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Complete Randomness

So heads up, today’s post has absolutely nothing to do with jiu jitsu.

This morning has been a little weird for the news, or at least maybe the news I read.

First, I follow the science on google plus feed, and someone posted a study about how virgin female rats’ aggressiveness. Um, what? I’m all about science, and learning new things about the universe, life, etc. but this just seems a little too weird.

Second, someone posted on Facebook a story about a man in Oregon who had to call 911 because his family’s 22-pound cat was on a rampage, attacked a baby and forced the man to barricade himself, wife, child and dog in a bedroom.

Anyway, just wanted to share the weirdness with you guys- I’ll be flying out to Pans tomorrow, and will keep you guys updated on how things go.

Have a great day everyone!…Hopefully with a little less weird in it.

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Could Competition Eventually Kill BJJ?

Groundwork  just put up this interesting article about judo and how certain changes and attitudes are killing the sport, and how BJJ should pay attention.  It’s a pretty interesting article that a lot of BJJ people can relate to, particularly when it comes to the rules and regulations part.  I feel the BJJ community needs to learn from the judo’s actions (good or bad) to keep the sport alive and thriving, to keep it a sport and art that people want to participate in, competition or otherwise.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Fundraisin’ and Instagrammin’

So as I admitted several weeks ago, I’m pretty bad at getting involved in the social aspect of the whole social media thing. I’m getting a little better with blog commenting, and a bit better with Twitter, but my Instagram “game” is sorely lacking. Part of that has to do with the fact that I rarely take my phone to class-and it’s pretty hard to take photos while in the middle of training. I know this because trust me, if you could I think our one student and Instagram addict would never stop taking photos.

But, our coach has been taking photos and videos of our training sessions, so feel free to follow his Instagram feed: PhillyBJJ.

More often than not I’m in the photos/videos, so that counts…right?

My own Instagram feed is not nearly as interesting, but if for some reason you want to follow it, it’s the same as my twitter username, skirtonthemat.

Also, this is for family & friends, or anyone who just wants a super cool t-shirt- we’re holding a Booster Campaign and selling t-shirts to raise money for the team going to Pans (which includes me! I’m going too!). This fundraiser is, in particular, for our students who work hard, really put in the work, time and effort in training, but may not have all the money required to make this sort of trip on solely their own funds.  If you’re interested in buying a shirt, just click on the photo or go here.

Booster Campaign T-shirt

Yes I’m shamelessly promoting my team’s fundraiser. No, I’m not apologizing for it. Not that there’s anything to be ashamed of in the first place…whatever, you know what I mean.

If you are interested in a shirt, the campaign only lasts for about 2 more weeks, so I would say grab ’em while they last.

Anyway, have a great day everyone!

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Gender Issues in BJJ and Why We Need to Talk About Them

There have been several female, and some male, bloggers lately who have been talking about gender issues and how they relate to BJJ. Some people want to read about them, some don’t- some want to have a discourse about issues and situations they have witnessed or have been a part of, and some would rather bloggers move onto a different subject.

While there are most certainly a plethora of situations and experiences that are not gender exclusive, there is most certainly a need to talk about gender issues in BJJ. Admittedly this is a tricky and nuanced subject, because there are so many elements to it: we could talk about the marketing, different situations that effect men and women on  and off the mat, how some receive different treatment, or held to different standards based on their gender, or not even allowed into an academy because of their gender. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, so it only makes sense that so many bloggers (as far as I’m aware, predominantly female) have written about all of these things; well, because there’s a lot of material to work with when it comes to these issues.

First and foremost I feel this discussion needs to happen, if nothing else to let one another- women, people, know they are not alone. There are others who have been in similar situations as you have, maybe the same gender, orientation, background; maybe not. But they may have a similar experience to share-you just need to reach out and find them, and what better way to find people from around the world than on the internet!

Also, these issues need to be brought up to outline what is not okay in the jiu jitsu community. Some things in jiu jitsu really are just the norm, and will have to be put up with: sweaty dudes, close contact- I’m sure we could come up with a pretty substantial list. However when it comes to a jiu jitsu student’s behavior, there will always be someone who is attempts to push the envelope, to behave in a way that while they may not intend to harm anyone physically or emotionally, but comes off as crass, insensitive and belittles or excludes others for the simple reason that they exist. Or worse, it is absolutely intentional: blame it on their personality, their own insecurities and personal emotional baggage; whatever, the point is that it happens. What matters is if the behavior is continued unchecked, if no one says anything and these behaviors continue, there is a chance others join in and the next thing you know it’s just one of those things that people just take to be “the norm”, when it really shouldn’t be, but you just put up with it because everyone else seems to. It’s like when people talk about that friend, you know the one I’m talking about:

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And I will totally admit at this point that there are some things that people will have different opinions about regarding what’s ok and what’s not. As I’ve mentioned before, it takes a lot for me to be offended. For others, not so much, and still more may even find that it takes a lot more for someone to “cross the line” with them. We’re all (for the most part) rational adults and are free to have our differing opinions. But there are those magical times when the Jiu jitsu community can come together as a whole and say “this is not the norm, and more importantly, not acceptable.” But we have to know these issues exist to take a stance against them, and that’s where the bloggers, the forums, etc. come in. Admittedly, sometimes I know what issues are out there, other times I totally feel like I’m living under a rock: there are other bloggers out there who are much more in tune with these issues than I am, and you should read their blogs to get up to date on what you and I (quite obviously) have been missing.

And finally I feel we need to talk about these issues because honestly, I am really a fan of the idea of communication and sharing experiences: that if both sides understand these situations we can work towards solutions that benefit everyone. I feel both, all genders should definitely talk about issues that effect them- write about them on your own blog, let us know what sort of issues you face that we may not be aware of due to our experiences, so we can understand where you are coming from. No one should shrug off the issues or experiences of others: instead I have this crazy idea that we should view each other- those of all genders, backgrounds, orientations, you name it- as humans, who need to be heard. Our stories can bring us together as a stronger, more cohesive community when we respect, and at the very least understand one another a little better.

Er, so in conclusion I hope all this rambling makes sense and we can basically all get along, share our experiences, respect one another and overall live as better human beings. Or something.

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Happy Friday: DIY, or Lack Thereof Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Warning, this is a little whiny/ranty, but I just need to get this off my chest. Am I crazy, is this a thing now? People have absolutely no drive to solve problems on their own and instead rely on others to solve it for them? I’m finding more and more (off the mat) people just give up when there’s a problem or refuse to find an answer for themselves. And it’s apparently driving me a little batty.

But it’s just silly in my opinion: I don’t walk into class and expect someone to just give me a sweep or submission, and I don’t just give up when something doesn’t go my way. You continue to work, persevere and either find the answer to your problem, or discover an alternative solution. And if that fails, you get up and try again.

I know I’m preaching to the choir, but damn it’s annoying.

For suffering my little rant I’ve added a picture of baby animals- because who doesn’t like puppies and kittens? Really.

puppy and kitten

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

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Moment of Silence for Two Grapplers

First was Cat Zingan0’s husband, Mauricio who passed away due to undisclosed circumstances. I don’t really know that much about the man, but it’s still sad to hear someone pass away so unexpectedly.

The other was Mae Young, who I had never heard of before. If you haven’t either, check out the highlight video on DSTRYRsg. If I can be half that fun/nutty when I’m in my 80’s, I will consider it an accomplishment.

Anyway, have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday: Your Jiu Jitsu Soundtrack Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Lex has an interesting post about the music that best represents your jiu jitsu.

It depends on what sort of mindset I’m in, really. I’m just linking to the Youtube videos instead of putting them in here, just because there are a number of them.

On days I’m feeling really technical, everything is falling into place and one move is just flowing into the other, it’s something like Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire.

On days I’m feeling sort of experimental and “playing” around, it’s more One Republic’s Counting Stars– which I was actually whistling while I was training earlier this week. My apologies to my teammates- I do that, now and again.

And then on days when I really want to push the action and be on the offensive, it’s more Alexisonfire’s “This Could be Anywhere in the World“, “Mailbox Arson” or “Get Fighted” (fyi, explicit language in these ones) .

I feel they all have their place, so I’m not going to try to narrow it down to just one song. What song(s) or music genre(s) do you feel best describes your jiu jitsu? Let me know- otherwise, have a great weekend everyone!

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A Letter to Your Past BJJ Beginner Self

JiuJiu recently had a great post about what you would tell your past self when first starting out in jiu jitsu. I thought I would write mine down here: feel free to comment with your own, or head over to her site and read what other people have to say to their past selves.

Dear 2006 Me,

So you’re just starting out in jiu jitsu, and you may/may not have just started judo as well: you’re tired, you feel all out of shape (well, because you are, which you know already), and awkward in class. This is completely out of your comfort zone, considering you hate the idea of someone watching you work out- because it may not be pretty, but no one can say you don’t commit to the task at hand.

But I have some great news for you: that hope you carry, those intangible goals that you aren’t sure will truly come to fruition but still carry in the back of your mind- that some day you’ll get better if you just keep working and trying your hardest, that you won’t feel so awkward, hell, that you’ll lose some of that weight you gained in college and get into better shape- they do happen. And you are going to feel so much better: physically, emotionally- and a beautiful side effect to all of this? Your insomnia will pretty much disappear. No more laying awake for 45 minutes to an hour hoping your brain decides to turn off. It’s a beautiful thing. Admittedly there are going to be some rough patches along the way: there will be times when you feel like you aren’t making any progress, when you feel like you’re nothing but all thumbs and nothing is going right. There will be times also when you have to make some hard decisions. But, you’ll persevere do what feels right for you, and  continue on your jiu jitsu journey. Oh, and you’re going to start a blog about all of this: just ignore that anxious nausea you’re going to have for about a week when you start it up, because the whole thing does turn out pretty well. 😉

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Goal for 2014: More Social, Less Lurking

While I write a boat load in posts on here (at least I think I do) for the most part I am what the Internet calls a “lurker”. I read what others put out on the Internet and what others contribute to the conversation, but do not add any content or insight of my own. While part of this has to do with the fact that I have a job that requires my attention for most of the day, it’s also just a habit I picked up- I tend to listen more than talk in real life as well, if that makes anyone feel better about the whole thing.

This year I’m attempting to break this lurking habit and be more involved online; as involved as work and other time constraints will permit. There’s no specific goal or deadline in mind, so we’ll see how this goes.

Anything you’re working on this year? In Jiu jitsu, life, etc.? Some of you guys mentioned that you are looking to complete this year, and that’s great. Anyone else make a goal for themselves, or something they would like to change in 2014? I don’t want to call it a resolution, as that has become synonymous with “make a goal for yourself that you will break by the end of January or the next month.”

Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!

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Happy New Year: Getting This 2014 Party Started

As the the clock hit midnight last night, a number of teammates and I started the New Year off the best way possible…by immediately beginning to train. 😉

Post training session:

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Happy new year and have a great day everyone!

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