Monday, November 30, 2009

Taught my first co-ed class at 50/50 today

Sure I've been teaching the ladies for almost a year, given some private lessons and taught a class at LIMAA Elkridge once and at a gym in Orlando, but surprisingly enough, I had yet to teach a co-ed class at 50/50.

Originally, I didn't teach the regular classes because Ryan didn't want a blue belt to teach BJJ at 50/50 - he made an exception for the women's class because he thought a female instructor would be better for the new ladies. That said, Ryan had actually wanted to have me start teaching one basics class per week when we opened the new place (once I had my purple belt) but I begged off because of school this semester - I didn't want the added responsibility.

But today happened. Ryan is out in Chicago helping Jeff Curran train for his MMA fight this coming weekend. And Seph had shoulder surgery two weeks ago and was trying to move out of his place today with one arm which of course took longer than expected, he got stuck late so he asked me if I could fill in.

Last minute notice, the first thing I thought was, "crap, what do I know well enough to teach to the group?" Funny that I don't worry about that in the small group of women, but Mondays are usually our most crowded basics class so I was nervous. Most people would think that after almost 4 and a half years of BJJ that I would know TONS of stuff well enough to teach, but I always worry about forgetting something important, or not knowing how to explain moves well enough that they make sense or messing it up and accidentally teaching something "wrong"...the way I had learned to do it at one of my old gyms before Ryan stopped me from doing it that way.

So the second thing I did was call Ryan and ask him for advice about what to show. Probably shocking to everyone who read his lockflow article - the immediate non-hesitating response was "closed guard - they need to work on that". So we decided that I would show the armbar and triangle (of my own accord I opted for the stomp/curl version of the triangle that Ryan showed in his WMA DVD, I think it's easier for ppl like me - stumpy legged, lol).

I thought the class went well, the guys were all extremely respectful and asked lots of questions (one lady was in attendance too). They really seemed to be improving during the course of the class which was good to see. Despite that, I was still worried about how it went when Ryan Harmon (one of our longer term white belts) made me feel better after he posted on his facebook that though he was sad that he could only watch class because of an injury that he was happy to have learned more about proper hip movement - so I may not be up for BJJ instructor of the year but at least one person learned something new!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And The Female BJJ Player I Would Most Like to Emulate is...

If you ask BJJ practitioners who the best female BJJ players are - most can only name Kyra Gracie or higher level belts in their gym or geographic area.

Ever since I watched her win the Pluma (tiniest) division AND the first Women's Brown/Black Belt Open weight division at the 2007 Mundial, I have been a HUGE Michelle Nicolini fan.

Watching her videos make me want to get out on the mat and train as hard as I can as often as I can. She is so inspiring!

She may lose in this video but DAMN is this one of the most techincal exciting matches between two black belt ladies that I've ever seen.

And here are a few of Michelle winning...

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Okay maybe this is just me being pessimistic but I'm waiting for some sort of disaster to strike...

Today marks the end of my second consecutive week of training consistently since returning from being sick and having ringworm. This might seem odd if you haven't been following my blog that long but I haven't been able to train for more than two consecutive weeks without something happening and causing wanted or unwanted time off of BJJ since before the Mundials in June.

I was sick, having work problems, getting body slammed causing nerve damage in my arm, working on moving the gym, etc, etc, etc until of course the most recent being illness and skin fungus.

So I wonder what the next road block to keep me from training will be?

I did injure my knee in the sub only tournament in July and it's still bugging me. I think it's about time to get an appointment scheduled with my orthopedic. But I'm crossing my fingers that this won't be my next roadblock, because that would have the potential to be a long roadblock!

Friday's marathon roll was awesome. I can't believe how packed it was! I guess everyone felt the need to work off the Thanksgiving gluttony. Then Seph decided to throw us a curve ball and add an extra round. Usually, we do 10 rounds of 5 minutes each with 1 minute rest in between but this time we did 11. I guess our pudgy belly's looked like they needed a little extra, lol!

Today's open mat was nicely attended as well, I kept it to a couple light rolls though and am looking forward to my next wrestling lesson tomorrow morning, followed by a (hopefully) "packed" ladies class at noon and then open mat.

Here's hoping that disaster continues to stay away. Lol!

Friday, November 20, 2009

50/50 Sure Likes to Wrestle

It's funny how at a BJJ school, our most populated class on a regular basis is the wrestling class. More of the colored belts show up consistently on Wednesdays than any other day.

Usually we go pretty slowly through a lot of movements. Penetration steps, penetration steps into shots, walking in a stance, sprawling, how to get up properly after you sprawl, etc, etc. And we did do that but this time we went through it with no stopping for instruction/correction. Anthony is trying to get us to the point where wrestling class is run more like a training session and less like a seminar/instructional.

After learning a couple techniques, we practiced some great positional drills. Then he had 4 people go in the middle of the room and the rest of us lined up to get our turn to wrestle with them. First person who wins stays in, but instead of using wrestling rules - this time we went until you could secure a position for 3 seconds, so lots of BJJ was getting thrown in. It was so much fun to put the two arts together that way and we worked our asses off. It felt GREAT! It made me happy to see how psyched Anthony was, he said it was finally looking like the majority of the people knew how to move properly. Definitely a testament to his teaching ability IMO.

Then Ryan and I had our once a week wrestling lesson on Thursday with James. It's funny because I sit and watch while Ryan works with him for an hour and then Ryan was working out with a couple of the guys while I had my lesson but James tends to teach to us both when we're in the room so it's almost like a 2 hour joint lesson - at least as far as explanation goes. And this time James stuck around for a bit and watched Ryan teach the basics class. He was so surprised at how similar BJJ was to wrestling. Of course he teaches Greco and Folkstyle and he did Judo and he was a big leg-rider in wrestling so he's somewhat unconventional.

Ryan is lucky because James was a very high-level college wrestler and he is close to Ryan's size. But with me sometimes, it's hard for him to tell if I'm doing something excactly right because I'm so much smaller. I'm hoping to try to get one of the girls I used to wrestle with when I did the group lessons with James earlier in the year to come by once in a while.

On the plus side, I'm excited because Ryan says it's okay for us to start doing lessons twice a week for a a little while instead of just once a week, so I think I will be able to retain a lot more.

p.s. Another new girl signed up for BJJ at the gym this week! Up to 11 ladies now! And Shanna just quit her job so she can come to the women's class on Sundays from now on and Kate is starting school so she will be leaving her job and will be able to train much more frequently. Woohoo! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm back

Well, partially anyway. My ringworm disappeared faster than I expected (prescription drugs are definitely the way to go). My cold seems to be disipating slightly as I feel better all around. But I can thank my asthma for the continued rattling in my lungs - which will likely remain for at least another week or two.

I knew my lungs were going to be shot so I decided to go in early for basics class followed by marathon roll instead of going to the advanced class later in the evening. Unfortunately, I didn't last more than 5 or 6 rounds in marathon roll before I had to stop as I felt an asthma attack coming on. Mmm - phlegm...Ick!

We had 4 new people sign up yesterday - woohoo! We might actually break a hundred students by the end of the year. Guiness Book of World Records fastest growing BJJ gym anyone? Lol!

Basics Class last night was fun because we went back to the movements involved in escaping the bottom of side control with Ryan's "new" shrimping motion - that he stole from Rickson Gracie. =)

I ended up sticking around to watch advanced class as they were going over interesting open guard attacks to the single leg, the back, and blast double-like movements.

Ryan is taking some internet flak right now for an interview he did on this weekend but 99.9% of people are missing the main key points of what he was saying - even the ones who think they agree with him, lol! Oh well, better for us when it comes to understanding the "game" I guess...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Haven't really felt much like doing anything this week - especially write on my blog.

I woke up Sunday morning with ringworm and woke up Monday morning sick as all hell - double whammy. I went to work Monday but was barely productive. Then I took Tuesday morning off work to go to the dermatologist to get prescription meds for the ringworm (totally worth it) and then went home and slept for 6 hours - through the rest of the work day. Veterans Day I spent time hanging out with Ryan and at the gym wishing I could train - but not really even feeling up to it, I just hate being there and not training.

We had another new girl come in this week which is pretty awesome. And now we have plans for a pretty spectacular BJJ chick to visit next year. I can't wait to train but am likely to have to wait a minimum of 3 - maybe still as many as 7 more days. Stupid dirty fungus. Stupid.

Anthony has his first superfight this weekend at a tournament in West Virginia so Ryan went out to coach him. Ryan will likely end up competing as well. Good luck to them both!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Training Partner

I am so incredibly excited about BJJ right now!

1. Last night was Son's first official class at Fifty/50 BJJ. Even though he's actually a smidge bigger than me, he still feels super tiny, lol! From now on I should never have a night where there isn't a colored belt under 140lbs in the room to roll with. Woohoo!!

2. Plans are in the works for an absolutely incredible group of people to gather for a Pan Am 2010 training camp at Fifty/50. It will likely include a number of high level black belts from all over - some of whom are small-ish as well. And I can't WAIT!

3. I'm a little bummed about missing No-Gi Mundials because I can't miss my grad school class monday morning (who schedules a tournament on a sunday anyway?) and because I was late resuming hard training due to the moving of the gym. It makes it worse that I missed No-gi Pan Ams because of my trip to Florida and there are no big tournaments around between now and January. BUT to make up for it, Ryan said he wants me to go to the CBJJ Europeans with him! Portugal, here we come!!!

4. Our TENTH woman signed up last week - she switched over from a local gym. All of our injured reserve ladies should be returning to training in about a month or so. I'm really happy with all the ladies but especially with Mary Ann and Kate's progress. The two of them are learning quickly and are light years ahead of where I was with their amount of time in training BJJ.

5. A small female blue belt is visiting from out of town on Sunday and I'm looking forward to training with her and having the other ladies train with her. I love visitors!

6. I'm going to start giving my first set of regularly scheduled lessons with a non Fifty-50 student this Saturday.

Whew! =)

p.s. Thanks to everyone for all their encouraging comments, especially Georgette!