Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today I started packing up the gis for Brazil.

Several people have been helping me sew logo patches on the gis and must be thanked: Sam Geist, Debbie Foster, Rita Barichievich (my mom).
Rick Geist, Kerstin Pakter, Steve Zografos, Alan Barichievich and Leo O'Brien have been especially generous with donations of time, funds and gear. Love you all!

I had some trouble matching tops to pants in some cases, but I needed to get started so I could have an idea of how many bags I will be bringing - extra bag fee is $80 (first 2 are free) , but you get 70# ... rolling bags a must...

Costco sells SpaceBags so I scored there and they are as good as the commercial says.

I get more excited each day because each new day is one day closer to departure and bringing the second half of the project to life.

I will continue to keep you posted.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Curent State of and Future of Give the Gift of a Gi

No news HAS been good news for Give the Gift of a Gi … with one exception. Patches for the gis have arrived (good news);  And in a flurry of unfocused enthusiasm I actually sewed my finger trying to put one on (bad news).  So I chose a painful time to try to update everyone about the program. Letter “D” is killing me.  But, I want everyone to know what is going on that I will “sofrer em silĂȘncio”.

1. The patches are in. Thank you to all you who are sewing them on for me. I will get back in the game and help, I promise. Big Thank you to Kerstin Pakter for making and donating the patches.

2. There are three gatherings set up for me, my son Carson , and my Brazilin cohort: One at Morro do Canta Galo, one in Meier and another at Campo Grande. At each place we can train with the kids and a demonstration will be put on, and in true Brazilian fashion we will have a barbeque.

3. The Carly Stowell Foundation/Jammin BJJ sponsored six children from Canta Galo so they can participate in the Festival Rio Kids Student BJJ tournament August 10-11. I was thrilled when I learned the dates of the tournament because it means I can watch the boys compete. Hyperfly generously donated new gis for these six boys.

(*Why these boys? When the idea of sponsoring registration costs was brought up I was working with Rico Vieira whose Checkmat team volunteers their time in Canta Galo. These six boys show exceptional talent and work ethic, but had been unable to compete due to financial hardship. In the future I hope to develop a system where children from different areas can apply. These boys did “apply”. The Carly Stowell Foundation has an application for financial assistance which we modified for this purpose. Like the US application, there is an area to be completed by the student that reads, “Carly Stowell was a gifted athlete and musician. What set her apart was her ability to recognize that dreams, without drive, hard work and determination simply remain only dreams. Success and ability are wasted on those who forget who they are and where they came from. Describe for us your dreams, your commitment to achieving them and the role you see the Foundation playing in assisting your pursuit.”

                I was delighted to receive little paragraphs from the boys (ages 6 to 11), in Portuguese, that described how they dream to be world champions and great fighters; they train hard and would like to be able to compete.

4. This trip we will travel to southern Brazil where I am told there is as great a need for assistance as Rio has. I plan to meet the folks I know only through cyberspace, gather information about the community centers there, see what BJJ exists, examine the needs of the children and see what the possibilities are.

I know there is need, and I know there are infinite ways to help, but my program has limitations too. This is, again, where the power of positive energy came through. I was questioning whether or not Give the Gift of a Gi could continue without assistance when….

5. Coach Foster announced that the proceeds from the Giva Santana seminar September 14-15 will be donated to Give the Gift of a Gi. (still makes me teary – good tears) Thank you Coach, Team Foster, seminar participants, Giva and Erica.  I hope I see YOU there.

6. I brainstormed with Kris Shaw to put on a seminar just for kids. (We had just chosen a date, October 26th when Coach made his announcement).  There will be three sessions that differ in length appropriate to the age. During a break from noon to one I will make a presentation about the program and show pictures and maybe some video from this year’s trip. The kids seminar (remains to be named) will be affordable and run through the Carly Stowell Foundation so that it is non-political and a non-profit donation to register. The Foundation can also provide financial aid for participants if necessary. Keep an eye out for details! In addition to Kris Shaw, Michelle Wagner will teach and I am currently communicating with other coaches to assist.  Please let me know if you can help. I’d like to have snacks for the kids and maybe a raffle. If you have anything to donate let me know.

Wow. If you build it will they come? Yes, indeed they will. I feel so blessed and honored to be a part of the BJJ community. Thanks to everyone who donated a gi, sent money, sewed a patch, donated their time, sent positive energy, gave me an idea, and thanks to all of you that will help in the future.

“Yup, Coach was right. I’m most certainly not done.” (Flowing with the Go, p.116)