Monthly Archives: September 2010

A Somber Note on Domestic Violence

I’m going to lay aside my “rapier sharp wit” and humor for a second to talk about something a little more serious.

I’m sure many women who are in jiu jitsu or some sort of martial art has experienced this: bruises, black eyes, and the concerned looks and comments that come with them. If you are anything like me, you laugh it off, explain what you do, and explain more or less that you are not being abused, that these marks were totally by choice.

But for some women, those bruises are not by their choice. Their husbands, boyfriends, family, choose violence and abuse and those women are made to suffer the consequences of that decision.

Please, join me in a moment of silence for those women who do not feel strong enough to fight back, and pray they may one day have the strength to walk away from whatever unhealthy relationship they are in.

That is all.


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Oh Spambot, you Slay Me

I had something all planned out to write, when I saw this in my spam folder: “Thanks for the blog bro.”

There was more, but I stopped right there.

::looks at the obviously feminine name of author; looks back at comment::

:: looks at the name of the blog A Skirt on The Mat; looks back at the comment::

::Blink. Blink::

I think that is the first time I have ever been called “bro”


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Team Training

I would like to state for the record I find 5 hr energy drinks gross as all hell.

But I totally drank one last night in the hopes I could make it through the evening.

Max wanted to drill a couple of things before team training, so we got to the gym a little earlier and worked on some cross-side and mount escapes. We did team training after that, which we did some warm-ups, armbar and omoplata drills, some positional training again and then did some matches. We aren’t doing much in the learning positions realm of things due to the tournament this Saturday. Learning is good, but realistically no one will learn something Wednesday and use it Saturday: now is the time to use what you know and work on your game plan with what you have been practicing up to this point.

Frankly I was so spent from the night before that I didn’t think about anything: I tried a couple of things with open guard, when a person is standing in front of you, sitting up and holding onto one of the legs to either get a single leg take-down, or pulling on the one leg to get the person to narrow their stance, so you can grab the other leg and force them to fall over. The tricky bit is getting far enough to your side to make sure they cannot face you, push their knee forward and force you onto your back, giving them the advantage to pass the guard.

Other than that, most of the night was kind of a blur of sweat and moving to get into the best position possible in each match.

Oh! and Max got a stripe! Yay!

Next up, purple belts for us! ::gulp::


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So Tired I Can’t Remember….Something I Can’t Remember…

Last night was a marathon night, which is great, just long as hell. And tiring.

Definitely tiring.

(You can imagine The Sabre Dance playing as I continue to describe last night’s classes).

First was Kettlebells, working with 12kg and 16 kg weights. We also did some some static holds in between timed sets with the bells, which was a little (pleasantly) different than usual.

Then jiu jitsu class was more of a general training with some take down work to get competitors ready for the Philly Cup coming up, and the Ribeiro Association Annual Tournament. We worked on some arm bar and omoplata drills, then positional training from the more traditional and common guards and positions people end up in: the back, mount, side control, totally screwed, closed guard…

You know, the basics.

We then worked on a couple of Jiu Jitsu friendly take downs, incorporating a little Judo in creating an opportunity to sit to and open guard. That followed to some training, and then the end of class.

Which then led into Judo.

Judo we practiced the Tai Otoshi, or Valley Drop, which I started to get the hang of…but then I accidentally hurt my uke while throwing her, so I started to worry about everything  I was doing and it was throwing me off, since Judo is all about “mushin no shin“. Essentially, I lost my mojo and was over analyzing and over thinking everything.

Because, you know, that always works out in the end when it comes to martial arts. And life.

We worked on some tokui waza (favorite technique) for a bit, then worked with some ground work. The technique for the night was working to escape cross side and avoiding the pin.We got through the drilling portion, and at that point I threw in the towel and just watched everyone else train with groundwork.  It was a long day, I was tired, and honestly while I last as long as I had hoped, I lasted longer than I thought I would.

The day was long, and I am tired and sore with a headache (yay) but happy I did all of it.

And now if you don’t mind I am going to curl up under my desk for a while.


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Jiu Jitsu And The Compromises We Make

Maybe I’ll just chalk this up to being a Gemini or something (Astrology, Woooo!) , but there are days where I wish I could split in two, just to get everything done.

At my job I am sometimes required to attend events on the weekend. And more often than not that’s when a jiu jitsu tournament is scheduled. My personal wish is to split into two, one going to each function and we all walk away happy.

But sadly, I am not Multiple Man, and so I have to use that funny thing called compromise. Usually work wins out, because you know, I like my job, but  they also understand my passion for jiu jitsu and understand when I can’t make certain events for tournaments. It’s something that I appreciate and try my best not to abuse.

It’s not an easy thing for most people, compromise. We like when things go just our way, especially the older we get (as I had the pleasure of learning from a variety of customer service jobs). But, I’m sure we all have had to make that compromise: when we really want to go to a tournament, but something comes up (I see this happen especially with married couples) and so we compromise. There’s the balance we have to maintain between life and jiu jitsu. Very few of us can sleep on the mat and do nothing but train, we have lives we need to tend to: friends, families, work, loved ones. Compromise certainly is not a bad thing, in fact it’s quite necessary, but it is also necessary to ensure there is balance on BOTH sides.

Honestly I’m not sure where I am going with this, it’s just something that I have been dealing with for the past couple of days, and it’s Monday (actually that has nothing to do with anything, but felt like pointing it out anyway).

What causes you to compromise with you time on and off the mat (that sentence made sense, right)? Family? Friends? That plan for world domination you have been working on for the past couple of years?


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Jiu Jitsu in the Office

We talk about it in Jiu Jitsu, but it is a glorious day when it clicks outside in the real world: minimum effort, maximum effect.  And you know what I mean, not just skating by with the least effort required to make sure you don’t get in trouble, I mean using your time and efforts in a precise, efficient manner to get  the most done in the least amount of time, making you feel all productive-and-stuff.

And just like on the mat, off the mat it doesn’t always happen. That nifty plan of action you had for the day crashed and burned 1/2 way through, and you are scrambling to put your day back together in some sort of cobbled together, Frankstein-ish fashion to get at least a couple of things crossed off of your to-do list. But, it’s key to remember that you not only tried, but to recognize what went wrong: sometimes there are things that are just beyond your control in both realms: the person you compete against or train with was taught a move you don’t know = copier suddenly deciding “hey, I’m going to have this error that no one outside of a copier technician or an extensive knowledge of my manual knows how to fix.”

And then there are things that are mistakes on a personal end, and some in their general description sound similar on and off the mat: hesitation, focusing on the wrong element of a bigger picture, thinking you have more time than you really do.

Sound familiar?

The key thing to take from both situations, in my opinion, is the opportunity to grow, learn, and get better. You tried, and that is a huge part of the equation. Life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if we continually aced everything, nor would your successes be as sweet and rewarding. So, keep working at some of that Office Jiu Jitsu and someday you’ll get it.

And remember, no take downs by the water cooler.

Oh, and I have a question for y’all: has anyone here tried a Fenom Kimono? I’m curious as to what people think about this brand.

Have a great weekend, and see you Monday!


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Last Night’s Class

We worked last night on escaping from the cross side in a variety of situations, including when your neither or your arms are pulled in tightly against you because, you know, you freaked out or something. It was definitely a good class, because it got down to the nitty gritty of escaping the cross side, including that big bump thing you are supposed to do to get the underhook farthest from you opponent under the person.

What’s funny (and a little sad) is my ability to lock up my opponent due to my …ahem…womanly features. (My boobs. I am talking about my boobs.) It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s a little comical when on top in cross side and the person on bottom goes through this HUUUUGE bump…

To get stuck. At my chest.

The key thing to remember about these escapes (other than my ta-tas, of course) is the fact that there is no big movement required in the beginning; it’s about small bumps, to get your knee in, and THEN creating the space necessary. Jiu Jitsu, as many women and men know, is primarily a game of inches and balance-where to properly put your weight, getting in and out of tight spaces, and so on.

So, what did you learn last night?

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I Need to Go To Class Tonight Or I Will Scream

It’s just been one of those weeks where what you are doing outside of the mat (job, whatever) is super exciting and super great and you’re glad that you are doing it.

But you need to get to class or your head will explode. Or you’ll start screaming. Whichever comes first.

Ok, enough writing, back to work!


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Seminar and Your Opinion

This past Saturday we had our seminar with Xande Ribeiro, and it was pretty excellent.

The part I liked the most was the theory behind the moves he was doing. There were general concepts that can be used in a number of different situations and different ways of looking at the same kinds of problems. Through the seminar Xande offered new and interesting perspectives to things guards such as the Butterfly and the Open Half (guard…yeah…ok, anyway). There were a few moves we specifically drilled, but the corrections he made to everyone’s technique, even when it seemed like nothing more than a little tweaking and fine tuning, had rhyme and reason. Words aren’t coming too smoothly for me at the moment, but the majority of these  movements were obviously routed in fundamentals and weren’t (for lack of a better term) “throw-away” gestures, something that weren’t necessary for the successful completion of the technique. I think these are all great techniques for men AND women, and can fit into most games that competitors play.

The end was also opened to a Q & A session, and we sat around and talked about a couple of positions. Sadly, there were no references to castles and flags this time. Or moats.

Oh! And update, I fixed the Maxercise blog link, and I apologize for the confusion before; other than that, posts will be even less about mat time this week because I can only go on Wednesday. Boooo.

I would like to ask the peanut gallery though: would you like more in-depth descriptions of what we do in class? I guess I am SO against the Youtube jiu jitsu and pro-class time that I have almost completely avoided most references to what we do in class, but would that be easier, or at least slightly more interesting to read?

What do YOU think?


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The Ribeiro Brothers and Roadtrip!

Sorry for the no post yesterday, I was at a work function all day.

But Rick Brady of Middle Age BJJ asked a question that I wanted to respond to a little more fully in a post.

In the extremely brief time I have spend with both Ribeiro brothers, at the risk of sounding sappy, it gives me great peace of mind that we are associated with them. Both brothers I have found to be warm, encouraging, and a pleasure to learn from in the seminars they have done at our academy. I also like the mission and attitude behind the association, and the concept they seem to take to heart, which is “a black belt is a white belt that never gives up.”

I also find it kind of fun that (at least at the time) Xande had a thing for castle analogies, and Saulo has a thing for army analogies.

But, for a better example, at this past Pan games in California, Saulo checked in on the status of our entire team, who won, who lost, not just through John, our instructor, through us, personally. He wanted to hear us explain what happened.

I know that may seem trivial, but this is a man that has academies bearing his and his brother’s association emblems throughout the United States, and he was talking with a small fraction of the entire association. I don’t know how other big name black belts run their associations, but this kind of behavior I wouldn’t expect and am highly pleased to find at the top of the entire organization.

I know this kind of sounds like everything is gumdrops and sunshine, which of course very few things in life are ( like unicorns, and chocolate chip cookies), but really I cannot find any problems that would give reason to pause or doubt. I can honestly say I am happy our academy is a part of the Ribeiro Association.

So, each year The Ribeiro Association holds and annual tournament for all the academies to get together and compete: like an ENORMOUS in house. This year it is being held at Rafael Lovato Jr.’s Academy in Oklahoma City, OK.

According to the Maxercise Blog by our Purple Belt Maggie, there is some talk of driving to Oklahoma for the tournament. I’m down with that, I’ll just ride with these guys:

Looks legit.


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