Exhibit “A”

I hope everyone in the U.S.A. has a good and safe Independence Day!

My gym is officially closed today, but it’s quite handy to have a key. I upped my water intake to two gallons yesterday and have been doing my fasted cardio every morning. I both love it and hate it. I fly out in just about 9 days to see my family in New Hampshire before we all head down to the New York Open competition – so I’ve gotta make sure I have some wiggle room in my weight since my access to gym facilities will be limited during my time with the family. (Worth It!)

My one of my best friends invited me to his rooftop firework viewing party tonight. I’m going to put on my normal person disguise and go have a bit of fun. I am so saturated every day in training that sometimes it is quite refreshing to have a few hours away from everyone I am usually around every day. Granted, I sometimes end up being the group exhibit whenever I am around people who don’t train!

It is rather funny actually. Usually it will start with an introduction like this “This is my friend Nicholle. She is amazing, does martial arts, and can kick your ass!” After that, things go one of two ways. The people become rather stiff and awkward, or they happen to be mma/martial arts fans themselves and then the discussions take off. My friend who invited me to the party tonight happens to be the type who can make anyone feel comfortable with anything (it is seriously a gift I envy!) so I predict smooth sailing tonight!

 

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.

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

20130805-131221.jpg

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.

tumblr_m0dyeadxzL1ronm93o1_500

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!

images

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!

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.

20130724-063817.jpg

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!

20130724-065119.jpg

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!

Teaching Jiu Jitsu, and Next Big Goal

I didn’t get too much training in today. We have a fight camp going on for several of my team mates who are fighting next month – and I’m not much help for them I’m afraid. They need someone durable who can make them work hard. I am, however, an excellent time keeper when necessary!

I didn’t take the morning Gi class either… I saw just 4, very large, pretty new, white belts. Told coach “I think I’ll just let the boys play.” He looked, laughed, and agreed. So I just heckled from the sidelines – it’s an important job!

I did roll a bit with two people who showed up at 5. Got the blood flowing and felt better. Odd how my day feels incomplete without choking someone with my foot!

20130622-000423.jpg

Coach asked me to teach the 6 pm ladies class and then lock up the gym for him. The position we are working on this week has been side control bottom, so I taught the basic bridge-hip escape-reguard, then an underhook back take. Then we got a little fancy with an inverted triangle from the bottom.

It really feels good that my coach trusts me enough to give me that responsibility! I also love it because I feel like I finally get to give back a bit of what has been poured into me for the last two years!

20130621-232220.jpg
Next Goal:
It has been decided that my next big tournament will be the No Gi Pan American Championships. It is on September 28 and is in New York. Thankfully I have an awesome friend who I will get to stay with while I’m there
shameless plug:Visit his website for some amazingly orchestrated musical art!

In preparation for this, I’m going to compete at the IBJJF Chicago Open on August 17 and 18. I will get a chance to compete both in Gi, and No Gi divisions there.

My blue belt goal is to compete at ADCC. It is a major competition held in Abu Dhabi for which you have to win a qualifier at some point during the year. For ladies, they group white and blue belts together in one category, then purple, brown, and black together in another. In order to qualify, I will have to win my category weight division, and also the absolute division (no weight class).

I have a feeling this next year is going to be exciting indeed!

20130621-232049.jpg