Wednesday, March 31, 2010
my good friend Geoff Grant has just set up a blog for Ronin - accessible at RONINWILL.COM.
it will be a few days before we can arrange internet access for him - but if we can, he wants to try to read any messages that you may care to leave. Please understand, whether he can reply or not, will depend on his condition each day. New challenges have arisen and we have outlined the situation on his blog-page. Thanks so much to all who have taken the time to send their best wishes. The support has been overwhelming, much appreciated and does lift our sorely-tested spirits.
Best wishes all,
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Two days ago, my son Ronin was up and walking around - not a single tube or drip in sight. He was eating food and we had some great conversations. Today, it all went pear-shaped. he got a fever this morning and safter doing the requisite scans, the medical personnel discovered a fungus growing on the valves of his heart - probably something he caught as a result of all the procedures he has undergone. Tomorrow morning, we shall know morte - but it could mean he has to go in for yet another open heart surgery. They are telling us that this is quite serious, given his condition and the amount of radical surgeries he has undergone in the past two weeks. it's an emotional roller-coaster ride for everyone - especially him.
Life is like that - things can change in an instant; and both Ronin and I know and understand that it is how we react to these dramatic changes that in many ways defines who we are. it's easy to be happy and smiling when the butterflies are flying and the birds are singing; but when you are in besieged, both physically and mentally - that's when the real test kicks in.
The way is forward ...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It is a perfectly natural thing for us to ponder and muse on things we would like to have or experience at some time in the future. Perhaps we see ourselves having a particular skill or set of skills that we do not have at present; perhaps we want to buy our first home or upgrade from the one we have; maybe we daydream about a new job, or about living somewhere else, about travelling, about developing a better Mount, Defense, or whatever … these are all natural processes, and in fact, fundamental to the way in which we differ from the rest of the animal kingdom, here on this planet.
The thing that all of these things have in common, if they are to be realised, is that they have their beginnings, rooted in the present. The future starts right now! I say this because I understand a basic truth: all of the musing, visualizing, asking the universe for help, prayer, etc – will do very little – unless we take ACTION!
The future begins now. So if there is something you want to do, to achieve, to change about yourself – take a small step toward it right now; do something today that will get you moving, even if only a little, in the direction you need to go, for the dream to be realised. Sometimes, these goals, wants, needs can seem a little to far removed from our present state of reality – but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand steps starts with a single step. Take it now.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I am visiting my son Ronin in hospital several times each day -and it is remarkable how quickly things can change between visits. This morning he was in great spirits, having had most of the tubes removed from his body and able to even get into a wheelchair and head out into a garden area for a bit of sun for half an hour or so. But then this afternoon, after his usual battery of x-rays, blood-tests, etc were done, we were told that he had to have a couple of drainage tubes inserted in through his back to drain excess fluid building up in his lungs. This is an extraordinarily painful procedure and makes it impossible to sleep - he went through it all about five days ago and the prospect of going through it all again has been a big blow for him. he has had three major operations in the space of a week and it is beginning to take a toll on him - he is young after all; and has much to learn about dealing with adversity. What I see as five steps forward and one step back, he sees as one step forward and two steps back. I spent a bit of time today trying to help him see that he is now walking a road that very few people have ever walked; and each step down it will, if it doesn't kill him, make him stronger.
When faced with adversity, we should seize the opportunity for the growth and learning that it can offer; especially, when there is little or nothing we can physically do about it. The one thing we can always exert some measure of control over, is the way in which we think about things. The road less travelled, in my humble opinion, is not without - but rather within.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The first person to eat an olive (or an octopus for that matter) probably didn’t like it. So why did they continue eating such things until they developed a taste for them. It is my belief that the early olive-eaters did so because they had little choice if there was little to eat but olives and octopuses, then the luxury of choice wouldn’t have lured them to eat other things. If on the other hand, there were oranges, watermelons, mango’s or other delicious things on hand – I think the olive would have been put on the back-burner for a while. I think exactly the same forces are at play on the modern day martial arts landscape.
Twenty-five years ago, there was very little information available – particularly about BJJ. So the few techniques that we did get hold of, we drilled and drilled until we developed a ‘taste’ for them. Nowadays there is such an over-abundance of techniques that it is very easy to jump from one to the next and never really ‘develop’ a particular technique to it’s full potential. We are living in a world full of mango’s, oranges and watermelons – the humble olive can easily be overlooked.
Clearly, the point I am trying to make is that if we have difficulty (at first) at making a new technique or idea work – then we should perhaps stick at it for a bit before we just walk away and seek out something more palatable. Sure, try the mango, take a bite from that watermelon – but don’t forget to invest a little time in developing a taste for that humble olive. You might need it one day.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I saw my son Ronin perform a couple of tasks today that most of use take for granted: spearing a chunk of pumpkin with a fork and getting it into his mouth - taking a three minute walk - picking up a water bottle and downing a couple of gulps; simple actions, that only four days ago, would have seemed unachievable. Ronin has a tough three or four months ahead of him - but by all accounts he will make a full recovery. He will be in hospital for another month, and if all goes well, he'll then come home for a few more months of rehab and recovery. When he can walk a kilometre and is feeling strong, he'll need one more operation to repair his small intestine. Time will move slowly for him - and more quickly for us, who have other things on our respective plates. The road will be long - but the way will be forward. Each day is very different form the next.
Thanks again to all those wonderful people who have, through this blog or via e-mails and phone calls, have lent us their support. Ronin has all of his cognitive faculties; understands fully what has happened to him - and is reading the messages that are pouring in. They REALLY help!
best wishes all
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Ronin has improved a lot today. He took an assisted walk for fifty metres - and his colour looks beter. I have been informed that he is nowhere near out of the woods as yet - tonight he needed yet another blood transfusion - but nevertheless, we are very optimistic. We even had a chance to feed him some of Melissa's famous chicken broth today - sure beats that hospital food! He will be in hospital for about another month - according to the staff's 'best guess' - then it will be home for much rehab. We are up for it though - and it will be a team effort. Thanks again everyone, for your deep concern and much, much, much appreciated support. And a special thanks to Perry Bateson in Canada - who organised the featured pic.
Monday, March 15, 2010
David and I returned from Sydney last night. The weekend of seminars was much appreciated by everyone, and it was so good to have Dave there to assist and provide comic relief! We went from the airport straight to the hospital last night, and although he was half asleep, Ronin has made a lot of progress these past 48 hours. He is speaking, and will be kicked out of the intensive care unit today - into a normal ward. That will help a lot as there is not a lot of good sleeping to be had in ICu - with all the lights, beeps, and sounds going on 24/7.
So far, so good. The word is that he will most likely make a full recovery. He has a colostomy bag attacked to his stomach right now - as we have to wait a few months for a full recovery, before they go back in, yet again, and reconnect his intestines. The more important thing right now is the heart and lungs. His brain seems to be intact - as he has commented that several of the nurses are 'hot'.
Today, almost unbelievably to me, the plan is to get him upright and walking so the bottom part of his lungs can get moving - important to stave off the onset of pneumonia. he will have to live very deliberately over these next few months - with special diet, exercise, rehab, etc. Not a bad thing for a 22 year old who was clearly hanging with the wrong crowd and not embracing life the way it should be embraced. Enough said.
Dave is getting back on a plane this morning; heading back home to San Fransisco. What a great friend. I think of Dave and I think of the latin credo - acta non verba - actions not words. I first met him when he walked into the MAchado mat in Los Angeles around 20 years ago - I was a purple belt at the time and was taking the class that evening. I taught him his first BJJ class - and we have been the best of friends ever since.
I've gotta go - but with only small reservation (because I have heard it before) - it seems that Ronin is 'out of the woods'. Let's see where his feet will carry him now ...
Huge thanks everyone for your amazing support. I shall take the laptop in today - and see if he canmake sesne of what has happened to him and read him all of your comments.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I am very focussed right now - and avoiding any negative talk or negative thinking. I am surrounded by people (not everyone, there are notable exceptions) who are breaking down and wallowing in their own grief. From my point of view - this is not the time for that. it is time for action - and moving forward right now. All power to the front shields - to use a Star Trek metaphor. In other words, you drive the energy to where it is needed most - and not dwell on the 'what if's' - what could have happened - what may or may not happen - you focus on the immediate task at hand.
In a state of emergency - we do much better if we attend to priorities. In this past week I have seen so much energy just bleeding off in te directions of things that do not matter - RIGHT NOW! Being in the NOW - is not only a Buddhist concept - it is a concept for dealing with emergency.
My son Ronin nearly died again last night - another hour off the operating table - and he would have. Today is much better - after another op - where a length of his intestine had to be removed after it had died from decreased O2 levels - he is once again in the Intensive Care Unit - and for now, stabilised.
My wife is my rock - my friend Dave Meyer is such an asset right now that I cannot thank him enough - and the wonderful stream of comments to this blog will, I am certain, help Ronin with his long-term recovery. Thanks so much everyone - my sincere apologies if this blog is coming across as overly self-indulgent right now. I'll be back to a more normal frame of mind soon.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Back home for a few minutes from the hospital. Ronin was rushed into surgery again today - we await the outcome. It's all a process. Still, we are remaining positive - after all, he is in way better condition now, to undergo surgery, than the state he was in when he was wheeled in four days ago - with no pulse, and not much blood in his body. We are just heading back in now - and we hope for better news after he comes out of surgery. We will head to class at 6pm - and back to the hospital afterward.
Once again - thank you so very much EVERYONE; for the wonderful, positive and heartfelt messages that you have been sending. I very much look forward to getting back to my usual, more positive blogs in the not too distant future. it feels very strange for me - to be on the receiving end of this whole blogging thing ...
The clock still ticks - we still breathe - the struggle goes on. Life.
Dave Meyers joke for the day:
There was a prisoner, during the Nazi regime, who under torture - would only reply with a single word, to every question: 'tick'
The Germans kept asking their questions - he kept answering with one word only - 'tick!'
"it's only a matter of time' the Germans said, 'after all, we have ways of making you 'tock!'
That's it I'm afraid - it's the best we can do under the circumstances.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I just came from the hospital with my good friend David Meyer, wh flew out from the USA this morning. What a friend!
Ronin awoke from coma number two today and although in huge pain and talking lots of nonsense - it seems he is close to finding his way out of the woods. The heart Bypass surgeon told me that this was the most amazing and unlikely recovery he has seen in over thirty years of surgery. We don't want to know about the odds - we are just staying focussed on what's happening right now.
I went to my school and taught class last night - and it was heart-warming to be in the presence of so many good and supportive people. Dave will join me for more of the same tonight - off to the hospital now.
Thanks so much to all those of you whose kind and thoughtful best wishes keep us moving forward at this time.
Monday, March 08, 2010
My son Ronin had a bit of a relapse today - back in a coma.
Without going into the details, I am hopeful of a recovery. He's just napping is all. He needs the rest.
My friend Dave Meyer is flying out from the states - to hang with me - despite the fact that I tried to talk him out of it. The many e-mals and messages I have received are heart-warming and do very much help. Thank you all! So very much. My truest friends are showing their colours!
One thing I have learned in the past 48 hours - is that real miracles are usually the product of collaboration. I am astounded at how many people, bring something to the table during a crisis like this. I imagine, it is the ame in every critical situation. people working together, each contributing something unique, can bring about great, positive and lasting change.
I will be in class this week - so I will see some of you there. Thanks again everyone ...
I have always been a big believer in small steps.
Most of us tend to look at problems in their complete complexity. it may well be true that the situations we find ourselves in are complex and difficult situations - and so it seems almost counter-intuitive that we can deal with their 'largeness' with small answers. The truth, in my experience, is that most solutions are comprised of a series of small steps - each, in and of itself, seemingly insignificant. Escape from side control - repairing a broken relationship - digging our way out of financial difficulty - or coming back from open heart surgery ...
The word on my son Ronin, was that he wouldn't survive the trip to hospital - and then that he wouldn't survive the open heart surgery - and even then, that he probably would't successfully come out of the coma he was in - and if, by some miracle he did, then we could likely expect some major brain damage ... so far, he has beaten te odds ... but there's still a long way to go, and that will be a journey of many small steps.
One ICU nurse told me today that he had never seen any recovery like it ... such a defiance of the 'likely'. Think about it though, just the fact that each of us is here at all,stands in defiance to all the odds. Each of our ancestors successfully survived long enough to procreate - that in itself, makes each of us, an absolute miracle! I think if more people deeply understood that their own very existence stood in such defiance of the odds - they would treasure and value their short time on this planet more in the measure it really deserves ...
Sunday, March 07, 2010
After hearing my son Ronin would in all likelyhood, not make it ... and that if he did, he would likely suffer extensive brain damage ... I couldn't hold back the tears when an hour or two ago, he woke up - and started telling everyone he needed to get up and take a piss. The wonderful medical staff informed me that his open heart surgery wasn't the issue - it was the extended period of time that he went without oxygen that was the problem. I was trying not to allow my hopes to lift to high - but failed miserably when he open his eyes and asked 'dad, is that you?' ... tomorrow we'll know more. he still has a long way to go - but according to the medical staff in the ICU - his present condition defies all odds. Thank you everyone for your wonderful support ..
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Today I stood at the end of my eldest son Ronin's bed in the intensive care ward of the Geelong hospital. This morning he was stabbed twice through the heart, by someone he knew well, someone he was trying to care for - and at present, his chances of survival are slim. He is in a coma right now - and tomorrow we should know more about whether he will come out of it or not. I found myself looking at his feet, still blood-stained from the tragic incident ... and thoughts bubbled up about the myriad paths we all walk through this dance we call life. Live's and destinies can change in the blink of an eye - all the more reason we should, each and every one of us, speak our hearts whenever we have the opportunity to do so. Don't hold back my friends - all we have is today - and even that is uncertain.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
'Mission Control' is a term coined by the excellent Eddie Bravo - one of my fellow Machado Black Belts.
Eddie, an extraordinarily creative person, came up with the idea of assigning unusual names to certain specific positions and techniques. One of Eddie's iconic positions, he calls 'Mission Control' - it is a Guard Position wherein the legs are pulled up high behind the opponents neck - and serves as the 'starting point' for one of his best creations, the Rubber Guard.
The idea behind Mission Control, is that it serves as a clear STARTING POINT from which a plan, or series of plans, can begin to unfold. I like that idea immensely.
Now the point I want to get across, is the idea that each of us can assign MISSION CONTROL status, to any position that we feel happy and comfortable in. Once we have secured our own personal Mission Control (eg: having secured our underhook from side control) then our path becomes clear - our plan kicks into effect, and we begin to work for the finish/sweep, etc.
I like the idea because it is in alignment with the way our brains already operate.
We move to a new town - and into a new house - that becomes our Mission Control. from there, we gradually, over time, extend our understanding of our world, to other places. We work out how to get to work, to school, to the bank, to the super-market. Our house - our Mission Control - becomes our comfortable hub, from which we can take more and more predictable le excursions.
identify you own set of Mission Controls! Make life easier!
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I have recently returned home from my trip to New Zealand, where I conducted the first round of my annual seminar series. I had a great time visiting our Associate schools down the length of that wonderful country. Upon arriving home however, I had less than 15 hours (most of that was sleeping) with my family, before I had to head to the airport again and visit, Coff’s Harbour, Ballina, the Gold Coast and Caboolture for my ‘far north’ seminar update. I had the pleasure of awarding long time student Robert Bowen his brown belt – congratulations Robert; a much deserved milestone!
I am only away on weekends, between now and mid April, with ten schools in Sydney in my sights. The training has been eagerly lapped up and digested by all who have attended; and I look forward to visiting everyone again, just before the Asia-Pacific Championships later this year.
Well, it’s time to head into my school tonight and hit the mat with my local students. I am very much looking forward to it.
Best wishes all,
PS: My seminar schedule can be found on this website: CLICK HERE