Slowing down a running frog and how to be absurd (Day 17)

When you slow down and stop for a moment, you might see something interesting. Or you might choose to make something interesting for you to look at.

I’m surprised that this is already the 17th day of the 30 day blogging challenge. 13 more days to go!

Japanese translation of "A Brief Guide to World Domination" (Day 16)

I’ve been working together with Etsuko Tsukagoshi to produce a Japanese version of Chris Guillebeau‘s “A Brief Guide to World Domination” for the past 3 months. Now it’s almost finished, and we’re in the final stage of this project: releasing this Japanese version.

I assume that most of you who read this blog are English speakers. If you haven’t done so, you should check Chris’s brief guide. It’s a short PDF you can download and read for free. The content is inspiring. It has inspired me (and a number of people all over the world) at least.

It didn’t have to take 3 months to complete this project. But I lost the momentum when it came to revising the first draft. So, in reality, I didn’t do much about this project for a month or so.

What made me act anyway was the Artist’s Way – there’s a chapter on creative U-turns. Have you ever given up something you had devoted your energy to just before its completion? You’re almost there, but you feel like you’re not going anywhere. In fact, you feel as though things will get worse if you keep going. Even though you can see your destination. You start imagining the worst trap in front of your goal. Not just the worst trap, but the absense of such a trap as well. What if I could just take a few more steps and get to the goal with no problem at all?

What’s really neat about this chapter on creative U-turns is that this is the part where you’re asked to read your morning pages. In these morning pages from 3 months ago, I wrote about this project of translating Chris’s e-book into Japanese and how it would help some Japanese people “dominate the world”. I had forgotten about this excitement until I read these morning pages.

It was great to remember those feelings and excitement I had about the project. More motivational than anything else.

If you’re about to make a creative U-turn, can you remember your initial excitement about your project? Perhaps that can help you keep going forward and finish your project.

A humid Sunday afternoon in which I faced a bigger opponent (Day 15)

I competed in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament yesterday. I fought in the under 70kg division and in the open weight division, both for adult blue belts.

I had been practicing hard for this tournament, and given that I’m somewhat an overdue blue belt (I started BJJ in 2002; I got my blue belt in 2007) and I can do well against people in a higher rank, I’d been fairly confident that I’d win my division. My expectation was proven to be wrong, unfortunately.

When I think about the kind of grappler I’d hate to fight against, what comes to my mind is myself. While I love the way I fight, if I had to fight against someone who fights like me, I’d completely get annoyed.

So, the guy whom I lost to in my division happened to fight like me. He even finished me with my favorite of all techniques: triangle choke. I’d say the major reason why I lost was because I was trying to do something different from what I’d usually do. So, I didn’t even show up as who I am in this case.

The loss was somewhat shocking. Perhaps it’s because he choked me to the point I nearly fainted after the match, though it was actuall an armlock from the triangle choke position that made me tap. Thankfully, I didn’t get my elbow broken, but it still hurts a bit.

In any case, I’m glad I managed to switch my mind for the open weight division quickly enough. While my body needed to have some rest, my mind was ready.

In the first match of the open weight division (since I was seeded, it was actually the second stage of the tournament) , I faced an opponent around my size. This time, I did what I’d usually do. I was committed to show up as who I am. So, I pulled my opponent into my guard, went for triangle choke, somewhat missed it, and switched to armbar. This armbar was a bit rough, but I managed to get him with it. It’s great to know that I can do well when I show up as myself.

In the second match, my opponent was bigger than me. But that didn’t worry me much. Again, I did what I’m good at. This time, I got him with triangle choke from the mount position. It was a quick win too.

I wonder what people think when they are competing. I must be having a blank mind or something. But then, like Rickson Gracie says, if you’re thinking while fighting, you’re too late in executing whatever you have to do. Training is what you do so you don’t have to think about what you do when you do it. That sounds right to me.

I had to wait for the third match to start, because my opponent had been fighting in other matches. Perhaps more than 30 minutes. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but I started getting sleepy. My focus was getting off a little bit.

In the third match, I fought against this guy who had won almost every blue belt open weight division of the recent major BJJ tournaments in Japan. He’d beaten a guy who came to the 2nd in a world cup, in one of those tournaments. I didn’t know about his status, but I doubt if it had any significance on me. I knew he was a big guy and I’d do my best. And so I did my best.

Probably it’s because he was buggered by the time this match started, but I didn’t feel that I was outpowered by this 80kg guy. I weight about 64kg. I could do my moves, almost got him with triangle choke, and kept attacking until the match finished. He did pass my guard and take the mount position, but I didn’t let him finish me. Eventually, I lost by points, but I was happy with what I did. At the same time, I was disappointed that I could totally get him with that triangle choke. That means I have to sharpen my skills further, though. I don’t care if I win or lose by points. What really matters is whether there was a submission involved.

I got a bronze medal, and that does make me happy. But, I’m more proud of myself for showing up as who I am in these 3 matches, because that’s how I want to measure my success. The external outcomes, such as losing to this guy and getting a bronze medal, didn’t matter too much.

And… OK, that’s all for now. I’m off to training!

A short question with open possibilities (Day 13)

What was your childhood dream? Or did you have more than one dreams?

There are a few things I wanted to be: Pegasus, a cartoonist and a game designer. If you are thinking “What? Pegasus?”, I’ll tell you about it soon.

When I asked that question to my grandmother, she gave me an answer quickly and told me that she wanted to be a singer. That’s surprising and not surprising at the same time, because I know she likes singing and she does have a good voice.

What was your childhood dream? Are you pursuing it? Or have you changed your goals? I’m curious about your stories. Don’t tell me your story is boring, because it is more interesting than you think. Always.

A sense of possibilities (Day 12)

When you let yourself enjoy ease and delight, you get a sense of possibilities. Entertaining various possibilities–things that could have been otherwise. Whether these possibilities will ever be actualized is another matter. For the time being, find yourself among various possibilities. That may require some creativity, but you don’t have to be afraid, because you’re already creative. All you need to do is to ask delightful questions. No worries about where you’re going to end up, or how you’ll get there. If any of these doesn’t make sense to you, that’s fine too, because I don’t know what they mean either. The question is … what meanings will I give them? What meanings will you give them?