Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Nowadays, we think of a cornerstone as a decorative, or commemorative stone placed somewhere visible on a masonry building. However, that wasn’t always the case. Historically, the cornerstone was the “foundation stone” – the first stone laid, from which all of the other stones would be referenced.

Thinking about how I’d like to grow my game in 2011, I naturally came upon the “building” analogy, and I immediately thought of the most important part of a building – the foundation. Naturally, thinking about the foundation led me to think about cornerstones.

My most important cornerstone has always been consistency. I touched on this subject a few posts ago, and I’ll repeat JoJo’s thoughts about consistency again at the end of the post.


A couple of posts ago, I wrote quite a bit about my friend Peter Simone (Wanderlei Silva Fight Team member, Wand Fight Team children’s BJJ/MMA Instructor, undefeated MMA fighter, BJJ Brown Belt and ECU Brother). If you were bored by that, I’m afraid I’ll have to bore you again.

I remember training with Peter very early in my BJJ career. Peter was watching as I attempted to drill a technique, and failed (remember I was severely over-weight, and this was probably only my second or third attempt at something athletic in the previous six months). After trying several times, I finally said, “I can’t do it.”

In his calm, soften-spoken – yet somehow forceful way, Peter said, “What kind of attitude is that? If you think like that you never will.”

Feeling embarrassed, I amended my statement to, “I can’t do it – YET.”

Peter just nodded, and I kept trying. Eventually, I managed a technique that I thought was well past my abilities.

I hadn’t thought about that particular evening until Peter came back to visit ECU for the holidays. I realized that it was one of the turning points of my BJJ career.

Obviously, if we’re dealing with injuries or physical limitations, we’d all be smart to listen to our bodies/medical professionals, but sometimes (and in my case it often is), it’s our fears that limit us more than anything.

I hope that the followers of this blog will make the same connection that I have.

On to the next cornerstone. A few weeks ago, I quoted ECU Queens Professor Rob G. and his most important advice, for me personally at any rate (If you don’t remember, you’ll have to either search the Blog archives, or read a few more lines). At the time, I wrote that this statement would be the cornerstone of the next steps in my BJJ career. Now, I think that I’ll have to amend that statement and make it four cornerstones:

Rob G.: “Open up your game and have fun!”

JoJo: “Keep training! Every time you come here you get better.”

Peter Simone: “If you think like that you never will.”

Me: “I can’t do it – YET! But I will.”

Wait, make that FIVE cornerstones! I’m forgetting the most important of all – my ECU Family.

So now I have FIVE corners covered for 2011. I’m sure JoJo and the rest of my ECU family will come up with, at least, one or two more somewhere along the line. Who knows, I might even end up with so many cornerstones, that I’ll have to build an octagon for 2011?

I apologize for being a little more long-winded than normal, but I thought this was a cool topic.

Thanks for reading, and if any of my readers have their own ideas for other “cornerstones” please let me know.


  1. Henry, eventhough I know nothing about BJJ, it´s great to read your posts - they are full of passion and heart! The blog is going wonderful...keep up!