jeudi 30 décembre 2010

Goals for 2011

New years resolutions are sometimes difficult to maintain. The truth is, we make these resolutions with the greatest of intents, but rarely do we follow through and make them a part of our everyday lives. How many times have you made the same resolutions year after year?

Back in the summer of 2009, I started a facebook page called "watch me lose it". The plan was to shed the weight I`d put on over the last 10 years. I got off to a decent start and dropped about 12 or 13 lbs after starting to train jiu jitsu and paying a bit more attention to my diet. My weight dropped and maintained itself to around 213 lbs for most of the year.

As detailed in previous blogs, on September 30th, 2010, I had a colonoscopy and started a new treatment cycle for Ulcerative Proctitis and subsequently put the weight back on. So here I am.

I`ve started making changes to my diet and seeing a Naturopath to clean out my system. (started supplements on December 22nd)

I`m realistic in knowing I`ll probably never be successful with quitting anything cold turkey. I`ve got to curb my caffeine intake and eventually ween myself off of it completely. (can I do it? it`ll be tough)

DRINK MORE WATER!! (goes without saying)

Make healthier choices whenever possible...just gotta do it.


I`ve got to get myself back into a routine of training a minimum of twice a week. 3 times a week whenever possible. Leave it all on the mat...sweat it out and improve.

My goal in BJJ is to lose the weight and train to compete at the Ontario Open in April and then the Renzo Gracie Invitational in May. From there, earn the 4th stripe to my white belt and work my ass off to earn my blue belt before the end of 2011. (that`s a lofty goal, but if not in 2011, I want to earn it by spring 2012).

Ok, enough about me, it`s time to focus on BJJ and MMA.

Who`s looking forward to UFC 125? I`m excited to see Frankie Edgar hand Maynard his first loss and retain the lightweight belt. Another fight I`m looking forward to is Nate Diaz vs Don Hyun Kim. The card isn`t my favorite on paper, but those are usually the ones that deliver. Should be a good night of fights.

jeudi 23 décembre 2010

2010 was a good year

Where did 2010 go? It seems like the older I get, the quicker time seems to pass. Sounds pretty cliché, but that`s just the way it goes I guess.

It`s been a great year, my boys have enjoyed the little ninja`s program and have earned 3 stripes on their yellow/white belts. The main thing is they`ve fallen into the routine and learned from the mat chats which they`ve learned to apply to their everyday lives. With the busy month of December, they`ve missed a few classes, but with the year round schedule and their young age, I think it`s important to take small breaks in order to keep them interested when they`re there. They`re looking forward to 2011.

Looking back at the last year, I`ve learned alot on the mats. I`ve had the luxury of travelling with some good friends to learn from black belts in Ottawa, Los Angeles and Montreal. I`ve also attended 3 seminars locally under Pat Cooligan, our head instructor and black belt from OAMA.

I attended 3 MMA events, one in Ottawa which saw Jenn`s MMA debut at Wreck and both UFC events in Montreal, UFC 113 and 124.

With that said, my health was a struggle for the first 3 quarters of the year, but I`ve been able to endure, work around it and continue to train. Thankfully, with the help of my doctors, I`ve gotten things under control (I have a form of Ulcerative Colitis). I`ve recently also started seeing a Naturopath Doctor who`s going to help me with my nutrition and started me on supplements to heal the condition which may have contributed to my UC.

Ok, without getting too sidetracked by my gut problems, the point I`m trying to get to is that 2011 will see a renewed focus on my overall health. Combining diet and lifestyle changes with a continued focus on my training at Sudbury BJJ.

I`ve got some goals I`ve set out for myself for 2011. I want to finally shed some of this weight I`ve been carrying around, plan to possibly compete in the spring and travel to NYC to train at Renzo Gracie`s main academy in Manhattan. I`ll write more about these goals in the coming weeks.

With that, I`d like to wish you a Merry Christmas! I`m looking forward to spending time with my family and catching up with some old friends. If you want to find me next week, I`ll be taking advantage of a few days off work to train during the day. Shoot me a note on facebook or text message my phone if you`d like to come out!

Stay tuned...more to come in 2011!

dimanche 19 décembre 2010

Christmas at Sudbury BJJ & Muay Thai Academy

Well, I haven`t been able to get back onto the mat since returning from Montreal. I took the day off on Monday to recouperate and spend some time with my family and then got beat up by a nasty cold. I`ve been pretty lucky so far this year, so I guess it was just my turn.

At any rate, Friday night, the club celebrated the holidays with a dinner over at Frank`s Deli on Durham followed by a shaker over at the club. There was food, spirits (for those who are of legal age), foozeball & kareoke. Guy Poulin lead the charge behind the microphone with some now classic top 40 material by Lady Gaga and Jay Z. Yes, as is customary, Guy eventually began shedding layers of clothing. Hilarity ensued.

Steve & Jenn were great hosts and thanked the staff and club members for another successful year at our new home on Montrose. (Can you believe one year ago we were moving into the new club?)

There were also two awards given out. The first was the BEAR Award, named after Brian "Bear" Kutschke. This award was created last year after Brian dedicated many hours to building the new club. It`s an award that goes to the member who shows dedication to the club and helps promote a good atmosphere. (well, I struggling to say exactly what it`s for because this year`s winner was none other than yours truly)

I`m humbled by that and appreciate the recognition of being a good club member. My family and I enjoy the time we spend there and it`s really become a second home for us.

The second award, newly created for 2010 was the Renzo Gracie Competition Award. This goes out to the member who showed excellence in competition. The first to be awarded this honour goes to none other than Jessie "The Kid" Cronier. As many of you know, Jessie has brought home some hardware in BJJ tournements and has really stepped it up in Muay Thai having won the World Championships for his division in Iowa and becomming the Ontario Provincial Champion for his weight class this fall. He`s also competed twice in New York City in two prestigious events, Fright Night Fights and the NY MMA Expo. Jessie is fighting again on January 14th, 2011 at another Friday Night Fights card in Manhattan, NY. Let`s all continue to encourage the kid to train hard and keep his focus on a fight career that shows alot of potential. Good luck dude!

Yesterday, the club had an inhouse BJJ tournament for both the kids and adult programs. The entry fee was a new toy drive for underpriveledged kids. The turnout was great and everyone had a great time. Results at an inhouse competition don`t really matter, the big difference between this and randori (sparring) that we do on a daily basis is that now we`re actually counting points and competing under the same rules as the IBJJF. It`s a great tune up for anyone who likes to compete in actual tournaments and get used to the rules.

If you want to see pictures from the Xmas party or in-house event, click on Kevin Crittenden`s profile on facebook. He took some really good photos. (you can also see photos from the Rolles Gracie seminar in Montreal from last weeked)

Have a great week! I`ll see you at the club!

lundi 13 décembre 2010


I really can't think of a better title for this blog than "Super Saturday". It was an awesome day full of world class jiu jitsu instruction followed by UFC 124, St-Pierre vs Koscheck 2.

Friday morning, Jenn, Steve, Kevin & I hit the road and made our way to Montreal. Weather wasn't the greatest, but all in all, nothing to complain about. Our first stop was in Deep River at the Laurentian restaurant. (a great 50's style diner and ice cream joint). Our waitress was a bit of a character and when they cleaned our booth, she simply wiped the crumbs off the table and spread them on Kevin's lap. He enjoyed this. After filling up on blt's and some laughs, we jumped back in the van and pointed ourselves towards Ottawa. We made a quick stop at OAMA to say hello to the guys and again, were back on the road and headed to our final destination...the beautiful city of Montreal!

We got in after 8pm, I was pretty tired and opted to order some room service and get settled in while Steve, Jenn and Kevin went for a walk to grab a bite. We ended an early night and hit the sack shortly after midnight to prepare for what was going to be a busy day. Well...a great night's sleep wasn't in the cards as 4am rolled around, I was woken up by a brawl in the hallway just outside our room on the 8th floor at the Holiday Inn. I was half asleep and my curiosity wanted to pull me out of bed to watch the action, but my physical being was telling me I was too comfortable and should just listen in the hopes of hearing Rogan's play by play. (I was half asleep, so this seemed logical at the time). It didn't last very long, just a few minutes, but eventually, after what sounded like crashing into my room services dishes and doorframe, a door opened and slammed a few times and the volume levels dropped back to zero. (Apparently Jenn and Steve were also woken up in the next room and called the front desk. Steve watched through the peep hole of his room. He's such a badass!) haha! Kevin seemed to sleep through the commotion, but now I was faced with the task of falling back asleep while he snored like a bear at the beginning of winter.

Saturday morning rolls around, we gear up and head to Gracie Barra Montreal. The club is owned by Professor Bruno Fernandes. He's a black belt from Rio who moved to Canada years ago and is a research professor at McGill University. (a brilliant mind)
We found our way to the club on Peel St in an industrial area and walked in. We were greated by a loud cheer and the clapping hands of approximately 75 or so people. Brown belt instructor Marc Colangelo was quick to laugh and point out that the cheers weren't for us, but for special guest Frankie "The Answer" Edgar who was doing a sparring session demo. (ufc lightweight champion frankie edgar!)

We then got geared up for the Rolles Gracie nogi seminar that was starting at 12 noon. This was the best seminar I've ever attended. The warmup was lead by Marty Rooney, the strength and conditionning coach for Team Renzo Gracie NYC. (You can check him out online at Rooney is a super motivating presence. I'm sure Steve will use what he did for warmups at the school, so I'll leave that for him. Let's just say it opened my eyes and the simplicity of the warmup was only surpassed by how much it kicked my ass. We got instruction from Rolles and Igor Gracie, Bruno Toastes (Matt Hammil's BJJ coach from New York), Bruno Fernandes. I won't go into the techniques themselves as this blog is already getting pretty detailed because again, Steve & Jenn will be brining these back to class at Sudbury me, you'll love this stuff!! (alot of arm drag to controlling the back, variations to chokes, one move built off of the other and so on. Oh, and a pretty killer takedown from the back.) I can't wait to rep these out some more!!

Near the end of class, another guest showed up at the club to a round of applause. None other than Master Renzo Gracie who was in town to corner Ricardo Almeida & Rafael Natal.

The seminar ended at 2pm and we spent the next hour hanging out with the guys. We were the only ones from Team Renzo Gracie Ottawa in attendance so Rolles & Igor hung close by as they both know Steve & Jenn very well. I also had the luxury of talking to Renzo about the fights that night, travelling in from New Jersey...and so on. What can be said about Renzo that hasn't already been said a million times? This was the second time I met him and although I'm sure he didn't recognize me, he made me feel as though he did. This is the same for Rolles & Igor...just amazing people.

Everyone emptied out for 3pm and we then had a private class with Professor Bruno Fernandes. I can't even begin to tell you how valuable this lesson was. We basically sat on the mat and went into problem solving Q&A with one of the most detailed oriented jiu jitsu minds in Canada. This was great because Steve had given us the task of thinking of questions to ask Bruno that we wanted him to touch on. Mine seemed pretty simplistic (being ideas to improve escaping cross side position which is always my nemisis on the mat). Well, I can say I wasn't disappointed by the answers and tips. His answer was "It's very simple to explain, but difficult to master...let me show you a few details I teach my students." He then showed us a few tweaks that really opened my eyes. I looked over at Steve and could see him grinning from ear to ear. (it was basically a "holy shit" moment, why didn't we ever see that?) Well, the answer there lies in the fact that Bruno is a world class black belt and BJJ is all in the details.

So we all had our turn to ask some questions and Bruno delivered on all counts. If you're ever in Montreal, you owe it to yourself to visit his school and book a private with the man. He's a great guy and welcomed us with open arms to Gracie Barra Montreal. To paraphrase him he said: "You're with Renzo Gracie Ottawa and that means you're at home here at Gracie Barra. You are welcome to train at my school anytime!" What an amazing opportunity!

As we left the school somewhere around 430pm to head back to the hotel, Jenn asked me if when I was looking at joining Jiu Jitsu, did I ever think these would be part of the perks. (I've now trained in Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, etc with some of the legends of Jiu Jitsu). The answer is no, I never thought I'd get this close to the top people in the sport and martial art that I've come to love. Did I mention this was the second time I'd met Renzo Gracie? Imagine being a kid studying Kung Fu and being able to say you've learned and had social interaction with Bruce's crazy...that's all I can say. Crazy! Vida Loca!!

Pretty awesome Saturday so far eh?? wasn't done just yet. ;)

We head back to the hotel and prepare to eat and head down to the Bell Centre for UFC 124, St-Pierre vs Koscheck 2. I'm sure everyone reading this blog knows how the night went down, so I don't need to go over a play by play. This was Jenn and Kevin's first live event so watching their excitement was also a big part of the fun.
What can I say about the main event? The building nearly exploded everytime GSP or Kos would end up on the big screen prior to the main event. When they made their way to the octagon, the electricity in the air was so strong, I nearly pee'd my pants. (ok, not to that extent, but it was a rush for sure) GSP dominated all 5 rounds and as expected, he beat up the bully and made Koscheck humble. "AND STILL, UFC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD! GEORGES, RUSH ST-PIERRE!!"

So that ended Super Saturday...yesterday, after checkout, we dropped in at my sister's house on our way out of town. After a quick lunch, we got on the road at around 1pm and drove through one of the worst storms of the year. We took our time, had some good conversation about BJJ, good friends, family and life in general. We got home after midnight and now here I sit in decompress mode.

Ok...that took me nearly 20 minutes to write and I've actually got some work to do, so I best sign off. Kevin took some really great pictures from the seminar on Saturday and once he's got a chance to upload them, I'll post some to the blog so everyone can check them out.

Have a great week my friends...I'll see you on the mat!

lundi 6 décembre 2010


This past weekend, Team Renzo Gracie ventured to Aurora, Ontario to compete in the Ontario BJJ Championships. To say we did well would be an understatement. We showed up, we competed and SMASHED the competition!!

Team Renzo Gracie dominated the GI division with 126 points. The second place team, came in at 63 points. In the NoGi competition, we scored 87 points, where the second place team came in with 41. Overall, we scored 213 points with the runner up coming in with 91.

We also won the title of most supportive club.

For those who aren't familiar with Team Renzo Gracie, here's a bit of bio as to who we are. (you might as well know, because we're growing and we'll be here for the long haul!)

Lead by Renzo Gracie Black Belt Pat Cooligan and his mighty OAMA (Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts) and affiliate schools Sudbury BJJ, (lead by purple belt Steve Joncas), Sudbury MMA (lead by purple belt John Cole) and two new affiliate schools, World Championship Martial Arts (from Peterborough, lead by blue belt Jordan Preston) and Lanna Muay Thai & MMA (from Toronto, lead by purple belt Titus Sears & Kru Mel Bellissimo). The consistent results speak for themselves. Our instructors are creating champions.

Check out the following link for a list of the medalists from the weekend's tournament. Sudbury BJJ alone took home 3 gold medals, 3 silver and 1 bronze. (and we didn't send a big group due to the last minute preparation for the event)

Lastly, I just wanted to give a quick kudos to John Cole, he was recently promoted to purple belt in October and dominated his division and also took home gold in the purple belt absolute! There are no fake promotions on our team!! If you earn your blue belt or purple belt under Pat Cooligan, you're as good as any blue belt or purple belt on the planet. (I also guarantee we're the best in Northern Ontario without a doubt!!)


jeudi 2 décembre 2010

mercredi 1 décembre 2010

Closing in on UFC 124 - Montreal!

In a little over a week, Kevin, Steve, Jenn and I will be heading to Montreal for UFC 124. I'll write more about the weekend as it comes up and will blog about it when we're back. As it stands, we've got a private class booked at Gracie Barra Montreal with Professor Bruno Fernandes. Bruno is the man who awarded Georges St-Pierre his black belt in BJJ. What's also really cool is that Rolles Gracie will also be in the house on the 11th for a NoGi seminar. How awesome is this weekend going to be?

Another of GSP's BJJ coaches is none other than Renzo Gracie black belt John Danaher. If you're reading this blog and train with us at the club, or have been watching the most recent season of the Ultimate Fighter, you'll recognize him from there. With that said, Danaher is a bit of an enigma. There isn't much video of him online, but he's known around the BJJ world as one of the very best instructors on the planet. Here's a clip of Danaher with Showdown Joe Ferraro on MMA Connected showing a half guard pass to mount. (I'm looking forward to trying this one out!)