Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the tag “mma”

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!!! 🙂 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!! 🙂 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!! 🙂
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!!! 🙂

A photo of Coach with my new purple belt hubby!!! SO proud! 🙂

The hubby and me! 🙂

A group shot! Yea, KAOS!

The new purple belts!

Carlos with Blake, the new blue belt!! 🙂

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

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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…

Just a girl in a man’s (BJJ) world

So yesterday, I was reading a post written by Allie the Clear Belt that featured a video of an interview with Kyra Gracie. It was very inspirational (both the video and the post). Allie asked the women who do jiu-jitsu, “What has been the hardest part for you practicing Jiu-Jitsu? What advantages have you noticed, as a woman training in this sport?” I read Allie’s response and it really resonated with me. But I think the most difficult aspect for me is not the desire to prove myself but rather the feeling that I HAVE to prove myself to someone. I would say that this is a new thing for me but, unfortunately, I think this is rather a pattern in my life. In some ways I think it can be healthy because I know I work hard due to this need to prove myself. On the other hand, this is what causes me to psych myself out.

This need to prove myself has probably played a pivotal role in my losses and my inability to just flow when rolling in class. I understand that I was still relatively new to this sport when I competed the first time but I think that I set far to high expectations for myself. I think in some small part of my mind I thought I HAD to win my matches to show others that I can really do this…that I am not wasting my time with training. I’m not sure why my own validation and growth in this sport isn’t enough. Like Allie, I guess it is just my own insecurities that I am trying to overcome. I’ve even noticed that I roll differently with different people. With my husband, I tend to be more comfortable (much of the time). I guess this is because I don’t feel (all the time) like he is critiquing me and so I can be a bit more aggressive. But with other guys, I often feel self-conscious and maybe even a bit timid. Funny how even though I need to prove myself, I struggle to actually face them head-on. What a way to defeat myself before I even start! With girls in the gym (though it has been a while) I tend to feel frustration at my lack of ability to “beat” them because I “must!” It’s all pretty ridiculous, I realize…

The wonderful thing about Pinnacle-MMA is that the people there are supportive and encouraging. I can’t think of a single person who has been discouraging of me and my training or anything like that. They always seem eager to help me improve. So my need to prove myself is really about me and no one else. Sometimes I think my insecurities can seem rather grandiose and narcissistic. I am in no way special enough that others really care whether I suck or not. Scratch that…it’s not that they don’t care but rather that others really aren’t focused on me and my skills. This description is not all that different than that of adolescent egocentrism. Wow…do I sound completely crazy yet? 🙂 I say all this to say that I don’t actually think that people are “watching” me or that I am the center of the universe but that I am just an insecure girl in a man’s (BJJ) world.

As for advantages, I do think at times others underestimate me. A new guy at the gym asked my husband last night if I ever “really” beat him. But is this really underestimating me or simply taking note of size and skill? Not sure. I have noticed that if I get a really good…and I mean REALLY good position on someone, it can be tough for them to unhinge me. I have especially noticed this with the Ezekiel choke from mount, a rear naked choke and/or a triangle. The trouble is that I have to find a way to get myself in these awesome positions…easier said than done. 😦 I wonder, to those of you who read my blog (male or female)…how might you answer these questions posed by Allie the Clear Belt?

As for training last night, we started class on our feet working take downs. We then worked in pairs, rotating, to work take downs but more flowing than really taking down. Take downs…yet another ongoing struggle. Then we white belts worked on armbars from guard and triangles. I got to roll with my husband twice, a brown belt and my coach. As I rolled with my coach, I got total tunnel vision with an omoplata and totally missed an easy triangle…it took a while for me to notice then execute. My insecurities and anxiety went up, of course, when I was rolling with my husband and my coach was watching. I new he was watching because he would give me directions from time to time…this seems to make me more flustered (somehow) than I already was. Cue rolling eyes.

I finally bit the bullet today! My husband and I set up a good workout schedule to incorporate strength training, conditioning, BJJ class, and rolling some at home. We also discussed healthy eating habits and decided on how I might do that. It’s not that I’m trying to lose a bunch of weight but I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in my metabolism (look out for 25 ladies…) and so I need to kind of lose some of the softer parts of me. Or rather tone up those softer areas. Let’s hope all this change helps (and that I can survive…) *haha* 🙂

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!! 🙂

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