Is the book is ready?

The holidays break was a great opportunity to polish my manuscript and add some of my recent learnings in #muaythai and #bjj into the story. Feeling pretty good about how they mix with the main character’s #taichi and #daoism background and the frighteningly real advancements in #artificialintelligence and #neuroscience

After the encouraging notes from the editor and a lot of trimming to keep the pace fast, maybe it will be time to talk to agents and publishers soon.

#fantasybooks #fantasywriters #fantasywriting #martialarts

The best style of fighting

Given the warrior origins of all martial arts, it’s natural that discussions often lan on what’s more effective than what. Most of the times debating effectiveness on the streets or in big competitions like ufc as the ultimate ring. Natural, but likely shortsighted, if you look at this field as an ecosystem.

In combat sports it’s crucial that athletes focus on a few high percentage techniques they can master while at their peek.

But since athletes are different, they need coaches that will know all the high percentage techniques to recommend them the few that work for them.

Since percentages eventually mutate once an innovator changes the game and turns an obscure low percentage into high, these coaches also need masters with a complete knowledge of the art, regardless of percentage in competitions, even if that takes a lifetime to achieve.

And those masters sometimes need a different perspective, a source they can go to to find other ideas for challenges they face, ideas that will trickle down the entire system, and often those ideas will come from other styles that were previously considered ineffective until one genius of that art showed how it can be done (as an example, take mma and how Machida made karate dangerous again, or Ronda made Judo badass once more… those two arts, at that time, were considered dead that by many “specialists”)

My point is martial arts is an ecosystem that relies on the deep passion of each individual like a natural biosphere requires each species to survive so everything can thrive.

Passion should be celebrated, not debated. For whatever tickles their fancy – competition, coaching, encyclopedic knowledge, cultural preservation… Athletes, coaches, masters of fashionable arts and the preservers of lost arts are all fundamental to this crazy thing we do and love so much. Therefore, the entire discussion of what’s the best style denotes either one’s small perspective on combat arts, a comercial bias, or just the fact that you haven’t grown enough into it to develop perspective.

Unfortunately, after 30 years in martial arts, I can tell that true perspective requires distance and experience– it’s not something you can build fast like a competitive edge, or easy, like watching people fighting from the comfort of sofa.

#martialarts #mma #bjj #karate #tkd #judo #boxing #muaythai #sambo #wrestling #taichi #kempo #wingchun #tkd #kungfu

Sports Data?

Who uses data and devices to improve their training? I’ve been using the #whoopstrap to monitor my performance. It’s interesting to see that the best indicator of a good day for me is how rested I am. Duh… but that isn’t totally related to the simple number of hours of sleep. It’s a combo. The hours, but also the quality of that sleep. How regular it has been, how much it compensates for the strain the previous day, but more than anything to what I had for dinner the night before (and what time). A late or a heavy dinner always correlates to a poor sleep and as a consequence a shitty performance the following day.

Case in point: 6h27 usually isn’t enough sleep for an 84% recovery. But because I had a light dinner last night, I had a highly efficient sleep. In the morning, my mind was clear, my body was rested and ready. I took one hour of yoga then 90min of Bjj. At 46 years old, I was the last to leave the mat. More than that, I managed to make a lot of things work. Things I tried before but was too confused to bring them to life in the middle of a roll.

Then I looked back at my own posts and compared the days I reported great performance and using things I had just learned with the days with efficient sleep. They are a perfect match.

All this may seem like common sense to you, but when you leave it to the “feeling” it’s easy to give it a blind eye. The data, on the other hand, is way more unforgiving. Almost as much as the partners that are going to try to choke me and rip my arms off if I am not on a good day.

#bjj #oss #whoop #sportsdata #martialarts

Curing writers block with martial arts

Recently I got stuck on my next novel (a story about kung fu and artificial Intelligence). First I blamed how busy I got at work and adjusting our lives to the East Coast. But truly it was because I got so into my survival journey as a white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that, despite my thirty years training striking arts, writing about non-grappling ways of fighting just wasn’t happening. Not surprisingly, like so many things in the process of writing this book, the answer was hiding in the challenge. On not resisting the threat, but using its own energy against it. Suddenly, it all clicked. I made one of the characters be a BJJ fighter who helps the main character develop her ground game, just like I am doing with my own skills. And voila! Writing is furious again.

Frame, Force and Flow

I’ve been thinking a lot about the similarities and differences between different styles of #fighting. Not only their signature moves or their compared efficacy, but mostly how they structure training. After trying #martialarts from so many origins, and approaches so distinct, it occurred to me that all that those systems try to find is their own version of a balance between three elements:

1) A FRAME, that allows their body to take the most out of its structure and physics so it can take on opponents with more muscle power;

2) a method to extract the most FORCE (power in movement) through alignment of the body and timing to generate more impact a general person would; and

3) FLOW, which is a way to connect one move to another into a continuous stream of motion.

Of course, some systems do better on one part than another. I love how #boxing and #taichi train you to FLOW (and in very different ways) for example, or even how #mma is finding new ways to seamlessly transition between striking and grappling arts. Others, like #wingchun or #Bjj put so much emphasis on FRAMES that it’s worth learning them at least to understand the body better. On the other hand, #karate or #muaythai really dig into FORCE in a way that gives you a different perspective of how powerful someone’s body can be.

Each school manages their limited training time a different way. By choosing how much they want to invest on each, martial arts define their own version of that balance. That strategic decision determines the strengths and weaknesses of each art, as well as creates opportunities for innovators to rebalance this tripod from within.

But that’s just a feeling. Something I’ve been investigating recently. If you have practiced multiple styles and have an opinion about, leave a note on the comments.

Dummy Rant

The #wingchun #woodendummy is a trunk with arms. But it’s the trunk, not the arms! A tool created to help us visualize the centerline, fundamental principle of this art. To help us learn to pressure the centerline. Attack the centerline. Move around the arms and the legs… to attack the centerline. Yet, most people I see using it, are so focused on the arms they never take the true practical effect of this brilliant invention. They learn to fight an immobile opponent instead of moving around the attacker, of learning to flank him and go after the centerline from the new angle. The result: robotic chain punching robots that can’t use wing chun for anything real, who get the art criticized for having weak footwork, when in fact the more I train, the closer I think it is to boxing footwork (though a bit more rooted). Anyway, the next time you stand in front of one of these, forget the arms. They are just an obstacle to the trunk, the centerline. No matter where you touch, make that body shake.* ——————

* side note: there is a considerable difference between the wall mounted dummy and all the other ones in terms of the feedback you get. Once you try the wall mount everything tends to get clearer.

#boxing #mma #kungfu #mixedmartialarts

A new me

Let me take a minute away from the story to focus on the journey. It’s a new year after all.



Last year was a battle. This time against myself. So far, new me is winning and it feels really good. I have more energy to train and the drive to write recently came back too. Not a coincidence that I finally got my karate black belt and finished the book after the 100lb lost! I must thank all the support I got from family and co-workers, plus the crowd at my martial arts school too. I wouldn’t have done it without you. Also the healthcare professionals who took such good care of me. Now onward. Keeping the weight off, moving life ahead, training like a mofo and getting this book about #kungfu and #artificialintelligence out of the door. Hope you like it once it’s done.

#karate #taichi #wudang #martialarts #wingchun #boxing #weightloss #bariatricsurgery #scifibooks #writing #novelists

What style of fighting do you practice?

#taichi is a new thing for me. I’ve trained different styles of #kungfu including #wingchun plus #karate #boxing #BJJ and a bunch of other things, in my attempt to build my own version of #mma with a traditional martial arts spin. But then tried #taichi from #Wudang to understand how the character from my book feels when she’s training or fighting and love it — will probably keep training way beyond the book. How about you, what do you do?

The joy of teaching women to fight

Teaching, especially women, is my favorite experience in #martialarts . Not only because how rewarding it is to help girls know how to defend themselves, but also because it’s great to be around when they have what I call The Big AHA — when they realize that getting hit once or twice isn’t the end of the world. The simple realization they can withstand pain and fight back changes their confidence forever. And because the insight comes from being hit, not hitting, the style almost doesn’t matter, as long as they are being exposed to some pressure and forced to react to it. I think that is why I decided to pick a female protagonist for my next novel about #kungfu vs #ArtificialIntelligence. And that’s why I decided she would only train #femalefighters

Stay tuned, especially if you are into #taichi #mma #wingchun #wingchun #bjj #brucelee or #ai

Kung Fu vs Artificial Intelligence

Finishing a novel about #martialarts and #artificialIntelligence – follow to show the world that fans of #fighting like books too (You won’t believe how many times I heard people asking if martial arts people like to read)

#mma #taichi #wudang #mixedmartialarts #boxing #karate #kungfu #wingchun #martialartist #muaithai #bjj #judo #taekwondo #femalefighter