Saturday, May 30, 2009

Royler Gracie seminar today at our school...

It absolutely rocked. I am in the middle of forgetting half of what he covered so this will be short-- sucks not being able to video but I totally understand; the downside is I only take notes later, boo.

We started with an hour of takedowns. Here he's demonstrating some standup with Lee, one of our purples. I took a couple shots during the instruction, but most were blurry since I didn't want to interrupt with a flash. I really liked one of his simple judo foot reaps. (I'm sure I'm using the word incorrectly but whatever.)

Then we did about 2 hours on the mats- everything from a NS choke and a side escape into a choke to a butterfly pass and some bottom half guard work. I was impressed with his personable, mellow vibe and his willingness to get down on the floor with us, have us do the technique to him and give feedback. We had about 50-60 people on the mat so it was crowded, yet you still felt like he was giving you a mini-private lesson. Somehow he was everywhere, all the time, and so encouraging and constructive. Funny too. And I thought he'd be bigger-- but believe me, when he moves, you know it, and there's no escaping his chokes :)

I'm proud to say I was choked by Royler. My friend Scott can say he swept Royler, which even cooler. Here's Ronny, one of our blackbelts who recently joined us from Brazil, getting RNC'd.

Yours truly..


Friday, May 29, 2009

Cute and inexpensive!!

Oh my gosh. The cutest stuff and not expensive either. I was killing time tonight before we left to teach salsa, looking at a blog called Go Fug Yourself (about celebrity fashion faux pas, it's hilarious stuff) and from there, linked to

I liked a few of their dresses, but at my state employee salary they were a little rich for my taste (in the $40-70 range)... however, the jewelry is to die for.

Check out their cute jewelry!

OK, with aching feet and full of excitement about tomorrow's seminar with Royler Gracie, I can now go to bed happy knowing that I've shared those baubles with you. I'm definitely doing some Lulu's shopping tomorrow.

Less is more?

I've apparently been looking at jiu jitsu like playing an instrument... more practice = more improvement. If you don't see enough improvement or progress, practice more, longer, harder. My friend Tom, a personal trainer and fighter who runs this great fitness resource, frequently pushes me to train less and take more time off. I have to admit, I usually blow off his advice, because while it might apply to other people, "I'm different." Ha ha ha.

Well, I am not willing to concede completely, but I will admit that taking off some time after NAGA, and on vacation in Virginia, felt pretty damn good. And, based on a couple comments from friends I've rolled with since coming back, it has maybe smoothed out some of my rougher spots a little bit too.

Tom's explanation is that I'm not berating myself for making the same mistakes I made yesterday (because they're days or weeks in the past) and also that I'm letting my subconscious mind learn in the downtime.

I'm not sure I'm any better, but the weather has been so nice, I'm more tempted by my garden in the afternoons than I am by the mats. I know that's blasphemy! I am sure I'll go back to 3-a-days eventually (ironically, when it's too hot to garden, I'll be in an indoor, un-airconditioned space, wearing what feels like a snowsuit.) But for now, twice a day (morning and noon) is enough for me. I'll be in the yard in the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Insanely busy

Work's got me running hard. I had a migraine yesterday afternoon that kept me from training, but today's a three-fer. I am looking forward to it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

13th anniversary...

... of my father's passing away, on May 25, 1996, from lung cancer.

Miss you daddy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday of balance.

Went to breakfast with Mitch (and ate healthy food: oatmeal with almonds and blueberries)and then cruised through Home Depot and found some great plants for the garden. Some foxgloves, a daylily, a standard (tree-trained) gardenia for a big pot I need to fill... calibrachoa in red, yellow and peach... a container tomato plant and some globe basil, and several salvia, bachelor's buttons, white vinca and pink verbena. Hoping to get that in the ground this afternoon/evening.

Then I went to jits, relearned a series of collar chokes from guard while paired up with a nice guy named Jeremy, and then got to roll with a blue named Steve who's recently back in training after a two-year layoff. He's a cop and we have some mutual acquaintances so I enjoyed talking after the roll too.

Got distracted with a little visit to DSW on the way home, hit the HEB for ingredients to make turtle brownies, and got totally rained on getting stuff into the trunk. Made a batch of brownies for the UFC party Mitch and I attended (hosted by one of his jits training partners, a nice guy named Rob who lives in a palatial place overlooking the lake.) UFC was fun and I was happy to see Matt Hughes and Lyoto Machida win their fights.

Feeling some chest congestion this morning, so I'm not going to class. I'll dig in the yard, have dim sum around noon, and hopefully catch the new Terminator movie this afternoon. Alas, gotta work tomorrow. *sigh*

Friday, May 22, 2009

Just desserts...

As if constant mental replay of the poor deer's demise wasn't enough self-punishment, I started a good old-fashioned migraine yesterday that kept me out of crossfit and jiu jitsu both. I was out of meds so hoped a quick nap would sort me out... I woke an hour later still suffering.

So I brought my prescription for cafergot to the Walgreens near my house. Normally I've taken Imitrex in the past, but while on honeymoon in Thailand, I actually had a string of migraines and ran out. Pharmacies there don't carry Imitrex but they had cafergot, a caffeine-ergotamine remedy that actually worked faster. So I waited, and waited, and waited at the Walgreens... only to find out they don't carry it. They called other Walgreens and they didn't have it either. *sigh* Fortunately, after waiting 40 fruitless minutes for my doctor to call me back about calling in an Imitrex Rx, my brother-in-law saved the day by calling it in for me. Mitch picked it up and about 40 minutes later I was rescued. No upchucking either which was a plus.

Anyway, this morning I drove 20 mph out of my neighborhood just in case, and was rewarded with a glipse of my first fawn of the season. Oh, and I dropped 10 of the 13 lbs I gained since NAGA in the 3 days since getting home from Virginia. Talk about water retention, holy heck.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

R. I. P. Bambi

One of the worst moments of my life was this morning, on my way to jiu jitsu, when a deer ran in front of my car in my neighborhood.

I'm fine, my car's fine. I'll just say multiple compound fractures to both front legs and it took the police about 15 minutes to come and put her out of her misery.

I don't think I'll ever get those images out of my mind.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Luck and work...

Read this thought-of-the-day on Pesadelo's blog:

I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

I love that. It fits well with my general outlook... usually when I succeed, it's in spite of my lack of talent or native ability, but because I'm willing to work hard. I need to remember that and not get in a comfortable rut.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Proliferation is a concern...

Check out this article about the Mossad's less-well-known successes against Iran's nuclear program. The head of the IAEA says 10-20 countries are on the brink of proliferation.

This isn't good, folks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vacation = fat

I'm not just eating 3 meals a day, I'm snacking in between meals too, and they're not healthy snacks. Dammit. It happens every time I visit family and I usually just blow it off, rationalize that I'll deal with the results when I get home and back into my routine. I'm not happy though because I know how much work it will take to get back to ground zero. Today after church we went to a breakfast with a womens' group my aunt belongs to, and they had really good, Southern buttermilk biscuits. We ate so much you wouldn't think we'd snack while playing dominoes, but of course we did. I'm not even hungry for dinner. I've recaught my cold of a few weeks ago, too, which sucks.

So, for motivation to get up early and run, I cruised around on the CrossFit website and liked this:

"CrossFit is in large part derived from several simple observations garnered through hanging out with athletes for thirty years and willingness, if not eagerness, to experiment coupled with a total disregard for conventional wisdom. Let me share some of the more formative of these observations:
1. Gymnasts learn new sports faster than other athletes.
2. Olympic lifters can apply more useful power to more activities than other athletes.
3. Powerlifters are stronger than other athletes.
4. Sprinters can match the cardiovascular performance of endurance athletes even at extended efforts.
5. Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity.
6. With high carb diets you either get fat or weak.
7. Bodybuilders can't punch, jump, run, or throw like athletes can.
8. Segmenting training efforts delivers a segmented capacity.
9. Optimizing physical capacity requires training at unsustainable intensities.
10. The world's most successful athletes and coaches rely on exercise science the way deer hunters rely on the accordion."

So for the rest of my stay here, I'll be following the WOD (Workout of the Day) where possible, and no more snacks!

And thought for the day, pinched from Triangulo Pesadelo's blog, found here:

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I love green gis...

Here's my sponsor, Mark Severtson, in his killer green gi. I think this looks sharp.

If you want one, contact him here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back on the mats.

LOL. The closer it got to 5 o'clock the antsier I got. Although I felt like a fat cow, the way I've been eating since NAGA, I was missing the physical and mental challenge. Rhalan's visit was just an excuse. I grumbled my way through the warmup, although I did enjoy the run-stop and gripfight-run exercise. Some useful principles for passing halfguard that I hadn't thought about before, and then open mat. Shama's busting her hump getting back to her fighting weight for Mundials, so we had a few vigorous matches (all of which ended in me tapping of course.)

I did immediately notice a difference in my approach to her compared to me pre-NAGA. I think the "killer instinct" I was lacking last Saturday was back, because I didn't treat her with kid gloves the way I usually do when she's prepping for a tournament. I felt like my standup game was much more aggressive, and I even caught myself shamelessly kneeling on her fingers while I passed her guard (or attempted to.) Before you think I'm just a hussy who cares not for the safety of her training partners, I'll say that in the past I was a less-than-adequate uke for Shama because I was so afraid of accidentally hurting her, so this adjustment in intensity isn't a bad thing.

Back to the eating thing... when I was younger, I could eat whatever I wanted, in whatever quantities, and not feel any ill effects. Now, I think I'm getting used to eating healthily. The extra salt and fat of the last couple days of indulgence are making me feel tummy-rumbly and puffy. Talk about retaining water, holy heck! Sorry if that's too much information. Anyway, I'm back on the healthy agenda starting tomorrow morning, homemade meatloaf, lasagna, and cheesy potatoes or not!

I'm not burned out, I'm just lazy.

Confession time...

I like eating. I don't eat because I'm hungry (usually)-- I eat because I like the taste of whatever I'm eating. This has a pro and a con to it. It's great when I'm trying to make weight for a tournament, because I can get by with much smaller portions and "hunger" per se doesn't bug me much. (I think that's because I have the equivalent of a camel's hump aka my derriere.)

It's NOT great now, when I'm not trying to make weight, because on an emotional level, I feel like I earnedthe right to indulge in crappy food choices because I was good getting ready for NAGA. Yes, this is utterly silly, as I realize when I say it "aloud" here on the blog. (Which is why, dear reader, I'm boring you with it.)

Take today for instance. I began the morning with healthy choices-- came into work a little late to get some gardening done. Had a small bowl of non-sugary whole grain cereal with skim milk. Kinda wobbled at lunch though-- Hog Island Deli is around the corner, and I indulged in an old-fashioned Italian hoagie. That right there is all the calories I need for the day, but I bet you I'll be eating dinner too, and probably (since we're leaving on vacation tomorrow! and don't want it to be wasted!) eating dessert as well. Mmm, mmm, leftover hummingbird cake, I love you.

So what's this have to do with the title? I realized I'm eating lazy and I'm training lazy right now. If I were burned out, I wouldn't have been so eager to try this side-to-mount transition I just read on Leslie's blog, here:

"Start in side control and they put their near leg up on their other knee. Reach your down arm back around and then through the hole they made, taking their legs to the ground opposite. With your other hand, reach back to get an underhook on their near arm (else they’ll take your back later). Keep pressure on their chin with your forehead. Sprawl and walk your legs around until your top leg — the one that was closer to their head — is between their knees; drop it down there. Drop the other knee above their knee and pinch on that leg. (Note to self: and get your hand out!) They have two options: flatten out on their back, which bumps you over to mount, or roll to their stomach, which gives up their back. They probably opt for the former, especially since they may not realize that the untangling will land you in mount."

But Rhalan Gracie (Relson's son) is in town today, so I will be training tonight. If I can remember the details, I'll be trying it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Settling down to business...

Well, I posted the footage of my 3 matches on facebook, and I may not have time to post them here as well. Go ahead and friend me on facebook in the meantime, I suppose.

Work's busy as always and I'm preparing to leave for some vacay with my husband and family on the east coast. I don't know if it's fatigue or burnout or what, but I'm just not motivated to train right now. I went to class this morning and had a nice time, but didn't do nogi at lunch and really not feeling class tonight. I should be training, but I'm thinking it might be productive to let my mind lay somewhat fallow, get a solid 10 days of rest, and come back fresh next week.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Forgot my chokin' paws at home...

... but I brought my tappin' paws to NAGA and it's a good thing too.

Overall a good weekend and a good experience. I can say without a doubt that competition tests you mentally more than it does physically. I was questionable physically (in that I am a new blue) and questionable mentally (I tried to be very positive, but wasn't as confident as I was last year in the whitebelt division.) Plus, there's the boredom and fatigue that comes from being on edge for hours, and hours, of waiting. Ultimately, I went into my matches having confidence, but within the first minute or so it seems I assessed their skills and somewhat decided/felt/both that I was outclassed. My killer instinct went AWOL. I still tried, but I was more reserved than I should have been.

Spent Friday morning uncharacteristically eating breakfast and it was a bad-for-me breakfast too... biscuit, sausage and hashbrowns. Then picked up my green gi (had to get patches sewn on to honor my sponsor Badgerland Jiu Jitsu) and went to the gym to atone, where I did some elliptical and about 40 min in the 150 degree sauna. Didn't lose a pound and the gym scale said with clothing I was 135. Blech. Mitch drove, stopping at West TX's Little Czech Bakery on the way. Blech again-- they had yummy smelling treats and I was really, really thirsty. He ate two sausage kolaches right under my nose and drank all kinds of water. Did I mention I was thirsty?

Arrived around 6pm at the hotel in Dallas for weighin. Imagine a hotel lobby full of inked, pierced, tough-looking guys wearing shirts advertising fighting systems, MMA gear etc.... and sharing that space? The "Ultimate Dream Queen" little-girl beauty pageant!!!! Yes, scary, and I was more scared of the pageant moms than any heavyweight in the place (and yes, some of those moms weighed more than the heavyweights.) The ride up to the mezzanine level where weigh-ins took place was hilarious-- elevators full of soccer-mom, Junior-Leaguey-looking ladies nervously clutching excessively made-up toddlers and little girls away from the big meanies... heehee!

Anyway, fortunately for me, weighin was fine. I promptly guzzled half a gallon of Crystal Light before exultantly leaving the building, mentally pumping myself up about the day to come. We spent the night with friends Kent and Amie. Kent is a purple under Relson; he runs the school in Terrell, TX and I've been friends with him and his wife since before I even got into jiu jitsu. Anyway, they cooked up a gourmet meal for us, with steak, baked potatoes, salad and all the trimmings.

I was even tucked into bed with a copy of Dave Camarillo's "Guerilla Jiu Jitsu" (it was great, so I stayed up an extra hour reading...)

After a luxurious breakfast at B&B Kent and Amie's, we headed to Kent's school where I rolled for 45 minutes to warm up. I might as well not have bothered because it would be a solid 8+ hours before I was called onto the mats for my first match.

NAGA Texas is a HUGE tournament and this event was no exception; there were over 1400 competitors and 14 mats running continuously were insufficient. The rules meeting was at 10am; kids' matches started around 10:30. Adult matches started around 2:30 on one, perhaps two mats. Ring 1 was mine-- kids', teens', then womens' divisions-- and we started womens' novice nogi around 2:30-3pm. Then they had to back up, put more kids on the mats (they wanted all kids off the mats and finished before adults got in there) from other rings, and generally delayed the remaining womens' nogi and gi until about 5pm.

I happened to ask the right NAGA staff member a question at the right time and lucked into learning how to bracket, then I made myself useful by bracketing all the womens' divisions. Thus I knew ahead of time that I was only one of two chicks in womens' lightweight intermediate nogi. Phew. The impressive thing to me was how many masters' women there were-- virtually all in novice/beginners (nogi) and whitebelt (gi). We had something like 20-25 women in all 3 of the lightweight whitebelt-type divisions, gi or nogi. Then 2 lightweight intermediates (nogi) and 4 lightweight bluebelts (gi)... then again 4 lightweight expert/purples.

I did film some girls' and womens' matches for a womens' grappling website I'm a fan of called AthenaMedusa. But the majority of time I was just waiting, waiting, waiting. It is the most stressful and tiring part of competing, in my opinion. You're thinking the whole time and there is no relaxation. I developed a migraine headache around 3pm and the medication I took made me feel sleepy and hot, and my neck muscles were incredibly tense.

Here's some pictures my husband took of our friends Jason (shirtless) and Rudy during their first match:

Here's the heelhook that Jason tapped to... I think the foot crossing in front of the hip thing is DQ-able in IBJJF not in NAGA.

My plan was "pass-mount-submit"-- I had two or three takedowns in mind as possibilities but otherwise I was loosey-goosey.

Here's my recall. Nogi, I think I started around 6-6:30pm, we fought for the takedown about a minute; she pulled guard whilereaping my foot; I tried to pass her open/scissor guard, lost base, she stood up and mounted me like I was one of those rocking horse rides at the front of Walmart! I fought from bottom halfguard for a while, keeping on catching half and then getting mounted and then escaping again. I finally reversed and came up in closed guard, then stuck my head out like an inquisitive turtle and got guillotined in her guard. She did a great job and I was happy to have it over-- I knew from the start that she was way better than me.  Thus I brought home the silver but I won't call it "winning."

This is me, and Kelmy Jasso, the winner of nogi.

I did get some compliments on my Fightergirls shorts. That zebra stuff on the side is fur-- yeah, baby, fur.

Unfortunately they were a little more lowrider than I expected, resulting in the display of my underwear.  Next time, boy shorts underneath.

My migraine started returning around 7pm and I really wanted to bail and go home, but I resisted temptation. Fought Kelmy again in my first gi match.  I know I defended her takedowns and felt a little more comfortable though she was still wicked strong and still way better than me. At one point I had her in my open guard and was working Relson's sweep #1, I think? but didn't catch it. Eventually I ended up mounted with her working on my right arm for an americana. I had a firm grip on my belt, but she got my hand loose, and eventually I tapped to a straight arm bar. After that match, I found out she's been training for SIX YEARS. So I felt a little better :)

Then I had to fight one more time-- Angela King pulled guard almost instantly, and the rest of the match was slow attrition against her guard. She was also strong and very technical so I really need to step up my training. Eventually she tried for a sweep and an armbar and a triangle and with the match over at 0-0, she won for being more aggressive. My last match was over around 9:45pm, but there were still matches going on every mat as we left.

Here's me as we were walking out of the building, with all the matches still going on behind me. Note the green gi pants (which got lots of comments) and the fabulous rashguard.

I was the last Relson person competing and was so incredibly grateful to Kent and Dee, the brown belt who runs our school in Tyler, for sticking it out to corner me and the rest of us so kindly. Even some students from the Terrell school stayed around till I was done, which made me really feel part of a family.

Our other peeps did well. We had some medals, one nap (on an opponent) and one nap (from an opponent), and no major injuries!  All in all a good time except for the ungodly wait.

When the adrenaline wore off I slept half the 3.5 hr ride back to Austin thanks to my awesome hubby who drove.

Got up this morning and proceeded to eat some really bad-for-me foods. Belgian waffle, sausage, honey oat bran muffin with butter, and the token grapefruit juice...

... then dinner with friends was chicken fajita nachos with guacamole, chips, a strawberry frozen margarita, and chipotle chocolate cake. Now I feel like bloated roadkill and wonder why I did that to myself. (In consolation, I won a Lucky gi on ebay for a ridiculously low price, so I'm still happy.)

I need to watch my footage and come up with a list of stuff to work on. Next time hopefully will be easier-- I won't go in so scaredy and uncertain. I am guessing I might not compete again for a few months or more, but when I do, I will do better.

Thanks all for your support and encouragement!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Why I'm not in favor of governmentally-sponsored prayer...

This all started because a very, very good friend of mine posted on her facebook page that she "wonders what the harm is in having a National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House."

The beginnings of a spirited debate were quickly quashed by my friend who didn't want her facebook page to become a mudslinging venue. Hence, I've offered my blog. So here's why I am not in favor of governmentally-sponsored prayer.

... because I don't live in a country that identifies itself with one national religion and I like it that way...

... because if I lived in a country that identified itself with a national religion, I wouldn't want it stuffed down my throat...

... because I find prayer an incredibly personal thing...

... because even though I'm Roman Catholic, I don't think there's anything wrong with people who aren't. Gasp-- even if they're not Christian!

... because even if the founders of our country were all Christians, they knew the downside of religious oppression and sought, in part, to create a haven where Church and State were separate. (There were also substantial economic motivations as well.)

... because I often find preachy "day of prayer" stuff to be boring bullshit...

... because I think labeling one day the "day of prayer" implicitly means the other 364 aren't...

... because don't we have something better for our public servants to do with their working hours?

C'mon... bring the mud.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Too much going on for my little brain. Got an evidentiary hearing next Tues/Wed in Dallas (another MR hearing, on Bobby Wayne Harris. *sigh*) so that's keeping me busy at work. Also trying to catch up on blogging all the techniques that are laying around on my desk for the school blog; typing up notes from Zade's private with Donald to email to him; catching up with all the footage I owe people is also a pain in the A$$. Not their fault, mine, for letting it pile up. Also can't slack on the workouts this week.

On the happy-happy-joy-joy side, I am easily within the weight limit for lightweight this weekend at NAGA. Nothing like depriving oneself of the necessities of life for a week-- such as chocolate chip banana bread, cookies, pasta, cheese and crackers, nachos, enchiladas, pizza, and the like-- to lose ten pounds in 5 days. Don't get me wrong-- I love lean chicken breast, broccoli, spinach, and skim milk. I'm sure I will continue to love it. But I am looking forward to my first two apres-NAGA meals-- breakfast with family Sunday morning at Le Peep (say hello, Belgian waffle and sausage!) and then dinner with hubby Sunday night at Brick Oven (yum, pasta and Italian cream cake!)

One other happy thing: lots of psychology talks with jits people I respect, and my attitude towards NAGA has greatly improved. I'm actually excited to go-- trot out the emerald gi which needs patches sewn on... hang out with old friends Kent and Amie... interview and film some people for the great new womens' grappling website, AthenaMedusa...

Another very happy thing: our guys all kicked butt this past weekend at MMA events. Fearless leader Phil armbarred his opponent in 47 seconds in a pro fight up in Lubbock; Aaron and Jolly beat their opponents up pretty bad to win their amateur debuts in San Antonio. And I got to know two new guys at the academy better, discovering that Lance and Daniel are way cool.

A good weekend was had by all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fundamentals rock.

So last night I was late to jits, missed technique for the most part (it was armbars) and settled in to roll nogi with Ulises again. He's a blue, one of my closer friends at the academy, and always very encouraging. I'm currently frustrated by my inability to deal with his butterfly guard. When I manage to pass, it always seems to result in a brabo choke... and if I sit back and play open guard with him, it ends in a footlock/kneebar. He's good at being heavy, considering he weighs somewhere around 155-160. I was happy that it only took me an hour to realize that one week before NAGA was no time for me to start adding more new techniques to my short bookshelf. (I don't mean literally a bookshelf... my brain is like a bookshelf, and adding new techniques ends up pushing old/half-learned techniques off the back end, only to be discovered piled up on the floor when asked to clean my room. Or something like that.)

After that, I showered and met my husband at a dance/music charity event, heard some fine performances, watched salsa dancers and bellydancers get their groove on... went out for sushi, and collapsed in bed at 11am.

Just want to point out that anniversary weekend (with the attendant delicacies like duck braised in its own fat, risotto, and cake... cookies... wine... chocolates... and 3 days off jits and out of the gym entirely) was not helpful on the weight front. Since the NAGA weight classes are sooooo generous for women (lightweight is 134.9 and below) I have been very casual in terms of monitoring my calorie counts. Honestly, I shouldn't be anywhere near that number, but I also got a little free and loose over Christmas, and haven't competed since, and so... When I stepped on the scale Monday night I'd skyrocketed. Surely it's all water and I'll pee like a racehorse and be fine! Um, no. So this week has been hardcore exercise, strict intake control, and a plan for the day before and of weighin that doesn't sound fun at all. Right now, after eating and drinking, in the lightest shorts and tanktop I own, I'm 137. I feel relatively confident that by Friday when we arrive in Dallas I will be under 134 with those clothes on, their scale or mine.


Anyway-- the title refers to a fanTAStic private I took this morning with Donald Park, a Royler black belt who has a profound understanding of basic bedrock principles in jits. I keep saying there's only like 10-12 different things in jiu jitsu; Donald contends there's only one. He hasn't told me what it is yet, but I'm betting it's center/contact. Yeah, yeah, so that's technically two, but I think with my feeble grasp of the concept that they're two halves of the same coin.

Anyway, how mindblowing was it to focus on two things-- side escape and mount escape-- and see how contact makes escape so logical. I totally need to drill, drill, drill some of the new movements, and do lots of positional sparring to problem solve and practice matching their connection with the proper response on my part.

He also gave me a talking-to about my competition anxieties/gorgonzola hangups. Not a cheese phobia (indeed, I wish I didn't love me some cheese.) I have been self-deprecatingly calling myself a gorgonzola belt (mostly white, some blue) and not being positive about my journey. I don't like seeing other blues who really know [something] but he reminded me that every blue starts at a different spot in the jiu jitsu realm, and goes a different path. It's just so hard when you feel like you're lacking basic stuff at every turn in the road. I realize my mental "soundtrack" has me comparing myself to a brown belt (it's ok if I lack a recognizable series but maybe not so much for a brown) and a purple belt (it's ok if I lack a stable of sweeps) and even a certain white belt training partner. That's the real rub-- but I was reminded that they train their ass off, have only jits and school to focus on, and are only working on 2-3 things total. I'm described as working on 50 things. I think there are pros and cons to both approaches, but I am going to narrow my focus a bit more and see how that feels in a couple months.

And, bottom line, I'm going to NAGA with my head up. I am a brand new blue... and while my amazing ego would LOVE for me to win my division, I'm not counting on anything other than being the most tenacious fighter. I know I have the cardio, the strength, and the mental drive. Whether my jits vocabulary is up there yet is not as important.

You gotta love the journey, and I do.