Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Texas Open Afterthoughts

I’ve been spending some time processing my thoughts since the Texas Open.  I feel very good about how I did.  I didn’t win my match, but my victory was not in getting the submission or coming home with a medal, it was me overcoming my fears.  So, for that moment in time...I won!  My goal with this tournament was different than most.  I just wanted to have fun.  I wanted to quiet that little voice and just live in the moment.  SUCCESS!!  I didn’t listen to that little voice.  I smiled, a lot.  I had fun!  Added bonus, I got to meet some of my fellow lady BJJ Facebook friends in person…pretty cool!  Best of all, I got to watch jiu jitsu all day…now that’s my idea of a great Saturday!
I just want to give a huge shout out to the women’s jiu jitsu community that was there.  You ladies are awesome beyond words.  We are at all different skill levels and different ages and all have very different styles…but we share one thing…we all love jiu jitsu.  It’s amazing how we can go for the kill on the mat one minute and then stand up and hug afterwards.  Yea, it’s pretty freaking awesome.  And that girl we just lost to, we are cheering her on in her next match, hoping and praying she does well, and we are proud when she wins! 
So what does the future hold for Mrs. Ibarra after her second tournament experience?  I’m going to keep on training as much as my crazy life allows.  I’m going to keep tweaking my game, improving my cardio, and yes, I am going to try to lose weight.  I am tired of being the only heavyweight woman at these tournaments.  I am 44 years old and I feel pretty darn good about being able to keep up with these young girls on the mat (but if I had 30 less pounds to carry around I’m sure I could keep up even better).  So, I’m relishing the small victories and looking forward to competing again in 2012.  I can’t wait to see all of you ladies on the mats again real soon!  Who’s with me?? :D

Friday, November 18, 2011

Texas Open and Ghost Hunting

The Texas Open is tomorrow!!  Looking forward to a fun day filled with great jiu jitsu.  If you're in the area, come on out and enjoy the fun.  

Tonight I'm going on a ghost hunt adventure in Galveston with the MMA Lady.  Should be great fun and something to take my mind off competing tomorrow.  Nothing like a little ghost hunting to make you forget about your worries!!  

To everyone who's helped me, pushed me, encouraged me, didn't give up on me...THANK YOU!  I promise to do my best, and just a little bit more!!  :D

Friday, November 11, 2011

Adrian Yanez Interview - From Mat to Cage in 2 Years

This is the post-fight interview of Adrian Yanez and actually my first interview to publish on my blog.  Adrian Yanez is one of my teammates and had his first amateur MMA cage fight on Saturday, October 22nd.  I will start by saying that I would not have missed this fight for anything in the world.  My daughter skipped her high school homecoming dance to go see this fight.  I didn't go watch his fight with the intention of interviewing him.  It hadn't even crossed my mind at the time.  But when I saw him step into the cage for the first time I knew that what I was witnessing was something special (plus we were surrounded by more of his family members than I could even count and the love and pride they had for him was quite apparent).  He actually started Elite MMA at the same time my kids did, and just two months before I did.  Having personally trained with Adrian Yanez over the past two years, it was thrilling to watch him train for this fight, and then to see him win filled me with tremendous pride.  You might be asking, what's so special about that, lots of guys fight these days.  Well that might be true, but Adrian Yanez is only a 17 year old high school student.  I've watched him transform his body and mind over the last two years.  I don't know many 17 year old kids with the kind of drive and determination he has.  He just never gives up.  He inspires me.  I can't tell you how many times on the mat Adrian has come up behind me and cheered me on, made me push myself just a little bit harder while never letting me give up.  So I got the idea that I wanted to pick his brain a little bit.  How about an interview?  That sounded pretty cool...find out what a 17 year old cage fighter has to say.  From the mat to the cage in 2 years is pretty impressive so I hope you all enjoy the Q&A below as much as I did.

Adrian taking care of business (he's in the blue and white shorts)
This photo was taken by Mike Calimbas, TXMMA.com

Q. Congratulations on your first MMA fight and your first win!  I'd like to take a look back from the beginning.  When did you start training?  Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, MMA
A. I started training at Elite MMA in September of 2009, I started off with cardio kickboxing, then moved up to BJJ, did MMA before I did a kickboxing class. Kind of went in a weird direction. Haha.

Q. At what point in your training did you know that you wanted to get in the cage?
A. I knew that I wanted to fight even before I found Elite. I wanted to be a boxer but ended up finding something much more intense. Finally got inside the cage, and I loved it.

Q. Do you have any specific short term goals in BJJ?  MMA?
A. I don't really have any short term goals, but in BJJ I want to win a tournament in both Gi and Nogi. For MMA, I want another fight.

Q. What are your long term goals in BJJ?  MMA?
A. Now for long term goals, in BJJ I want my purple belt, then get my brown, and getting my black. It's a long journey for that, but I'm up for it. In MMA, I want my stand up to be just as good as my ground for I can be a well rounded fighter, my second long term goal in MMA is that I want to win the 145 belt.

Q. Will we see Adrian Yanez cross over to the professional fighting circuit in the near future?
A. If I think that my skills are good enough to go pro, then possibly yes, but I need so much training till then. It's a bigger level of competition, and I want to make sure that I can be at that level.

Q. Preparing for a fight is physically and mentally grueling work.  You are only 17 years old and a senior in high school.  Tell us how you managed your high school schedule and training and how did you prepare yourself mentally for the fight?
A. It was a little rough, not too much. I just had to get a little more headaches and study harder and train twice as hard. I'm almost out of school, and this month I'm a be 18, so I have to be able to deal with these types of thing like nothing, because I'm a be working while I am trying to accomplish my goals. But everything is just mental and I thank my family (family includes Elite) for making me mentally tougher and stronger to take on the world.

Q. What advice can you give those out there who might be thinking about getting in the cage to fight? 
A. All the advice I can give is to stay cool, calm, and collected; and be dedicated to wanting to go through the training for the fight. Like my coaches tell me, "the fight is won during the training, not the actual fight".

Q. BJJ is my passion, so I always want to know...what's your favorite submission and go to move? 
A. Oh my. I absolutely love the triangle and the loop choke. The triangle is my go to move for submission in Nogi, and in Gi, the loop choke is my go to move. The loop choke, best and sneakiest choke I know, I have got Jordan, Julian, and Robert in the choke, but never able to finish... :( haha.

Q. You are only 17 years old, but you already have a very disciplined work ethic when it comes to your training.   What motivates you to keep going and what helps keep you on the right track?   Is there anyone that inspires you or someone that has been a big influence on your decision to train BJJ/MMA?
A. What motivates me to keep going is that I want to be a little role model for my little cousins and show them that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. The thing that inspires me to keep going further is my coaches and my family. My coaches are doing what they love almost everyday and one day I want that's what I want for me.

Q. It has been my pleasure to watch your transformation over the past 2 years.  I am honored to know you and train with you.  What would you consider the biggest life change as a result of your training?
A. My biggest life change, it would have to be getting healthier and eating right. I love were I'm at today. I feel great, my self confidence is way higher. Also, I like the fact that I've become more mature as this "transformation" happened. All that I have to thank is my family at home and at Elite.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the BJJ and MMA community in 10 years?
A. 10 years from now, I see myself as a great BJJ black belt from Elite MMA. I see myself as a Pro fighter that is very well rounded. I want everybody to be scared when they see that they are facing a person from Elite, whether it's a MMA fight or BJJ tournament. I can contribute to that by training hard, receiving and sharing knowledge, and pushing my team mates when they need it. All this will get me were I want to be in 10 years.

Q. Since you are only 17, I can't ask you about your jiu jitsu ink, so tell us something else about Adrian Yanez that we don't know.  What kind of music do you like, movies, sports, any other interests you might have? 
A. Hahaha, soon I can get some jiu jitsu ink. Pretty much, all I like to do is something that has to do with MMA. I absolutely love the sport. I like any type of music, just the type I can train too. Haha. The only other interest I have is boxing and some football, but I like to stay within a combat sport.

Mrs. Ibarra: As a woman and a mother of a daughter who also trains BJJ, I am thankful for a training environment like Elite where we are empowered and supported by our extended jiu jitsu family.  I would like to personally thank you for being such a huge supporter of mine over the last 2 years.   I am looking forward to great things from Adrian Yanez, on and off the mat. 
Adrian Yanez: Thank you for this opportunity and supporting me. You've been nothing but great to me. I am grateful for everything you have done for me.
Adrian with his coaches after his win.
This photo was taken by Mike Calimbas, TXMMA.com

I really enjoy writing about my BJJ experiences and I didn't think it would ever be anything other than writing about my own experiences.  But the longer I immerse myself in this sport, the more I understand how much I can learn from the experiences from others...even a 17 year old high school kid.  He's pretty amazing and I look forward to the day when he's a black belt and I can stand in the line with him....and I will be thinking...I remember when...and I will be smiling because I got to be a part of his journey.  Thank you Adrian!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Living the Dream

It's been two years since I first stepped on the mats at Elite MMA.  I started in November of 2009 with the cardio kickboxing class.  In June of 2010 I started the Women's BJJ class and then in September of 2010 I started the Adult BJJ class.  I could not have imagined two years later that I would be sitting here blogging about my BJJ experiences.  Sometimes I can't even put into words how I feel about it.  It leaves me breathless and my heart starts beating faster and I might even shed a few tears.  When we are little girls, we dream about things like getting married and having babies and some of us even dream about having some kind of cool career.  My dreams didn't include anything athletic or physically challenging.  I always thought those things were out of my reach.  So if I could put into words what jiu jitsu did for me, it would have to be that it gave me a new dream.  A dream that I didn't even know existed.  It started out small and keeps changing and transforming as I walk this journey.  So this is my shout out to my Elite MMA family.  You guys gave me something that I can never thank you enough for, something I can never repay you for, something that is priceless.  You gave me a life I couldn't have ever imagined.  You gave me a dream, something that I hold close to my heart and treasure.  I go to bed thinking about jiu jitsu, I dream about jiu jitsu and it's usually on my mind when I wake up in the morning.  I could not imagine my life without jiu jitsu.  Even when the journey gets rough, because at times it does get rough, I still love the journey.  Thank you Elite family for being a part of my beautiful journey. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eyes Wide Shut

My friend Conor Hogan posted the following last night after training.  Flow rolling with your eyes closed...I have to say that I am absolutely intrigued.  Thanks for sharing Conor.  I will see you on the mats soon (with my eyes closed)!! :D

"For my BJJ friends:  I want all of you to try slow rolling (50%) with your eyes closed sometime.  It sounds stupid, but it is really incredible.  I forgot how or why I started doing this, but it came at a point where I had been plateaued as an early blue belt.  My game opened up SO much after that.  The lack of visual stimulation and the "submission/pass anxiety" that comes with it lets you relax on focus on flowing with the roll.  You'll feel grips immediately, and your spacial awareness increased 20-fold.  If someone takes your back, oh well.  Work on escaping (with your eyes closed!)  There's no reason to not want to work on a particular aspect of your game.  Come shout at me after class if you want to try it out without having to subject yourself during BJJ class.  It might just be that extra push in the right direction that you need to reach the next level."

If you have things you've done to improve your BJJ game, please share.  This is a very interesting concept, and I am anxious to give it a try.  I am also curious about those that are hearing impaired.  Sound is a big distraction for me, so I would be curious what it's like to roll without all the noise.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.  Wishing everyone a week filled with great training!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quiet Please!

I'm trying not to listen to that little voice.  You know the one...the one that talks you out of doing things or talks you into doing things...the one that sits on your shoulder and second guesses what you already know in your heart.  Well my little voice is trying really hard to talk me out of competing in the Texas Open.  I told myself that I was going to do this tournament no matter what.  No matter what that little voice says to me.  By now you probably think I'm a little nuts.  Well, maybe I am.  I started BJJ at 43 and now I'm 44.  Heck, it's not easy to compete when your 24 much less 44.  They don't have a seniors or masters division for the ladies.  So, I'm going to suck it up and just do it.  No more second guessing.  Okay, now that the little voice is quiet...it's time for this little old lady to get busy training.  

Shout out to Fight to Win for giving us ladies free tournament entry for attending the second anniversary of Girls in Gis.  Now if that's not a good reason to compete, I don't know what is!! :D