Saturday, January 31, 2009

School Growing

Currently we have around 40 students (not bad for only being open only a month). And we have new interested people stopping in almost every day! 

But of course the most exciting thing today for me is that our second BRAND new female to BJJ started today. We have three white belts from before and myself, but this makes the second to sign up solely for the women's class! It doesn't sound like many but it's exciting all the same. PLUS both her and the other new female are picking the movements up very quickly.

Tonight we have space reserved at a local bar that always shows the UFC. The GSP v Penn fight should pull in a huge crowd and we have flyers standing on every table in the bar. AND the bar is in the same mall as our gym AND they expect 500-700 people tonight! Woohoo!

Time to go get ready for fights!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The beginning

 I just put in Ryan's new Triangle DVD series. It is very weird to see your boyfriend's face on the cover of a DVD, even if it isn't a very flattering pic...(sorry babe but it's true, LOL).

I remember sitting there as Ryan wrote most of the triangle course, and of course I had no idea what he was doing. Typical chick. Now almost two years later, he finally has a finished product...and I can actually see it on the screen!

Okay let me go back in time to before I met Ryan in order to give some historical perspective...

I was training TKD (I know, I know) in 2004 when I decided to try the BJJ class offered by purple belt, Greg Bartman in my TKD Academy. I trained for about 2 months or so before I had to quit due to bruising on the bones in my knees. 

Fast forward to one year later in Aug 2005, newly graduated from college, entering the work force and having nothing other than a vague memory of the guard position, I signed up for BJJ - and promptly fell in love.

After 6 months of casual training 2-3 times a week,  my competitive instinct took over and I entered my first tournament in Jan 2006. Surprise of surprises, I beat a Gracie Barra student in my first match. (And I thought my lungs were going to explode afterwards, haha.) I was promoted (although I believe undeservedly at the time) to Blue Belt one week later by Royce Gracie. 

It is not just a saying, that target on your back as a new blue belt, it truly exists. I absolutely hated BJJ for about the next 6 months. I showed up 2-3 times a week religiously and entered a few more tournaments but I literally had to drag myself in every class. There weren't any other women training as consistently as I was and I was constantly getting wrecked by white belt dudes who had something to prove. Why they felt the need to do so to a 120lb, 5'2" female, I'm not sure...

Around my one year anniversary in BJJ, I realized that I had to move up to the Advanced division and started to eat better in order to drop down a weight class. Although I had no idea at the time, that put me in a match against Amie Turton at the next Grapplers Quest in Oct 06 (good thing I didn't know who she was before the match, because I would've been super intimidated). Ryan Hall, who I only knew of as friend of my teammate Tim Koren, was coaching Amie against me. Ryan invited me to come visit Lloyd's and I took him up on the offer a month later. One month after the initial visit, I made the switch to Lloyd's.

Ryan is the first one who put the idea of international competition into my head. He spent a lot of time helping me progress and writing my gameplan for the Mundials with me. Ryan and Danny Ives totally adjusted my game. Between their attention and the ability to train hard almost every day with Nyjah Easton and Karen Fong at Lloyd's ridiculously hard (and totally awesome) practices really brought me into my own.

After a pathetic showing at my first Pan Ams in 2007, I placed third at the Mundials. Unfortunately, in my first match at the 2008 Pan Ams I tore my shoulder in two places. Funny how I know the exact moment it happened because I felt it, but it never occurred to me that it was serious enough to stop the match. Adrenaline will do that I guess. I was thrown 3 times in that match, my gameplan probably should've been adjusted as soon as we knew I was going up against a Judo player from Japan...but oh well.

I missed the Mundials due to shoulder surgery and went into the most frustrating part of my BJJ career to date. 6 weeks no lifting anything over 5 lbs with my right arm. 6 more weeks before it was strong enough to drill. Good GOD I never knew simply swinging my arm while running could hurt so bad! (I had to do something to get exercise...and I hate running.) Off only a few weeks of actual sparring (and not even at 100%), I entered Grapplers Quest. I lost a game match to Hillary Witt in nogi then had to bump up a weight class for gi. All went well until my last match where I lost in the finals. I was pissed.

Since then, I've had one thing after the other get in the way of training. Two overseas work trips, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and I've been sick as hell a couple times. I feel like I haven't really trained in 9 months. As soon as my finger heals (I slammed it in a car door and might have broken it last week)...dammit.

The opening of Ryan's new academy, Fifty-50 BJJ, has been the next new thing for me. I love the new more friendly, laid-back atmosphere coupled with super hard serious training. And I absolutely LOVE teaching the women's BJJ class. It started small, but it's still very exciting to see their progress. =)

Time to sleep, more later...