Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Mendes brothers, morotes, and training in general.

Thanks Vidush for pointing me towards these two... they're amazing. Check out the drop seoi nage around 6:26 too...

I'm still training hard, but not quite as hard. Maybe 6-7 hours on a long day, 3 hours on a short one. Still psyched about the competition ahead, oddly enough :) However in tonight's competition class I realized during takedown drills that I was afraid of being crunched or injured. Normally I'm blithely ignorant of those risks, but tonight, I was a chicken. Which meant I tensed up before every shot, grabbed their back (during no-resistance takedowns) and failed to properly breakfall, resulting in me getting quite rattled and sore (and took a nasty hit to my ribs too.) But the positional sparring in the rest of the class was quite fun. Until I decided to (probably rudely) ask my partner to stop telling me what they thought I should do to retain mount (I was working a particular position in mount and they thought I should not work from there.) I hope I didn't come across like a total bitch.. normally I want input and feedback but this time I wanted to work it out for myself. And they weren't in the stfu frame of mind, I guess.

Oh well.

Georgette Oden Signature Series Tee Shirts from Zazzle.com

Georgette Oden Signature Series Tee Shirts from Zazzle.com

Monday, March 29, 2010


Been training a ton and really enjoying the flow lately. I'm not focused on learning anything new, just amazed and happy because I'm getting into a zone while I roll. Stuff I didn't think I knew how to do kind of jumps out of me, bypassing my brain and just coming out of my muscles. It's cool. I hope I still have some left over for the Pan :)

Congrats Dev!

Repping "Red Menace" on the podium... it's Dev with the gold medal, at the Santa Cruz in-house tournament (after a five-mile race through mud and over hills on the same day!) Click on the picture and look at his right leg-- yeah, yeah, that's the Red Menace patch! wooooo! AND it's on his newly-sponsored gi from Padilla & Sons... looking sharp!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Half a dozen different alleluia choruses have been playing loud and clear in my head today-- I got to spend a significant amount of time on the mats at Phil's this morning and tonight, and I'm happy with how things are going.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to break my arm patting myself on the back and I keep seeing numerous holes, flaws, flubs and stupidness-- I'm thoroughly disappointed with my guard passing of late, and I can't seem to hold side control worth a damn.. but I'm happy with a couple things. My aggressiveness. My takedowns. My attacks from guard.

Took my competition gi back to my seamstress to have the last couple patches sewn on. And still working hard at work (Yes, I do work-- a full time job and everything-- which fits nicely in the eight-and-a-half hours between morning class and night class) to meet my Monday deadline. And looking forward to UFC this Saturday.

Trying to decide between fixing my fantastic little Acura (15 years old next month; 206k miles on her) which was crunched in an accident through no fault of her own (or mine) and thus totalled out by insurance, or use about 3x the money to buy a new-to-me car. Don't get me started on cars... of course my preference would be a BMW 135i, or maybe a Lexus IS250.. but I'll be perfectly happy with a functional Civic.

Health-wise I am rock solid (thanks to all those who emailed me or otherwise inquired.) Trained for 6.5 hours today and I feel AWESOME. Fingertips a little sore from all the grip fighting; elbow a little tweaked from judo throwing peeps, but otherwise I'm good. I have an enormous spinach-and-kale salad sitting at hand, full of red bell peppers, red onions, apples, carrots, and blueberries... next up, some whole wheat tortillas full of chicken breast and salsa. MMMMmmmmm!!

Oh Donald, I love you.

Please join me in watching, with awe, this compilation of morote seoi nages.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hard core.

So I had a crazy experience on Monday and wasn't sure I was going to blog about it or not.. but why not :) I went to the doctor's office for a routine physical... a few minutes after I left, I had to pull over in the emergency lane of the highway because I thought I was going to die. I was nauseous, lightheaded, shaking with chills, drenched in cold sweat, and everything went very white... couldn't hardly see... basically half-passed out. I couldn't reach my husband, and eventually when it didn't go away, I called 911 for an ambulance. Keep in mind I am a cynic and have a small amount of medical knowledge so for me to call an ambulance is big stuff. Murphy's law, as soon as the cops and EMS showed up, I felt better. They took my pulse and blood pressure and blood sugar (52, 100/50, and 70 respectively-- he said "that's elite athlete resting heartrate/blood pressure range" but otherwise all within normal limits.) Since I wasn't stroking out or in any other way dying, as I feared, I eschewed a trip to the hospital and went on home instead of to the gym and then back to work. The doctor's office told me I had a vasovagal episode which can be caused by something as simple as giving a blood sample, getting a shot, or looking at blood. Man, I felt like a sissy.

But today was a three-fer... class this morning was all sweeps from bottom halfguard and I want to say THANK YOU to my academy for being so freaking DEEP in this regard! a series of 5 interconnecting moves.. yum. Lunch was my crossfit-like class, and since the weather was a lush and sunny 73, we spent it outside, running up and down hills and stairs. Then tonight's class Phil tweaked my guard passing, we worked on some variations on passing scissor guard, and in competition class, more Donald magic. :)

I need to get 3 patches sewn on my competition gi. The Bullshido one looks like it will go on the front of my leg; the Happy Kimonos on another leg, and the Red Menace patch across the back. Also, decided not to dye it Wedgewood blue in case everyone is right about how anal the IBJJF is about gi colors. So the only thing left to do? drill takedowns on every self-respecting under-brown-belt guy in the academy till I can't stand up! Oh, and keep watching my weight. Dinner tonight? Whole wheat tortillas, with a little lean chicken (marinated in my secret fajita seasoning) and chipotle salsa, black beans, corn, cheese and sour cream (for Mitch) and lime juice, freshly squeezed.

Goodnight..getting up early to pick up a training buddy for 6am class tomorrow.

Inspirational footage...

Here, Bianca Barreto defeats Sayaka Shioda by armbar in the finals for women super feather, Mundials 2009... lightning quick.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Join this bunch of fellow big GOBBs

Join this bunch of fellow big GOBBs-- the Guild of BJJ Bloggers-- on Facebook!

Posted using ShareThis

Mount. INSIST on mount.

Repost from Cane's blog, The Gentle Art-- most of you already know I have a big old jits-crush on Cane's approach (and SBGi's approach) in general. No exception today, folks.

His introduction pretty much mirrors my thoughts on this subject.. really timely for those of us prepping for the Pan.

"This week was mount week in BJJ. I taught top position on Monday and escape and survival on Tuesday. I looked around the net to see if I could find some good information on holding mount top. I wanted some structural stuff about how to build the posture from top position. I didn’t really find anything. Not that there isn’t anything out there. Just that I didn’t find it. Most of what I found was the typical submissions and cool moves from top. Those are important for sure. What I find though is that most people have a really hard time holding mount. Myself included. As a top position it’s very hard to hold. Probably the most difficult of all the top positions. If you can’t hold it well then knowing all the submissions in the world isn’t going to do you much good."

Enjoy the rest of the post right here.

Want a Red Menace patch??

Long ago and far away (well, actually, in Houston so not that far) my friend Ivelin was watching one of my tournament matches and coined my nickname, as he is distinctly heard on the video referring to me as the "Red Menace."

Sam at NHBGear came through for me... All I had to do was pick out a font (I used a Cyrillicesque one called Kremlin Comrade from Dafont.com) and write out the text. This one is a little on the smaller side, text area is about 11" by 3", which I think is just right for the gi skirt below the belt, or maybe along the front lapel.

Anyway, you can paypal me $8 and I'll mail you a patch. :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How much fun is this??

First, many thanks to Caleb and the BJJ Fightworks Podcast for interviewing me for their show on cornering and coaching at jiu jitsu tournaments... The episode is up and can be heard here! Wooooo!

Also, I'm now officially part of Team SubMISSion! SubMISSion is dedicated to women warriors, and they make some really nice gear to support Fighting like a Girl :) I love the tshirts that represent your origins... Vanessa even made a custom one for me and my Irish roots! The nifty thing I like is that they have a lot of options for the shirt itself-- not just long or short sleeve, but also fit, fabric, and color. If you want a destroyed look, a double-layer sheer fitted, a man's longsleeve, a regular tshirt, a hoodie... they have it. They also have bags, shoes, hats and other fun stuff..

Check it out! And thanks for believing in me and putting me on Team SubMISSion!

Great training today...

Man-- class today was awesome!

I've been working on my guard a ton lately and Phil's been helping us plot on one of our purplebelts who has a great open guard & pass, a great halfguard pass, and seems like hardly anyone can triangle him or choke him. Most of our lessons for the last month or so have given us lots of practice on guard offense and I love it. But today was special.. Christy's been working on my flying armbar and I can't wait to try it out in competition.

Then, after class and open mat, Phil did a great BBQ. He is a skilled hunter and is always filling up our freezers with venison, wild pig, sausage, steaks, ribs and brisket. I made some traditional mustard potato salad and brought chocolate chip-pecan and oatmeal raisin cookies... but sadly ate very little. Just too keyed up to be hungry I guess. We have a houseful of guests from Houston this weekend, for the big salsa social my husband organizes, and two of our friends, Roy and Nicole, got married tonight :) Since they're big salseros, they brought their reception to the social to get their dance on!

Dinner tonight was quick and easy-- roast chicken, new potatoes, spinach salad with peppers... but I have overnight French toast (made with homemade cinnamon-raisin challah) and omelettes planned for tomorrow morning.

I'm pooped, and I have class at 9:30am, so off to bed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New chick blog... and followers...

Man, I'm a little pooped. After my crossfit-like class at the regular gym, I rolled a solid hour with Christy, our 3 stripe brown, at lunch. She's a bit like a circus tent, floating down around me on all sides, impeccably based, though not really weightless in any sense of the word... you think you can just ball up underneath her and sweep her, but since she's like a foot taller than me, it seems like her legs and arms just reach forever. Always good to roll with her though often I walk away scratching my head and wondering what just happened. I think I will bring the video camera & tripod next time and get some footage, so I can answer that question and maybe learn from it.

Then went again to open mat at 4pm, got two more good hours in. Rolled with a variety of peeps... Jerry kept me under side control for a while, then I got to play with a whitebelt guy for a short while. Put him in two triangles from guard & one mounted tri, but short little legs made them poppable. He did a good job defending and was sweetly interested in my humble opinions. Then went with Lee, one of our purples... I did feel like he was muscling me a bit, but I escaped most things for a while which is success in my book. Also tumbled a good while with Neal, a newer blue that was very technical and required me to move a lot and think a lot. All in all, really positive and happy rolls :)

Made a scrumptious dinner tonight... chicken with sherry, thyme and garlic... rice... and a salad with kale, Granny Smith apples, red onion, fennel, and balsamic-agave vinaigrette. YUM!

So the new BJJ chick blog (new to me anyway) is found here at DagneyBJJ.blogspot.com and I like her attitude. Except the bit about overtraining. Like I told one of our browns tonight, I don't know what that means :)

Lastly-- what's up with the followers thing? I held steady at 44 for a while and actually got my feelings hurt when it dipped to 43. I should have poked around on the list and figured out who ditched me but I guess I didn't really want to know :( But today, it's up to 45. Loser that I am, I felt better. Self-esteem! Yay! (LOL!)

Big BBQ at the academy tomorrow so I made some potato salad tonight, and will bake cookies in the morning, after a hike with my husband along the creek near our house. Busy busy weekend ahead-- houseguests for his salsa social which is tomorrow night.. training Sat & Sun... he's photographing a Rolles Gracie seminar at his school tomorrow afternoon... maybe some yard work Sunday afternoon and then ugh, sit down and do a budget on Sunday night. It would appear that my husband's employment is going to be differently-abled starting the end of March. (If I say the startup he's been working at is laying him off, that just seems freaky, so I'm trying to be more sensitive and politically correct. Lame, right :) )

OH! And I'm about to receive a spiff new gi... Kauai Kimonos makes the nylon ripstop gis that weigh teeny and airdry in 20 min. They're from Bali and get good reviews from my jits peeps in Thailand and thereabouts. I might be the first person to have one in Texas, and it should be here just as soon as I paypal for it. Alas, it's pink, but it's only one (instead of the two I initially wanted, in blue and olive green) so that's good for the about-to-be-laid-off budget. SO expect a review posthaste.

Train hard everyone :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why compete.

The old "why do I compete" thing bears examination.

First I think Leslie made an excellent point... why enter a tournament vs. why compete.

I entered my first tournament when I'd been training a few weeks. Some random training as part of kajukenbo and rolling with two friends.. a couple weeks under William Vandry, then a month or two off... then one week exactly at Relson Gracie under Phil Cardella which is where I stayed. I entered it because one of the people I trusted told me I was ready. I wanted to enter early, so I wouldn't put as much pressure on myself to win. Hahaha, of course I still did, and I was bummed with my results, but it was instructive. (I had to enter the mens' division, <155lbs, and it was a round robin, so I did get to fight the other two girls in the tournament too. Nogi. I went 1-5. And I will never forget being baseball bat choked from my knees like an idiot.) That was the only tournament I competed in while telling myself I didn't have a chance.

I compete because I want to win. It's a matter of pride, insecurity, two sides of the same coin. I am in the top 2% of most intensely competitive people in the world, and not surprisingly, I'm trying to be THE most competitive *wink, wink*

(No relevance to the topic. Just liked this picture.)

I don't compete to find out what I need to work on. I get enough mat-hours at home with an enormous variety of people, and if diagnosing holes in my game were the point, believe me, I'd get it there- and I do. As last night's roll with Jason shows. In fact I demoted myself two stripes just from drilling technique with him (for a brief period of time I technically outranked him by a stripe and my brain couldn't handle the cognitive dissonance.)

I don't need to pay $100-200-300 or more and kill a weekend and eat holes in my stomach and stretch the patience of my husband just for diagnostics. I once said I'm in it for the medal, but after reading Leslie's thoughts, I agree... it's not the medal, it's the moment of the win. The hand being raised is great, but equally I enjoy the feeling as the match goes on and you know you're gaining on them. Whether you've just gotten stuck in a triangle and you wrangle and wrangle and eventually get out, or you're both stuck in some weird twisty way and suddenly you see how to reposition as light at the end of the tunnel... but there is a turning point in every match I've had, and when that point shows me that things are looking up... THAT feeling is incredible. When you hear your corner all relaxed and happy about your point spread, or when you hear your opponent's tortured breathing and feel them sigh and relent, just a bit, or better, you hear THEIR corner all freaky and pissy and UNhappy... Of course if you get the tap, well then... that's like chocolate cake. And frosting. And then, people who watched the match congratulate you afterwards.. and some random little girl might ask if she can hold your medal.. :)

Maybe that makes me the kindergartener of the mats, so be it.

Why do you compete?

Graphical representation of James Toney's grappling training

Thanks to Meerkatsu for reposting Matt's tweet, hilariously found here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The purpose of the jits blog...

Happy St. Patrick's day, by the way. I'm sporting my green tiedyed gi pants courtesy of my sponsor, Happy Kimonos, and my green jacket, thanks to another sponsor, Badgerland Jiu Jitsu! I'm the only person at my academy who could dress for today on the mats! :)

And here's me, the hedgehog jits fighter, in green..

But back to the title...

"The" purpose... as though there's only one?

"The" jits blog, as though there's only one blog, or even that all posts on a blog have a singular purpose..

Well, how about this-- "some purposes of some jits blogs." Specifically mine.

This has been on my mind since reading a repost of Notes from Ringside's comments that BJJ blogs are by and for wankers... here, thanks to Meerkatsu. And it's also percolating around because I'm getting ready for Pan Ams, and because I did an interview with Caleb for Fightworks Podcast the other day. What's all this mean, you ask?


I didn't realize when I started blogging that people other than my godmother (Hi Aunt Karen!) and some other family friends would really be reading this. I guess I got a hint when I started plugging in to the online jitsuka community and reading ya'lls blogs and thoughts and commentary. And when people I didn't yet know started following here, well, I felt pretty special. Chuffed, as you Brits would say. It's incredibly comforting to share the journey.

I hope that in some way I can be part of the voice for us... the non-blackbelts.. the middlebelts in jiu jitsu.. the average Jane or Joe. I love jiu jitsu, I love the practice of it, the discipline, the challenge, the community and the process of learning it. I love to write, I love to be heard, and I love to discuss it all, which is a big part of my experience. It's not just self-flagellation or mutual masturbation either. There's a lot of useful information out there, and why reinvent the wheel when maybe we can learn from each others' experiences? Geez, the collective wisdom of this group... pretty impressive. I'm eager to connect to it, and if I have anything of any use to share, I'm there.

But then it gets time to compete. I'm a lawyer and as you can tell, a little on the obsessive side. Whatever I lack in native talent and ability, you can bet I will try to compensate with advance preparation. It's saved my bacon in court and I trust that someday I will actually feel prepared on the mats too. So, even though I briefly considered NOT doing it, I checked out the list of chicks in my division for the Pan. 10 including me as of today.

Then I take a strategery-type step back. Ahem. If I thought of it, they have thought of it too. So before I typed another sentence in this blog, I went back and made all my jits matches private on youtube. Even the ones from my first tournament, against guys, nogi, when I'd been training little more than a month or so. Zip. If you haven't seen them yet, y'ain't gonna see 'em. As if that will help :)

But it makes me wonder. I have occasionally considered being less than forthcoming about my training progress, goals, successes and weaknesses on this blog-- but is that just crazy egotistical? Like I'm enough of anything for anyone to want to research me?

The other side of my stupid head is yammering that it doesn't matter if you're a big threat or a pushover, information is information.

So back to my title. WTF is the purpose of this blog? Counterintelligence? Comfort-seeking? Journalism? I've always thought that a rising jits tide lifts all our boats in the sense that showing you my goodie moves will make you better which forces me to be better. Since I am no Jacare, it really doesn't matter much how I do in this or that particular tournament as long as the big picture shows me improving. If I lose a match to you because I told you how to counter my pass or whatever, then good for you, and I will be absolutely fixated on beating that counter next time we roll- good for me.

So do I put my money where my mouth is? Do I take the high road and lay myself out there for any leve blue belt headed to Irvine-- won't I be PISSED if I lose to them because they read one of my freak-out-day posts and discern a weakness? I don't know. Duh, of course I'll be pissed. But I'll never know. Chances are, there's nothing they can read or see that will give them that much of an edge. Like one of my many mentors, Steve Austin, told me... play YOUR game. Execute the basics really well. Make them come on YOUR turf. And then the chips fall where they may. So really, the research I derive such comfort from doing is probably no more helpful to me than a security blanket or Dumbo's magic feather. (Doesn't mean I won't be holding the blankie or twiddling the feather... still, as they say, trust in God but keep your powder dry.)

So, aside from putting all my footage in a paper bag tucked under my metaphysical bed, I'm going to continue blogging about my nerves, my unhappinesses, my successes, my failures in prepping for the Pan. It might help someone else but more realistically, this is a record for me of my journey. Maybe I'll get a kick out of it someday.

Maybe I'll be a blackbelt someday, and look back on this and chuckle.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Female of the Species

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

The Female of the Species

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

Thanks Mark for the excellent referral. Ladies-- I'm having a portion of this made into a patch, well suited for the back of a gi or perhaps a knee... I'll be selling them starting sometime in April. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bought my tickets to California!

Wooo, husband and I arrive in Orange County on Wednesday April 7th and stay through the Pan plus a day, coming back to Austin on Tuesday the 13th.

Also, I just got finished doing an interview with Caleb of the BJJ Fightworks Podcast about my advice for corners! That was great fun and I am very appreciative of the opportunity to speak to the Fighting 600,000. Check out the great jits coverage at TheFightworksPodcast.com. As soon as I know when the interview will be up, I'll let you know :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gonna go to Pan Ams.

I haven't bought my ticket yet, but yes, I'm going. Just a little frustrated with the Southwest Airlines website tonight, trying to access my Rapid Rewards account, so I'm tired and done with the stupid thing. I know when I am better rested, the mysteries of changing that password and seeing if I have a free ticket will be less mysterious.

Not quite sure if I want to look at the IBJJF website and see the list of how many and who will be competing in my weight class. It won't make a difference to me-- if the number is tiny, I know people will be signing up last minute, and if it's a big number, that's just more time to stress and heck, I'm definitely going, so why freak out early?

Rita came up from Corpus this weekend and stayed with me; she did yesterday's noon class and will be rolling with me tomorrow morning as well. She's a tough, but tiny, blue belt from Gracie Barra and I'm happy she's not in my weight class!

She has a little, possible fracture or dislocation going on, so it's not entirely clear whether she'll actually train tomorrow. Sucks... less than 4 weeks to go and healing in time is a question....

Speaking of weight classes, I went to the gym and got the Bod Pod thing done-- it's a body fat % analysis that is almost as accurate as the whole water displacement thing, but it uses air instead and takes less time. Short version, I'm 22% body fat (not 26%, clinically obese like the generic websites say) and right at the top of the "lean" category... which is 22-18%. If I get down to 18% I'll still weigh 132, a perfectly comfortable number for the leve class. I used to weigh 120, but at my current level of muscle mass, to weigh 120 I'd have to have under 10% body fat. This was actually reassuring because it gave me permission to stop pushing for that number :)

Good training lately. Going back for more tomorrow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh geez.

And mucho congrats to everyone who got promoted tonight-- Scott, Lamont, Jerry, Anthony, Leila, Jack.. and I know there's others I'm blanking on.


Funniest NSFW blog ever....

Thanks Mark...

Why Women Hate Men, a blog written by a man "analyzing everything men do to attract women. And why they fail so fucking miserably."

Just as a sample, read this particular post.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love you.

Ya'll are like my sisters and brothers.

I say that despite being an only child (couldn't you tell?) and not REALLY knowing what siblings would be like, but I imagine that...

.. some would be bigger, stronger, faster, better and therefore my idols at times

.. some would be littler, slower, not as experienced, and therefore I'd try to teach them

.. they'd get me really well most of the time

.. they'd get me TOO well sometimes

.. they'd push me to get better, and I'd push them

.. they'd chew the fat with me and commiserate and then kick me in the ass

[ahem] Sounds like you, yeah?

So thanks for the asskickery and the huggery and all that stuff. I needed it. Honestly, it doesn't change how I feel about this stupid [expletive deleted] Pan Ams thing. But it might just change what I do about it. If the money situation works.. okay, okay, I'll go. Jeezus. Just promise you'll keep poking holes in my stupid egocentric wincentric worldview, yeah?

So what's next?

People are pushing me to do Pan Ams. I am considering being pushed. Airfare's about $250, entry is about $100. If I work 4 consecutive 12 hour days there for IBJJF I can make just shy of that amount.

The stupid thing is I know I'll get there and be so freaking unhappy. I can't crack it-- it's not nerves per se. I'm not afraid of being hurt, or of being laughed at... I think it's part fear of people watching and seeing me be pwned and saying "awww, well everyone has a bad day" like I did at times. Or maybe I am just plain afraid of losing.

I think more it's fear of losing and then people thinking "Oh, we thought she was all good and stuff. She's not that good. In fact she's only good when she only has two matches, when it's local, when it's random, when it's not the best blues fighting each other."

I'm afraid of other people making the excuses for me that *I* make when I am uncomfortable regarding my success. Ultimately I don't think my successes are a valid measure of my merit or skill as a grappler. I continually put down my victories at least in my mind-- well, it's not like the guys who have 8 matches to get gold... it's not like guys who deal with wrestlers and judokas... or I pick apart my matches and constantly criticize. Crappy technique, cruddy positioning, no base, hips high, can't hold side to save my life, on and on and on. I'm afraid that if people see me compete at a quality tournament they'll see through my bullshit and know that I suck.

But we'll see.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Gratitude and learning.

First-- so grateful to my uberpatient husband for carting me around, taking me here and there without complaint, and then waiting... and waiting... and waiting... filming my matches and those of my teammates.. and waiting.. nothing to eat but bread, honey, muffins, bananas... and waiting... so THANK YOU Mitch for making my tournament go so easily :)

And when I type that I have to guffaw. EASY?! In one sense it was, and as you all know, in most other senses it was far from it. Many things left to learn... but here's a handful of revelations.

1. It's just fucking ridiculous that I had to worry about making weight. Pigs in a blanket are not to blame.. it's me and my sad excuse for willpower. No more of this cycle of "oh, it's easy to cut weight" and then "man, cutting sucks" and then "phew, I made weight, let's go celebrate [for a week]." Starting today I'm going to be working slowly and nutritiously to get back to my former happy fighting weight of 120ish. And then stay there. That includes getting some body fat % analysis at the gym in the BodPod.. report to follow.

2. Girls play boring jiu jitsu for the most part-- at least at tournaments! Pulling guard, triangle, triangle armbar. Blah. I'm happy to keep pushing myself towards a fully-fledged takedown game that integrates wrestling, judo, Marcelo, Roger, and old-fashioned mindgames.

3. Girls in Gis just plain ROCKED! Great group of gals everywhere from first dayers to a purple.. two hours of technique, with some male browns and blacks to let us play at guard-passing in their shark tanks. That plus some free form open mat was a nice way to relax and get some kinks out the day after the tournament.

4. I hope I never have to just "attend" a tournament again. Working as a scorer or such is the way to go-- you don't have time to think or stress, you get to know people better, you feel like you're part of the machine, and you make a little money to recoup entry fees. (And if you're lucky, a free "Staff" tshirt :) )

5. Some girls need to warm up at tournaments. Not physically-- emotionally! Ladies, I'm telling you-- if you stick to yourselves you will be perceived as snooty, right or wrong. And that's not good. We're too small a group compared to the boys to afford not to have solidarity. We'll be seeing each other at every freakin' tournament now.. from white, to blue, to purple... and if you stick with it, I'll be seeing you for years and years. We'll know each others' games, we should at least be friendly. It's NOT all about WINNING. And besides, you're not going to improve your chances just by being snooty and aloof. No, I'm NOT misinterpreting your fear and nerves for aloofness... I can tell cocky from scaredy. And if you have actually spoken with me to my face or on facebook, I'm NOT talking about you I promise. I'm referring to people who are the opposite of social. :)


The emotional swings I experience at a tournament (and the immediate before and after) are just amazing.

I have competed virtually all my life, starting with running races in preschool and moving up to spelling bees, science fairs, horseshows, soccer, field hockey, track, debate, racquetball, and mock trial (as well as real trials and oral arguments etc.) I don't get butterflies in my stomach and I love public speaking. I have never been nervous before competition, even when I wasn't certain of winning. Even when I was pretty certain I'd lose, I always felt this kind of freedom... like I had done all the possible work I could do and the outcome was out of my hands.

But jiu jitsu is a first for me. I know on an intellectual level that I have done all the prep possible. I have trained hard, worked on strength and cardio and flexibility, drilled my takedowns, made my elemental movements as instinctive as possible, worked through the basic escapes and counters, and I am very relaxed with having a loose bag of possible attack series instead of a hard-and-fast plan.. but I never, ever feel like it's enough. When I compete in jiu jitsu it is far more personal than any other kind of competition I've ever done. And I can't explain why. It's not a "physical intimate contact" kind of personal that I'm meaning.. and it's not because I care more about being successful in jits. I really, really cared about debate. It was pretty much my life in high school and half of college. But I guess I also felt insouciant about it- maybe cocky is a better word. I was just pretty sure that I was a great speaker and even if my files weren't always the deepest, I could massage something into being.

I guess I just feel much more vulnerable when it's my jits on the line and people are watching. I have so much faith in my academy. Phil and Donald and Christy and the two Richards have been the Northern Stars in my jits firmament.. but not just those folks. The other browns and purples and blues are always describing and leading and illustrating such a profoundly varied and talented view of things... and by and large, the whitebelts are my most valued training partners. Visiting people like Mark Rios and Hillary Williams too.. everyone sprinkles their little flavoring on the dish. But when it comes time to serve it, the proof is in the pudding, and if I can't execute, I know that if I didn't make it happen, it's all me. When I step out onto the mat, it's me that wins or loses. And that usually makes me really unhappy.

[Why this would be so in jits and not so in all those other realms I don't know. Technically it's always true-- your teachers can only do so much. I don't blame them for my mistakes. I really don't get why I feel sooo "on the line" in jits.]

So the majority of today was fine-- my super patient wonderful husband was a champ. He got me to the tournament on time, 9am, for the scorers' meeting at 9:15am. I scored matches from about 10am till 1:15, when I was relieved to go get ready for my division at 1:40. Keep in mind I hadn't eaten anything but a bite of banana and a sip of water, because I was that concerned about making weight. Good thing, too, because I weighed on one scale exactly on weight; about 30 min later, different scale, .5 lbs under weight... then the "official" weigh in, again, exactly on. Yikes. Stupid on my part but more on that later.

Scoring was great because it kept my mind off things. I was also really happy to have developed a friendship with 2 of the 3 other girls in my division through Girls in Gis. Leslie and I met at my second tournament ever (I'd only been training about 2 months!) and we'd bonded about being the "old ladies" of the group. Tara and I just met at the Hillary seminar, but we three felt like old pals. I enjoyed watching the variations in style of different refs and players, too. So I was entertained.

I was irritated when I was called off the table to get ready. There was no warmup area, just the "waiting pool" for the players. I knew I was fighting Leslie first and Tara was matched with the chick from Guam, Tracey. While we waited after weighing in, though, Tara told us Tracey didn't show up! So she had a bye. Once they measured my gi fit, my nerves started to diminish, and a migraine headache strangely took their place. These migraines happen regularly (used to call them trial headaches, but they're hormonal actually) and I was prepared with imitrex... except the imitrex was in my bag, across the gymnasium, up in the bleachers, and where I was not permitted to go (until my weight class was finished.) So I just had to chill and work with it. At least it wasn't one of those where you can't see out of one eye and throw up.

When we actually got on the mat, my nerves disappeared. All I saw was Leslie. I don't recall if it was with her or Tara, but at some point someone tried to do the same "foot on hip" arm bar in slow motion thing that busted my bubble at NAGA, but I stuffed it and tried to get the takedown, but missed the foot. In any case, I was in her guard and tight, head well controlled, and maybe even in a rubberguardy thing for a while. My head was jammed between her legs and I couldn't hear a thing, but I was protecting my arms well and her attempt at a cross collar choke had nothing going on. This is one of those matches where, because my eyes were closed, my sense of spatial relationships got mangled, so I can't wait to see the video-- all I recall is accidentally trailing a finger across her eye while trying to pass guard/stack her... then I passed to side I think, got some kind of a collar grip with my arm around her head, and I went to NS and got something like a one handed clock choke. Tap kinda startled me, I didn't think I had it deep enough.

They offered me rest time, but I was fine, so I just ran and grabbed Tara for round 2. Same sort of start-- slightly more challenging grip battle this time, I started to go for a Russian but on my retarded side and I didn't fully commit, so I do recall Phil saying I could have gotten that. She pulled guard, more like sat to guard, and I came down with her with my knee up (couldn't have been comfortable for her!) I passed, got side, fought a second for knee on belly, and went to mount. Attacked her left arm for a pillow, then switched to the right arm, then back to the left arm for a reverse straight armbar from seated mount.. when she defended, I came down with it and locked up the americana.

You'd think, logically, that this would set me up splendidly for the absolute. Brackets were already out, Tracey didn't show, and I knew I was matched with Leslie again... so with only 8 ladies in the division, if you win your first match you're in the medals. I should have found some comfort in this, but I failed. Epically. I scored more rounds, took more imitrex, and yet the migraine grew and grew until I had to admit I thought I'd die if I competed in the absolute. I don't think Leslie fought either, to be honest.. I saw Triin's match in division against Laura Hallock (same boring game I always see with women- pull guard, triangle/triangle armbar) and then Tara with Laura (same I think; Laura won) and Triin with a blonde chick (same game, different characters; blonde won) and then I saw Lana get matched with Laura (I think Laura won) and I could not have enjoyed their matches if I'd been waiting for my own. My headache didn't improve with the news that I wasn't competing any more, but everything else improved for sure. Lame. How the hell can I be a world class bb if I can't compete happily?

Anyway, I'm so sleepy I can't keep my eyes open any more. Off to bed. Videos to come... and thank all of you, for contributing to my entry fee plea via paypal.. for the friendly comments and texts and words of advice and encouragement. I couldn't do it without you...

I know I said I wanted to address two things more fully: husband and what I learned. It will have to wait for tomorrow!

Friday, March 05, 2010

The night before....

So here I am in Houston, relaxing at a friend's house, wishing I could eat..

I spent some time watching footage on youtube and facebook. There's 3 girls besides me in my division, 2 of whom are friends from Girls in Gis, though I haven't rolled with them. Because it's an IBJJF tournament, the brackets come out the day before, plus Tara and Leslie are both Alliance chicks, so they're on opposite sides of the bracket. The other girl that I don't yet know is Tracey who comes from Guam. So we all knew that instead of one of us knocking out Tracey in the first round, one of "us three" goes down first. Boo. But... the good thing (ish) is they don't make you fight for 3rd place... so we're all guaranteed a medal, cheesy as double bronzes is. Anyway... so I'm fighting Leslie and Tara's got Tracey. Tracey has a bunch of footage on youtube and facebook so it was pretty easy to research her style-- which is prototypical skinnylonglegs girl jits: pull guard, high lock, triangle-armbar. Unfortunately there's no footage of Leslie or Tara that I could find. Psssh, I'm still playing my game. Yes, Liam, staggered and straight :)

Of course there's 9 of us total in absolute. You don't even want to know the stupid mental gymnastics.

My only question is weight. If I don't make weight it will be by .2 lb and how lame is that?! An $80 tshirt is how lame that is. Today I had very little to eat... an apple, a green salad with some cherry tomatoes and no dressing (surprising how good lettuce can taste), a handful of dried cranberries and a few pecans, a bowl of whole wheat penne and marinara sauce, and yes, I admit it, several spoonsful of chocolate ice cream instead of the chicken breast (sorry Lynn, priorities). Last night I weighed in on the digital scale, gi, regular belt and all, and was spot on, not an ounce to spare. The damn belt weighs .4lb so I borrowed a chintzy karate belt and that shaved .2lb off. We'll see. I hope they let me weigh in early; Gotta be there at 9am for the scorers meeting and my division doesn't go till 1pm. Man, there's gonna be some good blackbelt matches too... Donald Park, Bruno Bastos, Rafael Lovato Jr...

I'll be twittering results as I can, follow georgetteoden there. I don't really know how Twitter works and please don't get me started. I just got tired of sending 64 texts out every time I found out new results.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Inspiration :)

Terere is on the path to recovery! This is great news for the BJJ world. Check out Gracie Magazine's article about his progress in rehab and Marcelo Garcia's Terere Help Fund. The article has a paypal link where you can donate to help Terere stay his last 3 months in rehab.

Then check out these:

LOL-- love this Roger v Terere fight...

This is hysterical. Terere v Werdum, Mundials six years ago...

part two..

I'm happy to hear his treatment is progressing well and I really hope he'll make his comeback. Said to be the best pound for pound grappler... kinda gives us little 'uns encouragement :)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Getting away from it all...

Plenty of friends fantasize about moving abroad and getting away from the ratrace here...

Consider this astute advice from Edward Bristol, a friend of mine who runs an ecologically-sensitive, ethical business selling natural, un-heat treated, un-radiated gemstones called Wild Fish Gems. (It's where I got the cognac sapphire in my engagement ring!) It's an interesting read, and offers some hard-earned perspective.

Some things to work on...

First, flexibility. Wanna do this? You'll never get electric-chaired again, Jonathan :)

Found on Alliance Atlanta's post on PNF stretching. PNF stretching after you work out is the way to go, from what I have read and seen. I will add, as Dev pointed out, that PNF stretching can be dangerous, too, so it's not for the uninitiated or those working without guidance. I'm lucky, I train in a "regular" gym with sports med people all around, and I have a great academy with doctors, physical therapists, personal trainers and massage therapists too, so I'm always being watched.

Second... from Liam's blog The Parttime Grappler... some really stellar advice. He has lots of other pieces of the puzzle in his original post, but these three are key for me and the last one? When I fail it's here.

# Always ensure you are in the best possible position before launching your submission.
# Always ensure your opponent is in the worst possible position before launching your submission.
# When mid-submission you sense your positional dominance slip away, abort the submission and work on regaining your superior position.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Same thing, different place...

Tournament is fast approaching. Will weigh in with my full "kit" as my UK brethren and sistren call it... that is of some interest to me, since I haven't had to do this before AND I'm having some unusual water retention issues. Working on cutting out lots of sodium and drinking more green tea; working out 3 times a day; cutting calories though not as much as I'd like, because I keep occasionally brainfarting and eating stupid shit. I think I'm back on the self-sabotage track... "So what I paid the $80, so what I fail to make weight and sit on my ass scoring other peoples' matches... it's a cool tshirt, right?" That would SUCK.

Anyway my game plan is remarkably similar to two weekends ago, except that with such a short interval, it would only be remarkable if it were substantially different. I have been working more on my high-crotch single leg and the transition to a fireman's carry -- keeping my back straight and posture good; I fancy that I almost choked out a purple belt tonight who got a little sloppy and I mounted.. woo!


Monday, March 01, 2010

Stop the presses and watch this!

My friend Silas is a multi-talented creature. Fighter, jits terror, professional chef, and artist... he's added a new stop-motion film to his body of work. This one was created for a stop-motion contest by Zeitgeist Films in NYC. Give it a watch and hope you enjoy.