Category Archives: women’s bjj

Finding Your Reason to Do (or Continue) BJJ

There are a ton of different, great reasons to do jiu jitsu- for self defense, for physical health, for mental wellness…. The list really goes on an on, when you think about it. And for some people it starts with some external factor that comes into play- a friend started and wanted you to come along, someone mentioned that you should try it because it’s a great way to get into shape.

When it comes to ensuring longevity in the sport however I am a firm believer in having a reason that involves you, and you alone. Starting because say a friend started is a great way to get someone in the door, but there are going to be times when that simply isn’t reason enough to continue to go. It’s the same thing with a lot of big changes you make in your life: when you finally choose to lose those last 10 pounds, quit smoking, finally do the thing you always said you were going to do. It’s an action that requires a greater amount of commitment in the whole process than some external factor will provide you.

It’s important to take ownership in your decision to do jiu jitsu, because eventually and inevitably it will get hard. While your proficiency in the sport will sky rocket at first, but progress in anything is filled with hills and valleys, and there are times when you will hit one of those low periods and start to wonder if the risk is worth the reward: you are having less than stellar sessions rolling with people, others that you considered yourself equal to are getting promoted before you… again, the list goes on an on. By taking ownership in the whole process, I think personally it makes it a little easier to deal with those rough times, having the understanding that you are having a rough patch in your training, but you chose and it is something you will continue to choose to stick with.

So really think about why you are doing jiu jitsu- what makes you happy about getting on the mats day after day. Once you understand that it makes this whole journey, particularly the rough parts, a little easier to understand and gives you an anchor point to hold onto even when things seem to be going a little sideways.

Just some thoughts- have a great day everyone!

 

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Happy Friday! Trust, in One Photo

Happy Friday everyone!

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This was from the Girls in Gis event where I taught a mini seminar a little while ago… It takes a good deal of trust to just hang on someone while they stand there, hold on to you with one arm and chat about what to do next.

Fortunately Sarah and I have been training together for over 8 years and have gotten to the point of speaking only in half sentences sometimes to one another. While not every training partner relationship needs to be this way, I do hope you have training partners that you feel you can trust to not let you fall.

Have a great weekend!

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Forgetting We’re Human

I think we have all run into this situation: we go into class not exactly feeling our best- say from a stomach ache, we’re starting to feel run down because we’re starting to get a cold but we haven’t presented all of the symptoms just yet, we have a muscle that’s tweaked, something going on in our work or personal lives that leaves us preoccupied. We drill, we train, and then sometimes we become frustrated when we don’t do as well as we think we should- reality is not meeting our expectations, and so we become frustrated with our performance. In fact we’re probably already irritated that we (probably) had to take some time off, so now we’re in an even worse mood and we stomp out of the academy that night, irritated with everyone and everything. I could say that this has never happened to me…. but, that would be lying.

We occasionally forget that we are human, in a way- we forget that we are more than just a machine that will quickly and efficiently perform the same task with the same amount of proficiency every single time. We progress and excel in learning and performing techniques some days. We understand there are hills and valleys to progress, but at the moment we either are on (or think we are on) an upward swing and we try to milk it for all its worth.

And then a downward swing hits us. And we’re pissed. Sometimes its due to some external factor like previously mentioned, and then just sometimes we’re just having an off day. I want to remind everyone that it’s ok to be human: it’s ok to have off days, to not be 100% on point every single time- you still need to strive to do your best, but sometimes just “meh” is really all you can eke out, and that’s fine.

Remember, jiu jitsu is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint, and during this whole adventure you will make some headway, but there will be times where you are sort of stuck and you need to slog through the mud. I just ask that you remember that this too shall pass, and that you shouldn’t let these less than stellar moments get you down too much.

That’s all for now- have a great day everyone!

 

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Does BJJ Inspire Grit, or Are People with Grit Inspired by BJJ?

It’s one of those “chicken and the egg” questions- what comes first, the person with grit who walks in and starts jiu jitsu, or is it something that develops in a person as they train, compete in tournaments, and prove their resilience to others, and more importantly themselves.

Ultimately it’s a bit of both, I think. Not everyone with grit does jiu jitsu, but everyone who does jiu jitsu has grit. Even if you don’t think you have it: take for instance the shy person that walks into an academy and signs up for their first class. There are tons of other kinds of activities, etc. that someone could do to meet whatever goal they put before themselves particularly if it’s something like getting healthy or losing weight.

I’ve said before that jiu jitsu is for every body, but not for everybody. It’s a sport/martial art that will push you to grow, will force you to understand what it means to lose and more importantly how to pick yourself back up after that loss and to keep on pushing forward. I think for a lot of people they walk into an academy with that spark of grit, of resilience, which will be fed while the person begins to learn jiu jitsu, begins to train, and really begins to understand sort what they are made of. When we train, when we compete, sometimes are put into terrible situations time and time again, and we all learn that we can survive, or even find a way to get out of that situation. It’s an important lesson that I think everyone should learn at some point, but that’s just my two cents.

That’s all I have for now, folks- have a great day!

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Karma and BJJ Tournaments

Talking about competing in the previous post reminded me of something that happened at a tournament years ago, and how karma sometimes can have more immediate results than we expect.

It was one of the Pans tournaments and I had placed (I don’t remember what place- again, they all just kind of run together at this point). I was intent on doing the absolute weight division (also known as the open, in case I switch terminology at some point) and as one does at these tournaments, I started to make my way down to the area in order to sign up for that part of the tournament.

As I got in line, from what I recall there was a girl behind me who had a friend ahead of me, and I offered to switch spots with the one behind so the two friends could chat. Then, as we’re waiting in line to sign up there was also one of the more popular competitors who also got in line, and they decided to jump in line ahead of me in a very intentional fashion. The girl that I had previously had the interaction with kept looking back in a sort of “wtf?” look on her face. I told her “it’s fine”- it wasn’t really fine, but we’re all headed to the same place and I’m not the type of person to cause a ruckus over a spot in a line. Risk is definitely not worth any reward in this situation.

So we’re moving up in the line and the first girl gets to the table, turns around and motions to me to come up with her, acting like we’ve been friends for years. She chats in Portuguese to the coordinator, they’re laughing, I’m standing their awkwardly because I just jumped past the line jumper – which they didn’t say anything at this point, and I’m not entirely sure what they thought about the whole situation. It was a bit of a surreal experience, to be honest, and one of those few moments where karma has a more direct cause and effect than usual.

Just wanted to share that little story with you all: the moral of the story being be kind and courteous to those around you- not only because it’s the nice thing to do and we need a little more kindness in the world, but also because of the fringe benefit that karma is a thing and will reward you at some point in some fashion.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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You Can Compete Against Someone and Still be Friends with Them

I think this is something we all know, but not really something we talk about in jiu jitsu. I’ve had conversations with other jiu jitsu women where this is sometimes the elephant in the room that’s danced around, and I think that it’s time we explicitly state it.

You can compete against someone and still not only have the upmost respect for that person, but you can in fact be friends with them.

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There are plenty of other women in the jiu jitsu community that I have competed against, and regardless of winning or losing I am always thrilled to see them at the next tournament. And they seem pretty happy to see me as well! We chat, talk about how things are going, so on and so forth.

While the sport is growing in popularity, it is still relatively a small sport. Particularly as you gain more rank, you’ll see more and more of the same faces at tournaments, the same people standing across from you to shake your hand to start a match, the same smiles on the podium as you sit there and wait for that one guy to get out of the photographer’s way so you can just take the damn picture… It seems kind of silly to see someone a bajillion times (granted, at one specific function, but still), and not at the very least exchange a few pleasantries.

Anyway, my point being that there are times where it seems to be a bit awkward: you’re not sure if someone is willing to extend their hand in friendship after a match. And some won’t, if we’re being totally honest. But more often than not they will, and to me that’s also part of what competing is all about: of course the main purpose is to step on the mat and do your best with the intent of winning, but win or lose it’s also about meeting new people and having a chance to connect with other people in the sport.

Just some thoughts for today: have a great day everyone!

 

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Extra Drilling in BJJ: a Little Bit is Better Than Nothing at All

Knowing that it takes a bajillion repetitions to master a technique, it might seem a little silly to do a few reps here, a few reps there of a technique. I fully believe there is validity to even practicing a move even just 15, 20 times after class- or even killing time before class.

A lot of jiu jitsu, in addition to physics and body mechanics is a lot about muscle memory- and we all know the more time we can dedicate to building that muscle memory, the better we should become at certain techniques and allow us more mental bandwidth to keep an eye out for the opportunities to use said techniques.

The nice thing about building this muscle memory is that it is not necessarily something you need to dedicate large blocks of time towards creating. It really is something you can take small “bites” with: a few reps here, a few reps there- it’s all with the intent of building a good habit essentially. We all know good habits don’t suddenly appear, that it takes time and consistency, and that same approach should be taken with jiu jitsu.

While we should still take larger pieces of time to drill specific things in order to get really in depth and work out the kinks (so to speak), I still feel there is definite validity to taking advantage of some time and doing a little extra drilling of some techniques.

Just my thought on the matter. Have a great day everyone!

 

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Back from a Long Writing Hiatus…

Oh man, it’s been a minute… Coming back and writing is something I’ve thought about often, but just haven’t had the chance due to life and such.

Actually, I’m not being totally honest: there was also someone that was connected to my social media accounts that at the time I couldn’t block or unfollow and didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything with, and so in response I withdrew a lot from social media. Anyway, that person is pretty much no longer in my life, so they are no longer on my social media and I’m slowly coming back around to posting stuff online again. I hate admitting when things are not ok, but it also doesn’t feel honest to not address that part of the whole thing.

Anyway a (somewhat) quick recap of the more interesting things that have happened over the past… goodness, 9 months? Dang….

  • Went to Costa Rica: It’s a beautiful place with some amazing beaches, rainforests and volcanoes: however, a lot of people will tell you that ‘everyone there speaks English’. MOST speak English, but not everyone. I think every time I failed to say something in Spanish, somewhere in the world my old high school Spanish teacher felt a twinge of sadness (…Lo siento?). I would still highly recommend visiting.

 

  •  Training, training, and trained some more.
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And we’re in a new space- with huge windows!

  • Competed in a couple of tournaments: didn’t really do anything amazing at any of them, but that’s just fine. I did the best that I could at the time, and I’m ok with that. I don’t really dwell on “could have, should have, would have” scenarios when it comes to tournaments and instead prefer to look ahead to the next challenge. Made some friends along the way, which is also great fun and something I always enjoy.
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Competed against Emily Kwok! Lovely person to lose to….

  • Co-taught my first seminar! I was asked by Girls in Gis a few months ago to go through a little mini teaching session with another black belt in the area, Jen Russell. I didn’t really teach anything super cool, but everyone seemed to have fun, which is really more of the point.

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So anyway, that’s more or less a quick recap of what’s been happening over the past several months. I’m hoping to get back into a more regular posting schedule- I may even try to redesign the look of this blog (whaaaaaat…). It’s been what, 8 or 9 years, at least? Probably time for a little- er, a lot, rather- sprucing up.

Anyhoo, for anyone who still checks in now and again to read this, let me know what you’ve been up to, and see you later!

 

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Interesting Article on Mackenzie Dern

Hey Everyone,

Sport 360 has an interesting article on Mackenzie Dern, her decision to start a career in MMA, among other things.

Check it out, let me know what you think- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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Gabi Garcia MMA Fight Tonight (or Today? Right Now?)

Oh, it already happened. Garcia won, MMA Junkie reports:

“The anticipated MMA debut of 10-time jiu-jitsu world champion Gabi Garcia (1-0) played out like the spectacle many had expected when she stopped Seini Draughn (0-1) by first-round TKO after a sloppy, back-and-forth women’s heavyweight fight… After some wild striking exchanges, Garcia clipped Draughn with a backhand that caused a knockdown. Garcia got on top and pounded away with hammerfists until referee John McCarthy called an end to the contest.”

Feel free to check out the rest of the rest of the article, which includes the rest of the summary of Garcia’s fight, as well as the results for Kron Gracie and Feder Emelianenko’s fights.

Have a great day everyone, and see you in the New Year!

 

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