Chop Wood, Carry Water

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Too many chiefs and not enough......

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians (sorry for being politically incorrect, its just a saying).  Soooo, whilst training have you ever heard "that won't work on me," or "I almost had you."   SERIOUSLY.   I have heard this not only directed at myself but I have heard other students in class say that to each other.  White belts no less!   I have noticed that this is a beginner trend usually; like when white belts who have been training for a few months roll with a brand new white belt.  They say something like "that armbar won't work on me." Okay, that brand new student (may I remind everyone we were ALL beginner white belts once) is attempting a technique that he/she has just learned.  There is most likely no transition into it, it may be very "robotic," by the book, or it may be incorrect.  He or she just learned the technique.  If you see something wrong, grab the instructor and get it fixed.  If you feel like the person can't break your posture and they aren't going to get the armbar, then ok, keep your mouth shut and keep working.  It is so disrespectful and discouraging to hear something like this, especially to brand new students.  At Traven's place I have never heard any of the higher ranks say this.  Everyone is super respectful and mindful of their training partners.  If for instance I try an armbar on a higher rank and he knows it is not going to break his posture or be able to sink in, I will either pay for my mistake and learn that way or I get helpful advice like "hey instead of this, try this instead," or "this is a good way this works for me."   White belts and most blue belts for that matter do not have the credentials or knowledge base to give out this kind of info."  So instead of being disrespectful grab an instructor or just keep your mouth shut and do some Jiu Jitsu. I heard the "I almost had you" the other day.  I was rolling with a relatively new white belt and had double unders and was attempting to pass.  He locked his legs together and though if he squeezed his legs I would tap.  It was tight on my head, but I ripped out and passed.  Then he said "I almost had you."   NICE.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The value of training partners

Yesterday was glorious.  I was able to fit in great bjj sessions.  I always look forward to the different array of people who train in the day and then at night.  During the day class there were 2 of us ladies, 3 black belts, a couple brown belts, and the rest were purple belts.  I started off with the other lady in the class for the first roll. One of the black belts is coming off of a knee injury and is just able to get back to light training.  Traven had me train with him 4 different rolls yesterday.  I have always liked training with him for a few different reasons.  Firstly, the great advantage about training with blackbelts (I'm using the term collectively, I am referring to the ones that I have trained with) is that even though my 100% matches their 20%, I know that I am safe.  I never have to worry about them muscling me around and throwing me on my face.  I also get to try techniques that I am too timid to try otherwise without them trying to kill me.  Also, especially in yesterday's case, all of my mistakes get exploited.  If I turn the wrong way or stick an arm in when I shouldn't or grab the wrong lapel I not only pay for it but I get an explanation of what I did wrong and pointers on how to make it better.  The other lesson I gained from yesterday's session was that I need to learn to be on my toes more.  Literally and figuratively.  I was in positions that I have typically felt "safe" in.  Like certain halfguard situations and when in inverted guard when I am on top.  Suddenly, I am on  my back.  haha.  I only pray that someday I will have even half of the Jiu Jitsu that Chakalaka does.  I also noticed that the kid NEVER stops moving.  The variety of the bjj styles at the gym is extraordinary.  There is slow-smothering guy who makes you want to die.  There is crazy backflip inverted guard man.  There is leg-lock fantasy guy.  There is brute strength "I will treat you like a small child" dude.  There is "every roll is a competition" guy (yeah every gym has one).  Regardless there is something to learn from all of your training partners!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Please is there any hope left?

Alright people here it is, my first blog that has nothing to do with BJJ.  I have absolutely had it today.   Can someone please answer me:  are there any men left on this planet that have any decency when it comes to hitting on women?  I have heard it all as of today.  I have heard some really ridiculous pick up lines aimed at myself as well as lines aimed at strangers that are absolutely insane.  Today I received two.  The first one was from a vagrant:  "Hey Hey Hey let's pump some iron!"   That was actually pretty funny and I laughed.  The second was "hey you just get done workin out?!  Lemme walk you to your car and you can tell me about it."  No thanks, not now, not ever.  Lately since Crossfit has become all the rage I have gotten the "Hey you must do crossfit."  I take that as a complement but I never knew that Crossfit had a body type.  Apparently it makes you have small boobies and no badonkadonk.  There it is, the Crossfit body.   haha.   Now none of these insult me, these are just pretty funny if you think about it.  Today however, I heard one that took the insulting cream filled cake.  I was walking into Publix minding my own business when I notice a lady being approched by a vagabond.  He said "hey lady you gots sum munny?"  The lady politely replied "no, I'm sorry."   Then homeless McGavin says to the same lady "hey you know I like heavy women like you, right?"   I answered for her.  I don't know why, I don't know why this came out of my mouth, I don't know why I went from minding my own business to chiming in on this exchange but I said "Did you reeeallly just say that?!"  Lady looked at me, homeless dude looked at me, I stared at homeless dude and just said "really?"  Then I walked inside.  I do not know what came over me, maybe it's the lack of decency and respect that some men have nowadays. The entire situation made me think.  What happened to the good ol' boys?  The boys who offered to buy you a drink or the boys who try to make small talk over the section of People magazine you're reading (knowing full and well they could really care less about what is in People Magazine).  Or, smh, when guys used to ask their friends to hook them up with "that girl"  Now its butt-grabby, handsy, foul-remarked dudes who just want to skip the formalities.  Hey I have a word of advice....ladies like the formalities.   I remember the first thing Jeff ever said to me, I asked for some scissors and he said yes that the front desk had scissors but none for me.   haha.  It was funny and cute, and it opened up some friendly banter (I in turn made fun of his pants), flirting, and the rest is history.   I'm not writing this for me.  I am just wondering if there is any hope for the ladies out there as far as the courtship process is concerned.  I am thinking no.  Please if I am wrong let me know, and also I would love to hear some other amazing pick up lines.  FYI Atlanta is the haven of terrible pick up lines, I'm convinced.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shaun White Hoodies and Deeenim!

        I titled this blog that because I have had that amazing Target commercial song in my head all day.   Mainly due to the fact that I started back to class this week.  Yeay!  My Monday class is epidemiology, which I had a little experience with in environmental health class.  The good news is that I do not have any big projects or presentations, just a couple homework assignments and 2 exams.   The bad news is that our class is in a room that is the width of a hallway and it is super hot in there.
      Today I also started back training full time.  I did a killer weight and cardio circuit this am in which I almost could not make it 5 rounds.  I really had to push myself to complete the workout.  It was MISERABLE.   Then school and then back to the gym for BJJ tonight.   It was wicked hot in the bjj cave this evening, so even an easy workout felt brutal.   For technique we worked hip escapes from mount then we worked where the person on top transitioned to a collar choke and then to the armbar when the person on bottom tries to hip escape.  During the training portion of the class I was on a mission.  TOP GAME.  Believe it or not I only went on my back once tonight, and had a good session playing on top and trying to pass.  Against one classmate whom I had never started on top against, I learned the hard way (again) about where my true weaknesses lie.   We all have to start somewhere!!  Overall it was a good session and I am confident about it.  I did not stay for the second class this evening because I am starting to listen to my body more lately.  I was tired, sore, and did not want to push too hard and force an injury.  Instead I stretched and watched the advanced class.  Tonight Traven was training and that is always great to watch.  He stays soooo heavy and tight when he is on top.  I only hope that one day my bjj will be 1/10th of what his is.   He truly is a genius in this sport!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to the Grind

        My deepest apologies for not blogging in the past week or so.   After the Vegas trip I needed a few days to relax and recoup (and eat some bacon).  Tomorrow I start back to training for the Nogi Pan Ams.  I am thoroughly excited about this tournament as I have not competed in a nogi tournament before.  I am nervous, anxious, and overall excited.  I felt comfortable at the Lutador tournament during the nogi portion;  I was able to submit my first opponent in my weight division and then in the open I was able to go to referees decision against a heavier, higher ranked, and more experienced opponent.  I am eager for tomorrow!   Also tomorrow I start classes in grad school (blah).   A necessary evil!  I only have this semester of classes and then an internship in the spring.   The good news is that while achieving higher education I get to train at will for the most part.  ;)  
        A lot of peoples' BJJ blogs have a lot to do with pet peeves.  There is nothing wrong with that.  This blog is not dedicated to my pet peeves, but rather to my life/training and the melding of the two.  However once in a while there are some things that just plain rub you the wrong way.  I will list a few.  (for a great bitchy blog check out  White belts teaching other white belts.  As a matter of fact, unless you are asked or until you achieve the rank of purple belt I don't think it is EVER your place to try and tell other bjj practicioners what to do.   I keep my mouth shut, and always call Traven or another higher ranking person over to coach.  Coaching is not my place yet, and I find it disrespectful when blue and white belts try and act like experts in the game.  Just because you have a high GPA or have 6 degrees or are a world famous sommolier, DO NOT act like you know everything about spider guard, wrestling, and leg locks.  The end.
        Talking during the entire class.   Oh my gooooosh.   Unfortunately females hold the crown for jawjacking while doing technique.  Girls are somehow able to do advanced sweeps/submissions while talking about the dumbest stuff.   Yep.   Whats worse is the person who talking in the middle of a roll.   Like "so how is training going?"  Or "oh I didn't see that pass coming, how did you do that?"   Yes, right in the middle of a roll.  One time I received this from a a fellow in class "do you feel like you overtrain sometimes?"  Dude.   Can we talk about my training schedule after class please?
           Enough of the pet peeves for the time being.  Ready to get back to the gym tomorrow!   I feel as if I have been going through laundry withdrawal.  I am so used to washing gi's everyday that not washing them for a week due to the time off seems very weird!   Cheers!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Drill to Win

On Monday I was able to train all three classes.   In the mid morning class, there was a lull in the attendance due to the tournament on Saturday.  Traven made it open mat, and there were about 10 ppl who showed up to roll.   Because I wanted to save some gusto for the evening training I rolled 5-10 minute rounds and called it a morning.   In this 6:30 evening class there was a solid group of people to train with.  After technique we had  pairs on the mat and the remaining people on the wall; if you tap you go out and another person comes in.  We did this for about 30 minutes.  The 7:30 class was drill time.  We warmed up and then Traven split us up into two groups.   This was the schematic for the evening:  1 person on bottom closed guard drill for 6 minutes.  During that 6 minutes every 2 minutes the person on top would change.  This took about 25 minutes and then we changed the roles, i.e. there would not be a person on top for 6 minutes and every 2 minutes the person on bottom would change.  This was not a cardio taxing exercise, rather it forced me to work on top, which is exactly what I have been trying to work on.  Drilling has so many obvious advantages.  The most important is that it forces you to work on positions/scenarios that may otherwise fall by the wayside during training.  I will use myself as a classic example:  every class I want to go in and work on top as much as possible.  Depending on who I am paired up with this either will (25% of the time) or it will not (the other 75%).  In some situations it is unavoidable as some big dudes will illegally grap your pants leg and throw you up in the air and onto your back.  The majority of the time I find myself on my back working guard, either put there or for some reason I put myself there.  I leave the class saying "why did I do that?!"  Needless to say I enjoyed the training session!
           Something else popped into my head last night as I was drilling with one of the guys.  The kid is phenomenally strong.  Granted almost every guy is stronger than me in there, they're dudes.  It has been a while since he and I have rolled together.  There is not any particular reason for this, it just so happened we did not have the same training schedule.  I would say it has been about 6 months or so, probably even longer than that.  He was on bottom first and I was inside his guard.  Saying he was strong is an understatement. Grips, pulling, base, everything was so strong.  It got me to thinking.....the changes that people go through while training BJJ.  The last time I rolled with this person we were both new blue belts (I mean we still are but I'm talking baby blue belts).  I don't remember this ridic strength.  Whether he had just been doing BJJ, or strength and conditioning as well, whatever it was, I was being treated like an infant.  It could be that you are finally able to pair that strength with technique together instead of just "muscling" your way through things like we all try to do as white belts.   I believe I even said to this person "dude, you're strong as s***"   Alas, the evolution of the BJJ athlete.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lutador Results

Yesterday was the Lutador Grappling Challenge at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta Georgia.  It was a great event that moved smoothly and quickly and was staffed well.  TRT showed up with over 200 competitors and as you can imagine the team took home the title for the second time in a row.  I believe the final score was 476 to 225 for first and second place for the team titles.  This is a great victory for the team seeing as how this tournament is an Alliance run affair.   =)  Yesterday was a nice warmup for the 5 tournaments coming up in the next few months.  I was in a gi and nogi division with 4 ladies including myself, one of which was a fellow teammate Denise.  The first match of the gi portion was against a lady from North Carolina named Christy.  I knew of her but had never seen her compete so I didn't know what to expect.  I pulled guard (yeah i know) and swept.  Then I'm not sure if I got cocky or I was being nonchalant but she was able to sweep me back.  I then worked for a gi choke, received an advantage, and then swept again and the match ended.   Denise was able to control her opponent and we both made it to the finals.  I bowed out to her so we closed out the division.   Nogi was next.  I was eager to compete nogi because I have been training nogi a lot lately and wanted to see how I performed.  I went against a tough opponent from Knuckle Up and I told my coach and Denise that I was going to go for a takedown in that match.  I was going to shoot in for the single as I had been working on this in class.  We started.  Touch hands, go.  We fought for grips, moved our feet, everything was going smoothly.  Then she smacked me on the head.  You know how wrestlers place their hands on each other's heads?  Well I do believe that't what she was trying to accomplish but instead she smacked me...  right on my forehead.  Then I hear her coach say..."Yes, that's it, do it again!" Okay.  I saw red.  I was not going to wait to take this to the ground.  I wanted to be there and I wanted to be there right then.  So I yank her head down, jump guard, we scramble a minute and then I lock in a triangle and finish.   Forehead smack = angry Victoria.  On the other side of the bracket Denise was able to dominate her opponent and we met in the finals again, this time Denise bows out to me.  Then comes the nogi open.  I did this division for experience and of course it would have been nice to win, but I was pleased with my performance.  There were only 6 girls and in the semis I met a purple belt who is a weight class above me and a pan am and world champion this year as well.  It was 7 minutes of me not sweeping or attacking and her not being able to pass.  0-0-0-0 across the board.  She was way more aggressive and won the decision; I was just pumped that she could not pass. :)
           The rest of the team did AMAZINGLY well yesterday.  There was a great turnout on part of the kids and teenagers for the team and that is exciting!  There was a sea of TRT competitor shirts; so many that an Alliance member who came in that morning asked why he didn't get a competitor shirt when he signed up.  (There were so many of those shirts he thought that every person at Lutador was supposed to get one.  Mrs. Avecilla informed him that Jacare would not approve)  haha.  Excited to get back to training tomorrow.  Only a few more training days and then Las Vegas Open!   I looked at the final brackets, there are only 3 of us in the medio division.  This is ok because I am really looking forward to the open more than anything!   Off to the gym, no rest for the not so wicked!
             Congrats to the team for taking the title yesterday!!!   So happy and lucky to be a part of the best team around ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Training and Big Macs

Yeeah!   So the start of another tumultuous and fun tourney season starts in two days.  I will be able to breathe again in November.  I am excited about what the next few months will hold.  I started it off right this am with a massage from Jennifer, who by the way, works wonders for sore and tight muscles.  Then A few cardio sessions and then rest tomorrow in lieu of Lutador Challenge this weekend.   A few of the guys and myself were just debating an issue which is a hot button one for Coach Traven.  The concept of getting a massage, loosening up tight muscles, and then going to train afterwards.  Traven said that it is like having a really great training session and then going to McDonald's and eating 4 Big Macs.  He says no training after a massage.   If you ask some of the other fellas, they get the massage just to loosen up so that they can go and train  BJJ again.  Me?  I had my massage and knew full and well I was going to drink a bit of water and then hop on the stair master in a bit.  I had my upper body worked on today, mainly my shoulders and neck, so I figured the least I could do was tackle the stair master and give the upper body a break.  I definitely see Traven's point however I know for a fact that I have done Jiu Jitsu immediately after a massage before.  oops :)  I will post again after Lutador with team results.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2 Thumbs Up!

Today I tried a new rashguard from  As soon as I opened it I knew I was probably going to like it.  It was soft material, and I could tell by the cut that it looked snug and (gasp) looked to be a longer fitting top.  I have found that the rashguards I have purchased in the past have never fit me.   The sizing is always a little "iffy" if you will and it will be tight in some places and loose in others.   And let's talk about the elastic bottom.  I am NOT a fan of the elastic bottom.   The draw string and tight elastic bottoms on rashguards tend to force the top to ride up almost immediately and I spend half of my training time pulling it back down.  This rashguard is different!

Design:  The Clinch Gear rashguard I received is short sleeved, predominantly light gray and has black trim on the sides.  The Clinch Gear emblem is inconspicuous making it easy to don the top with a team name or other logo.

Material:  Fantastic!  Super soft and the rashguard is not too thick.  I mean who needs to sweat even more when training because the rash guard is too thick (especially in the gi, it makes you hot enough!)

Fit:  So I assumed that there was going to be some kind of flaw when I put the rashguard on.  For Instance, the sleeves are either too big or the sleeves are tight and the midsection is enormous.  This was not the case at all.  It fit me like a glove, and when I pulled down the bottom of the stayed in place.  I trained Gi this am for 1.5 hours and had no issues with having to constantly readjust (except in between rolls of course, that is unavoidable).  The cut is a bit longer than most, almost like a surfing top.  So I didn't feel like I needed to be 5 feet tall to fit into it.

Overall:   I really like this rashguard.  The material is nice, I like the design, and it fit very well.   I cannot attest to the durability of the product since today was my first time wearing it.  I will cross that bridge if and when I come to it.  :)

Check these guys out for sure!  or    What I like about this site is that they sell one item per day and here is the kicker:  a $5 flat shipping fee!  They sell everything from rashuards to gi's to mma shorts.   Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Double Doozie

Today there was no BJJ for me.   It is kind of weird to take a day off of BJJ during the week, but I got the chance to go to Come Fly Away this evening.  It is a musical based on Frank Sinatra music.  Needless to say, the show was fantastic.  So today I pulled a double dose of the cardio good times.  I teach Cardio kickboxing classes so I took one of my classes (and taught it, yea yea) and then a few hours later I gulped down some GU and pushed myself through a grueling stair master interval session.   Sweat box.  You know how people say girls don't sweat, they glisten?  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this girl doesn't sweat, my skin rains puddles onto the earth.  Today the brackets were posted for Lutador Challenge this weekend, and I am relatively disappointed at the number of girls registered!  The past few years there have been big divisions and this year I have 4 in gi, 4 in nogi, and there are 8 of us in the open this tourney.  But this small number of females doesn't change my desire to win...AT ALL.  So the countdown is on....Lutador, then Vegas, then Chicago!  

Monday, August 1, 2011

What just happened?

Do you ever have those training sessions where you feel like you wasted your entire session?  You tell yourself you're going to give it your all, you're going to go in and try new techniques, take risks, and who cares if you get tapped.  That was my intention when I woke up this morning.  However after my first session at 11:30 this am I felt like I did not accomplish any of these goals.  I found myself getting very frustrated with everything I was doing....I was doing the same stuff.  I was in my safezone and I did NOT want to be there.  I want to be that BJJ player that can do it all, and today was supposed to be the start of that mission.  I said its ok, I am going to train again tonight so I will start then.  Well it is now 9:45 at night and 2 more sessions later I am telling myself the same thing.  I have no idea why I trained the way I did today.  Was I just tired?  I felt like after I did 3 classes today that I did not even train hard.  And that is completely my fault.  During the advanced class a majority of the time was dedicated to drilling.  We started from mount and had to escape, winner stays on top.  This is all well and fine and I always tell myself  "hey, youre the only female in here, don't get mad if the bigger guys throw you off of them."  And this is what happened, and I still found myself getting frustrated!   Then we moved onto open guard drills.  Finally my strength.  Oh no, the winner stays on bottom. And I was starting on top.  SO basically I went repeatedly with the same guy who would let me pass and then throw me over top every time. I said "Victoria don't get mad, he is stronger and much bigger than you."  But once again I kept getting mad at myself.  I believe this then carried over to my rolls later on.  I am not chalking today up as a loss, but rather as a lesson that I can't be so damn hard on myself.  Tomorrow I do not get to train due to work and then I have a show to go to tomorrow night, so maybe a day off will do me some good.  Then Wednesday is my last day training BJJ before the tourney Saturday.   TRT!!