Monthly Archives: August 2019

Happy Friday! Back to the Land of the Living (and Happy Labor Day Weekend!)

Happy Friday everyone!

This week was a bit of a doozy- I had a head cold that just knocked all the will and energy out of me…. but I’m slowly but surely coming back around to the land of the living, so there’s that.

For those in the States, have a great and relaxing Labor Day weekend, and for everyone else, just have a great weekend in general!

 

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Girls in Gis Event in Philly: Sept 29th!

It’s about a month away, but the Girls in Gis organization is coming to Philly, with Valerie Worthington and Angela Vogel. Our gym is doing a team outing that day so I don’t think any of us will be able to make it, but for anyone in the area, you should go and check it out!

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Have a great day everyone!

 

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Happy Friday! Master Worlds 2019

Happy Friday everyone!

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Things are looking pretty exciting over in Las Vegas for the Master Worlds! Flograppling has been recording the matches and posting updates on Instagram- you should definitely check it out!

Also, while the event is still going on, points are tallying up, and so far Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu is in the lead for women!

Master Female

1 – Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu – 83
2 – CheckMat – 80
3 – Alliance – 57
Yay!
Be sure to check out some of the matches, and have a great weekend everyone!

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Teaching in BJJ and Removing Assumptions

Admittedly over the past couple of months I have been mainly teaching classes with more advanced students: we separate our gi classes into people who are super beginner and those who are more advanced and just due to scheduling conflicts I haven’t been able to assist in the beginner class, so the by the time they get to my world they are people who have been doing jiu jitsu for a couple of months, and while they have their struggles, by and large they sort of have a base understanding of certain principles and we build off of those.

I’m teaching that beginner class this week while we have some people out to go compete in Master Worlds, and if nothing else it’s very much a reminder that some of the things you think of as second nature after a while. How for some people not only is elbow escaping (or shrimping as some people call it) not something their body naturally does, but that even sometimes they know their right from left.

It’s a reminder that sometimes you need to stop and make sure that everyone is on the same page. It’s a bit like when you are telling your friend a story, but you never told them who the story was about, you just started using all the pronouns and expected your friend to understand exactly who and what you were talking about….and they just kind of stare at you blankly. Other people, particularly at my job do this to me all the time, actually. That’s when I will stare at the person and say, “I want you to repeat that entire story, but don’t use ANY pronouns. Go.”

Sometimes when we -higher ranks that is- are teaching, we know that people don’t have the same level of teaching, occasionally the erroneous assumption that people will know certain things will creep in without us noticing. Of course a white belt would understand why this guard is important! Of course they would know to turn left instead of right…and so on.

While it’s just human nature and there’s certainly no malice behind it, at the same time teachers need to be aware of those assumptions while on the mat, and do what they can to correct them. While some do have a bit of natural body awareness, more often than not people literally don’t know what they don’t know, with white belts having the biggest blind spot of them all. It’s our responsibility as higher ranks to expand their horizons bit by bit, showing them what’s possible and what’s necessary as they begin to learn the ropes of jiu jitsu. And the more we share that knowledge, really the better we all become: the newer student becomes more well versed in jiu jitsu, and the more experienced student understands the potential struggle that another future student could also have. There are also benefits of being the teacher instead of the student, but that’s for another time.

Have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! Nate Diaz & UFC 241

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, just when you thought UFC was getting relatively more tame….

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For anyone who didn’t catch it, this is UFC fighter Nate Diaz. Nate and his brother Nick are all about fighting, and the 420 lifestyle. So, absolutely true to form, Nate smokes a joint during the UFC open workout, and then from what I understand gave it to his fans to finish.

It’s literally the most Nate Diaz thing I have ever heard. Keep livin’ the dream, man.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Appeal of IBJJF Tournaments for Women in BJJ

It was an interesting question posed on social media- they expressed frustration regarding their impression that in order to compete against more women, they had to sign up for an IBJJF tournament, which let’s be honest costs a lot of money. They person expressed frustration that they had to drive for a longer period of time and hand out more money than say going to a smaller tournament closer to home, and asked why so many women chose to sign up for IBJJF tournaments. And her question is totally reasonable: it does seem a little silly to pay over 100 dollars to drive 2 to 3 hours to wait another couple of hours to fight someone that may potentially train like, 45 minutes away from you and the two of you could have duked it out at a local tourney for 60 bucks.

There are a couple of factors that play into this: first and foremost, it’s one of the better known tournament organizations, and whether anyone likes it or not, it’s pretty much a gold standard when it comes to gi competitions, especially when it comes to their rule set. From what I can tell a number of other tournament organizations use IBJJF’s rule set as their own, so walking in you should have a good handle on what’s allowed. Some commented on this person’s question stating that IBJJF is one of the best run tournaments out there. I think when it comes to the bigger tournaments- Pans, Worlds, etc. they more or less smoothly, but there have definitely been times where they have messed: the displays shorted out, during this past Pans there was a mess up in their bracketing and scheduling software and a bunch of us who were supposed to fight on a Saturday thought our divisions were pushed up to a Friday night (we found this out after dinner 45 minutes away from the venue and the divisions were supposed to “start” in 30 minutes, so we were pretty much all freaking out to some degree until we were able to get a rep on the phone to assure us it was a mistake), there was one time where one of our girls was basically forgotten in the bull pen when her competitor didn’t show up and she was basically left there waaaaay too long- they are by no means a perfect organization, but they get it right more times than they get it wrong.

Also, from what I can tell it’s one of the first tournament organizations that really set out from just the local scene and decided to extend their reach- it’s sort of like the GoPuff of the industry: for anyone who may not be aware of what go puff may be, it’s basically a convenience store on wheels. Say it’s late at night and you suddenly fall ill and need some pepto bismal, or maybe you’ve gotten the munchies due to whatever shenanigans you’re up to and could really go for some junk food, but you’re all out! You log into the app, pick out your items and go puff will deliver those items to your door.

There are companies that are now trying to recreate that service and push into that market space, but since (as far as I know) GoPuff was the first to offer this service, so it has the brand recognition and had a chance to establish its presence as the main service. And even if they weren’t the first, IBJJF is possibly of the longest running and, to my knowledge, still expanding tournament organizations out there.

So you have a recognizable, long running tournament with a clearly established and well known rule set- that frankly you know top competitors compete in, and are motivated to do so now because of the points system they recently implemented as a qualifier for some of their larger tournaments…. it’s no wonder that women tend to gravitate toward those tournaments. It would be nice to see more women in local tournaments, but really I’m happy to see women competing anywhere, and if that’s at an IBJJF tournament, so be it.

Will there be a change? Honestly, probably not. There are a good deal of tournament organizations out there, but unless they can find a way to top IBJJF’s popularity in the market- maybe by specifically reaching out to women? It will probably remain the same.

If there’s another tournament organization that you would love to see take off, please by all means let me know. Otherwise, have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

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Crying in Jiu Jitsu: Some Do’s and Don’ts

Preferably no one is crying on the mats- we’re all drilling, training, and overall (hopefully) having a good time. But unfortunately that’s not always guaranteed. As much as we try to keep our personal lives and issues on the mat, sometimes they have a way of creeping up on us in unexpected places. One minute you’re rolling with someone, and then for some reason it hits you, like when you’re standing in the ocean and get hit with a wave that you weren’t expecting.

While there are some outliers who have never shed an emotional tear on the mat, by and large if you haven’t cried in jiu jitsu, you probably haven’t been training for long enough. Admittedly, there are also moments when you are crying because of jiu jitsu, usually pain or maybe just feeling extra emotional- or you’re in pain, but if it’s a serious enough injury to make you upset, then that’s a slightly different protocol.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to crying in jiu jitsu:

  1. Don’t: Draw too much attention to the situation, and try to politely excuse yourself from the mat –  This is really the biggest piece of advice that I can give you. Not that I expect anyone to roll on the ground and intentionally draw attention to themselves, but if there’s a big blow up or some outburst of emotion, as an instructor my immediate worry is that someone is hurt physically. If you feel the tears coming on, let your partner know that you need a minute, try to excuse yourself/bow off the mat as calmly as you can manage, and either take a minute in either the locker room, or some other space where you feel safe to let it out.
  2. Do: Let it out, and start to take deep breaths – Listen, it’s ok to cry. I’m not sure how you got to this point: bad break up, a death of a loved one, work making you feel like you are barely treading water…. you’re at a point where there’s a lot going on, and unfortunately everything just came to a head at an inconvenient time and place. Happens literally to everyone at some point in their lives. It sucks, I know, but you’re also human, and sometimes we need a good cry. Remember to start taking nice deep breaths, get your heart rate back down, pull yourself back together.
  3. Don’t: Be ashamed to head back into class – Once you’ve pulled yourself back together, maybe splashed some cold water on your face, straightened out your gi- and don’t feel ashamed rejoining the class. Again, totally sucks, but it’s better to get something out of the class than hiding somewhere for the rest of the time. If your instructor doesn’t know what’s going on, you may also want to give them a heads up, just so they know what’s going on. This is also where I mention protocol gets a little different between emotional distress and a physical problem. If you get hurt in jiu jitsu and you know that it isn’t something long lasting, just really hurt in the moment, then come back to class and keep drilling/training if you can. If you feel like something is injured however, or hurts to the point where the thought of drilling or training again just seems impossible, then just sit to the side: let your instructor know what’s happening and ask if you can sit to the side, or somewhere out of the way.

Those are kind of the major points: it feels awful to cry on the mat, I know, but it’s definitely not the end of the world, promise- you’ll get through that uncomfortable moment and move on.

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Friday! Mountain Biking Edition – And We Didn’t Die!

Happy Friday everyone!

So while there is plenty of stuff to do on the water around Lake Tahoe, there’s also a good deal of activities on land as well, including mountain biking:

You’ll catch some stunning views of the lake in some spots, but this trail in particular had some harrowing parts where the trail was approximately a third of the width you see here, with a super steep drop to the left of you….

So again, lots of fun, totally glad we didn’t die.

Just wanted to share some photos with you all- with or without the death defying bike ride, it’s definitely a place you want to visit.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Friendly Reminder: Cut Your Nails When Training in BJJ

And really in general, but especially make sure to keep them short for the sport. Just mentioning this because while training with someone I received approximately 2 inch cut from someone’s nails while rolling last night.

I spoke with the person after class (it was an honest oversight, it happens) but for anyone else our there who needs a reminder, please cut your nails- both fingers and toes.

Please and thank you.

Have a great day everyone!

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Tips for Competing in a BJJ Tournament

While there are a number of people who read this blog and don’t do jiu jitsu, there are some, and maybe a few of them have thought about competing in the near future. This is by no means a complete list, but here are a couple of tips and things to keep in mind if you are thinking about competing:

  1. Get there on time– This is sort of obvious, but take a look at travel times, and take into account the possibility of traffic. I’m not saying get to the tournament 8 hours early, but if you are headed to say NAGA’s Battle at the Beach, which takes place in a New Jersey beach town, maybe add a little time in case you get stuck in beach traffic. You’ll also probably want to warm up beforehand, so I would say show up at minimum an hour or so beforehand.
  2. Make sure you have the right gear– if you’re not sure, see if the tournament has rules on the kind of gi that you can wear, belt, if you need to wear a rashguard reflecting your rank if you’re doing no gi, etc.
  3. Bring some snacks, water, possibly a yoga mat– It’s going to be a long day, so unless you want to roll the dice with the food and drink provided at the venue (which can range anything from a full meal to some hastily made PB&J sandwiches), you’ll probably want to bring your own snacks and drinks.  And if you’re looking to stretch somewhere before competing, it may not be a bad idea to bring a yoga mat so you can plop down somewhere and loosen up.
  4. Warm up– Related to the previous point, you should warm up. Stretch, jog, jump rope, do something to loosen you up before competing.
  5. Make sure you know the rule set– again a gimme, but don’t assume that all tournament organizations run with the same rule set. Some run their matches for different lengths of time, some allow certain submissions that others won’t, and so on.
  6. Keep an eye on the progression of the tournament and check on how they are going to call you to compete–  A lot- not all, but a lot of- tournaments will simply designate one, maybe two tables to a division and then corral the division by the table(s). If that’s the case, keep an ear out for your name, and/or just keep an eye on the general progress of the tournament. There are some tournaments that progress by rank from small sized competitors to larger sized competitors. So, if you’re a smallish blue belt and you’re watching some larger white belts on the mat, start to pay attention because you may be called soon.
  7. Breathe, and have fun!– No matter the outcome, you’re going out there and doing the thing! You’re facing your anxieties and stepping out on the mat. It may feel super stressful leading up to your matches, but afterwords you’ll feel accomplished, and can walk away knowing that you did your best!

Those are some tips for competing that I can think of off the top of my head- hopefully this is helpful to someone out there if they are thinking of competing in the near future.

Have a great day everyone!

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