Grahams Gi Adventures: 2 stripes to start 2012

Happy new year! I am back online as I had an extra week off work just to bed myself into 2012 properly. Spent some extra time with my gorgeous wife and youngest kids while the others were back to school and although the little-ones got sick, it was awesome none-the-less. Did a bit of digging at the allotment as well just to confirm that I am fully embracing middle-age 😀

Although I haven’t done a gi adventures update in quite some time, please don’t think that means I haven’t been training. I have – although not as regularly as I intended to! As of Jan 3rd though, I am no longer a pay as you go member of my BJJ gym, but a paid up train anytime member. I am aiming to get to the gym at least twice a week for BJJ, if not 3 times. If it was closer to home I would definitely train more often and it wouldn’t be so haphazard – but since it is a 30mile drive, twice a week training means a 120mile round trip each week. In a month that means I do the best part of 500 miles just driving to training. So my monthly membership is £45 but my mileage is essentially a full tank of diesel which costs around £80 for my car. That means I am actually paying £125 a month to train BJJ – with a large family to support and a very finely balanced budget to operate under, it is often difficult to justify that expense. But I am confident it is worth it. I’m not sure if my wife feels the same, but at least she doesn’t bash my ears about it too much 😀

To underline the fact that it is worth it, I was awarded 2 stripes on my whitebelt last tuesday. Not a landmark achievement by any stretch of the imagination, but confirmation that I am taking steps in the right direction, so I’m pretty pleased with that. Not loving the resultant belt-whipping however. That f***ing HURT!! AND it was a huge class of 30 odd people, couldn’t have got my stripes on a quiet nights training huh? Just my luck

I have big plans for my grappling journey in 2012. I have my eye on a couple of competitions: Although I have fought amateur MMA before (both with and without headshots), I have never actually competed in grappling. There is a NOGI event coming up in Bournemouth in April and also a BJJ event in Brighton in July so these are on my radar, provided my family and work commitments allow. I read the ever-awesome Christian Graguarts Season 2011 recap post recently in my google reader and I feel exactly the same as him regards his views on competition. I think my MMA “career” – such as it was – was so underwhleming because I just don’t have that animal instinct in me to win, win, win at all costs. I think mostly I am in competition with myself and only do these things just to prove I have it in me. Which is why I will enter into BJJ competition with an open mind and win or lose will be happy to just know that I did it.

I have also chosen to do the HellRunner – “Hell Down South” run with my sister (her idea!) in the latter half of the year. That should be fun seeing as I have never run more than 5 miles in my life and I freaking hate the cold. Again, the challenge is to myself: I am not running against the other participants, or even my sister (although I’m positive she will do her best to beat me across the finish line!) I’m running against me. A side-goal that comes out of taking this challenge is to increase my fitness and be better about what I eat. I am not about to go all paleo-diet on my family and besides saturday night is junk food night in our house….IT’S THE LAW!! But monday to friday I have the opportunity to go running at lunchtime instead of surf the net and to eat healthy lunches instead of store-bought crap, so I am going to take that opportunity.

2012 is going to be a year of challenges for me. Both in my grappling/fitness life and my work/professional life. I am thankful that there is nothing challenging about my family life. My only goal is to keep trying to be the best husband and father I can. Sometimes I drop the ball on that one – nobody’s perfect – but I have 7 other beautiful souls to help me pick it up again when I do.

Clockwise from top: Summer (3), Kyle (7), Imogen (12), Owen (10), Paige (14), Ben (1)


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