An Elite Competitor Prepares for Battle

(My school competed in a local tournament on Sunday. I won both my divisions and got promoted to purple belt! More about that later. This post is reprinted from my school’s private ning site.)

Think you can roll with the big doggs? Think again.

After a day of watching over us at the Academy, Eager brought some of us along to one of his pre-tournament rituals. It’s not often you get to see a master like Shawn Eager endure one of the ordeals that make him so superior as an athlete and, quite frankly, as a person.

We all have routines we go through before a tournament. Some people like to soak their hands in water and herbs. Others refrain from earthly things, fasting and abstaining from sex. My ritual includes a lot of finger biting, shallow breathing, and talking to my mother on the phone for an hour or more. Pretty average stuff. Shawn Eager is no average man, however, and his pre-tournament ritual is no average event.

You see, Herb’s Gully has a promotion where, if you eat three burritos within an hour, you eat them for free. No going to the bathroom, no puking. Just you, 60 minutes, and two full kilograms of burrito. This is hardcore burrito destruction from the streets, like how it used to be. Welcome to the big leagues, baby. You can leave your little bib at the door.

Some would call this madness.

Rollin’ large

I agreed to come along, but only after Eager assured me that there would be no danger to my person. “What I do may seem crazy to the average guy,” he said. “But as crazy as things get, I will never let a teammate come to harm.” That’s the kind of man that Eager is.

So was he successful? In a word, yes. Yes, Eager ate three huge burritos the day before the Freestyle Grappling Open. I only ate one. You might say that I’m a third the man that he is. I would say that’s being pretty generous to me.

He is a champion. Our champion. The tournament hasn’t even been held yet, and Shawn is already a winner.


How it all went down

He started strong. I didn’t even see the first burrito go into his mouth. But I did manage to stap a photo of him here, charging headlong into the second burrito.

When you’ve attained mastery, your form is as beautiful as it is effective. Is Eager merely thinking about his next move, or has he attained a state of zen in which the next move flows freely from within? I don’t need to tell you what I think.

Just look at the form on this attack. The economy of movement. The grace. The power.

Witness, as I did, the moment of victory. I felt a primordial desire to leap to my feet and salute. And I did, but I not before snapping this photo.


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