Totally unrelated to Judo, but I have really been into art lately. I live near the Metropolitan Museum of art and I have been going regularly. I must say, I don't love ALL of it. I only like the Romantic, Realist and Impressionist paintings. The statues, cultural pieces and such do not whisper one syllable to me.

So the other day, I was roaming my favorite wing. Slowly walking through the maze of Manet, Monet, Renoir and Courbet... Then I came across the Ballerinas. It was stunning. I got to thinking, What would happen if Edgar Degas were alive today and regularly came to my dojo to paint the Brawlers on the mat? With the way he captivates motion, it would certainly be a masterpiece. It probably wouldn't have the ethereal and statuesque qualities of a ballerina, but for sure magnificent. Now throw in some Techniques implied by Monet to portray light in an improvisational way. Quite awesome.

Speaking of art, this is my most recent work

Judo NYC

And yes, paintings are great... but my favorite form of art is still this...

Thank you Tony!

When i was wrestling in High school, a really cool Westchester sports writer used to always cover the wrestling tourneys. 8 years later, he wrote one more about me. Here it is. Thanks Tony!

Chess tactics and judo

It's been a while since I've written and Big things have happened!  Although a long due brag fest would be most appropriate, I am not going to do that.  That is because I want to write about Chess.  Yes, chess. I love the game.  I first learned to play at a young age.  My uncle taught me how and although I liked it, I didn't have the patience to give myself the sit time to accel in the game.  Also, my progress was impeded by my severe ADHD.  I believe movement is medicine and since then have over-come that disability.  However, that is another post...  Chess.  I decided to trade private lessons with my friend and fellow judoka Chris.  He is an amazing chess player and I thought I can benefit my psychological aspect of judo through learning chess theory and tactics.  Here is what I have learned so far.

Advancement of the pawns= Grip fighting. (have to be strategical, placement crucial)

Developing your knight= ie:Uchimata you can hit from all angles.

Bishop=Diagnal attacks

Rooks=Straight back and forth, side to side

Diligent and strategical hand placement during grip fighting, can lead to the development of the 'pieces' to attack efficiently from many angles.

And queen...  Newaza?  Absolutely NOT!

Forks, skewers and pins...  Multiple combinations and threats to force check mate....

Anyways, it may seem stupid but I like it!  so That's that, until next time.  It's time to eat.


Torazo took 2nd at the Junior Nationals this past weekend in the 90kgs division.  He fought with so much heart and determination, I was very proud of him.  He lost his 1st match but then came back by winning 4 straight.  On his route to the finals, he earned his long deserved 'W' against his long time rival.  He has lost to him many times before but this was his day.  He dominated the match.  He controlled his opponent with better hand positioning.  He flowed in and out of moves and graced the mat like Sarah Hughs does ice.  He owned the moment by marionetting every aspect of motion in the contest area.  Every jerk served a purpose, every twist a set up, every pop with meaning.  As the match progressed in the direction of Torazo's will, I slowly began to see the overall picture.  Torazo was setting up his favorite move.  And in that EXACT moment I realized what he was doing, his nemesis was in the air, vertical, falling to his back from a perfectly executed Uchimata.   Some of my career defining moments of my own are the matches that I defeated my rivals for the first time.  It was very heartwarming for me to watch my student enjoy this experience.  Congratulations Torazo, you deserve it.

Although this isn't a picture of the match I am talking about, I thought I would share it with you.  I got this off of

Garry and Torazo

Boy has it been a great week.  Friday put a nice cap on the weekday workouts, truly a Friday worthy Friday.  Early Judo session with my friend Anthony and Brian, lifted at the New York AC, played some basketball and yes, Judo again at night.  I was informed also that training partner and friend Garry St Leger took a bronze medal at the Pan American Championships.  Congratulations!  Besides for Garry, there were several other American fighters that medalled at the Pan Ams.  US is slowly but surely catching up to World Judo and I am proud to be on the ship moving knot by knot.  Anyways, I am very excited about this weekend.  My protoge/training partner/brother/friend Torazo Karagiannis is going to compete at the Junior Nationals in York PA.  It is his big year and I have a great feeling about his very own 2009.  His goal is the Junior World Championships.  I missed out twice on this oppurtunity.  I was a 2x alternate and it hurt so much.  I really want for Torazo to capture the moment where he holds the letters USA on his back in the Junior World Championship setting.  I am leaving for Pennsylvania now.  Good luck Torazo!

Martin's workout

I went to Martin's to train today. We had a ridiculous workout. Throughout the circuit, my heart was banging like a heavyset metronome on it's highest setting, my head was spinning and every muscle on me ached. Usually I would quit way before that at my mental break threshold, however Martin pushed and encouraged me to keep on going. Truly a great trainer. We did...

Warm up, light sprints, rope circuit, then...

 {sprint 35 seconds, upright rows, over head press} 3 sets

{sprint 35 seconds, hammers 25reps} 3 sets

{sprint 35 seeconds, jack knives, trunk twists}3 sets

Afterwards, I had a small window of time not accounted for in my day's schedule. I was in manhattan by 11 and I didn't have to be at Brooklyn college until 2. I decided to go for a drive. I cruised down the bqe and into Brooklyn. I stopped by prospect park for the first time. I've always wanted to check it out ever since my NYC comfort zone expanded into this borough in 2008. I sat by prospect lake and hung out with the ducks while the big lake layout in front of me brightly rippling with the breeze and sunshine. I can't wait until practice tonight. I'm improving, and there is nothing else that feels better than that. Brooklyn college 2-3, judo my dojo 5-630. Judo Nyac 730-9. Not too shabby. Time for my meal. I'm going to throw down this chicken wrap.

Judo, camaraderie and recovery spa

Judo today at 10am.  Me and a bunch of elite judo guys from the NYC area decided to get together for a workout.  It was about 5-8 of us throughout the entire ordeal.  We started off drilling light and exchanged tricks and ideas.  We studied different entries and gripping sequences and the first hour flew by.  We then went to grip fighting and started doing more aggresive moving uchikomi.  After that, it was all a blur of battered shins, jammed fingers, banging heads and of course throwing and being thrown.  Some of us worked out until about 2pm.  Yes it was on and off, rehydrating and chit-chatting here and there.  After we were all spent, we sat around on the mats talking and joking.  It was great.  There is something about the bond you make with your fellow comrades of the mat.  It is almost as if we are soldiers fighting in the same battles for a common cause.  It is because we all have the mutual effort and pain, we are able to respect eachother and make that friendly relationship.  To my Nyc judokas in my brotherhood, thank you for being on this journey with me. So after the training session, me and anthony went to eat healthy and to a spa to unwind the tensions of our muscles and to mollify the stress of our never-ending War against bad Judo.  For all who is interested,  That is where we went.  If you live in the NYC area, I highly recommend it.  Yes, it's pricy, but hey it beats a night out on the town.  You spend less without compromising the biochemistry of your body with drugs and alcohol.  What is better?  I don't know, you tell me!

Friday nights and driving in Manhattan

Oh Friday, oh Friday...  Friday nights used to be all about non-stop debauchery.  Letting loose the inner beast of the night and drinking until the dawn.  Gut busting meatlovers Pizza binges on the corner store after gallons of brew being pounded down the hatch.  Oh Friday nights.  But those days are long gone.  It's so funny how you become so accostomed to a certain lifestyle and you can't even fathom the thought of going back to your former routines.  Ahh the human mind.  Well, my week was great.  I got in all the workouts I needed to excel at the pace I have chosen for myself.  This training week ends tomorrow and I look forward to my sunday recover day. Something I like to do:  I love driving at night in Manhattan.  During the day, the streets are usually polluted with angry drivers and aggressive cut-offists.  Oh, and NYC Cab drivers.  Only at night do you get to really Hit the streets of the city.  The stop and go is inexistent on some Avenues later in the night.  And sometimes you can zoom by 20 Lights, all green and Jam to your favorite tunes feeling good.  I experienced this to the realest degree just today.  I drove in the morning to teach (it got cancelled halfway there) and in that time, I got cut off twice, some one gave me the finger, and it took me 20 minutes to get from 110th street to 96th where I was planning to shoot cross town.  But after Judo in the evening, it was a totally different story.  I turned up the radio and blew through the open streets; 110th street from the East to the West side.  My aching body was soothed with every green light I ran.  Word of advice from a New Yorker:  Best time to take a ride in Manhattan.  Mon-Thurs, between the hours of 10pm and 4am.  True story.