Houston

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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!

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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!!

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Stop Thinking and Do it!

Today, I was looking out the gym’s big glass window, watching as people slowly passed by… and I was thinking about what I learned in today’s afternoon class.

Earlier I was having trouble hitting a move and it reminded me of something a sweet friend said to me at the Inspire Event. We had been drilling a loop choke I believe, but I was getting confused and lost in the instruction and Carla Torres stopped me and grabbed my sleeves and said,

Shimone… You need to STOP thinking and just do it“.

You see, I have a tendency to over think the instructions and that makes a simple move the most complicated piece of sh*t ever. Today, I was starting to over complicate the move and I had to relax and put it into motion like a live roll and BOOM, done!! It is funny how something someone has said to you will stick with you and remind you of how to get through things. I met Carla Torres; who is a Gracie Purple Belt at Kristina Barlaan’s Inspire event in California, and she left a lasting impression on me and those simple words of guidance always help me when I’m struggling. It was a polite slap in the face to just do the damn thing already!

I have said this before, but really need to say this again: “Thank You to everyone who has ever helped me in my BJJ or gave some instruction because I’ve taken those lessons and still use them today, and maybe at some point I will be able to pass those words of advice or encouragement or inspiration to someone else.”

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Those Drills

Yesterday was pretty rough, no one but me in class meant that I did double the drills with 1 minute between and it was exhausting… so exhausting. Yesterday I was kind of cussing under my breath not understanding what the heck I was doing, I mean just repeatedly drilling fundamental moves and I was starting to get perplexed about it. Again, I was not understanding how this was or is going to do anything for my game, I already know this crap and it is as basic as it gets…

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is It…

Today another student showed up and I was like YES!! Thank GOD!!! And then something awesome and amazing happened, while we were drilling I realized that my muscle memory was starting to kick in and I could feel it and the moves were almost instinctive. I am still struggling with my lungs and ability to keep the oxygen flowing, my muscles almost always say STOP, no more… but I keep pushing myself. At the end of the class the instructor said, “OK, rounds”. And I having lost my courage and my confidence in my Jiu Jitsu,  simply said that I wanted to sit out. Then the instructor said, “OK, then we do 10 more minutes of arm bar drills”. W T H… Obviously, I jumped up and said No No No, I’m good I’ll roll. And there I was faced with Mr. Dustin who out weighs me by 50 Lbs. and is as strong as a lumberjack (not kidding). I think the time was just 4 minutes, but it was slow as a snail rolling… I wanted to stop 3x, but pushed through. The clip below is basically what happened…

I wanted to sit out, but reality is that if I don’t keep pushing myself I will never get better, and even if my teammates and coaches need to politely shove me out there… then that is what needs to happen. I think it is ironic how at one time I showed up to class to help others get better and now…

Now is when I need them the most.

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Feed the Machine

I kept thinking something is different, something is wrong… what am I NOT doing right?! I’m working out, eating healthy and then I had a conversation with my husband and I realized that I was not using any supplements that were staples in my routine before. Mainly missing my before and after workout dose of protein. I am not competing or even thinking about competing, but these supplements do help the old body step it up a notch. I’ve been using these for a few days, trying to see if there is any noticeable differences. I really kind of forgot how well you have to take care of your body, and it goes hand in hand with Jiu-Jitsu. I will try to keep this updated as time progresses.

On a different note, I was able to invite a new student to class with me at noon. The new student did great and I hope she comes back, a very strong lady… kind of shocked me really. I did a short YouTube to document her first BJJ class and semi-live roll with me.

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~You do not have to be Great to Start,

but you have to START to become Great~

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That Cocky Blue Belt

Bruno Bastos Seminar 4-16-2012

I know I will never be the grappler I was before or the grappler that I could have been… At one point I was thoroughly convinced I needed a few stripes on my belt and was looking towards my purple belt. Today, I would trade all that bullsh*t in for my white belt to be placed back onto my waist. I cannot roll hard past 2 minutes TOPS, I can push myself hard but at some point my body says Enough… You are Done, and like a light switch all muscles cease to be relevant. I got to roll with a white belt this afternoon and when my body was done, it was done and I had to tap out… I just couldn’t get my arms to function anymore, no grip, no strength… just dead weight. I used to be a very arrogant, cocky blue belt and being submitted by a white belt would have just destroyed me… but today, I’m just like whatever, deal with it! At some point in time, there is a realization that Jiu-Jitsu is an art and the higher up in belts you go, the more you realize that it is all the same and it does something that either destroys you or it makes you more appreciative of the art and humbles you. I knew full well that when I came back this would probably happen and I was going to have to deal with it and if I couldn’t then I didn’t belong on the mats.

Another part of this is that I can roll hard up to 2 minutes, before I feel dizzy and sick. I still go back to class everyday, I still get out there and I still try to go past my 2 minute mark – My Goal. As long as I keep going back to class, I’m fine and I can deal with it… This is what Jiu-Jitsu is, you learn.

We never loose, We learn and Our Greatest Mistakes

are Made from not Failing, but

Failing to learn from those Mistakes.

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Girls… Can we please Behave!

BJJ GIRL ISSUES

Alright, I had another interview today… and this time I made sure I could fit it in before my noon class. Last night I made sure I had a clean Gi and rashguard, shorts, and my belt. When I got to class I very quickly realized I forgot one very, very, very… VERY important piece of equipment, my sports bra.

This morning I dawned not just a normal every day bra, but one that has UNDER WIRES! At the gym I went ahead and got dressed and thought well, this will be interesting for sure. For the most part a bra is a bra, but when you are rolling anything can happen and it did. I counted three times my under wire stabbed my ribs and pinched my skin, and after my first roll I had to discreetly adjust my girls… I mean really??? Uuuuugh…!!!!

I will never ever make that critical error again.

~BJJ GIRL ISSUES~

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Accomplishments

I was not able to make class today, and it is awesome because I had a job interview!! Yaaay!!! I got a call last night about the interview today so I was scrambling to find something that would cover up my bruises on my arms from BJJ. Full well knowing that I would miss my Noon BJJ, I went into the interview with a little more on my mind than the interview itself. And a question popped up that went a little something like this: Name one achievement you are proud of, either work or not work related in the past three years. First off, what kind of question is that?! I hate interview questions, they are just so random! Obviously, I held off for a second thinking… and only one thing came to mind and I said,

“I am proud of earning my Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”

I took a major gamble with that answer, because people not in the sport will hear BJJ and think MMA or Karate or something other than Jiu-Jitsu. At first the person interviewing gave a slightly confused look and said, “Oh wow, that is a good accomplishment and how long have you been training”? When I told them I started training in 2009 a look of curiosity filled their face with an open mouth expression. And then they opened up and said that their child has been attending a martial arts school and how it has helped their child with self-esteem. I have a feeling at that point the interview could have wondered off from the job details to martial arts. He smiled and said, “that does tell a lot about you and you are still training… shows you have motivation and are dedicated – I like that.”

My gamble with my answer paid off, and we spent 20 minutes in total talking about the job and the details of the job. On my way out I was just dumbfounded and when I got into my car I thought – Uha… that was so weird. I mean really, how often do we ever get to say I am proud of earning my blue belt?! Ego at the door please, but really this is something to put on an accomplishment list… and who knows, maybe your next employer will think it is “kind of cool” too?!

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Survival Mode

Survival Mode, it means grips are everything… skin or a little less skin!

The name of the game today was to survive being dominated. Back in the day this would have completely annoyed me because it was just an unfair play in weight. I am now considering that maybe those guys who were smashing me where actually doing something that I couldn’t do myself… something with a bigger “EYE OPENER” benefit. I was rolling and trying some of my moves that would normally work, but when there is such a spread in weight it is damn near impossible. I had to gently remind my training partner to be careful and said, “easy now… if you break me, I wont be able to play with you anymore” and we both had a good laugh.

What I failed to realize before when I was completely dominated by a full grown 200+ lbs man, is that while I was being smashed and tossed around there was something else going on. If you take two people, one on the light side and another on the heavier side, the scales will always lean toward the heavier. While the heavier grappler will practice moves that have worked for them, and basically do a run through of what they know, the smaller opponent will be forced to survive. SURVIVE, you read that right… and I mean literal SURVIVAL MODE. This Survival mode does something beneficial, it allows the smaller opponent to building up endurance and tolerance. By doing this, the smaller opponent basically becomes a bad ass with people in their own weight class… WHY?! Well, that is because they have been forced to endure the pressure such as the knee on belly, the arm-bar attempts, the sweep attempts… everything.

Now before my problem with the domination of weight classes was only that I was hurt in one roll with a 200+ lbs guy, where I was slammed down onto the mat while I had a triangle… this separated a rib in my back and I was out for two weeks. What sucked about the timing of that injury was so significant to me because a seminar with Leticia Ribeiro, Bia Mesquita, and Carol Vidal was coming up and I was down for the count. I think that is why I held such resentment for that injury and for the longest I would not roll with anyone heavier. However, I am now more confident on what moves will keep myself safe all while pushing the endurance & tolerance buttons and ensuring that the Survival Mode is active.

I had to smile on my drive home from the gym today… all this time I built up a resentment instead of finding a way to see how this could and would benefit my own game. Smash and pressure, try your hardest but in the end I will walk away with something worth holding on to…

Endurance & Tolerance.

~SURVIVAL MODE~

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BJJ Homework?!

Couch time… and reading… BLAH!!!

Why are noon classes so awesome, let me explain first that my kids (Girl 11, Boy 10, Girl 7, Girl 3), and yes I have FOUR kids in school… they are very athletic and are big participants in sports. My son plays football, and baseball. My oldest daughter plays softball (year around) and basketball. Our two younger ones have yet to choose a sport to play, but I am pretty confident one of them is going to be a mad scientist and conqueror the world (not joking, that girl is scary smart). With the kids into sports pretty much all year, this leaves very little time to train. That means that any time there is a class during the day it is an opportunity for me to get my BJJ On. Evenings are normally filled with practices and studying, Saturdays are always game days and Sundays are rest and relax for the coming week. My kids will always take the front stage, but my BJJ has to fit in some where and this was always a battle for me to either pick my kids or training. Either way, the new noon class has me completely excited because it works into our schedule. Three days a week or five days a week, it is completely worth it to get some mat time!!!

Well there was no noon class today and that kind of messes up my schedule, but I decided to do “BJJ homework” because I have apparently forgotten some of my more signature moves learned from seminars (I do keep notes to reflect on). Isn’t that a catch phrase? If you don’t USE it you LOOSE it?! Anyways… I went back and looked through some of those notes for moves and transitions and tried to play them into “what if” situations. I’ve done them before and it was more of a instant reaction where as now it is a stop-think-do and is more predictable and sloooooow. That slow reaction time and hesitation makes for a weird and awkward roll, and kind of makes me feel like the almost 37 year old woman that I am. That sounds horrible, considering I took my first MMA fight when I was 30 and took my first steps onto a mat when I was 29, Eeecks!! There was a time when I looked down at people who went to seminars and wrote down diligent notes more or less because I am a visual learner, and hey maybe I was little jealous of their habit. However, I am so glad that I adopted this note taking because it has allowed me to go back to those days and relive the teachings and reflect and have an “aaaaaah, ok… I remember that” moment.

Days off are not completely lost, if you take notes at seminars it is a good time to reflect and put those moves back into the old nugget and start planning your next attack…

“BJJ HOMEWORK”

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