Saturday, January 30, 2010


It's kind of a downer to be back from camp and have to go to my real job and stuff. Plus, I haven't trained since Wednesday. I was too exhausted Thursday so all I did was teach the women's class. Then Friday I was asked to sub in and teach swimming at a swim school in Maryland and spent too long in the showers trying to thaw out so I didn't get to the gym until too late for practice. And then today, I once again arrived super late and didn't end up changing to train. Well, I guess there's tomorrow...

And I really really miss my boyfriend. I haven't seen Ryan since Sunday and he still won't be home for 9 more days. :(

On the plus side, we have plans to visit Reno, Nevada in April or May to train with a female brown belt my size for a couple days and for Ryan to do a seminar at their school. Also, Felipe is planning to come back and train with us before the Worlds which will be awesome.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Camp, Camp, and More Camp!

I'm sitting at Burbank airport and am finally able to begin processing the last few days. Only one word can describe it - AWESOMENESS!

It was soooo refreshing to train with women all day every day. Especially some of the great upper belt campers like Gina, Lily, Kelley, Ashley, and Jen (crap, I just realized I never got a chance to roll with Nikki - next time). Every single Jiu-Jitsu chick there was just so damn cool! It is almost uncanny. No, really, seriously. And the thing is, we are all so different. From different weights to different belts, to MMA centered chicks, and young ones, and old ones, and all the in the middle ones, married, single, gay, straight, moms, trainers, artists, business women, career competitors and gym owners, we all were gathered in one place for Jiu-Jitsu - awesomeness!

After a few glasses of wine, here I am in the hotel with Laura helping her fine tune a choke Felicia taught us on Day 2.

We had a great discussion last night centered around competition. How do you prepare for it - psychologically and physically? What makes a good competitor? And what might affect you as a competitor? Why do we compete? This in turn moved into a sub-discussion on our training partners (mostly male) and what it means to be a woman in BJJ (they plan to delve into this further on Thursday night).

Lucas' seminar last night was freaking awesome! I think it may have been a bit over the head of a few of the campers but I thought it was perfect - despite the fact that we were physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the day, lol. Val and Emily shocked me by approaching me last night and asking if I would like to teach this morning. Wow! What an honor! I was so flattered at the request that no way would I turn it down. So I thought about my game and decided to teach something the women were unlikely to get from someone else in the same way - wrestling. I hope they liked it!

After lunch, I had a private lesson with Felicia Oh. Wow! She is so small and her movement is just so freaking fantastic. I can't wait for the day that I have the ability to roll like her. First we rolled a little, then we went over a couple sweeps from the bottom of half guard which could turn into back takes depending on the opponent's movement. Then we rolled again. During/after that she fixed a few small details with my guard passing and went over a few of her game preferences and gave me some tips on how to train as a tiny person. Everything fit perfectly into my current game - awesomeness!

I spoke with Ashley from Girls in Gi's (in Texas) and we hope to hook up and make it a national thing. (I had no idea my little idea back in 2007 spawned her idea - awesomeness - together we can make it a revolution in brazilian jiu-jitsu for women!)

I'm so sad that I can't stay until the end of camp. I miss everyone already. :(

But Gina is planning to come out and visit and the New York City girls and Emily too (holy crap, Emily Kwok is going to come to my gym!). I can't wait! =)

p.s. I know some of you posted comments on my other posts and I thank you very much and promise that I will get to them as soon as I can after returning home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Day of Camp

Day 1. We arrived yesterday morning for an ice breaker at 9am. This was followed by a Gi session on the guard taught by Emily Kwok, before Queen of the Hill (yeah that's right, QUEEN not KING) drills and open sparring. After grabbing lunch we showed back up to the gym for an hour discussion on the psychology of coaching by Lily Pagle for anyone interested. This was sandwiched by a no-gi guard session taught by Felicia Oh and Val Worthington. We followed that up with ambush jiu-jitsu (definitely spiced rolling up a bit) before moving on to more regular rounds.

Next we took a quick break to grab dinner and bring it back to the gym for an evening discussion on women in Jiu-Jitsu. Why do we do it? What issues have we had with continuing our training and maintaining our love for the sport? What can we do to help promote women in the sport? And why is it so damn awesome?! Yeah, pretty much covered everything, lol!

Okay so there were a few tears in the last discussion as the women shared some of their relevant life/jiu-jitsu experiences but they were always surrounded with happiness, laughter and the camaraderie gained through a shared love for the sport. It was absolutely amazing to hear that everyone from white belt to black belt goes through so many of the same issues in regards to training and competition scenarios. I am so glad that I was finally able to come out for one of these and believe all BJJ women would benefit from participating in an event like this.

Come on ladies! It's up to you!

Attend an open mat in your area or begin hosting one. Participate in camp. It's totally worth every penny and every minute!

p.s. I almost forgot - we have a surprise schedule change and Lucas Leite is arriving today to give us a free seminar this evening. Holy Sh*t!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gracie Nationals Report

I arrived at Burbank Airport after almost 12 hours of travel from the time I left my house. I immediately picked up my rental and drove down to New Breed Academy in Santa Fe Springs to train with Johnny Ramirez and crew. Johnny (of course) helped me a lot and then he and his girlfriend were kind enough to let me stay in their apartment. (Thanks again!)

I was psyched that Ryan was coming down to coach me and headed out in the morning ready to go. But a big roadblock was dropped in my way when, as I walked into the convention center, I received a phone call from Ryan that he was unable to catch a ride down from Santa Barbara after all. I'm not gonna lie, that almost had me in tears I was so upset. I could tell he felt bad but it didn't help me feel any better about not having a coach. I knew I hadn't flown out here to let occurrences outside my control affect my ability to compete.

...and then I ran into the girls. Boing! Sparkle weird. Roller balls. And all. It helped me forget how upset I was to hang out with Jen, Lola, Liz, Emily, Alaina, Laura, etc, laughing our asses off at all kinds of silliness. =)

I warmed up like 4 times waiting for my turn to go, knowing that because of my asthma a warm up is crucial to maintaining adequate cardio. But as soon as I got up to get up to start my next warmup after having sat still to watch the white and blue belt ladies compete, I was called. Oops, not a good warmup after all that...

Luckily, my first match in the purple belt division went well, she was about 50 lbs heavier and I finished with a gi choke. The second match was against a girl my size! I won that one 22-0 and the last match was the toughest as I was getting tired and she outweighed me by 20 lbs and was at least 6 inches taller (height is harder than sheer size sometimes). I screwed up my takedown by doing something stupid (sorry, James) and was down on points in the guard struggling to do anything when I inverted in the last minute and was able to snatch a triangle. Her defense was pretty good though and I couldn't finish but was able to sweep her over. However, still unable to finish, I was swept back over and with almost no time left and still holding the triangle knowing I was about to lose, I grabbed her arm for a key lock. I succeeded finally with about 10 seconds left. Whew! It was tough!

After the tournament I drove to Santa Barbara to get Ryan and we ended up going to dinner out there with Jeff Glover - definitely a good time. In the morning we headed to the tournament and were disappointed to find that I had no one in my bracket. They offered to put me in the Intermediate division, but we didn't think that would be right. Instead, we asked if Ryan could use my registration in my place so they were kind enough to add him to the 170lb division and the absolute. He won both.

I left Ryan in LA to train at New Breed for two days and trekked up to Valencia with my new friend Laura from Knuckle up Atlanta.

Just woke up and getting ready for camp! Woohoo!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Women's Grappling Camp

I'm getting ready to pack and catch a few hours of sleep before getting on the supershuttle to Dulles (it picks my up at 4am...ugh!).

I'll fly through San Francisco to Burbank, CA and from there drive down to LA where I'll weigh in for Gracie Nationals. Then I'm dropping in to New Breed for their 6pm class to work out my post-flight kinks by training with Johnny and team.

Ryan has decided he will take a break from training with Cooper and Glover to come down and coach me on Saturday and Sunday before heading back! Yay! Then I'll be on my way to Valencia, CA for the Women's Grappling Camp! I can't WAIT to train with all the ladies from Mon-Wed! I can't take the whole week off work but I'm sure I will have an absolute blast the three days I will be there. =)

Fun BJJ times ahead this week! Woohoo!!!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

OMG, OMG, OMG - April 17 Announcement!!!!

Multiple time Black Belt Mundial Champion, Michelle Nicolini Seminar!!!!!

Women ONLY

When: Saturday April 17
Time: 12-3pm
Where: Fifty/50 BJJ (Arlington, VA)
Cost: $50 pre-register, $65 day of registration (pay pal pre-reg fee to

Michelle’s IBJJF Accomplishments Include:
2004 Mundial: 3rd in Purple/Brown/Black Pluma (as purple)
2005 Mundial: 1st in Purple Pluma
2006 Mundial: 1st in Brown/Black Pluma (as brown)
2007 Mundial: 1st in Brown/Black Pluma
2007 Mundial: 1st in Open Class
2008 Pan Ams: 2nd in Brown/Black – Open
2008 Mundial: 3rd in Brown/Black - Open Class
2009 Pan Ams: 2nd in Brown/Black – Pena
2009 Pan Ams: 3rd in Brown/Black - Open
2009 Mundial: 2nd in Brown/Black - Pluma

Michelle's YouTube Channel

Email us for a copy of the flyer to post in your school! Support Female BJJ!!!!

She's my FAV female grappler of all time!!!!! I am soo sooo soooo excited!

Ryan absolutely ROCKS for being willing to support me with this! I loves him. Lol!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ryan Hall Takes on Tokyo

Ryan leaves tomorrow morning to begin a tour of BJJ schools in California before heading to Tokyo to compete in a grappling Superfight in Deep-X! Ryan is excited to take his first trip to Asia and experience the Japanese MMA climate.

But first he will spend a week at Paragon training with Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper. Then he will visit Paul Schreiner and has plans to offer a seminar at Kaijin MMA (Paul and Garth Taylor's school) the following weekend. He also hopes to make it out to train with Darren Uyenoyama at his gym in San Francisco before hopping the 14 hour flight to Tokyo. Good luck, Babe!

Hopefully, Ryan will be able to pause in his training for a quick visit down to LA to coach me at Gracie Nationals next weekend. I am flying out on Friday morning and plan to train at New Breed in LA Friday night, then compete Saturday and Sunday before driving to Valencia for the first 3 days of the Women's Grappling Camp at Big John McCarthy's. I am super excited at the opportunity to train with a bunch of women, especially all the awesome brown and black belts who will be in attendance! I can't wait to get my butt kicked and come away with a ton of new things to work on. The training at Fifty/50 is great but training with a bunch of guys...even small not as realistic for competition as training with women. Bring on the ladies!!!! =)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Last night's class was great! We just instituted a brand new schedule and the results are already showing themselves among the students.

The first class I went to was the marathon roll class (now shortened to a half hour). I thought I was going to be able to go easy in the first round of 6 minute matches but Quang came out of the gate pretty hard. Usually he's good for the first warm-up roll, but I guess he was still upset about losing his last match this weekend. Then I rolled with Ryan, he's trying to make a point to roll with me at least once every day because we realized the other day that we hadn't trained together in at least 3 weeks even though we're at the gym together every day, lol! Also, I had a bunch of great rolls with Brian, my favorite training partner. The whole room seemed charged up, I think we were feeling the effects of being at the tournament this weekend - either psyched to train hard for future competitions or pissed and wanting to train hard to get out the anger. It was fantastic!

Then Ryan Beauregard (in from AZ for the Brown Belt Division at the Copa Nova) and Demitri Chrisos (local brown belt instructor) dropped in to train during the advanced class, so I also got to get in a roll with Ryan Beauregard - which was neat. I hadn't really interacted with him before but he was super cool and made a point to roll with every person in the room before leaving. Even though he's ginormous compared to me, it's always fun to roll with new high level guys.

I got stuck at work late tonight (ugh) and missed the early classes, then skipped advanced class to go home and work on a few things, do laundry, and have dinner ready for when Ryan came home. I'm so domestic...well sorta...we still have our Christmas decorations up. ;)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goings on...

I apologize to all my readers for not writing sooner, however, I didn't want to bore you with nothingness. I was able to train with Ana a few more times after my last post and the last day we finally turned the notch up a bit on training and it was a blast! I hope she comes back to visit again! I've never had so much fun training with anyone. :)

New Years Eve was a good time, Ryan and I just had a few friends from the gym over and had a surprise visit from another good friend and his girlfriend. We got dressed up, ate and drank a ton and then missed the countdown to New Years thanks to the guys doing car bombs. We had to have our own countdown at 12:04am. We pretended...and finished off the champagne, lol!

Who would have thunk that a party of of only six (with two additions for about an hour) would be so exciting? How does this happen you ask? Well, start drinking at 8pm with a few individuals not used to drinking heavily - that is a surefire way to provide ample entertainment for the entire evening! Watch out though, one guest may take of his shirt, threaten to punch the host in the face, almost burn the house down and then round out the evening by puking half digested meatballs all over the guest bedroom before going berserk for ten minutes then crashing out for the!

On January 2nd, I went to my second cousin's wedding out in Bowie, MD. Had a BLAST with the fam! Yeah that (below) is just my parents and sibilings...there's a few of us, lol!

Today was the Copa Nova tournament run by Fightworks out near Dulles. It's a small local tournament but is growing in size each time, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, Ryan got the start time wrong which made us a little late going in today. I'd been sick all week so before we arrived Ryan had informed me that I couldn't compete if it wasn't in my own weight class. Well they told me at the desk that there was no one my weight in the no-gi and not a single other female purple belt signed up, so there went that idea...bummer.

We believe in getting everyone out to compete and gain tournament experience as soon as possible so we had some mixed results, but definitely some shining moments as well. Shout outs for most improved definitely go to Rick Slomba and Kenny Savercool (both won their divisions in the gi with 3 and 4 matches respectively). Most surprising excellent performance was probably Will Cutler who just joined the gym about 2 months ago and with no prior grappling experience at all won 4 matches in the men's white belt on his way to second place. It was quite a performance! Additional notable performance mentions go to Quang Nguyen for sweet movement skills and Andy Ruffner for a much improved ability to listen to the coach's advice. Great job guys!