Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the month “June, 2011”

New homeowners!!!

My husband and I closed on our house today!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ YAY! It is so exciting. We spent most of the day preparing for the closing and moving boxes over to the new house. We met the team tonight after weigh-ins to get some grub. With so much “kaos” with all the home stuff, I’ve barely had time to think about the fact that my match is TOMORROW!!!! It really hit me when I saw all the guys at the restaurant. One of my friends told me he saw my opponent and we started chatting. The more we talked, the more nervous I became. Tonight at dinner was the first time I really felt the nerves. So tomorrow morning we wake bright and early to start our actual move then head to weigh-ins and the rules meeting. The pre-lims will start around 3:30 and I think I am second on the card…EEK!!!!

Last night was my last night to train before this match tomorrow. It was a good night of class. We worked on the same techniques from Tuesday again. It was good to continue working on these submissions. Following this, I rolled with my coach, my husband twice and my girl friend twice. During one of my rolls with my husband and girl friend, I took off my gi to work a little more no-gi to prep for tomorrow. I felt more positive about my rolling last night. I really tried my best to keep my mindset in check and fight against allowing myself to feel defeated. Last night was the first time I have ever been able to submit my girl friend while rolling. I caught her in an arm bar and she was most certainly resisting. I held on tight and fought for it and she ended up tapping. I don’t say to this to brag at all because it is not a huge deal but this is one thing I have been striving for because I struggle when I roll with her. I feel like it is a step in the right direction for me.

I am not sure how I will feel about my match tomorrow but, for now, I am pretty intensely nervous but somewhat preoccupied (thankfully) by the impending move in the morning. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope all goes well with both tomorrow!

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Only 2 days…

So excited to be closing on our new house tomorrow morning!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It will be so nice to finally have a little more space and a yard for our dog. Hopefully all goes well tomorrow…

A little product review…I recently bought two pairs of new shorts in preparation for my match. I bought a pair of pink and black vale tudo shorts from Atama and a pair of purple board shorts from Fighter Girls. I wore my Atama shorts Tuesday night under my gi and tried out the board shorts last night in no-gi. Both are good buys in my opinion. Neither restrict my movement and are both very comfortable. The only complaint might be that when sweaty, the board shorts really stick to your body. I’m a fan of Atama as much of my gear if by them. I own these new vale tudo shorts, the Leticia Ribeiro gi and their white belt.ย  My other gi is the Vulkan Ultra Pro Light gi in lilac and I love it! It is the perfect weight for these intensely hot summer nights and I really like the color.

Last night I went to no-gi class. We drilled multiple escapes like arm-bar escape, triangle escape, rear-naked choke escape, side-control escape, and guillotine escape. I rolled with one of my girl friends, my coach, my husband twice and two other guys I don’t usually roll with. All were good experiences. When I rolled with my girl friend I really tried to be cognizant of my tendency to feel defeated and tried to keep this in check. It seemed to work pretty well and I feel I was more aggressive. I know this is something I will have to continue working on. Rolling with my coach and husband went about the same as usual.

It was refreshing to go with the two other guys because I believe last night was the first time I have rolled with either. One is generally known to be a good wrestler. He is very strong but was very laid back in his rolling, which was an adjustment. I appreciated that while he allowed me the space to work on my technique and make mistakes he also gave me helpful hints from time to time. The other guy was a bit more aggressive and fast paced, much like what I have become accustomed to. He is leaner than most of the guys in the gym and that was a nice change. I feel like I learned a lot last night and was sufficiently challenged…as I often am.

I will be stepping back on the mat tonight for the last time before my match so hopefully I will get a good night of training in. With the recent house stuff and moving, I feel I have had little time to really allow the fact that I have a no-gi match in 2 days to hit me. I am still very excited to go against someone close to my size but so nervous at the same time. After tonight, I will be more focused on our house situation until Saturday afternoon…and then it’s on! ๐Ÿ™‚

My own worst enemy

To start, in my fog of self-doubt I failed to mention in my last post that I did not train that day. I hated missing a day of training but I’d venture to say my coach had a good excuse for canceling classes. He left town to train last Saturday with Jeff Jimmo then with Eddie Bravo!! I thought that was a sufficient reason for him to not have class. I can only imagine what an amazing experience that day was.

Back on track…oh, what a week! It already has been crazy and hectic and it’s not going to be letting up anytime soon!! Monday was a very special day…2 years ago on June 20th I married my best friend, the love of my life! It was the best day of my life and I still cherish everyday with my husband. We played hooky that night to get a wonderful meal to celebrate our two year anniversary…shhh, don’t tell! ๐Ÿ™‚ Last night the weather decided to unleash again so most of Knoxville is without power. Thankfully, my husband and I got power back sometime in the early morning hours. Friday morning (hopefully) we will be closing on our first house together!!! YAY! ๐Ÿ™‚ We will be moving some boxes over throughout the day on Friday and then our big move is early Saturday morning…that’s right, the morning of my no-gi match! Eek! I hope all goes smoothly!

It was time to hit the ground running again last night to prepare for my match, which is only 3 days away now, so it was back to the gym. We worked on the Americana from side-control, from Americana to arm triangle and the Ezekiel choke from side-control. I am not a huge fan of the Americana because I have a difficult time finishing this submission but I LOVE the arm triangle and now am a fan of the Ezekiel choke as well. I think it’s safe to say that I am a fan of most chokes in general. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I rolled with my coach once and my husband twice. All three rolling sessions went pretty well but I still had that same nagging voice in the back of my mind. It did not help at all that the world was ending (the storm) during class.

Following class, I decided to chat with my coach about some of my frustrations and concerns. I explained basically what I discussed in my last post, but an abbreviated version. My coach explained to me that this was all a mental struggle I was having with myself. He assured me that my technique is good enough that size really should not be an issue. He told me I needed to stop blaming size and realize that it was a mindset thing. I know I still struggle with the “art of prevention” that I mentioned before but apparently this is an extension of all of that. I allow myself to feel defeated well before I actually am defeated. This is especially true with females because I think the guys do try to lessen their use of strength when rolling with me so I feel I actually have a chance to work some technique. When I roll with one of the girls at the gym I know they outweigh me (I hope this does not offend anyone, I don’t mean like big girls by any means) and so I immediately have it in my mind that they will beat me simply because of the size advantage she has. Rolling with girls is more of a game of survival for me, at least that’s the feeling I have. Hopefully this will not be an issue for my match since we should be about the same size…ONLY 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!

No pain no gain

It’s been a while since my last post. My husband and I are in the process of trying to move at this time so things are hectic with that on top of preparing for my match. This week has been very busy. I trained Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night…and my body can definitely feel it!

Monday and Wednesday were both no-gi classes. The faster paced game of no-gi is exhilarating but at the same time has taken it’s toll on my body. I look like someone has been beating up on my legs. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I am really banged and bruised up and it seems every inch of my body is sore. Even with all of this, I am truly enjoying no-gi.

Thursday night was my first night in gi class since getting promoted. I must admit that it was a bit of a rough night…

Let me start this way…I try to keep up with other women’s BJJ blogs such as BJJGrrl, Combat Sports Review Blog, A Skirt on the Mat, Georgette’s Jiu-Jitsu World, and various others. I don’t read these as religiously as I’d like due to a very busy schedule recently with my impending move but I try. I recently read an interesting post by Georgette regarding women and promotions in BJJ. I think this really hit a sore spot with me because I really relate to so much of what she talks about in her post.

Initially, I was completely and totally stoked about being promoted this past weekend. And don’t get me wrong, I’m still definitely happy about it! However, I have to agree with Georgette about feeling like maybe women do get promoted quicker than men. I struggled a lot Thursday night while rolling with a girl friend of mine in class. She is bigger than I am, but not by much (and again, everyone in the gym is bigger than I am) but, according to my recent promotion, I am ranked higher than her and yet I still struggled while rolling with her and I tapped. It’s not that I think I shouldn’t be tapping to others, as I understand that on the path to black belt I will be tapping often, but I feel as though I struggled to even hold my own against her Thursday night. It is difficult to fathom my promotion when I can’t even submit a lower ranking fully resistant woman once.

This in no way means that I don’t trust my coach! I absolutely trust him but I am just struggling with the idea of having four stripes on my white belt and still continuing to struggle against people who are ranked below me. I don’t want to get blinded by rank, my concern is not with rank…it’s more with my progress. I just worry that I am as good as I will get and will just get stuck here. I know I have much more to learn in BJJ and when rolling I do often freak out and start using strength rather than technique so I need to keep this in mind. I do think it is easier for men to see their progress because they often have more people available to them that are their same size. No one in the gym would be considered “my size.” My husband, being the sweet and wonderful man he is, encouraged me to not think too much about this aspect and to trust the people I roll with to tell me my progress. I can only hope that they aren’t just “being nice.” For now, I will just continue training for my upcoming match.

4 hours of training later…

What a day!! ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband and I started the day at the gym at 10 am this morning so I could have a private lesson with my coach. A couple of other guys were also present. We drilled straight ankle locks and how to defend them. This lasted for a full hour. BJJ class officially started after the private lesson ended. We drilled take downs: Kouchi Gari and Ouchi Gari and did some live roll drills with using the take downs. Class ended with five separate five minute rounds. I rolled with my husband twice and then with my coach. All three seemed to go well.

After class ended one of the gym’s fighters, Adam “You Can Run But You Cant” Hyde, came for open mat. He was prepared to hard spar today but no one was there for him to hard spar with so our coach decided we would do A LOT of rolling instead. We ended up doing 12 five minute rounds of no-gi rolling. It was intense and tiring but really awesome!! It was another incredibly HOT day in Knoxville so we all were sweating a ton. I rolled with my coach, my husband and Adam 4 times each…it was pretty crazy. It was a great workout and great training to prepare me for my no-gi match.

No-gi is really growing on me. I feel like my flexibility is much more of an advantage in my no-gi game because there is less friction from the gi and such. I will say that no-gi feels rougher on the body, especially if I am not yet sweating, because my skin gets caught on everything from the mat to my opponent’s skin…it kind of sucks but that’s just how it goes.

As open mat ended, my coach walked up to me with my white belt and I noticed that there were 2 more stripes on my belt!!!!! I now have 4 stripes!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ My coach told me that today was a test to see my dedication. I had thought of giving up in the middle of the 12 rounds but pushed myself to finish. Thank you to my coach, Josh Cate, for believing in me! I was and still am a bit shocked at such a promotion. I just hope I can continue to grow and improve my skills.

On a different but very exciting note…my husband and I are heading tonight to a launch party for our friends’ magazine, Modern Ink Mag!!!! Please check it out…it is PHENOMENAL!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Keep on rollin’

I am trying to stay on top of training and making sure I make the most of the time I spend in the gym. Last night was no-gi class. It was a long but wonderful hour. It is incredibly hot right now in Knoxville. Last night was no exception. I doubt anyone felt the slightest breeze during the entire class, even with the garage and back door open. The heat was miserable but it made for a fantastic workout. We started class on our feet and working more take downs. I am starting to learn more about them but still struggling with feeling comfortable enough to attempt a take down. I am not only concerned with getting hurt myself but also with hurting the other person (not that it is too probable but still a concern of mine). We then drilled working from our opponent’s back, which I enjoy. I feelย  if I can manage to get to that position, my size is in my favor.

After drilling, I rolled with my coach. I was a bit startled at the fast pace in which he engaged me but I seemed to adjust. I understand that when I often roll with guys they let me submit them or don’t fight off a submission like they might with another guy so when I say that my coach tapped, it’s not saying too much. I was flattered, however, that following class my coach told me that I am improving and that he had stepped it up. I felt I held my own pretty well while we rolled so I was proud to hear this! Thanks, Coach! ๐Ÿ™‚ I then rolled with another girl friend from class. Going to no-gi class has helped me to appreciate different aspects of BJJ…I am pleasantly surprised at how much I am enjoying no-gi.

Tonight my husband and I went to BJJ class. We started class by working on take downs again. Following this, we worked on different sweeps: tripod sweep, sickle sweep and double ankle grab sweep. I worked with a couple of newer guys in the gym and had the opportunity to help them with their technique, which in turn helps my skills. After drilling, I rolled with my husband, my coach and two other guys. Rolling with my husband is always an experience. I can never quite tell if he is going easy on me or not. I really appreciate that he and I have found something we enjoy together. Rolling with my coach was about the same as last night though he was taking it a little easier on me. I got the chance to roll with a guy who’s style I love because it’s like watching a dance. He is incredibly graceful and makes BJJ look easy and effortless…I’m sure you’ve seen people like this. I told my husband tonight that this guy “flows” so well when he rolls that he makes it easier for me to just flow and not “grind” as much.

All in all, it’s been a great couple of nights in the gym. I am a little banged and bruised up but I guess that just comes with the territory. The next couple of weeks will be a little hectic because my husband and I are planning to move! We have tons of packing to do and turns out that we will be moving the morning of my no-gi match…eek!

Back on the mat

After 5 blissful days at the beach, I returned home on Friday. It was more than slightly difficult to leave behind pristine white beaches, beautiful weather and great food and drinks but there certainly is a level of comfort in being back in the daily grind. I was back in the gym on Saturday morning. I love Saturday morning BJJ because it tends to be more laid back but not so much that I don’t feel productive. We worked on some take downs. Take downs really make me nervous and uneasy because I have worked so little on that part of my game and, until now, I’ve felt like there has been little need for it since everyone tends to be so much bigger than I am. Now that I am finally getting the opportunity to go against someone my own size, it is imperative that I improve on this…we’ll see how it goes.

I then had the chance to roll with one of the guys with whom I roll very little and then rolled with my coach. When I first started BJJ I hated rolling with my coach. I always felt like there was a tremendous amount of pressure on me when I rolled with him. My impression was that he would set things up for me to execute and when I inevitably failed to see this he would be disappointed in me, or worse. I have learned over time that, while I do believe my coach does give us the opportunity to exercise our skills and has expectations of each of his students, he in no way gets angry if we miss something…this just gives him the chance to teach. Once I came to this realization, rolling with my coach felt more natural and less anxiety-provoking.

It was back to the gym again last night for no-gi class. It is definitely growing on me. I realized halfway through my second roll with one of my girl friends that I was actually enjoying no-gi rolling! I was amazed at my ability to regain my guard and to control my opponent. Never did I imagine that I wouldย  be able to control my opponent without my grips! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am both very nervous and excited for my first no-gi match. I am eager to see how my skills measure up when I am going against someone who is my own weight but I am terribly anxious to compete again and take the chance of failing. June 25th looms in the the future and that future is fast approaching everyday…

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