Sumo & Submissions

imageAs we all nurse our Dead Turkey Day hangover and hunker down to watch the greatest sports rivalry ever, here are a couple clips I found perusing the interweb this morning!


imageTry as you must to pry yourself away from the talky box and “Grey Thursday” (WTFE that is!?!?!?) to stop for a second and say “Thank you” to someone that has helped you out. We all too often glance over such trivial courtesies, but with the world heading the way it is I find these little offerings more and more important each pass by the sun.

My past year has not been a very positive one and their are a few people whom have really helped me through some tough times.  I give thanks to each and every one of you!  Especially my family who love unconditionally.  A big thanks to my coach Brian J. Johnson.  I have lucked out in that not only is he the best coach in the Pacific NW, but he also happens to be a loyal and caring friend.  Your kindness I can never repay, just know I am forever grateful!

Be safe and have fun this holiday,

imageBrian J. Johnson’s groundbreaking DVD series, “B12: Basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Curriculum” is going on sale for one day only at the NWJJA (942 N. 95th St. Seattle, WA)!  Stop by this Friday afternoon after you are all shopped out and purchase the entire curriculum for only $90!  That is three volumes for under $100 and a savings of $30 (typically $40 each)!

Check out the Red (Georgette Oden) Menaces review by clicking here!

Here is what DSTRYsg had to say about the three volume set!

Again, this deal does NOT extend onto Amazon nor Budovideos, so stop by on Friday and grab your set before we are sold out!

imageRed Black Belt Carlos Machado has just released a brand new instructional called “Domination,” and it is all about controlling your opponents wrist/grips.  We all know the grip game is essential to BJJ and at the highest levels the first to dominate the grip is usually the first to win!

From Prof. Carlos:
“Want a better sweep game against a more seasoned opponent?  Want to escapeeasier against anyone, even if you are still a beginner?  How can a whitebelt last a bit longer against a black belt?  That, and many more answerscan be found at this easy to follow, broken down video of my“Domination” concept, where the simple knowledge of how to control thewrist can become a game changer for students of all ages and levels.
Remember, the one who controls the grip first will determine how the match

So for those gentlemen bored on Black Friday while the ladies are out shopping, sit back and spend an hour with a legend improving your game while battling the tryptophan hang over.  It is only $19.99 and runs 50 minutes!   I am currently viewing it for a future review on The Ground Never Misses, but for those who can’t wait click here to be redirected! 

imageThough this debate is over a week old, I must take opportunity to use my blog and put Gui Mendes on blast for his “performance” last week at the 2013 Rickson Cup in Japan.  Fighting my friend and local (to the Pac NW) instructor Nate Adamson of Seaside BJJ, Gui Mendes decided to play the role of douche-waffle by running up the score before submitting him in what I can only construe as an attempt to stroke his ego and embarrass Nathan. This was Nate’s first competition at black belt.

I have seen the Mendes boys, gym name is Art of Jiu Jitsu, throw fits at referee’s for opponents with poor sportsmanship many a time, yet when the table is turned they seem rather comfortable filling the roll of bully.  What?  Too strong of a word?  Help me discern the difference with this video?  I know Nathan personally and I know that he is the first to admit when he is out skilled and he is one of the most humble fighters on the mat, so he has been kind in his approach to all this.  But the reality is Gui had plenty of opportunities to submit Nate, and all he did was watch the scorecard (literally watch him look at the score every 30 seconds!) and deliberately run up the numbers on his opponent, skipping over opportunities to submit him, and even purposefully allowing Nathan to re-guard just so Gui could pass and get the points again!  These are the actions of a bully!

For parents researching Art of Jiu Jitsu (AOJ) for their children I hope you take a look at this video below and ask yourself if this is the individual you want teaching your kids BJJ?  Is this the level / lack of sportsmanship & class you wish to pay to be ingrained in your children?

For Gui… grow up and act like the black belt tied around your waist means something other then the right to bully fellow competitors regardless of skill level!

Shame on you Gui Mendes!  Shame on you!

imageDead Turkey day is literally right around the corner and I cannot think of a more appropriate martial art to discuss then the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) of Eskrima / Arnis / Kali!?  And what better topic then Mark Wiley’s latest book; “Mastering Eskrima Disarms?”  A long overdue text on common defensive measures found in all styles and subsystems of the FMA (and really in all martial arts), addressing disarms would seem simple, but when looking at the broader scope of the subject we find it to be much more difficult to organize and pedagogically formulate.  I am grateful that a seasoned researcher such as Mark Wiley tackled this subject, as I consider him the Tom Clancy of FMA writing.

Mark Wiley is a special kind of duck.  Not only are his research skills top notch, but he has a kind attitude and honest love for the arts that grant him unprecedented access to teachers in all sub-styles of the FMA; something unheard of within a traditionally closed off and paranoid culture.  Without this kind of relationship within the community taking on a book of this scope would be incomplete at best.  Indeed Wiley dedicates the ninth and final chapter of the text to a photo collage of various teachers from a multitude of styles showcasing a number of different disarms.  Just shy of 100 pages these photos collected over years of travel and training throughout the USA and Philippines, are meant to showcase the similarities of each system based on the foundation of principle found across all systems of FMA.  It is brilliant to see old friends such as Dan Medina and GM Remy Presas included, as well as some great shots of the legends!

imageDiscussing disarms is tricky as many feel they are impossible to pull off in real combat, and Wiley acknowledges this straight away by organizing “Mastering Eskrima Disarms” into two parts and eight chapters.  Discussing assumptions that are dangerous, how to progress in your training, and then guiding the reader through ranges, gates, and positional footwork.  ALL key aspects often overlooked by zealous students who want to train the “cool” disarm!  Another fundamental mistake is the difference between training for edged combat versus bladed combat.  Whereas with one it is completely safe to grab the weapon, but with the other it could be a decisive mistake!  Again Wiley addresses all these issues by laying out foundational principles that are universal.

Part one of the text is broken into three chapters:

  1. Principles of Effective Disarms
  2. Supporting Structures (includes joint control concepts as well as modes of engagement)
  3. Grip Release Concepts (arguably the best chapter, encompassing a wide variety of techniques into five fundamental concepts)

I like Marks approach to categorizing as he avoids using style specific terms regarding footwork and the like.  As any practitioner of the FMA knows terms are relative and often confusing.  Within one system one can find five different names for the same technique or footwork pattern, but Mark avoids such pitfalls by employing the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid)!  This is so important when writing a general text that covers techniques found in all martial arts.

Covering all aspects of weapon engagement as well, Wiley hits the note addressing stick vs. blade, double vs. single, as well as weapon vs. empty hand.  Any student with more then 2 years under their blade will be able to learn these principles and apply their own styles disarms and variations without any trouble.  Wiley has showcased the principles but has avoided trying to become a repository of every single disarm from every single angle!  That would be redundant and distracting.

imageOne area of discussion missing from this book is that of the clinch and ground grappling.  I confess
this may be a separate subject in the authors mind and thus the exclusion.  But it has been this reviewers limited experience in my 20+ years in the FMA that when dealing with the real threat of a weapon, the bull rush into a clinch of some sorts is VERY common!  This also often leads to the ground.  I would love to hear how  Prof. Wiley would deal with such threats and disarming from the perspective of being nearly smothered.  Again this is less of a criticism and more of question, as Mark may look at this subject in a totally different light (hinting at a book idea Mr. Wiley ;).

“Mastering Eskrima Disarms” includes over 950 photographs and really these are the only criticisms I have of the otherwise excellent book!  The instructional sequences are pretty clear but can be a bit dark at times, shot in black and white I confess I am never a fan of both parties (demonstrater and demonstratee) being dressed in the same color.  White and black lay better contrast and allow for some depth in photo’s such as these.  Though not cost effective, color photo’s and/or multiple angles have become the norm in martial art texts and when discussing weapon based arts are almost essential.

Retailing at $29 (Amazon has it listed under $25), “Mastering Eskrima Disarms” is a must have for any practitioner of the FMA, and really anyone interested in a great text on joint manipulation and weapon engagement.  Wiley addresses the subject honestly and with real world wisdom that is often washed out in the world of weapon work.  This also makes a great gift for the martial artist on your holiday list, so before grabbing the Golok and carving that Turkey take a moment and order this fundamental text!

You can order “Mastering Eskrima Disarms” by Mark Wiley by clicking here and you will be redirected to Amazon! 

imageFor the fourth time this calendar year I was blessed to train with Prof. Jean Jacques Machado down in the southern Ohio city of Cincinnati at the Reed Academy Martial Arts.  This would be his 15th year visiting Charles Reed and his students and boy would November 23, 2013 be a remarkable visit!

As with all my previous posts on seminar reviews with Jean Jacques, the devil was once more in the details here in cold-ass Ohio.  Over 70 students from the Reed academy and local affiliates, along with a large contingent down from Ron Dupuis’ Windsor BJJ Academy, flooded the  mat early Saturday morning eager to train under one of the greatest grapplers alive.  Being such a long time student of Jean Jacques, Charles Reed has a large bevy of belts from white to brown under him and so we started with some basic warm ups and then progressed into a number of techniques, each flowing with the previous.
imageOnce again JJM dropped some serious Zen wisdom at the seminar and it has had me thinking for the past 24 hours.  Referring to slowing down and doing one technique right a thousand times, Professor reminded us “The more you know, the less you do.”  Catching students off guard waxing some of the philosophy of the Daoist Sage Chuangzi, Jean Jacques was certainly not referring to laziness, more so efficiency.  The more steps we take and details we understand with each and every movement we make on the mats, the more efficient, and ultimately more effective of a grappler we will become.  Therefor by investing in gaining MORE knowledge of said movement at the initial stage, we gain MORE wisdom as to how to use said movement(s), and as we spar we have to exert LESS because we have the foresight of what comes next.  By investing in less we gain more but expend less.  That’s heavy!!

But it reminded me that in order to progress I do not need to learn more techniques, I simply need to understand the techniques I know BETTER!  Especially on the cusp of brown belt!  And that is the crux of what I took away from this meeting with Jean Jacques and Jay Zeballos, work out the details and deepen my understanding.  I did not try to remember every single thing he showed us over three hours, but rather took away a handful of key points and tips that I am going to immediately implement into my game when I get back.

imageAs if this was not epic enough at the conclusion of the seminar and free rolling Prof had a list of folks he needed to promote.  At the risk of screwing up every ones name and/or forgetting any, I am not going to list them (except for my brother from another mother “Stu Jitsu,” Amanda B., and Iron Man!  Congrats guys!).  Over 15 blue, purple, and brown belt promotions were handed out and then Prof called all senior ranking students to the front.  In one fair swoop 6 member of the Reed Academy including Charles Reed himself were promoted to black belt under Jean Jacques Machado!  I was left speechless as were most recipient’s and witnesses.  I mean… to have one or two black belts under one roof is remarkable, but six!?!?!?  That is insane!

Red black belt in both BJJ & Daytona USA!

To be witness to events such as this and Carlos Machado’s promotion to Red – Black belt are exactly the reason I am part of this art and family.  The Machado family embodies the principles and attitudes that I find most valuable; honor, loyalty, kindness.  And those attributes are echoed by Charles Reed and his students in southern Ohio.  I can’t thank them all enough for allowing me to be a fly on the wall on such a wonderful day and event.  I also would like to thank the Dodd’s for letting me crash at the villa!  Last but not least thank you Ron Dupuis for awesome rolling!

For anyone still reading, if you would please take a moment and fill out the survey to your right.  thanks!

Helio Gracie’s Gi

Great info this time around on the types of gi’s you all wear and purchase.  Essentially there are a ton of manufacturers out there, so let me narrow down the question.  What do you look for when purchasing a gi?  what is important?  Fit?  Design?  Something other?  Vote on our new poll to your right and if “other” is selected then make sure to leave a comment below as to what it is that factors into your buying?

Here are the official poll results below:


  3 (17%)


  1 (5%)


  3 (17%)


  1 (5%)


  3 (17%)

Lucky Gi
  0 (0%)
On The Mat (OTM)
  0 (0%)

  3 (17%)


  1 (5%)


  1 (5%)


  3 (17%)

  0 (0%)

  8 (47%)

Votes so far: 17
Poll closedimageI have had the distinct pleasure of being able to train and hang out with 8th degree red-black belt Jean Jacques Machado several times this year, and it has been nothing short of amazing.  This past week I got the opportunity to ask JJM a few questions one of which was who coached him all those years through various championships, and his answer was deeper and better then what I expected, and on the eve of yet another training opportunity I wanted to share this sage’s sound advice:

“Let me ask you Jake, who knows your game the best in your gym?  Is it truly your teacher, or is it your training partners?  My coaches have taught me many great things, but the best people to have in your corner at a competition is surely your training partners!  They know your game better than anyone because they fight you every night on the mat.  They are defending your attacks and seeing your moves every day.  These are the best coaches.”

I mean… again… details of simplicity.  I am not sure what exactly I expected as an answer; I guess a bit of me was fishing for an awesome story of 20 years ago.  But what he offered was not only pure and honest, but it gave me much to think about over the past week.  I mean… how simple and true is this advice!? And most likely something we have all overlooked at some point in our training.

One aspect I would perhaps add would be the importance of communication to the equation.  No matter how well I know my partners game, if I cannot communicate to him during a hectic tournament then my knowledge and wisdom is rendered useless.

I will share more tidbits of wisdom I have picked up over the coming weeks, but let Jean Jacques words marinade a bit before chewing more.  In the meantime come join us in Cincinnati Ohio for a three hour session with the Professor tomorrow morning!

imageHere I am nearly 24 hours removed from what many are referring to as “the most epic seminar” they have ever attended!  Three hours of gi techniques followed the next day with three more hours of no gi training, both followed by rolling with the legend himself Jean Jacques Machado one cannot help but feel overwhelmed.  Xmas certainly has come early here at the Northwest Jiu Jitsu Academy with Jean Jacques Machado’s first visit!

imageI could go through each and every technique and breakdown the genius that lies within the shell of a humble, kind, and subtlety hilarious man, but that is boring and redundant.  Instead I would like to try and convey the energy Jean Jacques brings to the mat when he teaches.  A drive fueled by a love for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an unbridled passion for a thirst that will never be quenched.  Truly and honestly he did not teach one technique that I would refer to as “advanced” or that needed special flexibility.  Actually he made things simpler then I have ever seen and yet I still feel like I missed so many details.  Details… the gentrified permanent residence of the devil.  And ultimately it is the details that make the difference.

imageBrian acknowledged at the summation of Sunday’s seminar that what drew him to the Machado brothers in the first place was their openness and willingness to share and teach the art.  I mean lets face it you can learn techniques anywhere; YouTube, seminars, weekly classes, with training partners in your garage.  But to make a connection with a professor, to truly be treated as a part of a larger family is becoming a rare commodity.  The Machado family has a motto: “Leave your ego at the door” and they truly embody that quote.  Jean Jacques humbly shared details to the various aspects of his game.  Teaching like a father to his children we trained and had a blast sharing the mat with a man whose life is solely dedicated to the training and disseminating of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu knowledge worldwide.

imageAgain, we did nothing technically “fancy.”  The genius of this seminar weekend is that JJM touched upon a number of positions and techniques and offered little minute details that truly made our grappling much simpler and easier.  No fancy berimbolo’s or bullshit 50/50 guard.  Just plain old fashioned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that was also not sport oriented “You might need to can opener someone in a self defense situation so you need to know it.” – JJM

I want to thank Prof. Jean Jacques Machado for his time and sharing of the art he loves so much! I will see you this weekend.  Also a huge thanks to my coach Brian J. Johnson for having the vision to persevere and bring the best of the best to the Seattle area (now if we could get more of the community to appreciate these opportunities).  Thank you coach!  Thanks to all whom participated over the weekend.  Without you we cannot put these events on.

imageAll Three Harmonies Students there will be no class November 21 – Dec. 3.  Apologies for any inconvenience.  Train hard over the holiday! imageI first posted the video below last year, and it remains a testament as to why I train BJJ.  It is with a heavy heart I report the passing of Professor Renato Paquet.  I am sorry I never had the opportunity to meet and train with this legendary red belt.  My condolences to his family both on and off the mat.

Rest in Peace

This man leaves me speechless every time I hit the mat with him, so I will let the pictures do the talking!  An amazing tactician overshadowed only by a passion to share the art of BJJ, here are a few shots of day one as I head off to the no gi seminar today!


imageimageIt is that time of the year again, wrestling season.  I am stoked for the level of talent that comes to the mat for the 2013 season.  Not surprisingly the Big Ten is the dominant conference so far.  Here are the NCAA DIV I rankings going into this weekend’s meets:

1. Penn St.         Big Ten

image2. Iowa              Big Ten
3. Minnesota      Big Ten
4. Oklahoma St. Big 12
5. Oklahoma       Big 12
6. Oregon St.      Pac 12
7. Nebraksa        Big Ten
8. Cornell            EIWA
9. Iowa St.          Big 12
10. Wisconsin      Big Ten
11. Ohio St.         Big Ten

imageMuch in the same vain as BJJ Scout, Wrestlejitsu is new to the scene where he/she breaks down movements and techniques for grapplers worldwide.  Here WJ features one of the most dominant, prominent, yet most difficult to nail techniques… the armdrag.

A great tutorial and something to draw upon and practice:

imageA lot of fanfare for the UFC this week as it turns 20 young years old, and at risk of stealing some thunder I wanted to take a moment and recognize one of the forefathers of MMA… Jean Jacques Machado!  One of the most technical BJJ stylists of our lifetime, Jean Jacques is truly a walking encyclopedia of grappling.  A man whom due to his disability, dare I say invented, revolutionized the underhook and hooks in games!

Brian, myself, and a few other students of NWJJA have had the privilege of training under JJM before, but this weekend we bring the professor to you… Jean Jacques Machado will be teaching a no gi seminar at the NWJJA this Sunday at 12pm (sorry… Saturdays gi seminar is sold out!), here in Seattle!

So before singing accolades to the UFC make sure you check out the storied history of Professor Jean Jacques Machado:

Take a moment and thank those who gave some, and remember those whom gave it all.  You are never forgotten.image
Congrats to my friend and NWJJA affiliate Perry Bateson (head instructor at Yuen’s Martial Arts in Maple Ridge, BC)on earning his brown belt in BJJ under Brian Johnson!
imageCongrats to Rachel Linn on taking bronze in the No Gi division at the Revolution over the weekend.  From what I hear there was no shortage of hard fights and our competitors Miles, Quinn, Spider, and Joseph all fought hard.  Regardless of the outcome the training has made you all better grapplers and more conscientious athletes.

Congrats on the hard work and effort.

imageA quick update on the Jean Jacques Machado seminar next weekend… Saturday’s Gi Seminar is SOLD OUT!  We are taking names for the waiting list for you last minute procrastinators, and FYI we have about 10 slots open for Sunday’s No Gi seminar (12-3pm).BJJ Scout paying homage to the female fighters of our sport with an indepth study of Michelle Nicolini’s Open Guard:

Jigoro Kano’s gi

Poll results regarding your favorite gi are in and I would like a better response along with feedback!  Only 13 folks responded and no one let me know in the comments what “other” gi they liked, so I am stacking the list on poll number two regarding your favorite gi.  Please vote to the right and let me know what you like.  Trying to gather some data for future reviews and highlights of certain companies and kimonos.  Give me your feedback and let me know what you think.

Here are the results of poll number one:

  2 (15%)


  1 (7%)

Keiko Raca
  0 (0%)
  0 (0%)
M Kimono
  0 (0%)

  1 (7%)


  2 (15%)


  2 (15%)


  9 (69%)

Votes so far: 13

imageJust a friendly reminder that we are about 10 days away from hosting the grappling legend Jean Jacques Machado for his very first visit to the Pacific Northwest.  Our gi seminar is just about sold out, but we do have spots open for the no gi on Sunday.   Not only is JJM a technical wizard, but he is one hell of a nice guy!  Come be a part of history and train with one of BJJ’s most decorated competitors.image
the fifth of November!
imageWanted to send out a HUGE congrats to my coach, mentor, training partner, and most importantly… my friend Brian J. Johnson on his 2013 World Champion No Gi accomplishment over the weekend!  This battle was a hard fought one that lasted longer than these few short minutes.

imageBrian has been training HARD for months for the World Master and Senior Championships a few weeks back, but then sustained an injury that left him unable to use one arm.  Not satisfied with his performance at the Masters, Brian decided to put it all on the line for the 2013 No Gi Championships here in Long Beach, CA.

His opponent was tough as nails and came out guns a blazing, but B persevered and came out with the 12-0 victory and his second No Gi world Championship (2009), making him one of the most decorated grapplers in all of the Pacific NW!

I am fortunate enough to be close to my coach and know the trials and tribulations he goes through on a daily basis and let me say this battle was fought on many fronts for him.

Congrats brother.  Couldn’t be more proud and happy for you!

Okay… I have been too absent reporting on the Team Lloyd (read: Team Rape) Irvin debacle that is been happening since the first of this year.  My friend Georgette Oden has been ALL over the trial of Nicholas Schultz and Matthew Maldonado who were part of Team Lloyd Irvin over the past new years where they brutally raped a “teammate” and left her for dead in a parking garage in freezing temps.

Couldn’t resist the truth in this meme

I do not have the time nor the stomach to report all the details (PLEASE visit Georgette’s blog and offer your support to her), but Maldonado has been acquitted and Schultz is up on his final one or two counts today.  It is absolutely sickening that Maldonado has been acquitted on all counts even with video evidence (early here say is stating that she asked for a threesome in the parking garage, and the next day her boyfriend got pissed so she then said she was raped).  I have read the entire report…. how the fuck a jury could even come to that conclusion is beyond me but welcome to “the best judicial system on earth.”

To add to this disgusting bucket of bile, douchewaffle Lloyd “I can’t get it up” Irvin has of course paid for both of their defense lawyers, has led an online blitz to buy all sorts of domains with his name in them so when you google “Lloyd Irvin” nothing about rape comes up, and stands behind the rape culture he has created on the east coast (where he teaches kids, women’s self defense, and BJJ!).  Oh… did I forget to mention that Lloyd “Limp Dick” Irvin himself was acquitted of gang raping a female in 1990?  Know why??  Because “he could not get it up.”  Yup, no bullshit… that was his defense (and it worked!).  So he simply sat by and watched while the other 6 men took turns raping her!

I am here in SoCal doing some training and fought over the weekend in the 2013 No Gi World Championships where unfortunately Lloyd “Impotent” Irvin was present with a very small team of like minded individuals such as DJ “Mini-Douchewaffle” Jackson (whom btw was accused of similar assaults in his past as well), and what is truly mind boggling… FEMALE students!!!!  Sijara Eubanks and another female (not sure of her name as of this writing) were proudly flying the TLI banner yesterday!  WTF is wrong with you women????  What kind of message are yous sending females and kids whom look up to you??  SHAME ON YOU ALL!!!!!

Needless to say Lloyd “Viagra” Irvin and his tiny little crew could not make eye contact with anyone that walked by shaking their heads, and I would report how they did but really who gives a fuck!?  The truly scary thing is this…

Was I the only individual that was witness to both Lloyd and DJ on separate occasions being under the bleachers within 20 feet of unattended children playing?????   Parents assume that an IBJJF event would be a safe place to allow your kids to play and have fun at surely, but I must admit a HUGE knot in my stomach when I saw this and thought “What if that was my little nephew?”  “What if these parents knew the predatory monsters they were in such proximity with?”  There is SO much potential for something ugly here and the truly sad thing is it is preventable.

“Team mates” in rape

I understand it is a slippery slope for the IBJJF to approach, as Lloyd Irvin and his crew are technically not found guilty of anything as of yet.  But it begs the question… how many accusations do we need before being proactive in saying we want nothing to do with people like Lloyd Irvin?  The only way IBJJF will listen is if we speak out.  I am doing what I can with my blog and the voice I have, but I need your assistance in spreading word via this blog post, Georgette’s Blog, or simply via yourself!  Lets blast this shit on FB and all over the web to ensure anyone in the Maryland area reads about the thriving rape culture Lloyd Irvin has groomed and propagated.  For Christ sake people… he is teaching kids BJJ and women’s anti-rape courses!!!!!!

Spread word, proliferate the web with pics and by all means chastise and shame anyone who supports TLI on any front.  Also please visit Georgette’s blog for updates galore on the trial today!  Also check out Let the world know that BJJ, martial arts, and our society at large has no room nor tolerance for rape culture or those who support it!


imageI am all packed and ready to take off to beautiful Southern California for my final major tournament of the year, the 2013 IBJJF World No Gi Championships at UC Long Beach.  As a purple belt I hope to repeat the success I experienced winning the blue belt championship!

Thanks to all my training partners at NW Jiu Jitsu Academy for the help in preparing for this, as well as my never ending gratitude to my coach Brian Johnson for all his teachings and help.  Best of luck to all competitors this weekend!  Fight hard, have fun, be safe.