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Bruises: Divorce, Crazyland, Jiu-jitsu...a Memoir (Journey to Black Belt Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Michael R. Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mike was trapped in *Crazyland——that’s a term he’d coined for that place between marriage and divorce. He was spending too much time at the bars, in the beds of strange women, on “spring break” in Mexico…and in his own head. This thirty-six-year-old yuppie was every kind of messed up. And it wasn’t like he didn’t know it. He was smart——an engineer running his own company, a father of two and he had been married for over ten years. Then one day he “blinked” and went from blending in beautifully in blissful suburbia to becoming the mayor of Crazyland (yes, the vote was unanimous).

Somewhere in between watching news stories of regular guys stopping crime with their bare hands and his small, teenage cousin using Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to dominate him in a “friendly” grappling match in front of his kids, Mike decided it was time to fight his way out of Crazyland. Within a week he had signed up at the nearest Brazilian Jiu-jitsu studio. Unknown to Mike at the time, it was run by a BJJ legend.

On the mats of this dojo, Mike began enduring ass whippings like never before. But a metamorphosis of mind, body and soul had started to occur as well. He discovered that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu wasn’t just a sport, it was a club, a religion, a therapy session…and the people in it were his new family.

“…Looking down at the splay of bruises decorating my body as if Jackson Pollock had gone apeshit with scads of paint and a dozen brushes made me aware of one, simple fact: I could never quit or stop practicing jiu-jitsu. I couldn’t go through this twice.”

Apparently a few good BRUISES were exactly what he’d been looking for.

*Crazyland is a place where anyone going through a divorce must pass. There are no exceptions. If you are getting divorced, your passport will get stamped in Crazyland, it is the law. You cannot reroute your trip to avoid this stop no matter how sane you attempt to be. My advice: get in and get the fuck out. The
longer you stay, the less chance you have of ever leaving.
Evidence that you might be residing in Crazyland may include, but is not limited to:
- Over indulgence in alcohol and/or drugs.
- Over indulgence in sex. Men could have accidental encounters with fat chicks while wearing skinny jeans. Middle-aged women could suddenly have their ass crack peeking out from between the waist of a pair of low-rise jeans and their muffin top.
- Tattoos suddenly appear out of nowhere.
- Jumping out of, or off of, any fast moving object indicates that you’re in Crazyland. And...
- Traveling to Mexico for Spring Break in your thirties—— which is where we are in this story——is a red flag that you’re there. You might even be the honorary mayor at that point.

"In these brief moments of sparring, I find something inside of me possessing a superiority, not over man, but over mind and matter, over my own mind and physical body. That is the reason I am here challenging myself, that is what I am seeking to gain: dominance over my own manly limitations, so that I may grow above myself in the face of a challenge. And whether the outcome is win or lose, maybe it’ll lead me to the warrior within."

Excerpt from the Prologue
Matthias Meister

Product Details

  • File Size: 858 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0989715442
  • Publisher: Story Merchant Books (November 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G8L2W1K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,342 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Refreshingly fun and uplifting! I read Simpson's Bruises in one sitting & really enjoyed it for a lot of reasons. Like any good book, it is hard to express exactly what makes it a great experience. I would say some key elements are 1. Simpson has a great sense of humor and does not hesitate to apply it with liberal brushstrokes throughout the book, primarily to his own personal failings and experiences, 2. Page turner, not one flat spot in the book, you will not want to put it down, I didn't, 3. He describes the inner world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so accurately it's great, you really get a fascinating inside look at the sport, the studios, teachers and the international competitions 4. at the same time the book's greatest success is probably it's straight forward, enjoyable account of a guy working through very real, difficult life issues all guys face in some form or fashion. 5. There is a lot in this book, like any well written book, there is plenty to appreciate. I probably enjoyed it the most as an uplifting guide to keep you on track to accomplishing what you find desirable, worthwile and rewarding in life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you have ever wondered what it is like to "choke" someone on or simply step onto the mat. Mr. Simpson paints a vivid picture of the world in BJJ, as an outsider of this world I feel empowered and hopeful for humanity. If one man can pull himself back from darkness, with a few bruises (ok a lot), broken ribs, black eyes and still wake up wanting more, what strength lies within each one of us?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Head off the mat Seempson!!! November 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great read!!! This is a must for any bjj guys out there that have been on or are in the same journey "Seempson" is going through in this book. He does a great job of laying out his pain and pleasure he experiences from his daily lessons both in life and on the mats. It is a humors book full of Academy stories and tales of everyday hero's using the skills earned in the Academy and played out in the street in the form of self defense.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day Rocky story without the sappy love story November 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From being broken down and broken to "getting it" this is a great story of triumph and growth from a real life perspective. Enjoyed it and made me want to become one of the "trained". Made me understand the value of the sport and how it's more than just a sport. Well done!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why everyone can get this story... November 21, 2013
By caro
Format:Kindle Edition
I’d like to start this review by saying Mike Simpson’s story is typical of the American almost-middle-aged man who marries the love of his life, has beautiful children, suffers through a nasty divorce (because, surely, he is the victim), only to find himself in the depths of despair, but comes out on top with butterflies, rainbows, and bunny rabbits. But I’d be lying. In fact, I’d never say that because what Simpson very rawly divulges is the naked truth unconcerned with the stereo-typical, fairy-tale ending that any realist knows is just delusional nonsense. Simpson is honest, unapologetically straightforward, and undeniably real. Whether you have been a jitsuka for decades or have no idea what the hell that word means, you will get this man’s story. He somehow manages to take the events of a normal man’s life and makes his reader acutely aware of the universal experience we all share as humans. He finds that one thing that keeps his head above that proverbial water. It is sad. It is hilarious. It is bare. It is hopeful. It is real. Read it. Get angry. Get disgusted. Laugh. Relate. Sigh in understanding and frustration. It is rare that such a humble, real, relatable story comes from your average, ordinary man. He is one of us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bruises", an American adventure. November 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked the book: maybe because I can relate on many levels, or because of the writing, or because it's funny. But maybe what appealed to me the most is it's a testimony that we can still live an adventure, and change things around our way, no matter the circumstances. "Bruises" describes an American adventure, as I learned to love them: life is not over unless we say so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brutally honest, funny and insightful read. November 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mike "Seempson" has put together a treasure of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu anecdotes woven together with some good stories and a few important life lessons. As a first hand witness and enthusiastic participant in most of the Megaton Academy exploits described within, I can say without hesitation that Mike nailed it. He does an excellent job of recreating the conversations, accents and atmosphere exactly as they happened. This book is a peek behind the curtain of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world and helps to explain why (for the trained) it is more than just a hobby, it is a life style. Buy it and read it now, you won't be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had just finished reading Mike's book and I am very impressed. First of all, I had met Mike once in local tournaments and his friend Greg had trained with me for a while at my bro in laws gym. It was not until I moved to New Orleans that I really got to know him. The stories in here refer to the positive influences that Jiu Jitsu has had in life on a professional, social, and even psychological level. The journey he takes us on shows us how a martial art can be more than just a hobby. For many of us, it is our social circle, its a way to relieve stress, and a way to challenge ourselves. Jiu Jitsu practiioners and non BJJ practitioners will be able to relate. Every person has some type of hobby that gives them that satisfaction in life and for myself, for Mike, and many of our friends at the gym, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does that. Its a challenging sport that is difficult to master, but the rewards are endless. You build friendships for life, you learn more about yourself, and most of all you gain character. Magnum Mike has clearly depicted how Jiu jitsu has impacted his life and its a fun journey that I know has only begun for him and for many others that practice this sport. Great job my friend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
As a late forties BJJ novice, I really enjoyed Mr. Simpson's insights and his travelogue through crazyland. Some of his side stories brought tears of laughter. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Dave C
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book
I recommend this book. It’s a fast read, and I kept returning to it to find out what happened next to Michael Simpson on his journey from white belt to black belt in Brazilian... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donald Bull
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for new comers and old timers alike
Someday I will find where this dude works out and ask to roll with him.

Everyone's journey through BJJ is unique, but dish guys is uniquer than most. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eugene O'Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
excellent book....very good read. Anyone who likes BJJ would enjoy this book.
Published 3 months ago by gary mccracken
5.0 out of 5 stars After going through an ugly divorce myself I thoroughly enjoyed...
After going through an ugly divorce myself I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mike's book because he did an amazing job portraying the mental struggles that many people experience but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Daniel Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend ed.
Hard to put down. Very accurate account of BJJ and life in general. Highly recommend ed.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good damn good read
Pretty good damn good read. Okay it takes place in the fairly macho world of BJJ, but story is more about the man and his journey. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mark Hauck
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I loved this book. One part journalistic piece about real-life street encounters, one part painfully honest and funny account about being middle-age and lost, and, one part love... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars And now...a chick's perspective. Well, a chick who rolls...
I read this book for the first time over a year ago and wanted to write a review, but the "fear" of not being able to adequately express my love for this book froze me in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey through Crazyland
A fabulously funny read which provided me with a glimpse into the male brain during the craziness of divorce. Bravo!
Published 6 months ago by Tina Swithin
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