Bill “The Grill” Cooper – The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Fighter

Bill-Cooper-BJJBill Cooper was watching the Lakers game while his father and sister argued in front of the TV.

Bill was used to the yelling, so he ignored them until a Slurpee flew across the living room at his dad.

When the icy red drink exploded all over the wall, his father responded by shoving Bill’s sister to the ground.

Bill jumped up and charged his father. They started brawling on the floor until Bill ended up on his back with his dad towering above.

“He grabbed my neck,” Bill said. “So I spun my hips and sunk in an arm bar.”

Bill cinched the lock tight and yelled for his sister call the police. Continue reading

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Javier Vazquez – The Making of a Shy Kid Turned UFC Cage Fighter

Javier-VasquezFifteen seconds into the world championship fight, Javier Vazquez stepped forward for a single leg take-down, but when he planted his foot, his right knee buckled.

Javier did not stop, instead he continued to drop his weight and took his opponent to the mat.

Both fighters scrambled to stand up. When Javier stepped back, his knee collapsed again and a confused look revealed on his face.

Seconds later, Javier stepped forward and threw a left/right combination and his knee buckled a third time before he toppled to the mat.

It became painfully obvious to everyone watching that Javier’s knee was wrecked – but he kept fighting.  Javier battled not just his opponent, but also his failing leg for three grueling rounds of back and forth action. Continue reading

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Achieve Unlimited Confidence

IMG_0684e-1“Ask the driver to stop at Playa Langosta,”

“But he doesn’t speak English,” she replied.

“I can tell you how to say it in Spanish.”

“I don’t want to say it in Spanish,” she said, raising her voice — part frustration — part fear.

“The beach is coming.”

“Please don’t make me do it!” She begged, now in complete panic.

Continue reading

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Chris Haueter on Evolutionary Psychology and Fighting Jiu-JItsu

ChrisHaueter-1In December 1996, Chris Haueter became one of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s “Dirty Dozen,” the prestigious list of the first twelve non-Brazilians to earn the coveted black belt.

Twenty years after earning his belt from Rigan Machado, Chris continues to train and compete while he has also groomed 26 students to earn their black belts under his guidance.

Chris began Jiu-Jitsu after a chance encounter with Mits Yamashita, an Aikido black belt who was practicing the Jiu-Jitsu “upa mount escape” at a college wrestling room.

In the days before the UFC, Chris had never seen Jiu-Jitsu techniques and was intrigued. With a background of high-school wrestling, Chirs approached Yamashita to suggest that a wrestler might easily beat the technique.

Yamashita was gracious and allowed Chris to test his theory on the mat.  They set up the position and Continue reading

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Henry Akins – A Jiu-Jitsu Journey of Self Discovery and Finding Happiness

henry-akins-1Henry looked across the mat at the Kung Fu black belt standing at the other end of the room. Weighing only 160 pounds, Henry looked scrawny wearing a white belt next to his 185 pound, black belt opponent.

During the early years of the UFC, students at the Gracie academies could be called upon to fight a Vale Tudo (anything goes) match against anyone who wanted to challenge Jiu-Jitsu.

Today that challenge came from “Kung Fu Joe,” the nick name the visitor earned while doing Kung Fu katas on the sidelines during Jiu-Jitsu class.

The instructor ignored the visitor’s snarky comments, but he drew the line when Kung Fu Joe started throwing ninja stars into the walls of Rickson Gracie’s academy.

“It was crazy,” Henry said with a laugh as he told the story about the visitor to their Jiu-Jitsu academy. “The guy was a nutcase.”

The instructor offered to let Kung Fu Joe join the class, but when he declined, the teacher asked if he was there looking for a fight.

Joe had been studying Kung Fu for 15 years, but it was only Henry’s second month of Jiu-Jitsu. Regardless, when the instructor gave him the nod, Henry was anxious to step up to the challenge.

“The guy was so disrespectful,” Henry said. “Someone needed to beat his ass.” Continue reading

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