Tag Archives: Jiu Jitsu

The Pride of Bloomfield

by Kate

Once upon a time, my brother Rob met a very tall young man from far away California who read the poems of Pablo Neruda in Spanish, played the electric guitar, talked a blue streak, and went to mass on a regular basis.

Hmmn, thought Rob. I know a tall harp playing fast talking girl that this guy might want to meet.

And so, flagrantly violating the Guy Code, Rob introduced his new friend to his big sister… and the rest was history.

Obviously, Rob approved of this tall young man. In fact all five of my brothers approve of my now husband far more than they approve of me. But that didn’t mean that they went entirely easy on him.

Oh, testosterone. It’s a strange and potent thing. It was definitely testosterone that prompted my husband-to-be to challenge my oldest brother Gabe, who had been bodybuilding as a hobby for years, to a wrestling match at his bachelor party two nights before our wedding. To prepare for this epic and dangerous match, my future husband began to dabble in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a couple months before the wedding arrived. Now, two months of jiu jitsu is not really ample preparation for a slender musician to grapple with a testosterone crazed former bar brawler with the physique of a young ox, but somehow he made it through the fight alive, though narrowly escaping with both eyes, as Gabe wasn’t adequately prepared for the relatively civilized world of MMA, where eye gouging is not allowed. In the end, my now husband survived the fight, got the girl, and went on to pursue a serious study of Jiu Jitsu, earning his blue belt last year.

and ensuring that his brother-in-laws now have no interest in grappling with him, ever again. That’s ok. He’s got lots of other guys to grapple with.

The reason I’m telling you this story today is that my husband is not only a great husband, father, musician, teacher and blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu- he’s also a talented aspiring film-maker, and today marks the debut of his recent short film about a local MMA fighter named Mark Cherico. Mixed martial arts may not be your favorite subject in the world, and it’s certainly not mine, but I found this piece beautiful and strangely engrossing. It’s also a great homage to the Italian neighborhood of Bloomfield, where I spend much of my time at an amazing dance studio. If you’ve got 8 minutes to spare, do yourself a favor and watch Casey’s debut film. You won’t regret it. Without further ado, here is the link:

The Pride of Bloomfield: Mark Cherico Pro Debut

The Mexican Mohawk Mullet

by Kate

This was the Easter of the Mullet.

Let me explain. My husband is a man of many talents- teacher, musician, fire-knife dancer, and aspiring mixed martial arts legend. Sadly he refuses to reprise his youthful days as a strolling six foot five half Mexican mariachi for me, but I have (mostly) accepted this fact. Instead, this year he has devoted himself to excellence in two of his passions. The first is his work as a high school religion teacher. The second is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the full gamut of mixed martial arts encompassing grappling, judo, muy thai, and sambo among others. The passion for MMA was an important component in the Mullet Adventure.

Casey’s mother is from Mexico, and as a fighter he is inspired by the fiery Mexican Bantamweight Miguel “Angel” Torres.

I think you can see where I am going here. Yes, the power of the Mexican mo-mullet appears to propel Miguel Torres to the heights of victory.

As Casey headed into the home stretch of the school year, he thought that perhaps a dignified hint of a Mexi-mullet might inspire him to greatness in the classroom.

But how, you ask, how is it possible to obtain a dignified religion teacher head of hair with a faint yet powerful hint of a mohawk mullet? No problem! This has been done before. The first time Casey dreamed of this hairstyle, I initially made an appointment at a chic local salon catering to the uberstylish. Then, on my walk home through the neighborhood my eye fell upon the friendly little salon on the main street, almost directly under the apartment where we lived throughout our first year of married life. I realized that the women in this salon were world class experts at the dignified mullet, having been giving them nonstop for the past twenty five years or so. One or two even sported mulletish styles themselves. I canceled the first appointment and made a new one with the down home main street ladies. Everything went smoothly. Casey came out looking sharp with a hint of that fierce mullet of power feeling.

Given this previous experience, it is not surprising that he went back for a repeat experience. This time though, as he relaxed in the chair flanked by blue haired Lawrenceville ladies in curlers, he suddenly felt a bit… bare. He opened his eyes, looked into the mirror, and blinked. Then he asked “You are doing a mullet, not a mohawk…. right?” The beautician gasped, realizing her mistake. Sadly, it was too late. Casey had moved beyond power mullet into some sort of cross between an Aztec warrior and a skunk.

Yes, that is one glorious Mexican mane. To be honest, it still did look quite a bit like Miguel Torres. Miguel, Champion Bantamweight:

Casey. Champion.

I think you will agree though that it was not quite appropriate for a high school religion teacher.

The solution lay up the hill in Italian neighborhood of Bloomfield, in a manly blue and white and red barbershop with a real barbers pole out front. It was so manly that Casey forbid me to enter, but I glanced in the window several times while strolling past and felt confident that Casey was in the right hands. The place was full of men and had an air of clean, military precision.

Forty five minutes later, he emerged a new man, and a respectable citizen again.

But if you look closely you will see that the hint of a Mexican power mo-mullet is still there.

It is my hope that the power will carry him through the end of the school fighting, er, teaching like a champion.