Taraje in the New York Daily News

February 27th, 2010

Check out Taraje in the New York Daily News!

Who is to Blame?

February 24th, 2010

Check out this story from the Vancouver Olympics.

Who is to blame?

This one hit home with Kramer’s statement about how he doesn’t usually like to blame people. Reminds me of a feeling I once had. Unfortunate for him either way, but lets face it… your coach isn’t wearing those skates.

Not Really M.I.A.

December 11th, 2009

And I am back!

Big Things Ladies and Gentlemen.

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MMA Expo
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First of all, The MMA World Expo went off without a hitch. I presented both days along with the best grapplers in the world. It was nice to be apart of such a large event, especially here in my city. I have some video I have been holding onto from the Expo that I will release soon.

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Personal
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Next up, I still have a job. Lets all be thankful for that. The best news I haven’t shared with everyone is somehow through my occupation, I met a gentlemen who was able to help me get back into school. Something I was told would be impossible somehow took place nearly overnight.

So January 13th I will be back in school working on my Masters once again. I have about a year and a half left, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Things are starting to progress once again.

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Judo
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I am feeling proactive and independent so, I am back on the judo scene.

January 16th, I will be at the North Jersey Judo Club. Here is the registration information.

I am happy to be working with North Jersey Judo Club and am looking forward to the clinic. If you are in the Tri-State area and plan on attending the adult session, register ASAP as there are a limited number of slots.

I will update periodically with the specifics.

Happy Holiday’s to all!

P.S. To all the grappler’s out there; the double is only illegal in international judo competition. Don’t neglect to add Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari to your collection and repertoire!

Big Announcement!

September 28th, 2009

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What’s New
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First things first, if you aren’t already, start following me on Twitter. I am often very busy nowadays and it is easiest for me to post Twitter updates than full posts. So keep up with what I am up to on Twitter!!

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Big Announcement
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This past week I got some wonderful news. I am the most recent addition to a short list of Presenters at the up and coming Mixed Martial Artist World Expo at the Jacob Javits Center, October 24 and 25th. The short list includes the likes of Olympic Medalist Howard Davis Jr., and Jimmy Pedro, as well as Shaolin, Marcos Santos, Marcelo Garcia, and Dr. Rhadi Ferguson. Check out the specifics at www.MMAWorldExpo.com.

I am incredibly excited to be a part of this event and can’t wait for it to come around. If you are a Martial Artist and live in the Tri-State area you must be in attendance! Show your support and come and join some of the best Grapplers on the planet.

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Personal
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I am back in school and things are looking up in my life. After one month of sobriety, things are looking up. I will be back in school within months. I am starting to get the itch to start practicing again, and I am not sure what lies ahead for my judo career or if it still has life left. I know it would be difficult to watch an Olympics Games after making it my life for so long. I don’t know if I am prepared for that emotionally.

I am also unsure if I can ever be satisfied with my judo career if it ends here. These thoughts keep circling in my mind. I realize that I have never really dealt with any of the issues that resulted from my Olympic run because I spent most of the past year intoxicated. I believe I am starting to get some perspective on things.

If you haven’t already, grab your copy of Beyond The Rings to take a look into what I sacrificed to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Whatever the case may be, I have still got some time to figure things out, and I will be taking full advantage of it.

What do you think I should do?

A Year Later

August 12th, 2009

I got a text from my main man Kenneth Farris the other day reminding me that a year ago to the day we were in China. Ken is an Olympic lifter and still holds a few record he set in China. It has been a year since I fought at the Olympic Games as well. I spent most of the weekend reminiscing and reliving that day, and the events and decisions leading up to it. Needless to say, it was a tough weekend. Time has done some things for me, but it hasn’t healed all wounds.

Since the Games, I have earned my NCSF – Certified Personal Trainer and begun working as a Personal Trainer at Equinox Fitness. I have released my first technical DVD, Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari, and tried to begin repairing my financial life. I have not returned to school to finish up my M.S. yet.

I can count how many times I stepped onto a tatami. I did won a Silver Medal and Most Inspirational Judoka in -81kg at the 2009 USA Judo Nationals. I am very proud of what I have accomplished, but somewhat disheartened by what I am lacking.

The junior judo season is kicking up right now, with Rhadi coaching the Bahamian team it has really made me think about all that you go through as an athlete and relate to those kids in the same situation. The pressure you are under, not on competition day, but everyday leading up to it. Maintaining your diet, studying, practicing and doing everything to your utmost and living up to the expectation of both you and your coaches standard of perfection.

It makes you a better person. More effective and efficient, but although it is difficult at the time, it is so much more fun and interesting than normal day to day life. Every now and then I take a moment to myself and consider that my current daily routine could repeat itself for the rest of my life. Could that really be it?

I woke up Sunday and thought about being in China a year earlier and it nearly brought a tear to my eye. The opportunity lost seems like it will never forgive me. Not sure if it was coincidence, but I stepped on the mat last night for the second time in more than a month. Two things that never really go away is your judo, and the enjoyment in having complete domain over another individual. Being good is fun. Winning is fun.

I had a good practice. I went home and spent a lot of time thinking about what I’ve learned and lost through this experience. I wouldnt trade it for anything, but it is one heck of a burden. I have said this before, but my life as it was when we did Beyond The Rings seems so attractive right now. But the grass is always greener.

On a positive note. I have decided to quit drinking for a few months. It will definitely help me get my life together. I am looking forward to finishing up my degree and purchasing a home in the next five years. It is about time I set out a specific plan to make it happen.

Reality Strikes

July 26th, 2009

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Postponed
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I had a little accident in the gym a couple weeks ago and dropped a weight on my foot. These things happen. Funny thing is I had never injured myself while training. It hurt a lot, and I thought it could have been broken, but stupidly I did not go to the hospital.

I worked out the next day. Weeks later, it still hurts but is almost 100%. The one thing I could not do was run. It was too painful and I felt like if I started running, it would never heal. So, I could not begin training for my marathon, and had to postpone, not cancel.

I must find a new date and location to shoot for. The NYC Marathon is now out of the question. I am OK with that though. It isn’t going anywhere.

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Training
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I love my job. I was recently reminiscing about all of the different types of jobs I have had in the past. I have worked as an exterminator, a Lab Supervisor in a Writing Center, Home Depot Sales Associate, and a Computer Technician. Of all of my jobs, I enjoy this one the most.

I meet new people everyday. I enjoy motivating others, and helping people reach their fitness goals. The tough part though is dealing with the emotional roller coaster of dealing with so many different personalities and their emotional state through a session. But because it is challenging, I enjoy it.

It is very time consuming though and has made it difficult to maintain my blog and get Ugly Judo 102: Kata Garuma out to you all. I have decided to take weekends off now to help balance my life. I don’t sleep much as it is. 4 am wake ups leave me with an average of four hours of sleep every night.

That being said, I am getting better on staying up to date with my responsibilities. Ugly Judo 102: Kata Garuma is coming soon, but Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari is here now. Visit www.MoroteGariDVD.com now to get your copy.

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Personal
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My life is so exciting. Something new and interesting happens to me everyday. I was watching Beyond The Rings last week. No I do not sit at home and watch myself. I put it on for a friend. I am envious of the person I used to be. I am no longer selfish, nor nearly as focused or motivated for any one thing. I want that back. I will have it.

If you don’t know what I mean, check it out for yourself.

Beyond The Rings

I am back to practice this week, I hope. I will let you know how it goes.

Flavio Canto is The Real Deal

July 18th, 2009

Take a look at this article on Olympic Medalist Flavio Canto. If you have ever met Flavio you know he is one of the most humble and polite people on the planet. I bore witness to him asking Rhadi how he performed his flying armbar at the 2004 Pan American Championships.

Flavio shares his expertise freely. He believes it elevates the level of play and helps maintain a true meritocracy. He does a lot in Brazil for the youth.

I wanted to share this and just give a little shout out to Flavio for doing some amazing things.

Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari is HERE!

July 14th, 2009

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Ugly Judo 101:
Morote Gari
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It is here. Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari is available to all at www.MoroteGariDVD.com…

Dr. Rhadi and I have presented both of our takes on the double as well as the things we learned studying its application in competition in preparation for the Games.

It is the most comprehensive compilation on Morote Gari out there. Despite all the time I spent studying, more was brought to light as we brainstormed for Ugly Judo 101. Here is a little taste of what you can expect.

Liar

July 9th, 2009

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Apologies
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Apparently, I am a big liar. The past three times I have committed to post regularly again, not only have I neglected to do so, but I have disappeared for months on end. I am not a big fan of liars, or those who have a hard time committing to challenges so I cannot accept being one myself.

My self identity is askew, but I will not let it get me down.

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Ugly Judo
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At the end of last month Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari was released to the public. If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, please go and check it out. It is the most comprehensive tutorial on the double to date and includes some tips and tricks that will allow you to execute Morote Gari when you were not able to before.

I myself have not practiced in weeks. I am starting to think my judo career as a competitor is over having been forced into retirement by financial burden. I miss the contact but have been enjoying exercising for other reasons than training.

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Personal
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My daily schedule is exhausting, and despite craving physical contact I have not been able to conjure up the energy or passion to make it to BJJ or judo practice. On a positive note, I have finally taken responsibility for my finances and am making some headway. By some, I mean very little, but I feel better daily.

As it is, I cannot predict when I will be able to return to class. It has almost lost its tangibility. A great change would have to take place in my life for it to take place within a year.

To be optimistic, that may very well happen. I have to be the luckiest person on the planet. Over the past few months my life has been as interesting as it has ever been. Meeting new people and experiencing the most random and exciting things.

Everyday something has changed for the better. I will choose to keep these things private for now, but soon enough…

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Rant
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The things that bother me the most in life… I try to live as independently as possible. When I speak about independence, I am not talking financially, I am talking emotionally. I try my best not to let others actions effect my emotions and effectively, my actions and decisions, but like most, I have my moments and areas of weakness.

The thing which I noticed this week that I had to consciously control my response to is those situations where individuals make decisions about a particular topic without having enough information to make such a decision.

A couple incidents have showed me how much I despise short sighted thought and apparent lack of objectivity and awareness. I am not saying I am the most aware, although I do pride myself on being exceptional. All too often others just don’t take the time or have the patience to consider all factors that play a role.

Do us all a favor and relax.

I am Back

June 24th, 2009

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What’s New
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Although it has been more than a month since my last post, I am still trying to make things happen. I have been spending a lot of time in the gym. Some days are better than others. Somehow there is a direct relationship between time spent and money made in the Personal Training Business. It is both tiring and rewarding. I have also been spending a lot of time in the club, and not so much time on the mat.

I am doing well though. I am currently the fastest ramper to reach full time status in hours/clientele at my location. I am enjoying my job; learning new things, meeting new people and helping them reach their goals.

A week or so ago I took a Kettlebell Certification from Pamela Macelree BS RKC, of Kettlebell Athletics. I was initially skeptical of the value of Kettlebells in an elite athletes training program, partly because I had never touched one until I began working at a Fitness Club, but also because of the somewhat cult like following. Many people fall in love with them and forget about ever other tool in the gym. Although they are not the end all, KB’s have their place in a diverse training program.

The one thing that is without a doubt is that KB’s are fun to use. There are lots of movements with tons of room for creativity. Just the fact that they are able to keep your interest for long periods of time make them great tools for most sedentary people looking to get back in shape and also dislike working out.

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Personal
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For those of you who have been reading Taraje.com for a while, you may remember me writing about my breakup with the young lady who I was with while training for the Games. It didn’t go smoothly. I didn’t really put it behind me for a while. A little more than a month ago I ran into her on a NYC Subway platform.

Needless to say I was a little shocked. I hadn’t seen her since she moved her belongings out of my apartment. We were cordial despite how things ended, made small talk and went our separate ways. It threw me for a bit of an emotional ride for the next 24-48 hours, only to then have the best few weeks of my life. I guess it gave me some sort of closure.

So, I am getting things together. The aftereffects of the Games still show themselves. Now that I have had time to analyze it, I see that the ideals it took me so long to develop in preparation for the Games I now choose not to live by, although not always consciously.

Now that I have identified it I can begin to confront it. I call myself an idealist but I now make decisions out of necessity. I am a little disillusioned by it. I guess it could be considered an identity crisis. Whatever the case may be, despite it taking almost a year just to come to this realization, things are looking up.

Ugly Judo 101: Morote Gari is being released to the public very soon and Ugly Judo 102: Kata Garuma is on its way. I have some big news coming later this week so my next post should be a good one.

I have had some complaints about my disappearance so, here I am. My time is very limited right now so I expect to be able to post 3-4 times a week.

P.S. If you haven’t already started to, follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook. I drop gems. Just search my first name!