Monday, November 28, 2011

Stretching to reach the keyboard? - with photos!

Haha, just kidding... I didn't eat that much on Thanksgiving Day! Hope you didn't either. I figured out this was my 20th Thanksgiving dinner party in Austin... not bad :)

We had about 26-28 people over for dinner, and I made a mountain of food (most of it healthy, too.) A 23-pound turkey, gravy, stuffing of course... but numerous vegetable sides and my plate was 3/4 veggies and one slice of juicy breast. Sweet potatoes with ginger and orange (from a friend)... I made roasted green beans with red onions and walnuts.. a stir fried brussels sprouts dish garnished with candied pecans and bacon... and braised kale with garlic. Mashpots too, with not as much butter as I could have included. Pecan and pumpkin pies (I didn't eat either!) and an apple-raspberry crisp made with oat flour for a gluten-intolerant friend. Sadly, I failed in my "no dessert initiative" (I don't care for pie or cooked fruit) because a teammate's girlfriend brought a ....




It was really good. I had to eat my whole slice. I couldn't say no.

Some random pictures, kindly taken by guest and good friend, Ammad...

Paul, who runs

Bill was a mentor to me for my first few years out of law school.

Bill's daughter Leah has been coming to my parties since she was eight. Now her dad emphasizes the benefit of a child who can also be your designated driver.

Many people chipped in with the phenomenal desserts, only a few of which are shown here...

We did it buffet style in the kitchen then you had to find a place to sit-- tables throughout the downstairs. Like having 4 separate grownups tables. Or kids tables?

Elaine (and her husband Ajay) have been coming to these Thanksgivings for years, and now they bring their kiddos too. This is Anya...

Anya has gorgeous eyes..

Ajay with his eldest, Yana...

Checking out the fish tank..

These were the best brussels sprouts ever. Well, they're the only ones I've ever liked. The candied pecans and bacon helped.

A good time was had by all :)

I lazed around the majority of the weekend. Did some Black Friday shopping and collapsed on the couch to watch that Emily Kwok/Stephan Kesting instructional, How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent. Spent Saturday at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials in San Antonio and I'll get you some killer matches soon. Congrats to many teammates who performed excellently :) :) Went in to the office last night. Didn't really train any at all until this morning and again at lunch. Not really stressing the enormity of my derriere at the moment. After all, my fifteenth annual Christmas Party is on December 10th, and I have to cook up a storm for that too.

Anyway, I am slowly putting together several reviews. I have an evidentiary hearing Dec 5-7 and an answer due Dec 15th, but when those are done I'll be posting a flood of stuff.

In the meantime, peep this CRAZY RECEPTION by Aaron Dobson!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is my one thousand and first post :)

This blog started as a way for me to share photographs and boring daily-type events with family members in other geographic areas, long before I got into jiu jitsu. It's grown a fair bit, and now averages about 500 hits a day from all over the world. I love it! And I hope you do too... whether you come for the jits, the political rants, the recipes, or whatever.

Training's been going well, since I'm focused mainly on drilling and less full on sparring. I don't have time to attend many classes, due to work commitments, but I have been getting in some open mat time almost every day.

On a political note: those Occupy people. Sheesh. I'm all for protesting things you want to change, don't get me wrong. But have a concise goal-- a statement of what you want to do about it-- don't just pitch a tent and bitch. Yes, you get people talking, which I suppose is a first step. But have a policy change in mind. It's all very well to complain that the wealthiest get wealthier and the poor get poorer. WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT IT?

A friend in the NYPD sent me this, made by someone he knows. I watched it carefully with a prosecutor/government employee/legal eye... and I was very impressed by the control and caution exercised by the police in what could have been a very dangerous situation. I know some people wonder why the protesters needed to be moved even temporarily. Well, I'll tell you a few reasons...

1. Health hazards-- pooping, peeing, food and water contamination, sexual abuses all documented (not necessarily at the same time, or even in the same place.)
2. Hazards to public workers-- when someone gets ill, shoots themselves, gets caught stealing, etc, the police and/or EMS get called in. Usually police are first on the scene. The crowds were often hostile towards the cops (needlessly! do they think the cops are among the 1% wealthiest? I laugh.) and would make it far more difficult for the cops to do their jobs in helping EMS/medical personnel get to the situation, or to take reports of thefts, assaults, etc.
3. In many circumstances, body heat scans done at night revealed that large proportions of the tents were empty at night.
4. Zuccotti Park in particular is owned by a private company which still has the right to control access to the property.

Check it out.

And, back to jiu jitsu... Jason Scully's vid on the Berimbolo sweep... kinda cool..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guess what???

You know that closed guard pass where they feed your arm under your body and hold it there? (I can explain further if you need me to.)

I just discovered quite by accident that you can pendulum sweep people when they do that!

Of course it was a whitebelt. But the theory is there. He wouldn't have been swept if he hadn't been so focused on holding onto my arm. But that's the whole point.


Friday, November 11, 2011

What's all this talk about pre-training eating?!

I'm just sayin'-- maybe if you don't have my camel's hump (aka derriere, aka stored energy supply) then you need to worry about feeding the machine before you train.

Me? I have all the stored energy I need for a month on a barren island. I don't like having food in my tum before a workout unless it's maybe something liquid-- for example, I'll drink a glass of milk before an early morning class. Or like at the IBJJF tournaments, right after I make weight, I drink mango nectar. But solid food? NO WAY.

Went to lunch open mat today (on an empty stomach as per always) and had FABULOUS rolls probably because of this gameplan assignment making all my stuff more front-and-center in my mind. I truly had the best time. Rolled with a nice guy, nogi, super mellow and technical but not holding back too much if at all.. really focused on my hook sweeps and butterfly and engaged hooks (Thanks Emily!) and WOW, thanks Rener for the back game... double plus good.

Because it was nogi, guillotines were on the front burner. I was having a serious time trying to finish my guillotines/Marcelotines. Only got one. Definitely need to work on that.

Oh yeah, and, um... not getting reversed/swept in top half when your opponent is tall and lanky. Somehow my crossface just wasn't cutting it like usual.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Homework assignment: gameplan

As assigned by JoshJitsu:

From Feet:
a variety of judo throws/footsweeps, executed poorly if at all, depending on what they give me... nothing as pretty as a seoi nage though
single legs or double legs to reaps
ankle picks
Monkey flips

From Knees:
Ankle pick to side control
Seated guard to butterfly/hook sweep
or to spider guard> sweep
or half guard >old school sweep
Loop Choke

Opponent’s Guard:
Guard break via whatever method followed by knee-through pass
From halfguard, Mendes Bros or Donald/Daniel pass
Standup with knee or ankle control -> Toreador pass to side control

Opponent’s Butterfly guard:
Daniel pass
Marcelo pass

My Butterfly:
Over/Under sweep
Armdrag to the Back.
Loop choke

My Guard: (my pitiful whitebelt guard)

My primary goal is always to sweep or take the back. I want to get on top. I threaten chokes and armlocks to force them to defend, then take advantage of their reactions.
• Lately, I have had good luck with a deep overhook to a shoulder lock, then I use their reaction to shoot for a standard armbar, and from there, the omoplata.
If people are posturing away from me I go for a whitebelt killer, then try for guillotines (I like Marcelotines!) when they sit low and heavy as a counter. I also tend to get cross collar grips, or if they’re huge and hard to close guard around, at their first insistence on breaking the guard, I shoot back to feet on hips and aim at spidery sweeps.

In Mount:
Americana, mounted triangle, armbar, ezequiel
technical mount to the back (my favorite)
transition to north-south, to a NS choke.

Rickson’s mount escape
knee to elbow to halfguard and sweep from there

Half Guard Bottom:
90% of the time I get lockdown -> whipup -> Old School/Plan B
10% of the time I get passed Relson-style (they face my feet) and I am screwed

Half Guard Top:
Daniel/Donald pass
brutal shoulder pressure in their throat sometimes becomes a choke>tap

Side Control Top: (my favorite)
Isolate both arms and continually attack both so they don’t know what to defend. Most common submissions– farside americana, straight armlock, or spinning armbar; nearside straight armlock; papercutter choke; transition to NS

Side Control Bottom:
shrimp to guard, sometimes I get a shin sweep from here
turtle up and sit to guard
reverse them by trapping headside arm and shoving head towards my hips, then rolling

Back Mount:
RNC (1 or 2 arms), cross collar choke, arm-behind-head collar choke
Fredson choke

Back Mounted:
Strip hook on strong side, get shoulders to mat, then stiffarm their lead knee, shrimp out and come up to side control (ideal) or get knees up to intercept mount attempt and regain guard- always watching to ankle lock them

I don’t play this much, sometimes in a tournament as a handy points-grabber from side control

Bottom KOB:
Tanaka’s shrimp escape

Planning Thanksgiving in a healthier way...

I'm on a real comfort-food cooking kick lately but this wars with my desire to eat healthy foods. This summer instead of being active and fit, I was lazing about.. then this fall I got super busy at work and am not training as much. Thus, I head into the holiday ("eating") season trying hard to maintain my current trajectory and lose more weight. (Already down 12, planning on another 15-20.)

Instead of my usual carb-fest at Thanksgiving, I'm cooking:

Turkey, gravy
Braised kale with chorizo
Green beans with onions
Maple roasted sweet potatoes
Pecan pie
(other desserts courtesy of the guests)

Seems pretty healthy, eh? I'm omitting classics like creamed corn pudding, buttermilk biscuits, the "real" green bean casserole with french fried onions, the dark chocolate-caramel-walnut tart, and apple strudel. I don't care for pecan or pumpkin pie, so hopefully this way I will be dessert-free on turkey day.

Anyway, came across this recipe for Jewel Roasted Fall Veggies. Serves 6, 190 calories and 7.5g fat per serving-- enjoy!

4 medium beets
1-1/2 pounds carrots
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
8 large cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Put the beets into a small baking dish and rub them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes.

While the beets are roasting, peel and cut the carrots into 1-inch-thick rounds, and trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Put the carrots, sprouts, and garlic cloves in a large baking dish and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

After the beets have been cooking for 30 minutes, add the large pan of vegetables to the oven separately, and cook everything for 1 hour more, stirring the vegetable mixture once or twice.

Remove the beets from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board to cool. Stir the thyme into the carrot and Brussels sprout mixture and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes while the beets are cooled and cut.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, after about 5 minutes, peel, then cut them into 1-inch chunks. Remove the other vegetables from the oven, toss with the beets, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Taking responsibility for my own training.

It's time I stopped feeling somewhat sorry for myself and started stepping up to the plate.  What do I mean?  Well, I've always had this vaguely childlike attitude towards my jiu jitsu training.  I want to be taken care of-- brought along-- guided-- almost parented-- by my instructors and coaches.  I've said before I have "daddy" issues and to some degree it's not a joke.  I flourished under a relatively paternal coach in other athletic endeavors throughout my life-- my riding instructors, my track coaches, my racquetball mentor, all the way up to my current trainer and Oly lifting instructor.  They've all, to one degree or another, found what makes me tick and perform best.  I need/prefer/like to have a coach who follows my progress personally, who mixes stern demands with warm praise.  I like to feel like I have their focus, and once I do, I will break my back for words of commendation and approval.

So jiu jitsu used to do that and have that for me.  Of course it's a predominantly male activity, so most of the people who mentored me from the start were guys, and especially at the beginning, I got plenty of focus from them since I was one of a very small number of girls at the academy.  But then our academy started changing-- the head instructor moved out of state, another blackbelt left, a substantial number of the guys who used to give me lots of time and attention have gone elsewhere for training.  Plus, I'm now kind of invisible in the academy, because I'm a fixture.  I think I'm less the pet/mascot/little sister and definitely more the average ordinary bluebelt like any other bluebelt.  This is GREAT in the sense that I am counted an equal (in terms of meriting help or attention; not in skill!) of the guys.  But it sucks because I realize.... there's no one watching my progress and deciding what I need to learn next but me.

So, I decided recently that I will embark on a program of vegetables before dessert.  I will drill at least 20 minutes on something useful before any fun sparring.  I will map out my gameplan (after this oral argument tomorrow!) and begin fleshing out the weak places.  I have NO EXCUSE for the gigantic stack of notes taken in privates and classes and seminars that basically collects DUST and by now is impenetrable gibberish since I haven't reread the contents in months and YEARS since they were written.

That is a box (like an inbox) on my desk at work into which I started depositing notes from classes and so on-- over two years ago-- the box has been filled and emptied (into a desk drawer) 3 times-- the stack in the box is currently 2 1/2" tall and there's probably another 4-5" in the drawer. This is ridiculous. Plus all the instructionals at home (500 gig worth!) I don't need any more classes, I could just live on a desert island (with mats and a partner) for a few years and still have oodles of things to work on.

So that's the plan, minus the island of course.

JoshJitsu's blog pointed out this cool site, by a UK BJJ fighter and strength/conditioning coach named William Wayland. Check out his slidecast on integrating your S&C for BJJ and MMA.

To start your Monday off right, here's a recipe for the version of brownies I first gave to Marcelo Garcia at the seminar in Dallas in 2009.

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablepoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup each chopped walnuts, milk chocolate chips, and semisweet choc. chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Microwave chocolate squares (not chips) and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.

Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, then chips and nuts.

Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until edges pull away from pan sides. (In my oven this is more like 29 minutes so do NOT overbake!)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Coming soon: reviews and reports

I just got back from NYC and have been cramming for my argument before the 5th Circuit on Tuesday.  I haven't had a chance to post about the trip yet, but I will.  Just wanted to say, I am so excited about a number of things that I'll be posting about in the near future!

First, gi reviews.  I have been training in a few gis for the last few months to be able to review them for you, and I'm considering doing a big "comparison" review.  The gis include the Tatami Estilo Classic from BJJHQ, the DOM Fightwear DMX pink gi, the mens' navy Vulkan Ultralight, and two gis from Black Eagle-- the Predator MK II and the Predadora ladies' fit.  I'll do a head-to-head rundown with the Atama Mundial #9.

Second, instructional reviews.  Tony Pacenski's Sao Paulo Pass, the Best of Roy Harris 3-DVD set from Roy Dean, Gracie Bullyproof, Brian Johnson's Basic 12 Curriculum (he's a black belt out in Seattle under John Will), and Emily Kwok (who took silver in the 2011 NoGi World Championships yesterday) and Stephan Kesting's latest, How to Defeat a Bigger, Stronger Opponent

Here's a bit from Tony's Sao Paulo Pass...

And this is from Emily and Stephan's new collaboration...

This morning I'm hitting the Austin Women's Open Mat for some fun, then back to the grindstone...

Have a lovely day!

Friday, November 04, 2011


This recipe makes awesomely soft, fluffy, cake-like cookies that are perfect for the fall season. When you rotate the baking sheet halfway through the bake time, gently press down the top of each cookie with your spatula to help flatten them out.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree or cooked, mashed sweet potato
2 1/4 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (you won't taste the difference)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon orange zest (or 1 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate if you're lazy)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices; stir into mixture until blended. Cut the cranberries in half and stir into mixture along with the orange zest and walnuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. When cool, dip the top of each cookie into a powdered sugar-milk glaze and let dry before eating.

Comfort food-- chicken n' dumplings

It's getting chilly and that makes me feel like having homey comfort food. This recipe serves 6 to 8 hungry people.

For tender dumplings, the dough should be gently mixed right before the dumplings are dropped onto the stew.

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry sherry (don't use cooking sherry, it's too salty)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream


1. For the stew: Bring broth to simmer in Dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and return to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Transfer broth to heavy heat-resistant pitcher or bowl.

2. Return empty Dutch oven to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add carrots, onion, and salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in sherry, scraping up browned bits. Stir in reserved broth, cream, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until stew thickens, about 20 minutes.

3. For the dumplings: Stir flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Stir in cream until just incorporated (dough will be very thick and shaggy, don't overstir).

4. To finish: Discard bay leaves and return stew to rapid simmer. Shred reserved chicken and add to stew along with any accumulated juices, frozen peas, and 3 tablespoons parsley. Using 2 large soup spoons or small ice cream scoop, drop golf ball-sized dumplings onto stew about 1/4 inch apart (you should have 16 to 18 dumplings).

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes.

Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve.

[note: I would like to experiment with step 4 by putting the oven at 300 degrees, I think, and putting the simmering stew in the oven as soon as the dumplings are added. I'd like my dumplings to have a brown top!]

Make Ahead: Follow recipe through step 2, refrigerating stew and chicken in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead. When ready to proceed, warm stew in Dutch oven and proceed with step 3.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Attn European readers: need visa for European Cup in Portugal.....

From Bobby McMasters, our correspondent in Romania! Read this and please get back to me if you can help!

"Hey Georgette,

First of all, I hope all is well with you. I'm straight chillin' here in Romania, bracing myself for the winter.

Second of all, I wanted to ask you to forward a message to your readers:

My first BJJ student, long-time friend and training partner, Sandu, is trying to make it out to the European Cup in Portugal this January. The trip out there, including the entrance fee should be paid for, so I am not asking for money. What we need, however, is a visa. Those of you who have seen my mini-documentary understand what these guys are up against within their own country, so you might be able to guess what they face internationally as well.

What we need:
A short-stay European visa of any variety. As I said before, we don't need money. We need someone from the EU (preferably from Portugal) to do whatever paperwork is necessary for your country to get our guy into the Schengen zone so he can compete. Sandu has a visa for Romania but as all Europeans know, Romania isn't in the Schengen zone, so he can't cross into Hungary and thus enter into the Schengen zone. Romanians are allowed to cross this zone but Moldovans are not.

Many Moldovans, up to 25% of the population in fact, work abroad, and many times illegally. Obviously there is a huge incentive from other countries to keep illegal Moldovans out of their countries, so sometimes even if one has all the necessary paperwork, they are regularly denied legal entrance into Schengen participant states. Here's one story from my own experience:

I got married here in Romania almost a year and a half ago. Three of my Moldovan friends planned to come out for the party, and they took the necessary steps to secure a 10-day visa for Romania. While I was on the train, headed to the destination, I got a call from one of my friends.

"Robert! We have a problem at the border!"
"What's up?"
"You need to tell the border guard that we're going to your wedding".
"Alright, well you have all your paperwork in order, right"?
"Of course. Here talk to this guy".

My friend puts the Romanian customs officer/border guard on the phone with me and the conversation goes like this...
"Hello, I have three Moldovans here and they claim that they are going to your wedding".
"That's right", I say
"What are their names?"
I give their names, no problem. The guard then asks, "I see that they have a 10-day visa, can you assure that they have a place to stay and that they will be back in Moldova after ten days"?
"Of course".
"Where will they be staying"?
"With me, in a hotel".
"What hotel"?
I give him the name of the hotel.
"I see that you are getting married on Tuesday. This is very strange. In Romania, we get married on the weekend, so why is this?"
I continue to answer inane questions for another 20 minutes or so, until the border guard agrees to let them in after they give him 2 liters of their wine as a (presumable) bribe.

In any case, this is one of many stories I have about things that come up on a regular basis. It's ironic because I've been regularly passing over the same border ILLEGALLY for almost 2 years now and rarely have run into a problem. It's just my passport that lets them think that I am not here to work illegally since I'm American and not Moldovan. Oh, the irony.

SO, to make a long story short, Sandu is not the guy you have to worry about. He will come back to Romania, and then Moldova. He will not stay in your country and take your jobs. I promise. Let me know if you can help out, and I will do what I can to help with what I can. I would do it all myself but as a US citizen, I can't really do much. Help be a part of making it work for the first Moldovan to ever compete in the European Open.

Thanks for your time!