Greetings! And welcome to “LTrain’s BlindJits-Blog”. My name is Larry Lewis, the creator of this blog, but for the sake of brevity and consistency, I’ll be referencing myself as “LTrain”, one of those nicknames that has stuck with me over the years I’m originally from the Chicago-Land Area, so the “AKA” suits me, I suppose. Before I begin, I want to thank you for visiting this blog, and I’m excited by the challenge of keeping your interest peaked with new posts so that you keep coming back, and maybe even dropping me a comment or two.
So who am I, and why does this blog exist? I’ll be as succinct as I can be, so that we can get on with the business of this blog. I’m 38 years old, a small business owner with a background in sales and product management both on domestic and international playing fields. I live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I have a wife, two hound-dogs and four cats. My interests include, but are not limited to: outdoor physical activities, reading, music, and physical fitness. I’m also totally blind. I have a very healthy view of my blindness, for I view it as a character trait that defines part of who I am rather than a disability. I figure that disabilities are rather “self-imposed”—I mean, being short can be a disability if you don’t go out and buy a step-ladder. Being uncoordinated can be a disability if you don’t strategize how to compensate for this minor inconvenience. And that is how I view my blindness. Is being blind inconvenient at times? Yes. Is it a disability? Not if you don’t want it to be , or allow to become one.
On November 4, 2006, I formally began my journey in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. I had just left an upper management position with my last employer to start my own training, consulting, and sales organization, Flying Blind, LLC As a point of reference, I'm in the business of working with and representing a variety of adaptive technologies that enable persons who are vision impaired the ability to access mainstream technologies through speech and Braille input and output. I'm currently composing this blog post using a computer with software that reads the contents of the screen to me audibly. I also use an electronic Braille device that converts the print on the screen into Braille, a tactual reading system for persons who are blind.
One of my goals for starting my own business was to recapture much of what I had lost over the past 15 years. I allowed my own career to stifle my own mental, spiritual, and physical well-being, and am fortunate to have been able to make a living being self-employed and focus a bit more on these three areas of my life.
I’ve always had an attraction to the Martial Arts. I wrestled in high-school and studied TaeKwondo for a few years as well as Karate for a short time. I’ve also been a fan of mixed martial arts for quite some time, and had heard lots about this “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu thing”. When I walked into the Academy and stepped onto the mat for the first time, I was instantly hooked. I’ll explain more about my first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in the next post. Suffice to say, aside from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my gratitude to Alcoholics Anonymous, and the relationships that I have with my family and a few close friends, nothing has had a greater impact on my life than Gracie Jiu Jitsu. It’s done wonders for me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and the friendships that I’ve made with such a diverse group of training partners would never have occurred if I didn’t walk in the door of the academy and decide to stay.
The purpose of this blog is to document my experiences that have defined my Gracie Jiu Jitsu journey thus far as well as document my current experiences and perspective as a blind participant in this ever-evolving Martial Art.
I invite you to join me as I blog and post new articles with points of information, my take on what I am learning, my struggles, my opinions, etc. I’m not one to sugar coat things, and while I don’t seek out controversy, I do write what is on my mind even using a profane word or three at times, and welcome your comments. I’m a strong believer in the 1st amendment, so don’t plan to preview comments before they are posted. But I do ask that we all respect each other, even if people post comments that juxtapose others.
OK, enough with the introduction! Let’s get this blogging started! Stay tuned for my next post that will give you all the 411 on my first experience with Gracie Jiu Jitsu, and why it has hooked me!