Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...Hello 2013

Jiu jitsu has been very good to me this year.  Very good indeed.  Awesome new gym, shiny new blue belt, game changing techniques, training with Leticia and Hannette, lots and lots of beautiful jiu jitsu...and so much more.  Can't wait to see where the journey will take me in 2013.  Wishing you all peace, love and great jiu jitsu.  :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creating Mrs. Ibarra

My favorite jiu jitsu author and fellow blogger Mark Johnson wrote something the other day that really got me to thinking, reflecting, contemplating.  It was a blog post he called “Creating Mark Johnson”.  Check it out here.  So if I could rebuild myself, make myself a better version of what I am already, what would that look like?  So I made my two lists.  So Mark, here goes…

What I am…
Moderately fit 45 year old woman
Happily married
Mother to Emily and Ben
Daughter and Sister and Friend
BJJ Blue belt
Student of Muay Thai who is afraid to spar
Blogger and aspiring writer
Someone who believes in the good in others
Sometimes controlled by my irrational fears

What I want to be…
Extremely fit 45+ chick
Still happily married
Awesome Mom to Emily and Ben
Open, honest and trusted Daughter and Sister and Friend
The best BJJ Blue belt I can possibly be
Fearless student of Muay Thai
Successful blogger and freelance writer
Someone who will never stop believing in the good in others
Someone who is not controlled by fear

p.s. if you haven’t already done so, check out Mark’s two books on Amazon -- Jiu Jitsu on the Brain and his new book Borrowing the Master’s Bicycle (which I am reading right now).  Good stuff people! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hannette Staack Women's Seminar

This past Sunday I attended the Hannette Staack women’s seminar in Houston.  I don’t think I’ve ever come back from an event as excited as I was after this seminar.  I was literally on the best jiu jitsu high ever.  Her teaching style was absolutely incredible.  She was friendly and encouraging and learned every person’s name and made a point to work with every single person there.  It wasn’t a huge group, just right.  I didn’t count heads, but I think there were about 20 women there.  The techniques she taught were two different open guard sweeps and two different ways to pass open guard.  We did lots of drilling…lots and lots of drilling.  She wanted to make sure we understood the techniques so that when we left we would remember them.  Guess what?  I still remember them, and I can’t wait to drill them and incorporate them into my game.  Thank you Hannette for a wonderful Sunday afternoon of jiu jitsu!
Me and Hannette after the seminar!  :)

Our Team SMAA Ladies! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jiu Jitsu bliss and new gis

I had a great night on the mats.  We were working "De La Riva" sweeps.  Not the easiest thing for short legs, but with encouragement from coach and a good training partner we figured out how to make it work.  It's exciting when things just come together.  Then during rolling I had some moments of pure bliss.  Not that I was a beast on the mats or anything, just an old lady holding her own with a blue belt teenager...pretty sweet feeling.  I am blessed with some pretty awesome training partners and one heck of a coach. 

On another note, a few more pounds and I will most likely be able to order me a new Fenom gi.  If the family needs any ideas for a Christmas present for dear old Mom, this is it!  Size A2 please.  If you're curious, there's a link to Fenom Kimonos below.  Bar none, the best fitting gi for this girl's body type and they are beautiful, exceptional quality and they can take a beating on the mats. 

p.s. Julia, your gis have served me well and I am going to keep wearing them until they are completely worn out!!  It just feels good to see the pants getting looser and looser.  Jiu-Jiu is a fellow blogger who bequeathed me her many gis after they became too big for her.  Way to go Julia!  Check out her blog here.   :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The path not taken?

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you’d taken a different path?  What if you hadn’t accepted that first date from your husband/wife?  What if you had gotten your degree or not gotten your degree?  What if you had never tried jiu jitsu?  I think about those things sometimes.  Sometimes I wish I could go talk to my younger self.  Mostly I’d tell her to finish school, don’t become a slave to money, and do what your heart loves and the money will follow.  One day, I think I shall make a big change, a change that will shock most people.  There are things that my heart longs to be doing and they do not involve sitting in a windowless box all day working for “the man”.  I also think about what it would be like if I had never stepped on the mats.  What if I hadn’t taken that giant leap of faith?  What if I hadn’t fallen utterly and completely in love?  That’s one thing in my life that I never, ever, ever will regret.  This journey that I’m on, whether I chose it or it chose me, or we were just meant to be, regardless, I am glad that this is the path that I am on, I truly feel like I’m living the dream.  Plus, I’ve got to brag, I’ve got a husband who supports the dream.  He doesn’t want to train, but he doesn’t discourage me or hinder me or stop me from doing what I love.  I come home battered and bruised and sore and stiff and he doesn’t complain.  If I want to go to a seminar, he says “how much?” and “when is it?”  Not so he can be nosey, but mostly so he can pay for it if he’s got some extra dinero lying around!  That, my friends, is a true-blue jiu jitsu husband.  That’s another path I would not change for anything.  Plus, that path gave birth to the Tasmanian Devil Girl…and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the whole wide world! ;)

There’s nothing better than a weekend filled with jiu jitsu.  Here’s what I’ve got planned for Saturday and Sunday!!  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The evolution of Tasmanian Devil Girl

I rolled with my 16-year old daughter last night.  She got very frustrated at one point.  I had her in side control, heavy side control.  She wanted to just give up.  She said, you weigh 50 pounds more than me, I corrected her, less than 40 pounds now! :)  Anyway, it was the first time in a while I had seen her get that ‘I’m frustrated so I’m going to just give up’ look on her face.  For once, her speed and youth couldn’t get her out of the situation.  She was stuck (mostly mentally, not physically).  So we stopped for a minute and reversed roles, I told her to get as heavy as she possibly could and I tried to show her a couple of ways to defend, make space, and get in a better position.  She tried, but I think she was still a little bit discouraged.  I know how she feels.  That was me for the last two years.  Forever stuck on bottom.  Not a bad place to learn though.  It taught me to stay calm, breath, and find space.  I’ve spent countless hours being on bottom in someone’s mount or in someone’s side control.  I’ve learned that I can escape from those positions and create a better position for myself.  I think what my daughter is feeling is growing pains.  She’s not a kid anymore.  She’s not rolling with kids anymore.  These are all adults.  She’s admitted that she’s feeling the effects of my improved game (*big smile*) too.  It’s time for her to take her game to another level.  I for one can’t wait to watch her grow and progress.  I’ve always felt that she has it within her to be an awesome jiu jitsu practitioner.  I’ve tried to encourage her to open up her mind and give in to our coach’s teaching style.  Just give in to it.  Let it take over.  Believe in the process.  Even in those moments when your head is telling you that it doesn’t think you can do something, listen to your heart, do it anyway, maybe not perfectly, but do it anyway.  And keep doing it, until it starts to feel more natural.  In the meantime, I will keep waiting and watching and learning, and one day real soon, I know that when I have her in side control, I won’t be able to keep her there, she will have realized her true potential, and once again I will fear the “Tasmanian Devil Girl”. 
p.s. In case you were wondering, the Turkey Fit Challenge was a huge success.  I lost almost 9 pounds, decreased my body fat percentage by over 4 percent and shaved a few seconds off my workout challenge time.  I am very pleased with the results.  If I’m feeling brave, I will post the before and after pictures and stats.  What I learned from this whole experience is that I know what to do to keep the momentum going…clean diet and continue to get on the mats at least 4 days a week.  I’m setting a short term goal for myself, in the next six months I want to be able to fall into the Women’s Middle weight division (according to the IBJJF weight charts).  I am confident that I can reach that goal!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paleo Thanksgiving and Jiu Jitsu Ramblings

The Turkey Fit Challenge that I have been doing at my gym will end on Sunday.  Honestly, I think I’ve done pretty well.  I got over my fears and let myself be weighed, body fat percentages were calculated and yes, even photos were taken.  These last two weeks I’ve been really pushing myself, on the mats and trying to stay true to the Paleo diet.  It’s been hard at times, but I’m pleased with my progress.  It’s not going to end with the challenge though.  I’m committed to the Paleo lifestyle and slowly I am bringing my family around to the benefits of eating this way.  Most of you know that I had a major addiction to Dr. Pepper.  Well, I am proud to report that I have not had a Dr. Pepper since July 8th.  That’s four months and 7 days people.  And sometime in the last couple of weeks I realized…I am not craving them anymore…don’t even want one…WOW…I didn’t think that would ever happen for me.  Thanksgiving is next week and my Mom started a tradition where all the granddaughters come over and help her cook the meal.  I had decided I wanted to make a couple of Paleo friendly dishes so I sent her a message and to my surprise, she had already thought of that…I’ve got the best Mom ever!  I am going to try my hand at a Paleo pumpkin pie since I have a hankering for a sweet treat. 
Jiu Jitsu Ramblings: Since I’ve discovered that my Jiu jitsu brain has been unlocked and opened…my mind is blown!  I am starting to see things in a different way.  Movements are making sense.  Technique that I thought was out of my reach, well, it’s definitely within the realm of possibilities now.  Armbars and triangles, looking for them now, seeing them sometimes when before I didn’t know they were right there in front of me…now that makes me smile.    So, to everyone out there training, to all the newbies and late bloomers, don’t give up, it gets better, it gets a lot better.  Put in your time on the mats.  Work hard.  Let go of your fear.  It will all come in its proper time!  :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ants in my pants

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been busy, busy, busy, busy.  Working on a special project and traveling for work and being the awesome band and football Mom that I am…I’ve been out supporting my kid’s activities.  I’m a very proud Mama right now.  The kids are doing awesome.  Work…now that’s another story.  But, never fear, Mrs. Ibarra can NOT stay off the mats for very long without getting really, really antsy, and right now I’ve got ants in my pants.  I’m also on the fence about doing a Turkey Fit 4-week challenge that our CrossFit gym is doing.  It sounds good and it could really keep me on track…I just don’t know.   I’ve got a few more hours to think about it.  Of course I’ve waited until the last minute because registration ends tonight at 10 pm.  OH…decisions….decisions.  I like the idea of being weighed and measured and being held accountable and having someone coach me through all of it…I just don’t like the idea of having pictures taken…I’m not exactly a spring chicken folks.  Anyway, going to think about it for a bit longer and decide before 10 pm tonight.  If you’ve got inspiring words of wisdom to help me out…let me have ‘em! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unlocking your jiu jitsu brain

In my very first blog post the last thing I said was…
I want my jiu jitsu to become a thing of beauty.  I watch some of our guys and their jiu jitsu is so graceful and fluid and beautiful.  That's what I want mine to be like.  I believe that someday it will be.
I’ve gone through a period where I didn’t think that my jiu jitsu could ever be any of those things.  I thought it would always be sluggish, muddy, and choppy.  Thankfully, something has started to change in me, in my jiu jitsu.  I feel the slightest shift in the current.  For a long time I felt like my jiu jitsu brain had a big, giant padlock on it.  No matter what I tried or did, no matter how badly I wanted it unlocked, it wouldn’t budge…it was locked tight.  Fast forward…new gym, new coach, new teammates, I was hesitant, scared, reserved.  What if it was me?  What if I wasn’t coachable?  What if I just wasn’t meant for this jiu jitsu stuff?  Slowly, I felt a shift…in my mind and then in my body.  I really started to listen, observe, ask questions, try and then try some more.  That padlock on my brain and my body started to loosen up…then…CLICK…its OPEN!    
I know there are many more padlocks hidden away in my jiu jitsu brain that still need to be unlocked.  I’m ready…
I want my jiu jitsu to become a thing of beauty….fluid and graceful and beautiful.  I KNOW that someday it will be.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Common Sense-LESS

Do you ever wonder how you’re going to make it through the day without literally stabbing someone in the eye with a fork?  Worse, now that I know jiu jitsu, how am I supposed to make it through the day without dreaming about taking people down, then proceeding to choke them, armbar them, or triangle them…oh wait…I know Muay Thai too…spinning back kick to the body or head would work too…darn…I might get in a wee bit of trouble if I did that.  That’s what happens when you are surrounded with the common senseless.  Plus, a girl can dream can’t she…there is no harm in that…whatever it takes to make it through the day.  Since I can’t do any of the above, I’m going to celebrate quitting time and no-gi classes on Fridays instead.  Warning to my wonderful training partners at Dirty Bay…you guys will just have to bear the brunt of my angst…sorry…that’s the price you pay for being good training partners.   

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anything is possible

Last Wednesday was possibly one of the best days ever!  It was my 20th wedding anniversary (WOOHOO!!  We did it honey, and here’s to many, many more).  It’s not often you have a spouse that completely and utterly supports your love affair with jiu jitsu.  Not only did I celebrate 20 years of marriage, but I got my blue belt.  You heard me right…Mrs. Ibarra finally got her blue belt (it only took me 27 months).  I was honestly beginning to think I would be the oldest living white belt alive.  Coach took me completely by surprise.  It was a surreal moment...hearing my name called and seeing coach holding that blue belt....shaking and fumbling and crying a little bit.  But I am honored and happy and excited and thrilled and a little nervous.  Tonight I will tie that new blue belt around my waist for the first time and train.  The journey continues...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

They say time heals everything...I'm still waiting

I’m missing my Dad today.  While most of the world was watching in horror at the events as they unfolded on 9/11/2001, my Dad was in the last stages of his fight with cancer.  It was a tough day already, we were exhausted on every front…mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually…and then 9/11 happened.  I couldn’t tell you much about that day, or the days that followed.  My Dad lived only 16 more days after that and we were focused on taking care of him and we were grieving.  It had been a long battle with cancer, brutal on the body and soul, he fought hard, but he didn’t win.  I wouldn’t say that I was a Daddy’s girl, but I would say that my Dad and me were kindred spirits.  We had similar feelings about life and love and people and second chances.  He always gave people second chances.  He felt people were always worth another try.  He always saw the good in people, until they showed him otherwise.  I’m sort of like that…maybe a bit more cynical that he was…but I do tend to see the good in people, unless they show me otherwise.  He was my sounding board when things were sucky at work, when I was having a difficult time with people.  He always gave me good advice.  Always be on time.  Do your best.  Work hard.  Be dependable.  And my favorite, don’t burn your bridges with someone…one day they might be your boss (oh Dad, if you only knew).  Well today I was wishing he was here to be my sounding board, but he’s not.  And all day I get reminded what a horrible day 9/11/2001 was.  Trust me, I will never forget. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

School is back in session

My kids started school this week and we have been so busy with band activities and football practice and buying school supplies that it was hard to train this week.  I made it only one day to be exact.  But oh what a great day it was.  Armbars and triangles and omoplatas.  Look out...Mrs. Ibarra is starting to get the hang of you...finally...after two years.  I guess it's taken me this long to wrap my head around things and lose my fear of others things and open my mind to what my body is actually capable of doing.  Feels good.  Tonight I am going to CrossFit for a quick workout and then off to get ready for Emily's first football game of the new school year.  Can't wait to see this marching season unfold...awesome music and a really, really cool marching routine.  Band Nerds unite!!  

Quick update on my Paleo eating.  Started two months ago.  Didn't realize how much it was going to change everything.  I can't believe how much I've been able to embrace it and live it and I'm even starting to love it.   It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I'm cooking most nights at home.  Added bonus, my family loves that I'm cooking and I love the fact that we all sit down and eat together.  That's a change I can get used to!  

p.s.  No Dr. Peppers since July 8, 2012. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond

I’m evolving.  I feel my game changing.  New Coach + Open Mind = No Limits.  I used to think that I couldn’t do things because I have short arms or legs, or because I am not flexible enough, or because I am too fluffy or too old...and so on.  But I am really trying to wrap my head around the infinite possibilities.  Every move can be adjusted and changed and morphed into something that will work for me…not that every move is going to be part of my game, but I won’t limit myself to just certain things.  I won’t know if something works for me unless I try it.  Outside our comfort zones is where we will experience the most growth.  It’s were we will evolve our games to the next level.  It’s pretty cool doing things I never thought I could do.  I actually tried to triangle someone last week.  Me, Mrs. Ibarra, 4’11” tall, short legs, short arms, fluffy body, I tried to triangle someone.  I didn’t get it…but I tried it!  Now that’s progress. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Being hungry is a good thing!

Some nights when you train jiu jitsu everything just feels right.  Even if you didn't do everything perfectly, it's that feeling in your heart and your gut that it was a good night.  Everything is swirling around in my head right now.  I'm just feeling grateful, happy, content, eager, even hungry for future progress.  It's been a while since I've felt like that.  It feels really, really good.  Tonight I am one proud Mama.  My daughter Emily got a stripe on her yellow belt.  It was unexpected and a complete surprise.  She couldn't stop smiling.  Yep, I'm one proud Mama, I can't stop smiling either.  Thank you Coach for believing in my girl.  Anything is possible.  

My daughter loves this quote.  She's only 4'9" tall.  
On the mats she feels like a beast.  Thank you jiu jitsu!  :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

If you Start it...Finish it!

Wow.  I can’t believe that we’ve only got three more weeks of summer vacation for the kiddos.  Where did all the lazy days of summer go?  I guess it’s time to get it in gear and get them prepared for a new school year.  I enjoy summer, even though I still work full time.  I don’t have to worry about homework, or last minute school projects they forgot to tell me about and we need a poster board and art supplies, or making sure they have lunch money or checking for lost permission slips or making sure there aren’t things I need to read in the binder or my all-time favorite “Mom, I need to wear my band shirt tomorrow (it’s 10 pm at night) and it’s dirty, can you wash it for me”.  I could go on, but you probably understand why I like summer now.  Summer is more than a break for the kids; it’s a break for Mom too.  This summer I made some great changes.  New gym, new way of eating, new way of training + introduction of Crossfit = making progress (measured in baby steps of course, but progress nonetheless).  I’m opening my mind to the infinite possibilities.  I’m amazed at the things my body can do now and the things my mind comprehends that it didn’t two years ago when I first started training.  It doesn’t matter that I’m the last one to finish the warm-up drills or that I have the least number of reps, what matters is that I finish.  If I start it, I finish it.  If you catch me trying to sell myself short, just remind me…If You Start It, Finish It! 
Now here’s a little something I’m going to be doing on Saturday.  I will be making the drive to Farmers Branch (past Dallas) to attend a Women’s BJJ Seminar by Hannette Staack.  I don’t know if there are any spots left, but just in case, you can check it out at   I was a lucky one; I get in free because I will be wearing one of my many fabulous Fenom Gis.  How sweet is that?  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tasmanian Devil Girl

It’s been an interesting week.  I got my very first black eye.  Before you start thinking I’m all that, my sweet 15 year old daughter elbowed me in the eye while we were rolling.  I call her the Tasmanian Devil Girl…she reminds me of the old cartoon character that was always moving at warp speed.  This old Mom can’t keep up with her and I move in instead of moving out and she whirls around at warp speed and BAM, elbow and eye collide.  She still feels pretty rotten about it, cried like a baby, but Mama’s all good.  What other place than on the mats can you beat up on your Mom and its okay! 
This is what I see when I roll with my daughter...a big blur of arms and legs coming at me from all directions.  Tasmanian Devil Girl...I still love you! :)
I completed my second Elements class for Crossfit yesterday.  I was so far outside my comfort zone it hurt.  But right in the big middle of all that sweat and pain and gasping for air, I just knew.  I am on the right path.  My journey has taken me right where I belong.  I’m going to be okay and I will get where I need to be.  I’ve got lots of help, great coaches, a loving family, and a whole community of BJJ brothers and sisters.   

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Old School Moves and Keeping it Clean

Being short sort of lends itself to making half guard one of my favored positions (side control is my all-time favorite, but that’s for another day).  Wednesday night we learned a couple of different ways to sweep from half guard (Old School half guard sweeps) that I don’t recall ever training before, and a way to get to the back from half guard.  Needless to say, this old girl wasn't catching on to the Old School sweeps very quickly, but I kept trying to make it work.  Stayed after class with Emily and we drilled it some more and then it finally started to click.  Had me a really sweet ‘AHA’ moment.  Love it when that happens.  Going to keep drilling it some more.  I want to have a good solid working knowledge of the “Old School” half guard sweeps in my bag of tricks.  Thursday I get to unleash the beast with Muay Thai kickboxing.  Friday I have my first official Crossfit training session.  I am very, very excited.  On the nutrition front, for the first time in a year and a half, my diet is clean, clean, clean.  I’ve been making progress, taking baby steps, and they are adding up.  Grains are gone, white potatoes are gone, and pasta is gone from my diet.  I’ve even managed to go almost two weeks without my beloved Dr. Peppers.  Every week I’m challenging myself to eat more fruits and vegetables and to try something new.  It’s working.  I’m feeling physically better than I have in a long time.   Now if I could just work on getting more steps.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

We are never too old for a little homework

How many of you out there remember homework?  You know that thing your teachers used to torture you with just to make your lives miserable.  I have been out of school for more years that I’m going to admit here, but I still remember homework.  The funny thing about jiu jitsu, the movements required of our bodies are not always intuitive and they especially don’t feel natural, they feel quite unnatural.  So, that brings me back to homework.  Does your instructor give you homework?  Mine does.  Are you jealous yet?  It’s usually a drill we can do alone or with a partner at home, that relates directly to the technique we worked that night.  It’s great for getting in reps of a movement and getting our bodies used to something new….it helps it become familiar, not so unnatural.  I am a very, very slow learner, so I need that.  I’m going to challenge myself (and my daughter) to be committed to doing this homework on our off days.  This kind of homework isn’t so bad.  Did I make you have flashback to middle school?  Sorry about that.  What things do your instructors do that you like, or are effective during class.  Please share!  :D

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back on the Mats after Vacation!

I am having a great week back on the mats after being off last week for family vacation.  Had fun, got very sunburned, went on a ghost tour and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the family and good friends.  Emily and I got our first tiny little taste of CrossFit on Monday and we loved it.  We are both sore still after three days, but it was worth it.  I had an intense Muay Thai kickboxing class on Tuesday and pushed myself a little bit out of my comfort zone, thanks to a good coach and good training partners.  Emily and I went to jiu jitsu class last night and we worked guard passes, high and low.  Really, really, good stuff.  I am really concentrating on keeping an open mind and just doing what the coaches tell me to do.  Even if it's not perfect, I'm still going to do it to the best of my ability.  I am enjoying my new routine at the new gym, and Emily has discovered a new passion for Muay Thai.  I am meeting new people and finding a community that embraces a healthy, active lifestyle.  I really think it's important to surround yourself with people that are on the same page.  I find that I'm tempted less and work harder to reach my goals.  Right now, I am working hard to make small, measurable changes in my nutrition habits.  No grains - check; no potatoes - check;  no pasta - that's my goals for this week, so far so good.  I am staying away from refined sugar and Dr. Peppers (allowing myself 1-2 on the weekends only - remember, baby steps, I will most likely wean myself off them entirely, but that's the subject for another post entirely).  So far, so good.  I am really, really trying to eat more veggies.  It's not always easy, but it's a lifestyle change I'm determined to tiny little baby step at a time. 

I almost forgot, had a great time at Leticia's Women's Only Grappling Camp on July 1st.  It was a great way to start my vacation.  Went for one day only, which was no-gi.  Had a blast, learned some new stuff and bonded with my jiu jitsu sisters.  Next year, I am making it a priority to go all three days! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No A/C training and a little nutrition news

We had our first really hot night training no A/C jiu jitsu last night at Dirty Bay MMA.  Whew.  It was really, really, really hot.  I have to admit though that I enjoy seeing the sunshine and smelling fresh air while I train.  I sit in an office all day without a window, so I’m a little bit sunshine-deprived.  We warmed up with fundamentals – grips, arm drag, takedown.  We drilled fundamentals - simple sweep (1, 2, and 3), defending the simple sweep, and the hook sweep.  Our instructor showed us drills we can practice at home on our own or with a partner to help enhance what we learned that night.   In case you were wondering, Dirty Bay MMA is affiliated with Solis Martial Arts Academy.  Our class is being taught by one of their black belts.  He’s a nice guy with a laid back style who is teaching us good, solid, fundamental jiu jitsu.  Tonight is Muay Thai Kickboxing.  Last week we learned some of the coolest stuff ever, and it’s all I’ve been thinking about since.  I used to hate knee kicks when I did cardio kickboxing…but oh my goodness…I have a whole new perspective now.  Let’s just say…I had a blast and my daughter got to be the recipient of my enthusiasm on the mat.  Good times! 
On the nutrition front - I’m easing myself into Paleo.  I’m working on cutting out grains right now.  It’s ended up being just a little bit harder than I thought.  I bought a couple of Kindle books to browse through.  The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  Good grief, grains are everywhere and I need to figure out what I can snack on now instead of my granola bars and 100 calorie packs??  I’m open to suggestions.   I want to thank Chris Kelly at Crossfit Baytown for sitting down with me and talking about nutrition.  Baby steps, breathe, more baby steps. 
“Perfection is impossible.  However, striving for perfection is not.  Do the best you can under the conditions that exist.  That is what counts.”  -- John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Change is a good thing!

I recently made the decision to go train at a different academy.  It wasn't an easy decision and I cried many tears and spent countless hours agonizing over it.  In the end, it was the best thing for me and my daughter.  Mostly because I needed to be somewhere I could do other things besides jiu jitsu.  I'm now taking Muay Thai Kickboxing and I will start crossfit next week.  These are in addition to two days of jiu jitsu.  I've been needing a change for quite some time and I had gotten very discouraged with not being able to lose weight with jiu jitsu alone.  I needed to be somewhere that offered all the things I needed in one handy location.  Then along comes Dirty Bay MMA and Baytown Crossfit.  All your MMA and Crossfit needs in one place!  I am happy with my decision to move and I am excited about the new things I am going to be doing.  My daughter has found a new passion in kickboxing and we are both excited to go train.  Right now they don't offer a teen crossfit class, but by early fall they should have that available for her as well.  She can't wait.  This journey started with my decision to get fit and lose weight and start a new legacy of fitness for my family.  This is just another piece of the puzzle falling into place. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Changes they are a coming!

Change is a good thing.  It represents new beginnings and transformations.  Change allows us to grow.  I’m making some changes.  So many times in my life I didn’t listen to what my heart was telling me…instead I listened to that little voice that told me to do what was expected of me, do what people want you to do, be a good girl, people will be mad if you do that.  Today I’m doing what my heart tells me to do.  It might not be what some people want to hear, but it’s what’s right for me and my family.  So stay tuned…changes they are a coming!  In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with the beautiful rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” by Seal.  :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Wait is Over...Leticia and Bia are coming to Texas!! :)

I've been waiting patiently hoping that Leticia and Bia would come back to Texas.  The wait is finally over.  They are going to be here June 29, 30 and July 1st in Dallas.  I won't be able to do all three days, but at a minimum I will be there on Sunday with my daughter and the MMA Lady.  Woohoo!!  These ladies are amazing and they put their hearts and souls into teaching others.  Can't wait.  See the link below for details.  Just in case you were wondering, I attended a seminar with these ladies last year and I'm still working on the stuff I learned.  They have a great teaching style and their passion for jiu jitsu really shines through. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy One Year my blog!

I’m reading a really good short book right now.  It’s called “Jiu-Jitsu on the Brain” by Mark Johnson.  It’s full of good practical advice, laced with good humor and candor.  I’m about halfway through it and I’m convinced that everyone should read it.  It’s full of those things that every new practitioner of the gentle art should be told before they begin their journey.  It’s been a good reminder of what I love (and love to hate) about jiu jitsu.  Sort of like a rule book or a play book.  I guess I’ve worked in corporate America for too long.  I like rules and processes and I especially like them in writing.  It makes people accountable.  But I digress, the reason I wrote this post, the book reminded me why I started training jiu jitsu to begin with... 
·        I love the healthy, physical exertion of jiu jitsu.  I started training as an avenue to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle.  I want to leave my children with that legacy.  I have had too many family members die from health related issues that could have been prevented.  I want more for my children and I have to lead them by example. 
·        In the process of discovering this healthy, physical lifestyle, I fell in love with the gentle art.  I can’t explain this love, or even put it into words that adequately reflect what I feel.  So I’m going to steal from my very first blog post -- I want my jiu jitsu to become a thing of beauty.  I watch some of our guys and their jiu jitsu is so graceful and fluid and beautiful.  That's what I want mine to be like.  I believe that someday it will be.
May 27, 2012, marked the one year anniversary of my Jiu Jitsu blog.  I’ve had a whole lot of ups and downs and blood and sweat and a whole lot of tears, but I’m still hanging on.  Not giving in or giving up.  I know I’ve been having the jiu jitsu blues for a while now, but don’t count this old lady out yet, I’m just busy and tired and worn out from my regular life and sometimes jiu jitsu has to take a back burner to all those other things so they can become complete and resolved and I can become happy and content so I can be balanced enough to open my mind to learning this beautiful thing called jiu jitsu. 
I am thankful to so many of you out there in blogger land for encouraging me as I walk this journey.  Your writing has inspired me, given me hope, made me laugh and cry and reminded me that we are all one big happy jiu jitsu family.  To Dagney and Gina and Jen and Megan and Leslie and MMA Lady and Julia and Triin and Jodie and Georgette and Shark Girl and Shama…if I forgot your name here I’m sorry, there are so many of you – thank you from the bottom of my heart, your writing encourages me and it moves me and it reminds me that I’m not walking this journey alone.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

I haven’t trained this week at all.  It is super busy at my house with end of year school stuff with my kids and new projects at work have forced me to work later than usual.  Working Mom + two kids + husband + laundry ≠ making it to jiu jitsu class.  May is always one of our busiest months and things have gotten quite crazy at my job, so I’m just going to take this in stride.  I used to fret over missing class.   But I am finding that balance between training and happy home life.  It is important.  My Maw Maw always said, don’t put all your eggs in one basket or you might get disappointed when they break because you will be left with nothing.  She was a pretty wise lady.  So I’m working on balancing my eggs…family, home, work, training.  I will leave you with a story told to me by a coworker a long time ago.  Short, simple, profound.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Magic

Had a really great Mother's Day.  Got three out of the ten on my list.  Sweet!!  Added bonus, got interviewed by Shama Ko for a Mother's Day Article on about Moms and Daughters who train jiu jitsu together.  It's a great article, and I am honored to have been included.  Check it out.  Great training tonight with my daughter.  :D

That’s What She Said: A Tribute to The Most Important Women in Our lives, our Mothers

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Making it all Work and Mother's Day Magic

I’ve been having a really good week…on and off the mats.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s important and trying to find the right balance between work and family and training.  It isn’t always easy for a working Mom, but somehow we manage to make it work.  So, if you are a hard-working Mama who loves to train jiu jitsu, what do you want for Mother’s Day?  While flowers are nice and chocolate is always yummy, and jewelry is pretty, those aren’t things that I want for Mother’s Day. 
Here’s Mrs. Ibarra’s top 10 list of things I want for Mother’s Day: 
1.      A one-hour massage (because our bodies take a beating training BJJ).
2.      Manicure and Pedicure (because our hands and feet take a beating training BJJ).
3.      Cool gi patches or jiu jitsu t-shirts (I have my eye on a Tap Cancer Out patch and I really want one of the new Fenom t-shirts).
4.      While you’re at it, the new Fenom gi…I know I already have too many…but a BJJ Mama can’t have too many gis.
5.      New ink (this isn’t for everyone, but this BJJ Mama wants some new ink). Thanks for the idea Kasey!
6.      A BJJ private lesson with one of my instructors (and the BFF and the daughter are included in this private, because it’s more fun that way).
7.      A chauffer for the next Girls in Gis in Plano…because I commute all week to work and I don’t want to drive on the weekends…but I really want to go to the next Girls in Gis on May 20th!
8.      Breakfast with the family at my favorite Taqueria!
9.      A day at the beach with a chair and an umbrella and a good book (because sometimes I need to feel my toes in the sand and the sun on my face).
10.   Hugs and kisses and home-made Mother’s Day cards…because even though my kids aren’t little anymore, you can’t have too many hugs and kisses and cards made from the heart. 
Happy Mother’s Day everyone! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How bad do you want it?

Each and every time I step on the mat to train it comes down to one simple question.  Do I want it more than I am afraid of it? 
Today I will ask myself that question throughout the day.  I will struggle with that question on my long commute home, and I will keep asking it again and again until I step back on the mat to train.  Today I hope the answer is yes.  I want it more than I am afraid of it!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Life is a Journey

I took some unplanned vacation days last week.  I needed some down time.  I needed to be alone and sleep and think and do some Mommy things.  I did not train jiu jitsu at all last week.  My mind was just not right.  I may not train this week either.  I have a lot going on with the kids this week and a lot going on at work and I just don’t know if I am up to it mentally.  Tonight I will go do cardio kickboxing.  On Wednesday, my daughter and I will go look for her a new party dress.  She’s been invited to her first QuinceaƱera (for you gringos out there, that’s a birthday party for a 15 year old girl).  It’s a big deal and she’s got to have a new dress (or at least that’s what she’s convinced me of….gullible Mom here).  She’s got another one to go to this summer, so this dress is going to have to do for both parties…because this Mom is not that gullible.  So I hope this week finds everyone right where they need to be…happy and healthy and content.  Life is a journey, not a destination.  <--That’s my new mantra.  It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the little things.  It reminds me not to sweat the small stuff.  It reminds me that I don’t have to keep up with anyone else but myself.  It reminds me that this isn’t a race to the finish line and that I can go as slow as I need to.   It reminds me that it’s okay to be slow.  It reminds me that my family is the most important thing, and I’m slowing down so I don’t miss out on the important stuff…like dress shopping with my daughter for 15 year old birthday parties!  :D

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Is spider guard okay for a short person…a really short person…let’s say someone under 5 feet tall?  Last summer I went to a Leticia Ribeiro seminar and that’s what we worked on, and I fell in love with it.  Leticia is a petite lady and she rocks spider guard (plus her jiu jitsu is bad ass!).  Some might not think it’s the best choice for me, but I think it appeals to me because my legs are so short.  I don’t like to use closed guard…my legs are going to have a hard time closing around most people (unless you’re a stick).  Some folks say that I’m too short for spider guard, but I work it every chance I get.  It makes me happy, and if I’m really, really lucky, it gets me a sweep!  If you have short legs or long legs or you are somewhere in between, you’ve got to learn to work with what you’ve got.  But don’t be afraid to try new things that seem outside your comfort zone, you might be pleasantly surprised.  It’s amazing that we are all different shapes and sizes and that there are infinite ways to adapt this beautiful sport to ourselves.  Quite amazing indeed! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


There is really no worse feeling than waiting for bad news.  I remember that feeling when my Daddy was sick.  We knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know how bad it was.  When he was dying, I remember that feeling I had in my heart and in my gut every single day, waiting for the bad news, but hoping to get to have him one more day.  That is how I’m feeling right now; waiting for the bad news, but hoping for the best.  Things do not look good for baby Emma and right now I am very emotional and angry and upset.  I have a lot of pent up emotions that I really need to get rid of.  My daughter has already sent me a text today asking me if we are going to jiu jitsu.  So, tonight we will train.  Tonight I am hoping for some of those things that I love about jiu jitsu…grace and beauty.  Tonight those things would be the best gift of all. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes we all need a Wake-up Call

I trained tonight.  Not very well, but I got on the mat.  Beat myself up mentally before I even started.  I've been trying not to think about belt tests...and quite frankly I wish they would have them way less often because we can't seem to go a week without talking about them and then it's a constant reminder that I'm not belt testing again and then I beat myself up some more and wonder why I suck so much at jiu jitsu.  Good grief, how can you suck so bad at something you love so much.  It's a viscous cycle.  Whoever invented belt tests, well I won't tell you what I think about them, but let's just say it's not very nice.  I'd like to think my training is cumulative.  Right?  I'm a full-time working mother, two kids, a husband, a house, an extended family, lots of commitments and priorities, so my mat time is not the same as someone who's young and doesn't have those same commitments.  But I stick with it, little by little I see progress.  It's slow going, but it's been cumulating now for almost two years.  I don't take long breaks away from the mat.  I don't train 5 days a week either.  Some weeks I train 1 day, some weeks I train 3 days, on the rare occasion I might train 5 days (that's really rare), but I don't stop.  I only take off when I'm sick, my kids are sick or we have band or school stuff going on.  But I'm only human, and it still hurts when test after test they don't call your name.  And, that my friends, is all I have to say about that. 

Then something happens and you get a wake-up call of massive proportions.  Something that makes all this stuff seem not important.  Why am I obsessing about belt tests when my great niece is fighting for her life.  She is only eight months old.  We don't know at this point what is going to happen.  It's not the kind of wake-up call you want to get.  The kind that smacks you right in the heart and the gut at the same time and reminds you that your family is your most precious possession.  So last week I didn't train and I didn't feel guilty.  Usually if I skip out I suffer from massive guilt.  How am I going to get better if I'm not training?  How am I ever going to belt test again if I don't train?  My instructors are going to think I'm goofing off?  But I didn't feel that last week.  I needed to be with my family, my husband, my kids.  I needed to mother them and stay at home with them and feed them and whatever else they wanted to do.  It was important.  Today we got really devastating news and we are all feeling so helpless.  I am praying for a miracle.  I believe in miracles.  I hope you all do to.  Please pray for a miracle for my beautiful little niece.  Her name is Emma.  Thank you.