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.

Into The Storm, and Out Again

Competitions are a roller coaster.

Even before the actual event, emotions tend to just go crazy. Everyone deals with the pressure in their own way. I tend to get easily frustrated and usually have at least one big hysterical crying fit about a week before a major event. I know some people who get angry, others who act like they are in the middle of a bipolar manic phase, and some who just get very serious and turn inwards (those are the scariest ones!)

Playing the numbers, the vast majority of people at an event will leave with a measure of disappointment. Only one person can win each division.

At the World Championships this year, once again I fell short. Even months later, it still stings. Everything I have learned in the years since I first stepped on the mat, and it just wasn’t enough. Quite frankly, it put me in a major funk. Throw some family and personal crisises into the mix, and I just hit a wall of what I could emotionally handle – I just shut down. It was a pretty bad downward spiral.

My biggest issue I finally realized was that I wasn’t allowing myself to properly process everything. Here are a few things I learned in this process:

  • It’s okay to get angry/frustrated/upset when something doesn’t go the way I planned
  • I’m stronger than I think
  • My environment is not to blame for my outcomes
  • There is nothing to be ashamed of when I do my best
  • The people who care about me, will celebrate with me in success, but that doesn’t determine my personal value
  • I’m not alone

So what has changed? Really, not much. All the problems are still present. However, my head is back on straight and I feel like I am finally awake, can see in color again, and am finally able to look forward to the exciting things I have planned!

In just 10 days I will be heading off to Las Vegas to compete at the Master World Championships. Two weeks after that, I will watching the sunrise from the top of Mt Fuji and then competing in Tokyo before setting off on a two week tour of travel, training, and exploring in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

One thing I can say for certain. After failing 4 times at the World Championships, when I do finally succeed, I think that I will appreciate it much more than I would have if I won the first time around. Building anticipation and all.

Now that I think I have gotten out of my phase of depressive writing (there are so many things in my draft folder that I don’t think need to see the light of day), I think I will be able to get back to my normal writing jive – just in time for the trips!

I am looking for an individual or company to sponsor my Mt Fuji climb. I am an experienced climber and will be video documenting the 2 day climb to the summit at 12,334ish feet above sea level. I’m doing it with or without support, but it would make it easier if I could rent gear instead of having to haul mine and then drag it around for the rest of my two week trip. Contact Me if you might be interested!