By Felix Rodriguez, Staff Writer
The Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler’s Tale of Self-Discovery and Island Living
By Marshall D. Carper
For those who train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu this is a question we’ve all asked ourselves this at least once before. Earning a blue belt can be a long and daunting task for some and Marshal D. Carper’s personal journey from white to blue belt has managed to capture the struggles most people experience when first starting out in BJJ.
In The Cauliflower Chronicles Carper tells the story of how he decided to move to Hawaii for a semester of college after a romantic break-up and how he used his time in the island to earn a blue belt in jiu-jitsu at BJ Penn’s academy. Carper’s book foes an excellent job of illustrating the personal growth a person training in jiu-jitsu undertakes while transitioning from white belt to blue belt.
The beautiful Hawaiian landscape serves as the setting of Carper’s story, but also as a main character in the actual tale. Carper does a brilliant job of explaining the struggles Hawaiians of Polynesian descent have endured since becoming the 50th state of the country and how they often feel as strangers in their own land. Through this context Carper manages to illustrate the warrior nature of Island people and their indomitable fighting spirit.
Carper’s initial struggles with adapting to island living and to the rigors of training in BJ Penn’s camp at first are central to the book’s theme. The hardships, both real and imagined that Carper goes through, are what makes this book so special because they are totally relatable to the feelings of frustration and self-doubt every white belt in jiu-jitsu goes through. Carper has articulated most of the highs and lows that come with that first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt in a way that will give hope to those who are experiencing these peaks and valleys right now and make those who already endured them nostalgic.
The Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler’s Tale of Self-Discovery and Island Living is a book about jiu-jitsu on the surface, but it is also a book about life. Marshall Carper tells the story of how he got over a bad breakup by focusing his energy on earning a blue belt in jiu-jitsu from his favorite fighter, but most important of all, the book tells the story of how Marshall D. Carper became the confident person he is today through his experiences on and off the mats thanks to his decision to go live in Hawaii. The lessons that Carper takes from his time in the Island of Hawaii are all valuable ones, which we will not spoil in this review. TXMMA highly recommends this book to anyone who loves jiu-jitsu. Some of the people who may enjoy it the most are white belts who need reassurance that their skills will improve on the mats, Blue Belts and above feeling nostalgic about the “good ole” white belt days and fans of motivational jiu-jitsu stories. Fans of Sam Sheridan’s A Fighter’s Heart will enjoy Carper’s style and subject matter. People interested in Hawaiian culture and fans of BJ Penn will all love this book.
Make sure to give it a read, it is available as an e-book through nook and itunes, through online retailers like Amazon and in brick and mortar stores like Barnes and Nobles.