Archive for judo

Don’t Call it a knock out! Recovery. God & loosing a job and Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2017 by gerilewis001

7…8…he is getting up! That last blow was devastating folks! A gut punch that would have  leveled an elephant  followed by a right hand uppercut to the chin that snapped his head back like a rag doll! How is he getting to his feet? What am  I describing you may ask. Boxing? MMA, WWF? None of the above friend.Just another page in the story of my life. It’s probably not so much different from yours.

Lord knows I’ve had a difficult time with employment. It just seems my past continues to haunt me despite my best efforts. Damn this latest firing is brutal; correction big homie, despite less that 24 hours passing by, I am putting this incident in the recent past. Therefore this firing was brutal and not just for me. My mom took it really hard for one. furthermore ,when your immediate supervisor is tearing up and her supervisor, a tough old Marine is looking like he may cry,when your co-workers are upset about it you can bet your bottom dollar this was not your average firing. I made friends on the job. What went down you ask? It was a technicality, a misunderstanding, a crying shame is what it was, that a top-level staff officer could have made a favorable decision but rather let me dangle and twist in the winds of uncertainty. Well certainly uncertainty on my part. I am sure this staff officer had decided to ax me months or weeks ago. It was a case of me proving to him, I had not omitted or falsified records for a Veteran preference hiring. I think I did a job equal or better than Perry Mason could have in dissecting fine print and terminology to prove my qualifying under the wording of the requirements for the VOEA veterans preference hire. Regardless this fellow fired me. The really devastating part about it all is, I have done a superior job at my assignment and I was two days from my vesting period beginning. Two days…brutal blow. I could have folded right then and there. So they gave me the boot. Get out. Sorry it did not work out. The line officer was cut and dry, he did not even mention I had done a great job. I suppose he may have only one way of dealing with having to fire a good worker. In any case I hit the door for the last time in that position

The back story is, I love working for the Forest Service and similar agencies but USFS really was my pleasure and an achievement. I had been working seasonal and finally got on part full-time! I was so proud and happy to have been hired on. The financial security and benefits were the icing on the cake. When I left L.A driving up to rural Washington, I lived in my car and ate sandwiches and green beans out of the can, showering in parks and YMCA’s when I could get in for a free day. I gave it my all for the job. It hurt to be fired on a technicality, to add injury to the insult, the wording of the termination letter was accusatory, untrue, malicious and hurtful. It could have been worded differently, it could have taken into account my superior performance evaluations. It did not. A real punch in the face as the door slammed on my backside.

To say the very least, I felt like crying. I began going into shock over the loss.  Panic, all the worst case scenarios. By 7pm I was in the anger stage of grieving. I was fumed at the treatment I received. Today, I am moving towards acceptance and letting it go. It’s not easy brothers and sisters. I’m human. I want to yell at not only the people who clipped me but God also. Job argued with God, Cain was angry with God, Job’s wife told Job to curse God. He did not and neither will I  have faith something I cannot see will sustain and provide for me. I will be faithful. I know Jesus loves me. Yeah the bible tells me so, homie.

Well in any case for the moment un-employed again.

So here is where the rubber really meets the road in sobriety and faith. Sure I had been praying. Sure I have repented, paid tithes and alms and attended church faithfully .Sure I have done my best.There are times we will not understand why God has allowed these events to take place. What I did do that has allowed me to remain sober is,during the time of uncertainty as well as when things were hunky dory I prayed to God and with others, I attended church, I attended recovery meetings, I was of service to others, I stayed in touch and let people who have helped me recover from substance abuse, counsel me. Recovery is training. Just like a soldier or an athlete. You will react how you train in a crisies. What I did not do. I did not isolate, did not complain, did not whine, did not make excuses for my part in the affair. I did not pick up. I called my brethren and sistren in faith as well as recovery. I went to a meeting, I ate, I prayed, I accepted His will, I read the bible passage a friend suggested ( Luke 12:22-34) I got a goods night sleep.

What is different today? I woke up sober and healthy. I have a driver’s license and I am not behind bars. A roof over my head, food in fridge,  and a little money in the bank, a car that works, my health, friends and family. I did not hurt anybody else.

I’ve got a chance.

This is not easy. I am not going to lie and tell you this ability to process these events, feelings and information happened over night. These skills were taught to me.First I had to reach a point of willingness to allow a power greater tha myself to run the show.

I am not sure what today will bring but I am confident it will be ok despite it all. When counseling the students at Job Corps, I told those that had been kicked out and were being sent home, this is only the ending of a chapter in your book not the end of the story.  I am having to walk that walk myself right now. I’ve walked it in the past.

I’m off the mat and standing.

Not on my own but with the help of many. I want to take a moment to thank Jesus for sustaining and providing for me, My mom brother for supporting me, Sensei Butch Ishisaka for teaching me Judo and more importantly the gentle way , Minister Matthew for his counsel and support, all the saints that continue to pray for me , Sister Rene for her praying and support, The fellowship and friends of Bill W & Dr Bob, Jim Zenner (USC School of Social Work Vetrans Program) Ray Packard ( Packard Institute) , Professor Pete, Stewart Howe, Dennis Romero, Melva A (Salvation Army Veterans Employment Rehab in L.A). Just as importantly  Cheryl, Scott, Keith, Arron and Robin for their support during this stressful and sad occurrence  and Brad, Robin, and Scott at USFS Job Corps for hiring me on. I understand this was not easy on anybody. I did my very best.


Luke 21: This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” 22Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.…

The little note? A newcomer passed it along to me several days ago. It in itself is a reason to keep coming back.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.


Meditating on sobriety.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 5, 2017 by gerilewis001

Sensei Butch and I.

Sensei Butch and I.

Jesus often went into the wilderness to pray and meditate. The word meditation carries such a mystical connotation yeah? I think meditation is a way to focus thoughts as well as not focus on  thoughts, anxieties and the like.
To begin I studied Zen meditation while studying Japanese and Judo. Zen meditation is a very good way to empty ones head of the clutter of every day life.However meditation also is a way to contemplate, ruminate and examine teachings, instruction and thoughts. After all God himself  said to meditate on His word.  I use both examples of meditation in my recovery. No big mystery or secret here amigo. Good luck in your efforts and may we meet trudging the happy road of destiny. Here is to a clean and sober 2017!

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Judo The Gentle Way

Posted in Ramblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by gerilewis001


Sensei Okada, a legendary Newaza or ground fighting teacher. I had the honor of studying from him.

The lessons in Judo are much more than fighting. Kodokan Judo is the only Judo, and learning Kodokan Judo requires the student to learn the Japanese terms and protocol of the art. These requirements allow for the student to learn the discipline, respect and honor of the art, society and humanity, which is missing in the corrupted Brazilian Juijitsu dojos.For example, in BJJ  the Japanese name of techniques are not used nor is any of the protocol of dojo discipline required. The ignoring of learning the Japanese teachings of protocol and the failure to learn the Japanese terms of technique strips away much of the lesson or “way”. This is a lazy mans method. Yes one will learn to fight well, however the “way” of honor  will be lost.  I humbly present you with one of many stories of my lessons in the Gentle Way.

In competition Judo the USJA, USAJ & USJF are the sanctioning bodies and the quickest way to the coveted Black Belt (Shodan) is competition, points are awarded for entries in tournements as well as victories, with the most points awarded to 1st place victories.  During my competition Judo career, I had the honor of competing at the original Ogden Judo dojo in Long Beach California. Sensei Ogden was very frail in a wheel chair and was soon to pass on. I was very aware I was in the presence of a great Judoka ( Judo player) and in a very respected and old Judo dojo.

As I was eager to build points to earn my Black Belt, I entered as many tournaments as time and money allowed. Often I would be the only member from my club at the tournament, traveling far and wide. I was always sure to represent my dojo well.

At this particular tournament, I had fought three times winning each fight to advance to the winners bracket. Bowing in at the center of the mat, I knew if I won this match I would get 5 points, almost enough to qualify for my Shodan! “Hajime” (begin in English) the ref shouted!  My opponent an Armenian from rival Hyastan dojo, a strong fellow immediately had me on the defense, we gripped and countered each other in a great dual, attempting a hip throw , I missed and we went down to the mat, he landed on top of me and held me fast in a Kesagateme or shoulder hold.Struggling to the edge of the mat to get out of bounds, my left arm became exposed and he seized hold of it applying the arm bar. I was right on the edge of the out of bounds yet the pain on my arm was to great and I tapped out of the match. However the ref did not see me tap out.My opponent knew. The ref stood us up and sent us to the center of the mat, to start again.

Reaching the center of the mat, I signaled to the ref that I had tapped out. To this day I see my old opponent at Judo tournaments or other Judo functions. We always shake hands and he always says, “You and your dojo have much honor.” in that thick Armenian accent. Honor is a not always victory but rather integrity.