Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Long Overdue Update !

Hey everyone

well as so often happens normality of everyday life sets in and I forget to blog! Truth be told getting into a good routine overhere and I guess things that are everyday for me I don't really feel the need to write about so I decided I'd just do a quick rundown of how thing have been going in a bullet point fashion

- Since arriving in Paris I have lost 6kgs of bodyfat and gained about 1-2kgs of muscle, I've had injuries along the way (currently back/neck) however I'm honestly in the shape of my life and have improved all physiological assets immensely

- In the last two weeks my Randori has been great, when I arrived here I was getting my butt kicked by quiet a few players, now not so much. There are two big markers of my improvement. 1) A lot of the guys that use to beat me I'm now throwing 4-5x in a randori. 2) The coaches are starting to take notice of me and coach against me a lot more (i.e. they're getting annoyed that some Kiwi kid is knocking there boys over!)

- I'm not quiet there but I feel as if I'm finally starting to live up to my own expectations.. The true test of this will of course be competition, it's a good feeling and I'm starting to respect my own Judo a lot more now.

- Last week I got to fight Teddy Riner (Basically a living legend.. Multiple times +100kg world champion incase you didn't know!). Not only was his Judo very clean and technical, on top of a lot of power, but he was also a really nice guy! It's always a nice thing when the greats are good dudes.

- Paris truely is an amazing city and you can have a lot of fun just walking around/not spending any money. To this day I still think of how unbelievably lucky I am to live here. It's a very humbling thought but also a very powerufl one.

- My english is getting worse, French is getting better, Romanian and Russian about the same.. should really put more time into those two languages!

-Next week a lot of the surrounding countires are coming to town, Switzerland, Holland, Eygpt and England to go with Belguim and Tunisia who are already here. This will be my last week so it's a perfect finish/preparation.

So that's pretty much it for now I head to Tahiti in 2 weeks time for the Oceania Champs, then it's home to see family and my son! The Oceania's will be the real answer to a lot of questions about my Judo but I'm very confident at the moment and this has been the best build up I've had toward a tournament ever so I'm looking forward to it!

Anyways until next time


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nice (pronounced Niece), Random Thoughts, Looking Forward

Greetings from the South of France, I'm currently in Nice (pronounced Niece) as we had a teams event earlier on today.

We had 2x international teams entered made up of Romanian/Kyrgzstan/Australia/France and myself... BUT as we had Me and Daniel both in the +90's division I got drafted to another team. Daniel is one of the best in the world (he bet the world champ in Paris) so obviously he was the first choice fighter so I had no problems fighting for someone else because I just wanted to fight.

My first fight was against the French #3 +100's fighter and while I fought a lot tighter than I have previously he was just 'too big too strong'. It's hard to explain but I've been fighting a style to suit -100's Judo whereas in this fight I would have had to fight like a lightweight so just didn't really get into a rythm.

2nd fight was against a -100's fighter so was more in my 'comfort zone'. I started strongly was dominanting the grips/flow of the fight well and was putting heaps of pressure on. Got him rung up for a shido and dominating the grips... Then BAM got lazy on the sleeve grip and got caught with O-uchi...

Was quiet 'annoyed' about this as I felt I should/could have won this fight but just shows me I've got to keep my focus even harder!

In hindsight though it's only been 1 week since coming back from injury so I'm quiet happy with how things went and it was good just to get some mat time!

So my roomy Mark is off to disco for the night (well deserved I might add he fought AMAZING today, knocked over 2x of the top French fighters and was unlucky to lose 2x terrible decisions) so I'm left alone to my own random thoughts...

This is a common 'demon' with living the hotel lifestyle is when you stay in your room too long/left alone you start to let your mind wander and not always for the best... I've had some days where I've gone from Top of the world to miserable to uncontrollably laughing in the space of 30mins.. It's just the nature of the beast.

The thing that's mostly on my mind at the moment is my Son. It seems on the days I fight that I miss him the most and while the training here is brutally hard nothing is as hard as not seeing him grow up but that's another story.

Looking forward we have a training session here tomorrow before heading back to Paris, then it's 4weeks prep towards Oceania champs so I'm hoping to be injury free for all this time!

Well, time for me to sleep..

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life is a beautiful struggle...

I feel sorry for negative people. Because they choose not to enjoy the struggle.

At the moment in my life I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. On a daily basis this lil kid with a shaky smile from Christchurch gets to rub shoulders/fight with some of the best in the world.

It's not all 'sunshine and roses' though. There are some days where it's tough, real tough. But they're the days that you really learn to fight.

I like the way my MMA Coach Karl Webber puts it 'if you're covering up because you've been hit, you better answer back a lot harder!'

And it's true, most people get 'hit' in life and they don't answer back.. They choose to stay covered up, get beaten down and let life dictate there success and failure.

I've had A LOT of failure in my life and yup it sucks, but no matter how I feel immediately after it my response is always ends up being the same, I will just have to work harder..

Last night was my first time back sparring after my injury to my chest and in my 2nd fight I injured my back, an injury that was suppose to be better. I battled through and got 4 of the 8 rounds out but was feeling pretty rank at the end of it all..

While this might seem small, I've got the Oceania champs in less than 6weeks which is the best opportunity for me to get points towards olympic qualification.. effectively the most important tournament to date..

So I was left with a choice of how to respond to this... After some thought I decided that it was probably the best thing to happen to me. 1.) I was getting lazy in my rehab of my back and this injury was a wakeup call that I need to do my rehab work everyday. 2.) If I didn't stop when I did there's a chance I would have done too many rounds and done a more major injury to my chest.

I could  very well have chosen to look at things in a different light.. Woe is me, things are so hard etc.. etc.. But there's only so long you can cover up for before you get knocked down for good.

The point I'm trying to make is that life truely is a beautiful struggle. When I look back on hardships in my life I know that they've made me the person I am today because I chose to fight. In reflection previous problems seem trivial so there's no point stressing too much on what we're battling with now.

When People Look At My Life, They Will See The Stars That Shined Bright Throughout It. Not The Darkness Surrounding It...

Enjoy the struggle

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bionx, Quotes to live by, Christchurch

Well it's been a pretty interesting week both here and back home. The devastation of the earthquake is still the dominant thought on everyones mind no doubt but what is amazing, and I mean AMAZING, is the sense of unity and community that has come out of this all. It really is unbelievable seeing images of people of all walks of life side by side bonded by the unity and pride of our city.

On my end, I've been having my own little fight with injury. I damaged my sternoclavicular joint (SC) in Germany just over 10days ago and have been on the recovery ever since... The time of recovery is suppose to be 3-4weeks but I think I'll be back in Randori next week.

I haven't stopped training. I've just had to modify my training to suit what I can do. I force myself to watch the Randori (sparring) which I can not do so that I get hungry for it, I feel a fire burning in me when I watch the Randori! I want to be out there so bad!

In the gym I've been doing 1 Arm weights for my upper body and the last few days I've moved onto using my bad arm almost pain free! While the guys do there grip fighting I'm on the bike (Lance Armstrong Styles sans the drugs) so I'm hopefully not losing much other than Judo timing and specific conditioning.

So for me this is what I call 'Bionix'. Whenever I get injured I think of it as me 'rebuilding' myself, starting from scratch and creating a better Jason.

Sometimes it's mentally hard to stay positive, in a lot of situations it's easier to be a victim/negative and let life keep you down but I have a couple of sayings/affirmations that I use to keep me going. They might be cheesy/not make a lot of sense but they help keep me strong:

Difficult Takes A Day, Impossible Takes A Week: This is kind of my way of reminding myself that nothing is out of my reach. I like to put things in perspective, if something is difficult then then I just have to work harder at it.. If it's impossible then I just have to spend more time on it

Always be stronger than yesterday: Pretty self explanatory really but sometimes it feels like you're treading water with your progress but if I know more than I did yesterday then I'm a better fighter, slow motion is better than no motion!

Always train like the challenger: The great thing about being over here is that I am a little fish in a big sea! There's no such thing as an easy fight and most of the guys I fight are better/stronger than me.

What this means to me is that I'm the one with something to prove, I'm a proud Kiwi and I don't want people to think NZers are soft so while I'm not yet where I want to be with my Judo I always tell myself  'I won't be outworked, I want this too bad to fail'

I always train like the challanger..

When Life Gives You Lemons... Paint that shit gold! : Easily my favourite saying. Not poetic like the others but to me it says no matter what situation I face in life I can and will find a positive from it!

Well I hope this gives you some sorta idea about my mindset and why I work like I do. I'm not blessed with great Judo, nor am I naturally athletic, so I have to bring something else to the table.. Mental toughness.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everybody is fighting something....

It's been just over 24 hours since one of Christchurch's darkest days..

I woke up like 'any other Tuesday' at 5:40 to get ready for training, alarm went off, checked facebook then time seemed to stop. Reading peoples status' made me realise this was no 'aftershock'....

Quickly I tried to get my phone onto a network so I could call home, it took a few minutes which felt like an hour but finally I was able to call home.. Thankfully everyone in my family was ok but it was still one of the most unnerving phone calls I've had to make, the strain on Cushlas voice made me realise how real this all was and throughout the day it got even realer..

The scenes of Christchurch, MY CITY, being in ruins bought tears to my eyes, was hard to hold back seeing the iconic parts of Christchurch knocked down. Seeing videos of people devestated made me feel sadness, anger, helpless and scared all at the same time.

Words still seem to escape me but all I could think to myself was something I'd been saying/thinking a lot which was a quote by Renzo Gracie - 'Everybody is fighting something'

Just one week ago I was fighting fit and had a real 'coming of age' fight for me vs one of the best out there. My fight was simple, Judo.

Then after this I was on the injured list but again my fight was simple, rehab my body and do everything I can to get back on the mat.

Then just over 24hours ago the fight became something much bigger.. What can I do to help my city... Being on the opposite side of the world made this difficult.

The only thing I can really do is provide positivity, lend an ear to those who need it and do my best to try and uplift my community.

Here's one thing I know about Christchurch people. They're tough, not the 'walk around being staunch' tough but the 'Do what we gotta do' tough. One of the reasons I love my city is the sense of community we have there.

So while Christchurch is going through some of the toughest times and some people are mourning I know we'll get through this.

Kiwis fight. And no matter what the fight is We expect to win.We Don't quit. And even when we do lose We Come Back Stronger..

Everybody is fighting something... Sometimes the fights are harder than others, sometimes there's more on the line and sometimes we feel like there's no hope But I know this is one fight Christchurch will win.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life is a hard teacher....

Well just finished fighting today in Hungary... another tournament another 1st round exit...

The thought pattern for this tournament was to be very relaxed/take my time... What ended up happening was I was passive/reactive and didn't apply any pressure to my opponent at all.. Basically I was the passanger and this was confirmed after only 45seconds on the clock when I was sent for a ride.

It was a hard loss to take (as they all are). I don't mind losing but losing in such a fashion is never nice. Also I'd had a great training camp prior to this so was looking forward to fighting. My Judo was starting to come together nicely and I was really hoping it would crossover to the tournament

The hard part about it is that you generally fight about 2months behind your training.. So while I'm training really well and starting to get a new style sorted it is still going to take awhile to put it into practice.

The hardest thing during this stage is to stay mentally strong, it takes A LOT to get your a$$ beat and stay positive during it.. You can call it anything. The grind, the hard yards whatever but at the end of the day it's just a case of putting a positive spin on the worse situations...

Really though I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm training as hard as I possibly can and I've made big changes to my Judo so I've basically just got to keep doing the grind, keep setting goals for each session and really just stay positive. I can't let the failures get to me too much and keep focusing on 'baby steps'

As I've always said "Judo Was Not Built In A Day"

Tomorrow we arrive back in Paris at around 10pm then will be up at 6am for morning session and a hard week of training towards Grand Prix in dusseldorf.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 2 & 3 Update:

Hey everyone

Well for the last two weeks my laptop has been out of action. This on top of busy busy days has meant I've been a slack blogger (slablogger?) but will do alot better from here on out!

Some really interesting times over the last few weeks. The training is hard, like really hard! But with that comes mental toughness, conditioning and of course and improvement in Judo!

I'll give a non-linear rundown of the last few weeks split into Tournament, Training, Life:

I've competed twice since being here. Firstly in Georgia which was an experience! The country was beautiful but at the same time I felt unsafe while being there.. This led to the hotel being our only friend but with that comes feelings of isolation & is far from ideal in buildup for a tournament.

I fought against a guy from Azerbaijan in my opening fight. I started well and was feeling pretty good against him but about 90seconds in I was 'resting' on my grips and then lost control of the fight and was thrown for ippon. 

As is world Judo one loss and you're done so it was in the stands for the rest of the day watching/learning/scouting the other competitiors there..

2nd tournament was on the weekend here in Paris. This is the biggest tournament in World Judo in terms of crowd & also it attrachs the Creme de la Creme in terms of fighters as well.

In this tournament I was drawn to fight Hungary first fight. I was feeling pretty confident for this fight as training had been going well.

However I lost the mental game on this day as I got too worked up before the fight and was trying to do things at 110 miles and hour and ended up getting caught after about 90seconds...

Both losses really sucked (as all losses do!) but I learnt so much from both of them and I've already started to make huge changes to my game.. The big thing now is making sure I really incorporate these changes this weekend in Hungary.


Training has been great! Last week was the same as the first week with a taper towards the end because of the Paris tournament.

This week has been amazing. There is a training camp on and there is close to 500 guys on the mat at once! By the end of the week I will have completed 45 rounds of 5mins fights, exactly the experience I need. Again there's no mugs here! I've already fought 5 World/Olympic medalists and effectively all the top World Judoka are here.

As I said earlier I've made huge changes in my game and one of the big changes is being more relaxed with my fighting.. If you compare it to striking it's the same as a boxer who is tensing his shoulders/arms too much. A) he becomes slow and B) he fatigues a lot quicker. This small change has made a huge difference to my Judo and it's really helping improve my game.. The great thing of training here is your 'faults' get identified pretty quickly!


We obviously there's a huge adjustment going from my beautiful life in Christchurch to living the otherside of the world without my family and friends but it's actually going really well! We have our 'Judo Family' over here (2 Aussies, 2 Kiwis, 3 Kyrgyzstanis) and obviously the French guys we train with so I don't get too homesick. 

We've had a bit of time in between trainings/going to war to do some sightseeing and Paris is a great city. My friend Roland from Switzerland is here at the moment so it's been great to see a familar face (Roland lived/trained with us for a year in NZ).

My French is developing slowly. Reading = 3.5/5 Speaking = 2/5. I'm now setting myself weekly goals to help me work on it harder. This week my goal is to order food speaking only French, so far so good! Next week my goal is to be able to ask Judo questions at training. Baby steps!

Well That's all for now. Promise I will update more often!