Work and Play

I am a huge advocate of the “work hard, play hard” philosophy of life. It seems to have worked for me so far!

Work Hard:
There is an intensity wall for me when it comes to training. If training is easy, I’ll just goof off. If it is medium… I have to fight the urge to slack off. However, when the intensity levels turn up, that’s when I feel alive. It is really odd how I can be tired after a normal class, but when coach is all fired up and putting us through his cycle of terror it is a whole other story.
When I get done with one of those training session, instead of gasping and twitching on the mat, I find myself bouncing up ready to go again. In those sessions, I am sad to hear the last buzzer go off. There is just something about pushing myself mentally to go beyond what I think I can do that just gets me fired up.

Work hard also covers more than just training. It also covers… well… work.

I picked up a part time job working at a grocery story down the street from my gym. My goal with any employment is to be dependable and take pride in doing my job to the best of my ability. The beauty of this, is that since I have proven myself now to be dependable and a valuable team member, they have been enormously flexible with my scheduling. This allows me to go to the competitions that I want to go to, and even to take off for a month to go to training camp. They know that my training is my priority, but they also know that they can count on me to get my work done when I am on the clock.

Play Hard:
Because I work hard, I am able to do the things that I want to do with my life. This doesn’t mean things are perfect – but if I want something badly enough, I will find a way to make it happen.

I guess to me, a lot of my work time, I kind of turn into play time. And vice versa. I am a HUGE Disneyland freak (totally going to the Tokyo Disneyland in September!) and love biking back and forth across town. Jungle gyms are AMAZING as are any remotely climbable trees, cliffs, or rocks.

When I go on a trip for a competition, I always plan extra time to enjoy whatever location I am visiting. I will usually plan my arrival for a day or two before I compete, and then say for a week and explore. In January I spent 10 days in Lisbon, Portugal and last year was in Tokyo for a week. I will be going back to Tokyo again in September and have booked my flights for a two week stay. After I compete, A nice night time climb of Mt. Fuji will be icing on the cake. I also plan to visit some Jiu Jitsu schools, as well as the Kodokan (I will remember a white Gi this time!), and hang with some Sumo fighters.

In Conclusion:
This hasn’t been the most organized update I have ever written, it is more just something I felt I wanted to get out of my head and written down somewhere.

I guess I kind of blur the lines between play and work. I even make games when I’m working at the grocery store – to see how many grumpy people I can make smile and such like. As long as I find a way to make everything I do into something fun, I can do anything. And then of course, it becomes a game to see if I can make everything into some sort of work as well.

At the end of the day, I am then ready to “sleep hard” as well. I’m a ferret in that regards, but that could be a whole post by itself!

Sunday Fun Day

Finally wrapping up an immensely full day!

Did circuit training this morning and it was a blast! It used to be just myself and Ruth, but a few of the other ladies have started joining in on the action.

Here’s the video we made today. I edited it down a bit, but it was a 6 minute circuit repeated 3 times. Coach wants us working up to 5 rounds with a one minute rest.

I’ve come to the determination after watching myself on film that I some odd speech mannerisms. I’m totally gonna rock it though!

I’m going to talk with coach tomorrow about creating a time slot for this circuit training other than just on Sunday. Maybe Tuesday and Thursday evenings methinks?

Video Shoot
We did filming after circuits for the upcoming “Move of The Week” video series. Now just gotta wait for the intro to be completed so I can get that rolling!

And Now For Something Completely Different…
I spent the rest of the day designing a webpage for a local business. I got it all done and they were quite thrilled with it, and I get paid tomorrow! Yayness!

Grocery Shopping
I’m not cutting weight anymore, but can’t bring myself to junk out. I just stocked up on poultry, eggs, and some açai bowl fixings. On that note I close this blog post. My blender is calling!

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Circuits, Weight Classes, and… Mexico?

Well I introduced the ladies in my Saturday morning class to circuit training today! We started off with just a three minute circuit with three minutes to recover in between – we will eventually work it up to a five minute circuit with a minute rest in between.

Today we drilled loop chokes from half guard. Our position this week has been guard, but one of my ladies has sore ribs and a bum wrist – so we worked around it!

Mexico City Training Camp:

I just registered for a training camp in Mexico City with Mackenzie Dern and Sophia Drysdale. It will be at the end of July, and I am EXTREMELY excited for it already! Get your registration in now to reserve a spot!

Ladies Jiu Jitsu Training Camp

Weight Classes:

In other news, I talked with my coach yesterday about my weight cut. He decided he wants me to stick with light weight instead of continuing my drop to feather weight. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of happy about that!

Size wise, I fit in the feather division better. Problem being, my doc says I have very dense muscle, so I weigh a lot more than I look. I’d have to lose a substantial amount of muscle to make featherweight, and that isn’t safe for me because of my hypermobility.

Meaning: I’m currently 132, so coach wants me back up to 137-138. I’m not just gonna fluff up though. I’m sticking with eating really clean, upping my caloric intake, and adding more strength training into my routine. I will confess, I’m going out for Italian food tomorrow for dinner with friends – but i’ll burn through that in no time flat!

See what Tournaments I’ll be at next! I love to meet people!

Hello 2014!!!!

New year, and new look for my blog!

I started my year off with circuit training followed by an hour of drilling the morning of the 1st. Did three massages, and then another circuit. Oh, and I did a cool video of it!

Kudos to you if you watched the whole thing!

My awesome sponsors at Raijin Fightwear liked this video so much that they have requested I start a “move of the week” video series. I’ll be filming some of that this Sunday after circuit training – They are even designing me a cool custom video intro! I’m so excited to get started with that! I am of course just a blue belt, so I definitely still have a lot to learn – but I have learned some good things in the last two years that are worth sharing.

Weight Cutting:
I’m in the process of cutting down to feather weight. I did 2013 at light weight, walking around at about 145 and cutting to 138 for competitions. It was recommended to me that I try feather based on my body size. Currently I’m weighing in at 130 and am shooting for 126 to make 129 in my Gi. Coach says I am pretty close to my limit of what my body will allow me to do, so it’s slow going at this time. I’ll probably post more about this later (maybe a few angry posts).

Ladies Team:
I love my ladies team! It’s slowly starting to pick up a bit, and I am now teaching a Saturday morning class as well as the Friday evening one. Coach says he will eventually have me take over the program – I’m being groomed it appears. I’m very excited that this year we have a confirmed 4 ladies from our school going to the Pan Ams, as opposed to last year being just me.

Training:
I’ve been drilling a lot lately – one good thing about the ladies is that they love to drill! Getting in at least an hour a day on top of class time.
I’m finally starting to feel competent as a blue belt, it took me a few months to get in the swing of it but I’m good now!

Competition:
My first competition of the year will be the IBJJF San Francisco Open on Feb 9. It will be my debut as a featherweight. It’s a bit of a distance to travel, but since the Chicago tournament falls after Pan Ams this year, this is my chance to test my new weight class out before Pans.
NAGA is going to be in Nashville on Feb 22nd so I think I’ll try out the expert and intermediate divisions if they will let me do both – otherwise I may just go to coach and save the money for my Pan Ams trip.

Hmmm I think that is about it for now. I’ll probably think up some other things to say tomorrow. It’s almost drilling time again!

Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts Academy

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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!

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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!

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!

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!

Responsibility!?

Ladies

Well it has just been decided that I will be our Friday night instructor for our Ladies Jiu Jitsu class! We have a very new ladies program and it has been off to a great start in the last few months! I’m just amazed at how quickly everyone is learning, and how much fun everyone is having as well!

I have already started a blog/webpage for our ladies program at http://www.nashvilleladiesbjj.com – and we are planning to host a monthly ladies open mat. Our first one will be July 6th.

We are currently having a ladies team patch designed… and it is gonna be awesome!