It is the Small things

Fight Like a Girl - For Erica Burleson

Fight Like a Girl – For Erica Burleson

I have been putting off talking about something that is both personal and very close to me, but after the initial shock of what is happening… I decided that I want to talk about it, and I want to reach out to help. Three weeks ago, my sister who is just 38 was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she is married and has an two children. Initially, I think we were all in shock and trying to figure out what to do next, how to get family together… and it wasn’t until yesterday on my way into the gym that I began to think about her and things happening when we were younger. I remember one summer at our parents house, we were all out by the fire pit in the backyard and she devoured an entire bag of marshmallows.. she said, they are fat free, its ok! Also thought about one summer we went camping down at the Red River and she wouldn’t let anyone take her picture so instead she covered her face in mud and then took a picture, too funny. These happy times make me laugh and if you have had the opportunity to know her, she is a little fire cracker of a personality, you can’t help but have a smile and a laugh. Reality is sinking in and this makes me sad to think she is in a fight for her life that will more than likely include chemotherapy or radiation. My beautiful sister will be going through changes and pain that I cannot even begin to relate to… I have talked with other breast cancer survivors asking for what has helped them through this process and one answer that kept popping up was care packages. My mind began to swirl around how to do this and who to reach out to help, and that is when I decided to simply put this in a blog and if anyone would like to help or if you know her personally you can send her a message and a gift. I think right now, the main thing is to let her know we care and are here for her… no matter what distance is in between, a little something goes a long way and it is the small things that make a big difference. I have already started to gather items to send to her, but if you would like to help in any way a card or even an item, I would love to include them to her! And always, prayers are always needed!

My sister’s name is Erica Burleson, she attended Henrietta High School, if you would like to help or send her your own care package please contact me at:



~ My unrelated to Jiu-Jitsu post, but we all know someone who is affected by Cancer… and it is the Small Things that make BIG DIFFERENCES – Fight Like a Girl!~


Drill… Drill… Drill???

Hillary Williams Seminar 2010

Hillary Williams Seminar 2010

At a seminar with Robson Moura, he said something that is forever engraved in my mind… He stated that we should use our feet and legs as though they are extra arms. When he said that I thought Hmmm… and immediately envisioned an octopus. I am always telling my children who seemingly ask me to do things for them at the same time… I am not an octopus, I can only do so much! In fact I have said it so many times that as soon as I say ‘I am not..’, my kids will finish with: ‘we know mom, you are not an octopus’. To me, an octopus has one brain and uses that brain to focus on one thing, while the legs of the octopus are all doing different things but working toward one goal. So, the other night I was rolling with this really technical and skilled guy, one of my favorite people to roll with because he is smooth and rolls with sick accuracy. During our roll, he hurt his shoulder… so I picked up his arm and placed his hand inside of his belt and said ok, now lets roll. I was joking of course, but he went for it! With one hand we did solid rolls, I got caught in a knee bar, heel hook… he got caught in a toe hold. After the roll he said, ‘wow, this really makes you use what you have’ or something to that effect. I said, yep… this drill will definitely make you better! I can not remember if I told him about what Robson Moura said at the seminar but, that sentence was totally amplified during that one roll. It makes me wonder if this is a drill that everyone should use? I feel like sometimes, I get caught up in one mind frame of submissions while others are left out to get hanged… like, I am consistently, without fail always sticking my foot out for the heel hook, like I beg to get heel hooked! As soon as I do it, I know and I don’t even have to tap… I just look up and say, Why did I do that A-G-A-I-N!

My conundrum for the evening is, if you train one way every day, you will fight one way every day… if you force yourself to train out side of the box, you will fight outside of the box… and your game will begin to transform. No… you will not turn into Optimist Prime or anything like that, but you kind of get what I am talking about, don’t be afraid to try new drills and always be open to learning beyond your comfort zone.

I will still be trying to master the art of accomplishing household, and motherly duties as an octopus and forever trying to NOT give up my heel for free heel hooks on the daily… I am forever a WHITE BELT… I will always be learning!!


~If you are ever in the area of North Texas – Wichita Falls, TX and need a place to train or are passing through, Please stop by Red River BJJ and visit! And Remember, you do not have to be Great to start, but you have to START to be Great!~

Training and Injuries

I started competing in Grappling tournaments in April 2009. The month before the tournament I was training two times a day and basically when ever I could to get ready, and the week of the tournament I did not roll hard, it was more or less of a cardio session. Now after my first tournament I started to do something different by adding in cardio and weight training. Previously I was doing simple plyometric drills, mixed in with MMA sparring drills so the added weight training was a learning experiment. I also decided around this time that supplements may be important since by this time I was also experiencing a lot of health issues, i.e. repeated sickness. My weight training was simple, I used a curl bar and did 10 bicep curls, 10 shoulder presses, 10 front forearm raises, and completed with 10 squats. I did this repetition as fast as I could 3x and then I would work the machines for Lats, back, chest and shoulders same reps 3x. This was not really weight training to me it was more like concentrated cardio with weights, and I dare to stretch to say it was borderline cross-fit before I knew cross-fit existed. Below is the product of the workouts I was doing.


I continued to thrive on the competition scene and won a few more tournaments before things started slowing down due to family, personal and health issues. When I say health, I am refereeing to when I blew my knee out in March 2011… I was getting ready for a fight in Chicago and I was running stairs and felt a pop, I did not think anything of it and went to jiu-jitsu that night when I was rolling with a guy who put pressure right on my knee when passing and POP. That was it, that was when I jacked up my knee… the next day it was swollen and felt wobbly. It seemed like every move I made felt like my knee wasn’t connected like it was dangling and hurt like heck! I spent 2 weeks like this before I was told to immobilize my knee. Sure enough a week after having it in a splint it felt better and I started to rehab my knee on my own. I did not train jiu-jitsu, I did no cardio, no weight training my entire focus was just to walk without pain. I did see a doctor when this happened but nothing showed up on the x-ray (should have gotten an MRI). To this day my knee gives me trouble and acts up on me, but that is where my training has changed a lot.

I find now that with previous injuries I do weight training in a different way, basically instead of focusing primarily on making muscle gains, it is more around core strength. Ok, so it is no secrete that both of my knees are shot, I cannot run, I can barely walk fast because of the pain and hurt. What I decided to do was incorporate deadlifts, squats, kettle bells and elastic bands. This is absolutely no substitute for a good cardio/weight induced workout but for me it is what works. You can Google cross-fit and look at numerous workout scenarios to go through with kettle bells, deadlifts and the elastic bands but my main downfall is cardio. My BJJ coach started doing something recently that I loath with a passion, and honestly, I did not understand what he was doing or why. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner when we are doing drills, my instructor strategically turns the air off. What this does is it makes everyone work in their Gi with extra heat causing air to become dense and forces the lungs to work with added effort, building up everyone’s cardio! When I am unable to run, this type of environment is exactly what I need to give me that added curve in my cardio. Below is a picture of the new training, more core influenced.

Deadlifts, Squats, Elastic Bands and Kettle Bells

Deadlifts, Squats, Elastic Bands and Kettle Bells

If I could go back to 2009 when I began this journey, I would skip the hard core weight training and go straight to cross-fit and core training. My only advice would be to listen to your body and do not take any injury lightly, GO SEE A DOCTOR! I have also followed, FDX3 and it is amazing but you need to be dedicated.


~ If you are ever in the area of Wichita Falls, TX and are wanting to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or if you are simply passing through, please visit Red River BJJ, contact at


…. And Remember…. You do NOT have to be Great to start but you absolutely have to START to be great!!  OSS