Grappler Unbound Part 1: Lost


I've written a lot about BJJ over the last few years, but most of it I never posted. Most of it was a sort of nonsensical rambling about whatever I had just endured or wherever I had found myself that day. Here they are when I feel like posting them...just because.

Here is the first one that I ever wrote  a few years ago entitled "Lost".

It's not hate, I have to remind myself that. I don't hate the person that I used to be. Maybe contempt is a better word. Maybe I have it backwards and I regret the caricature that I've made for myself.

I feel lost.

The sun is long set over the horizon, the lights on the street glow dull and reflect the subtitles in the air. You couldn't see it if you weren't looking, but there is despair their. Maybe even regret.

I'm tired. I'm always tired. My bag of tricks isn't nearly as deep as I would like to imagine for myself. The things that brought me the most success have become my worst crutch. I suppose that I could say the same that sums me up.

My gi lays in the corner, balled up and drenched. I don't have the will to hang it up.

My body hurts most of the time now, from when I get up in the morning and I feel the burn in my legs from attemping half-assed takedowns, or the pangs in my elbows from holding out on armbars for too long when I was a whitebelt.

My neck and back are sore from....everything.

My hands feel like withered claws, constantly gripping at a collar or sleeve, though mostly a collar.

I can't pinpoint any of it. When did it happen? Where?

The faces blur together after a while between gyms. Different gis, rashguards, patches, styles. It's all just a kaleidoscope of life, some strange amalgamation of ideas that I never dreamed possible when I first stepped foot on the mats. I had no callouses, no gas tank. My knees didn't hurt back then.

I can't remember their names or faces. They all run together like sidewalk chalk being wicked away in the rain. I remember attitudes, titles, personalities, but even those have no nuance. There is so little originality when it gets boiled down.

Every gym has them: the spaz, the teacher, the sandbagger, the injured, the foul, the shark. How can these personalities all hold true? It's like we live in some strange Jungian melodrama. A shared consciousness of identity.

Are the suits and uniforms we wear during the day our costumes? Or are the personalities we have on the mats our masks?

Which one is real?

This game made me someone else. It made me see the world and myself differently. I am not the man that I was before all this started, but I don't know if that is a good thing. We all leave footprints on this fringe sport of fringe sports. We leave little trails of ourselves in the stories and rumors that float through the ether.

Will I leave this sport better for having been a part of it, or as just some strange punchline? A speedbump on the road to it all being respectable and recognizable as one of the penultimate combat sports.

A sport where truth is revealed in the constant, harsh light of ability.

The light is coming up again. Where will I be tomorrow?

Will it be a place where I feel at home, or will I always feel on the fringe of it all? Have I already gone too far down that road?


If you'll forgive the moments of melodrama from when I wrote this, and the unconscionable lack of d*** and fart jokes, this was at a low point in my grappling days.

I was tired most of the time, going through the motions, plateaued both physically and emotionally by this idea of who I thought I should be.

How could anyone do this game we call Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and not have moments of self-doubt? How could anyone always feel like they were moving forward? Isn't it the moments that we feel the lowest and yet push through that make us better?

Is it even possible to have an unbiased and pragmatic view of this sport that has so much separation through the business of affiliation and the competition for memberships?

Does anyone realize that in all my life I have searched for just one thing that made me want to even have a voice? 

I will never trot the globe, I will never make a DVD, I will never be a world champion. All I have is my voice, and if you sift through all the b***shit, I hope that you see the one thing that BJJ can do for the life of a lost soul...

It can save it.

More to come when I f***ing feel like it.