Friday, September 30, 2011

If You're Scared, Then Say Your Scared!

There's an athletic, fit person inside me desperately trying to escape.  Why won't I set her free?  She's screaming to be released.  Maybe I'm afraid.  My husband always says (mostly in jest, but it's still true) "If you're scared, say your scared".  I'm saying it out loud...I'M SCARED!  What happens to me if I change that much.  A large part of who I am is being this short, fluffy, little old lady.  It's my identity.  It's not perfect, but it's mine.  I'm comfortable in my own skin.  I've always loved myself just the way I was.  I'm also scared of the unknown.  Will everyone I love still love me if I change that much?  I know the answer to that, but it's still scary to think about.  The scariest part of much of my diet do I actually have to change and what "extra" activity besides jiu jitsu will I need to incorporate into my already hectic life.  I have a lot of vises...Dr. Pepper, Chocolate, Mexican food, Chocolate, Dr. Pepper (oh, I already said those two, but I really, really love them).  Most of the Spanish I know is from going to the local Taqueria.  I can order all my favorite things on the menu, in Spanish, without skipping a beat.  So, I think I've come to a fork in the road (no pun intended).  I can continue on my path just the way I am...and that is possible, I'm living proof that anyone, any shape or size, or age, can do jiu jitsu...or I can start to make some changes.  Oh dear...I'm really scared now.  At the end of the day I just want to make my jiu jitsu beautiful.  I know that by changing my body it will get me one step closer to my goal.  So what changes are you working on?  What are you afraid of?  

I attended Girls in Gis in Austin on Sunday, September 25th at Trainers Elite MMA.  My daughter went and my friend and her daughter and we had the most amazing time ever (great mother daughter bonding time)!   What I came away with was that while the training together is very, very important, the networking and the sharing of experiences is priceless.  In the grand scheme of things, the BJJ community is small; and the women in the BJJ community are even smaller.  It's definitely very important for us to gather and train and share.  I feel like what we are doing today is shaping the future of little girls everywhere.  I know that one day someone like me will be able to go to a tournament and know that she will have someone else there that is in her weight bracket; that two or three weight brackets won't be combined together and that white belts won't have to compete against blue belts and that there will be all belt levels there competing.  I know that one day, a 44 year old woman just like me, will enter a tournament somewhere and there will be a bracket for her age and her weight and she won't have to worry that she might not get to compete or that she might have to compete against a teenager.  I know that I am playing a tiny, tiny little part in the evolution of women in the sport.  I am a part of the changes that are taking place on mats and gyms all over this country.  That makes all my blood, sweat and tears worth something so much more.  That makes me proud to be a part of the jiu jitsu community.

Even though these past few weeks have been some of the most stressful I've had to endure in a very long time, I'm still standing and I will live to train another day.  My journey may slow down to a snails pace at times and pick up steam at other times.  At the end of it all, we all get to the same place, in our own way at our own pace and in our own time.  Here are some links to some blog posts that got me through this past week.  Thank you Jodi and Ginger and Georgette.  It felt like you were speaking to me this week.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Carnival Rides and Girls in Gis-Austin

The carnival ride (aka, my wild and wacky life) just got a lot rougher these last few weeks.  My little band nerd #2 is having a very rough time at school.  He's behind in reading and it's affecting him in all areas.  Plus we think we might be dealing with a learning disability and/or ADD.  But that's a thought for another post...not today.  I was all geared up to compete this Saturday, and then the Texas Open was canceled and rescheduled for November 19th. Wow, what a let down.  For the first time in a long time, my head was in the game, and my mind was right, maybe not my body, but again, that's the topic of another blog post as well.  There's nothing like that to burst your bubble, take the wind out of your sails and completely derail the train.  Maybe it was just meant to be.  It's been an extremely difficult week helping my son with his homework and if I had trained Monday through Wednesday as originally planned, it would have been even more difficult.  I'm trying to stay positive, but it's been one long week.  My crew and I decided we are still taking a road trip to Austin, now there's just no hurry to get there.  We'll saunter into town on Saturday late afternoon and hang out and then sleep in a little bit and go to Girls in Gis at Trainers Elite MMA.  I was just on the verge of abandoning the idea of the road trip today and then I talked to the husband.  He said I/we needed to go.  He made me smile and he made me laugh and boy did that feel good after this week of frustration and worries and tears.  Thank goodness for an awesome mate (now if I could just get him to try jiu jitsu and fall in love with it like perfect would that be??)!  If you are in the Austin area on Sunday at Noon and want to check it out, go to Trainer's Elite MMA, 9225 W. Parmer Ln, Suite 105.  I will be there with the MMA Lady and my daughter (band nerd #1) and so will a lot of other really cool BJJ ladies.  I'm looking forward to it.  There's really nothing like a little jiu jitsu therapy to get your mind right!! :D

Stay tuned for my first interview series with a certain black belt that we all know and love (or at least you know and love him if he's your coach at Elite MMA in Baytown)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Balancing Act

Jiu jitsu is a balancing act.  For a sweep or a choke to work you have to find the right balance, the right leverage, the right amount of push and pull...if you are off, it won't work.  Sometimes people can muscle their way through a move, a sweep or a choke.  I can not.  I am older and shorter and slower than most people at my gym.  I have to be spot on in my technique for it to work right.  I have to find the right balance.  It's frustrating at times when we drill and some people muscle their way through every technique we work.  That is not my reality.  If I try to muscle you, and if I am frustrated with you, I might, all that's going to happen is me getting really tired, really fast and possibly hurting myself.  I have to slow down and work the technique.  Those folks who continue to muscle their way through jiu jitsu are completely missing the point and will soon become frustrated at their lack of progress.  Jiu jitsu is designed for the smaller, weaker person so that we can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger person by using leverage and proper technique.  So this "zip-tie" choke that we worked last night is probably a good choke for someone like me.  You don't have to be strong to apply it; you just have to do it correctly.  If done correctly, very little effort is exerted and it is very effective.  I do love the idea of a good, effortless choke.  That is my preference you know, to choke you, not armbar or triangle you, CHOKE YOU!!  LOL...not kidding though.  ;)

Being able to train jiu jitsu is also a balancing act.  I have to balance a full time job, a home, two kids and a husband along with thousands of other things that come with being a working Mom.  Normally I can find the right balance.  I am blessed with a family who helps me balance it all.  It definitely takes a fair amount of leverage and push and pull to get to class most days.  I start my day around 5 a.m., commute more than 40 miles to work, work a 9+ hour day, commute 40 miles back, pick up my daughter from marching band practice, go home, make sure homework is done or underway, make sure everyone has what they need, everyone is fed, find my gi and pack my gym bag and then I can go train.  Then after all that, I go home and make sure the homework actually got done, backpacks are packed, binders are checked people have what they need for the next day, do a load of laundry, shower at some point, and hopefully veg out for a few minutes before I fall asleep around 11:00 p.m. or later.  Then I get up and do it all over again.  Yes, it's definitely a balancing act, but these days it feels more like a carnival ride.  So when I come to class and I am a little sluggish and tired or I have that deer in the headlight look on my face or I'm on the verge of tears, please cut me a little slack, I'm balancing this life I have to the best of my ability.  It's not always easy, but I'm here because I want to be here.  I train because I love jiu jitsu.  It's as simple as that.  So what do you do to find the right balance? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tournament Ready or Not Here I Come

Is two weeks enough time to get ready for a BJJ tournament on September 24th??  I haven't spent a lot of time training in the past couple of weeks due to family obligations and now I'm finally able to get my training on.  I think I should just do it!  What's the worst thing that can happen, I tap, I lose...either way I come away with something.  I've been so excited to go to this tournament and then life kind of threw me some curve balls I wasn't expecting.  I feel like I'm in a good place to go ahead and go for it.  I may not be the best physical specimen, but mentally I feel good.  My jiu jitsu has improved a lot since my first tournament in April and I am a little antsy to see how I stack up against other women.  Is it too much to ask the jiu jitsu gods to grant me this one wish??  I think not.  Thoughts, advice, random ramblings about your jiu jitsu tournament experiences are all welcome.

p.s.  For my husband who is more of a worry wart than he'd like to admit...don't worry, that's an order!!  I will do everything within my powers to not get hurt and I promise that I will tap when necessary!!  Plus, I'm sure Fight Medics will be there to take care of me in case something does happen, and I'm sure there are hospitals and ERs in Austin!! :D

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Revenge of the Band Nerds

I should never have even said the words.  I always jinx myself.  The second I even utter the word "tournament", it's like Murphy's Law takes over my life.  I have been so busy with kid stuff and work stuff and now I'm coming down with something.  Everyone at my house has been sick for weeks except for me.  Now I have a sore throat and I feel yucky.  I'll dose up on Vitamin C and fluids and Ibuprofen and see how it goes.  This all means that my training schedule has not been up to par with what it needs to be if I'm going to compete on the 24th.  I really want to do this tournament so I can see where I'm at in my game.  I really want to see if I can push myself to another level.  I will see how the next two weeks go.  I may just relax and go with the flow.  Maybe that's a better approach for me anyway. 

I am proud to report that my daughter is one cute little band nerd.  I have to say I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of being one of those "band" parents, but I am quite enjoying watching her march with her little clarinet.  Those band kids sure know how to have fun at the football games.  I don't want to forget to mention the fact that my husband was a football jock and he was even less thrilled, plus he went to the rival high school and was not looking forward to sporting a band parent shirt from the "enemy"!  Revenge is sweet!!

I have dubbed my son, "Band Nerd #2".  It's official, we are one big happy band nerd family.  He started junior high band and is playing the saxophone.  He absolutely loves it, and according to him it's a "sexy" instrument and he will get a lot of girlfriends.  We'll see about that!!  So all this band stuff is taking up a lot of my time and it tends to encroach on the training schedule.  It won't last forever, football season will be over before I know it, but wait, then there's UIL and spring concerts and All City and All Region and...You get the idea, it kind of never ends.  But I wouldn't change it for the world because it's something my kids love.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Competition in my Future and Counting my Blessings

I have just about convinced myself to compete again.  There's a Fight 2 Win tournament in Austin on September 24th.  It's followed by a Girls in Gis event the next day.  If I do both it really makes the road trip worthwhile.  I'm trying to not let that little voice wreak havoc in my head.  I'm just going to charge forward and train as hard as I possibly can.  I will say that at least I don't have the added pressure of cutting weight...I will be a women's heavyweight for a very long time...too many pounds to lose and I lose weight slower than any person on the planet (or so it seems).  Plus, my friend and partner in crime has just informed me that she can make the road trip with me so now I feel like I will have a good support system around me.  The hubby is already in and my daughter will most likely go.  The daughter is a necessity because for some reason she has the most awesome powers to calm and center my energy.  I wish she had the time to get ready to compete at this tournament.  I really want to see her compete again soon.  Not much longer and she will no longer be in the teen division but in the women's division with me.  

Now the big, no gi, both gi and no gi??  My first tournament was gi only.  We don't get to train no gi that much at my gym so I'm a little hesitant to sign up for it.  But, I have to say that I have this fascination with no gi.  The little bit I've done feels really amazing...I feel lighter and faster and not so constricted.  For now I am going to be on the fence about that one.  I will talk it over with my coaches a little bit and see what they think.  I know I'm a little bit slow, and no gi can be a fast game, but there's just something about it that draws me in.  For now I'm going to concentrate on tweaking what I do best, working my game plan like a mad woman and trying to increase my cardio.  It's a challenge, but I know that I am up to it.  I never participated in sports as a kid (I was a bit of a book worm), so when I trained for my first competition it was a rush.  The stakes are higher, so your training has to be harder and faster and you have to push yourself and your coaches and partners have to push you harder than you've ever been pushed.  They have to break you down on the mat during training, so you won't break down on the mat during competition.  The training was exhilarating.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  I felt more alive than I can ever remember.  I am ready for that feeling again.   

I hope this post finds everyone at a good place on the mat and in life.  I've had an amazing few weeks and I am really counting my blessings.  I am thankful for my family and my friends and my wonderful extended jiu jitsu family.  Tonight my family will celebrate my baby sister's "40th" birthday.  Happy Birthday Kathy, I love you!  We will remember my Daddy whose birthday was also the same day as my baby sister.  He would have been 67 today.  I do miss that man terribly and I know that he would be completely stoked about my whole jiu jitsu journey...he was kind of a weird duck like me!!  So don't forget to stop and smell the roses and count your blessings.  Have a great weekend everyone.