I've got this buddy named Jim Alers, he's a pretty bad dude. He's a professional 145 lb mma fighter, like me. We didn't meet fighting though. We met quite a few years ago when we were working at the same summer camp in Pennsylvania. At the time Jim had recently finished his highschool wrestling career and was starting his journey into Jiu Jitsu. I had pretty much wrapped up my University wrestling career, but hadn't started training in MMA yet. Fast forward about five years and we both have 4-1 pro MMA records in the featherweight divisions as well as some victories in assorted grappling competitions. We still talk fairly regularly, especially when one of us has an upcoming fight.
Recently Jim did something spectacular. Fighting as a purple belt and representing Gracie Barra Orlando, Jim won the purple belt division of the Abu Dhabi World Championships qualifier. Pretty awesome, but not as awesome as what happened after that. Winning his division earned him an invite into the brown/black belt division, which he proceeded to win. Winning the brown/black division punched Jim's all expenses paid trip to the World Championships in Abu Dhabi. WILD! Now Jim will surely be in deep water when he heads to Abu Dhabi today but you gotta love his attitude. Talking to him last week, Jim is pumped about the tournament and is going with a nothing to lose outlook and the intention of giving hell to each of his opponents. Good luck dude, can't wait to hear about it. Check out the video below. It has a few highlights of Jim's last two matches at the trials and some awesome shots of him after his win.
Highlights of Jim Alers at the Abu Dhabi World Cup Trials from Panic Pulse on Vimeo.
And Now, More About Me.
I haven't written much lately because, to be honest, there hasn't been much to write about. A little over a month ago I started having some general pain. I didn't think much of it, sucked it up and kept training. After all, I'm a man, man. After a few weeks the pain started to get a lot worse and I had to drop the training completely. I went to the hospital and have had appointments with two surgeons. I have no solid information on the problem, just an educated guess and an appointment booked for a very expensive MRI. It's been over three weeks of no real training (plus a few weeks of very light training) and it's starting to feel a little bit better, but I still can't do much.
As of right now I'm in the difficult position deciding which course of action to take. I could get the costly MRI and wait to get surgery at home if needed (as an elective surgery it won't be covered by my insurance here). I could also skip the MRI altogether and hope the injury heals itself. If it doesn't get better I can wait to get home and get everything done then. The obvious drawback to that is the long wait times at home. Decisions, decisions.
On a more positive side, the weather has been starting to warm up and we've been able to get out and travel a bit more. Every city, town and gas station in Korea seems to have their own festival of some kind so we've started checking a few of them out. A few weeks ago we went to the Chungdo Bullfighting festival. This wasn't man vs. bull fighting though, it was two bulls that smashed their heads and horns together until one ran away scared and tired. Some of the fights went for 15 or 20 minutes with a lot of stalemating. Some people thought it was lame. I thought it was fantastic.
On the same trip we also went to an abandoned train tunnel that had been converted into a winery and restaurant/bar. Not shabby.
A couple of stubborn bulls fighting
A couple of stubborn bulls fighting
Last weekend we traveled to Gyeungu to check out the cherry blossom festival. Lisa and I went with our friends Freddie and Kaelegh and just happened to meet up with two other friends, Tim and Vee, on the bus. When we got to the city we rented some bikes and ripped around town. We saw some cool monuments and temples, but nothing mind blowing.
Kaelegh, Lisa and Freddie riding under the cherry blossoms
Canadian Wrestling Championships
Special shout out to Reyanna Sangestino who wrestles for the Sault Wrestling Club. For the second year in a row Reyanna advanced to the championship match at the National Wrestling Championships. This year she one-upped her performance from last season to become the Canadian Champion. She`s the first national champ from the Sault in a while. Way to go.
A Couple of old Teammates Squaring off for all the Marbles.
When I was in highschool our wrestling team was one of better girls teams around. One of my teammates from those days is Amanda Gerhart who recently won the Senior National Championships at the 59 kg weight class. The tricky thing about the nationals this year is that the women`s national team was competing at the World Cup while the nationals were going on. This means that there will be a special wrestle off between the national team member and the winner of the National Championships to determine this year`s national team member. Interestingly enough, the girl that Amanda will be wrestling is Katie Patroch, a teammate of mine from University. Who to root for? Nobody and both, I guess. Both girls have competed internationally at the World Championships, the Pan Ams and the World Cup and are among the toughest people that I know.