Monday, November 26, 2012


    My instructor in France (on the right) Frederic Rabert

You are looking at a bad little man right here.  He might be small, but he will twist you into a pretzel and then choke you.  This is Fred.  My first BJJ instructor. 

My wife and I moved to France in 2009.  My wife majored in French, and she got a job teaching English at a middle school and high school after we graduated.

                              The wifey and I in Paris

That meant I was going along for the ride (good or bad).  I was pretty excited.  I was going to get to live in Europe for a whole year.  My excitement quickly dissipated when I saw the new hovel we had to live in at the high school my wife was teaching at.  Not to mention the principal at the school where my wife was teaching was a complete prick.  The first day we get into our new town, my wife goes to the school and introduces herself.  She tells, the principal (in French), "Hello, I'm the new English instructor.  I've just arrived from America".  His reply was, "Okay, so".  Generally speaking, almost everyone we met, who was employed at the school, was an unhelpful miserable twat.  We had just arrived, and we were already thinking of leaving.  It was that bad.  

   Chaumont, France

I'm glad we stayed, because my wife met a few wonderful people at work, and I made a few good friends who treated us like family.  I couldn't work at this time, because I didn't have a working visa.  Basically, my life was BJJ and boxing. 

                               My boxing club

A BJJ club had just opened when I arrived.  This was a lucky coincidence.  Our club consisted of about five or six white belts and our instructor Frederic who was a blue belt.  I remember having to get a doctor's note to train and then a separate doctor's note to say I could compete!  Anyway, Fred eats, breathes, and sleeps BJJ.  He only collected 100 Euros a year for the club, but he traveled twice a week (on his dime) to our small town to teach us.  He also did a lot of community work in his town teaching BJJ to kids (for next to nothing).  His wife, Alex, was a blue belt, and they had both traveled to Brazil to train.  Heck, they even named their son Rickson!

                Fred and Alex's son Rickson (the last time I saw him he was a new born baby)

Fred was not only a wonderful instructor, but he and his wife also did a lot of nice things for my wife and I.  Not to mention that the guy is a badass.  He can't be more than 57 kg, but the guy is fearless.  I was always in awe of his technique and finesse. 

Let me stress to you guys that when I first started BJJ, I was not a "quick learner".  No my friends, I was not the grappling stud that you see before you today.  To but it bluntly, I was retarded.  Fred was always patient though. 

  My friend Antoine and I at our first competition in Lille, France (I went 3-0, then some gorilla ripped my arm off)

I hadn't spoken to Fred in a long time, and I heard from him yesterday.  I'm actually really, really happy.  Over the years, I've met some wonderful people because of BJJ.

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