From Maryland to Chicago... the journey begins

Kenny from MD's picture

On this trip I have often referred to my car as my hotel room, and for good reason. It contains a bed, a refrigerator, a closet, and a toilet. To a normal person this would look like a reclined seat, a cooler, a backseat and a window. Being that I was traveling alone I was able to fill my trunk and backseat up with a bunch of seemingly important things but over the course of this trip it became painfully obvious that the only thing that I actually needed to bring were a couple of gi's a jar of peanut butter and jelly and a loaf of bread.

I began my twelve hour drive to Chicago on a Sunday afternoon after Marcelo Garcia seminar. Having wrestled for three hours on five hours of sleep I began my trip by cracking open a Monster. This is never a good sign. Having realized I left my phone charger at home I spent thirty minutes driving around aimlessly debating whether to go back for it before I decided that two months without one may present a problem. Around 4:30pm I was on my way.

I would love to tell some great stories about driving cross country. I would love to suggest some great tourist attractions and some scenic highways, but this is not the way I drive. I find the fastest route in my GPS and I go. The only time I stop is when my gas light turns on. The only time I eat is while said gas is filling up. Depending on who you are, you may think $2000 is insane to finance a DVD and cross country trip, or you might think Im swimming in money. If you fall into the latter category, I can assure you that you are wrong. From point A to point B I am a machine and I arrived in Chicago in the middle of the night.

Unfortunately, Chicago may be the one city in the United States that I do not have any friends in. Not even an aqquaintance. And although I am sure that there are many people in Chicago that I do not like, I have not even met them yet in order to make the determination. Refusing to pay for a motel, I went on www.couchsurfing.com and found a willing college student who allowed me to crash at her place free of charge. This was also the first of my many frustrating encounters with a key. Although she left me her key to let myself in in her mailbox, it took me fifteen minutes to open the door. Do other people have this problem? Because seriously, I feel that one out of every two keys I come across that are unfamiliar to me present a huge problem during the "turn" phase.

I had traveled to Chicago to shoot with Aaron Lapointe, Carlson Gracie Jr black belt and instructor at Carlson Gracie Jr academy. The class was not until nighttime and I had the day to explore Chicago and see what it had to offer. Honestly, I never even made it downtown. I ended up in some kind of hipster version of a downtown with a street comprised solely of vintage clothing stores and bicycle shops. Despite owning and riding a road bike, and even purchasing a U-Lock on this street, i want to take the time out to point out that I hate bicycle culture and fixed gear bike nerds in general. This will become of great importance later on. After killing some time and cooking dinner for myself I met Aaron. Aaron only has one functioning arm, so as you can imagine, he has had to adjust his Jiu Jitsu game to meet his personal needs. Had he not omoplata'ed me, I would still be wondering how you can have success in Jiu Jitsu with one arm. Along with shooting interview footage, Aaron demonstrated a number of techniques from his personal game or that he has adapted in some way to work for him. After shooting his class as well I got to roll a little bit and was introduced to Carlson Gracie Jr himself. After class I fell asleep quickly knowing that tomorrow's drive would be rough.

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