prototypemmeh

Life, the Martial Challenges, and Everything.

Category: Review

2015’s Year of the Sheep: In Review

We may remember that 2014 was good.  But 2015? Yowzah.

Sheep!  I could go the obvious route about sheep and flocking and yadda-yadda-yadda, but then I’d feel a little sheepish about it.  Ba-DUM-tish!

Once more (with feeling) these are just some of the important days, notes, and highlights in my year.

-January: After reviewing the requirements for entry into the Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching (BPEC) program, I arranged with former Professor Gord Sturrock to become an assistant coach for the Hyacks’ Wrestling Team out of New Westminster Secondary School.  I helped out with their first tournament of the season: the Western Canada Age Class 2015 Championship, where they all wrestled to a podium finish.  I attended Battlefield Fight League’s 34th card featuring a hefty line-up of friends and training partners: Jeremy Kennedy, Shawn Albrecht, Micah Brakefield, and Christiaan Allaart.  Christiaan’s opponent would no-show to the weigh-ins, forcing him from the card.  Micah would lose to Ash Mashreghi via questionable stoppage, but it was an exciting fight nonetheless.  Shawn would win a unanimous decision and put him as the #1 contender in the Featherweight division.  Jeremy would win a unanimous decision (including a 50-43 score) to claim the Featherweight title belt.  My seat-mates were Sterling Redlack and Stu Deleurme – invited down from Kelowna by BFL to honour Cam’s passing – and Matt Dwyer – former BFL Middleweight champ and current UFC fighter.10945393_10152516525252172_8174109688879230386_o IMAG2571

-February: Keri and I moved from our place off of 240th and into a newer place on the Haney Bypass.  We moved the big objects during my study break, and got the rest during the month.  With cement floors and ceilings – plus underground parking – it is an upgrade in layout, noise (the lack thereof mainly), and time saved by not scraping frost.  The stairs don’t go down to the parkade, which is a touch annoying, but that’s a mild complaint honestly.  The Hyacks went to the BC Provincials at the Abbotsford Agricultural Rec Centre at the end of the month, and several team members made the top eight to get onto the podium.  I also attended a tournament, the 2nd Marcus Soares Invitational Championships, my first of the year.  I opted in for Gi and No-Gi, feeling decently confident in my stand-up.  Since this tournament only awarded points for submission attempts, I probably would have been safer to jump guard ASAP, but I wanted to test myself.  I lost both of my rounds, but hit an amazing lumberjack sweep in my No-Gi match.  Then I proposed to Keri.  My friend James from Caliber Media was there to help with pictures of the moment.  She said yes.20150221_121657 received_10155313250690473

-March: WarPath hosted their first card in about two years.  I am sad to report that it was not up to their usual standards, plagued by delays and a lineup that was not finalized until the night of the event.  Of note, my friend and former opponent Creigh Sullivan won via dominant fashion, securing a triangle choke in the first round. Battlefield’s 35th card occurred on the 28th, featuring well-known talent such as Nick Ghaeni, Jamie Siraj, Matt Baker, and my friend and former teammate Christian Tremayne.  It was a great night to watch the local talent grow, as well as see their corners evolve.  Notably in attendance were UFC bantamweight veteran Sarah Kaufmann, and ONE FC featherweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes.  Christian won with crisp boxing and slick transitions, getting the Unanimous Decision.  Keri and I celebrated our 2-year anniversary with some lovely relaxation.

-April: Keri celebrated her birthday in conjunction with the Easter Long Weekend, which made for quite a time for all.  Apparently people know us as fans of Doctor Who, as many of her gifts were Doctor-themed.  The final weeks of my classes finished, and then exams.  During that period I had enough stress to lower my immune system and catch a cold and a low-grade fever.  Despite that, I managed to pass all of my classes and up my GPA.  One more course to register and pass, and then I am accepted into my Bachelor’s program.  Keri scheduled an interview at the end of the month at Ridge Meadows Hospital, and her professionalism and knowledge made her a sure-fire hire.

-May: Keri began her training and orientation for her job, traveling to Royal Columbian, Surrey Memorial, and Ridge Meadows.  Then she got an e-mail from ARH asking if she was still available for shifts on the Maternity ward.  While the timing could have been better, it does mean that she could pick up casual shifts from both hospitals and thus have a decent amount of hours.  My summer semester started, and a day earlier than I had previously believed.  Fortunately I caught my erroneous belief before the start, so I managed to appear prepared. The end of the month meant Proving Grounds VI in Bellevue, a tournament I was quite eager for.  It was the same weekend as the IBJJF Mundials which saw a lot of my friends and teammates compete.  Unfortunately I came up short in my tournament thanks to a call that should not have been made.  The experience soured the day for me, but the evening was able to pull it back thanks to Battlefield 36.  It was BFL’s 5th Anniversary. and the card featured five title fights: three amateur titles, one inaugural kickboxing title, and one pro title.  My friend and former teammate/coach Christiaan Allaart would suffer a loss via guillotine choke in the first round, going unconscious and making him unable to claim the Featherweight title.  Christiaan would also retire from MMA following his fight, leaving him able to concentrate on his family and his job teaching BJJ.  Friend and former teammate Christian Tremayne would weather a hard first and second round before going on to win the final three rounds to win the vacant Lightweight belt via unanimous decision, 48-47.  Friend and former co-worker Tylor Nicholson would be unable to continue the inaugural kickboxing bout due to receiving unintentional illegal blows; that coming after his opponent missed weight by 5 pounds.  Chris Anderson would defend his Middleweight title via KO in the second round; Ash Mashreghi would claim the vacant pro Middleweight title via RNC in the third round.

-June: The first Saturday was a taste test at Austin Gourmet, a wedding catering company.  We selected a 3-bean salad, southwestern potato salad, spinach and feta cannelloni in a white sauce, and a beef lasagna.  All of it was amazing, filling, and not greasy.  While eating, we chatted about the general layout of the Old Mill Boathouse, and got some experienced input on where the head table should go.  The staff at Austin Gourmet were very pleasant to deal with, and we recommend them to anyone looking for a caterer.  The next Saturday was the CBJJF 3rd Annual Provincial BJJ Championships, hosted in Abbotsford at the Events Centre.  I volunteered with the set-up and the scorekeeping, plus I competed in Gi and No-Gi; medalling in both.  The following Monday I attended a seminar hosted by top Featherweight competitor Gianni Grippo, learning about a berimbolo set-up.  Friend, roommate, and teammate Jordan and I would complete the Grouse Grind for the first time in many years.  It is quite different now with a lot more completed staircases and fewer rocks to scale.image 20150613_16293720150704_11064820150704_123519

-July: After a few false bookings, I booked and completed my Standard First Aid & CPR level C + AED certification; a prerequisite not only to graduate from my program but also to start my fieldwork courses in the fall.  The two-day course was a lot easier than the provided First Aid Reference Guide suggested, but there are skills that I want to continue to practice.  Keri and I went to lunch with my cousin Courtney, finally allowing the two of them to meet face to face instead of relying on stories from me.  Professor Cobrinha returned to town for a two-day seminar, concentrating on the double-under guard pass and utilizing a Kimura grip in a variety of ways.  My cousin Mike came down from Kelowna to participate as well, which was fun.  That same weekend I attended Battlefield Fight League’s 37th card, which was aired on the Fight Network.  My teammate and friend Shawn Albrecht fought but fell prey to a superior stand-up game despite his control of the ground game.  UFC Bantamweight fighter Sarah Kaufmann was in town to coach her teammate and fellow professional fighter Ryan Janes to a successful and exciting Middleweight title defence.  A day later my parents arrived in town for a quick vacation, allowing for an impromptu reunion of sorts followed by a family engagement party.20150725_184717 20150725_145203

-August: Longtime friend Jordan tied the knot in a wonderful, simple, and fun Hawaiian-themed ceremony; myself and longtime friend Niv were the groomsmen, along with fellow Edmontonian Jan.  Friend and training partner Matt Kwan would host an open mat at his new academy On Guard BJJ, and receive his well-deserved and long-awaited brown belt.  I volunteered at the Katana BJJ Roots BJJ Challenge III, and ended up competing rather spur-of-the-moment.  I had enough warning to invite my cousin Courtney to come watch, it helped that the tournament was at the Richmond Oval.  I took gold after two good matches, and I got another two takedowns.   I would make my way up to Kelowna to attend a Rafa Mendes seminar – thus completing a third seminar by one of the best BJJ Featherweights in the world – and managed to get in a couple of training sessions with the beasts at RDC Jiu-Jitsu.  While there, I went (or tried) wakeboarding, and then had a blast on a huge tube — until it flipped and launched me into the air.  Apparently my body made a very unmistakeably loud noise when it hit the water.  But, no injuries to report from that!  Amanda and I (and everyone else) pulled a surprise engagement party for Keri (and for me, but one of us had to be in on it).  Finally, Keri and I managed to sneak off for a week-long trip to Alberta to visit my parents and test-drive some Subarus.  We managed to avoid the massive windstorm as well.11911949_10207638996872102_982762283_n 20150808_150332

-September: I finished the last round of my Twinrix Immunization, bringing me up to date on Hep A/B, MMR, and Tetanus.  Another Fall semester started with an unexpected fire alarm, an expected Violent Intruder Drill, and Fieldwork Orientation.  Amanda and Ben had their engagement party, which was a fun mingling experience with mini pumpkin pies!  Just as my school schedule became normal, Keri and I jetted off to Florida/a quick Bahaman cruise (BOAT DAY!) for my good friends Jeff and Claire and their wedding!  Yay!  I helped Jordan get his first sponsorship with Just Saiyan, a company that has a collection of shirts and rashguards featuring costumes from DragonBall Z.  Jordan picked up Vegeta and Frieza, Keri grabbed a Vegeta (which can double as child Gohan on Namek), and I grabbed a Goku.20150927_145206 20150927_122733 20150927_112224 20150926_190058

-October: We celebrated my 31st birthday in a low-key style: watching the UFC 192 card with friends.  I started getting back to the weights to push my weight solidly into the Middleweight bracket, with the assistance of Twin 1: Jack.  The entire household went to the advance voting polls to cast our votes for the Federal election, an action that over 800,000 Canadians joined in on.  My Fieldwork site was a voting station, and they didn’t seem terribly busy during the scant moments I was inside to notice them — but that doesn’t mean they weren’t getting a good turnout.  Battlefield Fight League held their 39th card, “Halloween Hell”, at the Hard Rock Casino.  Friend and sometimes-teammate Stu Deleurme fought for the first time since Cam passed away; Stu unfortunately lost via first round TKO.  Mr. Kitty unfortunately passed away, but it appeared to be painless for her.  She will always be loved, and missed dearly.20151017_204602 20151007_215702 20151003_220507 20150916_165218

-November: Keri and I went to visit the Shar Peis that Sonja breeds, and enjoyed being once again in a pile of dogs.  We had a sleepover with one of the gorgeous dogs, and soon realized that separating a grown adult from her pack was not the easiest task in the world; especially compared to raising a puppy.  It was a good lesson to learn, but at least we enjoyed a night of having a dog sleep on the bed with us.  I did my first solo stint as a wrestling coach at a takedown tournament.  It was a great way to give our youngest team member some competition experience before War On The Floor; a big thanks to the Pinetree wrestlers for ignoring the 25kg difference in weight and giving him several matches.  My fieldwork at Maple Creek wrapped up, and I was gifted one of their shirts.  More than 10 years after graduating high school I’m finally starting to feel school pride.  Finally, I got my seasonal flu shot, continuing the trend I started in the summer.20151115_184102

-December: The month started out with my last tournament of the year: the 1st Annual Vancouver International Open.  I competed in Gi and No-Gi, and volunteered all day.  My Gi division didn’t go as planned, but I managed a better show in No-Gi, taking Gold.  My cousin Courtney came out to watch, and we had a little family reunion with our cousin/my teammate Mike.  The first official tournament of the wrestling season kicked off right as I had to write my big Anatomy & Physiology final, but the timing worked so the Hyacks had a coach with them all day.  I solo coached four of my wrestlers at War On The Floor, two of them were second-year veterans and two of them were new.  None of them have any big holes in their games to deal with, just small things to be corrected in practice and with more experience.  Back on the dog front, we puppy-sat the gorgeous little Muji while Sonja tended to the newest litter of puppies.  This gave her the opportunity to work somewhat less impeded while giving Muji lots of love and attention.  Keri and I had multiple Christmas dinners with family and friends, including some haggis!  ‘Twas delicious actually.  Finally, I felt my first earthquake on the 29th, a 4.9 on the Richter scale.  It was a bit underwhelming, but perhaps this building is a bit more earthquake-ready as compared to older places.20151220_185041 20151205_184130

What a year it’s been!  I know some of what 2016 will bring, but I’m looking forward to all of it!  How was your 2015?  Any big highlights — or small ones — that you’d like to share?

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?
Respect the Technique, Triangle Army

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Review: Triangle Athletics Shorts and Rash-guard

My first care package from Triangle Athletics was some No-Gi gear: a pair of board shorts and a long-sleeved rash-guard.

Let’s start with the Shorts:

  • Side slits for movement and performance.
  •  Velcro waist band with drawstrings.
  •  100% polyester micro stretch fabric.
  • Full sublimation

I’ve worn quite a few brands of shorts in my day, for wrestling and for No-Gi.  I like my shorts to be light and comfortable, with a waistband that flows with my movements. Well these shorts are quite possibly the best I’ve worn.  The micro stretch fabric is soft, comfortable, and light.  I barely noticed anything during my No-Gi matches.

Now the Rash guard:

  • Long-sleeved
  • Full sublimation
  • Elastic waist

I’ve only used one other long-sleeved rash-guard prior, so I’m more familiar with the short-sleeved versions.  However, what I do know is the cut of this rash-guard allows for quick and easy adjustments of the sleeves to straighten them if required.  The rest requires very little adjustment after the fact as it moves with the body.

I don’t do a whole lot of No-Gi training, and yet I enter the No-Gi divisions in tournaments.  These shorts and rash-guard were put into the line of fire almost immediately: two No-Gi rounds at the academy and then three matches at a tournament for a podium finish.  Now I have a hankering to use them all the time, and I have the perfect solution: I’m volunteering at a local high school to help their wrestling program.  Their coach is one of my college professors, so I can help the students out in style!

Check the gear out at Triangle Athletics, and decide on your colours!
BCProv2_Dec_2014_TARS_01BCProv2_Dec_2014_TARS_02 20141206_160538–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?
Respect the Technique, Triangle Army

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.

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-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.

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-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.

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-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.

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-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.

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-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.

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-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.IMAG2299

-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!Van_BJJ_Oct_2014_TAB_01 Van_BJJ_Oct_2014_TAB_02 Van_BJJ_Oct_2014_TAB_04IMAG2400

-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.63749_742029865876411_1343126915008353693_n 10690333_1591148384438191_6110254537388678050_n 10537413_552205461581781_5684581140694656391_o

-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.20141206_160538 IMG_2512 IMG_2530 20141206_133348 20141206_160423

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.

Review: Female Under-Gi Gear – Special Guest Reviewer!

This update is brought to you from a special gal in my life: Keri, a.k.a. BlackGryphon03, a.k.a. my girlfriend.  She’s a talented BJJ practitioner and aficionado, so without further ado, here she is! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Arm Bar Soap

Hygiene should be important for everyone, but it gets special consideration for athletes.  We get dirty, sweaty, and possibly bloody.  And we get the dirt, sweat, and blood of other athletes on us as well.  So we must take extra care before and after sessions to ensure that we are clean and healthy.

A couple of years ago I started my journey looking for a soap to use.  I came across several that piqued my interest, but I wanted to make it as allergen-free as possible.  My first choice never kept anything in stock and sold out of new batches inside of a couple of hours, so instead of continued frustration, I switched to another company.

The Arm Bar Soap Company, run by Chad Hospodar, is into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He got a nasty ringworm infection, and vowed to never let it happen again.  Thus the Hawaiian-based company was born.  I have thus far “sampled” their Cocoa, Hawaiian, and Peppermint bars, and with great delight!  They last about a month in this household, but with two athletes each training 3-5 times per week, soap is bound to go quickly.  Each bar is bound together extremely well, I have dropped more than one more more than once (yes yes, I’ll not enjoy an experience in prison, I know), and the bars have suffered only minor dents.

Being a Canadian has a lot of merits to it – least of all the Maple Syrup – but it has downsides.  Arm Bar Co. ships to their distributors, who then re-sell to consumers.  The Canadian distributor is BJJDepot.ca, a local B.C. company, and I am more than happy to give my business to them and to Chad.  However, this puts me at the mercy of the distributor in terms of the various flavours Chad releases.  Upon placing my last order about five months ago, they stocked only three – the three that I have sampled – even as more flavours were being released.  Currently, they have a fourth: the Milk’n’Honey.  I will be ordering this flavour when I place my next order – though that won’t be for several more months – and hopefully by that time they’ll have the Acai and Shamp-Broo in stock.

So we keep ourselves clean, which helps keep our training partners, friends, and family clean.  All we need now is a cool soap dish.  Any recommendations?

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?
Triangle Army, Respect the Technique

MMA Pubs

I’ve been listening to the Verbal Tap Podcast, where fighting is easier outside of the cage, and at one point the one of the hosts – Kevin, I believe – brought up the idea of making a list of MMA-friendly bars.  Well, here is my minor contribution.

BREWSTERS PUB, Surrey, B.C.

Pros:

  • Great food
  • Decent selection of brews
  • Friendly staff
  • Good layout for viewing
  • Decent parking, will cover parking tickets that result from an evening with them
  • Bartenders who enjoy learning about MMA and keep up to date with topics

Cons:

  • $5 cover charge per person

 

MISSION SPRINGS BREWPUB, Mission, B.C.

Pros:

  • Excellent pizzas and other food
  • In-house craft brews
  • No cover charge
  • Ample parking
  • Free raffle giveaways

Cons:

  • Not the best layout for PPV events
  • Plenty of “UFC Black belts”

 

SAMZ NEIGHBOURHOOD PUB, Pitt Meadows, B.C.

Pros:

  • Excellent seating with multiple screens
  • Decent selection of brews
  • A bartender who understands grappling and striking (and a former training partner)
  • No cover charge
  • Ample parking
  • Great food

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to manoeuvre to the washrooms when it’s busy

Samz is my current pub of choice, mostly due to my friend and former training partner: Mike Hurley.  It’s not too far from my place, and traffic is usually light after each event.  It has an enjoyable atmosphere, and always makes for a relaxing, humorous, and fun-filled evening.

Review: Triangle Athletic’s Brooklyn Gi

My man Desi of Triangle Athletics contacted me with a pre-sale opportunity to try the new Brooklyn gi.  I took advantage of his offer, nabbing an A2 with built-in rashguard liner.  It’s a 450 gsm pearl weave with ripstop pants, and the jacket has a sublimated rashguard lining on the inside.  The black contrast stitching pops against the white material, and the logo is simple and fully embroidered.  It came in a nice draw-string bag, these are perfect for becoming “dirty bags” to hold any sweaty gear or clothing after training if you still have fresh unused stuff in your gym bag.

IMAG2106IMAG2108IMAG2109IMAG2110IMAG2111   IMAG2112

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My A2 is 3.8 pounds, ranking it among the lightest gi.  It would probably be a bit lighter if I didn’t choose the lined version.  It fits quite well, both pre- and post-wash, and is comfortable and soft.  The ripstop pants are light and very needed when it’s hot or muggy outside in this area, have a slightly stretchy round rope and six loops to tie your pants, and the crotch is made of pearl weave gi material.  I’m pretty sure this is my gold standard for pants: all other pants must live up to these, and I don’t see how they could be improved.

-Monday: we did 1-minute rounds, trying to pass the guard.  First was spider guard, and then De La Riva guard.  We partnered up, got into a circle, whereupon one partner would engage the guard, and the other would attempt to pass.  We moved counter-clockwise until we returned to our original partners, and then we switched who was engaging the guard and who was moving counter-clockwise.  After completing both circuits of spider guard, we switched to De La Riva and repeated the cycle.  The gi held up to sleeve grips, lapel and collar grips, pants grips at the ankle and hips without fail.  The lining was extremely comfortable, and despite being a bit out of shape, helped keep my temperature regulated which helped my breathing.

-Wednesday: we drilled stripping the feet of spider guard to pass, scissoring between the legs to gain side control, and shooting in for double-underhooks to pass the guard.  Following that were escapes from turtle using the ankle or the thigh and sitting out to take the back or sitting in to take your opponent down into side control.  Apart from the specific spider guard grips, the gi went through a variety of grips and movement and didn’t even blink once.

-Friday: not many showed up, so we set the clock and rolled round after round.  The gi underwent the dynamic sessions without a fuss, and was very comfortable to roll in.

The gi has been washed four times in just over a week: once prior to the first training session, and after each training session.  The rashguard liner doesn’t add a lot of time thanks to the fan we use to help dry things that don’t go in the dryer.  It remains stiff enough to trouble your opponent – at least for the first bit – but soft enough that you look forward to putting it on and keeping it on.

You can find Triangle Athletics on:

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

 

 

Review: VHTS’ G1 BJJ Gi

Very recently I purchased a G1 gi from VHTS via BJJHQ.com, and I don’t know if I could be any more pleased.

First, BJJHQ has a deal every 24 hours on gear and apparel related to jiu-jitsu.  Every month or so they hold a 20-minute rolling deal.  They have limited quantities for each deal, so if you’re a normal size (i.e. medium, large, A2, or A3, etc.) then you need to jump on it quickly.  There are some good deals that have introduced me to companies I wouldn’t have otherwise found.

Next, VHTS is short for Very Hard to Submit.  They are a company based out of New York, established in 2013, dedicated to high-quality affordable products.  Sure, they’re new, and come amid the metric tonne of other companies that opened their doors recently, but I personally see their designs and fit as something that puts them above their competition.

Let’s list the G1’s tech specs:

White G1 Jiu-Jitsu Kimono (size A2)

Jacket:

  • 550G pearl weave 100% cotton pre-shrunk fabric
  • A label which you can write down your affiliation and name.

Pants:

  • Ripstop single weave 100% cotton
  • Pre-shrunk fabric stretching round draw string
  • Gusset with pearl weave fabric the same as the jacket material

Prototype’s Pros:

  • Style: The G1 is subtle, with grey contrast stitching, a grey ribbon running down the right lapel, and a black ribbon running down the left lapel (and apparently those ribbons make collar grips difficult, so that’s a bonus eh?).  It has logos embroidered on the left and right arms, at the approximate location of the biceps/triceps brachii.
  • Weight: I weighed the G1 at 3 pounds, tying it for lightest in my arsenal.  This will allow me a little more wiggle room for competitions.
  • Fit: It exists!  A narrow jacket width with sufficient length, sleeves that aren’t reaching for the stars, and pants that are excellent in length and not excessively baggy.  And this after being cycled through the stash twice (and thus washed twice).
  • Feel: This is my first time with ripstop pants, and right now they feel light and effortless when moving, even after being all sweaty.  Standard pants tend to stick at the knees.  I’m familiar with the pearl weave, but for some reason this weave feels a lot nicer to the touch.
  • Price: I bought it from BJJHQ for $100 plus shipping, and the normal VHTS price is $120, so it is still affordable

Prototype’s Cons:

  • I don’t have any for the product itself, I’ve gotten over my mild fear of having white Gis (though I swear people bleed when I have a white Gi, and no other time)

Overall thoughts on VHTS.com:

  • Affordable: their most expensive Gi is their very fancy-looking Galaxy, which features a partial inner lining of rashguard material sublimated with stars and nebulae of our galaxy.  Their most inexpensive Gi the Azure classic, coming in at just $91!
  • Customer service: their employees are prompt, polite, and helpful (I need to find a synonym that begins with ‘p’ for helpful).
  • Style: their styles and colours are perhaps a tad unusual, but not boisterous or downright disgusting.  You’ll be noticeable in a crowd, but in a good way (not a “my white gi is yellowed all over” or “I assembled my gi like Mr. Potato Head, but in the dark and didn’t look at it until I got to the tournament” way, but rather “eye-catching but subtle” way).

Where the Prototype feels improvement could be used:

  • Place their sizing chart on their website.  A minor gripe, especially since I first got in contact with VHTS for that reason.  They sent me their chart, but also offered their personal assistance for finding a size based on my dimensions.  This goes back to their customer service.
  • Provide an inside shot of their Gi jackets.  This is primarily for the Galaxy since it has that partial rashguard lining, and also proves that I’m picking at the finest of details.

I told myself that I wouldn’t buy myself any more Gis since I have five already, with a sixth on the way, but their Galaxy is damn sexy looking.  Fortunately they offer No-Gi gear, and some apparel to tide me over.  All in all, I really like what I see with VHTS,  I definitely like what I know about their G1, and I will continue to support them!

You can find VHTS on:

For now, I have another Gi that needs some patches sewn on!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Chome Industries Sotnik Duffle

In my Datsusara review a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was hard on my duffle bags.  Well, I decided to replace my dying duffle bag with a Chrome Industries Sotnik.

I had to do some research, they have an extensive line of bags to choose from.  After a few e-mails with a Chrome rep, I settled on the Sotnik.  A few of its features:

  • up to 65L cargo capacity
  • weatherproof cordura nylon exterior
  • made in Chico, California
  • only one zipper to worry about
  • meets most airline carry-on size requirements

I got it a few weeks ago after my Datsusara review, and in the middle of the moving process, but I finally put it through some solid paces over the past two weekends.  It has definitely been tested with two tournaments in rapid succession, and one that required some travel time.  And I am happy to say that it has raised the standard of what to look for.  It’s held:

  • two BJJ Gis
  • two BJJ belts
  • a pair of No-Gi shorts and a No-Gi rashguard
  • a pair of knee-pads
  • two shirts
  • two rolls of tape
  • a mouthguard
  • a small pill container
  • a bag of various fruits to snack on
  • a shaker cup
  • a few other various things

I also rigged a shoulder strap onto the bag with a pair of carabiners, now I have the option of slinging it over one shoulder or wearing it like a backpack with its main carry straps.  Its olive green colour and fairly unique design means I won’t lose it at the gym or a tournament (unlike, say, my shoes), and they have their logo – a gryphon – in a few subtle places.  Of course, now they have a black version with a subtle black-on-black digi-camo interior, but I’m perfectly alright with my olive green version.

The downside is the price.  Chrome Industries does things in high quality, nothing spared, and this means you pay the price for it (and customs/duties if you live outside of the States).  But they have a lifetime guarantee, and coupled with their high manufacturers standards, means you’ll have a bag that can take wear, tear, use, and abuse in style for years longer than your average bag.  These suckers have been tested in every weather condition North America can muster, and in some of the busiest cities.

Now I think I have a full range of bags to suit my needs.  If you’re interested, you can find Chrome Industries here:

Give their site a browse!

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

Review: Datsusara’s Battlepack Core

It’s slowly dawning on me that I may be a bit harder on my gear bags than the average person.
I’ve torn through three backpacks for work/school, two small duffle bags and one large duffle bag for training/overnight stays, with another small one on its way out.  It never feels as if I’m overly tough on them, but I suppose evidence points contrary.

I replaced my last backpack with Datsusara’s Battlepack Core.

In a nutshell:

  • made of hemp
  • YKK self-healing zippers
  • two side pockets for water bottles
  • two side pockets for iPod-sized devices
  • front pocket for books/tablets/accessories
  • microfibre-lined top pocket for phone
  • backplate compartment
  • “dirty bag” included to keep wet/soiled things separate

I use it for school, packing away my binder, two textbooks, and a small mess of other things.  It holds my wallet, keys, iPod, e-reader, and water bottle without any noticeable bulges, and the straps are stiff and great at bearing the weight.

The dirty bag is handy, as Datsusara designed their gear bags for the MMA practitioner.  Any of your sweat-soaked clothes can be stuffed into the dirty bag to keep everything else clean.  I use mine for my swimming gear after school, it keeps my towel, trunks, goggles, and toiletries without any fuss.  And it’s washable, so no funky smells set it.  The only downside is the printing washed right off on the first wash.  Small price to pay for otherwise excellent quality in every other aspect.

Well, that, and they run out of stock with what seems like regular frequency.  This may not be entirely accurate, as I believe they just redesigned all of their bags late last year.  They may have just ordered a smaller quantity to test the market again, but I know they have a second shipment coming in February or March.  Personally I’d advise the wait, they’re worth it.

Check our their site, DSgear.com, and browse the rest of their selection.

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