Tag Archives: heroes

Amazing Gracie

20 Feb

As I descended the stairs, the hostile man in front of me turned around and spit on my shoes with no provocation. There was no reasoning with him. It was clear that he wanted to fight. This was a familiar situation, and I knew what I had to do in order to neutralize him after having a one-on-one with the one of the world’s greatest not but two days ago.

“I’ve only had one lesson. I need to go back. Looks like I can only use what I know. Is it enough?!”

I distanced myself, readied my hands and body, and has he rushed in…

I woke up in my bed room.

There was no cold sweat nor was there fear but rather a desire to learn more from these guys:

Ryron Gracie (left) and Rener Gracie (right)

Kristal surprised me with a late birthday gift and was able to arrange a private Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson (BJJ) between me and one of the best-in-class Gracie brothers, Ryron (he-ron) at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, CA.

Ryron Gracie

All within an hour, Ryron taught me practical defenses and offenses to keep myself sustained in a street fight. It was also made clear that when people want to fight, I have few options:

  1. Run

  2. Get beat up

  3. Control the fight

Rolling with Ryron

There is no telling how good I would be at #3, but I would like to improve. After waking from my dream, I remember feeling a deep need to learn more BJJ, especially with all of the bullying and unpredictability in the world. Kristal and I even talked about doing this together after the wedding, and we agreed that when we do, we would know where to go.




Mother’s Touch

17 Jun

This morning, as my mother and I crossed paths in a hallway at home, she took each of my hands into hers, looked me in the eyes and said

You inspire me to keep going.

Before I could even think, I felt myself smile as my eyes filled with tears.

As we continued to hold hands in the middle of the hallway, we prayed for our family.



22 Sep

Two shows that I fell in love with this past decade, well at least the first two seasons of each, were The WB’s Smallville and NBC’s Heroes. It is safe to say that what captivated me and my peers was not only the intriguing characters and relevant plot twists, but also the strive for these extraordinary people to live a normal family life.

For example in Smallville, Clark Kent, in his adolescence always counted on his earth family for values and difficult decisions in his life. In Heroes, Claire Bennet, the indestructible cheerleader played by Hayden Panettiere, had to deal with balancing out her high school experiences, her life’s purpose, and role in her family. Keep in mind that she’s just one of the many in that show that had to learn to keep the family together while having superhuman abilities.

So why did I disconnect after two (and a half) seasons? There are a few reasons I can say, but the underlying reason is that both shows slowly drifted away from the concept of family, and the struggle that comes with keeping harmony in the family. Smallville started to jump on the “Sex Sell” bandwagon and also introduced cheesy superhero costumes, and Heroes went in a million directions with their character development, failing to tie loose ends.

I’m looking forward to next Tuesday as ABC is premiering a new series about a family of super heroes where the focus of the show is to stress the importance of…yes that’s right…FAMILY. While the definition of family has changed over the years, I’m glad there are still writers out there instilling its value.
Here’s the pilot trailer for ABC’s No Ordinary Family:

I’m hoping this show doesn’t deviate too far from its original intent.

I have always been a huge fan of 80′s and 90′s family sitcoms like The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Full House, Family Matters, Home Improvement, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the like. These shows had substance and humor, and they brought up everyday family conflict that empathized with kids and adults across America. I have to admit that it was tough to sit through some of the sappy piano moments when the apologies and regret were thrown around, but in reality, I believe that’s what everyone strives for in their lives especially in their family: harmony.

REAL QUICK: Though I gave up during season 3 and 4, I’m happy to know that they’re finally putting an end to Smallville this 10th season (that’s right: 10th), but Heroes didn’t even get a proper burial. NBC just cancelled the show after last season (It’s 4th I believe).

Human 1.0

3 May

Five major influences of my upbringing and ongoing:

  1. My parents
  2. Mr. Rogers
  3. Church
  4. School
  5. Hip-hop culture

The first four may be up there for obvious reasons, but hip-hop culture has exposed me to elements of expression such as  rhyming, dancing, and even fashion, all of which I still participate in today. When I was 4 years-old, Run DMC was on Reading Rainbow rapping and telling kids how cool it is to read and learn.  I wanted to be like them.

Hip-Hop Influence


The College Dropout (2004)

In 2003, I heard Kanye West’s first single as a rapper Through the Wire. There was something about the lyrics and conviction of the song that made me believe that he was far above what was currently popular and different from anything I have ever heard (probably because he did the whole song with his jaw wired shut).

The next two singles All Falls Down and Jesus Walks from his first album The College Dropout showed transparency and even a bold belief in Jesus. I listened to the rest of the album and officially became a fan.

Throughout the years Kanye found himself in political, musical, and other public controversy. His music evolved, and I loved it. His attitude changed, and it made me grind my teeth or sigh deeply.

Today, I don’t know what to think about Mr. West. He recently cancelled a huge tour this past Fall 2009 as he explained that he needed to do some “soul searching.”

We’re at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all, we’re at war with ourselves.

- Kanye West (in Jesus Walks 2004)

I wish Kanye the best and also hope that Jesus does walk with him just as he had hoped before.

B.o.B aka BOBBY RAY:

B.o.B presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010)

With the rap game and mainstream music flooded with auto-tuned club-bangers, B.o.B has brought a refreshing vibe of what hip-hop used to sound like. My peers have compared him to Andre 3000 of Outkast and Ludacris. I confidently agree. B.o.B’s album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray shows true talent compared to the music out right now. He collaborates with musicians and artists outside of hip-hop while staying true to its roots. He sings ballads, plays instruments, and can even be “‘hood” when he wants being from Atlanta and all.

I’ve been telling my friends that B.o.B is exactly what the game needs. His release into the music world struck a nerve in me as it was the same sensation and relief I felt when Kanye first arrived on the scene. However, knowing what has happened to Kanye so far, I fear what may become of B.o.B.

You can listen to his album and read his lyrics at his official site.

But look it’s plain to see
Aint nothing in this game gon’ be changing me
I’ma always be B – o to the B me me

-B.o.B (in Fame)

B.o.B is among the few artistic inspirations in my life right now.

I’ve looked up to a lot of people in my life, placing them on pedestals. Eventually, they fell, and if they haven’t fallen yet, they soon will one way or another.

LESSON LEARNED: Stop putting people on pedestals. They probably wouldn’t want to be on one anyway, and if they did, that should be a huge RED FLAG about their character.

People, materials, and situations will let you down in life, heroes and all. Does this give us an excuse to pre-judge or assume the worst in them? No way. Think about all the times people have given you another chance after screwing up BIG TIME. Remember how embarrassed and humbled you felt? It’s ok.

Despite our upbringing and inspirations, we all fall down.


This is what it means to be human.

Pass it on.