And then there were four. Had promotions today. Ughh… staring at Purple. Just going to keep showing up. In June will be my 6th year of BJJ. Every week 4 to 6 hours of training. Only breaks in training have been injuries or vacations. Being an elder statesman on the team in a violent hobby can beat you down mentally and physically. I’m a BJJ hobbyist. Today’s little piece of tape means nothing but yet means a lot. Again, I’m just going to keep showing up. I will try my best to represent Professor @angelusmcfarlane with respect, honor and some sweet jiu jitsu.
And then there were three. I was in shock at last promotion. I had received a stripe the previous promotion. I did not want a stripe this promotion. I still have huge self-doubt in this mentally and physically demanding sport. Over 5 years in BJJ and I am very keen on what I don’t know. BJJ is awesome as there is no faking it on the mats. A lot of times I am rolling with guys half my age. As these guys gain more knowledge it is so difficult for me to submit them. However, I just keep showing up and trying my best. My main focus is to be an example to the new people and for me to represent Professor @angelusmcfarlane in everything I do in BJJ. My main priority is my family. My dental practice is second. Jiu Jitsu is my hobby. I’m not going to be a World Champion. Nevertheless, I will be a Black Belt one day. It’s just going to take me a lot longer to get there than most.
The friendships I have gained through BJJ are so very special. There is a very special bond between teammates. The shared experiences on the mats (defeat, discomfort, pain, sweat, tears, triumph, successes) is an incredible unifier.
I still feel like a blue belt imposter sometimes. However, I must trust my Professor’s judgment. I know my Professor and his lineage. Professor Angelus received his Black Belt from Brazilian Legend Jorge Patino “Macaco”. Our school does not give stripes/belts for attendance or just for paying dues. Everything is earned.
On May 22nd, 2021 I received my second stripe as a blue belt.
Next month is going to be my 5 year anniversary in this incredibly mentally and physically difficult sport.
I started BJJ at age 40 to have a consistent workout. The camaraderie and friendships I have gained is amazing. I am just a hobbyist. I hate competing and have only done 3 comps in 5 years. But I am stubborn and want to get better. I hope I can stay relatively injury free and one day I’ll get my black belt. I’m only praying that at a certain geriatric age the Macaco Samurai Black Belt test beat down is waived.
For all the new people in the gym, I make sure to tell them that all they have to do is keep showing up and have a positive attitude. I tell them they are already ahead of me because my first time to BJJ I sat in the car and did not enter the gym because I was too afraid.
Charlton and I were the only blue belts to test this weekend. Charlton has zoomed by me in BJJ skill. At one time I out ranked him. But being young, extremely ripped and married to an Australian PhD Purple Belt has accelerated his BJJ game.
I think only those people that do BJJ understand how special that piece of tape is and at the same time how unimportant it is.
My initial Facebook reaction for receiving my first stripe at Blue Belt on November 23rd, 2019:
Got my first stripe at blue. A silly piece of tape that means nothing but yet means everything. I started at age 40. I am never going to be the younger, faster, more athletic or stronger grappler. However, I will be a good student, partner and teammate. I will keep learning and do everything I can to represent my school and my Professor in a positive manner.
BJJ Dentist Receives his First Stripe on his Blue Belt
I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Professor Angelus for almost 3.5 years. The sport is such a physical and mentaly challenging endeavor. I have been training consistently 3 to 4 times a week and putting in 5 to 7 hours a week. The only times I have not trained is when I was injured or out of town. After all this time, I barely have an understanding of BJJ. It is an immensely complex art.
Leading up to promotion day I did not care or have expectations I would get a stripe. That was up to my Professor. My goal for starting BJJ was and continues to be one of physical fitness. Yet, I was happy when my name was called.
A piece of tape you can buy at the store is not valuable. What is extremely valuable is the acknowledgement from Professor Angelus that he has seen my BJJ and feels I have earned a stripe. Professor Angelus comes from a VERY strong lineage. Our school’s rankings and progressions are slow and not automatic.
The best thing about receiving a stripe is the small little private talk Professor Angelus has with you while he puts on the little piece of tape. He is like the Oracle telling Neo what he needs to hear.
The message is private and only for you. Professor Angelus gives you a quick message while putting on the tape. Honestly, to me the short personalized message is worth all the pain and suffering I have endured for the past 1.5 years since I received my Blue Belt.
For me, I think my long term stripe progression is going to be 20% BJJ skills with the rest coming from being: a good teammate, consistently showing up to class, constant positive attitude, being a good uke, rolling safely with newer, smaller or weaker teammates and representing my school in a positive fashion. At my school and at opens mats I still get dominated and lose rolls way more than I win. I am Ok with that. My victories are way different then just tapping people. Everyone has different goals out of their Jiu Jitsu. If I am a Blue Belt for 10 years that is fine. I will still be having fun with my teammates and working out. Although I am very dedicated to BJJ, it is a Hobby for me. I have my family and my dental office that come first. That piece of tape is not going to make me crush that athletic 25 year old 3 stripe white belt at open mat.
I will remember that this silly piece of tape is worth nothing, but yet means everything.
Jiu Jitsu in Houston
If you are looking for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Houston, I encourage you to look at Ravlin Martial Arts.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is the toughest sport I have ever done. It is both mentally and physically challenging. It is hard to adequately describe the level of intensity, conditioning and focus that BJJ requires. One testament to how challenging BJJ is that there are only 5 belts in adult BJJ. Unlike Karate or Taekwondo, achieving a new belt color in BJJ takes years of work.
White, Blue, Purple, Brown and Black
Back in High School I was an exceptional basketball player. In my mind, I relate basketball skill levels to the different BJJ belt colors. This easily shows non-BJJ people the huge difference in skills the BJJ belts represent.
White – Middle School Basketball Team Skill Level
Blue – High School Basketball Team Skill Level
Purple – College Basketball Team Skill Level
Brown – NBA Skill Level
Black – NBA All-star Skill Level
Me bowing down to Professor Angelus after he achieved his black belt.
I am still a newbie Blue Belt. When I roll against Purple, Brown or Black belts there is nothing but eminent death for me. The skill and knowledge gap is far to great. Nevertheless, I go out there and try my best.
If you would like to see how life changing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be and live in Houston, I would recommend you contact Ravlin Martial Arts.
Old picture of Ki Martin and myself. I think I had been training about 5 months. Made it past the noobie white belt quit stage. Ki decided to invest his time and effort into me! Two and a half years latter Ki is still stuck with me. I show him flashes of BJJ brilliance with a lot of WTF moments. There have been a lot of moments where I was having a bad day/week/month in BJJ. Sometimes I do not even like BJJ, but I have always loved the bonds I have formed with my teammates. I was out of town when I found out about Ki’s belt test/promotion. I was able to get a redeye flight and make it back to Houston in order to watch Ki receive his brown belt. I was so proud of him. Ki’s been an incredible friend/teammate/Coach to me. However, I’ve got Ki on the 20 year plan. I am going to legitimately tap him in less than 20 years. Professor Angelus Raymond McFarlane is on the 30 year plan. #OldManBJJ #BJJDentist#42YearOldBlueBelt
Dr. Michael Nugent is a Pasadena, Texas Dentist that focuses on Family, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry. His office is located at 3421 Burke Rd Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504. Come see how different dentistry can be when the patient’s best interests are always put first.
So there I was at Ravlin yesterday. First day back from my injury. I am lifting weights with Professor Angelus Raymond McFarlane. Professor does a Facebook live video and posts it to our Private Ravlin Page. Professor is filming me lifting and says “Michael Nugent is coming for all you blue belts. Ki Martin, Michael is coming for you.” I then say on camera “Ki, let the record show I did not say anything”.
Then as is the case, my loyal team starts posting how I am going to tap out Brown Belt Coach Ki. Everything snowballed and I am now in fear of my life. Charlton and John were the chief instigators that plotted my doom. So today before class I thought I would go purchase Ki “The Merciful” some flowers. I found some lovely flowers that matched the handsome color of Ki’s flowing red hair.
For some reason, Ki did not like my flowers. I had to leave the flowers on his gym bag. BUT after fundamentals class I reminded Ki to put the flowers in water when he gets home. He said he would.
The RAVLIN BJJ team is awesome. We are always joking with each other and their is an incredible camaraderie. If you are looking to take Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I would encourage you to come check out our awesome team.
Dr. Nugent BJJ Dentist
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a rapidly growing sport. I was introduced to BJJ watching the early UFC fights. Royce Gracie was a little guy but would dominate people on the ground. I really never thought about doing a martial art until I was 40. I needed a consistent workout and a Coach to keep my accountable. A Shooting Buddy in Austin started taking BJJ and I asked him if it was a good workout. He laughed at me and said “Yes, it is a good workout”. I was lucky to find Professor Angelus and began taking BJJ classes.
Fast forward two years. I received my Blue Belt and had major guilt with this.
As a white belt I was in awe of the colored belts. They were superheros in my eyes. I’m no superhero…
One of the greatest things about BJJ is the friendships you make not only at your School but at other School. Houston has a great BJJ scene and I have made friends at Renzo Gracie Houston, Revolution Dojo , Markle BJJ and Alliance.
One of my first BJJ friends outside of my school was “BJJ Mom” Kay. She is amazing. Kay trains at Renzo and is a super inspiration to me. She started BJJ much later in life than me and is infectious with her positive attitude. At the time of my Blue Belt promotion we were messaging each other. I got this great message from her. She talked about her feelings upon receiving her Blue Belt:
“Then I got my blue belt. Oh My Goodness! I didn’t feel worthy of it, but instead of quitting, as many new blue belts did, I buckled down and worked even harder to make sure my coaches didn’t appear to have promoted me by mistake. BJJ has brought so much to every area in my great friendships where I literally trust people to not kill me to ending up the healthiest I’ve ever been as an adult. The bonds of BJJ run deep. I’m so proud of you for working to earn your blue belt!!”
Kay helped me to get over the large emotional roadblock of becoming a blue belt. I still have a small lingering doubt about my belt color but decided to take Kay’s advice to heart. I continue to try to bring as much enthusiasm and hard work to the mats each day. I am working harder than ever to show my Coaches that I am worthy of the rank.
One of my favorite moves is G.I. Jane. I watched it countless times in College and Dental School. I would remind myself not to feel sorry for myself. So many people before me got through College and Dental School. If they could do it so could I.
“Self-Pity” by D.H. Lawrence
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Kay started BJJ on her birthday at age 54. Last week she turned 58 and is still training. So, whenever I get down about how horrible I am I think “suck it up buttercup.”
As a 42 year old BJJ student I need to just enjoy the journey and not compare my journey to someone else’s journey. That is super hard to do. Winning is so much more fun than constantly getting smashed. Our school is still small so even though I got my Blue Belt I am still low on the BJJ totem-pole at my school. The running joke is that we need to get new 40 year plus students who have never grappled to join. Then I can utilize all my BJJ skills on the new student.
As Kay told me two weeks ago at Renzo Sunday open mat, I need to stop comparing apples to oranges. Well, last week the school had a potential new student come in. Professor Angelus showed him two ways to get out of mount and what to do if someone grabs you from behind. It was barely scratch the surface of BJJ and more geared to “here is just a little bit of knowledge for self-defense.” The new student was early 30s, athletic and lifted weights. He was much more of a physical specimen than myself. I was the uke (training partner) and I let the new guy do the techniques on me without resisting or minimal resistance. The very last mount drill Professor told me to go all out. I was SO happily surprised that the new student could not get me out of mount. HOLY CRAP my BJJ techniques work. There were multiple times I could of easily snatched an armbar or performed other BJJ techniques. After about 10 failed attempts by the new student I let the student trap my arm and roll me. Again, my BJJ skills kept me in the mounted position against a younger stronger untrained opponent! And to top it off, I did not even give the new student Grapevine, Superman or transition into high mount.
Being the Uke was a great victory in my BJJ journey as it showed me that in fact I do have some BJJ skill and knowledge. I am almost always fighting just to survive when I roll with BJJ people.
One of the great things about BJJ’s popularity is that there is so much BJJ material to read and watch. A great video I watched early on in my BJJ is from Chris Haueter. He is one of the “Dirty Dozen”. The BJJ Dirty Dozen are the first 12 non-Brazilian students to receive Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In Brazil Jiu-Jitsu has been around for almost 90 years, the rest of the world only started hearing about BJJ in the mid 80’s when the first Gracies went to the US to spread the word.
“IT’S NOT WHO’S GOOD, IT’S WHO’S LEFT.” -CHRIS HAUETER
That quote really stuck with me. As dorky as it sounds, showing up to class is always a victory. I still get nervous/scared coming to class. Going to open mat scares the crap out of me. I just can’t quit. I don’t have to be good, I just need to keep showing up and giving my maximum effort each and every time. I’m going to be somewhere in my BJJ journey in 10 years.
Want to come see what BJJ is all about. Come train with Team Ravlin at 10371 Stella Link Rd, Houston, Texas 77025
I am Dorky Dentist Dude that loves life. My Dental Office in in Pasadena, Texas. I love being a Dentist and helping people get to and maintain optimal dental health. I love technology that makes me a better Dentist. One of my main interests in Dentistry is dental implants. I can restore missing teeth with dental implants or can make dentures secure and stable with implant dentures.
I am recovering from a minor injury and had not trained in a week. I miss BJJ but still needed a little more time to heal. What to do. I know, have a Private with my Professor.
Today we reviewed leg attack defenses for the straight ankle, heel hook and toe hold. We did everything super slow and light as to not aggravate my injury.
I usually train Gi BJJ. However, today we trained No Gi. After reviewing the defenses and drilling on each side we went over attacks.
I’ve been attacking straight ankles a lot lately. I still have trouble breaking closed guard. Usually I don’t break the guard. My opponent opens their guard to go for a sweep or submission. I seize that opportunity to go for the straight ankle. I have not been very successful on finishing. Professor Angelus went over the details of the straight ankle. Go figure, I was missing several key details. It was great therapy to be back on the mats even for the limited Q and A review session.
- I am thankful for how amazing of a teacher my Professor is.
- Professor is so dang handsome with his #BlueSteel model stare. I mean Professor Angelus Raymond McFarlane is really really really ridiculously good looking. 😁#BJJDentist #OldManBJJ #whatagreatideatostartBJJat40
Ravlin Martial Arts & Fitness is a great place for BJJ in Gi and No Gi. Ravlin also has Muay Thai, kids classes and Conditioning classes. Come visit us at 10371 Stella Link Rd
Houston, Texas 77025. Check out the Ravlin Schedule.
This past Sunday I went out to Sugarland to go to an open mat. Renzo Gracie Houston school opens up their doors for a free open mat from 10 to 12. People from all over Houston come to “roll” with new people. I’ve not been in a couple of months so I decided I need to come out. I get so nervous coming out to open mat. I’m a 42 year old dorky guy that started training at age 40. Although BJJ is my main hobby I have lots of higher priorities in life. I wish I could turn the nervousness off. I know the owner of Renzo Gracie, Professor Brian Marvin. He and his students are great. The “vibe” at his open mat is phenomenal. It’s just people who love BJJ coming out to test their individual BJJ skills.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly physically and mentally challenging sport. I started BJJ at age 40 because I wanted to get in better shape and needed mores consistency in my workouts. Plus, I thought it would be cool to choke people out!
Today was a good day. I was able to get some good rolls in and went against people that were comparable in skill level. In the last couple of open mats, I was on defense 100% of the time and just got destroyed. This time I was on offense about 40% of the time. I got to the mount position and was trying to get an arm in triangle choke. My opponent was defending. Then a light bulb went off in my head “Hey Michael you dummy, we literally just went over this yesterday”. So, I switched to an Americana armlock and got the tap.
At my school I’m still one of the lowest people on the totem-pole so I am usually on defense and fighting just to stay alive. It was refreshing that indeed I do know some BJJ techniques.
I left Renzo Gracie open mat feeling great. I was drenched in sweat and got a good workout. Plus, I was able to use techniques to actually do something that resembled Jiu Jisu.
My BJJ journey continues…
Want to see what Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is all about? Come train at Ravlin Martial Arts and find out for yourself how great BJJ is for the mind and body.
My Dental Office is located at 3421 Burke Rd Ste A, Pasadena, Texas. We see children and adults. We offer everything form simple teeth bleaching to advanced 3D planned dental implant surgery.