Its odd how a person can return to something that they haven’t been apart of for years and it still feels the same. I competed in the NAGA (North American Grappling Association) tournament yesterday and it was everything I expected… familiar faces, new faces, complete with attire I wish I could scrub from my memory but is forever stained.
My plan was to maintain my blood glucose level enough to compete more than once. My morning breakfast included grains, apples and cheese. I felt good and when my name was called, I checked in and almost with no nerves. We exchanged a friendly handshake and began the match. After the initial pull and tug of grips my opponent grabbed a single leg and just as we were falling I pulled her into my guard. My opponent trying to break guard squirmed out of the mat area. Stop, restart. Score 2-0, my opponent was awarded takedown points. Secure in my guard I started working and quickly put her into a deep triangle, then combined with armbar… my opponent was forced to defend and squirmed off our assigned mat. Stop, restart. I was offered to restart back in my guard or standing, I chose standing and secured my grips, placed left foot on my opponents right hip and transitioned to an armbar, she countered by stacking and I secured her in my guard. Stop, restart. Final minutes I went for the x choke. Its an odd sight when your opponents face starts to change colors, purple being the strangest. Buzzer goes off, four minutes is up and final score 2-0. I lost… my accrue of advantage points not awarded, no points for takedown.
Disappointed?! You bet, by all accounts I dominated the match, but that was not my entire reason for competing and it all hit me suddenly. Muscles were starting to seize, blur spots began to start, symptoms had started. I believe I should have gone the full four minutes without the restarts, because of the restarts my body was forced to stop the energy surge and try to ‘reboot’. Keep in mind the initial burst of adrenaline should suffice an entire match but throw in restarts and my system started fighting itself. I never stopped fighting, and I used every bit of muscle I could get to work and I did it. I was able to compete and compete well. I did have symptoms after but I had orange juice and glucose tablets ready to use.
I feel like with some minor adjustments, I can endure the occasional restart, but what is more important is that today I won, I was in control and I proved to myself that I can compete!
Advantage point is a move or submission attempt that causes his or her opponent to defend.
Tournament is almost here and I have documented my entire week of food intake and how it effects my blood sugar. I think I have the very basics down and am preparing to put my theory to work. We all know what our nerves do before a match, adrenaline spikes and there is a ‘flight or fight’ response… except that is exactly what I am there to do, to Fight. In my first match I will blow a lot of my adrenaline and produce too much insuline which eats my good blood sugar causing me to have classic hypoglyemic symptoms. I’m going to attempt to counter those effects by monitoring my blood sugar count and treat with glucose tablets, and or juice. Plan is in place, hoping for the best.
Earlier today I was a bit down, I kept thinking why me. I have found a sport I am great at and my body doesnt want to participate. Its the worst feeling to be in love with something that hurts you so badly. This may sound like I am talking about an abusive boyfriend but that is exactly how it feels. I wonder if there is some great wisdom I can learn from all of this or am I just out of luck and battling a silent war… at some point does it stop. Why can’t I be normal and eat regular foods like everyone else and not worry or even think about whats going to be eaten next.
Staying positive and keeping my chin up, its hard every once in a while but I have to do this… I can do this, I will beat this and be in control. I’m not asking for a miracle but a little cooperation would be nice, I have to have faith my body will listen and be prepared. I have to admit, after the effects of this last crash I am slightly concerned… will I be the competitor I once was and long to be again? Lets find out!
Over the summer I began to learn about the origins of Brazilian Jiu jitsu, that it originated by one man from Japan who learned it in Japan and that it was born from the Samurai. Really cool stuff if your interested! I found that Helio Gracie was not too unlike myself, small and fragile with a undiagnosed health problem that kept him from rolling hard. He used Bjj and made small alterations that let the smaller practicioner use their technique and skill over brute strength. Ironically, I also learned that Helio Gracie passed away the same week I decided to dedicate myself to the sport.
My dream started with me over looking a huge lake with towering mountains in the background, the water was undisturbed, no ripples. I looked to my right and in the distance I saw a man standing beside what looked like a cross between a bonsai tree and a cherry tree. I walked toward the man and when I was closer I realized who the man was and I was so excited, I was walking towards Helio Gracie! He was wearing a white Gi looking down at the water as he held onto his belt. I said, ‘Hello..’ and he did not answer or even move. After a moment of me realizing I was staring at him staring at the water, I stood beside him and looked at the lake with him. ((ALARM))
I woke up excited and was like… what was that!? Why didn’t he talk to me and what was up with all the water?!
I had some say its an honor to just be visited by him in a dream, others say Water is a sign of something…
When I had this dream I was just starting to evolve my inverted game and thought about the dream and ‘maybe’ it was telling me to BE like water.
Brazilian Jiu jitsu is not just a sport its so much more and can be used beyond on the mats. And maybe just every once in a while, we need to let ourselves be like water, and allow ourselves to conform around our opponent. Seeing beyond in guard or in mount… the transitions to and from like water.
Again, I love this sport its always pushing me to evolve my game and I continue to learn. So dont be afraid to search out a local club and start your journey, Remember…. You do not have to be Great to start, but you have to start to be Great!
In my neck of the woods please visit us at redriverbjj.com
Over this past summer I had the opportunity to attend seminars by Bruno Bastos, Leticia Ribiero accompanied by Beatric Mesquita and Carol Vidal, Hannette Staack and met Carlos Machado. It was quite simply the best summer of training I have ever had! My game improved so much and my skills were sharpened, razor sharp. My defense has improved as well as offense I’m just all around a lot better than I was in the beginning.
It wasnt always easy, I started out as a no-gi girl with more focus on Mma. At the beginning of the summer my coach used to submit me right and left with my lapel. It used to piss me off to no end and I would catch myself saying, ‘I HATE my Gi, it keeps choking me’! My coach would just look at me and smile, apparently I needed to be choked a few times to learn. Those days seem miles away from where I am today but lessons learned and Im so glad I never gave up.
If you have a dream, a will or desire… never give up and try to expand your game by going to as many seminars as possible. I did not pick up every technique in the seminar but I did take bits and pieces that have helped. I also can’t emphasis how important drilling the absolute fundamentals is because without your fundamentals there is no game. You can’t write a sentence without knowing your letters to make words.
If any one of the seminars I mentioned above comes to your town, I highly recommend attending and ASK QUESTIONS, take notes and have fun!
Where there is a will there is a way and Hard work always Pays Off!
Jiu jitsu has always had a positive ‘food as fuel’ because this sport is very physically demanding. A few years ago I began having symptoms and it wasnt until I competed in a tournament that my husband and I figured out what was happening. I only competed in one match about 9 am. I didnt eat any breakfast because I wanted to make sure I made weight. When I started the match I had no energy and was barely strong enough to walk off the mats. I sat down after the match and just didn’t feel right… confused, dizzy, my hands were sweaty and my vision was having blurry spots. We left the tournament knowing something was wrong but not sure what was happening or what to do to fix it. Once in the car my symptoms got worse and I started to have these tiny pinching sensations in my fingers. I looked down at my fingers and the tips were shriveled like raisins. To this day I always check my fingertips when I start to have symptoms.
I have hypoglycemia. I have had two major low blood sugar ‘crashes’, the most recent seriously affected my mental judgement. I used to get embarrased by it because I’m this big bad ass girl who wrestles and I’m tough… its hard to admit I have a weakness. Ok, I will be honest its hard for ME to admit to MYSELF that I have a weakness. I have to eat right and often, manage stress of family and marriage and sometimes I just cannot get all of my eggs into the basket.
Throw in my love of Jiu jitsu and I have to regulate and sometimes just step back from class. I have all day to get my blood sugar ready for war in class at night. I have to give myself time off, my body just wont keep up. Sometimes in class I will get ‘blind stares’, I know then that I need to take it easy. Recently I have has numbness in my toes and muscle tightness that makes me stop rolling. I take breaks between rolls. My team does not know about my condition and I do not want to tell them because I don’t want to be treated differently. As my condition gets worse and managing the symptoms is definately getting harder, I worry if I will ever be the competitor I once was.
I have all day to get my blood sugar to a level where I can work out and roll and recover the next day, every other day is all I can do with weekends off. When I compete its in the morning and the past two morning tournaments I have not done well. I have a tournament on the 15th and my husband and I are really trying to plan on what to bring how to maintain it with extreme loss of adrenalin. When I compete, I am not just fighting to win, I am fighying a silent battle against my own body.
I started grappling (submission wrestling) no-gi (no uniform), January 2009. I competed in my first grappling tournament with just four months of training. I had three matches and won all but one with a submission. I remember my first match as my name was called, my heart was racing and all I could of was ‘this girl is going to kill me’. My heart raced as the clock was set and the match started with a friendly hand shake. In that single moment I was like a greyhound released from the gates and the switch was flipped. If I say that grappling comes naturally then I sound flippant, but the truth is… I was born for this sport. I live for these moments.
This blog is set up to document my journey back into the jiu jitsu competition scene. If you love jiu jitsu or are curious, this is a great way to see the jits life from a females perspective.