I had to launch an author’s website, www.davidguba.com, so between than, writing, and school, I haven’t been focusing on ABA. My apologies.

Today is my 1-year anniversary of leaving the military, or as I call it, when I was promoted from American Sergeant to English Major. I don’t regret leaving the service. I am still disappointed the AF didn’t pay me to get out and take that job I landed in Hawaii. If I had gotten out, though, I never would have gone to Utah, which I loved.

I did some travel last week, to Detroit for a training class. I did some travel and photography, which you can view on my  Instagram. I wasn’t able to get good pics, but I went to a hardcore show. Bloodclot features Jon Joseph from the Cro-Mags, Nick from Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age, and Todd Youth. They played well, opening for Negative Approach. The audience didn’t crowdkill/hardcore dance, favoring a more traditional circle pt/push moshing. I had fun with it, twerking, pirouetting, making alligator jaws with my arms. I miss hardcore.

I’m taking some vacation time this week-we all need to catch up on sleep, and I’m looking forward to getting my nutrition back on track. Yoga, jiu jitsu, crossfit, maybe a few Muay Thai sessions if I can swing it.

I found out I have 2 more semesters to finish my degree than I thought, but that’s okay. It means I’ll start my Master’s a month later. Whatever.

What’s up with you?


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Groundhog Day

For a long time, I’ve felt stuck in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practice. I don’t have a sports background, and I’ve been out of shape for most of my life. Starting a tough combat sport at 30 is not for people looking for a fun way to spend $150 on pajamas you can’t sleep in. I’ve been training nearly 6 years, and I haven’t earned a stripe on my belt since September of 2014, and I like to say I spent 5 years on the bottom of side control. It was like Groundhog Day (the film), but with bruises and chipped teeth.

Last night, however, I think I broke through a long plateau. I’m trying to develop a more attack and pressure game, as opposed to just surviving and escaping. I was able to mount and take back control of 2 brown belts and a purple belt, and even work a little at setting up submissions. I wasn’t able to finish most of them-the buzzer rang right as I was finally transitioning to a finish with several training partners- but this is still a huge improvement for me, and I’ll take it. It’s only a step, but it’s progress.

I had a facebook conversation about bjj and depression. Bjj definitely helps, but depression makes everything more difficult, and bjj is no different. My mind often wanders during technique instruction, and when it’s time to drill, I’m in a fog. There are times in class where I’ve asked myself “why do I keep doing this to myself?”

I heard a quote on a podcast from a respected brown belt-“I’m not even sure if I like jiu jitsu, but it’s this or suicide.”

Find your “thing”, and a tribe with which to do it. Fiercely protect these things and the time you invest into them. Make sure it has a place in your goal setting.

In addition to bjj, writing is my thing. After I finish my short story collection and 2 nonfiction titles, I’m writing a graphic novel script. I’ve wanted to do it for YEARS, but have been intimidated to try. I have this momentum after getting my first book out, and I want to keep moving. Don’t let me forget. I have a loose idea what it will be about, but I’m trying the foolscap method, which uses minimal notes and pre-writing. I have a sneaking suspicion this will work better than the use-scrivener-like-a-serial-kiler-would method, which leads to overthinking and paralysis by analysis for me.

Life is too finite to stack up regrets. I’m going to keep moving, a step at a time.


5 Questions with Gregg Swanson

I discovered Gregg Swanson’s fantastic podcast in the itunes store a few months ago, and it blew me away- he’s talking about exactly the type of growth I’ve seen in my mind and attitude over the past year.  I definately feel connected to warrior culture of the past and present, as both a 21st century military member and a practitioner of the of the Samurai arts, with direct instructor lineage to Samurai. I reached out to Gregg, and he agreed to be the first interview for A Bare-Knuckled Affair, but he didn’t know that it would be the first post on the new site since purchasing the domain. I’ve interviewed people before, mostly musicians. Here we Go!
A Bare-knuckled Affair: As a martial artist, I find the Warrior Mindset useful for encompassing goal setting and focus.  I’ve heard you speak about goals as far as sports and fitness, does your coaching delve much into sports psychology?
Gregg Swanson: Although I’m not officially trained in sports psychology, I have researched this topic quite extensively, along with other similar topics like positive psychology. I tend to stay away from the term “sports psychology” in that many athletes, coaches and parents have a misconception about what it really is and how useful it can be. Many athletes, coaches and parents think sports psychology is used only on “head cases”, those athletes that have hit rock bottom or even on the very successful athletes. That’s why I use the term “mental strength.” It goes hand-in-hand with physical strength. And just like physical strength, mental strength takes time and practice to develop. 
ABA: Resilience seems to be one of the current buzzwords in the US military. How can adopting a warrior mindset impact resilience for service members and law enforcement?
GS: Great question! Let’s take a look at one definition of resilience “The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.”  What this definition doesn’t cover is what exactly IS this ability? In my thinking, this has to come from our thoughts and our thinking…our mindset.  How else can a person have the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change? The brain drives our thinking and our thinking drive our mind and our mind drives our body. Without the mental strength and a warrior mindset people end up on the side of road watching as the others march on to victory. It’s easy to think one has a warrior mindset when all is good. It’s when things go sideways that separates the warriors from the victims. And all this comes down to mindset!
Back to your question, service military and law enforcement automatically put themselves in harm’s way…where “something bad happens.” So, by developing their mental strength and a warrior mindset the individual is taking out an insurance policy that will assist them in becoming strong, healthy and successful in spite of bad things happening.
ABA: Your closing statement,   “every facet, every compartment of your mind must be programmed by you, and if you don’t take your rightful responsibility and program your own mind, the world will program it for you” is an incredibly useful mantra which I have personally reminded myself of and repeated to others.  How did you develop it?
GS: It was a culmination of music, reading, NLP and brainwashing material. Think about it, if we are diligent about what we allow into our minds, they are open for whatever…like the evening news, our friends that complain all the time, articles in the newspaper, etc.I find it fascinating how so many people will watch what they eat, how they exercise but never give it a second thought that they are responsible for way they think and feel. There is no one out there that makes you think or feel a certain way. You and only you are at cause, responsible, and accountable for your thoughts and your feelings. This is a warrior mindset. The opposite is a victim mindset. 


ABA: You have a speech issue (as do I), and your work relies on verbal communication-was it a process to not allow that to be a limiting factor?
GS: Interesting observation. I recently did an interview for a podcast and this topic came up. I was MUCH worse when I was younger. I came to a decision point, I could either withdraw into myself, become an introvert, or I could make the decision that this would not stop me. I guess this was my first initiation into mental strength and a warrior mindset. I made the decision to force myself into speaking in front of people, first giving network marketing presentations and then on to corporate sales, for over 25 years. After I while I realized that people are very kind and understanding and they probably felt worse for me than I did.
Now I just roll with it. I know I need to breathe more mindfully and relax…don’t we all?
ABA: What can you tell us about your seminars and retreats?  If someone wanted to get in contact with you about coaching, how should they do so?
GS: Thanks for asking. My first suggestion is to sign-up from my special mental strength report at my blog – http://warriormindcoach.com/blogthe report is multimedia and I have received a ton of positive feedback. Then, I would recommend reading some of the posts on the blog. I cover wide range of topics that I think most people will find informative.
I’m investigating holding a 3 to 5 day retreat here in Bend, OR late spring or early summer. It will involve how to make lasting change and will be very experiential. My newsletter will have more on that.
David, I wanted to thank you for this opportunity to share a bit of my philosophy and insight with your readers. You’re doing great work…please keep it up!

*****end interview*****
So that’s my first interview.  I have a few more planned.  Is there anyone you would like me to talk to?  I always appreciate your feedback.