Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Goals and What's Your Jiu Jitsu Animal?

Here are my goals for 2011.  I wrote out my goals and my BJJ blueprint back in January.  I've modified it a few times, but the goals have remained the same.  I thought it was a good time to revisit them.  Only a couple more months left in 2011 so it's time to take stock and see where I am.  
My Goals:
Blue belt by YE2011
Compete in one more tournament before blue belt
Continue to lose weight and work on cardio

At this point, all I can do is focus on improving my jiu jitsu.  I'm trying not to think too much about the belt or the stripes.  When did all that stuff become so important anyway?  This week I'm going to forget about the goals and do some things differently.  I read a great blog post over at JoshJitsu - Tappin' and Nappin'.  Here's what he had to say...
What kind of animal is your jiujitsu? Is it otterjitsu where you are laughing and playing on the mats all the time, just looking to roll playfully with everyone all the time? Is it wolfjitsu where you play the long hunt and never let your opponent rest until they are so tired they just give you an arm? Is it bearjitsu where you crush your opponent down and then maul them? What kind of attitude do you approach your jiujitsu with?

So, figure out what kind of animal your jiujitsu is and then look at how that affects your rolling habits and patterns. Now CHANGE ANIMALS. You're normally a wolf? Be a tiger for a day. The quick spring and savage finish instead of the long steady chase. When you play differently and change gears you'll find that different techniques and strategies start to open up to you. Different ways to play the same game will appear as you adjust your attitude towards the roll.

I really thought it was a great idea and I had to share.  If you're curious...I'm an alligator, slow moving but capable of short powerful bursts.  Still can't decide what animal I'm going to try out this week...stay tuned.  
As far as the tournament thing goes, I am officially registered for the Texas Open and I still intend to compete. I'm desperately trying to get back to that place in my head where I was stone cold ready.  I've got a good month to work on that and I'm sure it will all fall into place.  I'm not going to put any pressure on myself or have any expectations.  I'm going to approach this tournament as a fun-filled learning experience.  I don't have anything to lose, but I have lots of experience to gain.  

I am still struggling with my weight and my cardio.  They officially both suck at this point.  Coach told me a while back that I already know what I have to do to make the necessary changes.  But am I mentally ready for what that actually means?  I don't know.  Only time will tell.  I'm just taking it one day at a time.  

Last Friday night I bit the bullet again and got another tattoo.  It's Japanese Kanji for "Beautiful Journey".  It's very symbolic of my jiu jitsu journey and how someday I want my jiu jitsu to be beautiful.  For now it's just the symbols, but I'm open to the possibility of adding to it and enhancing it over time.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Arm lock you are not out of my short legged grasp!!

This past Sunday I went to Girls in Gis at Revolution Dojo in Katy, Texas.  I went by myself...the teenage daughter was too tired from that Division I UIL band rating to get up and go with, plus she was already starting to feel a little under the weather.  It was a big step for me to go by myself.  I usually never go anywhere alone.  That's a testament to what jiu jitsu has done for me.  I love it enough that I will venture out alone to an event. Well, enough of that, that's not why I'm writing this post.  I really wanted to share my little mini breakthrough with the arm lock.  For those of you who know me, arm locks and arm bars and triangles are not a short girl's best friend. I avoid them like the plague.  I'd rather choke you than ever, ever armbar you.  Plus, I never felt coordinated enough to pull off the arm lock from guard.  Something clicked in my brain this past Sunday.  I don't know what it was. Maybe it was my great training awesome brown belt from New York!  Maybe it was something that was said during the demonstration.  Maybe it was something my training partner said while drilling.  I don't know...but for the first time ever I thought that I might actually be able to do this elusive thing that I felt was completely out of my short legged grasp!  I love the "AHA" moment when I'm training.  I love it when the light bulb goes off.  I had a great time.  I rolled with a bunch of really awesome ladies and I learned some new tricks.  Thank you to Revolution Dojo for hosting this latest event.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Overcoming My Half Guard Mental Block and Girls in Gis this Sunday

"It's official: I'm half guard stupid."  That's what Megan was blogging about over at Tangled Triangle.  Well Megan, me too!  We did a drill last night where we started from half guard.  The second it came out of their mouths, I'm sure I had this deer in the headlights look or worse.  Coach had to come over and talk me down from the ledge and show me some stuff to try.  I have a complete mental block about what to do when I have people trapped half guard.  The kicker is that I often catch people in half guard (it's hard to get past my little short legs) but I go blank once I get you there.  I know we've worked several different half guard sweeps in class, but alas, they have left my brain.  So today I'm going to immerse myself in some YouTube videos.  Other Coach suggested to my teenage daughter to look up Jeff Glover, deep half guard.  The reverse is not true however, I am very adept at escaping from half guard (again, it's those little short legs, hard to keep them trapped).  This is nice to be actually blogging about technique.  Very nice indeed!

If you haven't heard already, there's another Girls in Gis at Revolution Dojo in Katy, Texas on Sunday, October 16th from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.  Women and girls of all ages are welcome.  If you've ever wanted to give jiu jitsu a try, this is the perfect place to do it.  Check out Combat Sports Review blog post about the event. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Teenage Daughters

I got back on the mats today after more than a week of not training.  My pity party is officially over.  Things are slowly getting better with my son and I am confident that he (and I) will make it through the sixth grade.  I had my teenage daughter on the mats with me tonight.  It felt good to have her there.  I had missed her.  She grounds me like no one else can.  She pushes me like no one else can.  She doesn't let me give up.  Maybe it's our shared DNA.  Maybe it's our shared love of jiu jitsu.  It's probably both.  It just felt right.  It's where she belongs.  On the mats.  Paving the way for little girls not even born yet.  I'm proud of her.  She juggles a high school schedule, lots of homework, plus she's a member of our local high school marching band.  She hasn't had the time in her schedule to train a lot since school started, just an occasional class here and there and two Girls in Gis events.  It has to be enough for right now.  We're scheduled to attend another Girls in Gis on Sunday, October 16th in Katy.  It's the day before her 15th birthday and she has a full schedule (football game on Friday and then UIL marching band contest on Saturday and then Girls in Gis on Sunday).  We will take a breather and celebrate on Monday the 17th with a small birthday party.  We will eat lots of pizza and cake and just have some good old-fashioned family fun.  The football season will be over soon and she won't have such a hectic practice schedule for band.  This should free her up to train a little more regular.  She's got some pretty lofty goals (orange belt and then green belt before she turns 16).  I think she can do it.  She's stubborn and got just enough fire in her belly to get it done.  I will do everything in my power to help her accomplish those goals.  She's proud of the fact that she trains BJJ.  Her face lights up when people ask her about it.  It's those moments that I live for.  In the end, it won't be me (an old lady who started BJJ at 43), it will be those little girls who started when they were young and didn't give up on the sport that will make the most difference.  Can't you just see it...a room full of girls with black belts...teaching future generations of little girls.  I pray that one day I will be on the mat with my daughter and my granddaughter. that's something to look forward to.  So I guess I better get busy and get training, I've got my future grandchildren to think of.  

Side note:  I'm taking my eating habits one day at a time.  Today was a good day.  Those wonderful 23 flavors did not touch my lips today.  I ate vegetables today.  I controlled the urge to eat chocolate today.  I drank tons and tons of water today.  Yes, today was a pretty good day! :D

Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking for the Light

Right now I'm in a jiu jitsu valley of sorts.  It's very dark and scary here.  I don't like it here but I feel powerless to leave.  Maybe sometimes we need to stay in that dark place for a little while to make us appreciate the light when we finally get there.  The stress of the last few weeks caught up with me last Thursday, and after a particularly brutal roll, I had an emotional breakdown of epic proportions.  It left me questioning my jiu jitsu skills.  It left me frustrated and upset and angry.  Sometimes as women we get stuck rolling with other women (or girls) that if we were guys of the same size and weight, they would never roll us together (that's my opinion, but I don't think I've ever seen the heaviest guy at the gym rolling with the lightest, smallest guy at the gym).  A lot of you women out there can't relate to what I'm saying (or maybe you can but in reverse).  I'm a heavyweight in the women's jiu jitsu world.  My game is slower, more methodical.  It's my style and it works for me.  One day I may be lighter and faster, but for now I'm not; I've got to work with what the good lord gave me.  Plus, my emotions were very raw that day and there's nothing like nearly getting choked unconscious to make you completely and utterly lose all sense of safety and security...and you feel the waterworks coming and then there's that point of no return and you have to leave the mat and go cry your eyes out in the dressing room because you absolutely refuse to let the boys (and girls) see you cry.  Then you're mad at yourself for letting your emotions get the better of you and you're mad at the instructors for making you roll with a kid 32 years younger than yourself...heck, I was just plain mad.  More than that though, I'm a lot sad and trying to regain my composure.  None of it changes how I feel about jiu jitsu, it just forces me to take a step back and evaluate what I'm doing and what I need to do differently. 

I had more than one day this week where I could have trained, but I let that little voice in my head talk me out of it.  Sometimes I give in to the dark side.  Sometimes I listen to that little voice telling me that I can't or I shouldn't or you'll never be able to.  Sometimes I don't have the strength to fight back.  I know that this is only temporary.  I know that I will find the strength to quiet the little voice (or as my friend says, KILL IT!).  I will live to train another day and very soon this jiu jitsu valley that I'm in will be a distant memory.  But man oh man, when you're there, it can suck the life right out of you.  I'm finding that sometimes I need a little break to take stock of just how far I've come.  Heck, when I first started 16 months ago I didn't even have the flexibility to execute a simple armbar.  Now I don't even think twice about it.  I probably won't armbar you, because you know how much I hate them, I will choke you instead, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to!!  I guess we'd all like to think that our path to jiu jitsu black belt is a straight line from point A to point B.  In reality, it's full of so many loops and curves and dips along the way that we can't even see point A or point B.  So, I'm going to try and enjoy the journey more, not sweat the small stuff along the way and worry less about those things that are out of my control.  I've come a long way and I have an infinite amount of beautiful jiu jitsu left to learn.  That is what keeps me coming back for more...beautiful jiu will be mine one day!!