I’ve taken the past few months off of social media and blogging to digitally detox a bit. I’ve continued to shoot and built up a nice backlog of images so let me catch you up with my life…visually.
Today’s Configuration: Leica M10 w/ a Summicron 28mm f/2.0, Summilux 35mm f/1.4 and Summilux 50mm f/1.4
My friend Steve came to visit us for a weekend. It’s always good to see Steve.
We took a trip to the Paul Smith Space in Tokyo. I’ve been looking for a murse to add to my Paul Smith bag collection. I hate carrying things in my pocket especially in the summer.
Not my camera. Just trying out Steve’s strap, again.
My local take out Yakitori Shop is slowly being surrounded by empty parking lots. In Japan, this means it will soon fall as well.
Mr Suzuki finally put up a sign that he was closing his shop after 60 years. 60 years! He opened the shop when he was 18. Mayumi gave me the great suggestion to print out one of the photos I took of him and frame it as a memory for him of the shop. He was really happy. I’ve taken many photos of him over the years.
Many of our neighbors stopped by to wish him farewell. It was very touching to see.
Mayumi and I…
Me in the mirror. Mayumi is actually taking a photo of me from the car so it’s actually ‘Mayumi shooting me shooting me in the mirror’…
A new ice cream place in my neighborhood, with a giant cow…
NewsCafe… straight off a tour of restaurants in America. I tried the new avocado hummus. It was pretty awesome.
I can’t believe this cone is still going strong. The owner refuses to let the bullies win. If you need some cone-text: read this.
One of my blog readers James was in Tokyo and reached out to me to lunch. He is a heart surgeon that lives in Hawaii. He also runs a Kona Coffee business called Kona Cloud.
My regular doctor, Kimura-sensei.
One of my favorite baristas from ABC has left and moved to Nagoya to get married. Sad to see her go but happy for the next step in her life.
Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi
I’ve been looking for a way to get into shape. I tried the gym but I’m just not a gym person. I find it extremely boring to go to the gym to just lift weights. I started looking for some martial arts near my house or work. I started researching places near my house but could only find a place that has Karate one day a week and a place that does Aikido two days a week. I looked near my office and was able to find a place that does Kendo one day a week. In order for it to stick it needs to be very accessible and easy to get to. When I do things I know I am going to do it 100+% so I really wanted to find a place that offers classes more than once a week.
One afternoon when I was doing the weekly grocery shopping with Mayumi I saw someone with a gym bag over their shoulder that said “Carpe Diem Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. All I knew about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I learned watching Ultimate Fighting Championship. I knew it gave fighters a huge advantage when the fight when to the ground. I remember the early UFC fights were dominated by Royce Gracie a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and member of the famed Gracie Family.
It caught my eye and I searched on my phone and was surprised there was a gym in Jiyugaoka. I’ve never seen it before. I stopped by Carpe Diem Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Jiyugaoka later in the day and learned it just opened a few months ago.
I was intimidated at first looking at the gym. I had a short chat with the guy behind the counter. I left to think about for a little while but honestly didn’t think I would be going back. I’m not a tough guy. I haven’t wrestled before. I’m not looking to get beat up. I don’t want to go to a gym to get pounded on by 20 year olds. I’m 46 and don’t want to get hurt.
I continued to look to see if I could find a martial art in my neighborhood I could do. I couldn’t find anything but I kept checking the Carpe Diem site. I started to research more and more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It still seemed pretty scary to me but finally decided to stop back in.
There was a class ending and I watched a few people rolling (sparing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). When they finished I asked them how long they have been training there and what they thought of it. They were very enthusiastic about their experience at the gym. I said I was worried about my age being 46. One guy laughed and said he was 53 and someone else said they were 42. I figured I’ll give it a try.
I scheduled my first trail lesson the following Saturday. I was scared going in but just figured it was an experience either way. I was really happy with how welcoming everyone was. I didn’t know all of the difference classes offered so I went on Saturday at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. It’s an All Belts Colors class which turned out to be the longest of the week. One surprise to me was the class was made up of men and women, all different ages, shapes and sizes. It wasn’t only for the macho guys I had imagined in my head.
The opening of the class the group does a bunch of exercises to get heart rates up and stretch a bit. I was pouring sweat by minute seven. One of the exercises they had everyone do was pushups. 100 of them. I ended up doing 14, but it was better then I expected. I haven’t done push-ups since Coast Guard bootcamp.
The next section they taught some technique. They would demonstrate it then we break off into pairs to practice. I got paired up with a very nice brown belt who kindly shoed me the ropes.
The last part was rolling. You are paired up with someone and practice the technique you know. No one is trying to hurt anyone but it is physically very exhausting. On Saturdays there are 7 or 8 rolling sessions but i barely made it through 2 and half. I don’t really have any technique at this point it mostly me tapping (losing) every 20 or 30 seconds. My brown belt partner was kind enough to put himself in a position to allow me to execute a few of the moves we learned. He also let me sink in my first chock. It felt great. I do realize he ‘let’ me do these. If you want to get a feel for what rolling is watch this.
It was very interesting to roll with a brown belt. You quickly realize he can do whatever he wants to you and there is very little you can do to stop him. Famed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Master Eddie Bravo described his first experience as something like this ‘I went into a class an was man-handle by a guy who was 50 pounds lighter than me. In the matter of 20 minutes he submitted me 39 times. I couldn’t do anything to him. It was humiliating. Everything told me to leave and never put myself in that situation again…then I realized. I can learn to do this’.
Each class you learn a little more, get a little better, apply what you learn, make new mistakes, correct them. Fast forward 5 weeks later. I am completely addicted. I’m practicing 5 or 6 days a week. Sunday I practice for 2.5 hours and made it through 8 rolling sessions. That’s 40 minutes. It’s hard to describe how exhausted I was at the end of this.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the best things I have done. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Carpe Diem has gyms in Jiyugaoka, Hiroo, Aoyama, Mita, Kamakura, Nagasaki, Gifu, Karume, Shinjuku, London, Seoul, and Singapore. There is even a school dedicated to females in Hiroo. If none of these locations work for you, check out your local gym. You won’t regret it.
We were lucky enough to have UFC Hall of Famer and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend BJ Penn come to the gym to give a seminar to the black belts. I was lucky enough to be allowed to watch and photograph the event. I’ve been watching BJ Penn fights with my dad. You can watch his highlight reel here.
Meet Yuki. He is the man behind Carpe Diem. I have a lot of respect for him and the culture he has built into his gyms. They are very welcoming places. After meeting Yuki I quickly realized we had a lot in common. He is an avid medium format photographer with a great eye. Check out his Instagram which most captures his family.
Now this is an interesting photo. It’s BJ Penn with Caol Uno a very famous Japanese MMA fighter.
I’m in Sydney for a few days on business. I took the opportunity to check out the Sydney Jiu Jitsu Academy on the recommendation of my instructor in Tokyo as he used to teach here. Had a great workout last night. I’m going to be documenting my Jiu Jitsu journey on a new Instagram handle @davecdbjj if you want to follow along.
Thanks for stopping by today