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.



Day 11: Revisiting My Do-Over

About 6 months ago I declared a do-over. I decided that the direction my life was going sucked, and I wanted to live differently. I think I’ve largely done so.

About a year ago I became interested in entrepreneurship. I listened to podcasts, read books, watched videos, and I was pumped. I never found an idea that was it, but I didn’t actively pursue it. I just trawled, hoping to stumble upon an innovative business concept. I think I’m ready to revisit that. I’d like to offer a good or service which is useful, and improves lives. I’ll make some time to sit down with a notebook to do some scrawling and plotting. I feel settled enough in life in Albuquerque to start doing stuff-making friends, trying new things, exploring. I am looking forward to being out more since the weather has cooled, and not merely surviving, which has been the major theme of my life for the past 3 years.

About 10 years ago, I almost left the military for culinary school. I love cooking, and I think it’s one of the few things I enjoy which I could do for a living without disliking it. I toyed with the idea of starting a food blog, and even attempted to have a logo commissioned by an artist. A friend in ABQ is starting a food truck. I feel as if I’m moving into a place where food is more of a focus of how I socialize, and with it, a healthier approach to and relationship with food than I’ve had in the past. I can do something related to food as a business. I had an idea for writing about truck stop/gas station/convenience store coffee. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the coffees in these unassuming venues. I haven’t encountered delicate floral notes, but strong “cowboy coffee” can be beautiful.


I would like to be involved in books, but not runnning a used bookstore-that sounds like a surefire way to hoarderdom. I did have an idea, but it seemed unoriginal and with low ROI.

I’ve intentionally avoided mixing money and jiu jitsu. I don’t want it to become a chore, I need bjj to be a positive part of my life. A lot of people start a gi company or something similar, I don’t want to do that.

This isn’t causing me anxiety- I have options, and space to explore them. My life is nowhere near perfect, and I am a deeply-flawed individual, but I am living the life I’ve planned. I am humbled and grateful.

Changes and Challenges

Last night I read at an open mic. The others there were just starting to remember my name. It was fun, I thought I’d found my tribe. I told everyone I was moving, and the open mic was one of my favorite things about Utah. It felt like good closure, a sweet “see you later.”

I have a great deal of change on the horizon. This is a good thing, and mostly of my own design. I know change can produce stress and anxiety for me. My main challenges are:

1) Leaving the military after 15 years

2)Moving to another state/city (Albuquerque) where I don’t really know anyone

3) Entering the civilian workforce

4) Leaving the small but powerful support system taking root after living in Ogden for a year and a half


This is what a Do-Over looks like. I am changing costumes. I am abandoning nearly everything which is familiar.

I’m excited about the individual elements, but looking at it aggregated, it’s a bit much. There are some things I’ll need to be intentional about in order to have some semblance of stability during this tumultuous season:

1) Not neglecting myself- sleep, eat better, exercise

2) Stay connected with God

3) Find peer groups immediately (Especially Jiu Jitsu)

4) Don’t entertain negative thoughts

5) Most importantly, check in with myself so I don’t take my crap out on my family.


The next few months, especially the next few weeks are daunting, but I can do it, as long as I remain mindful to remain mindful. I’m a little scared, but my anticipation of my adventure is much stronger than my fear and anxiety. I can do this, and wether I could or not, it’s happening, and I’m grateful.

Five Years

I’ve had a lot of anniversaries lately- 14 years married, 10 years since my mother passed, and now I commemorate another.

April 15th marked 5 years since I started my Brazilian jiu jitsu journey.

I miss my old team at the Jiu Jitsu Institute in VA. I haven’t spent as much time on the mat as I’d have liked, and many of my old training partners have surpassed me in rank and skill. However, I’ve surpassed everyone who didn’t start. I know I’m progressing, and I’ve had classes lately where I was able to effectively impose my will and execute the techniques I had planned. If I keep training, I will learn more and have more hours of mat time. This will be a good thing. Westside Jiu Jitsu, where I’m currently training, is a great school, too. Everyone has been welcoming and supportive. My 6-year old, Stella, started training again, and she’s enjoying it.

My life has been enriched by jiu jitsu, as I’ve written before. I am confident this will continue to be a part of my life, and I will one day be a black belt.

So, cheers to five years. Sure, I wish it were ten, but I’m glad it’s not one year, or worse still, eventually.



I heard this song ( Charles Bradley covering Black Sabbath’s “Changes” ) on the radio today, and it resonated with me. This is a time of change for me in nearly every area of my life.

This past weekend was hammock weather. I grilled with my shirt off. Yesterday and today have been snowing. The weather doesn’t know which season to wear.

I’ve started training jiu jitsu regularly again, praise the Jesus.

Our medical marijuana bills were both killed through heinous dickery/political gaming, which makes our future in Utah uncertain.

I interviewed for a job last week in a bad suit. I didn’t smile. I was concerned I hadn’t heard from them, it was Friday. I reworked my resume on Thursday, and was just about to send it in to the HR guy, when I got a phone call telling me I got the job. I was/am over the moon excited, this is finally beginning to feel real.

I don’t feel like I’m being crushed, but there’s a lot going on. I feel pretty stable and okay with it. I’ll likely feel mounting anxiety, and I’ll probabl handle what I can handle and ride it out, like I always do.

I’m going through changes.



Wasted Time


The band Wasted Time is awesome. Buy everything they put out for eternity.

Life is exhausting. I never get enough sleep, and I come home from work numb. Sometimes I have been challenged, and seized opportunities to make things better. This is rare. Most days are spent drinking too much coffee, sending email, and updating various reports and spreadsheets, which are to be emailed. While doing so I feel like I’m wasting investing my youth.
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Most bjj academies pride themselves on their professionalism, and wouldn’t tolerate untoward behavior, such as inappropriate remarks about another student’s body or physical contact outside the stated objectives of the lesson. I’ve been to gyms that have a swear jar.

Unfortunately, moral/ethical behavior not always a universal value, and there are always those who take advantage of others, such as the case of Lloyd Irvin (trigger warning-descriptive/graphic language used in discussing sexual assaults).

I find it disgusting to have predators in our small community, which is supposedly predicated on trust and honor. I would urge anyone thinking of starting to patronize any yoga studio, martial arts school, or gym to do their homework, and really find out what kind of people you’re going to be around, especially if enrolling children.

It is especially twisted that BJJ, a powerful defense against sexual assault, is used as a weapon of opportunity through which those vile crimes are perpetrated

Defense should not be the focus in sexual assault-it should never have to be considered. I don’t mean that victims should “never let themselves be in a situation to become a target”, but that PEOPLE SHOULD NOT RAPE.