My life according to belt. Chronicles of a 30's something female Jiu Jitsu practitioner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wow has time been flying by. I can't believe we are already only a week away from Thanksgiving. Amidst all of the school field trips and social outings that come with the season I have managed to make it to all of the BJJ classes. Last week went pretty well.

We had two new members join the class and that is always nice. They are both soccer players that are looking to stay in shape during their off season. Both are from Brazil, but have never actually done any Jiu Jitsu. Last week we went over some basics- We worked on getting out of closed guard, and drilling a roll from the guard position.

I certainly appreciated the simplicity of it...but maybe I was the only one. Last night was terrible. The instructor had us working on darce and gator grips. Maybe it is just me, but both are ridiculously difficult..No matter how I contort myself I can't seem to get a strong enough grip to hold. My arms are either too short, or the fact that I am female is a hindrance..or maybe both. Anyone else have the same problem? I can't imagine being able to swoop into one of those positions during an actual roll.

I left class last night completely hopeless. Hoping Wed night is better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Monday...

Another Monday- Another start of another week. Today is only the beginning and I am already exhausted. Holiday weekends are brutal when kids are involved. Essentially every hour, of every day is scheduled. When the unexpected things (like taking the cat to the vet, or the dog eating the family chicken pet, or yet another bolt gets lodged in your tire) get thrown into the equation it gets even worse. It does make me feel better to know that the kids are exhausted too. Normally they are some sort of super humans with boundless energy- but today, even they are dragging.

Due to all of the holiday festivities I haven't had much of a chance to catch up on anything. So, I am sitting here working on this first- as opposed to tackling the laundry (that has become so large I really feel the need to name it and adopt it into the family) or the dishes. What can I say- we have to have priorities-

Last week was fairly rocky all the way around. The last class of the week was better- it was a more get back to the basics approach, which of course I appreciated. We worked on passing guard, moving to side control and then full mount. We then made it into a drill by the bottom person locking the foot, bumping and rolling the person off of mount and back into closed guard where we could start all over again. Main morale of the drill?? Keep your elbows tight- don't allow anyone to get too high- towards your arm pits. That's where bad things happen.

I had a long conversation with one of the guys- he said he appreciates the fact that I show up everyday, and he can tell that I take it seriously. He hopes that eventually it will become easier for me, and others will start giving me the chance to roll too. That was certainly a positive...while it is great that I have won him over- his arm is currently broken and he cannot participate in any kind of training. Once he is better, I know he is one I can go to for help though.

The verdict is still out on the trip to Dallas...honestly I am not sure that I want to spend mass amounts of money to be completely overwhelmed for two days straight- but at the same time a crash course may be just what I need..I will be flip flopping on it for another month or so I'm sure. Apparently the seminar is not really a seminar- but an affiliate based course. So, there aren't any other women- it would only be me. The Saturday class is from 1pm-7pm, and Sunday is 10am to 2pm..let's face it- that is A LOT of Jiu Jitsu. I don't know if I can even survive a course like that right now...
Financially I am not prepared either. The guys said that they take boo coos of gis and change them out frequently due to sweating so much. I am not in a position right now to buy five or six gis. On the other hand- attending the course with the guys may be just what I need to do to officially break the ice with them- maybe this is their version of a hazing..

We have another class tonight- if I can survive the day, I will go.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Branching Out

Class was a bit better last night- but I am still oh so conflicted. While I finally feel like I am making a tad bit of headway with the guys- I am not getting anywhere at all with the instructor. There is an upcoming seminar within my local area that may be beneficial- who knows- I have pretty much been banned from attending though...just in case I pick up "bad technique" and everything..

When I was teaching dance I never forbid people from attending other instructors- because I was never afraid of them finding out something negative...if they picked up bad habits, I could fix it..and I certainly wasn't concerned about my instruction coming into question.
Which makes me seriously step back and question the quality of training where I am now. What is the main benefit a school gets from isolation-

On the other hand, I am pretty much out of options- it is either this or nothing. So, for now I guess I will continue my path in limited training, and remember that side trips are all the more important. I still have a lot to think about regarding the main upcoming trip, and whether or not it is a worth while venture.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Okay- so I just got home from one of the most frustrating lessons ever. I am so frustrated that if I were to go ahead and type out my issues, I would inevitably say something nasty and downright mean- only to regret it later. Therefore I am leaving the night with a simple. AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGG)(*(*^*&%&^($*^ %#$^%!!!!!!!!!

Downward Spiral

Last week was horrendous- not just from a Jiu Jitsu stand point, but from a real life schedule wise stand point. I literally had a HUGE event every single day. I started the week really well- I went to training class on Monday- I even managed to get the hubby there with me. The kickboxing and striking training was the same as usual. We worked on technique to promote power...running various speed drills..for 2 1/2 hours..

Next came the Jiu Jitsu class. I was super excited to have my husband there with me. Not that we can really roll together, since he is WAY bigger than I am..but I figured he could help me work the technique on things at home. All of the guys were very welcoming of him (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!), and it really didn't take long for the class to start going downhill from the get go. Honestly I can't even remember the technique that they were working on that night- rolling someone from a guard position, and getting out of an armbar I think...I don't remember because since no one would work the technique with me I pretty mush stayed in the corner. Hubby was more than happy to roll the technique with me- I did it a couple of time with him, but hauling a good 120 plus pounds from on top of me was not an easy feat- and since I didn't have the technique well, it was even harder- I could tell I was resorting to trying to muscle my way out of it.

After a few failed attempts with him I walked off to get our stuff packed up- they had an open mat session in which everyone was SO impressed with my hubby. Oh yay. So thrilled. I show up night after night and work my butt off and get nothing but put in a corner. They hubby shows up one night, knows nothing and is a freak of nature grand master. Needless to say- I haven't made it back since.


I drove up to Richmond Friday night for the Hannette Staack seminar. It was presented by the more than welcoming crew at BJJ Revolution. Not only did they invite me to one of their classes- they loaned me a Gi for the class and seminar!! They were/ are fantastic and I advise anyone traveling that direction to stop in and say Hi.

After 5 plus hours in the car my muscles were not happy- but I donned the loaned GI and did a little one on one with Eric Burdo and Liz Sussan- the owners/ operators of BJJ Revolution. They both gave me some advice on passing closed guard that I plan on working on in the near future. I couldn't stay long since I was exhausted- so I headed back to my fabulous hotel and ordered room service!! It was quite a treat after such a horrible week of craziness.

The next morning came quickly and it was seminar time before I knew it. I was super nervous. I was there by myself- didn't really know anyone, and I don't consider myself to have any kind of working knowledge of Jiu Jitsu at all.

Hannette started the seminar with some drills that were all very new to me- using a partner to turn off of- working on rolling between the partners legs- in theory it looked very cool- me doing it?? not so much- it was a time I guess. Of course she was very nice and said- " You are pretty good for just starting"..but what is she going to say?? OMG- Just quit- Walk away now- this just ins't for you...

The seminar progressed from the rolls into what I would consider combo moves. I never really heard the names for anything but I have them somewhat mapped out in my head and I will try to put something descriptive up later. I learned a lot of basics (which I needed), and a few techniques for future use. It was a great seminar and I hope to get to another one that she is teaching soon. While everyone was very nice and accommodating- it made me realize how much more a Jiu Jitsu partner is really needed. Someone to consistently practice with- someone to help you remember the details- someone to push you when you need to be pushed- and also someone that acknowledges you are working as hard as you possibly can and sometimes you just have to throw the dog a bone.

My plan, as of this minute, is to go to Jiu Jitsu class tonight. I am not the least bit optimistic- but I have to keep trying.

Friday, October 15, 2010

To Gi or Not to Gi

It is official- I am signed up and ready to attend the upcoming seminar in Richmond. YAY!!! I am super excited to meet some other Jiu Jitsu girls. I am starting to feel official-

I have a BJJ sticker on the back of my car.

I have a weekend seminar scheduled.

I am covered in bruises and am currently toting a broken right foot. It is quite colorful and lovely.

The only thing I lack at the moment is a Gi. The cordial group in Richmond has offered to loan me one- but I would like to order one for myself anyway-

I prefer to go with a blue- or anything other than black and white really-

Suggestions? Do the Gis really differ from men to women? Any particular brands that are really good? I have one suggestion already (thanks Leslie!)..but it is a cheapie what I need to know is if you could only buy one Gi and it had to be the best Gi you could buy at that moment- what would you get???

Hope you are all doing well! I can't thank you all enough for the ongoing support. Things are really looking up at my gym...apparently the guys have been "bragging" about me behind my back..YAY!@@

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lesson Learned

It has been a few days since I have been able to post anything. Partly because my schedule is just ridiculously busy, and partly because by the time I get home and the kids are in bed- I am ready for bed too. The 3 and a half hour training classes 4 times a week is taking a serious toll. Even now as I type my hands and forearms are killing me. Luckily my legs are in pretty good shape, or I would question whether or not I could even sit here.
We have been doing a lot of drills on striking power- using technique to push through versus just swinging. What a concept. When I started this my hook was by far my weakest throw- after last night it now may be my hardest. Apparently all the guys were impressed. They all said my hook is harder then theres- with the exception of the title fighter of course. Good enough for meeeeee. I even got a high five from one of the guys that has been kind of stand offish. May have been the highlight of the evening.
At the end of the training class we did some sort of hellacious 10 minute action drill. For ten minutes you move- doing whatever the person calling out the orders tells you too...push ups, jumping jacks, squats, sprawls, ect...after about 3 minutes in to it I was done...I mean really done..keep in mind we had already done an hour and a half of high impact MMA training-...I mustered my way through the last 7 minutes so that I wouldn't start hearing the "girl" remarks..but none of the actions I did were actually worth anything. I did stay moving though...

On to Jiu Jitsu...I felt terrible moving on to the Jiu Jitsu class as sweaty and stinky as I was..but I guess the guys were too..
We were working on an arm bar technique- it was super hard for me..being as that I am short and chubby- "compact" as they say nicely (lol)...but I have the hardest time swinging my leg over the head...I can rotate t square up on the arm, but I can't seem to swing my leg over the head to sweep them. Practice makes perfect I guess..

I am curious if I were to have a girl to try the move on if I would be any more successful...the guys seem to have a hard time working the technique on me too...for apparently the same reason. I am thrilled that they are starting to work technique with me at all!!

I officially signed up for the upcoming Hanette Staack seminar. I am super excited to be going to meet some other female Jiu Jitsu practitioners, as well as learn some techniques from a topnotch female. I mentioned the class to my instructor and he seemed excited for me..always a good sign.
I feel like everyone is getting more and more accepting- in the beginning they just didn't know what to do with a girl, so they chose not to do anything I guess..
Lesson to self (and any other readers out there)..doing nothing is hardly ever the right option.