Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

It has been way too long!

So yes…it has been WAY TOO LONG!!!!!!!!!! It’s been difficult to post much on here because I am not training like I was before I was pregnant. I only train once or twice a week and, as I’ve gotten bigger, my movements and ability has become more and more limited. IT REALLY SUCKS!!! There really is no other way to express that.

I’m lucky that I’ve always been a relatively small and petite framed individual. However, that makes adjusting to this new weight gain and all profoundly new and different. I’m definitely not adjusting as well as I’d like. Sometimes I just feel like a blimp walking around. I’m actually gaining weight by the book but it’s still just very odd for me.

This has really put a damper on my training ability. I’m so much clumsier in BJJ than I have ever been. I’ve always felt that I’ve done well with the technical aspect of training as well as with my flexibility and being relatively agile. That has all seriously gone right out the window!!!!!!! 😦 Boooo! So I’m just in there doing light drilling and lightly rolling with just my husband. I miss training. So much. I am super happy to be pregnant and am super excited for this baby but I do wish it hadn’t hampered my training as much. I am looking forward to getting back in the gym, though I’m sure I won’t be able to train as often as before then either.

My husband has told me that my guard passing better be awesome by the end of this since I’m mostly working from the top these days. I haven’t really been working guard much. I’m hoping my guard passing will have improved but I feel like the technique sucks since I’m so clumsy about it. I feel like I’m flailing about, mostly.

On a way more awesome note…and the REAL reason for this post…is to congratulate my husband and other teammates for their various promotions!!! πŸ™‚ On Monday night, our coach had a two hour long BJJ class where mostly the guys just drilled. My husband was promoted to purple belt that night!!!!!!!! I am so very proud of him and the work he has put into this sport. It’s so exciting for him! Two other teammates earned their purple belts and two guys got their blue belts. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of color in our gym now!! πŸ™‚ Three of the guys got stripes and two of the kids in the children’s class also got promoted to the next belt. It was a really big night for Team Kaos!! πŸ™‚
The other cool/awesome thing about this past weekend and Monday night is that our coach had an MMA fight Saturday night and he put on a stellar show and won by armbar!! It was an awesome fight and it was amazing to see Coach fight. Monday was also our coach’s 5th year as a BJJ black belt so it was a big night for him as well. So proud of our coach and our whole team!!! πŸ™‚

A photo of Coach with my new purple belt hubby!!! SO proud! πŸ™‚

The hubby and me! πŸ™‚

A group shot! Yea, KAOS!

The new purple belts!

Carlos with Blake, the new blue belt!! πŸ™‚

Congrats again guys!!! πŸ™‚ So proud of my wonderful hubby, all my teammates and my amazing coach!!


I know, I know…It’s been FOREVER!! Like four months…

OK then. So to catch up on recent happenings. I have been MIA due to some exciting news!! My husband and I are expecting our first child!! We are extremely excited! I was not quite ready to discuss this with the BJJ world and so I voluntarily took some timeΒ  until I was prepared to announce this.

So with this news, it goes without saying that my training schedule has been seriously adjusted. And oh how I miss BJJ!!!!! 😦 My most nagging symptom during the first trimester has been fatigue so getting on the mat has been most difficult but I have managed to get to the gym a few times. Nothing like my past training but I guess a little is better than nothing.

It’s definitely an adjustment having to stay cognizant of this little fragile being in me. I have been much more aware of my body and listening to more of my aches and pains. My doctor has told me that I can continue to train as long as I feel comfortable doing it but to just be careful. I no longer roll with just anyone. Mainly I have just been rolling with the hubs.

I am hoping that since I am now in the second trimester some of the fatigue will decrease and allow me to hit the gym more often. I am also hoping this means I will be back to posting on here more often. πŸ™‚

If anyone is interested and would like to follow along on my partner blog about the newest addition to the family, please visit: babyjuarez.wordpress.com

Happy St. Patty’s Day!!

Started my St. Patty’s Day off right with some training. Hubby and I conditioned at the gym with our coach, Josh Cate. I really do hate conditioning but I know it’s a necessity to stay in shape and achieve the goal I’ve set for myself to be in the best shape of my life. Boo! It was a good workout though and, now that I completed it, I’m glad I did it! πŸ™‚

Then it was an hour of BJJ. I talked to my coach about possibly changing up some of our rolling to help me better understand the point system in tournaments. So after that conversation he had us start rolling on our feet and kept track of points. It was helpful that it was a small class so we weren’t all on top of each other. I rolled with my husband and two other white belt guys. I noticed that my husband was going a little harder with me than usual and he later let me know that he felt he had to step it up a bit. πŸ™‚ He still beat me on points but it was flattering that he had to work harder.

Then it was an hour of kickboxing. I worked with my coach during drilling and it was a little intimidating. I don’t usually hold mitts for him so I was nervous that I wasn’t going to do it well enough for him. I managed to not totally screw it up. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with him because I definitely got a good workout but also got some one-on-one time with him to correct some of my form and techniques.Β If you haven’t noticed by now, I am very detail-oriented and I focus a lot on good form and technique. I want to do things the “right way.” So it was great having him work with me to improve these things. πŸ™‚ Sparring was fun. I really do hate to admit to myself but I really do enjoy kickboxing…

Insert segue…;) Thank you SO much MegJitsuΒ for sharing my little post on hair on Facebook and Twitter! I really appreciate it! πŸ™‚ Thanks to AparnaΒ for sharing about how you fix your hair. It gave me an idea and I ended up trying it out today. I did my double braids as usual and pulled it in a ponytail but, rather than twisting it into a bun,Β I simply braided the ponytail like you said. It worked really well and I really liked it. It actually got caught less than my massive bun. So thanks again for the tip!! πŸ™‚

What to do with all that hair?!

So…what to do with all that hair?! I have seen various posts that address this question. Some have posted about cutting it all off (sad day :(), such as Stephanie and Julia. I found another by Meg that talks about hair tie products recommended by Lana Hunter. Thus, as a BJJ practitioner with long hair myself, I’ve decided to put in my own $.02. My hair is not only long but also silky, soft, slips out of most anything, and there is a lot of it!

Since I first started training in January 2010 my hair has only gotten consistently longer. I first wore my hair in a simple ponytail. This did not work for me very long as it was constantly getting in my eyes, mouth and getting caught on everything. I was terrified of getting my hair ripped out at some point. I gradually moved onto using an elastic headband with my ponytail. This did little to help with my hair getting caught but did help for a short time keeping my hair out of my eyes and mouth. It brought only short relief, however, since the damn thing kept slipping out during drilling or my first roll. I quickly gave up on that. Now what was I going to do?

I started thinking about braids after these two failed attempts to manage my mane. I tried out a single french braid but eventually moved on to a double french braid. I don’t braid my hair all the way down but rather only braid it to the crown of my head then pull it all into a ponytail that I then sweep into a tight bun. I noticed that my hair tends to hold this better when I rough it up a bit with some product. The bun does come loose from time to time but it’s not too bad. I like it better than the idea of (eek!) chopping off my long locks. πŸ™‚ Thought I’d put out an idea for what to do with long hair aside from simply cutting it all off…

Just another day

Today was just another day of training. Started my day off with conditioning at the gym with my coach then BJJ and some kickboxing. Saturdays are typically more laid back and relaxed type training. I rolled with two bigger guys in our gym. Sparring in kickboxing was not fun. I never really enjoy sparring but it’s good to do. Anywho…here are the videos from my matches last weekend at the tournament.

Please feel free to leave any comments or observations.

Back to training

Thanks, Aparna, for the kind words. I really appreciate them and congrats again on your new job!

As much as I didn’t want to…I trained tonight. My husband taught class and we drilled De la Riva sweeps. A friend of ours who is a brown belt also came and trained. He gave me some good pointers but I noticed that I was very self-conscious rolling with him watching. It was a good night of training and I’m glad I went (as I usually am).

I thought for the fun of it I would post videos from my first ever BJJ tournament. This was back in May 2011 right after I started this blog. The video is a little painful to watch. For the better part of the match, I am just lying there. I have two videos from two different perspectives. You’ll know which one was my husband’s because several times he’s recording the ground rather than the actual match. πŸ˜‰ *haha* I still haven’t had a chance to see the videos from my matches this past weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing them (even if they’re bad). I hope that at least I’ll be able to see some differences from my first match.

You win some, you lose some…

Or in my case, lose more. 😦 The tournament this past weekend did not go so well. Let me start by saying this tournament was well organized and run extremely well. It was not the headache the last was.

There were originally four women in my division but one did not show up to the tournament. My first match was with a girl named Kayla Hanak from Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Tallahassee. I was focused on trying to get a takedown so that I could be on top and use that to my advantage. Kayla got a good grip on my collar and though I tried several times to get the takedown it wasn’t going to happen. Β I ended up losing my balance a bit and on my way down pulled guard last minute. She quickly passed my guard and got mount. From there she went for an armbar while I was working the pillow escape. I really fought it for a while and did not want to tap but I was not able to hold on to my arm or able to get her leg off my head/neck. Eventually, I tapped. 😦

My next match was with Anna Salome. She trains at Roberto Traven’s school in Atlanta. I tried to push my previous loss out of my mind and just roll. Anna quickly pulled guard in the beginning of the match. I thought this was in my best interest since I had been told often before this tournament that my top game has been my strong suit lately. I worked to pass her guard (which by the way was AMAZING!). As I was doing this she started to lock up a triangle. I still had both my arms in at the time and I started to panic. Not sure why…but then I took my left hand right out and started to try defending/escaping the triangle. In the end she grabbed my arm, got the armbar and I tapped. 😦

I was so frustrated and angry with myself following both matches. I put more pressure on myself than I even realized until I started tearing up after the matches. I ended up placing third and got a medal, which I again felt was sort of a joke. I’m still pretty disappointed. It’s just such a letdown! I really thought that I might be able to do something during these matches…maybe get a takedown, sweep, points…anything! But I was not able to do anything.

After the matches I found out that Kayla was a gymnast before. Anna and Kayla competed and Anna won by points. It was an even match and both did well. Kayla told me she’s been training for nine months and got her blue belt about four months ago. Anna said she started training in December 2009. Both were very good and this helped me to feel a little better but I am still pretty bummed. My father-in-law video taped both matches and I will be posting those as soon as he uploads them.

Despite Saturday, I was back in the gym tonight. I read Anna’s blog and thought about her post about why she loves BJJ. I really identify with what she said in that post. I have often thought of BJJ as being similar to chess. There is so much strategy in this sport and it is very much a mental game. I think that I sometimes don’t think very much when I roll, especially in tournaments. I just go, go, go…it was an interesting perspective Anna has in her post. I’m working now to find a balance between being aggressive and offensive but also being more strategic and reacting to my opponent.

I am coming to realize that one of the biggest problems I have is that I panic when rolling in competition. I’m not like this in the gym when rolling with my teammates. I don’t know why I can’t seem to think or keep some level of calm during tournaments. My coach told me he thinks it’s because I haven’t competed enough and that I’m still not comfortable in tournaments. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to compete again any time soon, but we’ll see. So that’s how the tournament went.

Just about that time!

This week has flown by! I can’t believe the tournament is tomorrow! Eek!

I trained Tuesday night and last night as well. Tuesday was a relatively average night of training. My girlfriend wasn’t able to stay for class so it was just me and all the guys (what’s new! :)). Rolling that night wasn’t quite as disheartening as Monday night. I felt a little better about it. After class I talked with my coach about the competition and how I am doing. He simply told me I’m doing well and that I’m thinking way too much about it. So the rest of this week I’ve really tried my best not to think too much about it and try to relax a bit. It has helped some, but I can’t deny that when thoughts of competing creep into the corners of my mind I don’t get nervous!

Last night was a good night of training. My girlfriend stayed for BJJ class and I had the opportunity to roll with her twice. Neither were in any way stellar rolls but I felt better about them. I worked hard on moving my hips and trying to regain guard when she had me in side control or mount. I didn’t tap and I did manage to get on top a few times. I can only hope that I can keep my head straight and remember all I need to tomorrow.

My husband told me last night that, right now, my top game is where it’s at. He said I have good pressure and once I have someone in side control or mount it’s difficult to do anything. I am trying to keep this in mind and use this to my advantage in my matches. I’m realizing that needing to get a take down is a reality but I don’t want to over pressure myself. If I don’t get it then I will just try to pullΒ  guard and go for a sweep. All I can do is my best.

My division starts at 10:30am and so it will be over and done with early. I appreciate that. At least I don’t have to wait around all day with this anxiety and nervousness.

Also, a major shout out to all my family, friends, husband, coach, and fellow Pinnacle-MMA/Team KAOS team members…I really appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement. Thank you for all of your support and coming to the gym and training with me. I appreciate each and every one of you for pushing me, and sometimes squishing me ;), as necessary. Thank you also to those who read my blog and have left me encouraging words and tips on my blog and facebook page. It means a lot to me. πŸ™‚

Oh the pressure…

Went to BJJ and Kickboxing class last night. My frustration level has not subsided much. 😦 I realize the amount of pressure I’m putting on myself right now is not entirely realistic. I’m not sure exactly why I’m doing it. My mother reminded me today that there is no need for me to be perfect at the tournament this weekend and to simply do my best. She’s right, I know (don’t tell her I said that! :)). I just have this feeling like so much is riding on this…and I’m not even sure what this “so much” is.

I rolled with my friend, and the only other female who trains BJJ in our gym, last night twice. I told her before rolling to “put it on me” so that I can feel what a match might be like. She is definitely within the weight class for the tournament but is still smaller than the cut off so the girls I will compete against very well may still be bigger. I wanted her to give itΒ  her all because it would help me to get a better feel for my game in an actual tournament setting. I even assured her it was OK forΒ  her to muscle through me because that may also happen on Saturday. Let me just say…rolling with her last night SUCKED! 😦 I felt like I could not do ANYTHING. It was so utterly frustrating.

The experience has made me a bit more nervous…if my tournament matches look anything like my rolling looked last night, I will be so embarrassed! She and I talked about our two rolls after class ended and she made the point that when I started out on top I definitely had the advantage. I noticed this as well and so I’m definitely keeping this in mind. This does, however, mean that I will probably need to get the take down and we all know how well I do with that! I’m just trying my best not to get in my own way and psych myself out. I’m trying to be realistic about my strengths but also my weakness and areas that need more work.

Rolling with the guys last night was not quite as trying but I also asked them to “put it on me” as well. It was different than usual but I felt a little more confident. I’m sure this has to do with the fact that I train more with men. I tend to feel more comfortable and confident when rolling with the guys at the gym. This is why I have asked my female friend to please come to another BJJ class this week so that she can mop the floor with me again. πŸ™‚ Only 4 more days and all this anxiety and stress will be behind me one way or another.

Here we go!

It has been a while since I have posted anything BJJ related in some time. My lack of activity and blog posting has been largely due to the fact that I had been debating whether or not to compete this upcoming weekend. I think the decision was made to participate in this weekend’s tournament long before my conscious mind would cooperate and realize it. It was in an attempt to not psych myself out that I didn’t post about it on here. In the past when I’ve competed I have loudly stated it on here and I feel like this might set me in the wrong mindset so I decided to try something a little different. πŸ™‚

The past month has been rather busy. I’ve been trying hard to stay on target with my eating habits, training schedule, conditioning, and lifting. My training has been going relatively well, but it has not been without plenty of frustration. I’ve been having a lot of issues with my knees lately. They have been bruising at the drop of the hat but also are extremely sore from time to time. So sore, in fact, it can make rolling and drilling difficult. One day a couple of weeks ago I became upset and frustrated with myself because of this fact and ended up tearful on the car ride home. I am not sure exactly what I think I can do to keep my body from doing what it will. Problem is that I become more frustrated that I’m crying that it makes me cry more. 😦

A couple of weeks ago, I solicited some advice from my coach about my game and how to best approach the upcoming tournament. He encouraged me to strive more to work my top-game. He let me know that I instinctively work my guard and have a tendency to stay there rather than working sweeps. I took his advice to heart and have been very cognizant of not doing this when rolling in class. This has definitely made a difference. However, the other day I was rolling with my husband and he was purposefully stalling and laying on me in an attempt to remind me to keep moving and mimic what a possible match might be like for me. I became very frustrated and ended up tearful again after our roll. Now, this in no way was my husband trying to be mean but rather a way to help me work my game.

I realize that I am pretty hard on myself but I only want to continue to improve. I am working on not getting in my own way (much easier said than done). I’m very nervous for this weekend. The event is pre-registration only so my bracket is already up. The weight classes for this event are better than ones I’ve seen in the past and my weight division is 129.9 and under. This will be my first competition as a blue belt. I can’t image what I’m fearful of if I were to lose but there is something there for sure. I know it won’t be the end of the world but I am so incredibly nervous. There are four women in my division so I am guaranteed two matches. I get butterflies in my stomach now just thinking about it. I have hopefully done all I can to prepare and will just think about going out there and doing my best. We shall see…only 5 days left!

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