The Thorn In My Side (Dealing With Anger)

I’m going to come out and say it, what haunts me the most is anger. It doesn’t take long for me to lose my mind, all the discipline and self-control go out the window. I hate it about myself, it makes me feel so ungodly and not mirroring Jesus Christ.

I hate the way anger makes me feel, it makes feel all the more frustrated that I’m angry in the first place. It makes me body feel like I’m going about my day, as though I am carrying around heavy amounts of weight on my body.

I try and close my eyes and take slow, deep breathes in an attempt to calm the storm inside me. I try and remember the peace and joy that is found in Christ. I try and remember that he has authority over the storms that surround us (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus calm the storm inside me I pray under the breath, help me to act and love like you do. Even when people and circumstances annoy me, help me to know that you are Lord over everything in my life. Anger can very much be a two-edged sword, on one hand, it can be directed to fighting back against evil, with a holy anger.

The Lord, says that he is slow to anger, and abounding in faithful love and truth (Psalm 86:15). Note the word slow, the Lords anger is controlled and builds up over time. And to be sure, yes, the Lords anger will one day be poured out. But still, his anger is calculated and controlled. He simply doesn’t fly off the handle at a moments notice.

But I think there’s something to the reality, in which the Lord says  Vengeance is mine (Romans 12:9).  Why does he command this?  Because he doesn’t want anger to be the controlling factor of our lives. Again, the Bible doesn’t say to ever not be angry. For I just showed you that even God himself is slow to anger.

Moreover, scripture be angry and do not sin (Eph 4:26) how is that even possible? Again, this is where self-control and dependency on the Holy Spirit is crucial. Holy anger is being angry for a just cause, not the ill tempered person that lashes out and brings harm to others.

It is possible to be in control of oneself, when being overcome and frustration. For example, I might be annoyed with a person or person’s in a particular situation, but that doesn’t mean that I”m going to take out my anger on everyone involved. It takes extreme amount of discipline and the willingness to apply yourself to the process.

Some might argue that,  it’s just apart of some peoples genetic make up. But I’m not even willing to let them be used as an excuse. People can change. I certainly can change. It’s a matter of A) Admitting you have a problem B) making the steps needed to change C) Seeking forgiveness from God and others and D) laying aside every excuse that you have, as to why you can’t change. And actually believe that change is possible, because it is.



My Thoughts On “Toxic Masculinity”


so with all the craze over toxic masculinity, I just wanted to share my thoughts, however brief this may be. I agree with the thoughts that Jocko Willink submits on the topic: Article here

As a whole, he submits that there must be a dichotomy or balance, and that either side cannot be taken to the utmost extreme. Seems simple and clear enough, right? Not exactly, many even were up in arms about his article published by Fox news.

Here is a running definition, that I quickly searched for:

Toxic masculinity is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth. I don’t like this definition because it only shows one side, and simply says that men who are toxic/hyper masculine men, are not sensitive, or in touch with their emotions and or are emotionally constipated .

Okay, fair enough. Do I think that men who use violence and are emotionally abusive, for the wrong reasons are men? Not so much, because they are using those traits for the wrong reasons. There’re men in the world, who use violence in the dominating sense, with someone who is not on the same level as them, as a means to feel powerful. There’re men in the world, who are in fact, mentally and emotional abusive to others, so they can maintain a sense of control over others.

I don’t applaud this, as a man, and as a martial artist. There is indeed a time to use violence, as a means for good. For example, if I am with my girlfriend, and an evil man or group of evil men were trying to harm her in some form. You can bet your dying breath, that I would invoke as much violence needed to protect her, or any other loved one for that matter.

Now, do I go around puffing my chest out looking for a fight? No, that’s a stupid and horrible way to live. People that do that, are simply empty  and lonely on the inside and using violence as a means of fulfillment. Which is horribly wrong and there is no excuse for that.  Martial arts has taught me, to live at peace with others and myself. And only use my skills as last resort.

We as society are missing out on this lesson so much. To a degree, this needs to be reformed not only in our children and even full grown men. My nephew, who is very tender, is something that I want him to keep all his life. At the same time though, I want him to be brave and warrior. I want him to be a defender of the weak. On the other hand, I want him to be able to express emotion and other various emotions at the right times.

As Jocko says in his article, if you are too emotional at times, in the wrong context. People can use that as means to their advantage. Especially, if we are dealing with one who has an anti-social pattern of living. The Bible says to guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life. If we don’t protect our hearts, with shields and barriers, then we will constantly let the wrong people in. And that will only do us more harm.

We must learn to find a way of balancing both, when we do this we will find a more fulfilled life and purpose.  As I once heard a pastor say ” A real man is tough and tender.” And we need not look to anyone other then Jesus Christ. Who was the very definition of that. He was tough, in that he stood up against injustice, he fought for the oppressed and outcasts of society. He was tough (and masculine) by trade, being a carpenter, the dude probably had a lot of muscle. He also knew when to make good use of his anger, which took a great deal of time for it to present itself.

He was also tender in the sense (and as I have already said) with the outcasts of society, he wasn’t afraid to touch the people who were “unclean” by the standards of that time. He wasn’t afraid to cry either, but again, it was in the proper context. He is the man, that all men should strive to be like.





Agree or disagree, these are my thoughts!



Reflecting On The Death of Ian

My friend Ian died last week, he was in the trenches with a battle against cancer. And sadly the ugly son of a bitch we call cancer won. I’ve always hated cancer and have lost a handful of loved ones as a result of it. When I first heard that Ian had cancer, I quickly lowered my head in prayer. Asking God to give Ian the strength to fight and joy to face each day.

I felt optimistic because other people were praying along side me on behalf of him. I knew Ian was a warrior. And I knew that my Lord was good. But man, I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye in my own. I first met Ian at the 2015 grapplers heart tournament in Brooklyn New York. A tournament dedicated to adaptive BJJ (Brazilian Jiujitsu).

There, I watched Ian bravely go into all his matches with all he had. Most of his opponents could move faster then him and had much more mobility then him. Yet he didn’t doubt, he didn’t fear he simply went head and heart first into the storm. Ian lost all four of his matches, but not once did he complain.

Something that I could very much learn from, I was of Ian’s opponents in the nogi division. One thing that caught my attention was how he held on to the very last second before tapping out. I remember kneeling beside him, making sure he was okay. His coaches came to check on him and the only thing that I could think was that this kid was as tough as they come.

Since that time, Ian has went on to touch thousands of lives. He even received his blue belt, a belt that is not easy to get. Ian would soon find a way into the heart of UFC champion Chris Weidman. Weidman would fly Ian and his family out to a UFC event that he was fighting at. Ian got to accompany Weidman on his walk out.

I’m sure Ian also got to the honor to meet other UFC fighters, and I’m also positive that he left a lasting impression on them as well. The truth is, you don’t have to know someone for long in order for them to change your life or at least impact it in a tremendous way.

When I met Ian, I observed a lot of his interactions with people. He was always smiling, never shy and always willing to mingle with new people. Something that I have always struggled with and envied of others. I never actually got to say goodbye to Ian when we were in NY, but knowing that he had quickly found a place in my heart. I knew that it was okay.

When I found out that Ian had passed away, I remember sitting on the floor of my college dorm. I re-read the posting over and over again in hopes that I was reading it to fast. But I wasn’t, my heart started to pound and my palms started to sweat. Soon the tears would follow. I put my hands over my face and cried harder then I have in years. It didn’t matter to me how long I knew him. When you go to war with someone on the mat, you build a bond that cannot be taken away.

I then put my head into a pillow and screamed, I felt a real connection with Ian. Not only did we share a common bond in Jiujitsu but we both had cerebral palsy. And in my eyes that made us family. There’re a few things that I believe that we all can take from the life that Ian lived:

  1. Live a life without excuse, there is no reason under the sun that we can’t better our lives. Be it physically, spiritually or emotionally.
  2. Learn to love others well, as cliche as it is you never know when your last day will be.
  3. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to be you.
  4. Don’t take your body and abilities for granted, our lives are gifts and we are meant to treat them as such.

Do your best not to live in fear, fear only holds us back from experiencing life to fullest. Do your best to find joy in all of life, this makes life far more enjoyable and helps you to live in the moment and one day at a time. That being said, this blog is for you, Ian, thank you for all you have done, thank you for the impact you have had on my life, thank you for what you have given to the sport of Jiujitsu and thank you for being who you are. I will never forget you bro.