Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts Academy

20131009-175515.jpg

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to train with the crew at Team Lloyd Irvin HQ just outside of DC! Best two days of training ever!

Day 1

10:00 am I got to enjoy my first ever wrestling class! Warm up of jogging, sprints, shots, and… Cartwheels. I haven’t even attempted a cartwheel since I flunked out of gymnastics at the age of 8 (for not being able to do a cartwheel!) I had momentum and went for it though, and was actually able to do it! Yea!
Next up we did sprawls/shots on command while just moving around in stance. I was informed that if I went out of my stance it’d be 25 push-ups… I asked “what’s my stance?” And saw the instructor take a step back to “basics” and showed me proper wrestling stance – which I then stayed in!
We did takedown drills for probably 45 mins – which I needed desperately! My arm drag is already showing improvement! The rest of the 90 min class was technique drilling, and I got a REALLY awesome takedown from it which I have already hit a few times live!

11:30 am Jiu Jitsu time! Warm ups, then pairing off to do positional drilling. I liked the format of each person getting a set amount of time to drill before switching – as opposed to keeping count, which I’m not that great at. (I get lost after 2!)
After drilling guard passing a few times, Master Lloyd emphasized the importance of blocking the hip, post-pass, for at least 4 seconds before moving on. Then he had us all line up on the wall while he called out pairs to move to the center of the mat and attempt to pass and stabilize position. Good times!
After this, he started pairing us off to roll. I have no idea how long the rounds were, but they were longer that I normally do. Again, awesome!
Time really flew by fast, and before I knew it, it was 2:00 pm and class was over!

Went out to grab a bite and then was dropped off at my hotel to nap for a couple of hours.

7:00 pm Sarj picked me up from my hotel and dropped me off for the evening class times. More drilling, more sparring – until it was 10:00 pm and I was dropped back off again! I slept REALLY well that night!

Day 2

11:30 more Jiu Jitsu! They had MMA sparring at 10 that morning, and I haven’t learned enough Muay Thai to be of any use in that class whatsoever – so I slept in a bit!

6:00 pm Nijah teaches a ladies “Cage Fitness” class and I asked to watch so as to get some ideas for our ladies program. It seems to have a completely different approach and feel than our ladies classes – I am going to see about integrating some ideas, or even talking with coach about a totally new program!

8:30 last Jiu Jitsu class! Again, more drilling and rolling! When we finished, I said all my goodbyes and dragged myself back to bed to prepare for my trip home early the next morning.

I just thrive off pushing myself, so I had an amazing time! I’ve never had a chance to roll with any high ranking ladies before, and getting to roll with Sijara and Nyjah was the highlight of the experience. Also, the effort everyone puts into their training very inspiring as well – there is a reason why they are as good as they are. It’s called hard work!

I’ve visited other schools before, and always felt some level of awkwardness walking in the door. This felt like visiting my hometown and seeing those awesome family members that I’ve missed! Thank you everyone!

20131009-185011.jpg

2013 No Gi Pan Ams

Well that was a whirlwind! I’m going to write about this whole trip in two separate posts.

Part 1: 2013 No Gi Pan Ams

This was my first big tournament as a new blue belt and wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into.

If you read my previous two blog posts, you would know that I have been struggling a lot with anxiety over the last several competitions. It was honestly getting to such a debilitating state where I needed to constantly distract myself in order to keep from hyperventilating.

About a week out from this tournament, I started not even being able to sleep – and hard training on no sleep is NOT a good combo!

Writing out my thoughts in the previous posts really helped a lot. I process things well if I write through them.

The key point that helped in this competition was: remembering how much work I have actually put in – and that I deserve to be competing. The other thing that helped was banishing negative thoughts. Every time a negative thought sneaked into my head, I would shove it out and speak three positives.

The Venue

I felt really good going into my first match! I was a bit sad that I had the by into the semifinals (only 6 in my division!), but figured I could make up for it in the open.

I ended my first match via RNC with a very short time to spare. She tried blitzing me from the start – and man was she strong! I kept her in closed guard because I was concerned she would just smash my open guard – I’m not that confident in my No Gi skills at this point.

She got warned and penalized twice for face palming me – her fingers were up my nose at one point and I ended up with a shiner the next day from that.

I’m going to be working on my omoplata from guard. I had the set up a few times but never went for it. More drilling needed!

That match put me into the finals where I quickly tapped although I’m not entirely sure what happened (my videographer was unable to work my camera). I ended up at the medic corner getting my neck evaluated and iced – along with a recommendation that I abstain from the open. Boo!

All in all, I’m pleased because I handled my nerves well and did not stress out nearly as badly!

On the Podium – my semi-finals opponent didn’t show for her medal 😦

Making Weight
I’ve got a whole huge essay in my drafts folder on this subject, just haven’t figured out the best time to upload it. So consider this a sneak peek!

Hungry!

For this competition, I got my weight down to the lowest I think it has ever been in my adult life! I ended up weighing in at 135 on the official scale.

Slight spoiler for part 2… But I got some advice that really confirmed what I’ve been feeling (but not wanting to face)… And I’m gonna work my way down to featherweight instead of competing lightweight. The reason mainly being my body frame size – I always feel like a midget when competing.

Coach thinks I could make it down in time for No Gi Pan Ams. He thinks I can do it since I “eat like a fat kid” normally. I can change my division until Oct 26, so I I can get down within 4 lbs by then, I’ll do it. That’s 8 lbs in 3 weeks. Can I do it? Yes. Will it be tough? Probably…

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts Academy – Coming Soon!

Ladies Tournament, and My Motivation

Well, I’ve got clearance from my instructor to host a Ladies Submission Only Tournament at our school! Eeeeeeek! The date has been set for October 19th, and I am so psyched!

We’ve run tournaments here before, so it’s no biggie on the operations end. Plenty of experienced workers, refs, etc. The hard part for me is going to be getting the word out to as many schools as possible. I’m working on getting a flyer made up that I will mail to every school I can get an address for within an 8 hour driving radius.

I have a page up with information on format, rules, and a registration page as well. Check it out and let me know what you think! I want to make everything as clear as possible before I start promoting it en mass. (within the next week)

Flashback: First day rolling. Help!
Flashback: First day rolling. Help!

In other news: I have been revisiting some of my old journal entries from when I first started training because I couldn’t remember what my motivation was for starting.

The reason I started training, was to challenge myself.
I wanted to push myself past whatever fears  and inadequacies I was feeling.
I wanted to conquer myself.
I was tired of having to act confidant, when I knew that I was terrified.
I was tired of having to be strong, when I knew I was about to crumble.
I was tired of just “doing good enough” to get by, without ever really putting myself to the test.
Basically, I wanted to see just what I could accomplish when I gave %100 effort.

After almost two years:
I can look people in the eye.
I no longer feel the need to apologize for existing.
I’m not a doormat for people to walk over.
I have traveled all over the world competing at a high level, and have done very well!

I have kept this mindset all along, and this continues to be my motivation. To challenge myself. To face my fears, and to conquer them.

Before Jiu Jitsu…
Blue Belt Promotion
Blue Belt Promotion
Throw in a Lil' Muy Thai
Throw in a Lil’ Muy Thai

Speaking of Muy Thai, I’ve been taking private lessons with our head Muy Thai instructor. He says he sees a lot of potential and I am exceeding his expectations. Had a lesson today actually, and he has be throwing some serious combinations – with major damage potential. Good times!

I Really Am Fragile…

No, I didn’t break myself again!

I don’t think people really understand how easily I am broken sometimes though…

I have a pretty severe case of hypermobility in almost all of my joints – elbows being the only exceptions. This is quite hazardous for me really. It doesn’t mean that I am just “really flexible” like many seem to think.

Basically, it means that the ligaments holding my joints together are too loose. Ligaments are not meant to be stretched, but mine constantly are because of the looseness in them. Loose ligaments means that it takes VERY little pressure to sublux (minorly dislocate) my poor overworked joints. In other words, I’m a chiropractor’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, I know of no supplements or treatments that actually reverse this condition.

So I’m always having to be on guard and extremely careful when sparring. Shoot! I dislocated my hip while dodging Disneyland crowds with my small nephew on my shoulders and I’ve had my acl sprained just from a leg drag.

Injury Prevention
This is critical for me if I am to continue competing at the level that I desire to!

First: the docs have all told me the same thing. I need to strengthen all the muscles surrounding my major joints (so basically, everything!) muscles will fatigue eventually, but they can help pick up the slack from my ligaments and help stabilize my joints. Putting on muscle may put me up a weight class, but if I’m healthy, I’m down for it!

Second: regular professional care. I have regular massage bodywork done, and in addition have an amazing structural integrationist whom I see as often as possible. I also have the worlds greatest chiropractor, who happens to train as well!

Third: this may sound odd, but I stretch. A lot. But it’s very specific stretching. If I have a muscle that tends to pull more strongly on one side of a joint than the antagonists on the other side do, that’s just a recipe for disaster! So I work to keep everything as balanced as possible.
20130619-013611.jpg

I’m gonna close with what I told my grandma when she was worrying about me getting hurt. “I may get hurt at some point. But the amount of joy and fulfillment I get out of pushing myself and learning every day… It’s worth it.”