The 12 Commandments

The 12 Commandments of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which apply to the sport but can also be used in our every day lives.

Promise Yourself……

  1. To be strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  2. To speak to all of happiness, health, and prosperity.
  3. To give all your friends the feeling that they have value.
  4. To look at the bright side and turn your optimism into eventual reality.
  5. To think only the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
  6. To be as fair and as enthusiastic about success of others as of your own.
  7. To forget the mistakes of the past and focus your energy on the achievements of the future.
  8. To always keep the person next to you happy, and always smile to those who address you.
  9. To expend the greatest time improving yourself, and no time criticizing others.
  10. To be too great to feel uneasiness, too noble to feel rage, too happy to feel setbacks, and strong enough to feel fear.
  11. To have a good opinion of yourself and proclaim it to the world.  Not with resounding words, but with good works.
  12. To have the firm conviction that  the world is on your side, as long as you stay loyal to what is best in you.

Written by Carlos Gracie, Sr. the creator of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and translated by Rolles Gracie.


Dad Advice

We have all heard classic fatherly advice at least one time in our lives, whether it be from our fathers or someone else’s.  Most of the time we just roll our eyes and do not really listen because we may have heard it for the hundredth time but dad advice is a lot more profound and useful than we know.  A lot of the advice is directed and useful for the fellas but girls you should read to because it is quite useful for both sexes.  For those of us who are fortunate to have our fathers around, embrace their wisdom and their advice because you just might learn a thing a two.


  1. Go for women you perceive to be “out of your league.”  You’ll surprise yourself
  2. Never have sex with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.
  3. Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  4. Every hat should serve a purpose.
  5. Never take her to the movies on the first date.
  6. Learn to wet shave.
  7. Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
  8. Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
  9. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  10. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
  11. Exercise makes you happy.  Run, lift and play sports.
  12. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
  13. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your saving account every month.
  14. Call your parents every week.
  15. Never wear a clip on tie.
  16. Give a firm handshake.
  17. Compliment her shoes.
  18. Never leave a pint unfinished.
  19. If you aren’t confident, fake it.  It will come.
  20. You can tell the size of the man by the size of things that bother him.
  21. Be conscious of your body language.
  22. The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them.
  23. Always stand to shake someone’s hand.
  24. Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.
  25. Ask more than you answer.  Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  26. Keep a change of clothes at the office.
  27. Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
  28. Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
  29. Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
  30. When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
  31. Nice guys don’t finish last.  Boring guys do.
  32. Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
  33. Don’t let the little head do the thinking for the big head.
  34. No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect.
  35. The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility.  Bad things happen, it’s your job to overcome them.
  36. The first one to get angry loses.
  37. Do what needs to be done without complaining.  It won’t help speed things up.
  38. Never stop learning.
  39. Always go out into the public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.
  40. Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy, unless that someone is you.
  41. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  42. Luck favors the prepared.
  43. Women find confidence sexy as hell.
  44. Do whatever you want to do in the life, but be the best at it.
  45. No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work.  Enjoy your life.

My Favorite Maxims Continued

Continuing the list from coach John Wooden:


Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation.  Character is what you really are; reputation is merely what you are perceived to be.

Love is the greatest of all words in our language.

Much can be accomplished by teamwork when no one is concerned about who gets credit.

Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and you foes won’t believe them.

Never be disagreeable just because you disagree.

Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.

Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you.  You’ll be surprised at the results.

The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.

Don’t permit fear of failure to prevent effort.  We are all imperfect and will fail on occasions, but fear of failure is the greatest failure of all.

Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.

The time to make friends is before you need them.

We are many, but are we much?

Nothing can give you greater joy than doing something for another.

Material things are not gifts but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of thyself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for another without thought of something in return.

Do not mistake activity for achievement.

You can do more good by being good than any other way.

Forget favors given; remember those received.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Make friendship a fine art.

Treat all people with dignity and respect.

Acquire peace of mind by making the effort to become the best of which you are capable.

11 Steps to a Better You, by Winnie the Pooh


Growing up Winnie the Pooh was one of my all time favorite cartoon characters, I absolutely loved him.  I had my own stuffed Winnie the Pooh doll with his little red shirt and he went with me almost everywhere.  Pooh bear has a great inter-network of friends, each of which have their own distinct personalities and traits but nonetheless, are just great solid friends.  You can tell how all the characters interact with each other that no matter what kind of trouble or mischief they get into they will always have each other to count on, they will never judge one another and will always have a great time.  As a young boy you can learn lots of life lessons from Winnie the Pooh and even now as an adult, you can continue to learn or re-learn some of those great lessons you might have forgotten.  A good friend had sent this to me and I really love it.  A gentle refresher on being a better person a better you by who else than Winnie the Pooh.

  • Lesson #1: Always do your morning exercises.
  • Lesson #2:  No matter how busy you may be, always remember to spend some time in your thoughtful spot.
  • Lesson #3:  Never take advantage of a dear friend’s hospitality.  A small smackerel is not the same thing as a hefty helping.
  • Lesson #4:  Life can be surprising.  Don’t just expect the unexpected – embrace it.
  • Lesson #5:  Indulge in a bear nap every once in a while – it takes a lot of energy to be you.
  • Lesson #6:  Life happens.  Sometimes the best thing to do is take a deep breath and shrug it off with an “oh, bother.”
  • Lesson #7:  Spend some time getting acquainted with nature.
  • Lesson #8:  Love everyone unconditionally.  Make all creatures feel welcomed and wanted.
  • Lesson #9:  When in doubt, lunch.
  • Lesson #10:  Stay afloat by any means possible.
  • Lesson #11:  Never forget your friends.

For a bear a very little brains, Pooh Bear certainly has a lot of insight into life’s sweet lessons – which one means the most to you?

Farewell California

My time in California is coming to a close and a new chapter in my life is going to begin.  California has been my home for the last 9 plus years and I have enjoyed my time here, the great friends I have made and all the wonderful memories.  I first moved out here from Phoenix, AZ after my wife (then girlfriend) took a job in Newport Beach with a plastic surgeon and asked if I wanted to go and without hesitation I said yes.  At the time, I was 24 living with my parents and maybe working 10-15 hours a week at Bally’s and I figured why not?  What do I have to lose?  I mean isn’t everybody’s dream to live in Cali?  With only her car and my car filled with our possessions we made the drive from Phoenix to Costa Mesa California.  We found a 1 bedroom apartment and we literally had nothing but a TV.  No couch, no bed, no TV, dining room table or coffee table.  We had to order our couch and bed and wait the two weeks for delivery so until then we were sleeping on an air mattress on the floor.  Jessica was helping her friend start a brand new practice and it was up to me to find a gym for me to start training again.  It was not long before I found a gym call Shape Up that was the catalyst for all my friends and experiences for the rest of my time here.  Shape Up was the hub that started it all for my network of friends whom I have today and continue to enjoy life with.  After a couple of moves, a couple of dogs, a couple of gym changes and most importantly after a couple of healthy beautiful daughters (Devon and Hartley) my life is where it is today.

So why would I want to change all that?

Well, after spending some time here in Cali, you realize that even though the weather is fantastic almost year round and you have a solid group of friends, you find out it is pretty darn expensive to live here.  Housing cost are extremely expensive and we are running out of room in our two bedroom townhouse.  We our a family of 4 now and we want more room for our girls to roam and run.  We feel each child needs to have their own room and mom and dad need their bedroom back since Hartley is still sleeping in a crib bedside.  We can not afford to move into a bigger 3 bedroom apartment, a rental house and or even buy a house in the area we like.  We love Costa Mesa and love our 12 minute commutes to work so we definitely do not want to move more inland.  Another little issue with California is that there are so many people here.  Maybe its the weather I am not sure, but everywhere you go there are people and cars everywhere.  Depending on the time of day, traffic on the 405 is ridiculously crazy.  It could take you either 20 minutes or an hour to travel just 10 miles.  We want a slower pace of life and a more easy living lifestyle for us and our children.  We are done with the hustle and bustle of the city life and are ready to move to the suburbs where peace and quiet are in our future.  We are ready to make a better life for our family so we might as well do it now while the kids are young so that is why we are moving to Charleston, South Carolina.

After lots of research and a scouting trip we have decided on Charleston because of the mild four season, friendlier people, more easy going lifestyle and affordable housing.  Do we have any friends there?  No.  Do we have any family there?  No, but we are ready to have blind faith just like we did when we move to California.  I strongly feel and have said before “as long as I have my girls, I can be happy anywhere.”  This move is going to be one of the biggest chapters in my life and I am ready for it.  I have been thinking about this for quite some time and sure it is going to be tough and very sad and sure it is normal for me to feel nervous, anxious and worried and scared but you know what?  I say bring it on. Rather than be worried and wonder what if, I am ready to embrace it and dominate it.  I have a fire under my butt and know I have to provide for my family which just helps fuel the drive.  My wife has a job and can start right making money but me on the other hand being a trainer it is not so easy.  I have to say goodbye to my existing clientele, many of which I have been training for 5 plus years, find a new gym and start rebuilding again.  I am unsure of where I am going to work or even what avenue I can take but I am ready.  Maybe I can work at a golf course, maybe I can coach diving, maybe I can lead a neighborhood bootcamp whatever it may be I am excited to see where I am going to head.  The sky is the limit and I am not stopping until I get there.

Our main goal is to find a house to where we can finally call home.  A home to where we can watch our kids grow, have wonderful holiday parties and countless memories to be shared.  We have a little more than 2 weeks left here in Cali and we are going to enjoy it and our friends as much as we can.  To all my great friends that I have made here in California: I love you, I wish you all great success and happiness and God bless you all.  To all our new friends we are going to make: watch out here comes the Franzen family, a great family with great values, big smiles and even bigger and warmer hearts.


33 of Life’s Most Powerful Lessons

Just some motivation to help us get our Monday started on the right foot with a positive mind and a grateful, loving heart.  Life lessons like these help us redefine who we are and make us look deeper into ourselves and our hearts to find true happiness for all.

  1. Often those who aren’t the easiest to love are the ones who need it the most.
  2. Seeing children play can make even the bluest day brighter.
  3. Money is not the root of all evil, fear is.
  4. The secret to happiness is the acceptance of yourself.
  5. Happiness is not based on external status, it is an internal state.
  6. Money can’t make me happy, but self-sufficiency gives me the freedom to share myself creatively, without worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills.
  7. Every man has a right to choose his own destiny.
  8. The path is the way.
  9. Coming is going, going is coming.
  10. The hardest is found in the easiest.
  11. Heaven and hell exist here and now, within your own mind.
  12. Life is the largest stage.
  13. Music is one of the most supreme expressions of life. It is art in it’s most transitory form. It is gone within an instant, and therefore, extremely precious.
  14. Follow your gut, you’ll thank yourself later.
  15. Remember what your mother taught you, it came from the most sacred place of love that exists.
  16. Never let an argument last, never hold a grudge, it will make your heart heavy.
  17. Forgive those that have yet to do you wrong, and you won’t have to worry about it should the time come.
  18. Be grateful for this moment, it is all there is.
  19. The source of most of your frustrations and anxiety are the result of living in the future, or the past.
  20. Spend time alone with yourself every day.
  21. Always go with yourself, never against yourself.
  22. You have to be your own best friend.
  23. If you don’t like what someone else says to you, you can walk away. But if you don’t like what you say to yourself, you can’t walk away. Therefore, if you’re going to be with yourself all the time, you might as well be nice to yourself.
  24. The truth shall indeed set you free.
  25. Lies only exist if we believe in them.
  26. Even the most fundamental beliefs about reality are not true in themselves. Our thinking makes them true in our experience.
  27. Your thoughts create reality.
  28. The biggest lie is the lie of your imperfection.
  29. Being kind is more important than being right.
  30. Your heart is your best compass.
  31. Cherish those that you love, you never know if you’ll see them again.
  32. Your beliefs are a filter for your reality.
  33. Love is the supreme expression of life, it is the essence and ground of all creation.


11 Things I Learn From Golf

I am still constantly hooked to the game of golf and enjoy every part of the game from the practicing, to playing, to making friends and enjoying the fresh air.  Golf, just like almost everything else teaches me many things about the game and also about life.  I love when you can relate sports and activities to your every day life and can benefit from them, learn from them and become a better person because of it.  Here are 11 things I have learned from the game of golf.

  1. Patience.  Being patient in between each shot, in the round, in practice and in life.  Golf has helped me be more patient and not get to worked up about things that happen to me in my day.
  2. Humility.  Golf can humble you real quick.  Just when you think you kind of have it figured it out it can turn on you in an instant.  Be patient, play within your means and that brings me to number 3.
  3. Don’t be a hero.  Sometimes on the course you are faced with tricky lies and difficult shots and we all think we are super star golfers and can go for the green when in reality it’s not going to happen.  Sure, you think you can knock it on the green with a side hill lie in the rough from 220 out and water on the left.  You never practiced this shot ever, but go for it.  Make the smart play, hit it in the fairway and set yourself up for the next shot.
  4. Know when to go for it.  Just the opposite, I know, you have to have the yin with the yang.  Sometimes you have to take a risk and go for it.  When you do, swing with all your might, eliminate any and all doubts and do not hold anything back.
  5. Enjoy nature.  Every time I am out on the golf course I appreciate nature in all of its natural and manicured glory.  To be surrounded by nothing but trees, dirt, sand, mountains and to have the grass under your feet it is truly unreal feeling.  One of the best nature sports out there, especially with the elements constantly changing.  It makes me appreciate this beautiful world even more.
  6. Practice.  Just like anything else you want to get great at, you have to practice.  The more you practice the better you will get and the more fun you you will have.  I hear people say golf is too hard but I question how much time and effort they put into making themselves better so they can enjoy the game.  Similar to everything else there is a learning curve, some may be slower and steeper than others but that’s what makes it so great.
  7. Make friends.  Golf is a very, very social and popular sport and can be played with anybody, pretty much anytime and anywhere.  The social connection is very strong and it is a fantastic way to meet new people who have the same common interest as you and enjoy the game.  One of my problems is trying to golf with all the people who do golf.  Not a bad problem to have.
  8. Be aggressive.  Often times in golf, you find yourself not hitting the ball hard enough especially with putts and chips and being too cute.  I have to tell myself it is okay to hit the ball slightly pass the hole and besides, if you don’t hit it hard enough it never has a chance to go in.  My buddy and I always say “100% of short putts miss everytime.”  Meaning if you don’t hit it hard enough, it’s always going to miss.
  9. Deep squat.  Okay, I don’t really learn how to deep squat in golf, but golf definitely helps you work on your deep squat when you are bending down lining up putts and picking up the ball.  Anytime you can work on that move whether it be at work, home, gym or on the course is win win in my book.
  10. Keep calm.  Regardless of how great or terrible you do on the hole, remain calm.  Life is to short to get all worked up about a game.  Sure, it stinks if you triple bogey a hole for the second time but oh well.  Keep calm, get over it and move on.  Look ahead to the next hole and do not let the past creep into your head.  I think I heard that Tiger Woods worries about a bad shot for ten steps and after the ten steps, all is forgotten.
  11. One shot at a time.  Try not to get ahead of yourself in golf and in life.  You hit a great drive down the middle and you are already thinking about the birdie putt and suddenly things go down hill fast.  Treat each and every shot with precise care, execution and focus one swing at a time just like one day at a time.