2014’s Year of the Horse: In Review
Back to the even numbered years, which may seem to follow the convention set down by the Star Trek movies. (i.e., even is good like Wrath of Khan and First Contact, odd is bad like The Motion(less) Picture). Not that 2013 was bad, but I’m of firm belief that 2014 was even better.
So, Horse! I have no witty remarks to make. Onto the recap!
Wait! Something about a glue factory? Nevermind, recap time!
As always, these are just important days, notes, and highlights in my year.
-January: Upon finding a basement suite for an opportune move-in time, I decided it was time to start going through my things and donating clothes that I hadn’t worn in a while … or ever. I ended filling three garbage bags full of shirts, hoodies, and pants, as well as a bag of items that weren’t accepted for donation. Despite how much that seems to be, I had a lot more stuff to pack. I entered a draw put on by B.C. Kimonos for one of their Comp V2 gis, which I won, received, and reviewed. You can read it here. I also covered Battlefield Fight League‘s 27th card for MMA Mad House, which featured Toshido MMA’s Matt Dwyer defend his middleweight title against long-time veteran Shonie “Mr. International” Carter.
-February: As hinted, I moved in with my loving girlfriend Keri. It’s fortunate that our Reading Week is in February, it allowed us to unpack at leisure, as well as for me to finish moving. I was double-fortunate that our new place is about two blocks away from my old place. No moving truck for me! I would like to thank Keri’s parents for helping us with the furniture from her place, it would have been rather difficult otherwise. To unwind from the move, I competed in the Okanagan Winter Classic, hosted by the CBJJF. It was held in Vernon again, and I carpooled with my cousin Mike out of RDC. I competed in Gi at Lightweight, and won Silver, and then in No-Gi at Middleweight, winning Bronze. I also won my entry fee from an online draw.
-March: I competed at the Copa Katana III, hosted by Katana BJJ, in Richmond, BC. I wouldn’t make it out of my first match, falling into a triangle choke. I would watch teammates and friends compete as the day continued, and live to learn another day. Our fridge would break down overnight, prompting us to evacuate our food to her parents’ for temporary storage as a replacement came. Our landlord was quite speedy, we had a fridge on the same day we evacuated the food. I would cover Battlefield’s 29th card for MMA Mad House, an all amateur card with some great bouts on it. Summer registration opened up, and I chose Critical Thinking (Philosophy), Academic Writing (English), and Introduction to Psychology I. Finally, and most importantly, I would celebrate my 1-year anniversary with the love of my life by recreating our first date: skating, and dinner at the Frog Stone Grill.
-April: Keri celebrated a quarter of a century on this planet, and I did what I could to make it memorable. The Winter semester closed with exams, seeing my GPA improve to 3.11 with an A- in Intro Study of Sport & Leisure and Physical Growth/Motor Development, and an A+ in Performance Analysis: Wrestling and Judo. I finally found a post secondary institute I was looking for: Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, which offers the Sport Psychology Bachelors and Masters degrees. Of course, I would look at half-a-dozen or more places beforehand, looking for my specific program. Finally, I would take my car in for what I presume to be its final Air Care inspection, where it would pass easily and quickly.
-May: The Summer semester would begin, with my Psych class taking place at the New West campus. It would take me almost an hour to figure out which lot I was supposed to park in, and let it be known that it pays to ask the lot attendants instead of Student Union members. We swapped Keri’s tires back to her summer tires, on a day that threatened to rain all day, but somehow held off until after I was done. I would receive my acceptance letter into the Sports Science program, I guess all it takes is a good GPA to convince them that I’m not a slack-ass. Finally, I would cover BFL 30 for MMA Mad House, which would see Matt Dwyer defeat ex-UFC vet and heavy-hitter DaMarques Johnson via TKO. I would also see good ol’ Christian “Stinky” Tremayne lose via decision on the same card.
-June: After a long wait (since Christmas 2013), my highly-anticipated Blue Dream Gi from The Green Gi would finally arrive. It was truly a dream to try on and roll in, and compete in. Unfortunately, it would also tear along the right sleeve while I was at the Proving Grounds Qualifier II. I would place second in the best-of-three format, losing the first round, drawing the second, winning the third, and losing the tie-breaker. Not shabby for my first international competition. I would assist longtime friends Stuart and Dani in building some Ikea closet shelves in anticipation of their bun-in-the-oven. Entering in another free gi contest, I would win a Reign Unlimited gi. At the end of the month I would travel to Kelowna to stay with my cousin for the CBJJF Western Canadian BJJ Championships in Penticton. My cousin and my coach would compete in the Kurt Osiander Finisher Series running at the same venue; a cash-prize tournament for brown belts and black belts. Competing in Gi Lightweight, I would be subjected to a tight rear-naked choke by sometimes-teammate Cam Deleurme, and in No-Gi Middleweight I would earn a 6-4 victory in my first match before succumbing to another rear-naked choke to take Silver.
-July: First order of business would be the Katana BJJ Roots BJJ Challenge held in Richmond, B.C., yet again in the Gi Lightweight division. I would be against Graeme Martin, who I went against in the last Katana BJJ event, and I was determined to make it go differently this time. Well, I was partly successful, attempting a couple of takedown attempts before he pulled guard. He would chain up several submission attempts before gaining success with another triangle. Next up was another visit from Professor Cobrinha for a 3-day seminar. Keri was off on Sunday and able to attend, I managed all three days. My cousin Mike came down as well. I attended Battlefield’s 31st card, watching friend and former co-worker Tylor Nicholson secure an exciting win by rear-naked choke. Keri and I also started fostering a 7-year old Shar Pei cross who was having a very rough go in the shelter. Her name was Daisy, and we gave her the nickname of River. I assisted Stuart and Dani once more with closet shelving, this time for bigger units. Then Keri and I would travel to Alberta for a quick getaway: old family friend Stephanie Jasinoski was getting married. We took River with us for the weekend, and she seemed to enjoy a country acreage setting, and didn’t mind 12-hour car rides. The wedding itself was lovely and low-key, a nice gathering of old friends and family. Finally, I received a new gi from Triangle Athletics: their Brooklyn gi with a rashguard liner, a pre-release offer from my man Desi.
-August: This month started on a rather sad note, Keri and I made the hard decision to return River to the shelter. While she opened up to us, she also developed separation anxiety, and coupled with her fear towards other dogs, meant many things set her off. Her last time alone she barked for two hours straight. Our lifestyles just aren’t compatible with a dog of her temperament. If we had more time at home with her – I’m talking several weeks – then we might have been able to change her conditioned responses. Keri and I gave blood again, but I didn’t get my third-donation keepsake. I’ll have to ask for that the next time we’re able to donate again. I had only two final exams: for Psychology and Academic Writing, unfortunately they needed a lot of studying, the most I’ve had to do thus far. The work paid off, I earned an A- is Philosophy, and a B+ in Psych and Academic Writing, pushing my GPA up to 3.22. I also covered BFL 32, watching friend and teammate Jeremy Kennedy – freshly returned from Thailand. We went out to the Langley Animal Protection Society and adopted a little kitten: Helo, a black/grey tabby. Finally, I made a review for the Brooklyn gi here.
-September: The fall semester begins with four courses: Reading Fiction, Psych 1200, Intro to Stats, and Motor Skill Acquisition. The first three satisfy my English and non-Sports Science electives, and the last one constitutes my sole Sport Science course this semester. I mapped out my requirements to graduate, which helps me keep track of what courses I need to take, and what I want to take. Our good friends Dani and Stuart wake early to celebrate his birthday, though the early waking was due to Dani starting the labour process. That same day she gives birth to their son: Oliver Grayson McGillivray. I guess that makes it easy to remember birthdays for their family. Finally, Keri and I earned our second stripes in BJJ.
-October: It starts off with a bang as I celebrate my 30th birthday. Before the celebration can truly occur, I compete in the 3rd annual Vancouver BJJ Championships tournament, in the blue belt lightweight Master’s division. Our 3-man division saw me lose both matches to claim a bronze, but more importantly it saw the development of a few good techniques and exposed a few subtle holes to patch up. After the tournament was the birthday celebration, organized by Keri. I became Triangle Athletics’ newest sponsored athlete, and had a good Skype-call with founder/owner Desi Saran. The Proving Grounds Invitational tournament was unfortunately cancelled due to a lack of numbers, possibly thanks to the Seattle IBJJF appearance at the end of the month. Instead Keri and I helped our coach Jason and his wife Vanessa move, which proved to be a fairly speedy affair. The next day we went to her parents’ house for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and dessert; I was absolutely stuffed. The aforementioned IBJJF Seattle Open was attended by several of my teammates, and they brought home a few medals and lots of memories. Finally, I carved a pumpkin for the first time in many years. For Halloween!
-November: We begin with a huge open mat hosted by P.T.T. Chilliwack and Harley Chappell, a mat filled with practitioners from all over British Columbia and many academies. A couple of promotions, and a couple of great rolls with friends. Then I registered for the Winter 2015 semester: Human Anatomy & Physiology I, Applied Methods of Creative & Social Dance, Topics in Human Nutrition, and Sociocultural Aspects of Sport, plus tuition paid a week later, far before the deadline. I attended BFL 33, witnessing friend and former teammate Christian Tremayne win a rematch against Kolton Higgenbottom via KO, and friend Micah Brakefield lose via TKO. Then our washing machine broke. You want to talk about first world problems? Take away your ability to clean your clothes, gis, and bedsheets while cooking or doing homework. That’s a big problem. We also put our tree up – yes, it’s early – to allow our cats to acclimate to it. I bought a custom dentist-fitted grappling mouthguard to ensure the safety of my teeth from local PROtect Custom Mouthguards. Then I went on a whirlwind of changing flat tires thanks to someone losing a flat box on the road during a busy period. It is quite fortunate that Keri has winter tires on a different set of rims, because there is a definite bend in the rim that ran over the box. Keri and I attended Infinity MMA’s Expansion Open House and Gravity BJJ’s Movember Rollathon in the same day, getting some good rolls in. On the last Sunday, we – along with Coach Jason, Papa T, and Rack Attack – attended a Flavio Almeida seminar at Revolution Langley and learned some great open-guard techniques. With great sadness, my friend and teammate Cam Deleurme, passed away. Rest in peace buddy, and thank you for a great match during the summer.
-December: With final exams right around the corner, I took a day away from worrying about them with the CBJJF B.C. Provincial BJJ Championships II, where I competed in Gi and No-Gi in the Master’s division, taking silver in No-Gi. We had a large showing, and together will our fellow Alliance school – Walter Buse’s East Van BJJ – placed second on team points. It is exceptional in the fact that we had fewer competitors than the winning team, which means a lot of medals in weight classes and absolute divisions. Fall semester final grades were posted, and I passed all of my classes (much to my surprise for Stats). I restored my ability to game with a second-hand Xbox 360 and a new gamertag (PrototypeMMeh if you’re interested in adding me). We caught a little bug right before Christmas and had to miss all of the Open Mat events; being responsible about other people’s health can be a chore. Christmas day was spent with longtime friends Stuart and Dani, and their 3-month old Oliver, for some presents (well, for Oliver) and turkey dinner. Boxing day was spent with Keri’s family, and we went over early as Keri wanted to see the process of preparing the turkey first-hand.
2014 was a pretty amazing year, and I look forward to making 2015 even better! What notable events happened to you? Anything unexpected? Let me know!
–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?
Triangle Army, Respect the Technique.