Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Women's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Lakeland, Florida

Stephanie made an awesome website for our Women's BJJ class! Thanks so much, Steph!!

Let me know what you guys think!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Were You Thinking?

Have you ever had a bad habit that you wanted to change? Ever noticed how, the more you try to change that habit, the more control over you it seems to have? If you are trying to stop doing something, then the more you think about NOT doing it, the more you want to do that thing. It can be disheartening and make you feel like you are incapable of "getting better" in whatever area it is.

What I have been learning is that, the best way to change a bad habit is not to focus on that habit or on changing it. The best way to change is to focus on the healthy replacement that you want to adopt in it's place. For example, if you want to eat healthier, going around all day thinking, "I will not eat that chocolate. I will not eat that chocolate," will make you think about how much you want chocolate. You'll be binge eating snickers and kit-kats by 4 pm. But, if you spend your thoughts thinking about creative recipes that are healthier, you will be more likely to make healthier eating decisions.

The general idea is that the focus of your mind determines your actions.

Sounds obvious. But I think a lot of times I--and other people--sink our own ships by focusing on the negative instead of the positive.

In BJJ, it would look something like this: You are having trouble with a certain position. Say, bottom side control. So, before grappling you think, "I'm not going to get into bottom side control. I'm not going to get into bottom side control." But, where do you end up? Bottom side control.

What I have been trying to do instead is focus on what I DO want to do, instead of what I don't want to happen. Instead of thinking, "I don't want to get into bottom side control," I think, "I want to pass." Instead of my mind being focused on bottom side control--even if it is focused on avoiding bottom side control it is still focused on bottom side control--my mind instead focuses on a positive action; passing.

I know this sounds like I am just playing semantics, but it has been working for me. If I start worrying about possible negative outcomes, I tend to see those become the reality. On the other hand, if I think about what I want to accomplish, I see a much higher success rate.

For me, this does NOT mean laboring over the details of a specific pass in my mind, like, "I am going to grip here and then shift my weight there." I think of very general things like, "I want to pass" or "I want to sweep" or "I want to escape". Then, I go by instinct, trusting the hours and hours of drilling and previous grappling that I have done and trusting my muscle memory to know how to accomplish those goals.

This helped me a lot at my last tournament. Instead of focusing on possible negative outcomes--like being taken down or submitted--I tried to keep what I wanted to do at the forefront of my mind. It helped me to manage my nerves because I had a plan (a very lose, general plan but still a plan) and it helped me keep my confidence up because I was thinking about my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

I don't know if that makes sense or not. But it is really helping me to grow both on and off the mat.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Um, that's not how it works...

This has nothing to do with Jiu-Jitsu, but it was so funny to me I have to post about it.

My son, Noah, is 6. They were having baptisms this morning at our church so he had to come sit through the adult service. While they were getting ready, the pastor was talking about how baptism is an outward symbol that you are joining the family of God.

Noah asked me, "Am I a part of the family of God?"

I said, "Well, do you love God and want to be a part of His family?"

He said, "Yes."

I said. "Then you are. Do you want to be baptized?"

He thought about it and then said, "I'm not quite ready yet."

I said, "Ok," and because of the way he'd said he wasn't ready yet, I was curious, so I asked him, "Why not?"

He said, "I don't want to get naked in front of everyone just yet."

I choked a little bit trying not to burst out laughing. It was during a really serious moment, too. I told Noah, "You don't have to get naked, buddy. You get baptized in your clothes."

He smiled and said, "Ooooooh."


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Saturday Training!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Thanks to Stephanie McClish, I am probably going to have fat-mares tonight.

She emailed me some pictures of my former self from a couple of months before we both started bjj in 2009. I am in a bathing suit. It is one of the most haunting, horrifying images that I have seen in a long time. And, before you ask, there is no chance in hell that I will be posting these pictures anywhere on the internet. It would probably be deemed an act of terrorism and I can't deal with being arrested right now.

Here is one that is still uncomfortable for me to look at, but doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out with #2 pencils:

Here's one at Noah's first Christmas. I was still carrying a lot of baby weight. And other various fatness weight. At this point, I was tippin' the scales at 175lbs. I won't show the pictures from just after I had Noah, but I will reveal the horrifying truth that I weight 204lbs at my heaviest before I gave birth.
Here is one from about a year later. I had been trying to lose weight by walking and lifting weights at home. I wanted to get into better shape, but at that point I felt like I'd hit a wall and didn't know how to get past it. 
I weighed around 155 lbs.

This is me now:

 At the last NAGA I went to. I weighed in at 129 lbs.

At the Miami Open
 For Halloween 

The one good thing about seeing how overweight I was is that I can see how much my physical health has improved since I started bjj. It's more than just the number on the scale.My body works better. I feel better. And I have learned some awesome Jiu-Jitsu on top of it

I am thankful that jiu-jitsu had become a part of my life. I'd still be a beluga whale without it. I know so many women who are unhappy with where they are as far as health and weight goes. They feel like they don't know where to start. I know Jiu-Jitsu isn't for everyone. But I can also say without a doubt that it works.If you consistently train bjj, you will lose weight, gain muscle, be stronger and healthier. It has also changed how I eat--I look at food as fuel instead of entertainment, now--and it helps me live healthier that way too. If you are thinking about making a change, try BJJ. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change.

It works.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Case Your Friday Isn't Random Enough

Good news! I've got your random right here!

Random Topic #1
Have you hear of Hyperbole and a Half? If you have, you get one gold Allie star. If not, you will lose a gold star unless you immediately go look at it. Georgette introduced this internet gem to me via her fantasmic blog. Today, this amazing cartoon illustrates my life. I have fallen way behind in every area except those that are absolutely essential. In case you were wondering, BJJ falls into the "absolutely essential" category along with other things like: feeding my child, taking regular showers and making sure I have enough coffee to last me the week.

But I miss blogging. Especially when so many fun things have been happening that would talk about if I weren't falling horrendously below my median productivity line. Anyway, here is one of said fun things:

If you are my friend on Facebook, then you have already been spammed with the news that Fabio won gold in his division at the No-Gi World's Championship in California a couple weekends ago. Go Fabio!

Random Topic #2:
An interesting topic came up as a result of Fabio winning at the No-Gi Worlds. He won gold at the PanAms last year, which is a gi only competition. A local MMA school in our area was talking about how Fabio was good in gi, but wouldn't be able to hang in no-gi. Now I guess that debate has been put to rest, at least for Fabio.

For me, training primarily gi has helped me develop my technique a lot. I do have to actively practice no-gi grips (neck and biceps, for example, instead of sleeve and lapel), but I would take the risk in saying it is much easier to train gi all the time and transition to no-gi than the other way around. Liam did a post about this a few weeks ago.

He said, "What they never count on, however, when they venture into the world of gi jiu jitsu is that grapplers with a comparable experience in the gi have their own tools to make the no-gi levers obsolete or at least less effective. Suddenly, their trusted cross face is just a little weaker. They smile giddy as they suddenly have gi pants to grab to pass the guard with their heads driving low only to get caught in a loop choke or swept with a leg lasso spider guard sweep. Every single session you learn in the gi you learn grips and grip breaking (or at least you should) and they afford you an offensive and defensive advantage that cannot be ignored. "

Here are my observations: When I grapple in no-gi, it seems that speed and strength play more of an active roll than they do when a gi is involved. Sure, there are some things that don't translate from gi to no-gi if the person you are grappling is shirtless--like collar chokes--but I think that training with a gi makes you think more about things like your base--since you have so many handles on your body thanks to the gi that make sweeping easier--and like breaking guard--because again, the handles mean the person has a tighter hold on you. You have to be more aware of sneaky submissions, like the loop choke Liam mentioned, as well as the more traditional submissions you will across the board.

Of course, I might be biased (just a little) since I go to a school where people primarily train in gi. What do you think?

Random Topic #3:

Apparently, I give people death glares pretty regularly when I am driving. A friend of mine, Lucky, who trains with me said that  he saw me driving and honked at me and that I looked at him like I wanted to kill him and kept driving. I apologize for the stankness. My face shows everything that I am thinking. And at that moment, I was thinking unpleasant things about the unknown person honking in my general direction.

Here is an example of my rage face. I'm dressed up for Halloween--80's costume--and though I'm not really sure what is going on here, but I was unhappy:
You may notice a resemblance to this:

I do it in the grocery store too. Or when I am walking quickly somewhere. Or when I am grappling. Basically, if I am on a mission, I will probably not see you in my peripheral vision. And, if you call out to me, I might not hear you. If you then try to touch me to get my attention, or honk at me, I will likely turn and glare at you for a few seconds until I realize that I know you and that you have not been sent to stop me from accomplishing my mission.
The worst is when I am on a mission and I am in the zone--we're talking deep in the zone, I have been starving for hours and I am about to get my grilled-stuffed chicken burrito from Taco Bell type of in the zone--and someone walks by me and smiles like they know me. I don't realize that they smiled at me like they know me until just enough time has passed for them to think that I shunned them, or worse, that I hate them with the heat of a thousand suns. It is too late for me to recover, mostly because I am not sure if I actually know this person or not. And, since they are already offended by my previous stankness, I cannot add insult to injury with an exploratory conversation aimed at discovering if I actually know this person or not.

The ironic thing is that when I actually need my rage face--like, say, at a tournament--I cannot muster it to save my life. When I try, I end up looking either terrified or very, very ill.

Epic fail.