Monthly Archives: August 2010

Tough Love-Sometimes It’s Necessary

I feel a little guilty for it, but today I had to give my mother a little ‘tough love this past Saturday. It wasn’t like,¬†“You’re a wimp, now deal with it!” kind of tough-love, it was a little gentler, but tough love nevertheless.

I had brunch with my family on Saturday, and my mother was showing me that some fitness magazine had featured kettlebells as a new way to work out.

I immediately began to pick at the form and the different exercises the woman in the photos was doing: how she was holding the bell, how her hips were positioned, and …what the hell, that’s not how we do a Halo-that doesn’t even make sense!

My mother looked discouraged, especially when I told her she really should get someone to personally train her: it’s not that I don’t think she can do it, I just think that it takes a keen eye that knows what to look for and to correct any improper form that could keep my mother from throwing out her back, knocking out her teeth…you know, the usual stuff.

My mother, stepfather and brother all came to my little humble abode and took a look around, an I took this opportunity to show my mother what I meant. I plopped a 8kg kettlebell in her hands and said “see? This is why I think you should get a personal trainer-so you don’t throw your back out” I also happened to throw into the conversation “I say this because I care.” And I do; this is a woman that does not weight train on a regular basis that has decided she wants to begin a weight training program, and I want to ensure she is taking the right steps to make this a lifelong, fruitful decision. There are tons of studies on how men and women can lengthen and improve their lives through exercise, regardless of age.

It just does work if you are on the floor, moaning in pain because you threw out your back.

Just sayin’.

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Reach Out And Touch Somebody

For pretty much the past year I have been hanging out in my little corner of the internet, throwing out odd ball humor and the occasional random picture, but never really putting my name or fictitious face out there (no, I do not look like a 1950’s housewife, thankyouverymuchsir).

With the help of BJJ Grrl‘s blogroll (ah ha, I said that I would plug your name somewhere else! Tada!) I have been reading what other girls/women are writing, and trying to make myself a part of the women’s jiu jitsu blogging community. Mainly because I want to, and it would be nice to see what other women in the sport are going through.

This is all sorts of new and I think it will be uncharted waters for a little, but I think in the long run it’ll be fun, I hope.

In sort of related news I have some ideas that I want to put into effect, and change things up a little around here, so if the layout is suddenly different and you see on my twitter feed “OMG WHAT DID I JUST DO?!?!?” just know that it’s all a part of the process, and I will eventually stop hyper-ventilating.

Eventually.

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I’ll Take Things That Sound a Little Stuck-Up But Are Totally Not for 200, Alex

I made a decision last night that sounds a little arrogant, but really isn’t and is really for the betterment of my jiu jitsu and a compliment to my teammates.

There is a purple belt girl that I train with a lot, and she is one of the few and the proud that can pass my open guard like it’s not even there. It’s not like my open guard is laughably pathetic, so more often than not it’s surprising when she does.

Another thing I should mention about all of this is I am usually the one that sets pace, I guess you would say in the beginning of the match, in terms of who’s playing bottom and who’s playing top. Or at least it seems that way from my perspective; on further thought she prefers to play bottom, but has no problem springing to top and passing my guard when I sit to work on my bottom game. More often than not I would play top and we would go from there, but lately I have been really trying to work on my bottom game and have recently started there with her.

I decided that at least for the next couple of months I will be starting on the bottom when training with her, and see where it leads. One this girl’s favorite positions is knee in belly and cross-side, so it’s going to be hard at first, but I’m hoping to continue to persevere and come up with some sort of answer to someone with a strong pass like that. She tends to cross the knee, and while I have been getting to half-guard, I haven’t been successful yet passing out of it into a better position.

I’m hoping this doesn’t sound arrogant, but instead a compliment. She has an excellent pass in her arsenal on the mat, and it’s something that I want to get better at defending, and therefore, better with opponents I don’t train a whole bunch with and are, you know, best friends with all the holes in my game.

So, we shall see how it turns out: I imagine I am going to be in a number of sticky situations for a while, but in the end I will hopefully succeed, at least once or twice.

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The Colorful Gi Phenomenon

So as I understand it from my illustrious instructors (who are totally great people, I just wanted to use the word ‘illustrious’ today; next up will be the term ‘proliferate’) once upon a time the only gi was a white gi. Nothing camouflage shaded, no bright red or green or yellow.

Just white.

Then they decided to throw tradition out the window, get a little crazy and have blue gi’s (I think it was suppose to be a summer thing, from what I recall)(and I would totally not be surprised if alcohol had some sort of influence in this decision).

Nowadays there are gi’s every color of the rainbow, and some most certainly outside the rainbow as well. There are some schools out there fine with their students wearing all different kinds of gi’s (personally my favorite is when someone wears the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green), and there are some academies that want their students to wear the more traditional white, and a blue uniform when they are more of a regular competitor, since the colors are restricted at more of the bigger tournaments around the country.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to think. As fun as it is to see some of the different colors gi’s come in (and who doesn’t want a traffic cone orange gi, really) I kind of like the idea of holding the tradition, especially the lower ranked belts. When you’re a black belt you can show up in a gi with the outline of a woman in a bikini, or a design reminiscent of the dick towel and no one will really stop you, because hey, there’s a good chance that it’s your academy and you’ll do whatever you want.

But I digress.

I would never hold it against someone if they chose one of the more unusual styles, but call me dull and uninteresting, but I wouldn’t want to purchase something that I would never be able to wear in competition (gi’s for IBJJF must be all white, all blue, and I think just this year or last they allowed all black).

What kind of gi’s do you guys wear when training? Did you buy one of those neon colored gi’s? Are they comfortable to train in? I’m curious.

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Well Hot Damn

I thought I had nothing to write about today: I was looking around the Internetz, looking for more blogs to put up from Jiu jitsu ladies, or just perusing to see what everyone else is up to, when I found a number of interesting things:

I found a blog that had a workout video from the former owner of our gym on a stranger’s blog.

I found links to two of my teammates blogs on a complete stranger’s site (I knew they wrote them, it just didn’t really hit home until then).

It was kind of fun, and a little interesting. I knew these guys had a blog/internet presence, but it never really hit home that others were watching and telling their friends about them. Will I tell my teammates that I have a blog as well? As horrible as it sounds, probably not.

It’s nothing against them: they are both great and people should totally read what they have to say, and I will sing their praises up one side and down another. The catch is the thought of letting them know makes me anxious for some reason, which to me means I am not ready. I feel it is much easier to make an ass out of yourself to people you don’t know (Hello Internet!) than in front of the people you do. Maybe someday I’ll grow a pair and reach out to them, but for now I would prefer not to.

::shrug:: It’s weird, I know, but that’s how my twisted little mind works. And hey, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want with it. And who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind and we’ll create one gigantic mass of links and networking for our team, and we will take over the internet!

Muahahahahaha!!

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Back to Work

Sure, it’s been fun celebrating and eating delicious hamburgers this weekend in celebration, but now it’s time to get back to work and clean up some parts of my technique: just because I won doesn’t mean there weren’t some problems, and some mistakes that could have really gotten me into trouble.

I’ve learned that you always learn more from your losses than from your wins, which I completely agree with; however it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to be learned from your wins as well. Unless, you know, you did a flying armbar and tapped the person out in the first 10 seconds of the match. That one you should just leave alone and focus on other matches to see what needs to get better. ūüėČ

I would like to focus a little more on jumping to the triangle in no-gi: it’s not something I work for too much, even in a gi setting, so that is definitely something that needs to be worked on. Take downs are definitely something that need to be worked on, and sitting into guard: while I did pretty well for this tournament, ¬†there have been a number of cases where this has gotten me into a lot of trouble.

I also need to work on my balance in a number of positions: while I was quick enough to correct, it wasn’t until my coach was yelling that I was too far over and I needed to be more careful with my positioning, which I think I might be talking to him about in the next couple of days.

There are some more things, but those are the ones that were on the top of my head at the moment.

Getting a little off the subject, one of my medals will be hung in the gym, which I think is fair, but not in the way that you think, probably. Not because I think I’m super awesome and deserve the praise, but because it’s insane to think this was not a team win. I would say your training is about 55% internal, a personal fight and struggle: but the other 45% is most certainly a group effort.(and PS I’m totally pulling those percentages out of my ass-It all depends on the person, and how supportive your team is with your training-there is a lot of personal motivation that goes into this sport, but a very large portion is also a group effort that absolutely cannot be ignored)

Your teammates are right there with you, learning with you, training with you; your instructor is taking the time out to guide you and your technique in the right direction, as well as your greatest advocate when you are competing, taking your side when there is a bad call or a mistake in awarding points. I feel its fair because the medal is not only a symbol of your personal victory, but a recognition of the hard work and dedication everyone on the team put in.

And what academy doesn’t love a little extra bling on the walls? ūüėČ

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Bringing Home 2 Gold Medals From The NAGA Tournament

Yay! Even though we got there a little late due to the heinous beach traffic that was working it’s way to the Jersey Shore (no, not that one, the other one) our team all got there in one piece, and brought home a butt-load of medals.

It was awesome.

My no-gi match was called a ‘super fight’ because there was only one other girl to fight, so we did and while we both did well, I won due to points, 6-0.

I didn’t try to any take downs, because honestly I don’t train that much in no-gi (I think the count of classes I’ve gone to can still be counted on both hands), but I played my game, I got in a sweep, and a number of submission attempts (including working for a triangle in the first minute or so), and even my instructor/coach said that it was very technical, which to me was the best compliment of the day.

For the gi division they actually found 2 other women to compete in the same division, so I did end up fighting the same girl again, who I won against due to points, and another girl who was a little taller than me, and also fought well, but in the end I caught her with a Bow and Arrow choke, while I was up on points, 12-0.

My other teammates also did an outstanding job, bringing home gold, silver, bronze and even a ridiculously big belt, which was not worn in public (unfortunately). ¬†One downer was our purple belt girl was caught in a toe hold, but 1) we really don’t work on attacking the feet and 2) she really didn’t train all this week due to a minor sinus infection. There is always the next tournament though, and I look forward to snapping lots of pictures while she takes home the gold.

One thing I absolutely love about our team is that during the entire tournament we played really technical, actually very pretty jiu jitsu. Not that anyone means to do it, but there is such a prevalence of “truck-stop”, AKA “You owe me money, bitch” jiu jitsu; I know not all techniques are very pretty, but there are a number of techniques and alternatives that reflect more of the principle and art of the sport/self defense martial art. Our school tends to emphasis those techniques, and encourage people to train in that fashion, and I prefer it. It makes for better competition in my opinion, and all that more rewarding, win or lose, because you know that you played as best as your could.

One superficial, cosmetic question though: I know a lot of girls put their hair into cornrows to keep it from getting everywhere. but are there any other ways to tie everything back? I always look like a mess in competition photos, which I don’t care during the match, it’s just afterwards when I see the photos I say “Oh my…”

Any suggestions?

Here's looking at you, Kid

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Kind of Feels Like that Presentation in College That You Decided to “Just Wing”

That’s how I’m feeling about this tournament tomorrow. I have been training a good deal, both in gi and no-gi, but it’s nowhere near the amount that I feel I should have trained for this tournament.

And I’m kind of OK with that. In the spectrum of tournaments and level of importance, this actually ranks pretty low. I’m more concerned about both the in-house that happening later this month, and then there is the annual Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Tournament that is happening the first weekend of October in Oklahoma City. Those definitely have priority over this NAGA tournament.

It also doesn’t help NAGA’s case that they used to be the “anything goes” tournament for quite some time. As one instructor said “You could put a gun to someone’s head and shoot them: 2 points.”

They have cleaned up their act from what I have seen in the rules, but it will take a good amount of time before their reputation turns, and even still they will be referred to as “that tournament where there were really no rules.”

::shrug:: it sucks, but they are still making an attempt to be a little more respectable, which I can respect. I do have one question though regarding something you ban in your rules:

What the hell is the ‘Boston Crab’ Technique?

**UPDATE: I found out what the “Boston Crab Technique” is, and now you can all share in the cringing as you imagine what it does to both ankles**

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I Have Never Wanted To Hit Someone So Badly…Thanks, AT&T

Oh Mr. AT&T sales guy, you are a jerk.

Call me old fashioned, but I have a number of years dealing with customer service under my belt, and believe there is a certain amount of warmth and courtesy you offer to a customer: they are, after all, willing to give you money for a service you so happen to provide.

And let’s be honest, this is an AT&T store, a higher-end cellphone company that is currently making a killing off the brand new iPhone-you’re not a bus boy at some gross diner, or a ::ahem:: ‘person of ill-repute’ turning tricks in the back of a car. One would expect a little more civility than what you provided, sir. (I guess it’s true what they say, money can’t buy you class.)

You know the biggest thing that bugged me about our whole interaction? No, not that I had to wait 15 minutes-that’s fine, I understand a rush of customers. Not even that you couldn’t really even help me that day (long story, but it’ll all pan out in the end). Even the fact that I and another person tried repeatedly all day to call your store to double check on something, and no one even attempts to pick up your phone. That ran second place to this…

No, it’s the fact that you were not willing to shake my hand.

I don’t know if it was because I was young, or a female, or (hell, I doubt it, but white even), but the look on your face made it seem like I pulled a rat or a toad out of my back pocket and that I expected you to take it.

I admit, I kind of looked like I was on the way to the beach (I refuse to walk out of my office in the city summer heat wearing a buttondown shirt and skirt: I would have been a sweat-soaked mess) but that shouldn’t have meant anything, because money is money is…What? Oh, that’s right: MONEY.

Also, please don’t be condescending when speaking to me: all it does is invoke this strong urge to maybe not so much hit you, but to pull off a fantastically nasty and sloppy Judo hip throw (in this case the sloppier, the more painful, the better). Not that I ever would, but it seems a much more satisfying solution than just punching you in the face. But no, I am better than that: instead I will just mention that it seems that someone in this whole process is misinformed, and that someone needs to adjust your protocol to be more¬†accommodating¬†and have a little less disconnect between the corporation, retail stores and consumers.

See? I can be all civil-like. And non-violent. Classy, even.

I think that’s the end of my rant, but sir, I do have to say I hope this was just a one-time¬†occurrence, that I caught you on your off-day, because¬†¬†if that is indeed how you treat all the customers that walk into the store that you may consider ‘beneath’ you in that fashion, I can foretell a long and unsuccessful career in sales for you.

That is all.

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There’s a Fine, Fine Line…

Between training just enough just before a tournament, and over training to a point where you are just a mess when competing (and therefore, it’s a waste of your time).

I based that entire first sentence off a song from the Broadway puppet musical “Avenue Q“…Yeah, I’m just that damn witty.

In all seriousness, there is a fine area to tread when getting ready for tournaments; between getting a good sweat in and feeling prepared, to over-training and being dead on your feet when you step up for a match. I can picture that awkward situation…

“Hey Katie, what happened during that match? You totally could have taken her.”

::shrug:: “My body had enough-can I take a nap under the bleachers now? Or just die, because that would be a totally acceptable option at the moment. ”

I would like to avoid that extreme, but at the same time would also really like to make weight. Since this was sort of a last minute decision, I can only get to the last weight class before it goes to open, so I’ll have about 2-5 lbs to lose so I don’t have to fight women that fight essentially 2 of me put together. Not that it would be the end of the world, but if it’s no-gi, it comes as a definite disadvantage, since I have only started to train in a no-gi fashion. Uncertain, a little nervous, and competing against someone who probably has more experience and I know is heavier than me…

Yeah, that would end well. And by well, I mean not so good.

We’ll see how it goes, because either way I’ll try my best, and we’ll see where it gets me.

Whooo!

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