Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

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Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:05 pm

The room smells like mildew and sweat. Muffled grunts and light thuds can be heard all around me. My arm is caught in an omoplata, a shoulder lock applied with the legs. The legs in question are more like telephone poles though, they belong to XXXXX, we call him that because he played a few seasons for the XXXXX as a defensive lineman. He's leaned down since those days, 6'4" 235lbs of muscle, and he's kicking my butt.
I sit and clasp my hands together and begin to pry my arm free. XXXXX loses his hold and I slip my arm out. This is the 10th escape for me. People have begun to watch, I shouldn't have lasted this long with him. I'm a pretty good brown belt, but he's nearly a black belt and has the advantage of size and strength not to mention he hasn't been tapped out by anyone in a very long time. But I refuse to lose, he may have all the advantages, but I won't be out worked. XXXXXX throws his giant legs around my neck for a triangle choke for the second time tonight and once again I sit back to defend and I'm out. I go to pass his guard and get swept onto my back. He gets side control and crushes me under his weight, he goes for my arm I manage to get back to my knees. XXXXXX grabs for my collar and tries to apply another choke. His grip is almost impossible to break and my collar beings to make a creaking sound around my neck like a hangman's noose tightening, I break his grip and begin my guard pass, I jump pass his legs and get a side control of my own, I grab his collar and press my wrist to his neck, the bell rings. XXXXX sits up exhausted and slaps hands with me. A mist rises from our palms, steam rises from our heads and kimonos, this was a good roll.
Dan Gable is famously quoted as saying "Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy." While not exactly the same as wrestling, the saying holds true for Jiu Jitsu all the same. You grapple, you get strangled by trained killers in sweaty bathrobes, and if they don't strangle you, they try to break your arms or leg.

It was after this epic sparring session that I decided to sit and write this statement. In fact, it was after a day on the mat that I decided to apply to law school in the first place.
I was helping my friend Casey prepare for an upcoming MMA bout in Atlantic City. It was a tough night and I still had work to do for my business, a business I've been running since 2003 when my parents retired.
I sat in my home office and looked down at the floor. The laminated study guide staring up at me reminded me of a promise I made over a year earlier. It was a promise I had not kept.
I sat with my father in his hospital room. Dad was dying, I was in denial, but deep down I knew I would lose him. Moments before I sat in a room with my mother, sisters, and wife along with two strangers, women from hospice who told me that they help families with "end of life care". I broke down in tears. I had cared for my father, now 93, since he retired 8 years earlier. As I helped him to the restroom he looked at me and asked me to promise him that I would pursue my life's ambition and become an attorney. I hadn't exactly given up on becoming an attorney, life just got in the way. It was up to me to rescue the business when it was I. Serious trouble years earlier, my mother and I cared for my dad more and more each year. Marriage, children, the dream became just that, a dream.
Life hasn't been easy, but that's ok. Sometimes life puts you in a few choke holds, it may even crush you a bit, but you have to fight to get up, break those grips and defend those chokes. You may not be the strongest, or the biggest, you might be considered second best but you have to get past that. You're better, you're stronger than you think you are just don't tap out.

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papercut
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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby papercut » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:22 pm

I don't think this is gonna work. Some of it is down right cheesy, but that's not the biggest problem.

You'd have to give a ton of background info for this to be meaningful to a bunch of soccer mom's in the admissions committee. These people aren't very likely to get sports, let alone BJJ.

Everyday people have no idea what a brown belt is compared to a black belt in BJJ. For god's sake, their 8 year old kids are black belts in TKD, which means they outrank you. :lol:

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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:04 pm

papercut wrote:I don't think this is gonna work. Some of it is down right cheesy, but that's not the biggest problem.

You'd have to give a ton of background info for this to be meaningful to a bunch of soccer mom's in the admissions committee. These people aren't very likely to get sports, let alone BJJ.

people have no idea what a brown belt is compared to a black belt in BJJ. For god's sake, their 8 year old kids are black belts in TKD, which means they outrank you. :lol:



I can see that it's cheesey, and that's fair. It's a patch work of the old with this this new BJJ element, I added it, not just because it's all true, but because MMA fighters and the like have been pretty successful at admissions. Reading yale's incoming class they specifically mention an MMA fighter and a black belt in karate or judo.

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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby papercut » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:16 pm

Yeah, Yale... These people also probably had 173+ 3.8+ numbers.

Also, you have no idea if they mentioned these things in a line inside their resume, or if the wrote their whole PS about it. You also don't know if that Judo player was an Olympian, or a recreational player.

If they can tell you did BJJ for 6+ years (guessing for brown belt here) from your resume, how much more are you getting out of it from your PS?

The story is also too cliched. Little guy (girl?) holding his own against a bigger guy.

You actually might be even worse off if you get someone who is familiar with BJJ. After all it's about 10 times easier to avoid getting submitted than it is to put on some offense, especially while rolling inside the club. You could stall all day.

You can still write about your BJJ career, but I'd pick a less cliched topic at least.

mach9zero
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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby mach9zero » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:35 pm

I don't hate either story, but I don't see them connecting with each other. Especially since I'm in the mindset that a petty Jiu Jitsu match is nothing in comparison to the second half of your life story with your parents. It also reads too much like the destiny-laced plot of a Disney. Is this the Lion King? Why are you becoming a lawyer? It can't be just because your dad wanted you to and you feel like you owe him that. It's not believable and I just wouldn't advise it. You said it was your dream, but why is law school your dream. My other lingering question is what about the business.

Quotes also are rarely recommended, and to qualify it as "famously quoted," left me going who the hell is Dan Gable.

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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby papercut » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:54 pm

Haha if you've ever wrestled you should know who Dan Gable is, but it's a good point.

kcdc1
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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby kcdc1 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:35 pm

I really like the first paragraph. It's well-written, interesting, and it sells you as strong-willed.

The transition to the Don Gable quote and your father's dying wish that you become an attorney feels off. It's like we're at the climax of The Fighter and all of a sudden, Mark Wahlberg steps out of character and starts telling you about his family life and why he chose to act in the film.

Do tell a compelling narrative about your experience in MMA and your personal strengths that have made you successful in MMA
Do connect those personal strengths to your future practice of law
Don't talk about writing your personal statement in your personal statement. It has a weird fourth wall effect that kills the mood.

I'm not sure what to do with the story about losing your father. It is powerful, but it is not well-connected to your MMA narrative. If you are going to go with the MMA opening, the father aspect really needs to seem to come organically from the narrative. You talk about not quitting--maybe you draw strength from your father? Maybe that is also connected to your desire to become a lawyer? You need to come up with your own narrative, but it needs to feel natural. Don't drop in a paragraph about your father telling you to become a lawyer on his death bed into an essay where it doesn't belong. It's a powerful message, but it needs to be handled with care.

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Re: Very rough first draft after scrapping the first statement

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:29 pm

kcdc1 wrote:I really like the first paragraph. It's well-written, interesting, and it sells you as strong-willed.

The transition to the Don Gable quote and your father's dying wish that you become an attorney feels off. It's like we're at the climax of The Fighter and all of a sudden, Mark Wahlberg steps out of character and starts telling you about his family life and why he chose to act in the film.

Do tell a compelling narrative about your experience in MMA and your personal strengths that have made you successful in MMA
Do connect those personal strengths to your future practice of law
Don't talk about writing your personal statement in your personal statement. It has a weird fourth wall effect that kills the mood.

I'm not sure what to do with the story about losing your father. It is powerful, but it is not well-connected to your MMA narrative. If you are going to go with the MMA opening, the father aspect really needs to seem to come organically from the narrative. You talk about not quitting--maybe you draw strength from your father? Maybe that is also connected to your desire to become a lawyer? You need to come up with your own narrative, but it needs to feel natural. Don't drop in a paragraph about your father telling you to become a lawyer on his death bed into an essay where it doesn't belong. It's a powerful message, but it needs to be handled with care.


Very good points all around. So the two stories don't connect and I have to choose between the two huh? I don't want to let the story of my dad go because it was really what lead me to this point back in March. The problem with my dad's story is that as has been pointed out many times, it makes it seem like it was his dream and not mine.

MMA and BJJ are a huge part of my life and I think that it adds something unique to my story. When the PSs will be filled with the same old dry academic stuff, or very similar stories about personal struggle I have something more "edgy" for lack of a better term.




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