Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

What a weekend…

So my husband, coach and another friend decided to compete at a tournament in Charlotte, NC this past weekend. Rumor had it that it was a pretty large event and another friend had said it was a good competition when he went several years back. I hate to say that we were sorely and miserably disappointed. 😦

As mentioned before, I have been struggling with competing and so I chose not to participate at this event…that and the women’s weight classes were 139 and below and 140 and above. 🙂 My husband has been training consistently for several months now and worked hard on getting his weight where he needed it. Unfortunately, I was not able to get off work in time to make weigh-ins on Friday evening. He ended up having to cut the last couple of pounds Friday night and weighing-in early Saturday morning before the tournament.

Now, I will say, I was rather proud of my hubby and myself for our level of planning for this trip and competition. We even packed extra food and things to have on hand while we were at the tournament in case it lasted a little longer than we expected. On their website they presented the schedule for the event. Based on this, we thought my coach would start competing pretty early in the day…around 11 or 12 at the latest. So much for that! I’m really not sure what the glitches were but the children’s divisions were on first and lasted the better part of the whole day. My coach competed in the Masters n0-gi division. That division didn’t start until almost a quarter to three. This event was scheduled to start at 10:00am “sharp.”

My husband had planned on competing in no-gi and gi. He ended up only doing no-gi. We didn’t end up leaving the tournament until almost 6 pm. He was much too tired and frustrated to feel up to competing any more. It was a really terrible experience and I don’t think we will be going back. On the upside, my coach placed first in his division and did great! 🙂 My husband won his first match but lost his second. And none of us are exactly sure how it happened…but he didn’t end up placing in his division. We really have no idea how his division was bracketed…there really was no rhyme or reason for it all. We all thought he should have had one last match for third place. Oh, well. Regardless, I was very proud of him! And our friend placed third in his no-gi division. All three of them did great and I am proud of my team…as usual! 🙂

So during the day we had plenty of time to kill. I decided to watch the women’s division while we waited. I didn’t get to see much of the no-gi but did get to see some of the gi. There were only four girls who competed in the blue belt division and about six or eight in the white belt. It is such a different experience watching these matches when I am not competing. I was not quite as intimidated this time…not to say that I wasn’t at all, just less intimidated. 🙂

At least that experience is behind us…and we have learned from it! The next tournament some teammates and my husband are wanting to compete in is the Lutador in Marietta, GA. I am considering competing at this event. The women’s weight class isn’t great, but is probably the best I will see at 129.9 and under. Still plenty of time for me to make a decision. I am so apprehensive because now I will be competing as a blue belt…and this tournament only has a blue belt and above division. Eek!

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Gi or No-Gi?

Trained BJJ last Thursday and last night. More work on the Russian Tie and Butterfly Guard. I am starting to feel a little more comfortable with take downs and take down defense because I have been doing more of it. I have learned more about falling correctly and that has also helped. It is easier when working with another female just because it is less weight falling on top of me. 🙂 I am enjoying learning more about Butterfly Guard and am working to incorporate it into my rolling. Kickboxing went pretty well last night but I have been gone too long! I felt bad for my partner because I felt like I was failing her miserably! Hopefully it will start to come back to me as I continue to go to class. It was a HUGE class and it’s so nice to see that! Yay for Pinnacle-MMA!

So in the past six months or so, I have really been focused on working in the gi. My husband and I had a conversation about this the other day and he asked me why I liked gi more than no-gi. It really got me thinking about this. I know that both are important to develop a good well-rounded game in jiu-jitsu but I do like gi better. I explained to my husband that I think training in a gi requires better technique…I don’t say this to mean that no-gi has no technique. No-gi tends to be faster paced and and strength seems to be helpful. During my time training no-gi I noticed that my technique could be a little sloppy but I could still finish the move. With the faster pace that no-gi is, it seems it would be difficult to focus too much on technique or else your opponent will just run circles around you.

As I was thinking about this, I read a discussion board on Sherdog. It seems many people agree with my point about gi being a more technical game. I also read that some think that gi helps build defensive game and no-gi builds offensive game. I can see that perspective. Many times in class I feel like while I am trying to be offensive I am also constantly aware of being defensive. I don’t recall thinking like this in no-gi. No-gi always seemed like such a get ’em kind of mindset. Obviously if someone is training to fight in a cage or is more focused on MMA, no-gi is imperative.

I think that for me, gi is also just more comfortable. Perhaps this then is a bad idea for me to only continue training gi. I know I am a more detail oriented person who focuses on technique. I like the slower pace of gi and the ability I have to plan and think during rolling. I also think that for my size and strength gi tends to be more comfortable. Strength is helpful in both but I feel like with technique being more essential to gi I can rely more on my technique to help overcome strength and size deficits. Tell me what you think…

The age old argument

So I was back in kickboxing class last night! It was actually great being back in there. It is still definitely not my strong suit or anything but it was nice to add that back in to my routine.

Went to BJJ class Thursday night and worked on the Russian Tie and butterfly guard passes. I wasn’t feeling so hot so I didn’t go to class Saturday morning. 😦 I started back in my 5-3-1 weight training routine this past Sunday…and I am sore like whoa!

It is great having this new schedule because it allows me to go to class on a different night than usual and now I have another female in BJJ. It’s great to be training with Jenn again. It’s been FOREVER! It was refreshing to be training with another female again. There is still a size differential but it is definitely a different experience rolling and working with a female than a male.

Speaking of this…there has been a lot of debate recently on various blogs about the topic of women, men, BJJ, strength, and training. Sherdog recently started a discussion about strength in women’s grappling. As a woman, and a particularly petite one at that, this is something I think about and struggle with regularly. It was an interesting discussion board to read. Hillary Williams commented several times on this thread and had some important and relevant points. It was somewhat surprising to me to see the response she got from other people, and by this I mean both men and women.

Let me start out by saying that I am strongly against demeaning women in any way or the belief that women are somehow inferior to men. With that said…I think that many women on this thread became very defensive when discussing the differences in how women and men train in an attempt to combat these ideas. No where in Hillary Williams’ posts did I even glean the idea that women are not as good or talented in BJJ. Her main point is that no matter how much we may dislike it, men and women are just different…and at an even more basic level that individuals are different. There was a person on there posting about how when women step on the mat they should just act like a man and be expected to be treated like a man. What an interesting idea? I understand that BJJ is a sport generally dominated by males but what says that all should have to somehow adhere to the standard of “a man.” I’m not even exactly sure what this person means by “act like a man”…how do we define this exactly? I think it’s naive to think all people learn the same and should be treated exactly the same. I don’t think to say women train differently than men means that women are not as good as men. It seemed to me that on this discussion board the women seem to want to avoid being thought of as a woman, or treated different because they are women, and the men seem to think women should just man up…

There is also another very important aspect to be explored which is the difference in social impact on men and women. Hillary makes the point about how boys and girls are treated differently when they are young. As someone holding a Masters in Social Work who has studied these issues, I recognize this to be very true. Boys are generally raised to be “strong” and masculine. They are encouraged to engage in physical sports, usually some sort of contact sport, while girls are encouraged to engage in more individualistic activities such as gymnastics. This is not to say all children or families follow this mentality but that many, if not most. This is a key factor when thinking of how men and women train differently. I know this was something I struggled with, and continue to struggle with, today. I don’t really want to be thought of as “one of the guys” but I don’t want to be “that girl.” So where does that leave me? I am just trying to get comfortable with being me, a woman who trains jiu-jitsu.

I recognize that as a small woman there are just some areas in which I will be deficient based solely on my size. I don’t say this to put myself down…I hopefully learn how to adjust my game to adapt to this. I will never be able to out muscle a 200 lbs man…especially not a 200 lbs man who does jiu-jitsu. Many people say that BJJ is for the smaller guys…really I think, it’s for the smaller guy who knows BJJ and his opponent doesn’t. Perhaps it’s my own shortcomings, but I have difficulty rolling with white belt men who are twice my size (of course, I am a new blue belt also!). I think men and women both have unique styles when it come to jiu-jitsu and I don’t think one is right and the other wrong. I think it’s merely a way in which we all attempt to adjust. I think it can be a disadvantage for women to only have men to train with and visa versa…which is why I am glad to be training with another female again. All I can say is that I see Hillary’s point of view and it seems to be a perspective shared by many other women in BJJ. What do you think??

Happy New Year!

First off, Happy New Year everyone!!! 🙂 The end of the year was pretty crazy in our house but we enjoyed the holidays and spending time with friends and family.

A little while after my last post, my husband and I attended a seminar taught by Samuel Braga. It was a fabulous seminar and I learned a TON! He did a lot of instruction on basic spider guard, some De la Riva guard and X guard. I was excited to get further instruction on working more open guards. We stayed after the seminar for some open mat rolling. It was definitely an adjustment rolling with new people. I was, as usual, the only female there. I was so apprehensive and anxious before the seminar because I have never been to another gym before. All my insecurities were coming out in full force. In the end, it was a great experience and my anxiety was really unnecessary.

Toward the end of December, my training was not as consistent as I would have liked but hopefully getting that back on track now. My coach has started a new training schedule and it seems to be popular. There are a lot more gi classes and so my husband and I were very excited for that! 🙂 He and I have also decided to try and get back into kickboxing. I’m not quite as excited for that but really I’m sure I’ll enjoy it once I start doing it regularly again.

As far as my healthy eating habits and all…I was doing very well through the month of November and December and started seeing some results. It was definitely more difficult over the holidays but I didn’t indulge too much. 🙂 I am back on track now and hoping to be in the best shape of my life this year!!!!

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