Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Protecting yourself from online harassment.... and update..

Hello everyone and whoa... it's been a while!

Good gracious, is anyone out there any more? I'll be shocked if anyone is still following this blog.  But just in case here's what I have been up to:

Last year was crazy. Ups and downs with my boyfriend. He was anxious that he might not be promoted at work because then he would technically be in a supervisory role over me. So.. since tax wasn't my #1 favorite area of law to practice anyway, I got another job, with a raise, at another state agency literally one block away. I worked as the equivalent of a prosecutor for the Texas Board of Law Examiners. We keep the profession pure from two angles, incoming baby lawyers who just took the bar exam, or already-lawyers somewhere else seeking to waive into Texas. Both involve a background check, and if there's some reason the BLE doesn't want you, you'll have a right to have a hearing and pitch your case. That was honest to God fun work, with great coworkers particularly my mentor Kristin. And my view out my window was incredible, right next to the Texas Capital building.

So what happened? He got recruited by a firm in Dallas and accepted. So I started looking for work in Dallas. He moved at the end of October, I moved at the end of December. Started my new job, with a raise, at the beginning of January. Two weeks later, I was recruited off of LinkedIn and into what's really the perfect job-- a firm doing white-hat, protect-people work, for another raise, and my law school mock trial partner is one of the firm partners!

I leased out my house in Austin and live and work in downtown Dallas now. I got back into BJJ, and train at Allen Mohler's in Deep Ellum, just a short walk from my house. At the moment I'm dealing with a pinched nerve in my lower back though.

Anyway-- a friend reached out with a recommendation to share, and I think this guide to avoiding online harassment is fantastic.

the-empowering-internet-safety-guide-for-women

Thanks for listening :)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Did Rigan Machado knowingly promote a sexual predator to black belt? if not, who did?

You may recall my post almost four years ago about Austin Texas jiu jitsu instructor Paul Saucido, convicted of two counts of indecent exposure and one of unlawful restraint, stemming from twice sexually penetrating a nonconsenting woman in 2009... at the time of my first post, he was a brown belt under Rigan Machado and was trying to teach women's self defense seminars at his new school in East Austin.

I also posted about it on MMAUnderground.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/metv_producer_faces_sex_assault_charges was the original link.  It's so old, it's down, but still preserved on the Wayback Machine here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20111101073146/http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/metv_producer_faces_sex_assault_charges

http://austinvida.com/city-culture/2011/saucid-probation-sex-offender/
Wayback version: https://web.archive.org/web/20160917124303/http://www.austinvida.com/city-culture/2011/saucid-probation-sex-offender/

And the Texas state website: https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender/PublicSite/Application/Search/Individual.aspx?IND_IDN=12321661

In my original  post I was happy to share that his instructor and former employer Rigan Machado was disavowing any connection with Paul, not teaching seminars for him and generally distancing himself from this inserter-of-a-penis-into-a-woman's-sex-organ-without-her-effective-consent (for those apologists who objected to me calling him a rapist since the 2009 offenses he plead guilty to in 2011 were unlawful restraint and indecent exposure.)

But until this afternoon, Paul bragged that Rigan promoted him to black belt.  Here's a screen grab from the morning of March 20, 2017. Second sentence.





Wait... this was Rigan's stance at the time:



This was Carlos' position:




Fortunately both Carlos and Rigan reacted promptly to my original version of this blog post. Whatever they did, by this afternoon, Paul's website was changed:

http://www.zenfitaustin.com/instructors/bio/id/169


My understanding is that Carlos Machado has no affiliation with either Paul or Rigan, according to Lindsay Machado, Carlos' wife, and a written signed statement by Carlos.














Rigan also prepared a statement:





 It seems, and I hope, that Paul was lying for the obvious credibility boost of being a Rigan Machado blackbelt.



Here's what I do know.  He's teaching girls and their moms. Does mom know you're a registered sex offender? August 2013.


October 2013.


February 2014.

 
July 2014.


November 2014 with Rigan. No relationship, no ties.



And here in January 2015, he has his black belt. 
 

September 2016 he's promoting students to brown.


October 2016 he was promoting a Rigan seminar (that link no longer works so I cannot confirm if it was a seminar Paul hosted or just promoted.)


January 2017 he's presenting at least two instructors at his academy as Rigan blackbelts.  Maybe visitors? (Screen grab from 3/20/17.)
 


Why do I care? I have no financial stake in this-- I'm not an instructor, don't own an academy. Don't even train any more while I recover from some surgeries.  I have no personal animus towards Paul (despite the rumor that we had a relationship, it was never more than casual acquaintanceship, and I think he came and trained at the Relson school in Austin with us once or twice.) Well, other than my disgust that he forced himself on a woman passed out drunk at his own birthday party. He refused to give her her panties back because "she wouldn't want a reminder of that night." I'll bet.

I care about women (and men) who have survived an assault and come to jiu jitsu seeking safety, empowerment, healing and prevention. I care about people who seek to prevent being assaulted. And I think they should know who their instructor is. If Rigan didn't promote Paul then who did? and why? why afford such a position of respect and power to a predator?

Let Paul make his living wherever, however... but I want his students to be aware. To have the privilege of knowing consent that his survivor that night in 2009 didn't.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Griddled oatcakes

From Epicurious:



INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups (or more) water
1 3/4 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup plus additional for serving
1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Melted butter (for brushing)
2 pints strawberries, hulled, sliced

PREPARATION

Butter 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Bring 3 1/2 cups water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add oats and salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until oatmeal is tender but still firm to bite, stirring often and adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, about 30 minutes.

Add cream, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, sugar, and vanilla; stir until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. 

Spread oatmeal in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. 

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Cut chilled oatmeal into squares or triangles. Heat griddle or heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush griddle with melted butter. 

Cook oatcakes until golden brown and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Divide oatcakes among plates, drizzle with maple syrup, spoon strawberries over, and serve.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Instructional review: Flow Jitsu by Mike Bidwell

I was really tickled to get an advance peek at an instructional by Mike Bidwell called Flow Jitsu. I'm enjoying BJJ in my forties but I am really working on being less rigid and smashy, more fluid and crafty what with all these young twenty-something monsters on the mat. This sounded just up my alley.

The video is available in digital download format only at Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood Gear for $49.95 and is about an hour long.



Who is Mike Bidwell?  He is a blackbelt under Phil Migliarese and Ken Kronenberg, founder of blog BJJ After Forty, creator of Flow Jitsu, and he persevered through a very long brown belt phase from 2001 to 2014.  So, I think he knows how BJJ can become a grind. In his introduction with Nic Gregoriades, Roger Gracie blackbelt, Mike emphasized that he believes in the ideas of flow, movement, adaptability, and the importance of acknowledging and working with any limitations on your physicality by seeking easily-replicatable techniques for all skill levels. Does he deliver? Let's see!



First, let's talk about technique content: As the name suggests, all his techniques connect one to the next to create a flow. Here's the first few "modules" as he terms them--

  1. Outside Kimura Sweep from Closed Guard
  2. Inside Kimura Sweep
  3. Kimura Sweep Counters
  4. Chaining Sweeps and Setups
  5. Americana Setups from Mount
  6. Americana to Peek a boo [I didn't know this term]
  7. Seatbelt Counters [chockablock with submissions!]

... and the list goes on. A consistent theme is his desire to avoid meeting resistance with resistance, strength with strength... instead, he teaches an approach of setting up chains of stimuli that take advantage of their natural defense instincts and go with their momentum to get what you really want. If that doesn't work, well hell, go with that too because all paths lead to a submission.  That's a lot of fun to think about and plan for.

Here's an example from Module 3, Kimura sweep counters:



Mike is careful to regularly show adjustments to use these techniques in a nogi context, demonstrating alternatives to gi grips and alternative submissions. In addition, he shows you alternatives you can use if you are stiff or sore, or lacking flexibility in some element of the movement.

As far as non-BJJ-technique issues: what a nice instructional, overall.  The download comes as an MP4 on a player with intuitive controls and handy buttons for rewind 10 seconds or fast forward 30 seconds. However, I found the lack of a menu with chapter headings (or "module" bookmarks) a little weird.

The lighting and audio are excellent.  Most techniques are demonstrated from a side-on view, with the camera adjusting almost seamlessly to capture a closeup where needed.  Sometimes, you get a nearly bird's-eye view. The background/mats are blue, and while he wears a white gi, his partner wears black, so everything is very clean and easy to see. It's nitpicky to say I found his phrase at the start of every module-- "All right, ninjas!"-- to be a little annoying. It really doesn't get in the way of his instruction since he only says it once each chapter.

I distinctly found this instructional to be more upper-level. There are excellent basic techniques taught in every chapter-- kimuras, back mount, americana, omoplata etc.-- but he gives fewer details and moves right along with a quicker pace to his speech and the amount of repetition. It is refreshing to have basically a "dense" and efficient dose of technique. You could watch this on your phone and feel like just a few minutes were fully packed with things to play with. There are few to no drilling sequences and while he reviews techniques as he goes, it never gets excessive.

One thing I liked about his relatively minimal level of detail compared to some instructionals is that I'm getting set in my ways, and I find that when someone teaches a detail which directly contradicts something that works really well for me, I mentally debate it. I challenge it or counter it in my mind and get distracted. This did not happen often in the video, which was refreshing. I found it to be like the end of open mat, where some brown or blackbelt is showing someone else something, and while it goes by quickly, it contains all the information you need to plug it in to your already-working technique library and expand it in new ways.  It does tend to assume you are familiar with the language and positions so if you are a rank newbie this may go a little bit quickly for some.

Another thing I liked was the constant stream of sub attempts. It's a facet I would like to include more in my style-- attack attack attack. However, I did think that some of his techniques assume some equality of size and strength between partners. He did such a great job talking about compensating for other limitations of physicality, I wished he could have included some adjustments us smaller-folk could make to tweak the techniques. If I had my druthers, he would have stepped back and had a smaller person demo against a larger one to illustrate such possibilities, a la Emily Kwok and Stephen Kesting.

Mike did a great job on this instructional. It's a very solid efficient hour, worth your time and money.










Sunday, July 31, 2016

Texas jiu jitsu instructor convicted of sexual assault of student

Former owner of BQuick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Stephenville, Texas has been found guilty on July 27, 2016 of sexually assaulting a student who was 14 years old at the time. The jury had reached the verdict in less than an hour in Erath County.



Samuel Lewis was promptly escorted out of the courtroom following a guilty verdict. He was arrested back in January 2014 and charged with sexual assault of a child, a second degree felony.
According to a local news report  the victim testified saying she began training under Lewis in the summer of 2013. She also said Lewis claimed to be unhappy in his marriage. The victim testified that Lewis knew she was a high school freshman at the time. The teenager felt bad for him saying: “I felt bad and was sympathetic towards him.” She said the two communicated through text messages and Facebook, and that the relationship turned sexual on Christmas Eve 2013 when they had sex in the bathroom inside the gym.

Soon after, the victim’s mother learned about it after finding an incriminating facebook exchange- which was followed up with a police report. Lewis’ ex wife also testified against him saying she became suspicious of the relationship between Lewis and the victim. Soon after she went to the victim’s mother with her concerns.

Lewis attempted to commit suicide shortly after arrest and while he was in recovery the wife asked him about the incident: “I wanted to know why. Was it because she was pretty? Was it because she was young? Was it because she did Jiu Jitsu? Because I thought I was a pretty good wife,” she said. “He said it was because of Jiu Jitsu and that was the only time he mentioned it at all.”

Edit to add: scary comments on Reddit about this. https://www.reddit.com/r/bjj/comments/4vlsvl/bjj_instructor_samuel_lewis_from_texas_convicted/

Monday, June 27, 2016

Spartan Fit book coming out soon! Plus discount on Spartan races!

Joe DeSena’s new book "Spartan Fit!" comes out this summer. I have lots of jiu jitsu friends and sambo friends who do tough mudder and Spartan-type races. This book is a great training and motivational tool.

All of the info including the first chapter download (Free!) is here:

http://spartanracemedia.com

If you like what you read, you can (and should) pre-order it HERE:  http://bit.ly/spartanfit_preorder

I have SO much respect for people who run these Spartan races. They are tough! One of my good friends, a Caio Terra blackbelt near Dallas, runs these suckers and he's pretty addicted. Talk about functional fitness.

You can hunt for a Spartan race in your area by going here.

And if you use the code SPARTANBLOGGER you will get 10% off your entry fee.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Enormous jiu jitsu class makes it into the Guinness Book! And personal update...

I found an article about the top ten coolest martial arts records in the Guinness book, and one of them dealt with jiu jitsu-- the largest BJJ class ever.  Thought you might be interested!

I haven't trained hardly at all in the last 3 months. I swear I'm going back but it's been so hard with my work schedule. I am going to ask for an extended lunch so I can go to the noon class.  I get off at four p.m. and evening class starts at seven, so it's just hard to motivate myself to stay at work late, and my house is the opposite direction from the academy (with work in the middle.) So I know I'm making excuses, but... there it is.

Edited to add:

Thanks y'all for your words of encouragement and support!

I was approved for a 2 hour lunch, hooray!

Yeah, given that I prefer coming in to work at the obscenely early hour of 530-6am, there was no possibility of doing the morning class. And going to the academy to roll or drill for an hour or two before class at night wasn't good either, because, well, I was dating someone and did that for months with him, and then we broke up, and it was/is brutally painful... so, he ended up quitting BJJ, and it just absolutely sucked going to the academy without him. That's a big part of why I wasn't training the last while. I do not like having put on ten pounds, so I just need to buck up and go back. I think going back to a different class with different people will help change things up a bit.

Also, I have a set of kettlebells at home, and I've been doing bodyweight exercises-- pushups burpees and deep squats-- to slow down the slide into fatty. I miss seeing good definition in my arms and back!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Brown butter ginger snap cookies

I'm going to experiment with this cookie which I just found on Pinterest. I think it can be made softer and richer, and I'm going to try my chocolate chip cookie technique of using more, melted butter, two eggs and two egg yolks, and more brown sugar than white.

Let me know what you think..

Ingredients

2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, browned and brought back to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses (mild, not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
*extra sugar for sprinkling (coarse sugar works great here, but granulated will do the job)

Instructions

To make the dough:

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Place butter in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter has completely melted and taken on an amber/light brown shade. It will smell slightly nutty. Once it's reached this stage remove the pan from heat RIGHT AWAY - brown butter can go from good to burnt in seconds.

Scrape butter and any brown bits into a small heatproof bowl and transfer bowl to the refrigerator (or freezer if you really want to speed it up). Allow butter to come back to room temperature (it should be solid, but soft enough to hold the impression of your finger when you press it into the top).

When the butter is ready…

Add butter and sugars to the body of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-speed until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides as needed.

Add the molasses and orange zest and beat until combined. Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour (or up to one day).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) 30 minutes prior to baking. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Roll the dough into 1" balls and arrange on prepared sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on the center of each cookie. Sprinkle each top with about 1/4 teaspoon extra sugar, and bake, one sheet at a time, for 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.

Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eddie Bravo Invitational 6-- free livestream!



I just heard about FITE, a free mobile app dedicated to fighting sports. This Sunday April 24th’s Jiu Jitsu event – The Eddie Bravo Invitational 6-- will feature a 16-man bracket tournament with submission-only rules. All submissions are legal. No draws!, No judges! All for a $50,000 purse.

The EBI 6 is available on FITE TV which is available anywhere in the world that has WiFi internet connections. This app allows you to watch the matches live on the screen of your TV with just the use of your phone and app. As long as you have WiFi connection (on your phone and TV) it should be easy.

In addition to the EBI 6, on FITE TV you can watch MMA, wrestling, boxing and traditional martial arts - live and on-demand. FITE is a Free download from iTunes and Google Play.

There’s also a big red floating button on the app home screen which allows you to upload your own videos - workouts, training sessions, workshops, demonstrations or fight footage - for fans around the world to see.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Visiting another jiu jitsu academy-- part 2

Are you ready to step on the mat? Check out part 2 by Faisao, a purple belt champion competitor.

PART 2: What Happens After You Step on the Mats

If you’ve read the first part of this article, you are ready to step on the mats at a host academy. Whether learning from an instructor or doing open sparring, there are a few things to remember to get the most out of your visit. The following tips are from my own experiences, other students, and hosts.

When attending a class or seminar where someone is teaching technique, the most important thing to remember is that the instructor is the instructor. You are NOT the instructor. This can be particularly tough on upper belts when a class is being taught by someone of a lower rank. Respect that they have been entrusted to teach and do not question their techniques during class. Pay attention and do the technique that they are actually showing. If the details are different than how you have been taught in the past, do it the way the instructor is showing. Do not show your partner something that is contrary to what the instructor has shown. If you are not the one teaching, keep it to yourself. Only show a technique if asked directly by the instructor. Also, you should introduce yourself to your partner, but do not keep chatting with your partner during class.

Open rolling or sparring is typically less structured and can be an incredible experience. It can also be extremely frustrating for both host and visitor. When rolling with someone you have just met, you have no history of trust. The ego involved when rolling with someone from outside ones own academy can lead to additional problems. Visitor and host alike may feel they are representing their entire team. Remember that you roll to learn and not to win. Sparring is not a tournament and nobody is waiting with a medal for you. The things during a sparring session that will reflect poorly on your team have nothing to do with winning. Hurting your host's students is the worst possible transgression. They have accepted the risk of allowing you into their home. Do not make them regret their decision. Do not slam into or crank on submissions. Avoid pain submissions or submissions with higher risk of injury. Know what submissions are allowed. If you put their student into a submission they have not been exposed to there is a higher risk that they will respond incorrectly and injure themselves.

You must also protect yourself. Your host may allow submissions or techniques you have not learned.
Know what your host allows. If you are not prepared for certain positions or submissions, let your rolling partner know before you begin. If you have an injury, let them know before you begin. Be prepared to tap early. Putting yourself into dangerous positions and waiting too long to tap reflects poorly on your home academy.

To get the most out of your rolls, focus on more than the tap. Sparring allows you to find out how someone with a different teacher responds to situations. Rolling with someone outside of a competition that does not know your game is a great learning opportunity. Avoid thinking of yourself as better or worse than your partner. They may be giving you 10% or 100%.

Typically, timed rounds during a class should not involve pauses to discuss a position. If you are in an open mat situation, stopping to take a closer look at a position is usually acceptable. There is no universal rule for this so take cues from your partner and those around you. As a guest the following guidelines will serve you well:

  • If you are a lower rank than your partner, do not initiate teaching a technique unless asked to do so. Regardless of rank, be wary of saying a technique is outright wrong. Your partner may be attempting something from their instructor that you are not aware of. If you wish to offer suggestions, it can be as an option instead of replacement.

  • Mat etiquette varies significantly by academy. Rules for the same situation might be quite different. As an example, some academies have rules on who is allowed to ask someone else to roll or spar, while others do not. Rule variations I have seen include:

  • Only higher ranks may ask lower ranks to spar.

  • Any student may ask any other student.

  • Instructor determines who spars with each other.

Rolling with many different skill levels and body types can improve your jiu jitsu game, but you must know your limits and be strong enough to decline a request (even from an upper belt) if you do not feel comfortable rolling with them. If anyone ever warns you not to roll with a particular person from their team, there is probably a good reason. Listen to their advice.

Once you are sparring, be aware of what is happening around you and protect yourself and your partner. Most academies have rules to decide who must move when two or more pairs get close enough to risk colliding. Having these rules helps to reduce disruption during rolls. Some variations for “right-of-way” include:
  • Highest rank pair has right of way and lower rank pair must move.

  • Pair in position easiest to pause moves.
  • Pair in greatest fear of being crushed moves.

Any student will know the rule for their home academy, so you should be able to follow your partner’s lead. Whether rolling or drilling, try not to be a mat hog. Be aware of how much space you are using. Sweeps and takedowns typically take more space. If the mat is crowded, it might be better to work on something else.

The last big thing I’ve learned over the years is that every academy has rules you will never think to ask about. These are the unwritten rules that are reasonable and obvious to members of the academy but will completely blindside a visitor. It is almost impossible to know of these rules before you break them. If an instructor or student points one out to you, your best response it to thank them for letting you know and try not to do whatever you just did ever again.

Hopefully this article will help you make the most out of visiting other jiu jitsu academies. Most hosts are very forgiving of any mistakes you might make as long as you are respectful. Your team is your family, but there is a great extended jiu jitsu family out there for you to meet as well. I hope you make the best of it.