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I've been dropping hints here, and on Twitter and Facebook, so if you've been paying attention at all, you have likely figured out already that I am heading to Brazil soon. More than just a vacation, this will be an attempt to integrate myself into a culture I have been obsessed with for many years. My fiancee is there now, writing her own blog about coming home after such a long time living abroad. I'll be joining her on September 2, returning stateside in December for Christmas with the family and my winter residency with SNHU's MFA program, and then back to Brazil early next year.
This blog will serve several purposes. It will be:
1. A log of my adventures for family and friends to easily follow.
2. A writing exercise exploring cultural experiences and the process of change, eventually to be expanded upon and turned into a book.
3. A compendium of stories about the Brazilian lifestyle from the perspective of a gringo.
4. A literary study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a variant of the Japanese martial art known as jujutsu.
I've been involved with martial arts since I was fifteen, experimenting with everything from kung fu to karate to capoeira, but only discovered my passion for Jiu-Jitsu in 2006. In 2008, I received my blue belt from Matthew Gomez (a certified black belt instructor under the great Julio "Foca" Fernandez), and while in Brazil, I've been invited to train with Leonardo Vieira at the Checkmat HQ in Sao Paulo. Much of my personal philosophy comes from the translation of martial arts' lessons into everyday life--a journey inspired by my first instructor, David Walters, some twenty years ago--so you will get a taste of that, too.
Follow along, be inspired, and let's do this together.