Why Everyone Should Train Jiu-Jitsu at Least Once in Their Life: (Part 3) – The old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be.



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Image result for jiu jitsu belts

How long do our bodies last? Can you train into your golden years?

The definition of perpetual motion is, “[T]he motion of a theoretical mechanism that, without any losses due to friction or other forms of dissipation of energy, would continue to operate indefinitely at the same rate without any external energy being applied to it.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

How cool would that be? For anything really, but more specifically for us. For these “Mortal Coils” as Shakespeare’s brain child Hamlet put it, to last forever.

Unfortunately for us God built in a fail-safe. We call it Thermodynamics. Who knows what He calls it.

The first law of Thermodynamics states that matter/energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed. The quantity of matter/energy remains the same. It can change from solid, to liquid, to gas, to plasma and back again, but the total amount of matter/energy in the universe remains constant. Okay, so the energy in a light bulb, is the energy in your iPhone, is the same energy in a turkey sandwich. Is just switches from form to form, place to place, forever into eternity into the far reaches of the universe.

It’s the second law that’s a bummer.

The second law of thermodynamics is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. This is the law that is most important to my point. It states that while quantity remains the same (First Law), the quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time. It’s the basic tendency of a system to break down. For things to fall apart. Hot coffee set out on a counter gets cold. Why? Where does the heat go? The fabric of your favorite pair of jeans wears out. Why? What happens to the molecules that make up the fibers which make up the material? Have you ever dropped a hand full of marbles on a tile floor? Why do they erratically and explosively disperse? Why don’t they just bounce in place forever? Staying uniformed, tidy and perfect. Why do they stop bouncing at all?

Entropy. Entropy is why. The tendency of a system to deteriorate and slow down. Energy disperses and flies off into dark alleys of the Andromeda Galaxy, and things fall apart. Unfortunately the same principle applies to us. We don’t last forever. As we get older this fact becomes more apparent, and more painful.

Injuries are a part of life. You live long enough and you’re going to get hurt. Carrying groceries in from the car, walking down the stairs in the dark in the middle of the night to get a glass of water while you’re still half asleep, heck I’ve thrown my back out picking up a decorative throw-pillow whilst making the bed. True story, don’t tell anyone.

If you’re an active person, let’s say you go to 24 hour fitness and lift and trudge through thirty minutes of cardio twice a week, your chances of injury go up. And if you train and compete in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that “chance” becomes an inevitability, and you are pretty much guaranteed a storied list of ailments to nurse over your career on the mats.

Combat sports are just that… combat. You are using your body to physically subdue, submit, or pummel another human being until they are no longer theoretically a threat.

Age is cruel mistress in this game. As you age in the Jiu-Jitsu world, you get placed on a sliding scale. As your pure testosterone filled, youth driven athletic ability wanes, your earned wisdom and experience increases. The hope is that as you age and train, your intellect advances at the same pace at which your body falls apart and you maintain your level of ability with your teammates. That’s the hope anyway.

As I stated in my earlier posts about Jiu-Jitsu, I didn’t jump into this world until I was thirty years old. By thirty I was already in a constant state of repair. College football did a number on me. Torn rotator, herniated lumber disks, thin meniscus, etc… etc. But I tell you what, I was exponentially more “Peppy” at 30 than I am now at 42.

Since I began my journey I have had:

  1. 1 shoulder surgery (I need another)
  2. A Lumbar Micro-Discectomy on L-4 and L-5 (Probably going to need another at some point)
  3. Full ACL Reconstruction in my right knee + a Meniscus that looks like a shredded piece of notebook paper
  4. 5 dislocated fingers
  5. 1 dislocated toe
  6. A torn calf muscle
  7. 1 popped elbow capsule
  8. Torn ligaments in my right wrist
  9. An uncountable number of bumps, bruises, blisters, bloody lips and noses, and black eyes.

The point is I am never “healthy”, nor will you be if you choose to commit yourself to Jiu-Jitsu. At 30 I could still “Pop”. With adrenaline I could torque my body into unnatural positions and explode out of a bad situation. Now, today, I have had to alter my game a bit.

As you age you must adapt. Your body changes and if you want to continue training into your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and so on, you need to make certain physical concessions.

Everyone says that Jiu-Jitsu is a pride-less sport. In theory yes, that is in the club charter, but in reality we all have a bit of hubris that drives us. We don’t like to lose. We enjoy victory.

When I began Jiu-Jitsu I was a bull. That was my game. I played top. I dreaded being on my back. It made me feel like a helpless upturned tortoise. I was strong, aggressive, fast & quick (there’s a difference) and athletic. I prided myself on smashing people from the top. I ate people’s guards for breakfast. I passed people’s guards and crushed them in side-control. My instructors gave me a nickname that I still go by today. “Passodor”. It’s a fun way to say, “The man who passes” or “The passer man” in Portuguese (I think?). That became my identity. I passed. White-Belt through Purple I passed.

But as I have aged and progressed in my Jiu-Jitsu journey, I have adapted. I’ve had to. Injuries made it necessary. After my shoulder surgery I rehabbed and had to adapt. Now, if I’m on bottom I will simply give up a position and let people pass to my left because I still have no shoulder mobility. I can’t lift it above my head to this day so I protect it. I roll with that in mind now, it’s just second nature. It’s a part of my game. I keep my left arm close to my chest and wait. My right knee has made it near impossible to play any closed guard game, so now I’m an open guard / spider / half guard guy.

But here’s where the pride part comes in. If a person happens to get a hold of my left arm and I can see where they’re going with it, and I think that there may be a chance it’s going to be put into a painful position… I tap. Preemptively. Before they have a chance to finish the move. No pride. I have to.

Basically I’ve had to accept that I will never be a world champion Jiu-Jitsu player. I am a 42 year old hobbyist. I get in to train maybe twice a week if I’m lucky. I have two young sons who now also train, a career that makes training consistently difficult, and a body that screams at me for days after a hard training session.

I let people pass. I have to let people put me in bad situations. I have to let people win. Reason being, I want to be able to walk tomorrow. I want to be able to hold my kids above my head at the park. I’ve had to put Jiu-Jitsu into perspective as I’ve aged.

It is a great workout. It’s fun. It is a place where I can hang out with some good friends I’ve made over the years. It’s a challenging sport where I can still experience a level of the competitiveness that still drives me, and that has pushed me through my high school and college years. I get enjoyment and fulfillment from training.

I am a brown-belt hobbyist Jiu-Jitsu player and if The Lord Jesus allows my body to do it, one day I will be awarded my black-belt. And if that happens I will be eternally grateful and proud of that accomplishment. It will mean that I dedicated over ten years of my life to a sport which I love, and that I was lucky and blessed enough to do something with my body that a very, very, very small percentage of the world’s population are able to do.

So to my aging Jits brothers and sisters out there, keep training. Ice, heat, Advil, repeat. Take the time to properly warm up. Stretch. Listen to your body. Adapt, and simply enjoy the time you are on the mats because it is finite, and you don’t know how long you’re going to be able to do it.

Nick Gerasimou is currently a Brown Belt under Juliano Prado at ‘Total MMA Studios’ in Tustin, CA. He is an author and educator and his works are available on AMAZON.

Purchase his latest novel on AMAZON:


Rejection just punched me in the FACE. Thank you SIR may I have another!? The woes of Self-Publishing.


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The self publishing industry has revolutionized writing. What was once a good-ol-boy’s club where you had to be published to get published, where you needed an agent to get an agent, and you needed to have sales… to generate sales, changed overnight. Now anyone with an idea can share it with the world, with little more than a few hundred dollars and a dream.

While it is true that anyone can now publish a book and put it up for sale on a number of accessible platforms, it does not mean they will sell books. Even if their book is good, or dare I say it… great, chances are they will wallow in the far lonely corners of the sales ranking pool where the knowledge of these fledgling books fades from memory once the fervor of their release fades, and then quietly, meekly, they die. Like trying to climb a greased slide barefoot, the Amazon market-space can be a difficult place to get a foothold.

“Social media will save me,” many think. “I have hundreds of friends / followers, and they’ll all buy my book.” Well… you are half, no 30%, actually about 11% right.

Social media is an excellent tool to market your book in a grassroots, crowdfund-y, organic-word-of-mouth kind of a way. In theory. In practical application, results may vary.

In reality you cannot rely solely on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to sell your book. Post away to your heart’s content, the harsh truth is… people don’t care as much as you’d like them to. To you, it’s your baby. Your heart and soul. To them, it’s a guy they went to high school with twenty years ago asking for their hard-earned money. Mehhh… (disinterested shoulder shrug).

Ouch. I know. Even your Mom. She doesn’t care. No more report card on the fridge for you.

Lets say that you have 1000 friends on Facebook. Man you’re popular. Go you! And let’s say you post about your new book with the link, send direct email messages, create an author page, and post from there, independently. Lets say you saturate your feed with advertisements and then send text messages to everyone in your phone letting them know you’d like their support. Let’s. Just. Say.

Of your 1000 Facebook “friends” the average self-publisher can count on an 11% ROI (return on investment). That’s 110 books purchased by your loyal friends (and God bless the one’s who bought one). Guess what, some of your own family members won’t take the time to click over and hit the ol’ “Buy” button at Amazon. Your own family. Aunt Mary… how could you? Cold-blooded.

The truth is there are a number of reasons people don’t follow through. Some people don’t like to read. I know, crazy right? Others don’t have the time. Some are lazy and tell themselves they’ll do it tomorrow, then life gets in the way and they forget. Some people don’t really like you (eww, right in the feels). Some don’t believe you can write that well, and some just don’t want to fork over the $10. Whatever the reason, that’s the truth.

To truly market your baby, you need to hustle. You need to post. You need to create a buzz. You need to connect with people. You need to explore different avenues. You need to get lucky, and you need to spend money. Nothing is free. NO-THING.

I know this all may sound like my own personal therapy session where I’m working out my past issues, but I promise, I have learned from my mistakes. So, here’s my free advice. (Just kidding you need to go to Amazon and buy “Hidden Steps” Now, Nothing is free. NOTHING!)

  1. Post about your book. Post, post, post. But if you simply spam your feed in a desperate plea for sales people will un-friend, un-follow, and un-like you. As a person. You turn into annoying white noise and are pushed aside. You need to connect with your followers. You need to be engaging and interesting. You need to give them a reason to want to read your words. Start a blog. Post a daily update or fun-fact. Anything to add substance to your reader’s day. Make them want more of you. Set them up with the jab, then when they aren’t expecting it, throw a right cross and smack them right in the face with your link and sales pitch. BAM!
  2. SPEND MONEY. HUSTLE. You cant be cheap, and or lazy and hope to generate sales. You don’t have a multi-million dollar publishing company behind you hocking your book to an established network of brokers, stores, and dealers. Send out free copies to people in the industry you respect. Ask for a review. Buy marketing plans. Try non-traditional methods. Online market places like Fiverr.com offer a global network of marketers (traditional and social media) to open new avenues for you. The best part is you won’t break the bank. Sell copies at book fairs. Make business cards at VISTA-PRINT with your book on them and hand them out to strangers. Write blog posts about how to market your self-published book… wait, what? Who said that?
  3. Don’t give up. If you truly believe in your book don’t quit. You will get rejected. You will hear no. You will have doors slammed in your face. You will cry yourself to sleep in a puddle of salty tears whilst holding a worn copy of your book in your arms like a baby and softly ask your empty room, “why?”. What? Oh, just me. Okay then. Moving on.

My point is. Selling your book and generating a name for yourself is tough. Ultra, mega, bikini-brief made out of sandpaper tough. But it isn’t impossible. Be okay putting yourself out there. Be blunt. Ask people point blank to buy your book. Whats the worst they can say? No? I can handle that. Sure I die a little inside every time I hear it, but they don’t know that. Smile and move on.

So to all of my self publishing brethren out there: keep the faith, keep writing, keep hustling, and… go buy my latest book “Hidden Steps: Behind the Veil.” On Amazon for only $10.95!!! Come on. You’ll like it. I promise. Angels, Demons, Destiny, Action, Battle, and Heart. What’s not to love? Please go pick one up today!

See that wasn’t that hard.

Now go buy one. Seriously. Now. Here’s the link…


Corporate Religion vs. Faith: Subtitle: The Pope, the Whole Pope, and Nothing But the Pope: Sub-Subtitle: My take on Mans place in Christianity.


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So, I know religious division / sects / labeling / denominations / etc, are confusing and frustrating for those who don’t have a faith. They’re also confusing and frustrating for those who do, trust me. Religion is now widely looked at as more of a status symbol or a club affiliation than a relationship with The Almighty Creator.

“I am a Catholic.” Some say. “We are the original faith, 1.2 Billion strong. Revere me.”

“Oh yeah, well IIIIIIII’m a Lutheran. All the taste, half the ceremony.” Other’s retort.

“Well you’re both wrong,” a third religi-sizer interjects, “I’m a Southern-Baptist, Episcopalian, Charismatic, Faith-Healing, Christian-Scientist, with a side of hash browns. Nail that to your church door and smoke it.”

Sadly, I fear many are missing the point. Can’t see the forest through the trees, or maybe more appropriately, can’t see Christ through the stained-glass and incense.

If I had to label myself, I guess I’d say, I’m simply a follower of Jesus Christ, God incarnate whose ultimate once-and-for-all sacrifice made it possible for me to be forgiven for my plethora of continually compounding sins. So you can call me a Christian. I love and believe in Jesus Christ and Him alone. Period.

The reason I’m writing this piece is the fanatic hoopla that has been made over the Pope’s recent and historic visit to the United States. Every news outlet and media service has been focused on his every move. Every facial expression analyzed, every comment debated by political pundits. He dictates the church’s stance on important issues. He says what is forgiven, and what is not. The Pope offers blessings and absolves you from your shameful sins. He is, after all, the leader and head of over one-billion Catholics on planet Earth; is he not?

Is he? Is he really?

Well, my view is no. No he is not. Close your mouth. I know, how could I, right?

The Pope, the position of the Pope, the institution that has been established by the Catholic Church over the last 1600 or so years has been to elevate Men to glory and power using God as a vehicle. The Pope. His holiness. He is simply a man. Like anyone else. He sins just like everyone else. He has impure thoughts just like anyone else. He needs Jesus’s salvation just like anyone else.

He is no closer to God than anyone else. Read the Bible. [F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) It doesn’t say some have sinned. Or most have fallen short. All.

The fact that the “Catholic Church” has established a paradigm wherein a human man is the conduit for a “believer” to communicate with God, receive forgiveness, and “earn” salvation by works, or saying “Hail Marys” or penance, is appalling and directly against what the simple message of Jesus states.

The Pope is a man, and from what I’ve seen more of a politician than anything else. He is purporting to speak for God, enacting His will here on Earth. Again, if you read the scripture and listen to the message Jesus preached you will see that the institution of the Pope sounds eerily similar to the Pharisees and Sadducees which Jesus denounced time and time again.

They were the Jewish religious leaders of the time and they stood in between you and God. They were the only way you could communicate with The Lord. They dictated thousands of laws and regulations that you were required to keep under threat of banishment or ridicule, and they elevated themselves above all of their “parishioners” with an air of superiority, advanced social status, expensive and gaudy robes and adornments, and political power.

Sound familiar? Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.

The truth is we all have a direct connection to God. A Fastpass to the front of the line. The Batphone if you will. All you need do is simply speak to Him. No buffer. No ceremony. No regulations. No ritual. All you really need to do is read the Bible to see that the majority of what occurs in the Catholic Church today is not found in the Scripture. It is nearly two millennia of men adding rituals, and road-blocks, and qualifiers, and restrictions to a relationship with Jesus to ultimately glorify themselves.

The Catholic Church is a business. A big, powerful, corporate business. A business with scratch in the political arena, and with a vested interest in global economics.

Now those raised in the Catholic Faith will be appalled to read this. I’m sure many will have a visceral reaction to hearing THE VICOR OF CHRIST being questioned. That is simply because for many Catholics, it was how they were raised. Its indoctrination at its finest and I get it. How dare I lambaste your Pope? How dare I blaspheme his holiness?

Therein lies the problem. He is not “His Holiness”. He is not holy at all. He is a man. The Lord Jesus is holy. The Lord Jesus is King. The Lord Jesus is in charge. Not Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, the 266th Holy Roman Emperor elected by the papal conclave by means of the College of Cardinals.

The Pope cannot forgive you. Nor can he, for example, forgive women who have had abortions (for only 1 year, act now) as he recently stated. The Lord Jesus does that of His own accord. He doesn’t need any help… Last time I checked, He was God.

So I guess the point of this rant is… Anything that takes your eyes off of Jesus and His simple message of love, relationship, and salvation from your sin… Is not Biblical.

Religion vs. Faith and Relationship. Religion says look at me to see how to reach God. Faith simply takes out the middle man (which is what Jesus preached all along). By the way, when Jesus breathed His final completely mortal human breath on the cross, Jerusalem was rocked by a jarring earthquake, “[A]nd the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38)”. The separation between man and God was torn asunder. No middle man. Its symbolic.

The Pope is a politician. Does he say nice things that are good for the world and the majority of people?


Does he kiss children on the forehead and say beautiful blessings over them?


Is he probably a very nice person who loves God in his own way?


Is he the holy mouthpiece of Jesus Christ whom we must look to for a connection to God?


The joys of dining out with young children: A cautionary tale of woe.




Dining out with two children under the age of three is… stressful. No, that’s not quite right.  It’s more like trying to defuse a bomb set on a short timer, that is pressure and impact sensitive, while wearing a blindfold, during an earthquake…  Yah, that’s better.

I asked my (almost) three-year-old son Nixon, “What do you want for dinner?”

His reply, “Pancakes!”

“You can’t have pancakes for dinner…” I reply in my “Dad tone”.


I stood there looking at my son and I have to say I was impressed by his bravado and defiant determination to basically have cake for dinner. I’ll take credit for the stubbornness in his DNA.

“Okay, fine,” I say. (To the pancakes, not the ice cream. He’s not that good.) Breakfast for dinner it is.

As an aside we had our house tented for termites three days ago and just got back in. Due to the poison that was pumped through our home we had to get rid of our food. So in the moment, where do you get a quick, cheap, breakfast for dinner meal? You guessed it, Dennys!

So, back to my original statement. Dining out with two children under the age of three is… stressful. What many people who don’t have children (Or are so far removed from having young children that they’ve simply forgotten what it was like) fail to realize is that when you are dining out with young children you are on the CLOCK.

I sit in the car, looking at the front door of Dennys. Just taunting me. “Hey, come on in,” it says,  “Have a meal with your kids. Relax. It’ll be easy.”

No. No it won’t, Dennys. You’re a big fat liar, Dennys. I look at both boys in the rear-view mirror. They’re restless. Uneasy. Horizon before a big storm uneasy. I can sense the crankiness lying just below the surface, like a hungry crocodile waiting for an unassuming wildebeest to take a sip from a murky riverbank.

I get them out of the car and we start to walk the green mile towards the restaurant.

“Dead man walkin’,” yells an elderly man in plaid pants and red suspenders as we pass him on our way in. Not really, he actually said hello and held the door open for us. We are quickly sat in a booth, the high chair is disinfected with wipes and filled with a fussy ten-month-old with a very short attention span.

Now, as soon as butts hit vinyl, time becomes very precious. Every moment counts. Seconds matter, people! Seriously. My children have an about (depending on the time of day, alignment of the planets, and how close we are from, or coming up on a nap) a twenty, to twenty-two and a half minute shelf-life in a restaurant. Seconds… count.

“Hi how are we today?” “Oh look little ones! How old are they?” “Would you like to start with an appetizer? Drinks?”

Things all well-meaning servers say. She doesn’t sense my urgency. She fails to see the stress on my face. By this point my oldest, Nixon, has taken the saltshaker and poured the entirety of its contents into a powdery pyramid in the middle of the table. As he laughs at his granulated masterpiece he kicks off both of his flip-flops and tells me he has to go pee-pee (he’s potty trained). I look at our server with a defeated sigh and tell her I’d like an iced tea, water and milk for Nixon, and she turns away to get the drinks. Uhh-uh. Get back here!

“NO WAIT!” I yell in a hushed, inside-voice church tone. “I need (not want, or would like… NEED) to order. She looks slightly put out that I’m throwing off her well oiled Dennys order taking routine but she begrudgingly obliges.

Lincoln starts to scream.

I put a spoon in his hand to divert his attention. He gags himself… badly. Its gross.

Nixon informs me that he will only eat “Cookie Ice Cream”, over, and over, and over.

I order pancakes and eggs for my son. He hears me order and promptly offers his protest in the form of a high-pitched squeal that only dogs and bats can hear (Just kidding, everyone in the restaurant heard it! Ha ha… ha… *laughter slowly fizzles out into an embarrassed chuckle… then tears).

Lincoln throws the spoon he’s been gagging himself with towards our server. She simply looks at it on the floor, then back at me. I sigh and blink for a really long time.

“Ill be right back with your drinks.”

Ten minutes in.

Nixon starts to cry.

Lincoln, not wanting to be left out joins in.

I turn to little Link to try to entertain him and Nixon takes the opportunity to grab hold of the sugar packet container near him and he makes it rain.

He laughs. Then screams because he wants to get up. I don’t let him, which only serves to push him to find more creative methods of escape. What’s that you say? Why yes, he did try to wiggle under the table. I hook him with one of my legs as I take an entire napkin out of Lincoln’s mouth. Where did he get a napkin? How?

Sixteen minutes in.

I look up. A rush of hope flows over me. Food! Our glorious food!

We eat, quickly. Nixon chokes on a pancake. Lincoln paints himself in eggs and the blended peas I brought for him.

We finish. Our server takes FOR-EV-ER to bring our check.

Time to leave. Thirty minutes in.

I pick up Lincoln and brush and wipe him off as best I can whilst blocking Nixon in the booth with my hip. He slips past and starts doing hot-laps around the room, garnering cheers from many of the elderly patrons, which only serves to excite him more. He turns on the afterburners.

While clamping Lincoln to my hip, I chase my feral child down. I pick him up by the waist band of his pants and carry him extended from my face like one would hold a rabid ferret, to the cash register. I pay and Nixon sees the “Claw Grabber” toy machine by the front door. Hatred flows through my veins and I think very bad thoughts about the manager that thought it would be a good idea to put that cursed machine so close to my escape route.

He. Loses. His. Ever-loving. Mind.





We’re outside.



Kick Dad in the chest.

Arch unnaturally like they’re possessed by a demon as to make it impossible to buckle the bottom clasp.

Click. Click. Click.

The boys are locked in their car seats. I shut the door and just stand in the silence. Eye’s closed I just inhale and soak in the nothingness of outside. I may have cried a little, I’m not sure. When I open my eyes I am looking directly at a middle-aged couple that are caught mid-laugh. They are laughing at me. The man gives me a knowing nod and they head into the restaurant.

I’m not sure what the point of this story was now that I’m at the end of it. I guess maybe just some comfort for people out there that no, you’re not the only one who’s kids act like that. I feel your pain, and I’m sure many of you out there can relate.

And maybe some advice for those in the hospitality industry. If you see a parent flying solo with young children, give the guy a break and expedite things along. Twenty-Two and half minutes fly’s by pretty quickly.

Nick Gerasimou is a father of two, author, blogger, and teacher based out of South Orange County, Ca.

Copyright 2019 V. Nicholas Gerasimou

Why everyone should train Jiu-Jitsu at least once in their life: (Part 2) -Big Brother Syndrome and Other Things I Was Wrong About-


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In the animal kingdom, many of our undomesticated four-legged friends live and operate in a pack based society. It is basically a tiered hierarchy of power and dominance that delegates the weaker, smaller, and for the most part, younger members of the pack further down the proverbial totem-pole. For anyone who has a younger sibling of the same gender, you get this concept. You understand that without that preordained system the world would just crumble into anarchy. Without the younger sibling willfully accepting his role as the second, chaos would reign. Markets would crash, society as we now know it would be irrevocably altered and a new dark age would be ushered in where up is down, right is wrong and the nuclear family falls apart. Dogs and cats… living together… MASSHYSTERIA!

Sorry (*clears throat, smooth’s out ruffles on shirt and collects himself). As I was saying, as young children, my brother Dean and I had a clearly established relationship. I was the big brother. Period. There you go. Goodnight everybody.

What did that mean you ask? Well, it meant that I, for the most part, got my way. I dictated what we did, who went first, where we sat, the video-games we played (I was ALWAYS player #1… AL-WAYS), the music we listened to and the television shows we watched. Early on in our lives this dynamic was based on physical realities. I am four years older than Dean. At six and ten, or eight and twelve I had a distinct size advantage on the poor kid, and I exploited every ounce of power that afforded me. A foot taller and fifty-pounds heavier goes a long way to winning a “his hand is on my side of the backseat during a long car-ride” or a “he touched me first” argument.

As we grew and the size differential began to equalize, I developed and maintained a Herculean strength advantage which I coupled with a Machiavellian game of psychological warfare that would’ve cracked the most hardened of detainees at Guantanamo. I was the Alpha of our little pack.

(Another aside: I was horrible to him growing up. I could blame a plethora of contributing factors from my childhood, but that doesn’t change the fact that I broke his hand, gave him seven stiches over his left eye and made him cry buckets of salty adolescent tears. Just know that I’ve since apologized, and taken to explaining my motives and such, bit-by-bit. Love you Dean, smooches and hugs, your big-bro, Nick)

Then a strange thing happened. We grew up. I blinked and we had both graduated from college, We both had careers, student loans, and our first gray hairs. Dean and I were close. Much of the tit-for-tat bickering had simply faded away with time and we were left with a friendship.

One day when I was about twenty-eight Dean tells me that he and a few of his friends had started training Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) at this gym up in Irvine and that he loved it. I shrugged and kind of dismissively acknowledged what he’d said.

“Cool,” I think was my heart-felt reply. “It’s kind of like the thing where you roll around on the floor with other guys while you wear pajamas?” I said with a small smirk.

I was met with a flat disapproving stare. Apparently my particular brand of humor was lost on him, “No.”

He proceeded, with limited success, to try to explain to me the finer points of BJJ.

“What if I punch you in the face?” I asked. He was silent for a moment as he pondered my quandary. At the time he was a White Belt with a few stripes. He knew A LOT more than the average person but was relatively speaking, still in his Jiu-Jitsu infancy.

“You wouldn’t be able to,” came his reply.

“Why not?”

“You may get a shot in, but then I would kill you,” he answered.

“Kill me?”

“Yah, I’d choke you out or break your arm.”

Well this… I had to see. He was so smug. So confident. Had he forgotten where he was on the totem pole? Why was he smiling?

ABORT! ABORT! IT’S A TRAP! But alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well. (I had a bet with myself that I could work Shakespeare into this. And… done!)

So, in our childhood bedroom at our parents’ house, the room that we used to share with the bunk-beds (of course I had the top bunk) wayyyy back when I was the Alpha, my baby brother and I got into an impromptu submission wrestling match. Suffice it to say, it did not follow the same script that it used to when we were kids.

My bravado instantly dissolved when my pulling and pushing resulted in next to no movement from my “much too calm for the present situation in my opinion” brother. Dean had somehow transformed himself into an Easter Island Statue and had been instantly superglued to the floor. We traded headlocks and I rolled onto my back. Then the fun began. All of my adrenaline fueled power was simply negated by whatever Black-Magic-Brazilian-Voodoo my little brother was now into. He felt like he weighed a metric ton and no matter what I tried I could not get him off of me.

I played college football darn-it! Back in Junior College I blocked Marcus Steele so well that he actually tried to fight me, and then took himself out of the game and switched the side he rushed from because he couldn’t get to my quarterback (That’s my football claim to fame. For those of you who don’t know, he went on to be a standout linebacker at USC and then played in the NFL for a bit).

I am a little claustrophobic. Being smothered and slowly choked to death is kind of low on my list of daily to-do’s. Panic flooded my brain. I’ve never felt so helpless before. I was completely at the mercy of my baby brother, whom I had so ruthlessly tormented for, oh… I don’t know, most of his life. I tapped. Then tapped again. Then, yup you guessed it, a third time when my elbow felt like it was going to pop out of joint.

I called it quits. We quietly sat there looking at each other, sweat dripping from our brows in thin streams. Something deep and profound had just happened. We both felt it. The student had become the teacher, the Omega was now the Alpha, the kernel was now the pop-corn (I don’t think that last analogy worked).

“Pretty cool stuff huh?” Dean asked with a smile.

Morpheus had just told me that I had been living in the Matrix and if I wanted to, I could choose to learn about a whole new world. The world of BJJ. Well I was hooked.

My first class was a brutal awakening into a world I’ve truly grown to love.

Nick Gerasimou is currently a BJJ Brown-Belt under Juliano Prado, at Total MMA Studios / BTT OC in Tustin CA.

Why everyone should train Jiu-Jitsu at least once in their life: (Part 1)


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Is 30 old? When I was 15 it wasn’t even a question. Yes. Yes, 30 is old. Dinosaur old. Like Great-Grandma listening to George Washington sell 8-track-tapes on the transistor radio during the Civil-War old (you may have to fact-check me on that one). But now, looking back at 30 from wayyyyy up here in the nosebleeds at 36, I can tell you no. No, it’s not. Not even close to old. Now… fifty, that is old. (*Make mental note: In 14 years write a scathing editorial about how 36 year old Me, was a short-sighted condescending young punk). So, 36 isn’t exactly young, but it is definitely not old.

What I have noticed is that things seem to take a little longer to heal when I ding them. Ligaments and tendons are less forgiving. It seems that the cartilage in my knees is now more like wet construction paper than reinforced industrial rubber. Violent, explosive movements carry a higher price-tag than they used to. I actually have to weigh the potential icepick in my joint soreness that “Future-Tomorrow-Nick” will have to endure, that 20 year-old Nick would have done without a second thought or any negative repercussions, when I am about to do something athletically spectacular.

Is 30 old? No. But 30 is when I made the decision to start training BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Looking back with salt-and-pepper haired wisdom, with more than over half-a-decade of training under my belt, I wish I had started earlier in my life. What was I doing in my 20’s that was so darned important? Curls? The elliptical? Reverse grip barbell curls so the veins in my forearms would really stand out when I walked down the beach? Sheesh. I want to go back in time and choke that kid out (Also to tell him to stop checking himself out in the mirror and flexing. What an absolute tool).

If only I knew then what I know now. Like my Grandmother used to say, “If, If’s and but’s, were candy and nuts, you’d be a black-belt by now.” At least I think that’s what she used to say. Maybe not. My point is I look at the young guys in my gym today, guys in their 20’s flipping, spinning, arching, flying… and I cringe. I cringe because I just think about how bad my back, or shoulder, or knee, or how now I have this thing with my left hand where it feels like someone is taking a ball-peen hammer and smashing my metacarpals to powder whenever I make a fist, would hurt if I still trained like that.

Then I look at the really young kids and laugh. They are so goofy. They just roll around and have fun and play. The instructors have to make training like a game for them to keep their attention. And it works. And they have a ball. I can’t wait to get my boys in there. But the question I always circle back to and ponder is, where would I be if I started training when I was 6? With three decades of discipline and instruction and Jiu-Jitsu culture. Well, unfortunately for me that wasn’t a possibility.

I grew up in Southern California in the 80’s and came of age in the 90’s. When I was five I sat in awe and watched as Ralph Macchio took on the entire Cobra Kai Dojo, and Crane-kicked his way into the pop-culture lexicon, in The Karate Kid. Deliberate sideways Karate-chops thrown with emphatic, “HIE-YAH”’s were the weapon of choice when battling a foe on the playground.

Everyone you knew had a Brian Williams-esque story (too soon?) about how a while ago, before they moved there (wherever “there” was) and you knew them, they took Karate for a few years and they were almost a black-belt before they had to quit. We all wanted nun-chucks and did our best to build our own elementary school do-it-yourself versions. PVC pipes with a rope, two sticks with a chain screwed to the end of each, or if you were in a pinch you’d grab some forgotten snowflake Christmas wrapping paper, remove the cardboard tube, break that bad-boy over your knee… and voila!

Now I am a tad-bit too young to have seen “Way of the Dragon” at the time of its debut, but Bruce Lee fighting Chuck Norris may have caused a tear in the martial arts space/time continuum. Later in the 80’s Mr. Norris kicked and shot his way through “Missing in Action” and “Delta Force”, and paved the way for the plethora of bulging bicep-ed, kick-throwing, one-line snipping action heroes of the 90’s. But in 1988, The Muscles from Brussels Jean-Claude Van Damme, starred in what I consider to be one the greatest no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts fight movies of all time, “Bloodsport”.

(As an aside: In 1993 when I saw Royce Gracie choke his way through UFC 1 in what I at the time, called Karate Pajamas, I was in awe because one of my favorite movies had just been brought to life.)

That was how I saw Martial Arts. Flashy kicks, and snapping punches thrown in blinding combinations too quick for the eye to see. Whenever you hit someone, Indiana Jones would snap his whip through a two-by-four off-camera. At least that’s how it sounded. The bad guys would always win in the beginning, but then after a severe beating, our hero would gain a powerful, righteous second wind and finish the fight with a dramatic strike that was framed just right for the screen. So went the 90’s, and I left that decade feeling that I had a pretty establish spot on the physical toughness “I can win a fight” hierarchy. I was so horribly misinformed.

Now physically, I am a bigger person. Have been my entire life. I played football in college and excelled at competitive power-lifting. My father was a professional bodybuilder and I literally grew up in a gym. I was raised to believe that the stronger and bigger you were, the tougher you were, the more people you could potentially beat up in a fight. At a touch under six-feet tall and depending on the day, I floated around two-hundred and thirty pounds (still do), I felt pretty confident in my abilities. I got into a few scuffles in college (mostly with drunk idiots), and I bounced at a few nightclubs to earn some extra cash once football season ended. I was tough I tell you. Tough.

I wouldn’t learn how truly un-tough I was until close to a decade later in my life when I began my martial arts journey. But the story of my BJJ beginnings is a story for another time. Stay tuned.

Nick Gerasimou is currently a BJJ Brown-Belt under Juliano Prado, at Total MMA Studios / BTT OC in Tustin CA.

When God smacks you up-side the head.

I sent a friend a text today. Why’d I send it? I guess it was because he was on my mind. Honestly, it was because I happened to hear John Williams’ brilliant score for Raiders of the Lost Ark on the radio while I was groggily driving to work sipping on my artificially flavored hazelnut coffee. My friend is a “Raiders” fanatic and, on a side-note, was actually a large part of recent remake of the film that has received a good deal of press. You should check it out.

Anyway, I heard the score, he popped into my mind, and then God smacked me up-side the head and I felt compelled to check on him. Just like that. (Chris) – {not his real name} had recently made the glorious decision to start a relationship with Jesus Christ and accept Him as his Savior. Back when Chris made the choice, he called me and we spoke about it. He kind of used me as a religious sounding board for his feelings, and I was more than happy to have the conversation. My point is, I text him this morning to check and see how his “walk” was going. That’s what we Christians call a relationship with God, your “walk”.

Okay, so why am I telling you about this? It was what I text him; the way I phrased it. I actually said, “God smacked me up-side the head”. The reason that jumped out at me was the fact that, that particular phrase, (God smacked me up-side the head) is not constructed out of the proper, universally accepted “Christain-ese” dialect.

I was supposed to say, “The Lord Jesus has put it on my heart to text you brother.” He put it on my heart. He gently placed it on my soul like a lily-white feather, plucked from an angel’s wing, majestically floating down from heaven. We speak about Jesus in soft, delicate, reverent, hushed-tones. When many people pray they knee-jerkingly insert the titles LORD-GOD, JESUS, and GOD into their prayers every few words like a religious verbal tick. It’s kind-of what you’re supposed to do. The more you use the lingo, the more religious you appear to be.

Now I’m not judging my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who choose to act in this manner. A genuine heart, is a genuine heart and only God knows who owns one. I say this because many people (I’m talking about myself and the people who I’m optimistically pretending act and think like me) are subject to reverse discrimination for not speaking in proper “Chrsitian-ese”.

I know Jesus is a loving, tender, gentle, forgiving God. I’ve experienced His love. I experience His love on a daily basis. But I also see God as a powerful force of nature. Well, He created nature, so… I hope you get my point. I see Him as a conqueror. A stern parent. A violent protector. Read the Old-Testament sometime. Entire cities, wiped off the face of the Earth. Groups and races of people who threatened His message or chosen group, gone. Plagues, pestilence, fire and brimstone. “What’s that Jonah, you don’t want to do your job and warn the Ninevites like I told you to? How about you spend three days as a whale-snack until you learn your lesson?” (I may have paraphrased a bit)

I see pieces of my Dad in God. I also see fragments of God in my Dad. I think Jesus loves me enough to take off the kid-gloves and treat me like a rebellious misbehaving teenager when I need it (which is a lot, by the way). I also think it’s okay to talk about Him as such. God smacked me up-side the head. Yah, that’s exactly what it felt like. I heard the song, Chris crossed my mind, then my laziness took over and I almost just went on with my day. Oh no, no, no young man. SMACK!

I literally can’t tell you how many open-handed high-fives my father has delivered to the back of my skull over the years. Maybe there are too many to count. It’s quite possible the repeated, mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injuries have made my memory a little fuzzy. Either way, when I got a smack it immediately snapped my attention away from whatever I had incorrectly deemed important, and refocused my priorities on the task at hand. Well, the feeling is very similar when I get one from The Lord. I stop what I’m doing, sigh, soak in conviction for a moment, and then refocus my energies where He wants, and or, needs them to be.

So, I am grateful that when I’m being difficult or misbehaving, my Lord Jesus loves me enough to rough me up a bit. A smack to the head, a deliberate index-finger flick to the middle of my brow, or sometimes I can actually feel Him giving me a condescending, “Really… REALLY?” look when I’m being an idiot. No joke, I can feel it.

The point of all this was, Jesus is your God, your Father, and your Friend. And depending on what context you are talking about Him in, I believe it’s okay to use vocabulary that accurately depicts how you feel He deals with you, without fear of being viewed as a blasphemer or disrespectful.

I’m also just really glad I sent Chris that text.

Hidden Steps: Behind the Veil is now available on Amazon.

I’m so excited to announce that my latest novel, “Hidden Steps: Behind the Veil” is available on Amazon!

In it I explore the concepts of fate, predestination, the supernatural, and God’s ultimate plan. We follow a young man through a year of his life. During that year he travels from a life of sin and disbelief, to a relationship with God and a willingness to play a part in God’s grand design. We watch the protagonist seemingly stumble blindly through a wild, violent, and troubled period of his life. Danger and life-threatening situations are the norm, as are seemingly impossible and unbelievable events that he has trouble explaining away. I then retells each chapter from a new perspective; that of the angelic and demonic beings that are locked in an ancient battle for our destiny. The reader gets a glimpse of the epic conflicts, and the planning that go into carrying out God’s plan. At the end we see that the random things we experience everyday may not be so random after-all.