Thursday, March 31, 2011

Move it!

The last few weeks have been some of the busiest and most productive weeks I've had in a long time, both in and outside of the gym. While the PanAms were going on, I was at a retreat called The Walk to Emmaus. It was a time for me to get re-centered and remember what is really important.

Since I've gotten back, my schedule has been a whirlwind. I have been training, and enjoying it thoroughly, but my brain has been so fried at the end of the night that I haven't had the energy or creativity to write anything.

Congratulations of all of my teammates who went to the Pans. Stephanie wrote a blogabout the results from our team. Congratulations to all of you out there who went as well. Wish I could have been there to see it all! :)

As far as grappling goes, I have been very, very tired lately because of how hectic my schedule has been. However, in class I decided not to let that be a factor. I have been trying to look at each grapple as a cardio work out and not think about how tired I am but instead just focus on moving. Fabio says "go" and I try to move until he calls "time". I'm not going like a crazy spaz. But I am trying to keep a constant flow of movement.

Its funny because there are some grapples where I sit down and think, "I've got nothing left. I'm not going to be able to move a lot this whole grapple." But then we go and my body can do a lot more than I expected. It's amazing what the human body can do with a little determination.

One bad habit that I am STILL trying to eliminate is going to my guard the moment I feel at all off balance. Instead of fighting for the top position, I just jump into some form of guard. That could cost me points in a tournament, depending on how it happens, because I am going from a top position to the bottom. The problem is I just really like to attack from guard. But I need to continue to push myself to grow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I am PanAm ready. Too bad I'm not going. lol

I don't normally go to Open Mats. They're usually on every other Saturday morning, but with so many people training for the PanAms, Fabio has been having Open Mats every Saturday. I have been to the last few and have gotten a lot out of them. I get a lot of great cardio at Open Mats because there is no time limit on the grapples and people generally don't go submission crazy, so there is a lot more flowing and moving.

On top of that, I have been going to T.O.P. Wednesdays. "T.O.P Wednesday" stands for "Tap Out Paul Wednesdays." ;) It's a day where several of the people who want to get in some extra mat time. They jokingly say they are trying to get a leg up on Paul, who was recently promoted to black belt and is the guy everyone in the gym dreams about one day tapping out. He is a scary beast, though, so I don't think that will happen any time soon. lol

Also, at Open Mats, we've been doing a lot of shark pits. The guy who is going to the Pans gets in the middle and a bunch of people go in three minute spurts, switching out with someone fresh after the time is up. Sometimes, I am on two rotations at a time. I get off one person and jump on another one. Or I go from a normal grapple, to a shark pit, back to a normal grapple.

With all the PanAm prep, a big focus in the gym has been cardio. I've been grappling the two girls who are going from our gym 5 or six days a week. And some of the guys who are going too. We have been doing longer grapples with a focus on constant movement.

It has been GREAT! My cardio has gotten a lot better. And, even when I am out of gas, this has forced me to keep moving and pushing through even after my muscles are jello.

Because of the buzz about dieting, I decided to focus on eating healthier...just because. It's almost bathing suit time, after all. ;) As a result, my weight is perfect for competition. I feel good. I wish I was competing!! I mean, I have no illusions that I would be able to go to the PanAms and place or anything. But I feel like I am in better shape right now than I ever have been and would have had a great time.

Unfortunately, there is just no way I could afford to go the PanAms this year. There's always next year, I know. I just wish I could have gone with my team this year. I will be rooting for you guys from home!! :)

All of this has gotten me to think more about keeping my body in better condition in between tournaments. Getting into good habits so that getting ready for tournaments isn't such a shock on my body. I know I can't train hard ALL the time. But the two main things I want to keep-up with are my eating habits and my cardio. We will see how it goes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Belt Promotion

I was going to post about Fabio's promotion of Ben Aubin and Paul Kimbrell, but Stephanie already put up a great post about happenings, with a nice layout of pictures, so I won't double post all of that. Congrats to Ben and Paul onb their black belts, and to Kyle for getting his brown, and to Rhee, Thomas, Ricky, Nick and Sam for getting their blues!!

This was the first time Fabio has ever promoted any of his students to black belt, so it was a very exciting and emotional evening. Also, Kyle is the first brown belt Fabio has even had that trained with him from white belt up (both Ben and Paul were blue belts when they came to Fabio). So it was a very meaningful belt promotion.

Thomas, who was one of the ones promoted to blue, had some video taken of the throwing ceremony. Everyone who is at the belt level you are being promoted to or higher gets to throw you three times. For some reason, the sound didn't work on the video. Imagine the sounds of five brand new blue belts hitting the mat over and over and over again. I am near the very end, at around 9:20. Thomas dared me to do a flying armbar. I decided to attempt a flying triangle. First time I have ever tried it. Didn't work out as well as it went in my head. lol

I will say, though, that people generally don't try to throw hard. They know the people being promoted are going to get thrown a million times so they're usually nice about it. It's more of a fun thing. Some people do crazy fancy throws and those are fun to see. But most people just do three "nice" takedowns. ;)

It was a great night. Both Ben and Paul are great instructors. I was especially happy to see my former Summerlin instructor, Ben, get his black belt. Ben, if you read this, I want to say again how thankful I am to have gotten to train under you at Summerlin. You're a great instructor and friend. Congrats!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Top Ten Snacks!

I know a lot of people are trying to shed some pounds for the Pan Ams tournaments and have to get creative with cutting calories. So, I thought I would open up a discussion on healthy eating. I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be an expert on healthy eating. I am going to list the things I do. I don't claim to stick to these rules all the time. Far from it, unfortunately! But when push comes to shove, this is what I do.

Some of the basic things I do when I am trying to drop a few pounds are pretty simple:

1. Drink lots of water

2. Up my cardio. For me, part of this means that I try to make every the most out of every grapple. It DOESN'T mean I go crazy and try to get as many submissions as possible. It means that I move as much as I possible can. A lot of times, I don't hold positions where I normally would, because I want to keep my heart pumping and don't want to allow my body to rest. I also like to add in walk, jogging and sprinting intervals at home.

3. Cut as much salt as possible from my diet. Unfortunately, I am a salt-o-holic. I prefer salty things over sweet, but salt is horrible when you are trying to lose weight.

4. I try to eat mostly fruits/veggies and protein. Lots of chicken. Lots of fish. I try to limit --but not cut out--carbs. For me, it is all about portion size.

5. As a general rule, I try to keep every meal under 400 calories. But inbetween meals, I eat a snack that is around 200 calories or under. I don't stick to this strictly. I just try to keep my portion sizes small and eat healthy things when I'm hungry. I try not to deprive myself too much. If I am craving something salty, I try to find an option that is as healthy as possible. The same with sweets. Otherwise, I am tempted to binge when the cravings become too much! lol When I am trying to lose weight over time, I aim for around 1600 calories a day. If I am actually cutting -- losing weight that I don't intend to keep off -- it drops down to around 1200 calories, and then even less the week before the tournament. But I am not good at being disciplined about cutting, so if I know I need to lose for a tournament, I try to start as far out as possible and lose the weight slowly.

6. Even though I am no expert, I know there is more to food than just how many calories are in it. I try to pick foods that do double duty -- low calorie but also rich in vitamins, protein, fiber, etc.

My Top Ten Favorite Snacks (from lowest calories to highest).

1. Popcorn – One bag popped 50 calories

2. ½ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce – 52 calories

3. One Borden Part-Skim Mozzarella String Cheese – 70 calories

4. One Cup Strawberry Applesauce – 80 calories

5. Small Veggie Plate and Ranch – 90 calories
- Celery Stalk cut into fourths – 5 calories
- Five baby carrots – Around 35 calories
- Five grape tomatoes – 10 calories
- Marketside Low fat Buttermilk Ranch dressing (2 tsp) – 40 calories

6. Rice Cake Pizza – 159 calories
- White Cheddar Rice Cake – 45 calories
- Teaspoon of pesto – 58 calories
- Sprinkle of Mozzarella cheese – 30 calories
- 2 Tomato slices – 10 calories
- 3 onion slices – 16 calories

7. Lowfat Yogurt and Granola – 180 calories
- One cup “Great Value” Banana Cream Pie Yogurt – 80 calories
- A teaspoon of Craisins – Around 30 calories
- 1/8 of a cup Bear Naked granola – 70 calories

8. Hummus and Pita Chips -- 200 calories
- 10 Stacy’s Pita Chips – 130 calories
- 2 tbsp Sabra Spinich and artichoke hummus – 70 calories

9. Sweet Trail Mix (I usually eat less than one serving. Just kind of pick at it.) – 293 calories
- ¼ cup mixed berries – 130 calories
- 1/8 cup yogurt covered raisins – 93 calories
- 1/8 cup Bear Naked granola – 70

10. Salty Trail Mix – (About a ½ cup. Same as the sweet mix. I don't usually eat a whole serving.) – 300 calories
- ¼ cup mixed nuts – 170 calories
- ¼ cup Mixed dried berries – 130 calories

What are your go-to snacks? What secret, easy recipes do you rely on? How do you change your exercise habits when you are trying to shed pounds for tournaments? Good luck to everyone in their last week of training for the PanAms! Wish I could be there with you guys!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grappling and BJJ tips. The Part-Time Grappler.: BJJ / Grappling News! BJJ app for the iPhone - Int...

Good morning, blogosphere! Stumbled across something on Liam's page that I thought you techies might be interested in. Ever wish you had a quality BJJ app for your iPhone? Yeah...they've got that now. Check it out via the link to Liam's blog below! ;)

Grappling and BJJ tips. The Part-Time Grappler.: BJJ / Grappling News! BJJ app for the iPhone - Int...: "As promised earlier (well, half a day late but still!) I have big, huge, ginormus news! As soon as I posted on the Part Time Grappler and o..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's The Difference?

Something I have been wondering about lately is what the difference is between a good white belt and a blue belt. I know that the determination of who is a white belt or a blue belt is completely in the hands of their instructor. But I want to know from you higher belts, what is your understanding of what the difference is between a good white belt and a blue belt.

Just wondering. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


If you had an illness or an injury that prevented you from training, how long would you wait before you gave up on your desire to train BJJ? I complain if I have to miss one week of jiu-jitsu. But imagine if you were diagnosed with a disease that had the potential to take you off the mat for good.

A friend of mine, Daniel, went through exactly that.

He was annoyed that I took this picture because my stupid phone refused to behave. If you're reading this, Daniel, sorry it took so long. :)

Daniel trained at Fabio's before I even knew what BJJ was. But in June of 2007, Daniel was diagnosed with Crohns disease, a very painful and physically limiting disease. After a major flare up in 2009, Daniel was sidelined for almost two years.

Ever since I began at Fabio's, Daniel has been there. He wasn't grappling, but he always came to class and watched from the wall, supporting his teammates and soaking up the technique as much as he could without actually drilling. For nineteen months he waited patiently, hoping the medicines he was taking would bring him to the point where he could have the surgery he needed to get him back to his career and back on the mat.

A few months ago, he got the news that he would be able to have the surgery. And now, almost two years after Daniel had to stop training, he is back in the gym. He got in his first grapples on Monday night and will be bringing the ruckus again tomorrow. Other than being tired and a little sore from his first day back to grappling, he said he's doing well and is just glad to be able to grapple again.

I asked Daniel if he ever got to the point where he thought about quitting BJJ for good. His simple response was, "Never." When I followed up with the question of why BJJ had such a powerful hold on him, he described the feeling that I and so many of us have had about the sport. He said, "The biggest number one thing was that I just love it. I love the comraderie, the competition. The brotherhood. That it's a lifestyle, a philosophy."

I've had conversations with several of my friends about why BJJ is so addicting, and I can't narrow it down to any one reason. There is something intensely emotional about the sport that keeps us all thirsty for one more class, one more grapple. We all go through so many of the same challenges and are forced to face ourselves when we hit the wall or when we succeed. The team becomes so much more than just a group of guys and girls trying to figure out techniques. It becomes a big, sometimes dysfunctional, always entertaining family.

Anyway, I want to say kudos to Daniel for sticking it out. Glad you didn't give up. And welcome back!! :)