Saturday, April 24, 2010

South Shore BJJ

We had some visitors today at Summerlin. Kyle and Dana, two purple belts who train under Fabio, started up South Shore BJJ in Appolo Beach. Our Summerlin crew went to visit them a few weeks ago and today they returned the favor.

What I love most about visiting the different branches of all our schools is getting to roll with new people. It's not a tournament, but there is still that thrill of the unknown.

Take, for example, my grapple today with Kyle. I'd never rolled with him and I had hear many ominous warnings about his deceptively calm, passive-seeming style. Notice that I said passive-SEEMING. People joke about this one brown belt at Fabio's who sometimes seems to have only one speed: full-throttle, all thrusters on. When he "goes light" it feels pretty much the same as when he "goes hard". According to what I had heard, Kyle is just the opposite. His "going easy" feels a lot the same as his "going hard"...right up until you feel a sudden sharp pain and start tapping. After today, I can safely say that all the reports were true! (haha, I know you're reading this Kyle). You're rolling with the guy and thinking, "Ok, he's just chilling out, letting me move." Meanwhile he's setting up some kind of ninja position designed for my demise and I don't even notice until I'm suddenly finding my base gone and the world turning upside down. Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!

I also got to roll with a couple other people from the school who had completely different personalities and styles. One girl was super aggressive, going for things without fear. It's always refreshing to me to meet other girls who love the sport and aren't afraid to go for it. Another guy I rolled with was more passive, but pretty good at defending. I love it because, every grapple, you're presented with a new set of challenges and you have to figure out on the fly how you're going to adjust.

Ben said we're going to try to do these cross-training visits back and forth more often. I'm looking forward to it!! It will be cool when one day I'll actually remember everyone's names!!

You guys will get a little bit of a reprieve from my constant ramblings for the next week. My family is leaving for a much-needed vacation. As happy as I am to be going, I am feeling a little bit regretful because I missed all of last week being sick and now I'm going to miss all of next week for our trip. At this rate, they're going to give me the "welcome" again when I come back!! ;)

By the way, Dana and Kyle have a pretty sweet blog on their school's website:

(Top row: Kyle and Dana. Bottom row:Ben, Fabio and Paul)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Man, it feels good to get back out on the mat. I was having some serious BJJ withdraws! Like a newb, I was a little worried that I'd feel rusty when I came back (yeah I know I was only out for a week, but this is how my over-analytical brain works). But today was a great class and I felt good rolling. At least, I felt good as far as my movement went. My cardio was another matter entirely.

Chalk it up to me still not being 100% or to me having done nothing for a week besides lay around, but after my second grapple, when I stood up, I felt light headed and really winded. I went into the office, drank some water, sat out for one grapple. I had one more grapple after that, in which I felt ok, but I was pretty exhausted at the end of class.

We worked a back-mount/choke escape today that I love and I noticed a few details that I was missing before. When someone reaches around and grabs your lapel, hook their arm above the elbow with your elbow. That way, when they pull to finish the choke, they are pulling your body with them. Lots of other little details I noticed too, but that was the main one.

Also, I'm really excited! Erica, who is the girlfriend of one of the guys that trains at Fabio's, decided to start training. You know how, sometimes, you can tell when someone is going to be really into BJJ? She's one of those people. Yay!! And she's naturally a good mover as well. If she sticks with it, I think she'll get good pretty quickly. She's really nice and I think will be a great training partner if she ends up really liking it. Hopefully she does!

There's another girl, Tamala, who has been coming to BJJ for a while but has recently gotten really into it as well. I am so excited!! All these awesome girls getting addicted like me! Now that she's getting really into it, I'll bet she'll be growing a lot as well.

Steph and I have a mission to get every wife and girlfriend of the guys in BJJ on the mat!! lol Not really. I mean, we know that BJJ isn't for everyone. But, girls, if you show any interest at all, we will try to finagle a way to get you out on the mat!! :)

Anyway, that's enough gushing for one post. So glad to be feeling better and to be rolling again!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Enough Already

I am tired of being quarantined to my house. I really want to train tonight, but I still have fever and a cough and still feel like that's a no go.

I was having a nice little argument with myself about maybe going and just drilling. We all know how "just drilling" goes for me. I just drill and then I just do one grapple and then just one more until I grappled five times. lol

It's frustrating because I am leaving for a cruise in one week. I've already missed half a week. If I don't train this week, not only will I turn into an actual tub of lard, but I will miss out on two and half weeks of BJJ.

No, I'm not addicted. I just need a little fix, that's all! ;)

I'm sure my teammates wouldn't appreciate me coming back early and giving them my cooties. And my brain is also telling me inconvenient things like, "You'll get better faster and be able to train sooner if you rest."

Maybe I'll be awesome and wear one of those hospital masks and just go watch. And then just drill. And then just grapple. With the mask on. I would be so cool.

P.S. This is why you shouldn't blog at 4:30 in the morning when you're doped up on o.t.c. cold medicine.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Someone Made a Highlights Reel of Fabio's Pan Ams!! :)

I still haven't seen the all of his fights in their entirety, but it's so cool to see Fabio actually "going". In class, he is always so relaxed. It's really cool to see what the top of the top looks like!!


Been out of class for half a week being sick. Haven't done anything except lay in bed or on the couch and eat. Apart from being paranoid about getting fat, it's been kind of nice. This was the first Saturday morning in a long time that I didn't get up and go grapple. I missed it, but my body is thanking me right now. Hopefully I'll be feeling better and be back on the mat by Monday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Things Mean A Lot

Yesterday afternoon, Fabio showed us the choke he used to win 1st place in his division at the Pan Ams. Amusingly enough, the thing I took away from the session that I think I will use the most was not the submission, but a little detail about retaining mount.

Before, whenever I was in mount and grapevining someone's legs, I would have to switch my leg positions, coming up to a high mount before trying something like a kimura or a straight armbar. If I tried to keep grapevining while I applied the submission, I'd get swept and lose it. Fabio showed us a little trick yesterday that allows me to keep protecting mount while I am applying the submissions. [By the way, in case you are a brown belt and also happen to be my instructor, I HAVE seen this before. But I am blond and so it takes a while for these things to sink in. lol!]

While you are attacking the arm, straighten out the your grapevined leg on the SAME side as your opponents isolated arm. This prevents them from rolling and thus sweeping you. Simple. Easy. Effective. Why the heck did I not remember this?!?! ;)

At first, being the genius that I am, I wondered if it would actually prevent someone from rolling. It didn't look like it would work. So, Steph and I took turns trying to sweep each other while the person was doing the "reaper stretch" (yes, I'm giving this common move that probably already has a name another, more retarded name). To my delight, I could not sweep Stephanie, nor could she sweep me.

The real test came during rolling in the evening class. I got into mount and decided not to use my arms for a while and to try to retain the position just using my weight pressure and this grapevining technique. For once in my life, I actually had a slight weight advantage on my male opponent (like 15 lbs), but I this guy has long legs and is flexible and pretty good at wriggling them out of things. The technique worked beautifully. Yay!!

It's funny because I was talking to some other guys at our school about Fabio and the "little things" that make the difference between a technique working and not working. One guy retold a story about how a certain technique required you to place your foot flat on the mat. It wasn't turned in a weird way, the leg wasn't angled oddly.Just put your foot flat on the mat. And yet, somehow, Fabio managed to be able to put his foot flat on the mat better than my friend. My friend said, "I know he's a black belt, but seriously. How can someone put their foot flat on the mat better than another person?!?!" lol

Hopefully all this little mount detail will stay in my memory this time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


For those of you who don't know, I have recently been inflicted with a very common, potentially joint threatening illness called bluebeltitis. Brought on by a recent belt promotion, this disease affects the brain of its victims, causing them to think they are more awesome than they are, and to act pridefully and not tap in situations when they would otherwise admit defeat and move on.

Last night, I took some steps in the direction of conquering this disease. I rolled with two white belt men last night that I don't normally roll with and who--shockingly-- have a significant weight advantage on me. Now, until recently, I would have just sat in my guard and played a conservative game, not wanting to give anything up lest I get my guard passed.

Not last night, buddy! I went for it. Played more of my normal game. submitted. Twice. Both with americanas.

Surprisingly, it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. The guys I went with last night didn't point and laugh at me. My coach didn't announce to the whole class that I am an impostor and he didn't snatch back my belt. My friends didn't shun me. I did not die. ;)

In fact, I actually learned some things from those grapples. I got submitted by a blue belt with the same thing those two other guys got me with, so I am obviously setting myself up for these somehow. Also, I figured out how to kind of roll into an inverted guard from this one position when people are passing my guard that I wouldn't have noticed if I'd been all locked up and tight. After class, I talked strategy with another friend of mine about what to do when guys pin my arms down when they're in my guard and I feel like I have a better strategy now on how to deal with that.

Am I cured from bluebeltitis? Not entirely. I still have to talk myself into not playing a safe game. But I do feel like the new submission therapy is helping. Hopefully I will have the pride americana'd out of me in no time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Congrats to everyone who went out and fought at the Pan Ams!! Whether you win or lose, it takes a lot of guts to step out on those mats. I'm sure just being there and seeing all those awesome fights helps you grow.

Want to say a special congratulations to Fabio Novaes, who won his division!!! We are all so proud of you and thankful to be a part of your school! Also, a big congratulations to Paul Kimbrel, who won both his division in brown belts and also took absolute! Several others from our school went and all competed well. I feel privileged to be a part of such talented team!!

Go Fabio Novaes BJJ!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hey...this stuff actually works!

Today, our Summerlin crew took a little field trip to a sister-school in Apollo Beach. I had SO much fun. I had met several of the guys there a few times before, but I got to roll with a lot of new people, which is always exciting.

One thing that stuck out to me today was a grapple I had with a guy that is relatively new to BJJ. I'm not sure how long he had been training. Only a few months I think. He was bigger than me and, when I went to sit down with him, my instructor told me to show him what kind of rolling of a blue belt can do.

Greeeeeat. Since THAT doesn't make me feel pressure! lol

I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I was worried that I would disappoint my instructor by not being able to do anything against this guy. But when we started rolling, I was shocked to see that I could move alright. For the first time I felt like I was able to "put it on" someone bigger and stronger than me.

I left the grapple feeling exhilarated. I was thinking, "Hey, this stuff actually works!!"

Then I rolled with Dana, one of the purple belt instructors at the school. The confidence I had just built up was rapidly deflated! LOL I felt like a newbie all over again, even though it was a fun roll.

Learned a lot. Had a lot of fun. So, overall, great day!