“We proclaim the spreading of SPARKLE!!!” Is what echoes in my mind whenever I think about Sparkleberry Lane. I have interpreted Spreading the Sparkle as being the power of living life with a positive attitude. I have learned that attitude is a seemingly small thing that makes the biggest difference! What a change it can make in someone’s life! A positive word modifies perspective in such a way that the entire frame of mind shifts into a more conscious mode. The human mind does an about-face, like when you realize you need to make a U-turn to get to where you want to go.
Mindset in life is everything. I feel lucky to have had a privileged upbringing in Brazil, although I’ve seen dirt poor people with smiles so genuine and so BIG, that they made me question the priorities in my own life, and had me questioning who is actually happier: Me, focusing on what the poor don’t have, or Them, focusing on what they do have. What is happiness? We all want it, isn’t it our goal in life? Money or fame won’t bring it. What will is ATTITUDE. Happiness is being grateful for what you have. By focusing the mind on what is good, there remains no room for the bad! Yes! It’s that simple, only because simplicity is the highest form of perfection. There’s a lot of positivity needed out there, and that, my friends is the business of Sparkleberry Lane.
There are many in need of a positive word and a new angle of perspective. I’ve trained in a Japanese martial art called Jiu-Jitsu for a long time now. And two things about attitude remind me of the time I have spent in awe and admiration of the Japanese culture. Number one (and this is just one reason I think their culture is admirable), in Japanese, the word “Problem” and the word “Challenge” are the same word! No wonder they push the envelope when it comes to new technology- technology is a new approach to an old problem. They are inherently seeing all the problems that face them as challenges, instead of seeing them from as uncontrollable burdens. Number two is basically the reason why Brazilian Jiu-jitsu created the UFC (The Ultimate Fighting Championship). And this is main topic of my first SBL article.
Sparkleberry Lane’s lofty goal of making the world a better place reminds me of how the Gracie Family from Brazil challenged the entire planet to a fight (one at a time, of course). The samurai of feudal Japan had developed a secret hand to hand system of fighting for the time on the battlefield when they would eventually run out of arrows, lose their spears, swords and daggers. The emperor of Japan searched far and wide throughout Asia for the best system of hand to hand combat to teach his warriors. They settled for an ancient Chinese martial art devised by monks that were not allowed to spill their opponent’s blood. This system was superior to other systems because it approached fighting from a different perspective. Basically, all martial arts today: Karate, boxing, kick-boxing, muay thai, tae kwon do, kung fu, etc. involve combatants bashing each other, or, in other words, training ways to cause “impact” injuries. Jiu-jitsu’s approach is drastically different from all others in that the objective is to attack the physical limits of the human body at the joints. By initially closing the gap and taking the fight to the ground, the entire philosophy behind Jiu-jitsu begins.
The ground is symbolic of water. Someone who fights a Jiu-jitsu black belt will describe the experience as if they had fallen into water. This is because, to get a black belt in Jiu-jitsu, you must be able to flow with the body of your opponent on the ground, without offering any resistance, perfectly adapting to all body movements until your opponent exposes a weakness. In this case it is the use of immobilization techniques to put pressure on the range of motion of a particular joint in the human. Which is way different than trying to bash an opponent’s brains in faster than he can bash yours. Jiu-jitsu is more like a chess game.
When the gun replaced the samurai in Japan by the late 1800’s, there was a man by the name of Mitsuyo Maeda, the son of a samurai, who immigrated to the Amazon in Brazil. Before he died, he taught two skinny Brazilian kids the ancient secret art. Those two skinny kids were the sons of Scottish immigrant Gaston Gracie. Gracie owned a circus and traveled to the Brazilian rainforest with his family in the then-booming rubber market of Northern Brazil in the early 1900’s. His sons were the brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie. The Gracie family went on to open several Jiu jitsu academies in Brazil, and became famous for taking out ads in the paper offering money for anyone who could beat them in a fight. They won all of their fights because their approach to the problem was different! Mindset was everything!
Helio Gracie’s son, Rorion Gracie, moved to California from Brazil in the mid 80’s and opened a Jiu-jitsu academy. Following in true Gracie family marketing style, he took out an ad in the local paper offering $10,000 dollars to anyone who could beat them using whatever martial art style they wanted. One by one they came to the small gym located in Torrance, CA. And one by one, they all lost! The challenges grew so big, and attracted so manyspectators that they created a tournament to get a bigger venue.
In case you want to see technique win over brute strength, watch this video…
Thus was born the UFC in 1993, which is today one of the world’s largest sporting events. The Gracie family not only owned the UFC, but also won every fight from UFC #1 through UFC #10. They then sold it to the group of investors that operates it today. So basically, the UFC began as a live infomercial to prove Jiu Jitsu was the best martial art in the world. The Gracie family had a monopoly on the art. Their motive, you ask? If the world wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu, they would have to go to a Gracie academy to do it. Today, fighters can’t even step inside the octagon without knowing Jiu Jitsu. It is the ONLY martial art everyone HAS to know to even advance to that level. Why the UFC history lesson? Can you see what a small group of people can prove to the world with the right mindset? The Gracie family challenged anyone on the planet to a fight- and won with intelligence, not strength.This is a prime example of how unimportant the size of the challenge is, when you are convinced of the value, efficiency, and effectiveness of what you know.
What Sparkleberry Lane knows is Spreading the Sparkle (“STS” ) Encouraging the populous at large with positivity has got to be the single most important thing that’s missing in a world where we already have the technology to feed, clothe, and educate everyone. We put men on the moon, but yet still many live below the poverty line because the welfare of the masses is not a priority for the powers that be. The problem facing the SparkleCrew or shall I say, the “challenge!” is to figure out how we, at Sparkleberry Lane, are going to individually “STS” around the entire world in our own little way. This is what Sparkleberry Lane is all about for me. It is a source of positive information that brings up the attitudes of its readers, like a switch from “off” to “on.”
I’m glad to lend my support, and feel truly honored to be participating with all of you in this momentous task. Ohhhh and before I forget, thanks to the berries for writing about that String Cheese Incident show. It was the only reason I went to go see them when they came to town. The vibe there changed my life.