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!