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Opening Westside Training Center

Hola, amigos.  I know it's been a while since I last rapped at ya, but I (Kingof Crazy) managed to take down the PullingTheLine.com web site, and I couldn't figure out how to get it back up and running.  I apologize that you have missed Monstro's insightful coverage of the major IBJJF events.  I apologize that I have done irreparable damage to the PullingTheLine brand.  I apologize to our (would-be) sponsors.  I apologize to you, meu Monstro, but I swear on Kron Gracie's top knot, this will never happen again.

After taking the web site down, I got preoccupied.  Then, three and a half months went by.  Then, a developer from Bangalore named Rahul got it back up and running in an hour.  I have definitely got to start outsourcing more, and leveraging the global economy, but this web site is not devoted to inter-country currency arbitrage, the price of gold, the higher education bubble, the Bit-Coin revolution, or the coming financial Armageddon.  It is devoted to the best sport in the world:  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and sometimes Hello Kitty).
 
Westside Training Center Owenrs and Renan Vital
Left to right:  The Giant Mexican, (Cookie) Monstro, Bolo, Kingof Crazie, Rinoceronte 
 
So while we've been gone, Monstro and I, along with the Giant Mexican and Bolo, started our own martial arts and fitness academy, Westside Training Center.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Yeah, you would think so, but in reality, owning a small business is really exhausting.  Prior to the four partners pooling our life savings, and personally guaranteeing a three-year lease, I assumed running an academy would be about as complex as a lemonaid stand.  You find a place, throw down some mats, the surrounding community signs expensive, long-term contracts in droves, and suddenly you're on the cover of Gracie Mag, taking expensive vacations to Rio, in the Farrari and Jaguar switching four lanes with the top down, screaming out, money ain't a thing.
 
In reality, it's a lot more difficult, and really expensive.  Don't even get me started on commercial real estate managers in the West Los Angeles area, but even if we were opening an academy in the middle of nowhere, Texas, things like the two Zebra pole pads we needed would still run an inexplicable $600*.  In addition to the unanticipated expenses, there was converting a white collar office space into a functioning martial arts academy in less than two weeks.  There was chasing away deluded Herbal Life kids stealing our parking spaces, working with a Persian landlord, figuring out how to schedule classes around our day jobs, and a heated discussion of whether or not we would be a "clothing optional" facility (I lost).
 
Basta!  Enough complaining.  Here are my top ten favorite moments of opening a new martial arts academy:
 
Kingof Crazie's Top 10 Favorite Moments of Opening a new Academy
 
The original office space that we transformed into a martial arts academy. 
 
10)  We had cubicles, dry wall, and a lot of other miscellaneous white collar garbage that we needed to haul away prior to framing the mats.  The Giant Mexican headed to Home Depot to find some day laborers to help us haul the garbage away.  When he arrived, there were a lot of laborer to choose from, so he vetted them by informing the group that "the first one to do 100 push ups gets the job".  
 
Before you get your panties all up in knots about Mexican-American on Undocumented-Mexican laborer abuse, we had to dig deep in our pockets to pay for them to quickly disassemble, throw into the truck, and cart away our junk, which they most likely recycled for even more money.  I do not have their expertise in doing what they did (it really was a sight to behold - those guys fit so much into their truck in a single haul, they must kick ass at Tetris), but if I could, I would be standing outside Home Depot in brown-face doing push ups for the next Mexican-American (or guero for that matter) who showed up in a pick up truck.  (I promise you it would be more profitable than owning a martial arts academy)  
 
 
9)  Monstro (who, if we had a baby together, according to this web site, would look like the above photo) on a ladder, attempting to unbolt the security fence, asking everyone else, "Should it be this easy?"  After five minutes of wrenching, we realized he was "unscrewing" the bolt with a socket wrench set the wrong way, which was more adorable than our future baby will be.  
 
Demolishing the office space
 
8)  The Giant Mexican using his Giant Nephew as a human sledgehammer by throwing him through the dry wall of an office we were demolishing.  This was while the Giant Mexican had walking pnumonia.  (A little fluid in the lungs isn't going to stop the Giant Mexican when there's work to be done.)  He worked himself until he vomited, he agreed it would be best if he stopped working, then he started gradually helping more and more until he was, once again, vomiting and gasping for breath.  
 
 
Cleaning up after demolishing
 
7)  Carrying over 2,000 lbs worth of Zebra mats off of a truck (alone) and into the academy.  It was 50 degrees, it took almost an hour, and twenty minutes in, I was sweating profusely.  My shirt and jeans were soaked.  Naturally, I came down with a nasty illness, an illness I was able to pass on to a handful of other people a few days later who were taking part in the epic lifting and carrying of the dismantled security gate to the dumpster area.  (It took 8 stout men to lift the thing)  We all nearly lost fingers in the process, and I managed to get a few other people sick.  (In Life-Jiu-Jitsu, illnesses are merely an opportunity to spread suffering to others.)
 
6)  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power shut off our lights halfway through training, leading to Monstro's waiting on hold for five hours at work the next day, and a nearly $600 (seriously) bill for our deposit, first month of power, and emergency turn on.  The power came on in a couple of days, but we were forced to lay and frame the mats with flashlights.
 
Laying and framing the mats in the dark
 
5)  Receiving so much help from so many people.  I would love to call them out individually, but I am really bad with names, and you know who you are by the fact that I made eye contact with you that one time.
 
4)  The O.G. (Original Grapplers) crew.  Prior to opening the Westside Training Center facility on the first of the month, the O.G. crew trained in the rinky-dink back room of a Brazilian Cultural Center where we had to lay down mats and pull them up before and after each class.  We had to tandem park.  But the worst part about the old location was that we had to put up with training next to a room full of Zumba dancers, taught by The Sexiest Woman in the World, visible to us through a gigantic glass window that separated the rooms.  Three times a week, we had to furtively glance as she warmed up to the first song prior to stripping down to a sports bra and yoga pants, her body glistening with sweat.  It was downright offensive, to the point where I took dozens of pictures, and many more even after we moved out, as I continue to gather evidence to make a formal (albeit retroactive) complaint.
 
Some of the O.G. crew (unfortunately, we're missing the China Dolls)
 
3)  The mural:  The Giant Mexican knows some of the best graffiti artists in the greater Los Angeles area.  They are incredibly skilled.  We gave them a blank wall, a few ideas, and they created a masterpiece.  You should check it out some time.  It's much more impressive in person.
 
 

2)  The Gustavo Carpio seminar.  Gustavo is an awesome guy.  His seminar was one of the best I have ever taken.  His private lesson was one of the best I have ever received.  He will soon be the father of a daughter.  I wish he lived closer to us than Texas, because I'd love to continue learning from him.

1)  Watching students from the academy learn techniques that they then use to win competitions.  There is something about yelling a technique to someone in your academy, a technique you know that they know, and watching them perform it on a live, struggling opponent, and that feeling is better then throwing someone through drywall.
 

If you're in the West Los Angeles neighborhood, come check out our academy!  See you on the mat.  
 
*This was after shipping, handling, and tax, and while a bit pricey, working with Zebra has been a great experience, and if they wanted to give me a discount in the future for plugging them on the premier Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blog on the Internet, I would not turn them down, in fact, I might even welcome the opportunity to accept, so call me, maybe.