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on January 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A funny, insightful and honest look at the amazing impact BJJ can have if you are open to the journey. A great read for BJJ practitioners of any level or anyone looking for an inspiration to get off your butt and make a change in your life!
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on December 4, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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. The description of his "sibling bonding" experiences and the lessons in fatherhood on the way to Vegas were priceless. I would happily read anything else he writes.
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on November 6, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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 Jiu-Jitsu.

Simpson does a good job of explaining all the different moves of Jiu-jitsu, so it was easy to conjure up a mental picture in my head of what was going with all the grappling, training, fighting and competing.

I read the Kindle version, so I didn’t realize there were actual drawings of all the different moves he describes until I got to the end. It’s good to know that going in, but I didn’t need them to follow along.

But even better is Simpson’s life journey from self-described jackass to a confident expert who’s finally comfortable in his own skin. That’s the real journey, and where he gets his real bruises, and where it’s most compelling and entertaining.

He starts alone and off-kilter after his divorce in a weird world of risky behavior of his own creation that he calls Crazyland — a world most men visit at least once in their lives.

Discovering Jiu-Jitsu saves his life and gives him direction, but it’s a long journey away from Crazyland and towards calm confidence. After his very first lesson the pain in his muscles is so bad he ends up on his ex-wife’s sofa in the fetal position begging for pain killers, but by the end of the book he’s not only in great shape, but he’s so sharply attuned he can sense exactly what his opponent is going to do next.

Simpson’s writing is funny and fast, and he makes fun of himself. Early on, before he becomes a lean fighting machine, he describes himself and another big opponent as “two bears fighting over a fish.” He jokes about himself straight to the end.

What sticks with me most is that is that to be a great fighter you don’t have to be tough or brave; instead, you must be trained. If you are properly trained then you are ready, and that readiness creates a confident ability to analyze your situation even while you are in it, nd this calm awareness carries over into other parts of his life.

He laces in great news stories of fighters who stopped robberies and killers and bullies, not because they were heroic, but because they were trained, ready, and saw how to diffuse a situation. There’s no bravura, no loud emotion, there’s just seeing, reacting and doing, like a muscle memory.

The book has great quotes, from movies to Shakespeare to Marcus Aurelias, all describing how a man must grapple with life’s challenges to become the best he can be. Men will identify with his journey, because whether we pursue jiu-jitsu or surfing or rock-climibng writing, we all start off young and full of piss and vinegar, and if we’re lucky we find a path that hones us into calm expertise.
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on October 1, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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. His humor and humility shine though every page.

BJJ changes lives, Seemp-son (and me) are proof of it
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on September 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
excellent book....very good read. Anyone who likes BJJ would enjoy this book.
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on September 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
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 don't have the skills to communicate and share in a book. Mike's honesty and openness in his story made it feel very real and a pleasure to read. I was very entertained!
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on September 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Hard to put down. Very accurate account of BJJ and life in general. Highly recommend ed.
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on August 25, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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. The author succeeds admirably in drawing you into his story and and experiences while dropping in some good anecdotes about life. This book should be mandatory reading for guys, guys looking to avoid trouble in their marriages, and newly divorced. The women should take a look at as well because it does a great job of showing that men don't skate away from damaged marriages or divorces without feeling confusion, pain, and sadness.

Oh, and for those looking at it from a BJJ standpoint you won't learn much technical stuff but you will learn some great points about developing character through the art.
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on July 30, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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 letter to jiu-jitsu. Simpson weaves all three into an entertaining story about how jiu-jitsu became the vehicle to regain his confidence.

Although this book is about jiu-jitsu, mid-life crisis, and what it means to be a man - Simpson's funny and honest writing make this story something that anyone could relate to.
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on July 22, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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 my tracks.
So I read it again and wouldn't you know I figured out even more about myself and how jiu jitsu literally saved my "life" that I created.

The author, like most of my friends who also practice the art, didn't start his jiu jitsu journey with the intent of reaching some new found awareness of mind and body, to achieve zen and inner peace, yada yada yada. He explains the how's and whys of starting jiu jitsu, but never really gets super philosophical about it. And THAT is what makes the book phenomenal. I felt like I was trying to figure out Mr Simpson, to guess, to analyze, to offer...in my mind...my OWN counsel for him. In doing so, I found out a lot about myself. A LOT!

Mr Simpson sounded like me... Kinda pissed off. Not at anyone in particular, but just not happy. Like me, probably couldn't tell on the outside. I mean, really...life has its ups and downs but we live in this great country, most of us have roofs over our heads, no fear of RPGs coming thru our bedroom...you get the point? How could I not be satisfied?

His LIFE STORY sounded eerily similar to alot of my friends' lives and seemed to be a predication of where I saw myself going. Life happened. Kids, marriage, and bumps in the road that would test the best of us. Tests I was failing miserably. I was on my way to Crazyland like the author, but made a pit stop in Stupidville first. Luckily they had gym there that taught Jiu Jitsu.

If you train, read it. It will add just a little glimmer of reassurance that you're not a whack job because you time your vacations around tournaments or prefer to wear only BJJ T-shirts whilst out in public. Plus it's frikken funny.

If you know/love/are TRYING to love someone who trains, read it. It will help explain a lot. That's all I have to say about that. I am so burnt out trying to explain why I love jiu jitsu to friends and family that I am not gonna burn brain cells trying to explain it to complete strangers. But it is frikken funny.

If you fall into the Untrained category (or your life is perfect and you don't need no stinkin' jiu jitsu) read it. It's hilariously entertaining. Plus BJJ is growing, you would be surprised how many people are out there that you know that probably train-maybe with similar stories. And if by SOME CHANCE this book gets you into the nearest BJJ gym for the first time you too will probably be writing your own review for this book with a title reading something like "How a $9.95 Book changed my life"
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