Bruises, a divorce and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu story

Michael R. Simpson

BRUISES MICHAEL R SIMPSON

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Mike was trapped in Crazyland——that’s a term he’d coined for that place between marriage and divorce. He was spending too much time at the bars, in the beds of strange women, on “spring break” in Mexico and in his own head. This thirty-six-year-old yuppy was every kind of messed up. And it wasn’t like he didn’t know it. He was smart——an engineer running his own company, a father of two and he had been married for over ten years. Then one day he “blinked” and went from blending in beautifully in blissful suburbia to becoming the mayor of Crazyland (yes, the vote was unanimous).

Somewhere in between watching news stories of regular guys stopping crime with their bare hands and his small, teenage cousin using Brazilian jiu-jitsu dominate him in a “friendly” grappling match in front of his kids, Mike decided it was time to fight his way out of Crazyland. Within a week he had signed up at the nearest Brazilian jiu-jitsu studio. Unknown to Mike at the time, it was run by a Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend.

On the mats of this dojo, Mike began enduring ass whippings like never before. But a metamorphosis of mind, body and soul had started to occur as well. He discovered that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu wasn’t just a sport, it was a club, a religion, a therapy session, and the people in it were his new family.

“…looking down at the splay of bruises decorating my body as if Jackson Pollock went apeshit with scads of paint and a dozen brushes made me aware of one, simple fact: I could never quit or stop practicing jiu-jitsu.  I couldn’t go through this twice.”

Apparently a few good BRUISES were exactly what he’d been looking for.

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About Michael

About Michael

    “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -Mark Twain

Michael was born in July 1968 in San Luis Obispo, California. Like tectonic plates smashing into each other, San Luis Obispo is a place where hippies, conservatives, ranchers, college students, stoners, surfers and illegal aliens collide creating a mountain of people walking around in surfer t-shirts, wrangler jeans and Uggs (not a good look).

His father, Richard, was a school principal and Mayor of Pismo Beach. His mother, Christine, was a school teacher working on her post-graduate degree in English. The two divorced in 1976 and by 1978 Mike moved with his mother and brother, Glenn, to Solana Beach, California. His mother was chasing her dream of being a stock broker. By 1981, they moved back to the central coast of California. His parent’s influences consisted of a mother who was oscillating between feminist and business woman and a father who wanted to save the environment, one sand dune and butterfly at a time. Ultimately, both showed Mike what he didn’t want to become. His parent’s activities, their divorce and the 300 mile commute between Solana Beach and San Luis Obispo caused Mike gravitate to and ultimately follow in the footsteps of his childhood idol, his Uncle John.

By 1986, Mike graduated from San Luis Obispo High School and in keeping with his idol, moved to Tempe, Arizona to attend Arizona State University (ASU) in Civil Engineering. His uncle had lived in Arizona and was a structural engineer. While at ASU, Mike took a job waiting tables at Red Lobster where he met most of his life-long friends, one whom is the editor of Bruises, Lisa Cerasoli. Several others are littered throughout the book. These Red Lobster friends would become some of the greatest influences on his life.

In 1990, after returning to ASU from another adventurous summer in Arizona, Mike sat in class on his first day stunned to find a beautiful girl sitting behind him; a beautiful girl in an engineering class, especially a class as complicated as fluid dynamics, was akin to seeing a unicorn. Her name was Sarah.

By 1992, the two were married and had graduated. In 1995, they had a daughter followed by a son in 2000. Sarah and Mike were attractive and a serious power couple. Still following in his uncle’s footsteps, Mike opened up a consulting firm in 1997 and Sarah joined him a year later. Mike went back to ASU in 2002 for his MBA and by 2004 Mike “…was thirty-six, separated, and headed down that slippery slope to divorce without a crash helmet, a seat belt or even a goddamned manual.”

If you want the rest of the tale, buy the book.

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