Monday, August 31, 2009

Balancing Act

I'm kind of a passionate person. When I find something I really like, I throw myself into it body and soul. Problem is, I like a lot of things: God, my family, my work as a youth director, writing and now BJJ.

I'm not really a math person, but I know enough to realize that, since I only have 24hours each day, I cannot possibly be perfect in all these areas that I really like. So I have to prioritize. Here's my list:

1. God
2. Family
3. Youth Work
4. BJJ
5. Writing

Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu is 4th on the list. Don't ask me to figure out what percentage of my day I should devote to jiu-jitsu because that's a little too mathy for me. The point is, I need to be careful not to let BJJ squeeze out the things that are above it on my priority list.

Let's face it. I am not 16 years old. I have a husband, a son, a house and a job that require my attention. I can't train for hours and hours each day and I don't have the money to enter into every competition that comes my way.

Does that mean I'm not serious about BJJ? No. It just means I have to stay balanced. I have to be patient. Maybe I won't advance as quickly as I would if I didn't have all these other responsibilities, but there's really nothing I can do about it. I DO have responsibilities, so I have to take BJJ at a slower pace than a lot of other people who are involved in the sport.

That's ok with me. It's my hobby. It's not my life. I enjoy it, but I won't be consumed by it.

Having said all that, I've added two more nights a week that I'll be doing BJJ! lol Steph and I are going to be grappling on Sunday nights and Thursday nights from now on in order to get ready for the NAGA competition in November. Hopefully, I can keep my passion in check and not neglect all my other responsibilites. I really enjoy BJJ and I don't want my own lack of discipline to make it become a problem in my life.

We'll see what wins out in the end: my passion or my self-discipline. Lord help me. ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day Three of Operation Clear Belt: Sick...and still going.

That video has nothing to do with jiu jitsu. It was just so hilarious I had to post it.

Height: 5'4''
Weight: 142
Exercise So Far Today: Getting out of bed. lol Yesterday I had jiu jitsu class.
Planned exercise for tonight: Some grappling (hopefully), walking for 1 hour, warm up exercise.
Food Intake: Yesterday I cheated a lot. Fatty, fried badness. But today I'm back on track. Slimfast bar for breakfast. Planning on having chicken and broccoli for lunch. Not sure about dinner yet. Something chickeny, most likely, without a lot of carbs and fat.

So, I'm sick with some kind of annoying cold. But life goes on. Class on Saturday went well. I got my first leg-triangle from guard. Though, I'll admit I pulled it on a guy who had come in for his first lesson. lol. I take what I can get, alright? We learned a few take-downs and Mario (our instructor) showed me 4 submissions from side-control: kimora, americana, inverted arm-bar and a triangle. In my grappling, I'm still having a few big issues:

First, I am still not moving enough. One of the guys in my class told me I'm like concrete. I get into a position and sit there. Not good. So I have to "roll" more. That's what they always tell me. "Just roll." Right....I'll work on that.

Second, I am still not aggressive enough. I keep waiting for a perfect opportunity to pull one of the sumbmissions I know, insetad of just moving and trying new things out.

But, aside from those things, and from the fact that I still suck technically, it was a good class.

Our other intructor, Ben, told us that the most important thing we can do to get ready for a competition is to grapple. Grapple as often as we can. So me and steph are going to meet at my house on Sundays and on Thursday nights. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day One of Operation Clear Belt

I'm going to log my progress. Might not happen every day, but I'll try.

Height: 5'4''
Weight: 143lbs (boo!)
Exercise so far today: Walking/Jogging intervals 1hr., 150 crunches, 30 hip-outs, 20 take-down drill thingies (don't know what they're really called), strength training (arms), stretching.
Planned exercise for tonight: Walking/Jogging intervals 1hr.,20 hip-outs, stetch training.
Beveredges so far today: Only water
Food intake:
Breakfast- slimfast bar
Lunch-bowl of chicken, broccoli & cheese
Planned dinner -- same as lunch, lol (gotta love left-overs).

Here are some pictures of my fatness. Hopefully, over the next few months, I will shrink.

Tuesday Night...

...was one of those nights. I didn't feel good about my performance. We practiced a take-down drill that took me longer to get the hang of than normal. Then, when we grappled at the end of class, I didn't do as well as I had hoped. In the previous class I ended up popping a couple capsules in Stephanie's elbow and I was afraid of doing that again. So I was too timid in my grappling. I gave up several submissions because my partner wasn't tapping. He's was newbie like me and my instructor told me that newbies sometimes don't know when to tap. I didn't want to take any chances, so I let go of several submissions.

It was really frustrating.

There's also another thing that is weighing me down. Literally. ;) It's my fatness. I found out that I am a few pounds to heavy to qualify for the weight division I want to be in for the November N.A.G.A. tournament. The reason why it matters is--at my current weight--I will be one f the smallest ones in my division. I know that weight and size shouldn't matter in Jiu-Jitsu, but when you're a newb and your technique sucks, it kinda does matter. lol.

I'm already getting plenty of exercise. I walk every morning for an hour and again at night for an hour. I do the warm-up exercise from class every day and I do shrimping, hip-outs and take-down drills every day. This is all on top of my actual jiu-jitsu classes. Despite this exercise, I haven't been losing weight. So clearly it is my diet that is killing me.

I don't eat like crap, but there are things I can do. I am cutting out all soda and junk food from my diet. I drink diet sodas, but they're not good for me, so they're gone. And I admit I have a weakness for salty carbs like chips and cheez-its.

Goodbye yummy fattening snacks. Hello celery and salad? Boo!!! I have to find some healthy snacks to munch on in the afternoons.

But anyway, that's where I am right now. Looking forward to having a better lesson on Thursday. And looking forward to being less squishy in a few months. By God's grace and power, it will happen! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interesting Things

So, since I am a nerd, I have been researching Jiu Jitsu. (I like to read! Leave me alone!) I've found out some things that I find interesting. Your average joe on the street probably won't find these things as cool as I do, but I have fully embraces my nerd status so I don't care.

Interesting thing #1: Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu was not developed driectly from Japenese Jiu-Jitsu, like I originally thought. Since they are both called Jiu-jitsu, I just assumed that the Brazillian form was a variation of the Japenese form. Not true. Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu was actually developed from Judo, which is a martail art that was developed from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.

Here's why I care. I know a few people who practice Judo and they always remind me that Judo was developed from Jiu-Jitsu and is therefore better. LOL. They don't actually say it's better, but we do get into friendly debates over the merits of the different disciplines. Anyway, I thought it was interesting to learn that BJJ was actually developed from Judo. I'm not saying BJJ is better than Judo. They're just different styles of fighting.

Interesting Fact #2: From what I've gathered so far (and I could be wrong) Rank in BJJ--which is symbolized by the color belt that the practitioner wears--is awarded mainly based on performance of technique in competition and demonstration. In many other martial arts, you need to alo have a knowledge of basic history, names of the techniques and be able to show technique in demonstrations, not necesarily in competition.

Interesting Fact #3: Technique makes BJJ effective, not size or strength. I've heard his a million times at practice, but it really hit home t me when I was doing research on BJJ. The main strength of BJJ lies in the ability to execute chokes, strangles and joint locks and, in the high ranks, compression locks. Unlike in other martial arts, where strength and size give the advantage for striking, BJJ techniques do not require size or strength. In fact, depending on strength will actually weaken your game. Learning how to execute the chokes, strangles and joint locks quickly and accurately will give a person the advantage over an opponent who might be bigger or stronger.

That's good for me in a self-defense situation, considering that I am a 5'5'' female of average weight. I won't have a size or strength advantage oer the average male. But if I learn these techniques, size and strength really won't matter that much. I'm already seeing that from only 2 and a hal weeks of lessons.

Anyway, here's a cool video with some Leo Vieira highlights. He uses some interesting techniques! ;) Watch and enjoy.

As If I Didn't Have Enough Blogs

I have a new hobby. Jiu Jitsu. Not many people who read my regular blog will be interested in hearing about my jiu-jitsu journey, so I decided to begin yet another blog.I think I may have a disorder.

Anyway, a couple of the guys in the youth group take Brazilian Jujitsu classes at Summerlin Academy in Bartow and they invited me to go. I went. And now I am hooked. :)

When I first decided to go, I thought it was going to be more like karate. You know, standing up and kicking and punching. The kind of thing you'd see on a Kung-Fu movie. I was surprised to find that Jujitsu is nothing like that. Most of our moves happen on the ground, on top of your opponent or under them. Personal space? There is none. I frequently find myself thinking, "You want me to put my head where?!?!" lol.

Because of the...ahem...close nature of the training, I asked my sister-in-law Stephanie to take the classes with me. Fortunately, she is now just as obsessed as I am.

They work us out hard. I've only taken four classes so far (we have class twice a week on Tues and Sat), but already I am seeing a change in my body. I've lost about five pounds. I can actually feel my abdominal muscles (thought there is still too much cushion there for my taste). After every lesson, I usually wake up the next morning so sore that I can hardly role out of bed. Stephanie and I are enjoying it so much, we've been really motivated to practice outside of class too. We usually walk for 45 min. to an hour every night. And we grapple with each other when we aren't too sore.

I'll give you an idea of what class is like. We walk in and start stretching. Then we have an exhausting warm up that includes but it not limited to: running, knee ups, side-steppers, a weird running things where we hold out our hands behind our back and kick our palms with our feet while we jog, push ups, training with light weights, ab exercises, shrimping, hip-outs, and other various jujitsu specific exercises.

By the time we are done with our warm ups I am already winded.

Then we have our training portion, which takes up the majority of the time. Ever since our first day in class, they've taught us defensive moves we could use right now if someone attacked us. I love that. I walked out of my first class with three new moves I could use if someone knocked me to the ground in a rape situation. They show us submissions--moves that are designed to make your opponent tap out because of the pain. They also teach us how to get out of holds and bad positions. The moves are complicated. It's sort of like chess because you always have to be thinking a step ahead.

At the end of class, we have 2 min grappling sessions with different partners. Basically, I am rolling around on the ground with someone trying to get in a dominant position and maybe pull a submission on them. Since Steph and I are the newbies in the class, what this usually means is I spend two minutes trying not to get folded into a pretzel. I usually fail. ;)But I am seeing improvement.

On Tuesdays, we focus more on boxing. Last night, we put on head gear and our instructors took turns trying to punch us in the face. They weren't hitting hard. And we had on mouth pieces and head gear, so even when they hit us it didn't really hurt. The point of the exercise was for us to defend ourselves, and get out of the bad position--on our backs and vulnerable--and get into an attacking position.

It was actually really fun. Who knew I would want to PAY someone to punch me in the face?

So, I'm going to stick with it. I have to buy a Gi--a jujitsu uniform--but I'm buying a cheap one for now. But, if I stick with it for a year, I am going to buy myself a fancy Gi like this one:

Last but not least here is a video of one of my instructor in competition. He is the one with a shaved head.

Here is another one of him teaching a lesson. He has hair in this one. :)

Last but not least, here is a picture of SOME of the bruises all over my body. lol