Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the tag “Josh Cate”

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!!


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™‚

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™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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!

Hard work does pay off!

It has been a BIG week for me!!!! I trained Tuesday, Thursday and today.

So Thursday we continued working drills with constant movement and so partners were flowing from one position to another. After drilling I rolled with my husband twice, my coach, one of the brown belts at our gym, and two other white belts. I noticed that my coach was really going hard with me and even told my husband during our last roll something like put it on me. When we were lined up at the end of class my coach promoted me to a BLUE BELT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

I cannot even begin to put into words how awesome this was (and still it) and how much it means. I have worked hard for nearly two years and I am finally now a blue belt! It was surreal. I definitely did the “girl” thing and cried. Apparently my coach had planned to promote me about two weeks ago but I was not in class. Knowing that it was coming up, my husband went and ordered the Atama blue belt (the one I wanted) so my coach could give me that when he did promote me. I’m still not sure that it has really hit me yet but I am very excited for what is ahead.

I could not have gotten to this point with out the help of so many people. Obviously my coach…he is an amazing coach. He always pushes me to work hard but is also very supportive. My husband has been a wonderful supporter and constant motivator. His encouragement of my training has often times kept me going even when I thought I really couldn’t do it. He is my biggest cheerleader! πŸ™‚ The Kaos team is definitely another group that has helped me reach this goal. My teammates are there day in and day out, not only to train for themselves but also to train with and for their teammates. All of these people have been so patient with me and my progress in this sport. I honestly didn’t know if I would make it to this point! It’s crazy. I appreciate each and everyone of you! Thanks!

So today was my first day of training as a blue belt. It was noticeably different for me. I could tell my mindset has changed since Thursday night. Lately my husband has been talking to me about getting into what he calls “warrior mode.” He was not saying that I was not being aggressive but maybe not being aggressive enough. I noticed that I turned into “warrior mode” today while I was rolling. I think that this promotion has reassured me that I do have skills and that my technique is up to par (for my level). This was maybe the little push I needed to have more confidence in myself and believe in my skills and technique. I am so looking forward to what awaits now that I have reached this milestone. πŸ™‚

A picture of my coach and me wearing my new blue belt! πŸ™‚

I hate you, ribs…

Let me start by saying I am having a genuine “hate” relationship with my ribs, or the muscle surrounding my ribs. 😦 It is still a bit sore and achy and I find this to be a bit more than an annoyance at this point. I thought by now it would certainly be better, especially since I have not really trained in over 2 weeks…but it is what it is…

This past weekend, my husband and I drove down to Atlanta, GA for the NAGA competition. Several of our team members were competing so he and I wanted to be there to support them. We arrived a bit early so I took the opportunity to watch the women’s divisions in preparation for my next tournament and I must say, they were rather intimidating. I don’t believe a single female adult was my size. While watching, I felt the “itch”…the itch to want to be down there competing but at the same time, with my most recent loss, competing was the last thing I wanted. I was feeling torn between not wanting to be disappointed yet again by a loss but also vying for another opportunity for a possible win.

We had 5 guys competing. Our coach, Josh Cate, competed in two no-gi divisions and dominated. He won first place in both divisions and really showcased his BJJ skills. Another guy from our gym went down for his first BJJ competition and won first place in his division. I need to throw in here that in his first match, his Judo takedowns were awesome! πŸ™‚ Three other guys competed and all did a great job!! I was (and still am) so proud of our team.

When my husband and I got home, we started talking about competitions and my “record,” so to speak. I was feeling rather jaded about competing again at this point. In my head I understand that part of competing is losing and learning from a loss but I am so disappointed by losing that it’s difficult for me to fathom experiencing it again. I not only struggle with losing for myself but also for my coach. This is not to be arrogant or anything in terms of feeling like I am so important to my coach but it’s that I hate training and getting pumped for a tournament and letting him down after he spends his time and energy helping me. I explained this to my husband and he was wonderfully understanding about my feelings and concerns (I must say that I am lucky to have married such an amazing man).

I realized during our conversation that I was far too timid in my first tournament and was really uncertain what to expect. I went in very doubtful of my skills and abilities and allowed this doubt to cloud my performance. As far as my most recent match, I think I may have walked into that perhaps a little too confident. The general opinion of others were that I was going to dominate and that this particular teams ground game was not top-notch. I think I let this too much into my psyche and thought I had it in the bag. I was still nervous but I recall being positive and confident going into the match that day. After having made this connection I decided that I wanted to compete again and do so in the right mindset. I can no longer continue to make excuses for my past performances but rather can only get back in the gym and train for the next tournament in the hopes that this will be my opportunity for a win. πŸ™‚

So I decided to try getting back in the gym last night after much rest to see if I was able to start training again. It was not nearly as bad as it was following my match but it is still very sore and achy. I rolled a couple of times with my husband only and even then it was definitely hindering my abilities. My hope is that, after resting it a little more this weekend, I will be back in the gym Monday night for no-gi and kickboxing. P.S. I hate you, ribs…

4 hours of training later…

What a day!! πŸ™‚ 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!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚ 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!!! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

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!! πŸ™‚

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