Today I am thankful for Jacob Flores and Justin Flores. It is their instruction at Studio 540 which has most helped me to better understand judo. I took my first class with them a little less than a year ago. In a couple weeks it will be 11 months since my very first judo class.
That first class, I was already exhausted from the jiu jitsu class taught by David Reed. I was catching my breath from my last roll and the push-ups David had us do at the end. Then, I hear Justin’s voice. “Judo in 3 minutes!” I thought to myself, “Uh… uh… uh… ok…” Then I firmed my resolve. I wanted to pass out from the warm-ups alone, but I stuck with it through that first day, being thoroughly confused and thinking that my prior martial arts training wasn’t helping me in the slightest.
For the first few months, I was only doing judo once a week. Then, I started coming to the other 2 classes at 540. At Justin and Jacob’s encouragement, I started getting extra judo training at San-Shi Judo Club. Mostly randori on Monday and Wednesday nights. They told me they used to train there back in the day. After training with the guys at San Shi, I can understand why they recommended it.
I’m still learning judo. It’s a slow burn to be sure. I am grateful for Justin and Jacob’s help and encouragement. Thank you Coaches. I have definitely appreciated learning from you.
I am thankful for public transit. It is true Andrea, a.k.a. Xena Warrior Princess, and I go a lot of places together, in which cases she usually drives. That being said, I have a lot of transportation options. Of course, I can travel by foot with the use of Hobbs or a cane. I can also ride a bus, a troley, a train, a plane, or a boat. I can use Uber or Lyft. Some forms of public transit take more time or cost more money, but I can still get where I need to go, even if I am not able to drive. For this fact, I am extremely grateful.
I’m thankful I wasn’t hurt nearly as severely as I could have been. Almost 2 years ago to the day, I was hit by a slow moving car while crossing a driveway near Fletcher Pky. It definitely messed me up, but it was all soft tissue damage, and I have very few permanent effects left over from the accident. It could have been so much worse. I could have been killed or paralyzed. Sometimes bad things happen, but there is often some good to be found in the midst of those difficult circumstances.
I am thankful for my Amazon Echo. Having a hands free virtual assistant has proven to be quite useful. that, and the blue tooth speaker functionality is pretty decent. I’m glad I got in on the early purchasing period about 2 years ago.
I am thankful for my friend Ben McCandless. It’s astounding the similarities between us. We’re both blind. We are both martial artists. (Ben practices tang soo do.) We are both Christians. We both play bass. We both would like to open a tea shop or a cafe some day. We both love fantasy literature. We both write; though, Ben had his first novel published, and I’ve yet to complete my first book. (Check hout his book Sword of Dreams: Book 1 in the Portal Walker series by Alexander Bentley. Yes, that’s a pen name.) He lives across the country in Pennsylvania, but he’s been a huge encouragement to me as a Christian, as a martial artist, and as a man. (As an aside, he makes some of the best barbecue suace I’ve ever had. When he starts selling it on a large scale, you’ll do well to try some.)
I am thankful for my bro Chad Rivera. He’s a BJJ black belt where I train. He’s also visually impaired, but he can see a little better than me. He’s definitely helped me up my jiu jitsu game, helping me understand new techniques and concepts. I especially appreciate his help on Tuesdays in the no gi class and at 10:00 AM with Jeff Higgs.
I am thankful for Hobbs, my guide dog. He’s a bit high strung, but he’s lovable, and his guidwork is absolutely fantastic. I just have to remember to keep him nice and occupied if I am practicing kata or sparring or training in judo. (He hates the sound of the crash pads especially.)
I am thankful for beer. I’m not a huge drinker, but I rather enjoy a well brewed beer more than any other alcoholic beverage. I’m especially appreciative that I live in San Diego, the craft beer capital of the world. Lots of great local beers in multiple styles.
I am thankful for judo. Judo is scarry, and I have a long way to go with it. That being said, in the less than a year that I have been studying judo, it has toughened me up. It has helped me be more aware of my relationship to the ground. It has given me the opportunity to meet some cool people like Adnan Gutic, Heidi Moore, Stephen Scott Moore, Kevin Brousard, and Rolando Romero just to name a few. It allowed me to travel to Texas and experience what judo competition is like at the national level, if only just. I’ll still never forget my match, as a yellow belt, against judo black belt Ryan Jones. A very worthwhile learning experience. Beginning to practice judo, however late in the game, has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I am thankful for Pulp Fiction. I don’t even know how many times I have seen this movie. For me, the film is about redemption, grace, and second chances, as well as consequences for our actions. Quite honestly, I see the Gospel Message played out in this movie. I admit I am an unconventional Christian… Maybe I’ll write a Bible study using Pulp Fiction for illustration…