“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. “
I have more than a few more years before I get to 50, but the quote above is still applicable. Heck, I don’t view the world the same way now as I did five years ago.
Return to OntheMat
Truth be told, I never really left, but I get asked this question all the time: “Are you still involved with OTM”? I haven’t been too visible here lately I guess, so it’s a fair question (especially not in comparison to Scotty’s activities).
Scotty and I founded OntheMat.com way back in 1997. As the legends have been brought up, a lot of people who knew us were actually surprised by the move, around the Ralph Gracie Academy tended not to train to the tap, but we’d train to the injury. We were two evenly matched combatants who didn’t want to give anything to the other, so we’d push ourselves past exhaustion, fight out of every submission and generally push ourselves past the point of sanity every time we rolled. I have no recollection of what the actual score was between the two of us.
While the two of us were (and remain) good friends off of the mat, the description of our initial battles could be taken for a metaphor for our running OTM together. We have often had different visions, went in different directions and had our own side projects. Scotty’s projects often took him more into the spotlight and I willingly took a step back and focused on some other things. Sometimes life hits you as well.
Here we are 19 years later and OntheMat is still up and running. With a refreshment to this website, it feels right for a new beginning. It feels like it’s time to make my (don’t call it) a comeback to OntheMat.
Truth is I’m very different from the white belt who founded OTM all those years ago. I’m now a 3rd degree black belt (who has actually promoted six black belts of my own!) OTM has taken me all over the world and my career has been packed and I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience things I could have only dreamed about, and made friends from all walks of life.
OTM has afforded me a very rare opportunity of a bully pulpit, somehow with all this experience people actually care about what I have to say. (A few of have even dubbed me as either the “Voice” or the “Conscience” of Jiu Jitsu in America). No way I’m giving up that privilege easily. If anything, I intend on using it even more.
I am not a Journalist
I think it’s worth getting out of the way right away. I don’t really even believe in the concept of an unbiased journalist anyway, certainly not with my experience in the Martial Arts world, definitely not with my observations lately in the “mainstream” media.
What I am is an observation editor or a columnist. I’ll admit my biases up front, but hopefully you find what I have to say worthwhile (or at least open to debate). I don’t take the position of authority I have either been granted or worked towards lightly at all.
I do think two things make me a worthwhile voice. Firstly as mentioned I have been around this space for a long time. I’ve been a student, an instructor, a competitor, a promoter, a writer and a businessman for nearly 20 years. If not inside information, I do have some relevant insight.
Secondly, I am brutally honest. I am at very rare position in any walk of life not to not truly have repercussions for having my own opinion nor do I really care. What I care about is being able to speak my mind and give (at least my perception of) the truth. This wasn’t always the case in my career and sometimes I had to tread lightly. No longer. Man that’s refreshing.
I don’t think of myself as a loose cannon however (although I think a few people will read this with raised eyebrows), but I think someone has needed to fill this void for sometime. But having an audience for my unfiltered opinion? Priceless.
Since it’s easy, I think I’ll go write into some musings on the UFC coming up this weekend.
This guy really is his own worst enemy.
I’m bummed because Jon Jones talent is one of the few reasons why I watch MMA anymore.
As a competitor I can see why the restrictions, testing and everything is needed .
As a spectator I could care less if Jon Jones blew up a school bus full of orphans. The man is paid to fight and he does so magnificently.
Still, this is a business and there is a certain rulebook that Jon Jones has agreed to adhere to in return for his participation, and apparently he can’t even get that right. So I can’t say I feel badly for him either.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Brock Lesner backstage of a WWE show a few months ago. I went on the invitation of my friend Rich Chou (matchmaker for Bellator), who got his invite from Paul Heyman. (As I have met Brock before I was marked more geeked to meet Paul as a longtime wrestling fan).
It was my first time at a live WWE show, much less being backstage. Most of the wrestlers were pretty casual hanging out, watching television and were generally relaxed and friendly.
Not Brock Lesnar. Although this was obviously a “scripted” show he walked around with an intensity and a purpose that I usually don’t even see backstage in MMA events. At one point I jokingly asked another friend with me if Brock was sure this wasn’t for real. (For the record, Brock was friendly, he just was focused.)
One thing for sure was Brock was all business. He was actually slated to be somewhere on the midcard, and stated he would be on the plane heading home before the final match was done.
He might be bummed that he’s the main event as he will have to be in Las Vegas longer than he anticipated.
The Real Gumby
Although I haven’t been on here too frequently in the last few years, I still have a presence online. The following accounts are under my control and I some more frequently than others:
www.HeroesMartialArts.com -My school in downtown San Jose.
https://twitter.com/onthemat (I haven’t used it in a long time because I have no idea how to manage two twitter accounts
Currently Reddit is the only forum I have used in months. Somehow I have been locked out of my MMA.tv account for months despite even Kirik trying to fix the issue. Maybe the legenday Rogue Moderator kicked me off?
I’m pretty stoked to be featured on BJJ Heroes as well:
I think I have a Snapchat as well, but being over a certain age I have no idea how to use it.