike, and enjoyed the 9AM start time for blue belts. I won gold in my Middleweight Gi division, but was eliminated first round in the Absolute Open. My adopted coach Sterling and Mike coerced me into the No-Gi division, where I sloppily took bronze. Up until then, I hadn’t competed or trained in No-Gi since May of 2012. Finally, my parents were in town, so Keri and I did a slightly seat-of-the-pants meet-up with: her parents, my parents, my aunt and uncle. I feel as though she and I were the only ones nervous about it, and all for nothing. Everyone had a great time, and great Greek food (with extremely large portions).
CBJJF Okanagan Summer Classic Gold Medal
-August: Compared to June and July, August sounds lacklustre, but was still quite fun. I did take a trip home to Alberta for the first time in over two years, and Keri came with me. I showed her some of the sights and sounds of Edmonton – West Edmonton Mall included, and while staying with my parents, I chopped about 100 cubic feet of birch for them to burn in the winter … when the wood dries out that is.
-September: Starting on a whole new adventure, I enrol in the General Studies program at Douglas College (David Lam campus), signing up for Sport and Exercise Psychology, Conditioning for Sports and Physical Activity, and Bio-mechanics. Battlefield 25 would take place at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, with friends and training partners Christiaan Allaart, Jeremy Kennedy, and Micah Brakefield fighting. Unfortunately, Jeremy’s opponent would not be allowed to cross the Canada/USA border. Christiaan would lose 1st round via triangle, but Micah would win via submission. Finally, I would commission “Team White Chocolate Bear” for the fall sumo tournament.
-October: I would spend the first major holiday with my girlfriend as a couple: Thanksgiving dinner with her family, and some extended family. Having met some of them previously, the affair – while large in scale – wasn’t overwhelming. The food was fantastic, and she and I provided over an hour of entertainment for a toddler with some pretty awesome toys. The dogs helped as well. I would also receive my sponsorship package from Fight Soap: three different soap bars designed for the person getting dirty in the everyday life (like a martial arts practitioner, or soldier), a sticker, a Gi patch, a hat, a discount coupon, and early access to limited edition soaps.
-November: a whirlwind of Jiu-Jitsu but really, who’s surprised at this point? November 2nd saw me at the Vancouver BJJ Championships where I would take Silver in the Blue belt Middleweight division. Two weeks later I would compete in the CBJJF B.C. Provincial Championships, but would be eliminated first round. My cousin Mike and my adopted coach Sterling would travel to Las Vegas to compete in Grappler’s Quest and win some prestige in their divisions, including at least one title belt.
-December: Finals, fights, and food. World Series of Fighting came to town at the PNE Agrodome on the 7th, their 7th card. Teammates/training partners/friends Micah Brakefield and Shawn Albrecht fought on the undercard, and unfortunately both lost. Micah via corner stoppage/TKO, and Shawn by decision. I attended courtesy of MMA Madhouse, in the media section. Great seats. The card was unfortunately on the same night as Battlefield 26, where teammate/friend Christiaan Allaart fought and lost via Guillotine choke, and Stu Deleurme lost via TKO. However, WSOF had some great main card events, including “Notorious” Nick Newell upping his record to 11-0 with a first round Guillotine choke over local Sabah Fadai (I am no fan of his), and Team Alpha Male member Lance Palmer fighting for the Featherweight belt. Unfortunately, Lance would lose via submission in the fourth round, but made for a great fight until then. I did manage to snag a photo with Team Alpha Male head coach Duane “BANG” Ludwig.
I would finally get my final marks back from my professors, earning an A- in Sport Psychology and a B+ in Conditioning for Sport and Exercise. Definitely happy with those, first finals in a long time. At the end of classes, I sat down with my Psych professor to inquire about becoming a Sport Psychologist, and now have pencilled an outline of what I need to do in the next couple of years.
Professor Cobrinha came to town from the 13th to the 15th, and held a seminar at Genesis on the weekend. The Friday night, he ran class like he would in L.A., and then he and my Professor Jason handed out stripes and promotions. I earned my first stripe on my blue belt. The weekend seminar was taking the back and applying a choke, and a couple of variations on getting the back and keeping it. Nice and simple, and well drilled.
Finally we get to all of the foods. My friend/former coworker hosted a Christmas potluck on the 21st, filled with delicious foods and deserts. I definitely gained a few pounds. On the 24th I made chili for Keri with my mom’s recipe, and it turned out decently well. Just a few tweaks to make for next time. Christmas day we had dinner at my Aunt and Uncle’s, and Boxing day we had dinner at her parent’s. So much delicious Christmas food, leftovers, and treats.
Well, there we have 2013 all wrapped up! Quite a good whirlwind year, so let’s see what 2014 brings!
–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?