Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

Bem Vindo!

January 24, 2010

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Welcome to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blog!  I’m Jaime, a 33-year old guy, living and studying the art of softness in Newark, NJ (it’s one of two locations all the Portuguese in the world called home when they immigrated to the U.S., the other being Boston, MA.).  I was born in Portugal and two of my aunts immigrated to Brazil 50 years ago.  I have to thank them for doing so because it was my visit to their homes in Brazil that sparked my interest (now obsession) in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Like anyone else who is on the mats every day I saw the first UFCs and was happy to see Portuguese culture (albeit indirectly) shown in to the United States by Royce Gracie and his family.  However, it didn’t occur to me that I should dip my toe in the sea that is Brazilina Jiu-Jitsu (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu if your a brand person).

Unfortunately, I was too focused on advancing in Tae Kwon Do to pay any mind to it.  However, several years later I gave in to the millionth request from my aunts in Brazil and finally paid them a visit.  I took three weeks off because I knew I wanted to see A LOT of Brazil and had extended family that I needed to meet.

It turned out that one of my cousins, Ze, was a black belt in B.J.J.  We started talking and he took me to where he trained, Gracie Humaita, and that’s when the obsession began.  I stepped on the mat ready for some basic instruction when my cousin turned to me and said, “You’re a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, right?”  I replied, “Yes,” and explained that it had been a while since I sparred.  He said, “Fight me like you know how to fight and then we’ll start the lesson.”  I was really surprised by his statement, his calm demeanor and his seriousness.

I reluctantly agreed and got into my fight stance, he said, “Go” or “Comeca!” (just being true to the language).  After a few seconds of circling I decided to move in.  He caught my punch in the clinch.  To my surprise I couldn’t get my arms away from him nor could I score a hit as his arms blocked mine.  In a second he slid to my side then back in front of me squaring his hips against mine.  The next thing I knew I lost contact with the Earth, then regained it when my back hit the mat; his knee was on my stomach (he felt like a million pounds) and had my arm in an arm lock that felt like a steel vice.  I tapped immediately.  We reset and I decided to try to keep him away with some kicks.  Unfortunately, he caught my leg and once again I was on my back.  He held me down in side control and everything seemed OK until I got this feeling that my shoulder was about to separate itself from the rest of my body (I later learned that was a key lock).

This pattern repeated for several rounds with me tapping every time.  After we were done with sparing I was so jealous of my cousin.  Here I was covered in sweat, bruised and battered, breathing like I was having an asthma attack and Ze was fine.  Not to mention that he completely neutralized my Tae Kwon Do, man-handled me with ease, is a 50-years-old and was 50-lbs lighter than me.

I spent the remaining days of my vacation at his school.  My cousin gave me tons of literature about the history of B.J.J. (I have Kid Peligro’s The Gracie Way and Helio Gracie’s Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Portuguese) that still serves as a source of information for me.  When I returned to the states I set about finding a school.  This was the most frustrating/difficult part of my sojourn (learning a new technique has been less frustrating).  I wanted to learn self defense, a martial art.  What I found was a foux-minor league of the UFC.  Now I love mixed martial arts.  I buy every P.P.V., I attend amateur fights and read A LOT of blogs/web sites (cagepotato.com is a favorite).

But I didn’t want to get into a cage.  I didn’t want to be a mixed martial artist.  I didn’t want to do anything, but study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Finally, I found a place in Newark, NJ and have been in complete bliss ever since.

Here in this blog you’ll hear read about my experiences/training in B.J.J.  Hope you enjoy it!

Chau e Bom Dia!

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