New Goals

black-belt

When I was looking for a new instructor and a new gym, I went after the big guns and who else would have been in my sight but Solis Mixed Martial Arts… solid history of winning and producing black belts. However, now after the news of the recent departure of the Solis’s family from the school, I have begun a new search. Now a few gyms have made offers to join but the reality of driving an hour and a half daily is not possible. Reaching out and making contact with a few people and it has lead back to one very prominent name so keep your chairs upright… you might be surprised!

As far as the Solis scandal, I can only think that it was all just a very mixed up version of what is right and what is wrong, but more along the lines of infidelity. Once I got over the initial news of this about a week later another story broke of two arrests of Black Belts for actual criminal charges, so the line of criminal and indecent is drawn. I would love a system to begin that did not just pass out black belts, but rather a mandatory scheduled seminar was held annually for new black belts. If you ask any new black belt they are immediately hit with an “I can open my own gym”…. and that is great, but do they realize the authority power that they have just received and how to apply it? Do they realize their role to the community in general as a leader? That small symbolization of a belt around someone’s waist gives so much meaning and so much responsibility that it begs for the explanation of duties included. It is like giving a 15 year old keys to your brand new car and expectation of that child to drive with caution and to already know the rules of the road. I believe a definite change in the system is about to happen and if it starts with one school maybe it can happen in all schools across the world to help guide these young black belts in their journey and mentor them to become successful. Regardless of what system is implemented, I think there will always be a few “bad apples”, but with a simple criminal check there should be evidence of that behavior. Is it wishful thinking? Yes. But I am an optimist, and my cup is always half full! I am not so wishful or naive to think that this bad behavior will stop, but I do think that something needs to change and be addressed by the community and fast! I am personally tired of seeing yet another story of an arrest of a BJJ Practitioner and it is starting to sound more like an epidemic. These stories do not just hit the BJJ Community, but it effects everyone including future students and the possible growth of BJJ. If I can walk up to someone and start talking about BJJ and they immediately open up with “Oh yeah, I saw an arrest by one of those guys… I  am not interested”, the face of BJJ has changed to a negative where it should shine as bright as possible as being nothing more than positive. Taking back that atmosphere should be top priority among all schools.

My wishful thinking that change can happen.

..

.

.

~Remember, you do not have to be GREAT to start, but you have to START to become Great!~

..

.

.

Advertisements

Training around the Corner

We have been revamping our garage into a small gym to train in. My kids have been doing very fundamental drills in our house but not a full instructed class. Once our mats were down and taped, I gave them their first class. Teaching an adult class is one thing, but teaching kids is fun! I made a little video of our first day & night rolling.

Snow Days!



A cold front brought nothing but ice and more ice and sealed up my four kids in our house for two days. Four kids, a lot of arguing and I finally got the mats out. I have taught a handful of classes before but there is a huge difference with kids. A lot of giggling, smiling, and just overall fun! I started my son with the usual warmup and emphasized shrimping and transitioning positions. My daughter is a natural athlete and doesn’t need a lot of direction she seems to be picking up moves fast. My son is another story, he is built strong and has a drive that you cannot teach and he works hard. I found out really quick that my daughters biggest obstacle will be her ego… being the oldest she will have to learn that she wil not win every time. My son is all about learning and loves to drill, he does work hard but is not a natural athlete like his sister so the playing field is even between them. I have 25 pounds on my son, so the weight is very close and works out. When I first started training I worked with a lot of young teenage boys… Well, until they out grew me. Our second youngest, #3 has a lot to learn as she mounted her older sister and then punched her. I was like Whooaa, No, No, No!!! She is enthusiastic and has a fighter personality but is still really young.

Snow days are awesome I got to work with my kids for an hour and rolled with my son for about 20 minutes. I cannot wait until we get the mats set up for more room!! 

..

.

War Tribe Open Mat 2015

War Tribe Gear's Community Open Mat 2015

War Tribe Gear’s Community Open Mat 2015

In the meantime, my search for a new gym and coach to follow has taken me back to where it all began and I am excited for the future. I love this sport… and have found a BJJ Home that I can look at with admiration and respect and proud to be apart of!

I asked my husband for a little DIY gym in our garage and he has been working diligently to fulfill my own personal dream of a little BJJ sanctuary. It is coming together very nicely, I should have pictures coming soon!

About a week or two ago I saw on Facebook an offer about an open mat sponsored by War Tribe Gear’s Community Open Mat with War Tribe’s sponsored athletes:

Andre Galvao (8x IBJJF World Champion)

Tim Kennedy (UFC Middleweight Fighter)

Milton Bastos (5x IBJJF World Champion)

Carlos Diego Ferreira (UFC Lightweight Fighter)

Angelica Galvao (2x IBJJF Champion)

Augusto Tanquinho (2x World Champion)

Mackenzie Dern (13 World Titles)

Girls in Gi’s did a raffle through their website to spread the word about the event and in the process win a spot at this open mat and I with a few other ladies won! I was beyond excited as it is not every day that you are able to share the mats with legends. I drove two hours to this event that took place at Alvarez BJJ in Arlington, TX. Now, on my way there I was excited and about half way there it hit me that I was not just sharing the mat with these serious jiu-jitsu players, but that I was basically throwing myself into a shark tank that I was not sure I even belonged in. Half way there I started to get extremely nervous and was even thinking of turning around and going home, but… I ended up pulling up my big girl panties and giving myself a last minute wedgie of confidence.

I quickly found other ladies from the GIG winners and sat down with them, it was nice to hear that I was not the only one who was nervous and a bit anxious. The event began with a warm-up and I joked with one of the other ladies that it was our chance to run to the dressing room and hide (no we did not but it was a funny thought). Each of the sponsored athletes gave a small drill from their games, included: 50/50 defense & attack, a version of worm guard from DLR to berimbolo, wrist lock, and I cannot think if there was another. This event was really cool and awesome to have a lot of black belts from all over Texas and a few from Oklahoma on the mats, there were said to be 100 very talented people on the mats that day. I was able to roll with two of my favorite brown belt’s from North Dallas Mixed Martial Arts – Matt Little & Misty McMillan. Matt has watched me from a new white belt to where I am at today and it is awesome to continue to look up to him for advice and pointers. He has an uncanny way of explaining things that it makes moves seem so simple and obvious. I was also able to roll with Angelica Galvao and it was epic to say the least… Thank You!

I was having issues (cramps, shortness of breath, fatigue) before this event and I asked my coach if he knew or had this happen before and he said, yes… it sounds like you are dehydrated. I was in shock but willing to listen and take his advice and I start monitoring my fluid intake and make sure I was adequately hydrated. The day before this event I hydrated up and the day of I dropped two salt packages into my water jug and drank it there and while I was rolling and WOW… What a difference, I was back to being me!!! I felt so much better and was able to roll like I had before – I am back!

This event was beyond my expectations and I hope that War Tribe Gear is able to do this again! As always, Alvarez BJJ was a great host and accommodated all practitioners with class!

….

..

.

~GO GET SOME BJJ~

.

..

….

Big Scare for this Small Town

IMG_1284

Late last night children and parents were informed through social media of a possible threat by two teenagers to “shoot up the high school” and warning other classmates to not go to school today. The high school is directly connected to the Elementary school and today a school play was supposed to take place in the high school auditorium, meaning the entire elementary would have been in the high school. The sheriffs office and the school took fast action and located the juveniles, a 14 year old boy and a 16 year old female. The two teenagers were detained and taken to a Juvenile Detention center awaiting their hearing. While there were no premeditated plans or any sign of planning by the teens, the threat was taken very seriously. Today there were deputies located at the high school, junior high and elementary school.

Many students did not attend class today for fear of a third teenager being involved. I sat my kids down this morning and told them everything and then asked them how it made them feel: where they scared, did they want to go to school? My 5th grade son’s reaction was about what I had expected, he was mad about the threat – it angered him. I told him if he did not want to go to school he did not have to… But he answered with, “it will be ok mom, there will be deputies there and I can help protect the little kids if something does happen.” My 1st grade daughter’s reaction was of her being scared but she was relieved the deputies were going to be watching over them. My daughter in junior high had a different reaction because once explained she realized how serious it was and she did hesitate to go to school.
Three of my four kids went to school today and it was hard to hold back the emotions. My son gave a deputy a high-five and said Thank You this morning and my daughter skipped down the hall as I walked her to class.
This situation was dealt with appropriately, but I think the damage has already been done as a whole community was sleepless with concerns of safety for our babies.
Today should be like any other day, but this small town was definitely rocked and we hugged our kids longer, told them we loved them repeatedly and took more time to listen. Every day is a blessing and Today we are all reminded how precious time is.

..
.
.

Change was Inevitable

2015/01/img_1173.jpg

I believe that some schools get so caught up in a “work as minimally as possible and collect the money” that the owners completely forget that they loved this sport and that love inspired them to open a gym. My personal experience was disheartening and sad to watch, but this has also given me more than enough reason to justify my journey to continue some where else.
As I have been without a gym before it has never stopped me from continuing my training. I am grabbing my Gis and closing the door behind me… I have never been a good Blind Follower.
I found a group of individuals who are on the same path or journey as myself and have decided to join this group. No BJJ politics, it is simply flat out Jiu-Jitsu and sharing of techniques and building
friendships. You may have heard of this progressive group and if you have not check it out at BJJ Globetrotters.
After two days of thinking things through and talking things over with my husband it became more clearer than ever that I made the right decision. I had an almost instant feeling of relief, that stress was lifted and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

..
.
~ Globetrotter ~
.
..

Promotions!!

2015/01/img_1104.jpg

I have not been able to get to promotions since last February but tonight I got to go and it was awesome! The look of the kids who got stripes is priceless, I love watching that. One of the guys next to me I was sure was to get his blue belt and I could tell he was a nervous wreck. I joked with him a bit and told him not to cry lol! I think everyone was promoted and we got two new female blue belts, pretty cool stuff. Afterwards we had a huge open mat, it was just packed.
It is extraordinarily hard for me to not try and help lower belts when their technique is off and I bit my tongue a few times but eventually I had to speak up. I always ask, “do you want to know why that is not working?” Its cool when you literally see the lightbulb go off above their head.
My lungs are still a battle I have to deal with every time I roll, and it is so discouraging to have to stop in the middle of a roll just to breath. I am not what I was before or what I could have been and most people would give up, but I would rather be struggling on those mats everyday than not at all. Jiu-Jitsu makes me happy… Struggle and all.

..
.

Believe in Yourself

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/972/43798481/files/2015/01/img_0317.jpg
I was looking back at 2014 and thought about all that happened and what I overcame to find peace and return to jiu-jitsu. One of my biggest faults was that I allowed other people’s words to defeat me as a person, a jiu-jitsu competitor and in the process I loss my courage, self confidence, and even self esteem. I called on friends for help and support during this time and got some great insight, but even with support I still lost my love and desire to be on the mats.
2015 Resolution: I will never allow anyone to belittle me on or off the mats and defeat me as a person and jiu-jitsu player.
I think one of the cooler things to happen in 2014 was the growth and seeing how much my game has evolved and changed. I think a lot of my teammates saw my traveling and seminars and private lessons as a threat. Reality is that I needed more exposure to higher belt females and I went out and got it. Rolling with purple, brown, and black belt females has opened my eyes literally to a new view point of jiu-jitsu… I was given encouragement, fed positivity and found balance on and off the mats. I can sum it all up with one sentence that a very well known black belt said to me before we flow rolled.
“Even though I am a black belt, It does not mean I do not get surprised and get caught… It can happen.”

I have learned a lot in 2014 and one of the biggest lessons learned was that Jiu-Jitsu has humbled me and it is a process that has to happen for growth.

~ I love Jiu-Jitsu~

..
.

Houston

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/972/43798481/files/2014/12/img_0892.jpg
Our little family of four kids and two adults decided to hop into our vehicle and drive 7 hours south to Houston to visit my husbands family. We were able to visit his mother, and surprise his father, his aunt and his uncle to wish him a happy birthday. It was a much needed visit, the kids got to meet their great aunt, great uncle, and hang out with their uncles and cousins.
Hold up… I bet you are wondering about the picture above?! Well, yea I got to visit a gym in Houston too! Back in 2005 I had a private lesson with Alvis Solis; but we weren’t able to afford classes. In fact I was not able to start training until 2009 in Wichita Falls, TX. I did nogi and MMA for a year, I was going to class three times a day and competed a lot. It wasn’t until someone threw me a link to a Hillary Williams seminar that I put on a Gi for the first time in 2010. I told my husband that I wanted to go back to Alvis Solis’s gym because I never forgot that first lesson and that was really the beginning.
This trip I visited Solis Martial Arts Academy, the location moved from a few years ago it used to be up the street a bit. Alvis met us at the door and was super helpful and friendly, a great person overall. When I got on the mats I saw two girls working and so I just went and introduced myself and we started rolling. There were three very well trained blue belt females and we all got to roll. I am pretty sure we all have been around one another but never talked… It is a GirlsinGis thing!! ❤️
I have said before that I have lost my courage and confidence in my jiu jitsu. I used to be very confident and
had courage to pass around when rolling with people but I lost that and even when I roll with people I know, I get scared, and hesitant. That feeling is amplified when rolling with men so I was really glad there were other girls there. I think getting on the mats with people who I didn’t know helped me to find that brave fighter that I once was.
If you are in the Houston area I would highly recommend Solis Martial Arts Academy, a very friendly atmosphere and it is a top class gym!

..

Work Harder

Holidays are upon us and all I’m worried about is what to do next to not loose what stamina I have built up so far… weight training, drilling on my mats at home, and doing homework will have to suffice until my noon instructor gets back from Brazil in three weeks. Working hard and continue to push myself even when there is no one to push me. I think this is a critical step in the direction that I want to go because the hard work is up to me, and that hard work is for myself not for a competition or any other reason, it is simply to be able to do what I love to do again, Jiu-Jitsu.

I have been working on my training log and doing a separate list of drills to go through and that was when I had little red flags. I was writing down my drill from setup to what to do when that fails and so forth… but in doing that I found ‘holes’. You know the FAILS that force you to take a different approach. Well, why did that fail? What caused it to fail and how to prevent the FAIL? That is not a question I would normally ask, but rather just move to the next move in line. For example, arm-bar to triangle, back to arm-bar to omoplata to take the back and start over with back control subs ~ OK, well why didn’t the first arm-bar work?! I would like to find the flaw before it sets off a chain reaction.

These questions are geared toward my ever growing and changing spider/x-guard/DLR game. I would love to find someone who is very proficient in this style so that I can learn defense to help my offensive strategy. When I first started messing with the spider guard I would get the old, “all she wants to do is play spider guard” from my drilling partner. I don’t know why but I felt bad for wanting to learn more and grow my game…

I am pretty sure I feel a good old fashioned private lesson coming on!!

..

.

..