Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Christmas EVER with Ryan & Fifty/50

Recounting the holidays with Ryan and Fifty/50...where to start?

How about with the text message I received from Ryan while I was at work on December 23 since that shaped the rest of our holiday, "Murilo Santana and Ana Lowry are here. Sweet!".

They had arrived to train at Fifty/50 that afternoon with news that they would be in town through New Years. Ryan was thrilled at the thought of training every day with one of the top BJJ black belts - who is also (by far) the best to have ever come out of the DC area. Murilo grew up training at Yamasaki's school in Rockville, MD but now lives and trains in Sao Paulo. And I of course was thrilled to have an excellent female to train with every day!

I can't even begin to describe how happy the two of us were over the course of the entire Christmas holiday. Ryan and Murilo have spent hours training together every day since Dec 23 - even on Christmas day! I was able to roll with Ana for extended periods of time on Dec 24, 26, and 27th and I have totally reclaimed my love of BJJ through the chance to be able to train with a good female every day. Ana's technique is sharper in a broader range than most women I've ever trained with or competed against - not that I was surprised since she won the blue belt division two weights above me this year at the Mundial. We are doing a lot of flow rolling and it's so awesome to be able to move around with someone this way. They will be back in to train tonight, and tomorrow night Murilo was nice enough to offer to teach class and Ryan of course enthusiastically said YES! I can't wait!

So anyway about Christmas...after training with Murilo and Ana on Christmas Eve, Ryan's parent's and 8-yr-old sister came over for dinner. It was their first time in our apartment and I cooked for them since they have been so great helping us and the new gym in so many ways over the last year. Then we went over to our friends' house to play Rock Band - Ryan is gearing up for his week with Jeff Glover, lol! ;)

For Christmas I gave Ryan a glass chess set and Bobby Fischer's book on how to play chess as he's taken a new fancy to playing on the computer recently, and I gave him Dan Gable's book on how to coach wrestling. He was surprised so I think I did pretty good. *patting myself on the back* Ryan bought me the new Shoyoroll gi (so excited!) but it doesn't come in until January. I can't wait to put our new purple Fifty/50 patch on it!

Christmas "morning" around noon we had "breakfast" with Ryan's family and opened up presents. Then we met up with Murilo and Ana at the gym. Ana didn't feel well so we chatted and watched Ryan and Murilo train. Then Ry and I headed off to Riverdale, MD to my grandmother's house for Christmas dinner and gifts with my family. Ryan had been kneed in the face last Friday and had gotten eight stitches below his eye in the ER during the snow storm - so my mom (don't worry she's a nurse) cut them out in my grandmother's kitchen after Christmas dinner with quite the audience peering over her shoulder. Lol! Only in my family... :)

The Saturday after Christmas we trained in the afternoon then headed to my uncle's ginormous house in McLean that Ryan says always makes him feel like he's going to the Batcave for another Christmas dinner and gift exchange with my dad's family this time. Good times!

Sunday was freaking AMAZING! Chrissy Linzy from US Grappling had said earlier in the week that she was coming up for our women's class Sunday afternoon so we quickly announced a semi-impromptu open mat. I taught a women only class to 4 white belts and 4 blue belts and two more female blue belts joined us after during open mat. That's ELEVEN ladies total who made it (counting myself)! OMG it was sooooo much fun to train with everyone! I'm in BJJ heaven!!!!!

This was the best Christmas ever! No seriously. Ever.

Murilo Santana v Andre Galvao

Ana Lowry - Blue Belt Lightweight 2009 Mundial Champ

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lottsa' Ladies!

Twice this week we had 6 women on the mat (normally we don't have more than 2-3 on the mat at any given time). Hells yeah!

Then yesterday I talked one of the purple belts' wives to come in and try it out so she can learn how to respond when her husband practices his techniques on her, lol! Her first class will be next Sunday. And last night while watching the UFC fight at Baileys, I met two more women who are friends of a couple of the guys who want to come in and check out class. One of them grew up doing Judo for years since her Dad and Mom owned their own Judo dojo and both trained, so she'd be a really great addition.

Finally, today Shanna finally came back in to train. I used to love training with her before she took like 6 months off (she was close to getting her blue belt then too). Seph and Bill live with her and say they're going to start making her come in every day with them.

Alright! Bring it on chicas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Teaching again- this time wrestling class

Monday night Seph and I realized that we were going to have to do something about wrestling class on Wednesday. We hadn't bothered to put two and two together before this to note that Anthony would be gone on Wednesday as he was flying out to meet Ryan in Vegas on Tuesday to train at Drysdale's and compete in his first GQ pro division this coming weekend.

Then Seph asked me if I wanted to teach wrestling. Having only just recently taught my first co-ed class at Fifty/50, I was now on the line to teach wrestling, something I've only been doing since early May. The first thing I did of course was call Ryan to see if it was okay, and to my surprise he thought it was a good idea.

Tuesday my wrestling coach texted me about something else and after responding to his text, I wrote back, "you'll either get a kick out of this or be totally offended but Anthony is out of town and now apparently I have to teach wrestling class tomorrow night, lol." His good-natured response surprised me yet again - as I expected him to be offended, "sweet".

The class was pretty full as it always is but overall I think it went well. It's a particularly difficult group to teach because of the varying levels of experience with wrestling. It's hard to manage just how much time to spend on any one thing because there are a bunch who have been taking Anthony's class consistently since July and for others it was their first or second time and I don't want to bore anyone or go too fast for anyone.

But mostly everyone seemed happy with what they learned and when I talked with James today about what I went over, he seemed to think I opted for the correct tactics. So perhaps my learning curve for how to teach is slightly improving...but in all likelihood learning to teach is an even longer road than simply learning to do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another New Woman!

We had another new lady come in today to try out BJJ class! She has had 3 years of Judo and (a very little) BJJ before coming to us. I'm super excited to add more women to our ranks.

It's especially great because now we have a group of women at the higher weight class, a couple in the middle, and a few tinies. So a little bit of good training for everyone!

We could potentially get up to 15 women by the end of January at this rate! That would be AWESOME!!

Keep 'em coming Ladies!!!!!

p.s. And Quang is going to come to Muay Thai on Wednesday to train with me! I asked him to because he is my height and has more experience than most of the other guys/gals - he just hasn't trained it in a while. Quang is awesome because he's going to come train just because I asked him to, even though he's more interested in BJJ. Our guys (and gals) totally ROCK!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

BJJ this weekend...Not so much

I meant to go to Muay Thai yesterday morning but accidentally slept in and barely made it to the gym in time for open mat (it was my responsibility to open up since both Seph and Ryan were gone).

Unfortunately, though, I didn't get the opportunity to train because I spent the entire time working on a presentation I have to give in class at 8am tomorrow morning (I should go to sleep soon). Then I had to rush off to meet with my group partner for the presentation and proceeded to work with him for about 4 more hours until we broke for dinner.

I was supposed to finish all the details today but have procrastinated all day instead. I don't want to do school anymore. Working full-time and BJJ basically full-time and going to school is way too much for me. I need some down time.

So I accidentally slept in again today then rushed out to teach the women's class too late to pick-up my inhaler from the pharmacy (my old one is completely tapped out). Without my inhaler, I can't train hard, so I just worked with the women. The ladies did well, we are working on all closed guard this month after having worked on escapes from bottom of mount and side-control all last month. I rolled with Mary Ann twice and Kate once and watched them roll with each other twice. I want both to go to their first BJJ tournament on January 9th so they will be training a little harder than they have been the last few months in order to get ready.

After finishing at the gym, I stopped by Ryan's parents' house (thats where our computer system is located until we get internet at the gym) to add a couple of the new contracts from this week. I ended up staying for a while talking to his mom, eating dinner and playing Wii with his 7 yr old sister (she kicked my butt in cow-racing, that tank game, shooting, and ping pong - apparently I suck at video games, lol!)

Despite not having accomplished all the stuff I wanted to today (finishing my presentation, cleaning the kitchen, washing clothes, putting up christmas decorations, etc) I still feel like I was pretty busy this whole weekend. I definitely need more hours in the day or to drop something in my life so I can actually get things done.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Muay Thai is a lot of work

My shoulders BURN and my arms can't stop shaking after finishing Muay Thai class. Yikes, Muay Thai is a LOT more work and much much harder than BJJ.

But, today Mauro told me that my kick is finally looking better. Yay! I just can't wait for the day when I will feel like I know what I'm doing. :)

One thing that bothers me is that I'm having a hard time holding the thai pads for the guys. I can't decide if I'm missing some super important detail or if it's just THAT hard to hold pads for someone who has 50 lbs on you. I brace myself against the impact, digging into the mat as I've been shown and I brace my arms and meet the kick with a little force, and BAM...I get knocked backwards anyway. Today Mauro finally had to stand behind me and use his arms to show me how to hold the pad - like you would do for a small child. (I guess it helps that I'm the size of a small child). But even after that, I still feel like I'm getting knocked back too much. :(

I like MT and Wrestling because they add a little diversity into the training environment. Unfortunately, my wrestling coach hurt his back pretty bad so we missed our lesson this week. I hope James feels better soon, he's a pretty tough guy so if he says it hurts - it's probably pretty bad. But luckily, he thinks he'll be good to go by the time we are supposed to have our lesson next week and if not it's okay to miss another lesson because he is giving a wrestling seminar at our gym the week after anyway - on December 16th!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Opportunity Knocking for East Coast Women

April 17, 2010.

Keep the date reserved ladies. Arlington, VA will have a special visitor!

Just sayin'.

Details to follow upon the finalization of plans. I will post the announcement here as well as send it to the ladies email group once everything is set - if you aren't on the email group or don't know what it is see here: Calling all Female BJJ Practitioners

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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Highs and Lows

I started out this week with a serious grappling high on Sunday. After instructing the ladies class, I was able to get in a few great rolls between Ryan and Brian. I finally felt as though I was beginning to move the way I need to - and without gassing out.

I went to my class for grad school Monday morning then went in to work, and by the time I got to the gym I was pretty burnt out. Luckily, Ryan noticed that I wasn't myself and instead of pulling his usual "toughen Jen up" mode, he was extremely encouraging. I think he's trying to turn over a new leaf in how he talks to me and the desired effect was achieved. However, I seemed to have lost the sense of BJJ ease that I had arrived at on Sunday afternoon.

I woke up this morning with a renewed desire to work hard at developing my BJJ and the fire was stoked even more when I heard from my friend in Richmond, Son Duong. Son is moving back home, and his home happens to be here in the DC area. Why was I so excited you may ask? ...because Son is a 115 lb man who also happened to place second in the adult blue belt division at the Mundial this year!

Tonight, I ended up with a training partner slightly larger than normal and one of the drills we were doing just didn't quite feel right. I made an unconscious adjustment due to the size/height difference - which was right - but due to one crucial piece missing it took Ryan a little bit to see that I wasn't just trying to be difficult, I was having a specific difficulty (my explanation skills are still lacking sometimes). And my "fix" made it harder for me to feel the piece I was missing and for him to see it and explain it. Ryan noticed though and changed tactics so I was finally able to understand what he was trying to get me to do and, of course, it ended up working in the end.

This slightly frustrating class was followed by a less than ideal rolling situation. Despite two good rolls with Brian - one where I finally got his back (he is the squirmiest dude I've ever met), I left feeling less than thrilled about BJJ.

Something odd that I've noticed the last few days.

Ryan is the first person who has ever coached me (in anything) who is harder on me than I am on myself. He has yelled and demanded more when I had given my all. We had a conversation about my mental needs as a student/competitor last week (thanks, Alex!) and he has noticeably changed his tactics to be more encouraging instead of mentally debilitating. Ironically enough, now that he is going slightly easier on me, instead of being mad at him for talking to me a certain way, I am suddenly instantly harder on myself. Talk about some sort of unintended reverse psychology...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Someone actually PAID me to travel and teach BJJ!

So I'm a little late on posting this which may make you think I wasn't completely stoked, but in reality the complete opposite was true (I've just been super busy b/t the new place and my day job and grad school).

A little while back, I received a phone call from a friend who used to train at Lloyd Irvin's (in Baltimore) with us. His name is Fred Ramie and he is a Gracie Barra Brown Belt originally from Boston BJJ. Fred called me to ask if I would come down to his new school in Orlando (non-affiliated) and give a private lesson to one of his girls and teach a few classes. I was so surprised it was ridiculous. I had to tell him maybe because I needed to check with Ryan on what I should charge since I had never been asked to do something like this before. He actually wanted to pay for ME to come down there AND pay ME to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was nuts!

Long story short, we worked it out as I happened to be traveling to Tampa on Oct 3 for a wedding anyway. I actually got PAID by someone outside my own program to teach other people (men, women, and children) BJJ. He must have been crazy, lol!

I definitely can't thank Fred enough for believing in me and giving me such a fantastic opportunity! Plus we had a blast catching up and that girl he has is going to be kicking ass very soon.

To me this experience represented a big step forward in my growth in BJJ.

And now I am teaching the ladies two times per week!

BJJ Rocks! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fifty/50 BJJ is MOVING!!!!!!

That's right. It's done! We have officially signed the lease on our new location and construction is expected to be completed by the end of next week.

We will have approximately 1500 sq ft of mat space, all completely OPEN! No columns or anything and TONS of windows. We will have two locker rooms (one for men and one for women). On top of that, we are bringing in another Muay Thai coach and are about to almost DOUBLE the amount of classes we offer.

And BEST OF ALL, the women's class will now be TWO days per week! Thursdays and Sundays the ladies are taking over! And second best of all, now that we have full freedom of the space, my wrestling coach can come to our gym and work with Ryan for an hour then me for an hour and I no longer have to drive out to Fairfax. Woohoo!

I'm so excited because we've only been open 10 months and already outgrew our original space. Our new address and schedule will be up on the website very soon! Fifty/50 BJJ

Only bad thing going on now is..I feel a little guilty about encouraging Ryan to compete last weekend. When I picked him up from the airport late last Wednesday night (he just arrived back from Spain), one of the first things he says to me is that he doesn't feel good and doesn't want to compete at NoGi Pan Ams. Knowing how many times he's pushed me when I didn't feel like doing it, I encouraged him to compete anyway since he was going to go coach regardless and he'd already paid for it. This was the first time (in 3 years) Ryan has EVER told me directly that he really didn't want to compete so maybe that should have raised a red flag that something wasn't right. But I continued to push him towards competition every time it came up.

Things of course didn't go so well at Pan Ams, he was sick AND still jet lagged. He is so hard on himself whenever he thinks he screwed up and this time I feel like it's partly my fault since I pushed him to compete when he clearly was in no frame of mind or physical condition to do so. I'm sorry sweetie, from now on I will listen to you and help you make a better decision. I promise.

In the meantime...YAY for the new place! I'm so proud of you, Ryan, for managing to deal with all the coordination, lease agreements, construction issues on top of training and competing for ADCC. You are MY hero!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fifty/50 at GQ & ADCC

I woke up yesterday morning to head up to GQ, just in time to catch the PBP of Ryan's first match on (Thanks, Caleb!) I watched - er read - the pbp all the way up to Lancaster, PA (prob not a smart thing to do while driving, but I couldn't help myself, lol!) I'm so happy that Ryan performed so well this weekend, what a bunch of awesome fights! Third Place! Woohoo!!! During practice today we logged into the live feed and were able to watch Ryan receive his medal on the podium. He looked so happy. I'm SO proud of him!

Okay on to GQ: It's been about two weeks since I started training consistently for the first time since the Mundial, and I am definitely starting to feel sharper. I was a little slow coming out of the gate in my first few matches, but by the end of the gi division I started to feel a lot better. There were a total of EIGHT purple belt women at GQ. I've never seen anything like that at any other tournament that wasn't a CBJJ tourney. They put us all in one absolute division - we were prob 4 diff weight classes. I was happy to place third and get my first cross choke in competition ever!

The guys/gal all fought well too. Kenny, Anthony, and Rich all placed FIRST in their divisions. Seph did well - placing in both his divisions. Lisa did great for her first tournament ever! She ended up competing in both gi and nogi and placed third in her gi division!

Every single person who competed this weekend placed!

What a great weekend for Fifty/50 BJJ!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Looking forward to this week!

* Ryan comes home from California in 10 hours!
* I have tomorrow off so I can spend time with him before he leaves for Spain.
* Val is coming to teach a seminar tomorrow night.
* Son Duong is up from Richmond and is planning to stay and train all week.
* I will be able to TRAIN all week.
* I am back on weight - 112lbs woohoo!
* Grapplers Quest is on Saturday.

Things are going well =)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Safe Training Rules for Women

The inspiration for today's blog came in part from a conversation I had at the women's open mat sponsored by Gracie 360 in Philly today.

I am one of the first women to say that women deserve everything and are capable of a lot. We are more than a lady, a mom, a housekeeper, or a cook. Mentally we are equal to men...and yet physically, we are not.

Although in general, I have always considered myself tough, I do not suffer the illusion that I am equal to a man in strength. It is a biological fact that men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. Fact. Any woman training BJJ/Muay Thai/MMA who is not willing to accept this, is opening herself to injury and frustration.

BJJ women, do not expect to overpower and defeat the men in your class. Do not forget that even the ones who seem reckless are still in all likelihood holding back to some degree. The better at BJJ the men are, the more capable they are at tempering their abilities to match yours and give you a good match. But make no mistake, you are not physically equal.

This does not mean that you can't learn from training with them and that they can't be good training partners for you. I am describing this difference because you need to take ownership of your training and your safety and protect yourself.

Simple Rules to Follow:
1. For (at least) the first 2 yrs of training, avoid training with brand new male students at all costs
2. If you are unable to avoid training with a new male student, roll defensively, protect your limbs and your neck from accidental injury. Temper down attacks to avoid a spastic dangerous response.
3. Let go.
4. Sometimes you still need to remember to protect yourself even when rolling with more experienced male students, as you improve your BJJ, they sometimes forget you are weaker than them - it's not intentional, they just forget
5. The majority of your training should be with the students within 20lbs of your weight where possible. If you are like me and small (even for a woman) - avoid rolling with guys over 150lbs unless they are a purple belt or higher, even then, they shouldn't be your main training partner.
6. Don't allow being crushed by guys to frustrate you too much, it happens to us all.
7. Getting beaten by a guy does not mean he is "better" at BJJ or that you don't deserve your belt. It's simple physics.

* This idea does not mean that you aren't capable of protecting yourself against a man who doesn't know anything or who knows less than you. It doesn't mean you can't beat a lot of the new guys who come in the room. It is simply meant to allow you to train BJJ for a long time without serious injury. Do not allow your own ego to get in the way of your health and safety. That kind of stupidity is for men ;)

Do yourself (and BJJ women everywhere) a favor, and encourage women to join your program. This will allow you to train hard consistently and develop your skills properly for competition.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good times at Fifty/50

Paul's seminar last week was pure awesomeness! As expected of course.

I was able to train twice last week before the hours at work took over again. It should be uphill from here on though. I didn't go to class on Friday but we had a new girl come in with her boyfriend to train. Then I taught class on Saturday, and we had another new girl come in (also with a b/f in tow). If they both sign up that will put us at 10 women! I'm trying to get as many on board before Val comes as possible. :) Some awesome plans are in the works for Fifty/50 in general and the women's program specifically as well so I am getting very excited!

Son Duong came up from Richmond to train on Sunday so I rolled with him for a while. He's a good blue belt and exactly my weight so I love when he comes to visit. He's one of the few people I can roll with full speed without fear of injury (and he can roll full speed with me, unlike most of the guys at our gym who although they will roll hard, always have to hold back a little so they don't accidentally out-muscle or injure me).

Training today was at 1pm due to the holiday and Brian was in so I trained with him all day. He is definitely my favorite partner at Fifty/50. He is bigger but not so much bigger that we can't both roll pretty hard. We have pretty even rolls but he'll beat me practically 90% of the time so he is super fun to roll with because I know if I can pass his guard, even if only long enough to score points, it's a big deal because he fights like hell.

It's been a great BJJ weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Upcoming events at Fifty/50 and more

Last night about 15 or so ladies and gents from the team (I love being able to say LADIES) met up at Bailey's in Arlington for the UFC. I'm disappointed about Demian's match but there were a lot of good fights last night and Randy and Noguiera (sp?) definitely stole the show. Randy gets crazy props for stepping in there and giving it what he did at his age - he'd smash most of the guys out there today still, but Noguiera is a damn good all around fighter and clearly won all 3 rounds with more than one near submission and a couple close knockouts. I'm happy to see his old self show back up and I hope to see him get a couple more good fights before he turns it in.

Paul Schreiner will be back at Fifty/50 for a seminar this Monday night and I am so excited because I was deathly ill last time he was here after Worlds and I missed all the cool stuff he taught.

Then Val Worthington is coming out from Cali as well to teach a seminar on Sept 21! Yay for awesome female grapplers giving seminars!

AND we have 8 women training right now and are expecting maybe up to 3 more soon, some of who have trained before like one of the last ladies who joined. Woohoo!!!! (We need to ramp up our numbers because 2 of our ladies recently moved out of the area.) We hope to add a night class for the ladies soon. (Fingers crossed!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Overworked and Undertrained

OMG I just realized that I haven't posted in almost a month!

I worked over 50 hours last week and almost 60 hrs this week (16 hrs just in one day). Especially this week, I've been so tired by the time I got home, the boys (Darren U was out from Cali helping Ryan train for ADCC) were lucky I cooked dinner, no way could I have physically trained (other than Monday before it got really bad at work).

Although I still feel drained, I am looking forward to teaching the women's class today and training some. Ugh my lungs are probably shot too - and they were just getting back into shape before shit hit the fan at work. Time to begin gearing up for GQ in Sept.

I forgot to give a wrap up of ADCC Northeast Regionals, I've been so busy. Well, I'm going to Nationals next year but only because no one my weight class (or the one above me) showed up. I had to jump up to Under 145lbs, giving up 30lbs. Then in the absolute my first fight was against a chick who's probably close to 160lbs. When I had her in an armbar, she stood, lifted me up above her waist and intentionally slammed me into the mat. Oops, forgot that was legal in ADCC.

Thanks to tons of breakfall practicing over the years, I kept my head from hitting the mat on the first hit (although it bounced after that, the damage had been mitigated). My arm/elbow seemed to take the brunt of it. I thought it might be broken at first it hurt so bad but turns out it was just mat burn so bad that two weeks later it still hasn't healed (but the monster bruise finally did) AND I was wearing a long sleeve rash guard. How do you get mat burn through a long sleeve rash guard and not from being dragged, but from an impact?

Anyway, I guess it worked out okay that I was so busy at work since my arm took so long to heal. The mat burn is still there but now I can put my elbow down on a surface without searing pain. It was very strange, I've had mat burn tons of times, but this last one was the worst. It was big around and must've cut deeper than it appeared.

New ladies are training at the gym now! All 3 that I hoped would sign up when I was writing my last post, did. Woohoo!!!

Off to grab some coffee now before the women's class today. =)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

For you, Lateef!

This is for Lateef, who called me out for not writing in a while. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have been very busy at work this week and have been actually training as well! Woohoo! Okay, so I am still a bit out of shape to be competing next weekend at ADCC Regionals but at least I'm better than when I went into the Sub Only. And after training almost every day for the last week, I am starting to feel a little sharper again.

These kids from Drysdale's are staying with us for the month and they are GOOD! Like seriously legitimately good. They're only 15 and they embarrassed grown adults last weekend at the Copa Nova. They are a good time to roll with and it's nice for some of the more advanced students to go with them (including me). The cool thing about kids is that they have endless energy and they go for broke during every roll...BUT they are super technical and relaxed at the same time. It's awesome.

Tuesday, James came and taught a wrestling seminar. It was great! But since I haven't wrestled in almost 2 weeks, I could already start to feel that I was losing a little of my aggressiveness and technique. The guys loved the seminar so we will probably try to bring him in about every other month or so if we can.

Wednesday was Anthony's class and it was fantastic as always. I was very happy that I was able to work with Brian because he is my favorite training partner! Today was regular nogi, Ryan showed a new take on the guillotine which was super hard for me and Quang (sp?) and a bunch of others to get at first. But once we understood it, it was killer.

Tomorrow I plan to go for a run and lift and stuff because class is canceled for the competition team try-outs. Ryan and Seph are going to make those guys hate themselves. I'm excited to see who makes it through!

Saturday we have the women's class and I am expecting three women to sign up! Then we have our first official Fifty/50 picnic at Andy Ruffner's beast house. Can't wait to party!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Girls, Inc.

Girls, Inc is a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.

Girls, Inc.

Girls, Inc. brought 15 lovely young ladies (ages 8-12) to Fifty/50 BJJ today for a field trip. I had put together a short 2 minute video for them so they would understand what BJJ was before beginning their lesson. We sat and talked (and watched the video) for about 25 minutes before moving into the exercise room for an hour and a half BJJ lesson. One of our female white belts was there to assist me (thanks, Shanna!) as we showed the girls how to stand-up in base, break fall, perform one Judo throw, Upa Sweep, and execute an arm-bar from the guard.

They all did a fantastic job! I was very impressed with how quickly many of the girls picked up on the details even though it was a lot of new information at once. They were well behaved and asked excellent, well thought out questions. It obvious to me that Girls, Inc is doing a very important service to the community by reinforcing positive values and work ethic.

Thanks for coming, Girls, Inc.! We look forward to a continued relationship in the future!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Poor tournament experience leads to renewed love for BJJ

I walked into my wrestling coach's office Friday afternoon to discuss my mental situation going into the tournament this past weekend. (Sometimes I feel more comfortable talking to him than to Ryan because he isn't emotionally invested in me.) I really didn't want to compete, I was feeling bored and tired of BJJ even though I had only trained "hard" maybe twice in the past 5 weeks and gone to maybe a total of 8 practices over that time. How could I possibly be TIRED of BJJ - if I wasn't even doing it??

Anyways, we talked. He basically said that the mental aspect is the most important part of competing and if you don't feel like you have it this time, maybe you should sit this one out. But he's not my BJJ coach so he suggested going down and seeing how I felt in the morning. Morning rolls around and I could still care less about competing. But I did (I didn't feel as if I had a choice). Unfortunately though, I didn't warm up at all (a big no no for those with exercise-induced asthma...oops, I was being lazy and thought I had more time). I was winning most of the match but felt this weird almost out of body experience where I could see myself not doing things that I was supposed to, but I just couldn't bring myself to care enough to try to rectify it. Apparently this is what being burned out is like...then I completely gassed out with nothing left - only about 5 minutes in. Crap. There goes that match.

The next day I returned but was still shy of enough drive to succeed to perform well in my first match. Crap again. FINALLY, before my second match it was as if a big mental switch flicked in my brain. I can't explain it and don't know how or why it happened (but most likely it was due to just getting my butt kicked - except for that one perfect, beautiful single leg). Anyhow, I approached the match against Addie with a little more vigor and even though I still messed up a few things, I felt much happier after the 11 min or so match ended - not in my favor but it was a good fun fight. I definitely plan to be more prepared next time.

You might say that I shouldn't have competed. And maybe that's correct. BUT nothing over the last 5 weeks had been able to jolt me out of my slump and inability to be interested in BJJ. Wrestling was fun of course but it is just technique, not training and it isn't jiu-jitsu. I just hadn't been able to find the drive to do BJJ. Thanks to Jen, Elyse, and Addie for taking no mercy, I can now say that slump has come to a close.

As soon as the knee I twisted during my last match heals. It's go time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A quick nap

after work turned into 4 hours and me missing Anthony's wrestling class at the gym. I was frustrated with myself at first but if I was that tired I probably shouldn't have gone anyway.

Ryan comes home from the beach tomorrow! I can't wait to see you, babe!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

50/50 - What I love about you

I love my team. I do.

I love how they take training seriously and everyone works hard all the time and slacking off is not allowed. I love how we have a high percentage of students who actually show up on a regular basis. I love how we have a high percentage of students who get out there and compete - it doesn't matter how they finish, it's awesome that they actually get out there and give it a go!

I love that we are getting more and more females in all the time. I love that the comment from the women is always that they're impressed none of the guys have any attitude about rolling with them. It's a training atmosphere more conducive to learning than any other I've ever been in.

I love how many out of town visitors we get. It seems like we have different visiting brown and black belts almost every week. Today Muay Thai class had 14 people in it and I love how excited everyone was. The atmosphere was charged! BJJ is almost always packed (well for our mat space) so that's nothing new, but everyone helps each other and the instruction is fantastic!

And...I love it!


Monday, July 13, 2009


71! That's the number of email addresses I now have of ladies white to black belt. Keep 'em coming! My goal is to help female BJJ practitioners everywhere to stay informed of the goings on in the BJJ community for women. Yay Chicas!

A new woman...came in today who is Hollie's size. She'll be back tomorrow! Sue came to us from a nearby academy so she already has some experience - super fantastic! It will be so good for the other ladies in the gym if she decides to sign up. My fingers are crossed!

This just in: BJJ class today was FUN! I got my ass beat pretty hard by some of the guys but I had sooo much FUN! Today I was the nail, but was working hard and able to get a couple moves that I've struggled with before on some of the guys. No one outside the BJJ community is able to understand that it's fun even when you're the nail.

Raise your glass to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

Calling All Female BJJ Practitioners!!!

If you haven't heard, the ladies in the Mid-East U.S. started a Women Only BJJ Open Mat series in July 2007. This has been an informal series of open mats alternately hosted by varying academies in VA, MD, and PA areas so far. We try to host one every few months but have had so much interest lately that we've held a session about once a month for the last 3 months. Usually about 20-30 women of all belt and weight categories show up (that's more women than sign up for most tournaments!)

Ladies have been asking me to keep them updated with open mats and it seems that frequently some women miss out because they didn't hear about one in enough time. So I am putting together a contact list. Everyone will be bcc'd to keep all of your inboxes from filling with reply-all's. This will be an informative distro list ONLY.

This is my attempt at notifying each woman of:
1. Upcoming FEMALE open mats
2. FEMALE given seminars
3. Any camps/tournaments specifically for FEMALES

It will NOT be for:
1. Chatting back and forth - there are a bunch of forums for this online
2. Promoting one club over others - No politics here!
3. Spamming about every single tournament/event going on in the BJJ community (ONLY for things specifically designed to promote FEMALES in the sport)

I will not use this distro list for any other reason and will not release anyone's email without their express permission.

Leave me a comment with your email address or send me a note at if you would like to be included!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Women's Open Mat at Balance

The East Coast Women's BJJ Open Mat Series is growing! There were 28 women ALL SIZES - ALL BELT LEVELS. It was hot and crowded on the mats and amazingly awesome! I drove up with Mary Anne and unfortunately we ran into traffic so arrived a bit late, but even though I didn't have enough time to roll with everyone I wanted, we had a ton of fun! My Catfight Gear gi came in the mail yesterday so during training I was sporting a super bright pink gi - as Elaine said - I looked like a peep (you know the Easter marshmallow candy). LOL!

I finally had the chance to roll with Elaine and with Anahi (twice) among a few others. And Mary Anne got her first legit submission EVER so I was very happy for her! She is really coming along quickly now that she's able to train more than once a week. After training, 15 or so of us headed out for dinner and chatting. It was nice to hang out with everyone after training for awhile and catch up before driving back home last night. I already can't wait for the next open mat!

Friday, July 10, 2009


So Ryan left for the beach this morning and I wish he was still here. I seem to miss that guy for some reason :)

I went to wrestling last night then followed it up with BJJ class. The girls are leaving for their tournament but luckily coach is still in town for one more week so I will work with him one on one at least once and maybe twice next week. Anthony started teaching a wrestling class once a week at the gym and I am very impressed with how many of the students are taking the class. We are going to have James come in and give a clinic when he gets back from the H.S. tournament.

Finally got off my ass and went for a run today. It wasn't as bad as expected - despite the fact that I think my inhaler is empty, lol. I need to refill them because after tomorrow morning I'm out of advair (proventil already running low). Not a good thing.

Women's Open Mat is tomorrow. Yay! Have to drive to Philly for it. Boo! But still Yay!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still Fat But Feeling Better

OMG I'm getting FAT. No seriously, it's time to take up cardio and weight training again to get back in shape. I can actually see pudge around my abs. This has GOT to go. I did train a little harder on Sat, Sun, and Mon, but not so much last night. (Last night was the first closed guard night I think we have ever had at Fifty/50 - which probably surprises anyone who knows who Ryan Hall is, lol!)

But it's difficult to feel like training hard on Tues/Thurs nights because I wrestle for an hour and a half after work. Tatiana is back from Puerto Rico so there were 3 of us ladies wrestling together! They are getting ready for some big national wrestling tournament so for the first time we actually wrestled FULL speed - albeit for only 20-30 seconds at a time. I think yesterday was perfect for beginning to integrate my wrestling directly into BJJ because after taking them down coach had me go right into BJJ moves while they were going into wrestling holds for points when they got it to the ground. I really appreciate coach's effort to only teach me what is relevant for BJJ.

One of the girls that visited about a week ago emailed me to say that she wants to sign up so I'm excited to get her in! Missy came in to train for the first time this Saturday and it was so nice to roll with a purple belt my size (well actually she's a little smaller - can you believe it??). She said she'll try to make it in a couple times a month. Rosie from Yamasaki also visited this weekend. I love having new people to roll with! This weekend is the Women's Open Mat at Balance in Philadelphia and I'm super excited to go up there!!!

I finally got a couple pics from the belt promotion (aka Felipe Costa seminar). I'm not sure if you can tell on the small photos that I look like death in the first couple, lol!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I pretty much want to crawl into a hole right now and never do jiu-jitsu again. I know everyone always wants to read inspirational stories but sometimes you aren't going through an inspirational moment, you're going through a shitty one.

I have wanted nothing to do with BJJ since returning from the Worlds. Sure I was sick as hell for the first two weeks, but even last week I only managed to half-ass it through positional sparring one single night. I hadn't trained in 3 weeks and didn't want to compete at GQ but was going to be needed to drive people home from it. Of course I couldn't go up and NOT compete or I'd feel like a tool being that at this point I was perfectly healthy (even if out of shape and the heaviest I've been in months - I barely made weight and usually I'm 5 lbs under).

After an embarrassing half-ass display of semi-lazy jiu-jitsu and wanting to scream at anyone who complimented me since I knew inside that I hadn't given it my all, I headed home very annoyed at myself. The last few times I've competed (with the exception of the Absolute division at the Worlds) have just been embarrassing displays. I've received lectures about my efforts and the fact that I am competing below my potential after each one. And admittedly, I deserved every lecture.

Being in this state, it is really hard to accept all the congratulations and well wishes for being promoted last night. I definitely appreciate all the kind words; it's just hard to hear right now since I am so angry with myself after weeks and months of faltering physically and mentally. It will definitely be interesting to see my expressions in the photos from last night.

I really don't want to do BJJ this week but will probably go in to roll with Felipe one more time before he leaves, as I know that I would be angry with myself in a month’s time if I missed the opportunity that I've been looking forward to for so long.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fifty/50 BJJ in the local news!

Hall Embraces Jiu Jitsu in the Mall

AND Felipe Costa arrives tomorrow! I'm really really looking forward to training with him for a whole week! He is so awesome at BJJ! AND he is doing a seminar at our gym on Monday. Felipe is the the only person I have ever actually PAID to take a private BJJ lesson from and I've attended two of his seminars before. He is also the one who coached me to my third place win in the Absolute division at the Mundials this year since Ryan had to compete right after me.

As if you couldn't tell, I'm soooo excited right now!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I need more creative titles

All I write about are wrestling and the effort to get more women into the program. I need more in my life. Haha!

The wrestling clinic last night was the first session of a three day clinic these kids are going through to get ready for a big tournament. There was one kid about 3lbs smaller than me who I worked with most of the time. They went quickly through a lot of the moves - mostly just trying to get us training hard. It was a little difficult for me to follow along sometimes, so then coach would just have me do techniques we'd been working on instead of what they were doing when it was my turn.

I was a little worried about going into a room of high school boys and how they would react to wrestling with a how seriously they would take it and whether they'd be spastic and super rough to make sure they didn't get beat by a girl, but I had not a single issue. The kids were really good about having me there (although apparently coach gave them a little talk before I showed up - and that may have helped).

Coach says I'm still too hesitant on my attacks so I am sure we will work on that tomorrow. Now I understand more what he means when he talks about wrestling like a wrestler and not like a girl. The guys are much more aggressive and physical. Not in a dangerous way, just in a "I'm going to take your mother-f'ing ass down" kind of way. The girls are all a bit more tentative and not gentle exactly but...just different. Anyways, I have a lot to work on but I think going really helped me see it a little more clearly.

A new woman came in today, she did really well and is also extremely tough. She's around Mary Anne's size (maybe slightly bigger) so she's perfect for her to train with! She's supposed to come back later this week to try another class. Yay! I also had another email from another woman today interested in coming by. It's possible at this rate that in one month we could double the number of women in our program. I'm so excited!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wrestling Continues and More Girls!


So I skipped wrestling the first week after the Mundials because I was deathly sick and working hard with the new job. Then it turns out the other girls are away for a few weeks at wrestling camp and I was super bummed when I thought I'd miss two more weeks of wrestling. BUT the coach was awesome enough to offer to work with me privately in the interim. Woohoo!

I showed up yesterday and the even though I'd alread done this with Ryan, the first thing we did was rewatch all my matches in the Absolute division - this time specifically for wrestling mistakes. Coach took notes and then we proceeded to begin fixing things for about an hour or so before I had to go to the gym for BJJ practice. Coach was trying to help me with ways to incorporate the wrestling into the gi better which was super cool of him! Mostly we worked on defensive attacks (is that an oxymoron?) and only on things that will work well against a larger stronger opponent. Duck under to the back, duck under to the single leg, arm drag to the single leg, arm drag to the back, low singles, and a couple variations running the pipe. He also added in a couple control techniques on the ground and some "riding the legs" details - known in BJJ as "taking the back".

And he's teaching a clinic tonight to some highschool students in Fairfax and invited me to come watch. He also told me to bring my training gear and he'd try to get me into the clinic. Awesome!

More Girls

We had one new girl join up! Welcome aboard, Kate! Then when I checked the Fifty/50 email the other day, we had emails from two girls who want to come check out the gym! One is supposed to come down tomorrow and the other is going out of the country but wants to come by when she gets back in a few weeks. Both are white belts with some prior training. AND we are getting a new female purple belt who just moved down to the area. (Can't wait til you can make it in, Missy!) My goal is 10 women by the end of the summer! (Cross your fingers)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The littlest one places third

I am a little delayed in writing about the Mundials. I blame it on Kenny for getting me sick and making me feel miserable for the last few days...and on the new job I just started on Monday.

I competed on Thursday in my weight division. Not having watched my weight in the slightest, I still only weighed in at 115 in my gi. My first match was against Karen from Lloyd's. She pulled guard, I stood up, broke her guard open, passed it, took her back and bow and arrow choked her from the top in something around a minute and a half. For some reason, my lungs were burning after that quick match but I ignored it trying to get ready for the next match against the girl who won last year, definitely the best girl in the division. She ended up getting a bye in the first round because her opponent dropped out. I performed really poorly, felt super hesitant and slow and unlike myself the whole match. I ended up losing by 2 pts. I felt like crap and had to go lay down under the bleachers for a while hating myself and trying to get my lungs to relax...that took a while. I don't know what was wrong with my lungs, maybe I didn't warm up as much as I should have. I'm not sure if that was what affected my second match or whether I just sucked because I sucked. But either way, very uncharacteristically, I decided I would do the Open Class the next day (I usually won't fight anyone over 150lbs). But I was pissed.

In the morning at the hotel I was still pissed but also didn't feel like competing anymore. I packed my gi anyway, but had pretty much convinced myself that I wasn't going to compete. When I walked into the venue, the excitement was palpable. The first person I ran into about 10 feet inside the door was a female purple belt from Reno that I met at Pan Ams, Kelley Weatherford. About 30 seconds into my conversation with her, her enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I was DEFINITELY getting out on that mat!

I was the only girl from the Pluma division to do the Open Weight. I won my first match against a girl from the Medio weight class with a single leg takedown, I won my second match against a girl from the heaviest weight class after taking her down TWICE with single legs. The third match was against another girl from Medio and she ended up pulling guard and I was able to take her back towards the end of the match. My last match was against a much larger girl from Finland and I ended up losing 2-0. It was a tough match and although I think I made two crucial mistakes which each could've individually cost me that match, I will admit that I'm not too angry with myself for third place! I'm happy! I am so glad I went through with it!

A quick congrats to Ryan for his third place, Val for placing second in the Women's Brown/Black division (so fantastic!), and to Addie, Ana, Tammy, and Hillary for all winning their divisions!!!

The Fifty/50 guys did really well too. Anthony won a couple matches then got robbed by some bullshit reffing. Andy and Rich both looked tough winning their first matches! Next year it's ON!!! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Arrived in LA

We finished our move on Monday, worked our butt's off all day then I had another swim lesson and followed it up with my last hard training class.

Tuesday my body hurt too much to train, so I took the day off. This morning after a few minutes sitting beside the pool, Ryan took me to the airport (he was on a flight arriving much later with Seph).

No complications on the plane, made my connection in Minneapolis with plenty of time. Halfway through the flight I realized that the man sitting in front of me with his wife and two kids was my brother's best friend from high school. He used to hang out at our house all the time and painted our basement once upon a time. I ended up going back to his house in Santa Monica with him and chilling there with him and his wife for a bit before he drove me to my hotel in Long Beach.

Ryan and Seph just showed up (after a two hour delay on their flight).

Other than feeling a little fat from all the food I've eaten the past few days, I feel pretty good. Turns out my body is actually recovering from the tiredness and overuse. Not bad.

Time to sleep and get ready for the morning!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I shouldn't be on the computer right now. I have to scrub every square inch of my bathroom and finish packing. And I have to leave for wrestling in 2 1/2 hours. Yikes!

Yesterday, I taught a swim lesson to a 3 1/2 yr old little girl from San Diego. The water temperature out here is a bit colder than they are used to (they just moved here two weeks ago). But despite the cold, she listened really well and I'm pretty confident that she will be swimming before the end of the summer. When we finished the lesson, I also received a request from another parent to teach her son.

From the swim lesson, I went to the gym (after a detour cashing a check at the bank) and taught the women's class. Well, more like a private lesson since Mary Anne was solo today. Eric's wife was supposed to be there and showed up at Open Mat time when class ended. Eric got the times wrong. But we put her in my old pink and white War gi and put her on the mats anyway. Yay! New women is always fun!

I had to bust my ass to get up to my parents' house for my Dad's suprise 60th birthday party. Good thing he was late getting there or I would've missed the surprise. There were a lot of people I didn't recognize and it seems like everyone is having kids. There were probably 10 children under the age of 10 and 4 pregnant women all giving birth in the next month.

There was a chocolate fountain. Everything was dipped into it...strawberries, pineapples, fingers, even birthday cake. Kids were running around with chocolate covered shirts getting in the way of the bean bag toss, hitting each other with swords, and squirting water at each other. Occasionally, an adult got up to check on the reason behind a 3 yr olds tears or yell at the pre-teens for teasing the 5 year olds (yes plural at all age groups). Mostly it was a free for all of entirely too much consumed food. I got on the scale this morning and weighed more than I have in weeks. But damn those chocolate strawberries were good!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tons to do and not enough time

I got the job I was hoping for, yay! It starts a week from Monday - right after flying in on a red-eye from the Mundials. It's temporary with the hope that I will get the permanent position, but may have other options just in case that doesn't work out. Thank GOD because I'm running out of money.

The swim lessons have helped, I've taught two so far and have three more before I go out of town. It's enough to just keep me afloat. :)

This morning I drove up to my parents' house to get their dolly for moving Ryan out tomorrow. We thought we'd get the uhaul all weekend but turns out we have to give it back and rent another one to move out my stuff on Sunday, then we move into the new place Monday. I can't wait, the new complex has a pool AND a hot tub! And it's spitting distance to Starbucks. Bonus!

After driving back from Maryland, I trained this afternoon with Ryan, Luis Pantoja (Yamasaki Brown Belt) and Quang (my favorite training partner). We did a bunch of 8 minute rounds since Luis and Ryan have 8 minute matches at the Worlds - it'll make my 6 min rounds seem easy! Haha!

After that I drove to Fairfax for my wrestling lesson, it was really really hot in that room today. My t-shirt was soaked half-way through our time. But coach was happy with our progress today, which is good because we got a speech last week and I don't want to get one of those again. Ever.

After that it was off to teach an hour swim lesson in Alexandria then back up to Arlington for evening practice. Whew! (At least I took 10 minutes to sit in the hot tub at the pool and attempt to relax, that was nice)

This whole new job thing, plus being broke, plus moving, plus training for Worlds is not easy. Lol!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Day!

Ryan won his division at ADCC West Coast Trials!!! He is going to Barcelona! Woohoo!! And congrats to Paul Schreiner for finishing second in his division too!

Last night the team all met at Bailey's to watch the UFC. I had a great time hanging out with everyone, even though I ate some crap I probably shouldn't have and drank a few beers, it hasn't affected my weight at all...not that I am even remotely close enough to weight to really be concerned about it. Good times with Fifty/50!

Wrestling was canceled because coach was out of town but Kayla came up to our gym to drill with me, so I got to wrestle anyway! Yay! It is really starting to feel a lot smoother. (If only Anthony hadn't dropped me so hard on that one takedown, I'd be perfect right now, lol!)

Today I ate semi healthy, deli meat sandwich on whole wheat and a small acai smoothie. Then after training, I made myself some pasta when I got home and am now about to go finish the rest of the Ben & Jerry's Cake Batter Ice Cream sitting in my freezer. That stuff is so freaking delicious! It is my greatest weakness, lol!

p.s. I'm getting more requests for swim lessons too, so I'm HAPPY!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Glad I stuck in there

I rolled out of bed this morning stiff as a board. Every joint and muscle felt like it couldn't move.

This afternoon's class was light for some reason, only 4 guys there besides me, none of them particularly good training partners because all were fairly new (except one blue belt) and significantly bigger - bigger than my usual training partners. I didn't want to roll at all, especially considering the group and the state of my body. But Seph rolled with me first, and I felt better after that. The warm-up seemed to help my body feel better, only 3 more matches before class ended, but I felt pretty good during and after sparring. I even got one of the passes Abmar Barbosa taught in his seminar on Wednesday night (one of the best seminars I've been to).

I had packed a lunch today since I didn't want to drive home and waste gas between afternoon and evening class (those of us without significant income need to be frugal, lol). Instead I went to Ryan's and cleaned his car, it was disgusting! I even took it to the gas station and vacuumed it out. After lunch, cleaning, and speaking to a few different companies about quotes for movers, it was time to head back to the gym. Unfortunately, the kinks had returned, lol!

A few more people showed up to evening class. Once again I didn't feel like sparring, yet once again after I started moving, I forgot that I was sore. This time I was able to catch a sweep from bottom of side mount that Abmar showed the other day. All in all, not a bad day. :)

Good luck to everyone competing at ADCC tomorrow (Ryan, Paul, Val, Johnny)! I'm more nervous than if I was competing, haha.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I smell Honeysuckles

I swear I do! I don't know where they are coming from, but I may explore my neighborhood this weekend to find them. It reminds me of soccer practice when I was little and we used to suck out the juices.

I put an ad on Craigslist for private swim lessons and got a few responses. I'm going to line up as many as I can, first one starts this weekend. Woohoo!

I love Spring!!!

Wrestling practice today closed with a motivational/critical speech, I think I need to re-read a book on Sports Psychology that I read last year. Next week will be a renewed me!

BJJ training today was fun, lots of sparring sessions and a new tiny detail on an armlock sweep combo from Seph. Got punched in the face (yep in grappling), kneed in the crotch, discovered random bleeding toes when I got home, etc. but it was one of my favorite classes in a while. Not sure exactly why, maybe it was all the sparring...

Who cares, it was a good day overall!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life catching up!

Life can be such a pain sometimes. Today (or the next two weeks) is one of those times.

Why is it that every time you think you have all your bills covered, another 2 or 3 other expenses pop up? I feel like I can never get ahead. I really hope I get a full-time job (not just helping with the gym) fast!

I'm trying to juggle training for the Mundials, hoping I can actually GO considering I will (hopefully) have just started a new job, worried because I can't pay all of my bills (even with Ryan helping me - I just don't want him to give me as much as I need, I like to carry my own weight), needing to pack up all my stuff because I'm supposed to move out of my house the weekend before I leave for the Mundials. Also, that weekend I have a surprise B-day party on Sat after teaching the women's class in the early afternoon. Sun I have my last wrestling class before the tournament and a baby shower. I have to move my stuff out of my house by Sunday at the latest but can't move in until Monday and have to manage moving in between a full day of work and BJJ class at night.

I am officially going insane with all this happening at once. Where are the money gods to just drop me a $1000 during the night? I'd play the lottery but I don't have enough money...Lol!

Okay, back to packing up all my belongings (and hopefully throwing a good amount out).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forced break leads to feeling better

Sooo my shoulder popped (the "good" one) on Friday during the day class. Man was I pissed! I got caught in a weird position with one of the guys, I KNEW it was about to be bad and tried to give a couple preemptory taps. Unfortunately, he was so set on yanking my shoulder that he didn't notice the first like 5 taps. Pop! About 5 more taps and a yelp later and he finally noticed and released his hold.

Honestly, it wasn't as much the pain as the complete and utter TERROR that he had torn my "good" shoulder 3 weeks before the Mundial that upset me. I was almost in tears as I was trying to figure out if it was seriously hurt or not. I recommenced sparring with him and then two others following that match, protecting the shoulder the whole time. But I could practically FEEL it swelling up. I took a TON of Advil (perhaps more than a 112lb person should) on Friday and Saturday and two days off training and although it still feels a little stiff and weak in specific movements, it is doing much better today. Thank God! I'm not sure if I was more worried about missing Mundials or having to go through surgery again, but it seems that fear has passed slightly.

So it held up through wrestling practice...which, by the way, went much better today than Thursday. Perhaps the forced break came at the right time, my body was exhausted. We are incorporating more and more resistance into the drilling which is good for me. I'm beginning to almost feel like a wrestler...almost. I still get a little kick out of it every time I tie on my hand-me-down wrestling shoes. I think it helps that I genuinely like the girls and the coach. When everyone in the room has a great attitude, it makes it easier to learn and train hard.

Random topic time!

Random Topic #1. One of my old friends from Capital JJ came in to visit yesterday. He says he wants to sign up with us after a long break from BJJ. I hope he follows through, we have some great guys his size who could use more training partners and he is a really fun person to have around. Our gym is full of characters and I think it would be great to throw him into the mix!

Random Topic #2. I dropped Ryan off at the airport at the butt crack of dawn on Saturday morning and almost miss him already (about 2 days is what it usually takes, haha). He is training with Paul Schreiner all week in Santa Cruz and then competing at the ADCC West Coast Trials next weekend. Good luck, Ry!!!

Random Topic #3:Hollie and Mary Ann are looking SHARP! It's so exciting to see how much progress they've made in such a short amount of time! Yay! Great job, ladies!!!

Random Topic #4: I am almost finished creating a promotional video for the women's class and am working with Sport & Health to set up a table in the "lobby" and run a promotional event and show the video later this week or next week. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I think I forgot what it was like to train hard for a tournament, having not done it in so long. I forgot the sheer amount of exhaustedness (is that even a word? It should be...)

I am in constant varying states of pain, soreness, stiffness, and just plain old tiredness at all moments from every limb and joint in my body. Sometimes I don't want to go to training. It's difficult to drag myself in and work hard against people a lot bigger than me everyday (let alone twice a day). Luckily yesterday we went to Richmond and I got to train with another small person and with another girl. I felt good post training in the afternoon but after driving back up here, I was in no mood to train again last night. It is leglock/footlock month though so it was an interesting class of course. I learned a good defense to a heel hook that I hadn't seen before. And rolled with a couple of the guys at the end of class. Then crawled home to bed.

Today I opted to skip morning class and hang out at the house and do laundry. But I have to go to wrestling practice soon and then training again after that. My mind and body both would like a break from training, but we need to keep pushing hard for a few more weeks. It's starting to feel less like fun and more like work, but I know this is only temporary. After the Mundial, I will take a well earned vacation from training...well except for wrestling classes, I'll still go to them. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Retrospect - Not Sure It Would've Helped

I'm debating a few issues in my head right now. So my last post was on Thursday night after a super hard practice and lots of hard practice this week (around 5 hours that day alone). I'm now debating whether or not this was a good idea...

Of COURSE I know that one day post-hard workout is painful but two days post-hard workout is actually awful. How I seemed to forget this Thursday night is beyond me. However, I am struggling desperately to reconcile the two different ideas going through my head tonight.

The first is that I was so sore today, my muscles were so fatigued from training this week, that I couldn't seem to make them (my muscles) do what I wanted during my matches - this was not a good thing for competing in the tournament today, and I definitely paid for it in my results.

But the other side of the issue is, what am I training for right now? The Copa Nova? Nope. The answer is the Mundial. And in order to be in top shape for the Mundial, I needed to work very hard this week and for the next 3 weeks. According to that timeline, I couldn't afford a week off hard training. Therefore, I shouldn't be too frustrated about today's matches.

And yet I am extremely frustrated! I know some of the other guys were hurting today too and it showed in our slowness and our inability to move the way we wanted/saw ourselves moving in our heads. This was not the kind of sore where your cardio is failing you, this was the kind of sore where you so overtrained that no muscle in your body seems capable of movement, no matter how hard you want it to go. On the one hand, you feel really good about all the hard work it takes to get your body to this stage, and on the other, you want to punch yourself in the face for thinking super legs "wasn't so bad after all". It wasn't...until approximately 24 hours later.

As I type this, I can still feel the heat coming from the muscles in my legs - hours after competing. I need one of those ice baths I used to stick my legs in after field hockey in college when I had shin splints. Lol!

The only plus side is that this was the second tournament in a row where I did not have an issue with my asthma. This was the first time my muscles have been able to get this fatigued in a very long time, in fact my lungs usually give out WAY before the rest of my body. Bonus! (I have to take my small victories.)

I'll try to post one or more of my videos once I have them converted so my Mac can see the files and upload them. I love my Mac but what is it's issue with mini discs?

I need some sleep to attempt a brief physical recovery before wrestling practice tomorrow...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I survived! Our first week of official Competition Team Practices are over and I don't feel anywhere near as tired or sore as I thought I would (not saying I don't feel sore at all - just better than expected)...AND we even did the Danny Ives special "Super Legs" Set after Comp Team tonight which was after our regular practice (all stand up today taught by Anthony) and before that earlier today I wrestled with one of the high school girls for 2 hours...the most amazing thing is that I am still standing, haha! (Although, in reality I'm not sure I would have made it through today if not for my 20 minute massage yesterday at the awesome place across from the gym, lol.)

So I am officially signed up to wrestle (aka drill, learn, and pretend I'm a real wrestler) twice a week with the ladies from now through August! Woohoo! In just three practices my stand-up has already progressed at a completely ridiculous rate. It definitely pays to learn from not just a REAL wrestling coach (and not a bjj coach who learned from someone else and is trying to pass it on) but a real wrestling coach who has both competed at AND successfully coached male and female wrestlers to very high levels. Total sweetness!

Tomorrow, unfortunately, I have to miss evening training to go teach a swim class in Maryland so I plan to get in a good LONG cardio and lifting workout earlier in the day. No, this is not something I would usually do before a tournament but the tournament this Saturday is just a warm-up for the big deal in a month anyway. (And no one in my weight class at blue belt or above is expected...surprise of surprises I'll probably have to compete up in weight again (and perhaps belt rank), but it's not so bad because I'm a little fat right now anyway - 115 tonight after practice - ugh, lol!)

As a side note: Ryan and Brendan went out to Vegas to join up with Cameron Diffley as part of "Team Guard Pullers" to compete against "Team Takedown" in a pro match-up at Grapplers Quest on Saturday. Kick butt, baby!

p.s. Our new website has been moved off the development site to it's new home and will be launched online officially sometime tomorrow! Thanks, Erik!! Your design skills are amazing! Check us out soon at: Fifty/50 BJJ

Monday, May 4, 2009

Training Blahs

I was still pretty sore on Saturday from working out with a trainer last week and wrestling practice on top of my regular bjj classes and I think the rainy weather had me feeling extra lazy so I didn't really train much at open mat after teaching the women's class. However, I was still really looking forward to wrestling practice on Sunday. Except I woke up (many times) on Saturday night/Sunday morning with the most violent sickness I've ever had.

Although I did go out drinking Saturday night, I think on top of the alcohol I actually had food poisoning or something because I've been sick from alcohol many times and usually after you throw up once or twice you actually feel much better. This was not the case for me on Sunday morning. I have never vomited more times in a short period of time in my life. I was stationed at the toilet bowl about every 30-60 minutes until the only thing coming back up was more stomach acid. My abs got a serious work-out though...

Needless to say I had to miss my wrestling workout on Sunday after not training hard on Saturday THEN I showed up today for training and long story short, didn't end up getting to train. :(

I need to get ready with some seriously hard training for Worlds, dammit! Ryan and Seph say tonight will be the first killer practice to get ready and we will have 3 killer practices each week until Worlds, and by god I need it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

More wrastlin'!

Today was my second wrestling practice. This time there was only one other girl there and she is MY SIZE! Woohoo!

I am sure my legs are getting stronger by the minute from constantly being in a wrestling stance. No more need for Danny Ives' special "Super Legs" class, lol! (Miss you Danny!)

Today we spent a lot of time on hand fighting. I am making a lot of mistakes still but at least I'm starting to recognize steps. =)

I really enjoy the coach's style. He believes that women's wrestling is 20 years behind men's wrestling because women are treated like women instead of like wrestlers in the wrestling room. Therefore, he treats us like wrestlers. We are learning to take away any female timidity and DEMAND a grip or a position. That wrist is MINE...and you are not going to get it back. Lol!

He is a perfectionist. And it's exactly what I enjoy. Almost every single grip/shot/throw needs to be adjusted for one reason or another and he demands that we perform as proficiently as any man he instructs...and I love it!

I will go back on Sunday afternoon and I can't wait already! I love BJJ but I can't remember the last time I had so much fun. There is definitely something to be said for training with someone your size.

Oooo people my size reminds me that we drove down to Richmond yesterday and I got to train with Lo and Liz! Hopefully, my new job won't start until after next Wednesday so I can go back again next week and train!