Category Archives: women's bjj

(Not) Training in the Time of Corona

Well, it’s been a wild couple of weeks, I can tell you that much. Everyday there still seems to be something new we’re learning about this virus, cities are opening early, only to be shut down again, protests, people getting sick when attending said protests…. Overall, a little bit of madness.

There have been a couple of people online asking the same question: if your gym opened up tomorrow, would you go and train? This quickly becomes a polarizing issue that ranges from “yes, absolutely!” to “no, are you crazy?”  Frankly that’s not an easy question to answer, because different areas are, well, different. For instance I live in a pretty densely populated city where hundreds of cases are still being reported daily. It’s an area where a decent percentage of the population also uses public transportation: basically a bunch of people cramped into smaller spaces, which is no bueno.

In order to ascertain if a gym should open or not, there are a couple of factors that have to be considered: for instance how many cases have been reported in the area, how people get to the gym, what sanitation and distancing protocols are being put into place to ensure that all participants are kept as safe as possible. Some could also argue that these gyms opening sets a bad example and could influence other gyms in more risky areas to also open, and that’s certainly fair. This isn’t an easy problem to answer and we’re all doing our best to navigate this whole thing.

That being said, there are also gyms in higher risk areas that either have, or are planning to open that really shouldn’t: while I certainly don’t agree with the decision, I can understand it. Gyms, especially in niche disciplines like jiu jitsu, don’t have fat profit margins. Between operating costs like rent, utilities, cleaning supplies, salary for employees- that stuff adds up, leaving very few with an option to continue to be shut down for an extended period of time. There are a number of schools that are shutting down for good unfortunately: I’m not privy to each of their financial situations, but I’m sure the current bills they are facing, coupled with the reduction of their already razor thin profit margin most likely has a part to play.

“But what about the small business loans?” you may be asking. Anecdotally, I can tell you I have yet to hear of a gym receiving one of those loans. So again, while I don’t agree with it, I can certainly see how some academy owners feel their hand is forced in opening their gym.

In terms of our gym, we are still closed. Our entire county is still in lockdown, with only essential businesses allowed to operate- meaning grocery stores, pharmacies, the like. The state has a three phase plan, marked by colors- red, yellow and green. We are still in the “red” phase, meaning we are still under the most restrictions and not allowed to open period. There is some talk of possibly moving to yellow in early June, so we’ll see.

That’s it for now- have a good day everyone!

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Getting Acclimated to the New (Tenporary) Normal…

It’s been kind of a wild ride the past couple of weeks- everything has been shut down, people trying to figure out how to keep drilling with themselves or with their partner.

I do really appreciate and admire the ingenuity of the jiu jitsu community: so many people are posting the ways they are looking to improvise and adapt to this new reality. It’s also heartwarming to know that so many people are encouraging others to stay home- which sounds strange, but it’s great to see that there are so many people looking to flatten the curve and protecting one another. Granted, there are some that aren’t so altruistic…. but I’m choosing not to focus on those people.

What are some changes you have made to your life in this new, temporary normal? Are you running more? Have you made a grappling dummy friend? Or multiple (seriously, I saw someone online had made several grappling dummies. Hey, whatever gets you through this).

Let me know- otherwise stay safe and have a good day!

 

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A Difference in Focus: Newer Students vs Seasoned BJJ Students

It’s something I’ve noticed when teaching classes, but also when I taught a seminar. Granted, I’ve said before that my moves were not very flashy: I went over guard breaking, a decidedly not sexy move.

The newer belts wanted to see something dramatic and flashy, something they had never seen before…. and they were pretty unimpressed with my guard breaking instructions (but, they were all also successfully executing said guard breaks during the rolling sessions at the end of the seminar, so I don’t really feel that bad about it).

The higher belts though seemed generally impressed, and almost a little jazzed about something that would be considered mundane, but there were certain nuances or particular phrases that I used to convey the information to everyone. It was an interesting juxtaposition, I would say.

This is a personal theory, but I think when we are newer to the sport we want to see all the cool stuff, the wildly different- possibly because we’ve been drilling all the fundamentals and we want to see something big and spectacularly different than the things we’ve been drilling the past bajillion times over the months and years. You can’t see the nuances, so they don’t really excite you. Totally understandable.

For the higher rank though, the person that has been around the block and then some when it comes to the sport, there’s a respect for those little things. Sure, the big fancy stuff is cool and you’ll try it, but now you know and understand the finer points, and if someone can provide you with some insight to small tweaks in your game, different nuances in your existing technique, then that’s exciting! It’s a way to streamline your technique, or something different without having the reinvent the wheel and relearn a whole bunch of muscle memory.

Neither viewpoint are wrong: it’s all very much in line with the progression in jiu jitsu and really boils down to what you are focusing on in your journey. The newer student craves the big and the bold because they its something they can sink their teeth into, the more advanced student focuses on the tweaks and nuances to improve upon the solid foundation they have already created for themselves and their jiu jitsu game.

It’s just an interesting observations I wanted to share with you all 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

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Galentine’s Day Event This Past Weekend!

Yes, I know technically the 13th is actually Galentine’s Day, but we decided to commandeer the following weekend to invite some ladies around the city to stop by our academy, learn a little BJJ/self defense, and enjoy some snacks and drinks afterwards!

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We showed them a little self defense stuff, including a simple hip throw, as well as a taste of some other basics moves to give them a feel for the sport.

We also happened to get some nice slow mo footage of me demonstrating on a teammate:

It was a fantastic team effort, with ladies on our team from blue belt all the way up helping out. All in all I would say it was a pretty great day 🙂

Just wanted to share with you all- have a great day everyone!

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The Importance of Friendship in BJJ

We talk all the time about how teammates are crucial to our development in jiu jitsu- while maybe not considered as important, friendships also pretty important when it comes to jiu jitsu.

The moments that are experienced and shared on the mats can last a lifetime: struggling through the same technique together, laughing at the same silly thing one or both of you did, the list goes on and on.

Friendships can also take place in a competition setting as well. In fact, it’s one of the bigger reasons why I like competing: it’s a chance to meet people from all over the country, globe even, and share in the same experience and love for the sport.

While it’s certainly possible to train without developing any deep friendships with anyone, I think it would be a bit lonely. That’s just my opinion though, I’m sure there’s someone out there who would disagree with me.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share: have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! IBJJF Pans Registration Now Open

Happy Friday everyone!

The No-Gi Worlds are happening this weekend, which reminded me that Pans registration is also open- I think it opened a couple of weeks ago actually…

There’s an early bird registration between now and January 10th, and then they will start to bump up the prices.

Check them out, anyone competing this weekend good luck, and otherwise have a great weekend everyone!

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Promotions Night!

Last night we had some end-of year promotions for some teammates, and now we have a whole sea of brown belts (including a whole bunch of brown belt ladies) and two new black belts!

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It’s always exciting to see teammates take the next step in their jiu jitsu journey: I’m happy and proud of everyone who were promoted!

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Promotions!

Happy Monday!

Friday night was a bit special for our academy- we had a couple of students earn some stripes, and another one of our students became a black belt! our teammate Jeanne also happens to be a dear friend of mine, so it was exciting to see her achieve this tremendous milestone.

I’m super happy for her and the fact that she reached this part of her jiu jitsu journey- and it’s exciting that out of 3 out of the 12 female black belts in PA all under one roof.

Just wanted to share with you all- have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

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Good Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Pretty, and Pretty Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Good

Just a thought I was having this morning: I was thinking mainly about movies, if we’re being totally honest. Something can look good, but not necessarily be good in other regards.

When it comes to movies, I’m sure you could come up with a couple of examples of films that in terms of visual styling are amazing, but when you really start to dissect the plot and dialogue, really don’t make any damn sense. The most recent example for me is the movie The Witch: visually really interesting, great shots…. plot looks like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Jiu jitsu has its own issues with that. I’m sure there are some jiu jitsu players out there with some really cool, fancy guards and sweeps…. that really don’t connect to anything, or are really just done for the sake of being done. I like to think of those moves as almost the haute couture of jiu jitsu. I believe someone, somewhere in my life explained haute couture this way: no one in their right mind would (or should) walk out the door in some of the outlandish outfits that walk down the runway, but it’s more you should expect to see those elements in fashion in the coming weeks, months, etc.

Same thing with pretty jiu jitsu: you can take some elements from it any incorporate it into your game, but to take some of these techniques wholesale is the jiu jitsu equivalent of walking into a party looking like a fluffy, 3D Rorshach test.

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…But does it have pockets? 

Visually impressive, not terribly practical.

It’s also important to note that sometimes good jiu jitsu is not necessarily pretty. In fact sometimes basic, unimpressive moves are the most effective. Of course there is beauty in simplicity, and of course we can appreciate when a move is well executed, but sometimes the unimpressive “unpretty” stuff is really the best. It’s the stuff that may not make the highlight reel, but they are relatively simple moves that you can rely on.

So, just to recap- don’t worry if you don’t think your jiu jitsu isn’t pretty, because sometimes the good stuff just isn’t pretty- what’s important is that it works.

Have a great day everyone!

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Don’t Fear the Chaos in BJJ

This is one of those things I think a lot of us know logically, but we don’t know “heart and soul”: it’s not something we understand and utilize on a consistent basis.

We know there’s chaos in jiu jitsu- we know about the scramble, the mess of a pile of limbs and awkward angles that we can sometimes end up in. When it comes to progression sometimes however we hang onto what semblance of order that we can, and sometimes even missing some opportunities in order to maintain that sense of order we are so desperately seeking.

I’m talking about those moments in which we all have, at some point or another, stalled in training. Not because we didn’t want to move forward, but we wanted to ‘get our bearings’ or pull ourselves out of the chaos for a moment to think about our next move.

This is fine and good sometimes, absolutely- what I’m saying is sometimes you need to embrace the chaos, let things get weird sometimes and see where it leads you. It can be sort of uncomfortable, sure, but allowing yourself to ride that wave of chaos can sometimes land you in positions (for better or worse) you may not have otherwise found yourself in, and gives you the opportunity to grow in your jiu jitsu. Of course we would hope that unusual position would be a good one, but let’s not forget there’s validity in putting yourself in a bad position in training: remember, we train hard and face the chaos so we can fight easy come tournament time.

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

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