Team Training Day

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I went to Philadelphia with my coach over the weekend for TAC Team training day. I rode up with 4 black belts, so I had the option of the middle seat, or in the back with the luggage – I chose to make a nest in the duffel bags. We only stopped a few times to fill up the gas tank – it was a bit cramped, but I slept most of the way – so not too bad!

We arrived Friday night about an hour before team training class, so we checked in to the hotel, and then headed over to the school. It felt good to move around after being curled up for 11 hours. It was pretty informal, no timer. So I flow rolled a warm up with one of our black belts, then went with a white belt, and then tried out one of Jared’s brown belts.

Team training was on Saturday. We had 20 black belts, and a grand total of about 100 people. We began with a few awards, then there were a ton of belt promotions.

We rolled 6 minute rounds, while alternating between brown/purple/black belts and white/blue belts on the mats. I got to roll with two blue belt girls, and 2 white belt girls. After training was over, I went out with a group to watch the UFC 163 at a local bar.

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We are about to start a fight camp for a few of the guys – and it looks like a girl will be coming in to train as well for a title fight. Therefore, I’ll get to help out with the fight camp and I’m so excited!

This Saturday is the 2nd Ladies Open Mat that here in Nashville and I am stoked! I’m expecting a good sized group – thankfully a friend has picked up the marketing slack (my Achilles heel), and has been calling around to notify schools. (You rock Sara!)

Next weekend is the IBJJF Chicago Open. My coach is working with my deep half guard bottom attacks/sweeps – Hopefully I can whip out something cool! It’s going to be my first big tournament as a blue belt, and I am absolutely stoked to have 8 people in my division! Looks like I’ll be competing in Gi on the 17th, and no Gi on the 18th. I’m riding up with two team mates who both get off work late on Friday, so we decided to just leave late Friday night, drive through the night straight to the venue. I’ll be the only person competing on Saturday, so I can sleep on the way. We have a nice hotel downtown booked for Saturday night.

August 31st is the Atlanta Open – and my coach wants to take a huge team to it.

September 28th is No Gi Pan Ams – Not sure if anyone other than myself is planning to attend

October 20th is Abu Dhabi Pro Trials – totally going to that one!

November 6 – 13 is a Ladies Training Camp in Mexico with Mackenzie Dern, I’m getting my registration taken care of in the next day or two!

So far nothing planned after that until the European Open in January. Might have December off from events!

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Additional side note: I’m trying to nail down a date to bring back the “Music City Open” Jiu Jitsu Tournament. Coach says we used to run it twice a year and it did very well – no idea why they stopped putting it on, but coach and I are gonna bring it back!

Lucas Lepri Seminar

Had an amazing time today! I was able to get a spot in a Lucas Lepri seminar at a nearby school. I had a few jealous team mates who have apparently tried going in the past, but space is limited and they weren’t able to sign up in time.

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I had no clue what the seminar was going to be about, so imagine my delight when it was all open/x-guard information! I absolutely love everything open guard, and I’ve just in the last few weeks started using more x-guard transitions.

A key difference I learned was in the placement of the upper foot in the x-guard. Instead of hooking it in front of my opponent’s far leg, I instead place the ball of that foot right above the near hip – almost in the groin really. It gives a lot more control when sweeping! Plus if I’m rolling with a dude, it might make him a bit nervous!

There is one sweep that I’m gonna call the groin splitter… I’m surprised there weren’t any accidents!

Anyhow, lots of sweeps, and quite a few details that I am looking forward to drilling tomorrow with coach. This was really the best seminar I have been to so far! I highly recommend it!

I did accidentally video part of it… Apparently that wasn’t allowed. Oops! I did the honorable thing and deleted it… AFTER going over it and writing everything down in great detail that is. My memory stinks sometimes.

I chatted a bit afterwards and was invited down to Alliance in Atlanta for their training camp. I’d love to go, but I think coach is gonna be running something up here for us. At any rate, they said I can pop in while I’m down there for the Atlanta Open next month. Yay!

It was great seeing a few other girls at the seminar! Two I knew, one I became acquainted with as I paired off with her. We were drilling right next to a couple of larger gentlemen, one of which had a very intense break fall… He seriously could be an Olympic break faller! Ha!

After the seminar I went out to eat with one of the gals who I had previously met at the EGO tournament last Saturday. Tex-Mex and BJJ talk. Oooooh yeeeeaaaa!

Fun side note: I forgot to bring a change of clothes and so I went to church in Gi pants and a rashguard.

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There were several “come as you are” lines passed around in conversation after service.

Made a cool connection though because of it! We had an out of town band playing tonight and their keys guy jumped up to me as soon as I walked in the door. He does Jiu Jitsu and is also going to the Chicago Open! We exchanged info and bumped fists.

I love that Jiu Jitsu just instantly creates connections. You meet someone, find out they’re into the same craziness, and just accept them as family. Even in other countries! When I was in Portugal, even though I was a stranger, and didn’t know a word of Portuguese (I now know about 8), I was instantly family when I stepped on the mat.

That’s one of the reasons I love this so much!

Breaking In The Blue Belt

Well I had my first tournament as a blue belt on Saturday! It was a pretty small one with just one other blue belt – who I was ecstatic to see!

I won our match with a cross choke from guard about 90 secs in. The workers asked if I wanted to do 2 out of 3 for the win and I agreed. The more experience the better! After a bit of a rest, we went again and I ended with a RNC after about 4 mins.

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She was pretty good natured about it. Apparently I’m getting a bit of a reputation locally… She remarked to someone that I had “man hands” and he asked “was her name Nicholle?” I hope to see her again!

In no Gi they put me in the “Intermediate Open” division. I lost my first match on points, and won my second by straight ankle lock. So 2nd place in no Gi.

Overall it was a nice way to break in my new belt. I wasn’t sure how I would do, but I went for it and broke the ice!

It was really sweet that they let me bring in my massage chair and do some work on the tournament staff members in exchange for my entry fee

I got a few ladies interested in coming out for my next ladies open mat! I’m expecting quite a few more this time around! Gonna be awesome!

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In other exciting news:
I was thinking that I would really like to compete at the IBJJF Chicago Open on Aug 17, 18. I was starting to lean more toward waiting for the Atlanta Open since it’d be closer and I may only have the budget for one.

Then I found out that the current world champion of my division is on the list to compete in Chicago and I declared “I MUST GO”!

So I got myself registered yesterday! There are 4 total in my division so far – hoping for a few more! I’m also very excited about the prospect of competing in the open for the first time!

I’m gonna have to figure out some kind of fundraiser for my competition fund… The next few months is looking to get a bit expensive. I plan on going to the: Chicago Open, Atlanta Open, No Gi Pan Ams in NY, and Abu Dhabi Trials in NY. I’ve estimated that registration plus travel costs for all of those is going to cost about $1,340 – Almost half of which is airfare to NY. I can take a bus if I need to, but that would just suck!

I’m planning on buying a small freezer to keep at the gym and start selling fruit pops. I make some awesome fruit popsicles, including some pretty legit acai varieties. Coach has given me the go ahead – with how warm it gets at the gym (and the number of kids!) I should be able to put a decent dent in that competition fund! Yay!