Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Leavin’ on an airplane…

I am leaving today to go to Florida until Friday!!!! I am so ready for the pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear ocean water…ahhhhh! 🙂 It will be a while between training…the last time I was on the mat was Wednesday night and I will not be back until Saturday; however, I am taking a kettle bell with me to work on some cardio and strength training so hopefully it won’t be too bad. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!! 🙂


The art of prevention

On Saturday I went to BJJ class in the morning with my husband and stayed after for open mat to do a little no-gi rolling. We worked on how to prevent someone passing our guard. My husband and I had an interesting conversation about our mindsets in BJJ that day. I came to the realization that I sometimes, or maybe more often, have a defeatist view of rolling. Often times when someone is attempting to pass my guard, I think, “well, they’re going to get it so I just need to work from there.” Rather than thinking, “I have to stop this from happening!” I’m uncertain why I think this way but it’s as though it’s a given if someone tries to pass my guard or get mount or whatever, they will succeed and so I just need to “work from there.” This has caused me numerous problems since starting BJJ. Our conversation began after BJJ class on Saturday morning because our coach asked us what we needed to work on…and my husband simply stated, “side control escapes.” My coach, being the great coach he is, didn’t actually teach this. He told our class that we shouldn’t ever allow someone to get to side control so that we would have to escape from it, but rather needed to learn how to prevent someone from getting it in the first place. My husband and I then realized we both have this tendency. I understand my need to stop this habit but I’m certain it will take more time to truly integrate this into action.

Last night I went to no-gi class again and enjoyed it for the most part. There are positive aspects of no-gi that I’m starting to learn. For instance, I noticed how much easier it is without a gi to regain my guard because there is such a lack of friction. No-gi is definitely a faster paced game and, while it is easier to get out of a tough spot, it is much more difficult to finish a submission. I also learned I bruise and pinch my skin much easier without a gi than with because there is nothing between my skin and the mat. I was pretty banged up after class last night. It’s more than a little embarrassing to look like a total klutz because of my battle scars! I stayed after for kickboxing and realized how rusty my skills are there because, as time goes by, I become more infatuated with BJJ and neglect kickboxing. I was not very diligent yesterday and did not feed myself as I should, so I ended up with stomach cramping during class and had to sit out during some of the drills and sparring… 😦 I was impressed by the number of girls present for both no-gi and kickboxing. Two of my gal pals were in the no-gi class and there were SEVEN ladies in our kickboxing class! I loved seeing that.

An exciting note…my name is on the fight card list for the 3FC facebook event page!!!!! 🙂 That’s pretty awesome! I can’t believe this is actually happening…let’s just hope that I don’t mess it up!

It’s official…June 25th!

It is official…I have committed to the no-gi match on June 25th!! I was back in the gym this week and it felt so great! I went to my very first no-gi class on Wednesday night. It is such a different aspect of the sport but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to hold my own when we were doing drills where the girl on top’s goal was to pass the guard and the girl on bottom’s goal was to sweep or submit. I was told later by my partner that night that I have deceivingly strong legs…;)

The most difficult aspect of no-gi for me is, having become accustomed to having sleeves, lapels or pants to grip, learning how to adjust them for my no-gi game. I feel as though I am more “spaztic” without “proper” grips! One of my fears in BJJ is being a “spaz” when rolling. I know that it simply comes with the territory of being a white belt but I strive to not be so. I felt as though I fumbled so much more during Wednesday nights drilling than I do when I roll in gi but I could also be mistaken…perhaps I really am a spaz all the time. My comfort level in no-gi is so low and I maybe underestimate my technique and skill (limited as they are). I can only hope that training no-gi and working on learning how to expand my game will help to improve my skills overall.

Last night I went to both kickboxing and BJJ and it was pretty brutal. I seem to have a rather short memory of how difficult it can be to step away for the gym, even for a short period of time. My cardio was definitely down…it has been a few weeks since I have been to kickboxing. However, I pushed on and made it through both classes. In BJJ, my coach had my partner and me take off out gi tops to roll for one round to simulate a no-gi match. It is most certainly challenge but I am ready to rise to the occassion…at least I hope I am. I felt like I was much more at home once I was able to put my gi top back on and roll. My training schedule has now officially changed…

I want to express my gratitude to Combat Sports Review for mentioning my humble blog on her latest post! Thank you so much for the shout-out…I greatly appreciate it! And thank you to all who follow and/or read this newly developing blog…:)

And I’m back!

So one week after my tournament, I was back on the mat Saturday. I went to a walk-in clinic on Wednesday and it turned out I had a sinus infection and an upper respiratory infection. So after much antibiotics, other meds and rest, I finally felt well enough to step back in the gym. It was a nice laid back class and that was helpful. We spent class drilling guard passes and I got to roll with a couple of guys I don’t usually have the opportunity to roll with so it was a nice change of pace. I chatted with my coach a bit about the possible no-gi match.

It turns out that it would be three 5 minute rounds! I hope my cardio can keep up! I am pretty apprehensive about no-gi because I so rarely, or rather almost never, train no-gi. I have finally gotten comfortable in gi and I don’t know what I would do without it! I think about…”what would I hold onto?!” I realize this is a weakness and a hole in my game and really I should be working on them. At the risk of sounding a little strange, I salivate a bit (figuratively, of course…) at the thought of FINALLY going against someone my own size!! We shall see…I told my coach I would give him an answer today…

Feeling quite sickly… :(

I have spent most of today lying in bed and trying to sleep off this sickly crud but, thus far, it has worked very little in my favor. Hoping I feel better by tomorrow. It doesn’t help that I am also sore all over from the tournament…I didn’t even know I used these muscles! So I guess an update on the tournament on Saturday is in order…well, first, I did not win… 😦 I was pretty disappointed.

There was only one other girl in my weight class and only 6 total in the women’s division. The girl I went with easily had 20 to 25 lbs on my 100 (well, my weigh-in the previous night said 104) lbs. While preparing for the tournament, one of the things that terrified me was possible take-downs. They are not my strong suit and so my coach and I discussed just pulling guard, so that’s what I did. In my head, I was thinking of how things should progress: pull guard, sweep, take mount, and submit. So naturally, I tried to sweep, until I heard my coach telling me to close my guard again…too late! She was already working to pass my guard and so I scrambled to get my guard back. She started working to pass my guard again and I had a triangle so I went for it. We somehow ended up with her on top of her head and I could hear my coach telling me to get on top but I could not seem to push her all the way over and lost the triangle. The rest of the match consisted of her in dominant positions, like side control and mount, and me struggling to get my guard back. It seemed she was trying to choke me out with my right arm over my neck for the better part of the time and even tried a kimura but neither seemed to hurt and so I didn’t tap. It lasted the full 5 minutes and she won by points. And because there were only two of us, I went home with a silver medal…kind of feels like a joke to me but I guess I’ll take it. I am at least proud of myself for fighting the full 5 minutes and not giving up or tapping at my first tournament but I do wish I could have done better, but now I know the things I need to work on when I get back in the gym…which will hopefully be tomorrow! 🙂

I had high expectations for this tournament, which in truth was probably not fair to myself because this was my first tournament and I am still learning so much. I was incredibly embarrassed that the first thing I did when I stepped off that mat was start tearing up…what was that about?!?! I have read these other incredible women blog about frustration coming out in tears and it has been one thing that I have dreaded and feared and sure enough, it has happened to me. 😦 Saturday had a couple of firsts for my coach, first woman to compete and first children to compete…I was hoping to make it really memorable. I was so nervous before the tournament that I could barely hold conversations with people. At least now my first is out of the way and next time, hopefully, I will feel more confident and be even better prepared.

Speaking of next time…I received a text from my coach Saturday night while I was resting, since that is when I really started feeling all of this crud coming on, saying he has me lined up to do a no-gi match with a girl who is 105 lbs in June during the prelims for a MMA fight event. I am not sure that I am prepared for something like this. The idea of going against someone my own size is unbelievably tempting; however, I rarely, and by rarely I do mean almost never, train no-gi…gi is my passion…I am not sure what to do without a gi! Still mulling it over and going to talk to my coach more about it…we shall see….

Who is this “Dragon Lady?”

I realized that I started this blog out without giving background and history about myself! How silly of me…

Perhaps a good place to start would be to explain about the name…”Dragon Lady” Well, it started out as an inside joke with a friend. We went to see the movie Gran Torino (for those of you who have not seen the film, there is a scene when Clint Eastwood calls his neighbor “Dragon Lady”) and I guess it was because she was Hmong and I am Korean…so we are both Asian?…I don’t know. Regardless, my friend thought this name was pretty awesome. He’s been training at the same gym for years and when I met my now coach he introduced me as such. The name just stuck. Sometimes you hear variations in the gym like just “Dragon” or just “DL.”

BJJ was not exactly something I expected to get involved in and really enjoy. My husband started training at the gym back in January 2009 and by fall of that same year he finally talked me into at least just trying out the gym. I started going to kickboxing classes around November 2009 and then started BJJ around January 2010. I never thought I would actually continue going to the gym after I completed the two month commitment I made to my husband but turns out…I LOVE BJJ…and kickboxing (but shh that’s a secret)! I was hooked. 😀

While I really enjoy BJJ, it is still a struggle. I am easily the smallest person at the gym and one of the only two girls who trains BJJ in a gi regularly. It has been a tough road to get where I am today and I still have tons and tons more work ahead of me…but it is all really worth it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would love BJJ, much less compete in a tournament so this is a major turning point for me.

I am so appreciative of my wonderful and ultra-supportive husband who has been behind me this entire journey. I know I can always count on him for support, a kick in the butt, constructive criticism, and pointers as I need them. I am also very thankful for my coach, Josh Cate, at Pinnacle MMA. I would definitely not be where I am without him. He is always there to push me to be the best that I can be and meet my potential and, while at times it really sucks, I really do appreciate it…thanks, coach! I am grateful to have a coach who understands his students and knows their game and gives instructions to help develop our skills. Thank you to all those who come to the gym and work hard. Thanks for all your support and kicking my butt…it may not always seem like it but I do appreciate it. I love my gym family…you guys (and gals) rocks!! 🙂

4 days and counting…

Wow…my first post on my very first blog…how to begin?! 🙂

In four days I will be competing in my very first BJJ tournament…nervous does not even begin to describe how I feel. Another night of training and I am exhausted. It was a long day at work followed by three hours at gym…kickboxing and BJJ. One of the things my coach has been trying to encourage me to do is be more aggressive. I realize that I wait for my opponent to start before I start working my game…bad idea. This is something that I have been working on but it’s difficult because I am so small compared to others at the gym, but mainly just so small in general. Tonight was certainly a struggle for me. I know that I don’t want to fall in the category of “handle with care;” however, I do think my size and knowledge of the sport should be of consideration. My shoulder was a little tweaked tonight and I know that the person I was rolling with meant no harm…at one point he asked if he was being too aggressive. I don’t want to be a total “girl” and say, “yes, I wish you would chill” but I don’t want to roll with some of these guys when they are going 120% like they feel the need to beat a “girl.” But I digress…

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