We have been up in Mammoth for over two weeks now and our stay is coming to an end so much faster than I would have wished, but I have the Burning Man expedition and it looks like Cindy has a job coming up.
What made this visit so different than ones in the past was how long we've been able to be here. Usually we're up for an extended weekend at best. We're usually up here in the winter which as one can imagine is an entirely different experience.
It has been amazing to really begin to get a feel for the place. And the good news is that with every day it just keeps getting better. This is exciting and relevant because we have talked about getting a place in Mammoth for several years. First as a second home or vacation pad, but now we are looking at Mammoth being our base, to where we return to after work and life adventures.
With that in mind, we have been exploring things like the farmers market and the health food store, as well as yoga classes and local gyms and ....
I have been studying Brazilian jiujitsu on and off now for around 15 years. I gave it up for 4 years and when I started back up again I realized how much I loved it, how central to my being it is and now know that I will probably be doing it for as long as I am physically able, hopefully into my 70's. Yes there are people who still get in there and train and roll in that ripe old age, I hope to be that fortunate.
Speaking of that, I have had the honor to have trained with and rolled with the legendary Dan Inosanto many years back who continues to train, teach and learn well into his 70's, much respect and admiration out to him. Ran across this while researching/putting together this post:
Poem by Guro Dan Inosanto
We are all climbing different paths through the mountain of life, and we have all experienced much hardship and strife. There are many paths through the mountain of life, and some climbs can be felt like the point of a knife. Some paths are short and others are long, who can say which path is right or wrong? The beauty of truth is that each path has its own song, and if you listen closely you will find where you belong. So climb your own path true and strong, but respect all other truths for your way for them could be wrong. - Dan Inosanto
It is the Journey
A little rambling, I admit, which brings me to the point and focus of this post. I found a place to practice BJJ up here in Mammoth. It's at the Snow Creek Athletic Club which is a really nice place that I have never checked out in all my years of coming up.
I get there, change into my Gi and then look for where the class is supposed to be.
In the yoga room, which is wall to wall wood flooring and empty. Granted I'm 20 minutes early but....
5 minutes before the class the instructor and another dude show up and start to set the room up. They bring out rolled up mats from another part of the gym as well as some make shift spreaders to hold the whole contraption in place. It is the type of rig I would have come up with. It transformed the yoga space into a dojo within minutes. I loved it.
And then the instructor bolted off to take a shower because he'd been rock climbing the better part of the day. And now he's going to be teaching a class and sparring as well. How awesome and totally Mammoth is that.
I would find out that another one of the guys was out mountain biking and then one guy had been surfing in LA and had just gotten back up. So much for my complaints about acclimating to the altitude.
Then there was a father-son duo who had never even tried jiujitsu before.
It was a great blend of ages and backgrounds.
We did more stand up work than I am used to which is good for me. And the style and philosophy was different. It was the first time in a long while that I trained under a Gracie practitioner.
The Gracies and Machados parted ways a long time ago and one can see a difference in approach and style. One thing that has been amazing for me in this journey and education is learning the nuances of styles, so closely related and all from the same origins and yet so different and individual.
It is the art in the term martial arts.
Altitude with No Attitude
I was sucking air early into it.
I was amazed at these guys physicality. What they may have lacked in training or experience they more than made up for in raw physicality. The blue belt I sparred with me was lighter than me and had much less experience but I was on the defensive end of things from the beginning.
I was hoping that he was in his mid-twenties because he certainly attacked like those youngsters do. But it turned our he was in his mid-30s. I'm telling you this Mammoth life-style keeps you young, as does jiujitsu.
My old-dog determination and grit along with a whole bunch of years of experience helped me survive. And of course after doing battle and getting roughed up and exhausted we all exchanged hugs, yes hugs and parted ways.
Mammoth has one more thing in the plus column and one more reason to make it home.