I had been pleasantly fooled, too, because a few of my good friends around me knew about it but I certainly did not. Even Sasha and Nalu were already up in the mezzanine watching the promotions and my old man vision couldn't see them up there.
After getting the belt, I was asked to say a few words and but didn't want to be one of those guys that stood up there and talked forever either, so I kept it short.
My memory about this sort of thing is pretty good though, I always like to give props. I could probably point at most of the guys I trained with and tell you what they taught me, even the slightest detail of hand/foot/hip placement to refine a technique. Guess I could go on for quite a long story here, so I'll save it and just tell you a few things about the people in these photos I have.
|From the left: Leo, who was promoted to purple belt. He was a long time wrestler and taught me ways to survive a scramble and strengthen my guard. Sensei Kevin for, well, practically everything! haha, I mean, come on, Kevin's a fucking monster and it's amazing to see him roll with a roided-out Brazilian Hulk and give'um da bizness! Something I hope to do when my technique catches up. Then all the way on the right, Ziggy, who also got promoted to purple belt, with an open guard that I strive to have. Early on, Zigg's was the first guy to teach me ude garami/kimura and showed me how to look for "open elbows" to grab a kimura grip whenever possible from guard.|
|Wish I had a photo of Ben Fesagaiga. Hapa Samoan guy with relatives in Laie, Oahu (who woulda guessed! haha). Ben's a yoked-out,tough triathlete sole' that is solid as a tree trunk and as strong as an ox. I'm glad he has a sense of humor because if not, I should've stopped my fun & games a long time ago.|
I guess Ben and Sensei Kevin got to talking about my promotion... and Ben donated his own personal Kauai Kimonos belt for me. I was truly flattered not only for the perk of getting noted for my progress, but a fucking choice belt thats got "CHOKE EM OUT" on it!
Also want to thank all the rest of the coaches and training partners there. Horse and 'Sly Mongoose' Tony for dealing with my repeated requests to drill dumb shit they can do in their sleep. And more recently, Mike Lee for giving me tips on guard passing and subtle finishes to triangles with my short legs. I have no excuses now!
Last but not least, mahalos to Mark "Full" Nelson, Brawny, Stevie, Jose, Sinners SoCal, Milwaukee, Sweden, Nomads. SFFS.
And, uh, my back still hurts from straining it on Wednesday night!