Category Archives: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The gentle art. A human game of chess that challenges you exponetially in both the physical and mental.

Don’t forget Yard Central this morning and Gracie Garage at 1602, then back Central.

Hey today is the first day of my three day reassignment! Yard Central at 0830 as usual, another at 1000 till 1100, then I have ameeting with Teresa. This afternnon, its Gracie Garage time at 1602, from 1430 to 1600. Then back Central for a Yard at 17, from1700 to 1800. I’m still working on getting the Google calender to display again. More updates this afternoon! Come out and put your name on it! Walt

New schedule and new fun!

Well, well, well! First official Yard Reassignment day was in my estimation a success! In fact today was a success on several levels. So first things first!

We kicked off the day 0800 at Deep Eddy for what was going to be a swim class for Trevor who will be testing for Spec Ops soon! Oddly enough, way more people showed than I expected! Big Money Rob Yarger, Kick ass Courtney Remington Steele, Hey Jude It stopped being funny years ago Leonard, Trevor Bulldog Burrier, Lee LeNu Nudelman, and You know my name is Simon Evans- Powell all jumped in the toasty warm waters of Deep Eddy. Trev posted his best swim time yet, then went for a run, and has now switched over to a Paleo-cetric, Ketogenic diet. I’m not sure who might have suggested that nutrition plan but look for Trevor to be a beast very soon! Next the workout at 0900, Courtney, Jude, Rob, and yours truly with a late comer John Jon Jon Kennedy, who also stayed for the second workout at 1000. At 1000, John again, and new comer, not a member of the department yet, but kick ass ACC student Jessica Simmer down now Simmons came out and Put her name on it! It started raining so we moved in to the bay and finished out strong! 1100 was a nutrition consult with Big Money Rob Yarger who will be giving up sodas ASAP because of all the sugar, right Rob?!

But onwards and upwards brothers and sisters! Tomorrow at the now legendary Yard North/ Crossfit 1602 at or about 0800 to 1000, the very first unofficial Gracie Garage! That’s right free Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! For a better explanation of a Gracie Garage, click the link. We will follow the Gracie Combatives series and no you don’t get to beat up people! It will be a safe, no ego, super cool time. All you need is workout clothes. In the link is the application process I’m working on. It won’t cost you a cent and its also great exercise. Once we get the GG up and running officially, I’m going to be working on possibly doing a Gracie Bully proof for kids, and if you want see the transformation of a kid’s life check this video! The Bully Proof will be much tougher to get going but as with all things, I do love a challenge!

So there it is. Starting tomorrow morning at The Yard North/ Crossfit 1602, cooler than the other side of the pillow! Subsequent workouts starting at 1000, 1100, 1300, 1400, 1500. Hope to see you there!

0800-0900 Gracie Garage

1000-1100 work out

1100-1200 work out

1300-1400 work out

1400-1500 work out

1500- 1600 work out

Another reason today was such a success is because I got confirmation I’m doing things right! Some of the powers that be, and not Teresa T Bone Gardner mind you, because she gets it, was telling me how I should be doing things! I can’t tell you how excited that makes me! Whenever something I’m doing with my particular form of passion, enthusiasm, and sincerity, and it begins to gain momentum, and folks who haven’t joined our movement come out of the wood work to tell me how they think I should be doing it, then I know! I know that what I’m doing is just right! I’ve spent a life time being second guessed, and under estimated and nothing drives me faster or harder than that! I embrace the old guard telling me I should do things their way! Those moments make my very soul smile because I’m with the church of what’s happening now! That’s where the shift in thinking, the paradigm busting thought process comes from! The status quo doesn’t go quietly in to that good night though! The moribund and decaying thought that has been how EMS takes care of its employees and thus the patient is on its way out! But not before they tell you how in my day, blah, blah, blah. Those alleged good ole days of yore are numbered! Those relics of business as usual, and the gate keepers of so called power who want you do a little song and dance to get to where you’re going are dying off! As Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest or the smartest species that survive. It’s the ones most adaptable to change.” There is a complete shift in consciousness happening all around us and I love it! I’ve always been better at asking forgiveness than permission, especially when I know my cause is just! The health, wellness, and longevity of my brethren who truly do the work know that I put my energy in to them, not the old guard! I know because sincerity, honesty, love, and positivity sale what I’m peddling! The belief that I can somehow help you understand that just getting by is no longer what you have to do!

So enough of my rants. See you tomorrow and weds! Till then put your name on it! Walt


The Gentle Art

So, if you’ve been around me for longer than 10 minutes, it is very likely I will have referenced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The short answer to this is I am an admitted BJJ nerd. The long answer is just that. That being said, and you’re still reading, I will explain the love affair I have with this art.

The first time I encountered BJJ I didn’t even know what it was! And like anyone on the receiving end of someone who is a BJJ practitioner, that encounter produces one of two results. The first is, you pick yourself up after you have tapped out to someone who just put your ego in check, you say let’s try that again and you go a little harder and faster and you get the same result several more times while becoming significantly more aggravating, then begrudgingly quit while you’re way behind. This leads to you leaving this encounter telling yourself things like, Well, if I had done  this, that, or the other, then he wouldn’t have been so lucky. The ego has a funny way of trying to protect you like that, especially as a male. The male ego is a very fragile thing as any woman will tell you.

The second result is, you tap out, repeat the above with the exception of, you have an epiphany and say to yourself, I have got to learn that! How was this possible? I outweigh that guy by 30 pounds and lift religiously. I do cardio an hour a day! How am I so out of breath and he’s not even breathing hard, and submitting me over and over!?

I wish I could say I was the second, but I was not! I was very much the first. Except I did outweigh the guy by 50lbs and did lift a couple hours a day, not to mention an hour of long slow cardio, all of which did nothing for me while this guy rode me like a rented mule at will!

I was living in western North Carolina then, around 1996 and a friend of mine who worked at the gym I worked out at was interested in taking a martial art. He asked me if I had ever trained in a martial art and what I thought would be better, karate or jiu jitsu. I had no idea about jiu jitsu, Brazilian or otherwise, but I had taken karate fairly extensively on and off. All linear Okinawan styles, Kyokushinkai and Shotokan, as well as Goju Ryu, and was alright at them. Like most men I figured I could handle myself if I needed to. And very much like most men I was so very wrong! I then proceeded to postulate on the awesomeness of karate. Cut to the mat area of said gym where I met my friend and his other friend who did jiu jitsu. We agree to a little friendly sparring, knock the rust off and the like. This amounted to me throwing a punch or kick, getting taken down and submitted. Repeatedly! I never even came close to touching him. Then leaving very pissed off and trying to be cool about it. My first jiu jitsu lesson was enough to last me for years, as I was not at all fond of having NO defense for this guy. And, in case you’re wondering, the guy was a white belt and had been training about 8 months and around 170lbs. I had trained off and on for total of about 10 years, weighed about 228lbs and lifted regularly.  I had nothing for him! Nothing!

Aside from the disconcerting fact that I had been completely dominated, the guy wasn’t even breathing hard and had nowhere near the mass I had. Welcome to the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Of course my rationalization for this little event was typically male ego. ”Whatever, if this had been on the street I would kicked his ass!” I could tell myself whatever I wanted; the truth is the same thing would have happened every time.

Years later, along with the rest of America, I saw the Ultimate Fighter Show and I was hooked. As I watched the show I realized that my little unpleasant experience with BJJ was the norm and I had to learn it!

I won’t bore you with the details of the journey. At least not here and now, but what I will tell you is what Jiu Jitsu has given me. Training in BJJ has given me a new perspective on life! Not the usual suspects of fitness and confidence, although those things do come with the package. I’m talking about the more esoteric things you wouldn’t expect. It’s a whole other conversation and this will never be the forum for it, but over the years I’ve realized I have no professional fulfillment in my life anymore and coming to terms with that was difficult. Jiu Jitsu gave me a new avenue to pursue fulfillment. The thing with BJJ is you will never master it. It’s an art that continually evolves. There are folks coming up with new moves or transitions off other moves every day! But the more important aspect to BJJ is that you will get from it only that which you put in. Sure it sounds cliché, but very true! It is literally a physical game of chess on a very dynamic level. And with each person you roll with, the slang for sparring, it’s a continually a different match each time. On a grander scale though, BJJ teaches you to let go of ego and be in the moment. You are grappling with another human being who is trying to impose his or her will on you and submit you. It’s very difficult to think about the mortgage or your other problems while another person is trying to choke you out. It’s also the great equalizer. I’ve been on the mat with guys who make more money in a day than I do in a year, with guys half my age, ones way older than me, and a couple of women who tapped me fair and square.  Funny how rolling with a girl goes from I don’t want to hurt you to’ Oh shit I gotta tap or get my arm ripped off’.  

It’s a mental as well as a physical game. But the mental is truly the most difficult. You’ve heard the old adage about, Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. Renzo Gracie, once said, “The secret of this sport is, while you’re the nail, hang in there, let them hit you, until the day you become the hammer, then you smash them back!” The key is to hang on being the nail. Believe me you will be the nail for a long time! In this endeavor though, comes the sweetest of traits, humility. You are forced to let go of ego or you will simply quit jiu jitsu.  There will always be someone who can smash you on the mats, just as there will always be people you can smash.  It’s a war of inches and leverage, and technique, combined with strategy and your ability to conserve energy. All while trying to keep the gorilla off your back.

I train up north at Trainers Elite MMA with a guy named Sean Cooper. Sean is a BJJ black belt. I could explain his lineage, but if you’re new to BJJ it won’t make sense. Brazilian Jiu jitsu is also very self-regulating. Lineage is very important in BJJ. Where did your guy get his rank from, who were his instructors? Just another way BJJ is so very different from every other martial art. There are a number of BJJ schools in Austin. In fact, Austin is becoming a hot bed of BJJ. I know folks at most schools around the area and each one of these places is great in its own right. You have to find one that fits you. The place I train is special to me for a number of reasons, but like most organizations the experience is a reflection of the person leading it. If you ever meet Sean, the very first thing you’ll realize is how genuinely nice he is. He has an easy going demeanor and soft spoken way about him that lets you forget his ability to literally crush you on the mats. True I use the word crush in a lot of ways, but in jiu jitsu there is a technique of being very heavy when you are on top of another person. It’s difficult to explain but once you experience someone’s ability to be so heavy that with each breath you exhale they take that little bit of space away and by their very weight distribution they diminish your ability to breathe effectively, you assuredly will never forget it!  If you ever roll with Sean, you will experience this at some point. Funny thing is, he’s so nice about it, afterwards you’ll literally thank him for crushing you. But this is really one of the hallmarks of being a great teacher and coach. Subsequently the people that gravitate to his school are incredible folks to train with as well. There are pro MMA fighters, high level BJJ guys, and ham and eggers like me, just about every walk of life comes through his doors, but it’s always a positive experience. I believe it’s a reflection of Sean’s leadership. He really leads more by example than by a hands on approach of direction. He has this way of making you feel responsible for your progress rather than pulling you towards it. This leads me to another reason I love BJJ, the philosophical aspect of it.

The more I trained in BJJ, the more I began to realize how much of life is like sparring in jiu jitsu, the intricacies of which I’ll save for another post.

Where’s all this leading you ask? Life, like BJJ and fitness, or any physical endeavor isn’t about the end point. It’s all about the journey. Ask any marathon runner. It’s easy starting out and the end, you’re just trying to get to the end, but the middle, where it’s just you and the work. That’s where you learn about yourself. What you’re willing to do to see your journey through. It’s a path of enlightenment in those moments when exhaustion, and doubt, and fear of failing, all culminate and conspire to make you quit. But you make those little bargains with yourself, a few more feet and I’ll quit then. A few more, then that’s it. Each moment you don’t quit builds these little increments of victory over your former self. The one who told you can’t do this or that. We are all too often our own worst critics, telling ourselves things we would never dream of saying to someone else for fear of hurting their feelings beyond repair. Yet we are all guilty of this at some point in our lives. The journey is where you discover who are, where you realize that a BJJ black belt is just a white belt who never quit. Where you forge the metal of a warrior spirit in your soul, not in a warring sense but in the traditional sense where you become the better person for persevering through adversity to be stronger as another human being on this planet, then passing that on to all you can so we all might rise to the lofty occasion of being better people. So you see this all leads to you. Putting one step in front of the other, especially when you absolutely don’t want to.  Each step on your warrior path of enlightenment begins with hopes and dreams, and sometimes just blind faith. The reasons never matter as much as the journey. That journey always, without exception leads to self-discovery. Painful, yes, but with pain comes growth. Embrace it. The pain, the change, the journey, and most important of all yourself. Put your name on it. Walt



If you’re interested in learning BJJ or you want to try it out for a week free. You can contact Sean Cooper at CooperBJJ, aka, Trainers Elite MMA at  You will very likely see me there still getting ridden like a rented mule, but smiling the entire time.