December 24, 2010

Gratitude

Well it came in a flash!  'Tis X Mas eve and I find myself reflecting on the holiday, and one of the main lessons I believe this holidays teaches us is gratitude.  Sure gratitude for gifts and what not, but lets stray away from the retail side of things for a moment.

Always clowning around!
I do not have many friends in life, but the few I do have are sincere, loyal, stand up people who are good to be around and can be counted on.  Nearly 10 years ago (shit I am getting old!) I met Big Mike and John while competing at Yang Shu Ton's Annual Wutan Tournament in Akron, OH.  At that time they were students of a Mantis coach in the DFW area, and had come up to compete and train.  Needless to say we hit it off immediately.  Our paths crossed many a time over the coming years both at tournaments, as well as seminars I hosted in New Mexico and Seattle with teachers like Ilya Profatilov, Hu Xi Lin, and Mike Martello.  And subsequently our friendship grew from a mutual admiration of the martial arts.

When I decided to go to DFW and fight in last weekends NAGA World Championships, I contact Mike and told him I wanted to get together if time permitted.  Like the friend he is, he refused to let me stay anywhere else but his place and took good care of me all weekend so I could focus on my fights.  I finally got to meet his wonderful family as well.   Rosy took good care of me feeding me like no other!

On Sunday, as a token of my thanks, I taught John, Mike, and Gabe (a new friend whom I met a few years ago) some ground proofing and basic jits.  Without getting into a long drawn out story, these guys are good people who have been led down some shitty paths by ex-teachers.  Much of what they have been taught on the ground is simply impractical and dangerous.  So we tightened up their technique and trained for a solid 4 hours!  They did great and as always trained hard!

I guess my point with this rambling is I wanted to say thanks to John, Mike, and Gabe.  Not only are you my friends, but you inspire me to train harder and beta better person.  I have met few people as genuine as you guys!

Train hard, party hard, and be good!

Thank you for all you have done!

Here is a snip from an email Gabe sent me that I thought was very nice:

"Great to see you again, my friend. I had a blast and learned a ton too. My only regret is that we can't train together more regularly. If I lived closer, I would live at your school. You have a wealth of knowledge and the skills to convey it effectively. You have a fresh yet humble approach combined with a gregarious nature that makes your workouts fun and applicable. That is a rare talent that sets you apart from most instructors with whom I've trained. I look forward to the next opportunity I have to learn from you."



Much more serious!
Sincerely,
Jake



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