Nashville Winter Open Team Information

I have written up a list of who is competing on which mat, and their approximate start time. Please keep in mind that the times update in real time on this website.

I have had matches start an hour before the original start time, and up to 2 hours after. It really just depends on how quickly the matches before yours go. I have included the match number first so that you can track how quickly the matches are going on each individual mat. I wrote a blog post a while ago about how to help streamline your competition experience, check it out here.

Make sure to check your weight on the test scale in the bullpen area before going to the official weigh ins. There will be a lot of us there, so if you have a question just ask. The instructors and senior students will be doing their best to coach every match, but if they don’t make it to yours, know that they are doing their best.

Here is part of a rather candid video with our head instructor, Shawn Hammonds, from training this morning. I missed the first part, but the rest of it is still good.

Jason Mattherly, Madison Sperry and Kenny Cross don’t have anyone in their divisions (they scared off all opponents), so they will wait until the open class divisions later in the evening.

For blue belts and up, after collecting your medal at the podium, make sure to sign up for the open weight class immediately. The sign up is usually right next to the podium. Only two from each team will be allowed to compete in the open, but give Shawn options so he can select the chosen ones from the list. He can’t add you if you don’t sign up, and sign up is usually due right after you get your medal.

It is a long day, but if you are able to stick around until the team awards at the end, absolutely do so! You don’t wanna miss being a part of the big team photo on the podium!

That all said, here are all the matches in order for each mat. Use the times as a general guideline – I find the match numbers more useful myself.

Mat 1

#4 – 10:06 – Bryan Tidwell – Black Adult Feather

#6 – 10:30 – Eric Ingram – Black Adult Middle

#7 – 10:42 – Chad Hardy – Black Adult Middle

#14 – 11:57 – Javier Arroyo – Black Master 1 Middle

#15 – 12:05 – Matthew Maskovyak – Black Master 2 Super Heavy

#30 – 1:50 – Andrew Pardee – Purple Master 1 Feather

#38 – 2:49 – Wyatt Baxter – White Adult Middle

#48 – 3:59 – Jacob Taylor – White Master 1 Middle

#49 – 4:06 – Christopher Gardner – White Master 1 Middle

#52 – 4:27 – Brenton Meadows – White Master 1 Super Heavy

 

Mat 2

#2 – 9:38 – Matthew Bush – Blue Adult Middle

#8 – 10:26 – Charlie Alexander – Blue Adult Middle

#9 – 10:34 – Taylor Cross – Blue Adult Middle

#15 – 11:23 – Chance Miller – Purple Adult Middle

#24 – 12:42 – Alexei Pergande – Blue Juvenile Middle

#31 – 1:33 – Alex Holguin – Blue Master 2 Medium Heavy

#33 – 1:47 – Shannon Goughary – Purple Master 1 Light

#36 – 2:09 – Jonathon King – Purple Master 1 Medium Heavy

#43 – 3:01 – Paul Jeong – White Adult Medium Heavy

#46 – 3:22 – Cole Gordon – White Adult Medium Heavy

#49 – 3:43 – Griffin Hill – White Adult Medium Heavy

#51 – 3:57 – Michele Czech – White Adult Light

#54 – 4:18 – Kyle Haack – White Master 1 Heavy

 

Mat 3

#1 – 9:30 – Keith Roberts – Blue Adult Feather

#3 – 9:46 – Russell Bracey – Blue Adult Feather

#14 – 11:06 – Nichole Herold – Blue Adult Super Heavy

#24 – 12:40 – Nicholle Stoller – Purple Adult Light

#25 – 12:49 – Anthony Cairns – Blue Master 1 Medium Heavy

#35 – 2:01 – Rob Gortney – Purple Master 1 Ultra Heavy

#51 – 3:57 – Breana Kenworthy – White Adult Feather

#57 – 4:39 – Erin Mercer-Swayze – White Master 1 Light Feather

 

Mat 4

#1 – 9:30 – Troy Yang – Blue Adult Light

#4 – 9:46 – Aaron White – Blue Adult Light

#9 – 10:34 – Brittany Dickman – Blue Adult Light Feather

#14 – 11:15 – Joseph Kaiga – Purple Adult Feather

#21 – 12:16 – Guerin Lewis – Purple Adult Medium Heavy

#22 – 12:25 – Andrew Kordower – Brown Adult Middle

#37 – 2:19 – Paul Gibson – Purple Master 1 Middle

#38 – 2:26 – Kevin Patterson – Brown Master 1 Middle

#41 – 2:49 – Jimmie Hayes – Brown Master 3 Heavy

#42 – 2:56 – Robert Wake – White Adult Light

#46 – 3:25 – Ray Mullen – White Adult Heavy

#48 – 3:39 – Connor Ridings – White Adult Light

#49 – 3:46 – Caleb Tenpenny – White Adult Heavy

#53 – 4:14 – David Hall – White Master 1 Medium Heavy

#56 – 4:35 – Michael Rohus – White Master 2 Light

#60 – 5:03 – Zachary Hudson – White Master 3 Heavy

 

Mat 5

#3 – 9:46 – Will Caplenor – Blue Adult Medium Heavy

#21 – 12:18 – Kevin Harmon – Brown Adult Light

#27 – 1:08 – Palmer Gibbs – Blue Master 1 Heavy

#28 – 1:15 – Michael Kenner – Blue Master 2 Middle

#35 – 2:04 – James Harrison – Purple Master 2 Ultra Heavy

#36 – 2:11 – Johnathan Hill – Purple Master 2 Ultra Heavy

38 – 2:25 – William Wolf – Brown Master 4 Medium Heavy

#45 – 3:14 – Jackson Mena – White Adult Rooster

46 – 3:21 – Christopher Corey – White Adult Super Heavy

#47 – 3:28 – Jaylen Bolling – White Adult Super Heavy

#50 – 3:49 – Preston Akers – White Master 1 Light

#55 – 4:24 – Kyle Moffett – White Master 1 Ultra Heavy

#57 – 4:38 – Bojan Jovanovic – White Master 1 Ultra Heavy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inconceivable!

Last week something happened that got me all kinds of riled up. I still don’t even get why someone would try to do this, but they did. This is the tale.

The Nashville IBJJF Open is coming up this weekend and everyone is doing their final prep work and weight cuts. I am one of those people who check the registration list several times a day to see if any new ladies have signed up in my division. For the longest time it was just myself, and one of my team mates. I signed up for master 1 and she signed up for adult – so we could share the love with as many people as possible in the open weight class divisions.

Finally, someone else signed up in my weight class, but in the adult division. So I just moved back to the adult division for the match up. Another lady signed up to make us three. We all know and have fought with one another before and it amazes me how hard we can work to kill each other while still being friendly.

It was looking like it would just be us three when a fourth lady signed up the day before the registration deadline, and I  was super excited (one of the guys at the gym said I was like a kid at Christmas) until one of my team mates commented. “What her? Didn’t she get her brown belt last month?

A quick look at her accounts and confirmed that she had indeed been promoted the previous month. My rage set in as I debated on what I should do. I decided to give the benefit of the doubt and waited until after the athlete correction deadline – just in case it was a paperwork or registration mistake. With that deadline past, I sent an email to the IBJJF along with screen shots and photos. Here was my closing statement:

“I hate accusations but if this is true, it is disrespectful to the other opponents in the division as well as her team, coach, and the spirit of Jiu Jitsu. If I am wrong in this accusation, I will personally apologize to “_______” and to you all for making you invest time in looking into this.”

A day later, I received a short reply thanking me for my email and to let me know they were looking into the matter. I also then heard from one of the other ladies in the division who had noticed the same thing I had. Her team head was looking into it as well.

So she ended up getting pulled from the competition. I don’t know what happened at that end of the discussion, but I don’t really care to dig into it.

Here’s what I don’t get…

There aren’t an overwhelming surplus of ladies in my area that are above blue belt. I think we have three female black belts within a 2 hour driving radius. It is a small, close knit community with good camaraderie and sportsmanship all around. I don’t understand how someone could think that we wouldn’t notice that someone was cheating. Whatever the intention, mis-representing your belt rank is cheating.

I fought a brown belt when I was a blue belt, but it was an open division and there were no shadow games going on. I will stress that I don’t care what actual belt rank someone is; I will fight whoever wants to slap hands with me. However, someone who cheats in this way, does not deserve a match.

I also can’t get over how someone would go back and put on their old belt when they spent all that time, sweat, blood, and tears to earn that new rank. It is just a piece of cloth, but the value is priceless because of what I have spent to earn it.

In case you couldn’t tell, I purposefully left the name, and team affiliation out of this post. It has been dealt with and I don’t see the point of spreading internet filth. Think of this as a “Big Sister is always watching” cautionary tale.

My New(ish) Job and Training

I’ve spent a good amount of time and money in 2018 investing in getting my financial legs under me. I went back to massage school and completed the required coursework in order to reactivate my massage therapy license in the state of Tennessee. It was a long and drawn out process, as with most things that go through a government office, but I am now working minimal hours and being paid more than I was at my previous full time position.

I currently work just two evenings a week (Sunday and Monday) at a spa near my house. My manager has told me that they would give me any and all hours that I want, but my current schedule frees me up for training and travel – while still paying all my living expenses. So I’m disinclined to commit to more hours right now.

It is an ideal lifestyle since most competitions are on Friday and/or Saturday, which means that I don’t have to take any time off from work in order to make it just about anywhere in the world and back in time to clock in. They are also very flexible with time off if I request it in advance. Monday morning, and the rest of the days of the week I am able to train my little heart out, and then get huge discounts on a bi-weekly massage for myself.

Thanks to this new freedom, I am hitting the 2019 competition circuit hard. (scroll down for summary)

In January, I will be flying out from Nashville on a Tuesday (the 8th) to compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi on January 10-12. I will fly from there to Lisbon for the IBJJF European Championships where I would be competing on the 16th or 17th, flying home on the 18th, and then back to work on the 20th (Sunday). I will miss two work days.

Also in January I will go to the U.S. National Pro in Miami, Florida. This competition is on  a Saturday so I can fly there and be back Sunday morning without missing any work. Plus I have a friend to visit in Miami and flights are currently super cheap.

I will work that Sun/Mon (27th and 28th), and then leave on Tuesday for Mexico City where I will visit with friends and compete at the Mexico National Pro that Saturday (Feb 2). I have to go out early and adjust to the altitude a bit. Past experience has taught me that it’s a good three days before I start to feel normal at that altitude. I could fly back and make it work right after the competition, but I want to have a little fun and the training is good there – so I have that weekend off work and will hang for a few extra days.

February 23 and 24 is the South American Continental Pro in Bogota, Columbia. It is a similar altitude to Mexico City, so I will be flying there again on a Tuesday to adjust to the altitude and have that weekend off work. I have never been to Columbia and hope to make some new friends and train a bit while I am there. I am considering flying to Peru and visiting Machu Picchu as well.

TL/DR

Jan 10-17 – Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and European Championship – 2 days off work

Jan 26 – US National Pro – no days off work needed

Feb 2 – Mexico National Pro – 2 days off work

Feb 23-24 – South America Continental Pro – 2 days off work

In March the Pan Am Championships will be held in Los Angeles, CA and I will most likely be able to do that event without taking off any time from work. April will be the Abu Dhabi World Pro and I will take off a couple days for that. The World Championships will be at the end of May and I am not sure if I will take off work to stay for the whole event or not.

In an ideal world, I will be able to fly out to DC for training camp with my TLI team mates in the weeks leading up to the World Championships. I would have to fly in on a Tuesday morning and fly back home Sunday in time for work. I will know by the beginning of the year how feasible this would be.

In the Meanwhile:

The only scheduled training sessions that I am missing out on are Monday evenings. All other days I have the entire day free for training, and I also do some extra massage work on team mates after classes. It is an ideal scenario, made possible by knuckling down this year and making things happen. Special thanks to my parents who loaned me the money for my state required continuing education! I am going to make it worth the investment!

 

July Japan Itinerary

It has been a very busy last few weeks! I am getting ready to compete at the IBJJF Nashville Open, and then leaving the week after that for the UAEJJF Tokyo Grand Slam event.

As of right now, I am registered for the master division at the Nashville Open. However, I have a team mate who may take over my spot and I’ll move to the adult division (I prefer it there anyhow!)

I am starting to stress a little bit over the lack of opponents signed up for the Tokyo Grand Slam. There are a good number of ladies signed up for the next weight class down, but I don’t think I could make 55 kg (121 lbs) without ending up in a hospital. A lot of jobs in Japan pay monthly at the end of the month, so I’m sure after payday there will be more people signing up! Worst case scenario, according to their guidebook purple belt ladies can be combined with the brown/black division; which would be a great opportunity for me to get a preview of things to come!

At any rate, this is my planned itinerary for the Japan trip.

July 22: Leave straight from work for the airport and catch the last flight of the day to L.A.

July 23: Depart from L.A. for Manila

July 24: Arriving in Manila in the evening, check into hotel and wander around for a few hours before passing out.

July 25: Depart Manila in the morning and arrive in Tokyo early afternoon. Check into hotel, shower, and walk around at an easy pace. Goal is to stay awake until at least 8 pm.

July 26: Take train to Kamakura, enjoy the beach and the local sights. Goal is to get enough sun to help reset my internal clock, without getting burnt.

July 27: Hike Mt. Takkao and just wander around in the mountains. Might get some Onsen action.

July 28: Weigh ins are this evening. Activity levels leading up to weigh ins will depend on how my weight is after the hiking adventure the previous day. After weigh ins, I will eat Okonomiyaki and rest.

July 29: Competition day – gonna kick some butt! After competing I will go get a Waygu beef bowl and then visit Monster Ice for some shaved ice desert.

July 30: Take train to Kawaguchiko area and check into new hostel. Explore the five lakes area and take in the scenery.

July 31: Get up early to catch the first bus to the Mt. Fuji 5th Station. Ascend at a leisurely pace and reach the summit mid-afternoon. Spend at least an hour at the summit before descending. Onsen time that evening.

August 1: Early afternoon departure flight from Tokyo to Manila. 4 hour layover before continuing on to L.A. – arriving late evening.

August 2: Flight back home to Nashville

August 3: Morning training, then back to work at my job in the afternoon. Caffeine may be required.

 

A few weeks after returning from this trip, I will be making an exciting career change. I have reactivated my Massage Therapy license and will be working out of my YMCA. I currently work at the front desk there and can’t be an employee and contractor at the same time – so I’ll be hitting the new gig full steam out the gate! My oldest nephew is planning to be visiting me around this time as well – so it will be an awesome month! So far I am planning to compete at the Master World Championships as well, but I will have to wait and see how business and finances are panning out around then.

So Close!

The Countdown is ON!

At this time next week, I will be on my way to California for the IBJJF Pan Championship tournament! I’m right on track with my weight, have energy for days, and am really looking forward to closing out a division with my team mate, Katie! There will be a live stream available for all the matches, so when I get my details I will make sure to share them.

This will be my 6th time competing at the Pans. My goal is to compete in the adult divisions all the way through at least one year as a black belt. When I competed in Atlanta I had one of the girls react in shock to the fact I was in the adult division. I suppose 32 seems old to a 19/20ish year old!

 

Abu Dhabi

Today I got my plane ticket to the Abu Dhabi World Pro booked. This has been a Jiu Jitsu bucket list item for years – and I decided to just do it. Maximus Kimonos has been awesome enough to supply me with a white gi for use – along with some cool no gi stuff. Give them a look-see and mention my name to get a 10% discount. I can say the gi is super comfy and very light weight!

I’m not yet sure which of two possible days I would be competing at the World Pro. My flight gets me in too late for day before weigh ins the first day, but in time for the same morning weigh ins. Of course if I compete the second day I will be all good for the day before weigh ins. Lodging and my flight to NYC still need to be arranged, but one thing at a time!

Upcoming Events

Well first off, Merry Christmas to all! And if you aren’t the Christmas type, I hope you had a good day off from work!
The gyms were all closed yesterday, so I went to see the new Star Wars movie again with a team mate. Today it is back to the grind! BJJ gym is still closed today, but I am meeting up my regular drilling partner before heading off to my shift at work. Gotta get those reps in!
The current attack plan for the first few months of 2018 is:

January 15-22 – European Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

I can only afford to be there for the days that I could possibly compete. Gotta get back to work by the 21st. At least jet lag doesn’t exist to me anymore for a Europe trip (after a few trips to Asia).

February 3 – Atlanta International Open

This is an easy day trip for my crew since it is only a 3ish hour drive from Nashville. I’ve kept my one day off from work as a Saturday – so I can make it easily to these day trip events without having to barter time off from work… I’ll be doing plenty of that already this year.

February 17 – Team Shawn Hammonds Team Training

One of the funnest events of the year! Last february we had over 30 black belts on the mat and so many people that it was just wonderful chaos! I was promoted to purple belt at the 2017 team training and I look forward to seeing all the promotions this next year!

February 24 – Mexico City International Open Gi and No Gi

Past experience has taught me that I need to arrive several days early in Mexico City – in order to adjust to the altitude. I haven’t worked out a flight yet, but it is on! Barring work putting their foot down (I have a pretty flexible job).

My concern here is whether there will be any purple belt ladies competing here or not. But I think it will work out! Plus it will be great to see friends again!

March 7-11 – Pan Championships in California

I’m waiting on the preliminary schedule to be released before I start thinking about booking a flight. Gotta go out there, smash, and then get back to work.

Since I am a part timer at work, I’m fairly flexible with time off. I just have to at least make an effort to find someone to cover my shift and I’m good to go. I’ll be making trips as short as possible though because I do need a cash flow to make all this happen. It’s a balancing act that I think I have finally gotten worked out!

I will hear from the Japanese Embassy in a few weeks about my application. But I’m not gonna just sit on my hands in the meanwhile! Gotta keep moving and trying to be a little bit better every day! (Except for yesterday… yesterday I ate half a pie)

Atlanta Pro Ladies Divisions

IMG_4310This coming Friday, I will finish off my last evening at my job and will likely get home at around 11 pm. I will be leaving for Atlanta at around 3:00 am saturday morning, so hopefully I can get at least a couple hours worth of sleep!

The IBJJF Atlanta Pro competition starts at around 9 am next Saturday, but I need to be there at 8 because I will be working at the event. Not only will I be competing for a $400 cash prize, I will also get to collect a small paycheck at the end of the day. Receiving a paycheck makes the entire trip tax deductible as a business expense. Yay!

There is a much smaller turn out for this event than I was anticipating. Registration is now closed and I only have a division of 6, with 28 blue belt ladies total with 21 possible to enter the open division. So that comes down to 2-3 matches in my weight class, and 4-5 possible in the open weight class.

There needs to be a minimum of 4 competitors in order for the division cash prize to be awarded. There are exactly 4 black belt ladies signed up – there were just three a few days ago so I am very glad to have seen another jump on board!

The Black Belt Breakdown

Six prizes totaling $20,000 spread across four weight classes is allocated for the men, and one open division prize of $1,500 is offered for the ladies. If you look at the registration list and do some fun division, you can see the value of each person in each cash division if the winners hypothetically decided to share the prize money equally among all the competitors in their division:

Black Belt Male Feather Weight:

8 Competitors – Two cash prizes = $5,000
$5,000/8 Competitors = $625/Competitor

Black Belt Male Middle Weight:

6 Competitors – Two cash Prizes = $5,000
$5,000/6 Competitors = $833.34/Competitor

Black Belt Male Heavy Weight:

6 Competitors – Two cash prizes = $5,000
$5,000/6 Competitors = $833.34/Competitor

Black Belt Male Super Heavy Weight:

8 Competitors – Two cash prizes = $5,000
$5,000/8 Competitors = $625/Competitor

Black Belt Female Open Weight Class

4 Competitors – One cash prize = $1,500
$1,500/4 Competitors = $375/Competitor

What Does It Mean?

There are enough black belt ladies now to have a good turn out at one of these pro competitions. However, why would any of them ever want to sign up for and travel to an event when they can wait for the event within driving distance of home? The mens division prizes are definitely much more likely to incite someone to travel from the opposite coastline, and even internationally.

Rough cost break down per competitor who would travel to an event:

Plane ticket: $300

Hotel for two nights: $150

Rental Car: $50

Registration Fees: $130

Food and incidentals: $50

So that is roughly $680 out of pocket, before even stepping on the competition mat. Not counting possible lost income from having to be away from work, paying for childcare, etc. If I was choosing between traveling for the chance at $1,500 – fighting in an open weight division, I would definitely hesitate – especially if I had the option of other events within driving distance.

Competing in a weight class, even for a reduced prize money amount would be much more enticing to the female competitor. The IBJJF stipulates that there must be 4 competitors registered for a division in order for any cash prizes to be awarded, so if they happen to have a poor turn out, they still have that option to fall back on.

I would wager that weight class prizes, even if they just split the open weight class into two divisions, would make these events look MUCH more enticing to a female competitor who is planning out her competition schedule for the year.

Here are some more numbers I put together for the event.

One lady next saturday will win 2 matches, and go home with 1,500.

Four men next saturday will win 2-3 matches, and go home with 1,000 each.

Four men next saturday will win 3-4 matches, and go home with 5,000 each.

My Conclusion:

I didn’t even cover the colored belt divisions for the men and women. I’m kind of whatever about that, but the black belt ladies have put in their time and deserve a better opportunity.

I’m not angry and feeling the need to boycott the event. It is just a four hour driving distance from Nashville, I get good matches, and is worth it for me to make the trip to compete. Plus my entry fee feeds the machine and will help to get the coffers full enough that the organization will feel it can start offering better cash prizes for the ladies.

I would like to see them do an experiment for just one pro event: offering an equal cash prize for the ladies and the men. If it flopped, it would shut up all the people nagging them. If it did well, they would know that it could work. I for one would definitely make a point of traveling to support that competition.

I’m excited at how the ladies divisions have been growing in the past few years and look forward to the future! It will take time – but things have been changing a lot, even since I started training. It is all thanks to the ladies who have paved the road before us and we owe them big time!

Competition – Boston, Atlanta, and Tokyo Plans

The past two weeks have been crazy! Awesome, but crazy!001

I flew out to Boston on August 19th and visited with my family for a few days in Amherst, NH. We did a big family portrait with my parents, sister, and my brother’s clan.

It was great to see everyone – I need to get out there more often to visit!

On the 22nd my Dad drove me to Boston to compete in the IBJJF Boston Open. After the craziness that happened last time in Boston with my weight, I made absolute certain I was at least a couple pounds under my weight limit before leaving for the venue in the morning.

Weight Class
My first match in a competition is always a bit weird. I won with a pretty good point margin but wasn’t feeling driven to go for the finish like usual (bad Nicholle!). In my second match I won by submission.

My third (and finals match) was an awesome battle! I made the huge mistake of trying a brand new move and ended up getting my guard passed and I lost on points for the silver medal in my weight class.

The Open
For my first match in the open, I had the ultra-heavy weight silver medalist. I jumped full guard and did well the first half of the match until my guard was passed and I found I was unable to move beyond just enough to prevent a position advance for my opponent. In the end, my opponent was disqualified in the last 10 seconds for stalling. I’m glad I got to advance, but I didn’t exactly win either – so I have very mixed feelings about that.

002My second match was the semi finals and I got another of the ultra-heavy weight ladies. I pulled guard straight into a sweep but was unable to stick the pass and got put into full guard. I became rather annoyed at attempts to cross choke me across my cheekbones and eyes. I got a stalling warning, stood up, passed, and had a really fun match without getting scored on and ending with a submission.

My team mate Roya won her semi finals match against yet another ultra-heavy weight, and I told our coach I wanted to give her the gold since she took gold in her division. (Plus she is awesome and I have yet to be able to score a single point on her in practice.) So I ended up with double silver in Boston!

Washington D.C.
Sunday night (the 23rd) I took an overnight bus from Boston down to Washington D.C. I can usually sleep well while traveling but had major difficulties this time so I arrived in D.C. looking a little worn with just about a 30 minute nap keeping me upright. I didn’t make it to the school in time for morning training so I watched the rest of class.
I went across the street to eat and just when my food arrived I got a call from Master Lloyd asking where I was – apparently one of my team mates was going back by the dorm house and was going to drop me off so I could sleep. Since I missed the ride, I took a nap on the mat in the back room.

Training was awesome as always and I feel like I’m improving a bit more each time I visit. One of my training partners commented that I felt more compact than I did my last visit.

Atlanta
I took a bus from D.C. to Atlanta on the 28th (Friday). It was a stinking looooooong ride of 14+ hours but I can’t really complain too much since the ticket cost me less than $30! (Megabus has revolutionized my travel budget!)

Made it to my hotel a little bit before midnight and crashed out until I had to check out and head to the venue at 9. My division was set to start at 10:40 but ended up being called 30 minutes early. My warm up consisted of slapping my face once at the side of the mat and running out there.

Weight Class
I had a training injury limiting my normal levels of mobility, so I opted to jump full guard. The match went for several minutes before I managed to get a submission.

My second match was won by submission but I can’t remember how it went and my video malfunctioned… so that will just have to be a mystery!

Third match was the finals against a friend of mine and it was shaping up to be a fun dynamic match until her hip dislocated while I was working a straight ankle lock. Apparently it happens frequently so she will be fine after a few days of soreness – but it sucked!

So yea, gold in my weight class.

Open Weight
My first match was pretty tough and went to a decision. I played guard the whole time but was dynamic enough that I won the decision to advance.

003My second match was possibly one of my favorites of the day. My training injury was really starting to cause me problems so I resorted to rubber guard control and ended up winning by submission with a bent elbow arm bar (yes, it looked as weird as it sounds).

My third match was the finals and I went with the weirdest guard pull/sweep thing I think I’ve done in competition to date. I ended up on top of deep half guard with the under hook. I ended finishing with a wrist lock which surprised and confused my opponent since she had been told wrist locks were not legal moves.

Gold in the Open!

004

Home Again!
It was so good to get back home to Nashville! I miss my home crew and awesome coach, Shawn Hammonds, whenever I am gone for more than a few days. I have just a few more days to enjoy them all before I leave on September 8th for Japan.

One of my clients bartered a package deal in exchange for the plane ticket to Tokyo. He and his wife are pretty much set for their next year’s worth of massage appointments – and it’s totally worth it!

I will arrive in Tokyo on the 9th and have already reserved a portable wifi unit so I can stay connected with my instagram account while I am exploring. Okay, and so that I can look up google maps when I get lost (which WILL happen!)

I booked myself a stay in a well reviewed capsule hotel which includes a bicycle rental. It also has free (consistent) wifi, a ladies only floor with traditional Japanese bath, a rooftop terrace, easy access to metro and food places, as well as a free vending machine that dispenses coffee, tea, and miso soup! Oh yea, and only $20 a day!

On the 10th I have been granted a tour of the Imperial Palace after which I plan to visit the Kodokan Museum and watch a Judo class there. I won’t be able to participate since not only do I not have an official judo gi, I will be competing on the 12th and would rather not have any extra sore spots if necessary.

The 12th is the Pan Asian Championships in a northern area of Tokyo. I currently have a division of 4 and am crossing my fingers for some more last minute sign ups! Feather weights and under outnumber the light weights and up by almost a 2:1 ratio – so I get to be one of the big she-hulk beasts in the open!

On the 13th I will be climbing to the summit of Mt. Fuji. It’s a non-technical climb which means no ropes will be needed. The climb just requires lots of stamina and cardio endurance as it’s a long uphill hike through rapidly thinning air (12,388 ft or 2.34 miles above sea level). Incidentally there is also a ramen shop at the summit along with a post office. I am going to mail a few postcards from the top once I make it up there, after slurping some high altitude ramen!

On the 15th I have tickets to the Sumo National Championship Tournament.I actually booked this through a tour company so I will get to have the walk through and an explanation of all the ceremony involved.

I fly home on the afternoon of the 16th so I plan to eat one (or 5) last meals before heading for the airport.

If anyone has any suggestions of things to do while I am there, please share! I’ve got a check list of things to do (and things to eat!) and will most definitely be taking a TON of photos and videos. I probably will not be spending too much time writing blog posts while I am there, but I may do some photo and/or video blogs!

Sayonara!

IBJJF New York Open

I am currently on a plane for several hours and so I thought what better use of my time than to work on a blog post! Aside from polishing my new medals of course… but I’ll get to that!

Preparation

I had a very busy week of work and training leading up to a full weekend competing in the IBJJF New York Gi and No Gi Competition. I had to spend a couple weeks out of training due to a concussion received, but was cleared for normal training two weeks ago. I still feel the need for more sleep, but otherwise have been back to normal!

While I was out, I wasn’t allowed to do anything but sleep and eat… Thanks to that I had to drop a lot more weight than I prefer to drop in such a short amount of time. It was doable, just not preferred!

I arrived in New York and made my way to Brooklyn where my fabulous friends Caleb and Alison live. After checking my weight upon arrival I determined I had some wiggle room so we went out to grab some food, I got to have a grilled chicken taco and then we went to a nice little bakery/bar because Caleb wanted cake. I ended up surrendering to the temptation of a glorious salted chocolate chip cookie with milk. So stinking good!

Competition Day 1 (Gi)

The next morning I got up and made the treck into Manhattan by subway – a really simple ride really. I arrived at the venue and as soon as I stepped down the stairs I was hit by a wall of heat. I remembered the venue as being ridiculously hot the last time, but this seemed much worse this time!

I wasn’t horribly concerned about making weight on the first day since I was already on weight for no gi day – meaning several lbs lighter than what I normally weigh in at (apparently the IBJJF thinks everyone wears a 6 pound gi). I ended up weighing in several pounds light and was all ready to roll!

My first match I finished with a sub within the first minute, and my second match went the whole time with a win on points. I almost always either win by sub, or loose by points. So that was a bit odd.

While I was waiting for my third (and semi final) match, I started to feel the affects of sitting in that sauna of a venue. I don’t do very well at all if I get dehydrated – some people can water cut, but I can’t.

I started my match and quickly discovered just how badly I let the heat get to me as I felt extremely disoriented. I don’t even remember right now how the match ended. I just remember being questioned by the medics and them telling me I was done for the day. They asked if I had been hit in the head and I told them I was just getting over a concussion and they immediately informed me I was probably done for the entire weekend.

I admit, I cried. After I assured them I had been cleared for normal training and had been asymptomatic doe the past 10 days while training, they agreed to let me compete the next day in no gi as long as I checked in with them first. The symptoms of dehydration can mimic the symptoms of concussion.

I downed a couple liters of water and immediately started feeling better. Yes, I tried to go back and talk them into letting me do the open, but I still got a solid “no” from them. Better safe than sorry I suppose!

End result: Bronze in my weight class

Competition Day 2 (No Gi)

After what happened the previous day, I came prepared for the heat toting a gallon of water and a back full of extra fruit.

I lost my match in my weight class over a stupid mistake. I had a triangle arm bar that was hyper extended but apparently my opponent was double jointed. I abandoned it and ended up getting passed off the triangle. My referee afterwards told me that I should have stayed on the arm because I was winning up until the point I bailed on it. It was a most epic match that I ended up loosing 2-3.

It was a small division to begin with however, so I was still qualified to compete in the open and I was totally charged up to do so!

Most of the time, I do not have a coach and I will be lucky if I have someone to film for me. I have to be responsible for my own pep talks. My first opponent received a very rousing pep talk from her coach and it actually made me nervous! However, at the edge of the mat I stood still, closed my eyes, and repeated my focus phrase.

It worked! I finished my first match by submission within 30 seconds! My second match was the semi finals and I won by submission at just past the one minute mark. For the finals match I started to get myself worked up again, so I went back to my focus phrase and needed up with a submission win in under a minute!

End result: Bronze in weight class, Gold in the open weight

What This Means

To date, I’ve had a really sucky competition year so far in 2015. I know that winning isn’t everything, but to fall short at every event gets demoralizing after a while. To finally make the podium again just felt so Good!

I have already registered to compete in the Boston Open, Atlanta Open, Master Worlds, and No Gi Pans.

IBJJF Boston Open

My family lives an hour from Boston and I decided that I would compete in the Boston Open so that my Mom, Dad, and sister would all finally get to see me compete!

I wasn’t sure how having them watching would affect me mentally. It could make me spazz out, or turn me into an absolute beast. Thankfully, it was the latter.

Weight Issues:
That was a pretty rough morning. I had a division of 12, set to start at 9:00. I brought a scale with me to the hotel and was fine that morning but got to the venue at 8:30 and discovered my scale was off by a lot… Meaning I had about 20-30 mins to cut just over 2 lbs.

I went to call my coach to ask him what I should do, only to discover my phone was missing. I was panicking on many levels. In the middle of this time, my family arrived and I told them I had to go cut weight and find my phone.

I gave myself a rather intense abdominal massage to help the colon do its thing, but that wasn’t enough. I determined I would have to puke as well. I nearly gave up then. At that point, my phone was found and I decided I was gonna make the weight if it killed me – if for no other reason, but for my family.

So I made it. Barely. But I made it.

Irony of ironies, my first opponent didn’t make weight.

Weight Division:
I was supposed to have 4 matches, but my first opponent was over weight by a pound.

There were about three other people who were DQed for not showing up. I heard that there was some confusion as to he location for some. Anyhow, my next opponent was one of those. Sooooo… Pass into the semis. Sucks, but at least I could make up the matches in the open!

My first match (would have been my 3rd!) she pulled guard and I went straight to my cut through, passed, stayed on top, and Won 16-0. She had great defense and I wasn’t able to finish her. I’ve been working a lot on control from the top and it paid off at this competition for sure!

My second match was the finals. She definitely had length on me. I ended up in her closed guard but couldn’t reach her arms to do the open/pass I had been drilling. She bump swept me to mount and got the sweep and mount points before I was able to escape to my own closed guard. I was able to break her posture and finish with a cross choke in the last 30 secs of the match.

So that gave me a gold medal in my division. I registered for the open then ran out with the family to get some food in my poor empty system.

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The Open:
My first match in the open was against a medium heavy weight (I think). I pulled guard when I felt comfortable, then went straight for the ankle lock for the tap about 30 secs in.

My second match was against another light weight – the only medalist I hadn’t fought yet. I did my snap takedown, got on top, smashed, and finished from the back with a loop choke variation.

My third match was the semi finals and I got to face off with a heavyweight. Let’s just say I got my just deserts for the crushing I was doing earlier. Ha! She had me crumpled up like a tissue and I couldn’t move worth a hill of beans. She won on points and consoled me with the information that I had frustrated her with my deep half guard sweep threats.

So that gave me a bronze in the Open. I take great pride in being the smallest person on the podium (I was wearing boots with two inch soles)

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In Summary:
Rachelle came to compete as well and she did amazing! She gets better every competition and got on the scoreboard this time! Pretty soon she will be tearing it up as well!

I went out for food with the (very impressed) family after my weight division. My Mom had to go lie down at the hotel for the rest of the day because she was in a lot of pain (fibromyalgia and arthritis). She doesn’t travel very well so it meant so much to me that she was able to come! My sister stayed with her but my dad came back to cheer me on in the Open.

I was asked to help out working at the podium for a few hours, so I directed traffic, answered questions, and handed out medals for a couple hours. They paid cash at this competition so my food budget was restored.

What’s Next?
I’m back to the grind this morning. The New York Open is this weekend and winning it will put me in the top three of my division – so I guess I had better win it!

I’m really excited because the guys at Raijin Fight Wear have been teasing me with a new item design that is top secret – and a surprise for me. I should get to see it soon and it feels like waiting for Christmas!

There are just about 7 weeks until the IBJJF World Championship, and I just can’t wait! Looks like I will be the only person from my school going, so I’m considering going to Philadelphia the week before so that I can train at the TAC Team headquarters school for a bit. We shall see!