Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dear John - 1 Year Later

October 26 a day to be remembered but also a day to be ignored. Not in the context of that it wasn't important but rather ignore in the sense of you wish it never happened. 365 days seems like yesterday as I walked proudly off the mats at the Subfighter No-Gi tournament overcoming what I thought was the end of "The Battle Within" fear. Nervous about fighting (competing) as always looking back I sometimes I ask myself what was the fuss about. I was alive, hanging with friends, eating acai, and challenging myself in a positive way in a sport/practice I love. From a positive side of competing I viewed that day as a reminder about how precious life was and how it is not to be taken for granted.

However it's funny how some lessons have to come in an unforgiving cruel fashion which I would discover when I got home getting the news of your passing due after long hard fought battle with cancer.

The news seemed far from the truth because I just spoke with you before I went to Seattle and most importantly when you did get sick you always pulled through. I was confused, hurt, and numb from it all . As mentioned in my blog Trail and Error losing friends, family, and even another Grapplethon star (Frank Edge)  was nothing new to me. Yet for some reason as the months went on I never recovered from your death as I found myself expecting a typical Monday text message before I start my paper job or at least "like" from a facebook post. Maybe it was because I considered you like an older brother I wish I had coming up. Maybe because like me not matter how hurt you were you were selfless in you ability to care for others. Maybe it just the human nature aspect of not wanting to see anything bad happen to you. Whatever the reason may be it left me miserable because I couldn't do anything in seeing or talking to my friend again.

Yet choosing to not be stagnant especially in a negative state no one stays down for the count because I know for a fact you wouldn't want me doing that shit.The road to recovery was a long building period during that time from October 26 2014 to April of 2015.  I can honestly say if it wasn't for your friends I was luckily to be able to meet through you to talk to (Pete and Brian), a new hobby in Improv, and having PMA I would have fully sunken into a deeper depression than what I already was.

Time moved forward into the year of 2015 as I founded myself getting better. Traveling, meeting great people on the road, competing at the highest level, and doing other stuff that made life fulfilling for me. Yet even in the mist of all this activity there''s not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. I sometimes wonder why is that.

Then  it all hit me as I had to reference a quote I made in my previous blog dedicated to you. 

"However as I sit here and write this blog there is another apart of me that has a sense of gratitude because I was so blessed to meet a great person that made such a difference in my life. John taught me so much in the past year Ive known him . He taught me how to deal with problems a little better, taught me how to have a deeper care for myself, facing adversity, love life and most importantly always continue to show support to others going through their own troublesome storms life has given them."
It is these values that are forever instilled in my heart which allows me to push forward . I can see it through my passion for helping others and also myself at anything I put my mind to even if I do fumble at times.So in some sense it is as if you are always looking out for me
This without a sad day to remember. However as much as many us try to ignore it that idea would to deny you ever existed which is impossible based on some many people's lives you touched.

So I once again find myself reciting the same closing speech as I did a year ago.

Thanks Again for everything John. I miss you everyday man yet glad I was blessed to meet the only Philly Bad Ass John Flite for it continues to make a positive impact on my life.
Love you brother 

Still PMA mob all day ...........striving to become 1 % better.

Monta ( pronounced like Monday w/ a "T' replacing the "D")


Monday, August 17, 2015

Thoughts Before Competing

Two weeks ago I competed at the Jiu-Jitsu World League. As always it was a great experience as I found myself testing my skills against two great opponents, getting 1 % better, and getting a second place medal for my efforts. Before stepping on the mat many people which included friends, one of my instructors Xande Ribeiro and even one of the competitors in the bracket saw my demeanor during the waiting process. It was a range of anger, fear, anxiousness and sometimes even out of space as if I left my mind at home.

Not too long after the tournament I was asked an interesting question.

Monta I know you have pure intentions. However when I see you at the tournaments you are an emotional bipolar wreck. What goes through your mind before stepping out on the mat  ?  

I thought this was a great question because every competitor goes through this. Always open to share my experiences I've decided to answer the question of " what goes on in my mind before I compete". There are some things I have to leave out due to the "dark nature" but I will do my best to give you a glimpse of the battle it takes for me to even compete.

It's 10 pm the night before the tournament which is by far the worst stage for me. Four bottles of cold water sit aside my dresser to calm my heart rate in the event of an anxiety attack similar to the Chicago incident.I find myself like "GERALD" in a dark four corner room trying to get sleep obviously distracted by thoughts of competing the next day. My thoughts reflect on the past while also thinking of the future as I attempt to recognize the fears that sit inside of me.

What fears are you talking about Monta ? 
The Fear of Losing ?- Answer: NO  
The Fear that you don't believe in yourself ? Answer: HA Hell No

Well what is the problem ?

From a minor standpoint one fear is not performing to my expectations win or lose. I don't consider myself a top athlete or even a rising BJJ star I can do without the man-fans. Deep in my heart my role out there is to be the best I can at trying to win because if I go out with the intention to lose then Im not doing my best . However this issue is something that is manageable w/ simple drilling, training hard, and having PMA.

This minor fear leads to the core of the conflict. 

My primary disturbance centers on the upcoming battle of two people with purpose whom have no personal issues (beef) with each other. Whether it be on the streets, your job, or even a friendship gone bad it's apparent why a fight would take place. The thought of two strangers signing up for a tournament to fight always seemed weird to me . It puts me at a state of fright/paranoia of the unknown which is something even the great Mike Tyson said he mentally struggled with when he started boxing. 

Although I never look at an opponent as my enemy. I also realize he is not my friend. Like myself he is a competitor driven with a purpose. Sadly I'm in his way which creates a problem. References are always used by competitors to separate themselves from the competition. While you sleep I'm training. I don't get tired. Photos after a grueling training session. Videos of past opponents getting destroyed .It is a form of mental warfare to let the rest know they better be ready. 

So I find myself constantly thinking about this man . I picture all the horrible things he plans on and can do to me. I think back to past tournaments where my opponents were not been kind and wouldn't mind injuring me in route to his goal. 

What this does to me ? I will simply say I know I'm in for a fight and I better be ready.

Sunrise the next day and I'm off to the tournament. Aside from listening the "awesome mix" on my Zune music player I try to visualize  how I want to be at the tournament. In Improv we are taught to hold on to an emotion and not let it go for anything. So I picture myself as a determined competitor with a stern look on myself ready to face my fears on the mat. It may be perceived as intimidating but that is not my intention. In fact it is my way of letting everyone know I want to be here. This helps decrease the doubt of not performing well on the mats because I have already designed my mind to as Chief Keith would say stay in character.

However the mind always plays slight tricks on me as negativity does has a way of sneaking in. Revisiting thoughts of me going to battle with an opponent still linger. Here is more layers as to why

By nature I'm an "Introvert". I like stay to myself, help people when I can, and overall live a simple life with less drama. I don't like any conflict which involves making another person feel small because I know how it feels to be in that position both as a competitor and in my personal life. So a slight bit of compassion and hesitation comes in as I ask myself am I doing something wrong. Then again my opponent isn't thinking of that shit so why should I. So I try my best to block that negative thought out .I think of the good that is going to come out of the experience and pray in my head to GOD for two things..............................

1. Protection for me and my opponent as we go out there and do what he love
2. A positive learning experience while doing it. 
and maybe being friends afterwards 

Arriving at the venue my anxiety goes through the roof. Congested fight venue, lots of noise, and seeing competitors struggle in battle competing. It's enough to make you get Goosebumps and run for cover. Yet as I look at the competitors expressions during their fights as scary as it may looks anxiousness, curiosity, and a little excitement sits inside me. That is when I realize there is no turning back and I can't wait to see what happens when I'm out there going through my own struggle.

The rest of the day is spent warming-up and resting until my division is called. During that time there is never a dull moment of running into people you know.I am always greeted by friends and acquaintances as I walk around the venue. Some offer kind gestures of encouragement which puts me at state of ease. Examples...........................
-Try to have fun out there brother
- Wish you nothing but the best
- You're going to do great

Some on the other hand (although they have good intentions) say the most dumbest stuff that has nothing to do with my purpose for competing. Examples.
- Kick all there asses Monta.
- Get that Gold Medal nothing less
- (i remember one person telling me) if you don't win its ok you can be the greatest loser who had a great match
-Why are you so nervous it just a tournament

When comments like this are brought up I wish I could tell them to shut the fuck up because unless they know what goes on in my head they would never know why I compete. However when encountering this problem I simply try make my conversation short as possible as I retreat to an area where I have less people to interact with.

Time grows short and my division is finally called. At this point my mind is on auto-pilot as I make my way to the mat. Standing at the edge of the mat never taking my eyes off it I begin to have a quick conversation with myself. 
- Follow the game plan. 
- You're Gonna Do Great.
- You want to be here and are about to do something to better yourself

This helps turn my anxiety rage/anger into positive energy because at the end of the day I just want to get better.Oh crap the referee just called me to the mat. I bow before entering (judo style). Walk out with confidence. I shake the referee's hand. Look at my opponent dead in his eyes shake his hand showing him respect. Sometimes I'll even give him a hug if I know him well ( yeah I'm a softy -haha-). 

Those small seconds afterwards seem like an eternity. I back to my side of the competition mat. My opponent does the same. Referee signals for the clock to start. Waves his hand following with the words COMBATE !!  Here goes nothing time to compete.

and if anyone who has seen me afterwards or read my "post-fight" comments you should know I'm always in a positive mood.

Oh and you are probably asking yourself one other question after reading this blog. 

Why do you put yourself through this mental abuse ? 

Answer: Because my pride is always forcing me to prove to myself yes I CAN instead of my old way of thinking of "I Can't" to making a stronger person and competitor. And finally I just love the competition shirts I get for my efforts afterwards :-)
Thanks for taking the time out to read everyone. If you have any questions,comments, or advice feel free to drop em.

1 % better

monta ( pronounced like Monday with a "T" replacing the "D")

Monday, June 8, 2015


Intro: It is a dark and rainy night in parts unknown of the United States . The loud thumbing trickles of rain knock loudly on the window as the gust of wind can be heard throughout the area. Inside the residence of one home tells a different tale "SILENCE". In the confines of a four corner dark room a man we will called GERALD lies motionless on his bed. Gazing up a the ceiling he ponders, wonders, formulates, and thinks but sadly he is stuck in a state of nothing that he cant seem to breakout of. Nevertheless don't count GERALD out because all you need is one spark that will bring you to do something instead of nothing.

As this story is told through in his own account......................................

GERALD: "Well you probably already know who I am. What you don't know is why I'm here or a better way of putting it why I'm stuck here.  Too many people's surprise this has been going on for a long time now. It's not that I'm lazy or anything . It's just that I don't know what to do. For years life troubles have broken me to the point of feeling "less important sorta speak". Not to get into details or to make you feel sorry for me but the result has crippled me mentally and physical as I lay here at a standstill in time and space. 

Yet I know this isn't what my life is meant to be. Deep down I know I have something to give and have a purpose in this world. However the brick wall is so hard to get over. I mean have ideas but I keep drawing blanks.  I know there is a step but tripping/ falling, the mere thought of it hurts. From the looks of all my non-activity I have reduced myself to being in fear of myself as I choose to stare at this unbleached white ceiling of nothingness in my paralyzed condition. 
*weather erupts loudly outside* 

The sound of rain, wind blowing , and thunder flashing through the sky something is a brewing tonight. If I would have known better all that racket outside something was trying to get my attention. Curious of the commotion my eyes slightly begin to wander from the ceiling to my window as I was intrigued to get a glimpse of what was going on out there.

Looking outside my window  I began to examine everything that was going. Unlike that brick ceiling, the view outside can be described as one of action, on-going physical dialogue, and the motivation of simply doing. *points to audience* You know what I'm talking about almost similar to those stories you see on  the news (haven't watched that in awhile since staring at the ceiling).  The picture of a man shooting basketball in front of thousands of adored spectators. A hard working women breaking out onto the big stage. Young child overcomes cancer. Timid fools turned into fearless figures taking on any challenge standing in their way. All the construction of one's desires to create through inspired actions to becoming better.

All of these thoughts coming into my head where did they come from all of a sudden ? I never felt this way before. It's almost as if I'm being pushed to do something. uggh no matter the storm is calming down back to lair which I call "bed". In that short 5 minutes of looking out the window at the storm as I lay back in my bed to that oh so familiar position something inside snapped. That's it I cant take sitting around anymore !!!

All this time I've been laying here feeling sorry for myself , I can no longer take this easy route.
I refuse to remain at a standstill and let this brick wall block me from simply discovering me. As that storm outside choice do what it feels without regret I too have been inspired to do the same. I want to see, feel, and embrace what is out there to finding that answer. 

*Gerald gets up out of his bed*

Its been awhile since I've risen out of my bed. Even as my feet plant firmly on ground it feels like a small step as oppose to wasting my time not doing anything at all. 

Well it has been a long time coming no more holding back. So here goes nothing...  

one ...two..three !!!!! 

*Gereald open door exits his room*

Aftermath: The moment Gerald took action is the moment he realized that he can turn nothing into something. He has had a long road since those many stiff days of nothingness. He has fallen, screwed-up, and had some triumphant moments. Yet the fact that he is able to move forward and no longer be a prisoner of his own mind is a positive because after all he is progressing. I don't know what "Gerald" is doing now but you bet you ass he is living life to the fullest pushing, grinding, turning his dreams into reality..while being 1 % better of course. :-)

Lesson:  I'm sure there is a Gerald that wants to compete in that upcoming tournament but the anxiety of fear keeps one from breaking out. I'm sure there is a Gerald who has a fear of traveling getting outside his normal element. Building a aspired business leaving your 9 to 5 lame job. Saying the wrong thing in an Improv class in fear of fucking up ( had to sneak that in there). Who hasn't been stuck in their own mind plagued with doubts and fears with that brick wall in front of them like Gerald.

But what good is it to do nothing at all as we deprive not only ourselves of improving but also uncovered talents to maybe helping others in need of breaking down their brick wall. You never know unless you try.

So in closing it's never to late be like..... GERALD !!!! 

-monta ( pronounced like monday with a "T" replacing the "D")

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Improv:Out of the Comfort Zone Into Discovery

“Life Begins At the End of Your Comfort Zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Everyday an individual wakes up one is blessed with an opportunity to become 1 % better. Space and Opportunity is all around us, why not take advantage of what L.I.F.E has to offer us. I once thought life was about living in a comfort zone bound by an imaginary set rules we must follow and the limitations we stubbornly impose on ourselves. Luckily through my long journey in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-jitsu) it has taught me the complete opposite which is bound by no rules only focused on the premise of wanting the best for myself. Becoming driven, staring fear in the face to push through obstacles  which lead me to uncovering a great deal of confidence, humility, and courage that I never knew existed within me.

However although BJJ has taught me a lot I began to find myself in a zone of comfort pondering.. Is that all ? I know my life just couldn't evolve around the paper job, MMA journalist, Nexflix and mat life. There had to be something else out there that could teach me more about myself. Fortunately  this plan would be set in motion in late September of 2014.

Fed up with my paper job and being a temp for two years I was creating my plans toward my exit from the company. It was on a rainy day at a small coffee shop  I had a conversation w/ someone I consider a father about my plans to leave and look for another job. His response (like always) was harsh, down to the point, and truthful.

" You can't communicate for shit. You stutter a lot, you can barely have a conversation, and you can't even make eye contact. What job is going to hire you? I recommended some acting classes."

If anyone who knows me I'm pretty much a laid back and quiet guy.Even when I get mad I rarely raise my voice as if I was a dry ass personality character out of the Godfather movie.

Although it was hard to hear he was completely right . There were communication issues that I lacked that seriously needed work on. However acting was not my thing, Although I respected actors work ethic I hated everything about Hollywood from the glitz to glamour, and the thought of a human being thinking they are better than anyone because of how famous they were. Nevertheless in the back of my mind I somewhat wanted to try it out not only to show him I could do it but also just do something different creating a new lane out of that comfort zone I was trapped in.

After looking up some ideas I came across something that seemed to strike my interest which would be discovered through the unpredictable art known as IMPROV.   Reading about what it was I got the impression it had nothing to do with remembering scripted lines to make a scene. In fact some of Improv's teachings seemed very similar to stuff I learn from BJJ in the context of creating and being in the moment. However I still wasn"t too thrilled going in as all I could think to myself was how bad and useless this experience will be for me.

After competing at the All American JJ tournament on January 24 the next day I began my journey walking into my first Improv session at a facility called "The Club House". I certainly had a bad mind frame going about being judge, dealing w/ a bunch of snobs, and that old phrase of I rather be training or watching Netflix ( I even walked into the class 10 minutes late shows you how much I gave a shit about this experience.)

Walking into the class I founded myself surrounded by 11 individuals from different walks of life in Southern California. Each person had there own reason for being in the class which led me to believe this class wasn't what I was thought it was going to be. My prediction would later unfold as the first session consisted of singing random hit songs, word association exercises, and even pair on stage action with a classmate. Walking out of the first class I'm not going to lie, there was something I really liked about Improv.

Throughout the process I became hooked. There were sessions were I had good days and bad days. Going through this rollercoaster of emotions something became clear to me. There is no way that I didn't give a shit about getting good at Improv. There is no way a guy like me who tried his best on the stage would be that hard on himself crying to the instructor by e-mail about how much I sucked and wanted to get better. That is when I realized that I found a new hobby and it was challenging me to become the best me I could be on a personal level.

It would be totally arrogant of me to say I did this on my own. However as a rule of thumb in Improv it takes more than one individual to make a plan come together or in my case be motivated to work hard while having fun which I would receive with the help of all my classmates and awesome instructor.

The instructor Keith Saltojanes (aka Chief Keith) could've have been a more fitting  instructor for me for my intro into Improv.Although I thought the dude was freaking crazy (you would have to be in his class to know why) it was his personality that made the class fun for us all. He was very supportive, guided us, and because of who he is made us fall in love with the art.

My classmates were awesome during this 8 week process. No one wasn't judgmental with my stuttering on stage, inablity to expand my ideas, and random stupid catch phrase trying to sound funny. We all helped and tolerated each other (in a good way) to make the best "in the moment" scenes we would make which systematically created great friendships in the process.

Three classmates in particular really made me like Improv. These sandbaggers ( BJJ term- you can ask me what it means guys) had acting experience coming into the class.They were using the experience as a vehicle toward their life pursuits. It was motivational  to see these talented "aspiring actors" create characters on the fly. Seeing them perform made me think hopefully I can be this creative and good one day. I respected them so much so that in the beginning I was afraid to do scenes with them in fear of fucking it up because actors are so serious about their craft. Taking that leap of faith they were actually very helpful knowing how to adapt to the situation.

 These 3 people were..............
Adam Christopher (aka The Burger King), Kelsey McNamee ( The Versatile One), and Perry Chicos ( the seemingly more determined out of the three). BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR THEM COMING TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU.

The Ending of the Comfort Zone the beginning of a new adventure. How life takes us on such a journey in unlocking the power to discover, create, and challenge ourselves knowing what life is truly meant to be the undescrible sensation of living it to the fullest.

With the end of the final class and the graduation show around the corner, the burning question is What is next for me in the world of Improv. Although I have no desire to be a comedian or actor Improv is something I really enjoy doing and would like to continue getting good at. Although I still feel I am a beginner in this new hobby of mine, off the stage it has helped me greatly in my life. My communication skills have gotten better and I have a great deal of confidence when speaking to anyone w/ less stuttering or overthinking idea. So if the Improv training did this for me in a short period of time I could only imagine what it teach me about myself if I stick with. I defeintly cant wait to use these lesson to help with my mental game when I make my return to competition.

In other words BJJ, Writing, and my other occupations better make room because Improv has moved into town !!!! :-)

1 % better doing L.I.F.E-(Living. Intensely Fully. Everyday) 

monta (pronounced like Monday with a "T" replacing the "D")

p.s- On a funny note I also saw some BJJ potential in some of my classmates be great to see some of you on the mat trying out my sport :-) You get a week free !!!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Man's Focus In The Arena: Why No More Tournament Announcements

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. "

Reading this famous quote defies meaning to the premise focusing on your journey and not being distracted by outside forces that will interfere with you achieving your goals. Although this is the anthem to shaking those haters off, when I analyze this statement deeper I see something else which touches on the concept of simply being "ONE MAN IN THE ARENA". To think the last time you heard from me in a montablog I was a man in my own arena. I just completed the last episode of the battle within competition thing, covered a major Bellator event, having to deal with a close friend dying, and a bunch of other stuff. The only difference is with my non-stop post especially in regards to tournaments I have openly welcomed people into my arena which has been  a combination of good and bad attention that has  befell on me.

As of late with recent action photos popping of me competing at various tournaments like SBJJF Worlds, Tap Out Cancer Charity Open, and NABJJF All Americans people have been asking me one question. Why haven't I made, told, or will make any announcements of when I'm going to compete ? It's been a question I have avoided for a while because quite frankly I feel I didn't owe anyone an explanation. However for those that have supported me I feel I owe it to them. So I guess I will re-open the gate for the audience as they get to view the man Monta Wiley in the arena as he touches on the issue in this blog.

For those that don't know or have followed my blogs I have had to deal with competition anxiety along with some other mental problems related to bad experiences in competition for many years.My goal during my return to tournament action from 2012 to 2014 was one thing, break the fears I once had that held me down for so long which I think I accomplished for the most part. The problem is even when you tell people your about journey you still get positive and sadly negative feedback. You get looked at like a weirdo, people don't understand where you're coming from, and some times people will try to dictate what they except of you based on how they feel although they mean no harm. 

This all came full force at the 2014 IBJJF Chicago Summer Open.  I made a huge announcement about it on Facebook if people can remember. It was almost as if I was welcoming all critics to the special attraction in Monta's arena. Unfortunately building unnecessary hype around myself, trying to meet others expectations, along with dealing with my own "demons"  hit me hard big time. End results I had an anxiety attack that almost landed me in a hospital in Chicago. I still ended up competing but looking back my mood and feelings about the tournament that day were not good at all for someone who flew out 1,000 of miles to have a good experience and possibly win a medal in the process. I performed well that day but lost in the first round.It was an eye opener that some times it's best to keep my mouth close in order to worry about myself and the experience in front of me waiting at the arena. 

Traveling down the road to SBJJF Worlds originally I once again wasn't in my right mind state "going in". At that point I felt very negative about competition and I was dealing with a lot of personal things in my life outside of grappling. Going into that tournament I told myself that this will be my last tournament and I'm not telling anyone I'm competing . My plan was to fight hard and whatever the results were to walk away in silence as if I was ready to jump into my own farewell from competition grave be laid to rest. This strategy surprisingly worked in my favor. That day was a fun day as I ended up finishing 4th place (fighting in the medal rounds) and overall having an awesome time competing against three great opponents. I continued this formula into my next 2 tournaments which got me a third place medal at one event, befriending some of my opponents, anxiety was at an all time low, and overall just having fun focusing on how I feel and no one else.

Two totally different stories.Two totally different approaches of one man going into a life altering experience in the arena. This is how you can become your own critic and as my brother John Flite would say keeping a PMA. So if you haven't understood what all this means that pertains to why I'm not making any announcements about me competing in the future here is the answer. 
(For the record some of my close friends will know through text whom understand my reasons for competing).

It's enough I have to deal with the thought of doing "damage" to someone for my own personal goals of being 1 % better (although my intentions are pure). It's enough I gotta deal with the thought of facing an opponent who wants to "take me out" for his own reasons. It's enough I have to deal with focusing on being in the moment trying to remain positive/humble through my victories and defeats. To sum it all up it a personal journey I just want  to enjoy on my own without any promos surrounding it. 

It is the best decision for me and my own sanity in my current goal of making every event  fun, meaningful, and personal . But hey look on the bright side if anymore paparazzi photos pop up or if I decided to tell the results at least you know I competed afterwards ;-)  -hahaha-
To end this blog I would like to encourage my peeps in BJJ to do something.


Like myself you are a nobody. You're not Xande Ribeiro. You're Not Buchecha. You're not Garry Tonon. You're not even one of those top rising star color belts that get a lot of attention. However don't jump on my case yet because this is actually a good thing that most of us are Nobodies. As nobodies we draw less attention to ourselves which means we can focus on our goals whatever they may be with no added critics. For instance picture how hard it is for a top competitor in any sport to compete. His own expectations, his team, family, financial stability, & fans. What it spells out is a ton of weight going in to fulfilling the outcome. 

Even MMA fighters (amateur, pro, and top fighters) have these same pressures to perform/win for a variety of different reasons.

What you fail to realize (and I see a lot of post on Facebook) when you build hype around yourself saying comments such as  "Hey Guys I Have a Fight Coming Up" "Time to Win Gold and Kick Ass" you do three things .........................
1. You build an inflated ego which is unnecessary to have.  
2. You lose sight of the experience in route to reaching your goal. 
3. Unless your God or the BaseGod Marcelo Garcia you are trying create an outcome which hasn't even been completed. 

It doesn't end there because this is where it gets hilariously sad when things don't go according to the "divine" plan.When things don't go your way you make the what I like to call "Heaven I Need A Hug" post and cry like spoiled children. 
Ex: that referee screwed me, I didn't get the results I wanted, I was sick going in, and a bunch of other emotional stuff for  people to feel sorry for you.
It something that needs to stop because you lose focus on yourself and welcome outside pressure along a journey that only you are going through physically and mentally. If it that special to announce my advice would be to tell the people close to you directly (inbox,text message, journey blog or whatever).
Don't believe what I say, check out these videos of what top black belts Jay Valko and Adem Redzovic has to say concerning this subject.

At the end of the day I just want people to relax and enjoy the journey to accomplishing your goals. We only have one life to live lets do it to the fullest and as strive hard to being our only critic in the arena.
1 % better

Monta (pronounced like Monday w/ a "T" replacing the "D")

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Battle Within Conclusion: L.I.F.E

Life, the complex puzzle of enlightenment what a challenge it gives us.  Its design is made of many different pieces that it can’t be unraveled in one way. The choices, people we meet, and experiences are all scattered fragments that once put together reveal something meaningful but most importantly to LIVE fully while searching for that answer even if the answer isn’t what we originally thought.

It was two years ago after a hiatus of living in fear and making excuses  when I manned up to compete in grappling tournaments again in a documented tale I called “The Battle Within”. Reflecting back it was certainly an adventure marked by many triumphs, defeats, lessons, and even a trip to the Denver hospital. But overall what can I say it all made me better than I once was. However during that road to breaking fears and becoming 1 % better there was one thing I avoided that I knew I would have to face eventually No-gi competition which happens to be initial start of my bad competition experience dating back to an incident in 2005.

You could say it was a long time coming and something that I couldn’t avoid. With some encouragement from a friend (Will Lambdin to be exact) I decided to join the fun to compete with him at the SubFighter No-gi Championships tournament in the advance division. Although I had serious anxiety about doing the whole thing especially since my last no-gi tournament was 2007, deep down I knew how much doing this really meant for me as it was greater than the fears holding me back. However the anxiety of “fighting” was the least of my concerns as a much bigger fear was drawing to a sad and inevitable conclusion I couldn’t fix.

My close friend/Grapplethon Star John Flite was in the last hours of his long battle with cancer. Oddly enough I got the news the morning of my tournament which left me very upset. Some way to start a morning I guess. The fears I had of competing was nothing compared to losing a friend you consider a brother.Death isnt like making a minor mistake on a job, fixing an error in your game, or even mending the fense of a relationship. It's a harsh dose of reality because once someone dies there no coming back,no re-fixing.At that moment there was a battle in my mind sitting on my bed side. Should I A) cancel my plans to compete to stay updated on John's status via text or B) go compete to take my mind off things a bit . Knowing what John would probably say and in my own best interest I choose to go compete because keeping my PMA I knew everything was going to be fine with John when I returned.

Packing my bags I was off to go complete the last chapter of this Battle Within competition episode. Getting to event was a challenge within itself marked by weird obstructions such as a 5k breast cancer awareness run which blocked off the connecting streets and almost missing my train.  Finally making it on the Gold Line I was off to the carpool meeting point when yet another strange puzzle fragment caught my eye. On my train rides to Pasadena I noticed there was always a lot of gang tagging graffiti in the Lincoln Park area. In the mist of all that dark, nasty, blatant display of vandalism there was one insignia that caught eye which tag read “Life is a Gift”. Although it was cool to see some light in the mist of all that darkness, I also thought it was weird because I never seen it there before almost as if I was trying to be told something as it stuck in the back of my mind that entire day.(Note: I never saw the tag logo again of future train rides but the other gang graffiti was there)

Flash forward my friends and I arrived at the event as the waiting game soon began to step onto the mat.During the waiting period I decided to turn on my cellphone to check on John's status but for some reason my phone battery was low (later went dead). The phone was at full charge when I left the house as I only used it once to confirm pickup to meet my friend for a ride to the event. Nevertheless I didn't think too much of it as I simply turned off the phone and made a conscious decision to be in the moment focus on the tournament not worrying to much of what is going on outside .  

I was extremely nervous waiting for my advanced bracket division to be called out to compete. But one thing I did know was as long as I went out there and fight my hardest win/lose my mission would finally be complete.Whether it was John’s condition in the back of my mind, liberation of tackling my last fear, or another motivational flame burning inside of me it certainly paid off with my performance that day. Skipping the details of my matches it was certainly a challenge and a great experience. Competing against two tough opponents I won one and lost one which got me a third place finish in my first run in the advanced division and most importantly putting an end to the final fear that haunted me for so long.

You would think this is the part where I get overly emotional telling you my story and how excited I was to put an end to the Battle Within, on the contrary..... After finishing my last match, stepping off the podium, and putting my medal in my bag I more so felt a sense of deep Sad Emptiness. It didnt make sense this is the moment I was waiting for ..right ? All those blogs, all those stories, all the battles to become 1 % better and get rid of the fears.. It didnt seem right all as a matter of fact it felt like I lost !!

Maybe deep down I felt I lost something greater (which I would later find out when I got home). Maybe I lost my sense of direction blinded by what competing was all about totally ignoring the blessed opportunity I have been given to simply LIVE. All I know I didn’t like the feeling one bit as it was a new scary puzzle I couldn’t explain why I was feeling some type of way. Nevertheless I decided conceal these unexplained emotions and enjoy the rest of my time that day at the tournament.

For a long time people have damn near begged with me to just go have fun when I compete at tournaments. As a matter of fact it was one of John's last request and to be honest I didn't understand what the fuck that meant. As individuals conscious of our actions lets keep it 100'd. No matter what your intentions are be it medal chasing, the love of battling, building a career, religious pilgrimage, or even being 1 % better we participate in a sport where we are destroying the human anatomy -mind, physical body, and spirit or a straight forward way of putting it.. we kick people's fucking ass. We pride ourselves in our work showcased with Facebook events results post, beast mode photos, highlight videos, and that lust of being showered praise from our peers all at the expense of our opponents who have to pick themselves back up from the agony of defeat/humiliation.

After reflecting on my own past experiences, the horrible video of the kid getting slammed at FIVE California 2, and people's bipolar attitudes that pertain to being a competitor it made me look at competing very negatively more than ever before. Call me a soft ass or whatever but as time progressed with my Battle Within mission I didn't like the feeling of making others feel small, I didn't like bragging about what I did, showing off my medals, and damn sure didn't like anyone doing it to me  
 which lead me to the debatable conclusion that this competition shit wasn't for me after all.

After the conclusion of my matches at the Subfighter tournament I got the opportunity to actually look at the rest of the competitors compete that day. After sitting there for a good six hours analyzing games, supporting friends , seeing how other competitors act in victory/defeat, chatting a bit with my opponents and daydreaming a bit it soon dawned on me what having fun really meant .....the love of  L.I.F.E-(Living. Intensely Fully. Everyday) with a PMA ( positive mental attitude).

Where there's darkness there is always light to every situation even the most complex and unexplainable ones.  Defeat in battle, mysterious gang tagging, phone dying, facing danger theres gotta be a means to all this.

Competing is no different as although it carries the harsh components previously mentioned it also offers some light to learn, grow, dream and even meet people along way that make us better. Sitting back writing this blog although I conquered the “Battle Within” that day I also gained a sense of what it was truly about which is simply having Love while carrying respect and dignity with the environment you partake in (respect your opponent, being noble,have integrity –etc-)…in all have FUN.

This concept didn’t fully make sense until I got home only to find the sad news that my brother John Flite passed away which friendship meant more to me than any piece of shit ass medal ( FYI medal chasing wasn't my main focus even before the death) or tournament “Battle Within” triumph could possibly fulfill me. Its a situation I’m forced to reflect and digest 2 weeks later… with only memories of him and the strange yet eye opening day I had on October 26 which left me asking the burning question......... "How did I gain so little but in the Process Lose So Much" 

Well that is a wrap of the "epic" conclusion of the Battle Within. This will be the final blog I write about me competing. There is no need to make any more blogs about tournaments when it importance is not greater than the loss of my friend which Im still sadly dealing with.

However this doesn’t mean it is the end of me competing because only thing I finally realized looking back on October 26 it just about going out there and simply doing L.I.F.E

1% better  #pma #lifeisagift

Monta ( pronounced like Monday with a “T” replacing the “D”)


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Memory of Monta Wiley: The Trying Mission

The moment an individual is born into the world they are granted the greatest gift one could ever imagine, the opportunity of LIFE. Although it isn't made clear in the beginning  as we mature we begin to develop a natural urge within ourselves to simply "Do Stuff". Alot of times we get caught in the present moment unaware of the effect of our actions. That effect isn't fully revealed until we reach that inevitable conclusion buried at our grave site where all becomes clear as we are remembered by others as they reflect on the memories that will live in their hearts and minds forever about us.

Recalling something forgotten, Restored in a memory, keeping someone in mind. To be remembered is something everyone will have on their resume whether it is positive or negative. If you look back at notable characters like MLK, 2Pac, Jeffery Dahmer, Bin Ladin, or even your favorite top athlete I am sure off the top of your head you remember them for something that stood out. Not to long ago I went to a Power Ranger Convention where I got the opportunity to meet some of my childhood heroes. I can remember clearly what stood out about such figures like Brad Hawkins aka VR Trooper Ryan Steele and Austin St. John aka Jason The Red Ranger whose character qualities inspired to be a better person.
It doesn't stop there as it gets deeper than the popular figures you see on TV because even family members, friends,enemies, or other individuals that come into your life can leave their mark. He is a Nice Guy, She is a Tramp, What a Prick, Man he is a Beast on the Mats I'm Scared of Him are just some of the memories that may spring up.The Action and Re-Action phase as I like to call it because with every physical or verbal engagement it creates a response.
As I wake up daily going on about my life journey it never crossed my mind of how I wanted to be remembered because I tend to often live in the moment of whatever I'm doing. However while I daydream into that focused moment unbeknownst to me I have become a man in the arena judged by my spectators as they all have their own review of who Monta Wiley is/was. 
These days I have been given many descriptions by people I interacted with. Humble, Modest, Nuts, Weird, Cathartic, Otspoken and even Stand-off ish with certain people which I honestly  agree with all these descriptions.  Nevertheless whether it working long rough hours at the paper job, doing a charity grapplethon, or going through the anxiety stresses of competing (known by some as my Battle Within) all of my characteristics are fueled with the purpose of simply "Attempting to Do Stuff". I feel no matter what we choose to do with our lives if one doesn't make the effort to at least TRY nothing can be done to fulfill our goals as well as be seen while doing it. So with all this said the burning question is..How does Monta Want to be Remembered ? the answer is simple.

Deep down and I'm not saying this to be negative but I'm no one special. As a matter of fact I'm a fucking nobody.A mere vessel floating around in the world I breathe the same air as everyone else does. I also wake up, walks outside, and try to make sense of things by choosing to better myself in the presence of watching spectators (being you all and others) as they know for a fact I'm striving by all means to put forth an effort toward a specific end (end being the goal).
- Trying to put an end to the fears that plagued him for years.
- Trying to put an end to someone's loneliness during their dark time whether it is a death in the family, cancer, or bond to a wheelchair  as he let them know they weren't alone that he cared about their situation.

- Trying to put an end to to bad habits to becoming a better in skills as writer, paper job worker, grappler, and other skill crafting occupations.

-Trying to put an end to the flaws that personally exist in himself because he know everyday he woke up was another chance to be 1 % better to TRY and do just that.
and most importantly
- Who never gave up and stopped trying because he knew there was an end.

Got Darnt I just want to keep Trying !!! -lol-

Reading this blog I want you to ask yourself.... What am I doing with my life ? Where Do I Want to be ? and What am I determined to do to obtain that “END”. Also this blog should serve as a reminder to appreciate the people in your life. Hug your wife/child to tell them how much they mean to you, thank you JJ instructor for helping you along the path, or give a shout out to someone that inspires you.

Last food of thought before I wrap up. Just in case you get caught up in the concept of popularity and fame, many people think the key to being remembered is to impress others. On the contrary it is building self-worth, having goals, and going through that battle within yourself to becoming YOU and through this we find people we can relate to in an effort to help build each other.  However hopefully it is in a positive light because you don’t want to be no notorious murder or nothing evil like that. -lol-
Thanks for your time everyone.
1 % better or Trying to Be

Monta' (pronounced like Monday with a "T" replacing the "D")