Friday, October 15, 2010

Keeping My Neck and Hopefully Taking Other People's

My game is coming along... super slowly :)  I started watching MMA/martial arts competitions in 2003 without missing a single event of K1, Pride, and UFC until last year.  I kept on thinking "man it would be cool to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu someday".  Someday never came until I decided to cut the bullshit and walked into Gracie Barra Vancouver... in 2009... 6 years later.

I'm super glad I did.  It's given me a better understanding of the sport I love, I've made a ton of friends, and I'm in way better shape. There's something very therapeutic or meditative about live sparring.  If I had a bad day at work or had a bad argument, when someone is 100% committed to twisting my neck off or ripping my arm, nothing else comes into mind except for my opponent.  My mind clears and nothing else exists but the present moment... That level of clarity is very rare for me.  I love it.

In 2010 I took 3 months off to travel in the Philippines and Bali.  In May I started training again once I settled into Bali, my new home.  My new academy is called Synergy Jiu Jitsu, run by black belt Niko Han.  The first month of class was a wake-up call.  In GVB most of our training was based on sport BJJ competition rules with no strikes or slams.  In Niko's classes, he incorporates striking and MMA strategy.  I spent 5 weeks straight with heavier people sitting on my chest punching me in the face and gut, and I had to learn to defend and escape to a better position.  It was hard to motivate myself to come to class sometimes but I'm better because of it.  Soon after those classes 3 of our fighters had professional MMA fights where those exact skills saved their asses numerous times.  If you're ever in Bali you should check out a class with Niko.  Great training environment and he's the best instructor I've had.  Most people I've talked to say he's hands down the best instructor in this region.

Anywhoways... I love the fact that I'm learning some real shit.  No BS system with internal powers, invisible force fields and fireballs, or jumping 9ft to kick wooden boards.  I think self-defence is avoiding getting into fights in the first place: situational awareness, running away, not starting shit, letting go of your ego, adjusting your lifestyle, recognizing trouble before it pops off, etc etc. -that's real self-defence.  Martial arts is leaning to fight/scrap/brawl so you can win or run away.

All I think about these days is BJJ, business startups, photography, and travel.  In that order. Below is my BJJ training log.  I got the idea from reading Slideyfoot's BJJ blog. I kept it pretty simple and just logged my hours.  I'm not logging anytime I've spent in Judo and Muay Thai classes (those are few).  Next week I'll start learning some basic stand up skills.  As much as I love BJJ I don't buy into Rorion Gracie's sales pitch of 95% of all fights end up on the ground.  Plus it'll be fun :)

Cheers! Hajime!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photos - El Nido, Palawan

Photos of the 2 weeks I spent in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. Didn't post that many photos. How many beach scenes do you need to capture? Too lazy to repost to posterous separately. Click here: facebook.com

Posted via web from rollan was here

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Never Go Out with New Gear

My travel video dreams are crushed… well, sort of for the time being.  I was planning on shooting a bunch of short videos while travelling. I thought “how hard could it be?  How come no one out there is doing cool shit with their amateur travel videos?”

Well, it turns out the limiting factor isn’t just creativity, but file types and money.  I bought a Sony HD camcorder which recorded in AVCHD file format.  When I played it on my iMac my Mac was sluuuuuggish.  While the file type is friendly for the average family home video maker, who likes to burn straight to DVD and Blue Ray, it’s very resource intensive on your computer.  It plays slightly better on my PC laptop, but it’s still resource heavy to edit.  Considering I’m going to be travelling for months at a time I’d also need terabytes of storage for editing files, raw files, and my final output.  I can’t afford to buy and carry all that storage with me, even if I was to ship back external hard drives every few weeks.  Nor can I afford to buy a pimped out Macbook Pro to edit on the field… not that it would actually help.  They’re just not powerful enough and I’d spend far too much time rendering.

Here’s a great blog post on the AVCHD issue you should read:

Sadly I decided to return my camcorder and decided to limit the scope of my creative projects.  I’m going to have to work within the limits of the video on my Nikon D90 SLR.  I still have a long way to improve on my still photography anyways.  I did however by a Zoom H2 digital audio recorder.  It will supplement my slideshows, help me record ambient sounds, I can use it as a USB mic for web conferences, etc.  Check it out: http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h2/

A great piece of advice from pro photographers is: never go to the field with new gear.  Always test it first and become familiar so you know what to expect.  I’m glad I tested early.