DIY BJJ

For almost a year, I have been dibble dabbling in inverted and spider guard and putting together sequences of moves that work towards a submission. You know, the whole time I’m working and finding what does not and what does work… all the in’s and out’s of the moves. AND THEN…

Then I get it, and I know that I have gotten the kinks worked out and the sequence will work in my favor. It is like a light going off and a holy grail appears and I’m thinking WOW… this is so cool! Until I logged onto Facebook to find that one of the sequences I have been working on for MONTHS was already being used and taught – SMDH. The berimbolo has been my friend longer than the spider guard… just putting them together is like making a beautiful submission. It would have been twice as awesome if I had been taught the move from the get go instead of wasting months of my mat time trying to build the move as a DIY BJJ player. Below is the move that I was working on and got all the kinks worked out, give it a try… I love it!

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Craving the Learn

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A wise woman once told me that we should never go a day without doing the things we love to do, because without it we are nothing but shadows of our true self. I love Jiu-Jitsu, and finding my direction is similar to others but hard to find. I’m on that road of discovery and it does not come easy, but the search is what drives me to continue. I have that craving to learn and it keeps my soul full of fire and ready to dip into the unknown. Once you start to become monotonous in your game, you will hit peaks and valleys and constantly fight doubt and motivation. However, if you are able to continue to learn and you make yourself become exposed to new techniques and direction then the journey just keeps going. Gyms will often resemble the black belts that over see the guidance of the students and sometimes there will be a student that does not quite fit the mold of the black belt. For example a 99 Lbs. female in a gym overseen by 250 Lbs. heavy weight black belt. There are two different body types and two different styles… one will play spider and inverted while the other will predominantly play a “smash” game. Gyms typically follow their black belts lead and will generally resemble their game.

My game is going a different direction and in order for me to be exposed to others in like technique I have to do a little exploring. An adventure is awaiting around each and every corner, maybe I won’t find what I am looking for but maybe I will… we can all find a little bit of something in an adventure. Typically, I attend seminars far and wide, and I love to visit gyms (especially those in the Austin & San Antonio area). While this is amazing and a great opportunity for myself, I have found that others will be resentful and almost bitter about my decisions to search out new techniques. I think we most often call these kind of people “haters”…. it is not that I am doing what they cannot, but doing what I can to evolve MY game. It sucks, but what are you going to do?! Before, I lost direction, motivation, and really was not having fun. The desire to learn and evolve is a love that has to be embraced and like anything you love you need to take care of it and nurture it. Every once in a while, you will have to ask yourself if this is the direction you want to go and have to be willing to take chances.

I’m looking for another adventure… I have that craving, the craving to get my learn on!!

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~ Begin your Journey! You do NOT have to be Great to start,

but you have to START to become Great!!~

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Girls in Gis a Jiu-Jitsu Sisterhood

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Jiu-Jitsu has always been a predominantly male dominated sport, but the influx of women competitor’s means there is a new twist to the dynamics that allows for growth of friendships. Women are probably the hardest to befriend and maintain, simply due to different views, religions, political stances and so forth. One truth that will unite even the opposite of people is Jiu-Jitsu; it is after all a universal language. I have been through the friend to enemy and back to friend stage with a few women since my beginning of Jiu-Jitsu. The single most important idea to resolve all issues is that once you step on the mats there is an upmost respect and understanding that cannot be compared to. We all bow before stepping onto the mats, we all slap hands before we spar, and we all thank one another for the support, encouragement and continuance of this sisterhood. In effect we simply set differences aside and allowing the art to flow and it gives a deeper meaning to Jiu-Jitsu Sisterhood. One of the ways to achieve this is to attend an open mat for women only. In Texas there is a wave of open mats with some instruction before and then a free for all open mat allowing for everyone to learn and train with women whom they may have never had the chance before. These are held by “Girls in Gis”  and happen every month and sometimes simultaneously in different areas of Texas. This program started in 2010 and has been continually growing since, adding new Schools far and wide. It is a program that does not discriminate against other schools and is open for all to participate. At some schools there may be only one female student and this is when a Girls in Gis event will benefit and allow for her to roll with other women her size. Size does matter, I was fooled into thinking that I was “complaining” about the issue but reality is that it does matter and can make a huge difference.

The idea was simply to provide a training platform and a way to introduce Jiu-Jitsu to those that may want to begin training. The larger picture is that the friendships and experiences are priceless and it gives everyone the ability to have a way to communicate. There are women who I know I can contact when I have questions or even need advice and I met them through the Girls in Gis events. The fact that Jiu-Jitsu is a universal language is helpful, but the sisterhood that is gained is a force that will change the sport forever. When you know that you need support, they are there in full force. It maybe for emotional support or for whatever reason, but that bond runs deep. Guys and girls are very different animals, and having open mats is a great way to encourage the Jiu-Jitsu Sisterhood continues. If you are interested in attending the next Girls in Gis event click on the link below to their Facebook page!! And remember… You do not have to be GREAT to start, but you have to START to become Great!!

Girls in Gis Facebook 

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Women BJJ Pioneers

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Prelude to a conversation I had the other day, but I was mentioning how friends who I have rolled with since almost the beginning of my BJJ journey are still at the same belt and how I think this is a sign of a great academy. Too many academies will promote based on time and well of course money… and that leads to belt promotions that are very obviously when rolling. I have openly said that I have been training for five years, exactly since January 2009. What was next said was that “People who say they have been training for “X” amount of years are full of shit” because unless they are in the gym 6 – 7 days a week training then those years are not worth anything. I thought wow… the same person who is saying this claims to have been training for 12 years, while I fully know he was out for a year and a half. Even if I do not training 6-7 days a week, but maybe 2 days a week then that is not “training”. Random thought from a friend, but isn’t that doing more than the person sitting on the couch?! I think it is. I could only take that comment as a direct blow to me and trying to bring me down and make it sound as if I was full of shit, and every seminar and private and ounce of mat time I have accumulated was worthless. That conversation definitely put a little fire in my eye and struck a wrong cord, but that made me think back to when I began and the people I met along the way. 2009 was when this journey really started and I remember going to competitions and unless there was a round-robin or absolute the female divisions were slim pickings, maybe 3 people in a division but with combined experience. I recall an ADCC Tournament in Austin and I was paired up with two intermediate girls, I had my butt handed to me but that was kind of how it went… you got who showed up. Starting from  2009 to 2014 and so much has changed, at almost every tournament the women’s divisions are now PACKED. To me this is amazing and a great time for women’s Jiu-Jitsu, it makes me think about how it was in 2009 to present day. I was thinking about how hard it must have been for the first females to compete when there wasn’t even a female division. My personal women BJJ Heros include: Megumi Fujii , Gazzy Parman, and Leka Vieira. (If you are not familiar with these ladies just click on their names for a Youtube highlight video). Those three women were my role models and the ones I wanted to be like on the mats. I found out that one of those women may be coming to Texas for a seminar in the future and that makes me so excited because I am really a nerd when it comes to the history of Women BJJ Pioneers. The struggle to train and the fight to be recognized in BJJ has been an on-going battle that is still fought today. In fact, recently one of those battles was won when IBJJF added a new women’s weight class. WOW… did you see that, were you apart of that, because THAT was history for future female competitors!

No matter what happens, the struggle and fight will continue maybe not like the pioneers as I mentioned above… but there will always be someone out there who is going to Hate and who is going to try and bring you down, make you feel worthless and try to destroy everything you have become. If we let people around us defeat our self-worth, motivation, and desire then we have let down those who valiantly fought to give women a chance to train, compete, and become legends ourselves. The next step is to realize how Great You Are, and what you are willing to do to get back up and keep fighting. It really is a fight that has been going on from the very beginning, and unless you are willing to fight for it then all is lost.

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Patience and Boobs

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I did not plan on writing about this subject because it is very personal; however, I thought maybe someone out there will want to hear this and know that every reaction and feeling is normal. Almost six months ago I had a mammogram, initially the radiologist said it looked good and that everything was fine and they would probably want to do a sonogram. Little did I know that the radiologist was just trying to help me “feel better” because two days later I received a letter in the mail that had in red letters stamped on the top of the report ABNORMAL, and requesting sonogram. I won’t even play, I freaked out and decided to spend a lot of time with my kids… maybe reading to them more at night or telling them I loved them more, hugging them… doing things that I should have been doing all along but was just too preoccupied with life that I took it all for granted. I decided that at that time I wanted to do more with my BJJ, I wanted to go to California and do seminars and privates… there is just not enough time, life is really short when you sit down and think about it. So that is what I did, I spent more time with my children, my husband and family and a few months focusing primarily on BJJ. I completely forgot about the idea of cancer and that I needed a sonogram until one of my Bjj sisters asked me about it. I politely told her that I really did not care about it anymore and just wanted to live my life stress free. The very next day the Dr.’s office called and stressed I needed a sonogram and scheduled an appointment. I told myself everything will be fine, I am fine and everything will be clear and it was just a false alarm… sometimes convincing ourselves gives us enough courage to do what scares us the most.

I had the sonogram the previous Friday and the lady doing the sonogram stopped on a black oval shape on the screen, she took two passes and then took pictures and measurements. Then she took pictures of the rest of my breast that were all clear. Now, I may not be a radiologist, but I do have x-ray experience as a dental assistant and I know black spots are not good. My heart skipped a beat and the world seemingly stopped in its tracks as my fears were starring me right in the face. I cannot pretend that I did not see that black oval on the screen and I cannot pretend I am not afraid… The radiologist said that someone would call me with the results of my sonogram and smiled as I left. I made it to my car before the tears began rolling down my cheeks, I could not stop them… I wanted to be brave but I could not do it. I decided that I really just wanted to fall into the arms of my mother and have her tell me that everything was alright, but that didn’t happen either. I think some of our toughest battles as individuals must be confronted my itself, it makes us stronger.

It is now Tuesday, four days have passed and I decided to call the Dr. to see about my results, as I waited on hold I thought, Jesus… do you really want to know, if you find out then this is it… you have to confront what ever news comes – good or bad. When someone finally answered the phone I hesitated to tell her my information and to my relief she said the results had not come back and it may take up to a week. This may sound odd but sometimes having patience allows ourselves to digest the information and prepare ourselves for what may happen. For two days I have been watching seconds become minutes that turn into hours… the time is going by so slow.

My life has slowly turned upside down and my mind is a f*cking mess right now, and to add to this my gym is having promotions this Friday… F * C K!!! Now, one part of me wants to hit the gym and give it my all while another part is hold me back saying what if, and what if it is or isn’t… all we really have is right here and right now. I’m not completely sure, but I really think that we should all live our lives in the right now, doing the best we can right now… telling those you love right now, doing what makes you happy right now, because we don’t get a second chance, there is no do-overs and tomorrow’s are never guaranteed. I look at myself and how much this situation has changed me as a person and look at others and it frustrates me because I know they are all taking it for granted.

I need a sigh of relief, I need a phone call saying it is a cyst or something other than a disease that wants to kill me… and so we wait, learning about this thing called “Patience”.

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Expectations and Reality

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I think that people often place expectations upon themselves and others for different reasons or purposes. While in the past I may have looked at my Jiu-Jitsu as a place for competition and where I would excel and be rewarded for hard work… that mind frame has completely changed. I’ve spent countless hours on the mats, I’ve spent countless hours in seminars and private lessons to broaden my knowledge to ensure my game continues to evolve. It is an odd feeling when you realize that those hours and time has made a drastic influence and things have changed. The mats are no longer an area separated by size and weight, and the art takes over because it works. I am reminded how I thought weight and size were a main factor for Jiu-Jitsu, but I have time and time again placed myself in those exact situations to learn and grow… and I did. Reality is that those expectations were just walls that I had built up around myself, and I had to step outside of the box to gain understanding and first hand experience. Literally, I threw myself at every opportunity to have my ass handed to me…. repeatedly. And this was good for me, I needed this, it is hard to explain that experience but it is exactly what I needed to Grow.

I find myself holding back, not sure what to do or not to do or even to do anything at all… and it took me back to what was said in San Francisco at Kristina Barlaan’s women’s open mat (paths meet for a reason and I think this was why). She read off a small quote that at the time was heard but not fully understood. I can honestly look back now and say, wow… I get it and I understand. I am at a point where my game is ready to move ahead and I’m at a stand still not sure what to do…. or even how to go ahead with it because I feel like at some point people are looking at me and saying, “why is she doing that, and who does she think she is”? In turn it makes me want to fall back to meet their expectations of me and that makes me sad. I have grown and my game has changed and I want to help others to see what I see. 

This stage of my journey may be the hardest to date.

The following is the quote that was read:

 

 

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are Inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves:

Who am I to be Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented, and Fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people

permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence

automatically liberates others.

 –          Marianne Williamson

From “A Return to Love: Reflections on

The Principles of A Course in Miracles

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~ If you are in Wichita Falls, TX and looking to begin your journey, or simply passing through,

Please Stop by Red River BJJ!! ~

 

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And remember…

You do NOT have to be Great to start,

but you have to START

to become GREAT!!!

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