Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mother Nature is freaking weird.

This has nothing what so ever to do with Jiu-jitsu.  

Yesterday when I was walking out of my house, I noticed a big giant black fuzzy caterpillar on my door frame.  I pointed it out to the kids and went on my way.  I live in Florida.  Giant bugs are always somewhere. 

The next morning I noticed that the caterpillar was covered in white fuzz.  Upon further inspection, I noticed the white fuzz was tiny little wriggly maggoty looking things making tiny white cocoons.  After I vomited in my mouth a little, I took a picture.

And being that I like bugs, I tend not to kill them,, I just relocate them, but this one was clearly in the middle of something, so I left it there.

If you look toward the top or bottom to the left you can clearly see the little maggoty things.

I figured they were it's babies... after all lots of insects carry their babies around on their backs. 

Then I realized that caterpillars are larvae themselves so those couldn't possibly be its babies...

So, I went back out there and looked at it again and the caterpillar was leaving its disgusting maggoty cocoon behind.

So, I left the babies there in their nasty sack of maggoty fuzz.

And then I Googled that shit.

Now look at that first picture again, see that green drippy stuff.. that is blood.. Because a WASP laid its babies INSIDE the caterpillar AND THEY ATE THEIR WAY OUT.

Again, for clarity.  THE WASP LARVAE ATE THEIR WAY OUT OF THE CATERPILLAR, and then made their homes on it's back.  WTF wasp babies, WTF, as if your adult state isn't one of the most foul states of insect on the planet already.

Needless to say the nasty sack of wasp babies is gone.

Kinda cool though.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When Rage Mode Attacks

I am a calm grappler.  Possibly to a fault.  Even in competitions.

I close my eyes and tend to be more reactionary than to be the one to drive the pace of a grapple.

I know some people grapple with a lot of emotion and very competitively even in training.  I kind of wish I could be that way too.. it's just not me.  I grapple because it is fun, and I enjoy it.  Not because I feel compelled to win, or be the best.  I'd probably be a better grappler if I could find my competitive streak.  But alas, 3.5 years in and I still don't care if I 'win'.

However, last night I went straight rage mode mid grapple and it was probably more out of my control then I would like to admit.

Had I been playing Monopoly, I would have flipped the entire table in a fit of rage, and stormed out of the room cursing like I had turrets.

Sadly though, I was grappling another human being.  And I did exactly the thing that annoys me most.  I went from normal sane person to channeling the Hulk in .5 seconds.

I was grappling an I-am-mostly-done-with-puberty-but-am-not-yet-a-man child.  I started the grappling thinking, I'd let him do his thing, not realizing that our very lives hung in the balance and one of us was going to die at the end of that grapple.. Or at least, that is what I assume he was thinking because that is exactly how he was grappling.  At one point, he randomly just grappled my foot and went for a toe hold, and had he known what he was doing, or was in the proper position, he probably would have broken my foot. He just grabbed it and tried with ALL of his might to mash my foot in half... teeth grinding, shaking with the effort of trying to break my foot in half.  I wouldn't have had time to tap had it been applied correctly.

He is newish, and young and clearly doesn't know any better and has likely been watching Youtube... but it made me SO angry that he was trying his damnedest to ruin my foot.  I kicked him off my leg and threw him in a triangle as quickly and forcefully as I could and debated with myself very briefly if I should put him to sleep or not. But I didn't.  And after we started again I was still super pissed and grappled much harder than I should have for about 30 seconds before I was able to shut off the rage and grapple like a sane person.  And once I calmed down he remained calm for the remainder of the grapple.

Afterward I said sorry and explained to him that he needs to be a lot more careful with those kinds of submissions because you could really hurt someone.

He seemed to understand, but I feel kinda crappy that I lost my shit.


We both survived to grapple another day though.  So at least there is that.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The closest thing I'll ever have to actual minions....

Since my ad in the Lakeland Ledger has yielded poor results, I have taken up the post as the Women's Class instructor.  It's not really the same thing as minions for world domination, but hey, close enough.  I'm not picky.

To be totally honest though, the thought of taking over the class was nauseating at best.  Due to circumstances outside her control our previous instructor, Allie had to step down.  So, I was asked to take over or let the women's class dissolve.  And after a year and a half of training with these ladies, I couldn't bear the thought of ending the class... So, I took over, fairly certain that I was not qualified to teach, and sure the girls would slowly stop coming.

I kept thinking of all the glaring holes in my own game.... Envisioning bring up a team with the same gaping holes I have... all the girls unable to manage take downs, and no one ever successfully sweeping from bottom half guard.  Ever.

And my very first class as solo instructor, my worst fear was faced, and as it turned out, it wasn't so bad.

The worst part of my game is EASILY takedowns.  I know all of two that I walk someone through easily enough but give me a resisting body and I'll likely fall down in the attempt.  And I am not joking about that either, my second competition I was determined to take someone down, so I tried... and fell down. (I did manage to recover and win that match though.  So at least there was that.) 

My first class was the last class before a competition, so I asked the girls what they wanted to go over... Takedowns.  Of course.  So, I tried not to throw up in my mouth, and got to walking them through take downs, and then had them work take down drills... and low and behold, knowledge was gained and takedowns happened.

I realized I knew more then I thought, and could impart BJJ how to, to others.  Something that I never really appreciated how difficult would be. Using words to explain how to swivel or switch a hip was harder than I thought.

But six weeks into teaching, I am starting to enjoy it.  One of the ladies recently had a major epiphany one class, and we both felt like this kid.

Not to mention, I think it is making me better as well.  I have to think of every step of every move to make sure I relay the proper information.  Not to mention having to troubleshoot with the girls when they hit a block.  It makes me think and find answers.

However, as good as the class is going, it doesn't undo the fact that I still have major holes in my game.  So, I've asked some of the guys who excel the things I ruin horrifically to come to class and teach those things for me.  This is a double win.  I think it is beneficial to the girls to have a different instructor with a different point of view from time to time, but it is awesome for me too, because basically I am having tailor made classes that help me where I am weakest.

And thankfully, I have a awesome team that has been very willing to help me when I ask.  So, thanks guys!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The pros and cons of training in the heat.

I live in Florida.  

My gym is not fancy.  Not even a little.

It is basically an office, a singular bathroom, and mats.

Inside a warehouse, in an industrial park.

A far cry from the well know, absolutely gorgeous, state of the art, all white, glass front gym of the Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy of the Mendes Brothers. ... that I am sure is kept about 15 degrees cooler than the gym I (very happily) call home.

As you can imagine, in Florida in the summer at midday, it can get a little warm.  And by a little warm, I mean 91 degrees.  It is air conditioned, but again... warehouse, midday, Florida... sweating bodies.  It stays about 90 degrees.

In the summer time I am dripping sweat by the end of warm ups.  You could literately just sit in the gym and warm up.

By the end of the second grapple my fingers are pruney, and they stay that way all class.  This really isn't a problem except for the fact that when my skin is all soggy, it is much more easily ripped or rubbed off.  And of course, gripping and pulling on lapels and sleeves for an hour does exactly that.  For about a month now my finger tips have been raw... and the horrifying calluses I have developed on all my knuckles over the past three years have been slowly rubbed off from grappling in a constant state of wet handedness.

My elbows and knees are also getting rubbed raw from the same thing... damp skin, wet rough gi = rubbed off skin.  And of course, its sweat, not just water so it stings.

Insert more bitching and complaining about grappling soggy here.

The mats are also constantly wet and slippery.  It can quite literally be like grappling on a slip and slide sometimes.

And all of that on top of, grappling in heat makes it hard to breathe, its hard to catch your breath, and staying hydrated while not drinking too much water is a fine line to walk.

It sucks.... but I love it.  
It is weirdly satisfying.
(I also love BJJ, my team, and my instructor, so that makes all the suffering much more bearable.)
The singular pro is that I will train like this all summer, and when it comes time to compete in the lovely air conditioned gyms it will a cake walk.

Well, I guess, a second pro could be that the excessive exfoliation is making me softer than I've ever been in my life.  That counts for something I am sure.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Why not to cut weight.... at least for me.

I cut weight for Copa, and this was closer to cutting weight than what I normally do.  If I want to drop a weight class, I always start well in advance, and try to go about doing it in the best way possible, with the least negative effects on my body.

For Copa, I about 5% of my body weight in six days.  It may not really seem like a lot, but it was enough to put me in the hospital.  Oops.

I normally have low blood pressure, and in cutting weight, I got dehydrated, and it caused my already low BP to drop even lower.

The weird thing about it was I have been dehydrated before, and I feel dehydrated.  I am tried, my head hurts and I feel awful.  This time though, I felt generally fine.  I was tired, and sore, but I attributed it to the fact that I had just competed.

However, walking across my house, I blacked out, and landed on my face.  Neither of those things were real great for my body.

It's actually not as funny when you are the one falling down. 

And being that blacking out and smashing your face is not something that generally happens to 30 year old healthy women, I was forced to go to the ER.

Luckily the problem was just hypotension caused by dehydration, and possibly my anemia in conjunction with my already low BP.  My normal BP is 85/50 ish... so when it is already low, having it drop rapidly from standing and moving quickly, I fainted.  I do get dizzy if I stand up quickly from time to time, but I guess it was just made worse by dehydration.

So, they gave me an epic crap ton of fluids... they started with three bags all at once.  That sucked quite a bit.  It made me REALLY cold and miserable for about an hour... but then they gave me fluids at a normal rate and kept me for observation.  ... Observation being, my standing up and siting down a bunch of times over and over, whist my hospital gown malfunctioned horribly.

So, the moral of this story is... I will never cut weight again.  I will just fight strong at my walking around weight and that will just have to be enough, and I am sure it will be.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Copa America Competition

I competed today in the Copa America tournament here in Lakeland.

I took third in the blue belt division, second in no gi expert, and second in no gi all weight all skill level absolute.

Only one other teammate of mine competed, Jimmy.  He took second in purple belt absolute, and third in both of the all belts, all weights gi and no gi division.  He did really well, especially considering he black and brown belts in both of his absolutes.  

We took home six medals for Team Fabio Novaes between the two of us.  Not too bad. 

I had a lot of fun, and surprisingly had a whole new set of girls to grapple.  I have been running into the same girls over and over at these types of competitions, so it was a nice change of pace.  

However, I learned a really good lesson.  Never cut weight.  Ever.


I went into my gi division feeling like crap, and not surprisingly grappled like crap.  I had tough girls in that division too, so that didn't help at all.  My second match I went to post my foot to hip out and my foot started shaking and I had zero energy, so I mentally quit. ... Until I heard Jimmy tell me I was down by five points with a minute to go, so I needed to move my ass.  Luckily I was able to return to my guard and pull off a triangle.  But I wouldn't have been in that boat in the first place if I had just fought strong six pounds ago.

By the time no gi rolled around I'd eaten and had plenty to drink so I feel like I grappled a lot better.   So, yay for that.   

Over all it was a really fun tournament, and I am looking forward to (hopefully) The Atlanta Open, and The Miami Open. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

BJJ hair for Women III

I've blogged before about how I wear when I grapple, and how I went from having waist length hair to almost almost no hair at all over the course of my training, and how BJJ is brutal on hair.  You have to wash it constantly, and it gets pulled out, ripped and damaged pretty much the whole time you are grappling.

And while I have found the best way to keep MY hair our of my face and from getting stuck under people's butts and knees (Though its getting long, so I am going to have to figure something else out.) I hadn't yet figured out how to keep my hair from looking and feeling like I abuse it.

On top of abusing my hair in BJJ, I also abuse my hair off the mat.  I have curly awful unruly hair, and if I don't want to look like I am in a constant state of bedhead, I have to straighten my hair every time I wash it, and I bleach and recolor my hair every 4-6 weeks.  I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who is as mean to their hair as I am.

And after four years I have finally found a shampoo and conditioner that actually makes my hair feel and look less damaged than it is.   Honestly, I don't know if it actually does repair my hair, but it certainly feels like it does.  Plus, it smells good.

John Frieda Full Repair shampoo and conditioner is amazing.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Soap Box: Mean Girls

I am going to soap box today... Sorry.  Girl-Jitsu, LLC posted an article recently.  It was submitted by a reader, and does not reflect the opinion of Girl-Jitsu... that being said, the article touched on essentially my biggest pet peeve in BJJ.  Women who are condescending and mean to the other girls on their team. 

That. Is. Bullshit.  

It is hard enough to be a woman on the mat without the few other women bullying you and making you feel unwelcome.

I think we as women are taught from a young age to compare ourselves to other women.  Am I prettier? Am I smarter? Are my shoes cuter?  If no, then point out all the things that make you better than that girl.  Not to mention how we are basically shown what we need to look and act like by society, and God forbid we fall short of what we are very clearly told what is good enough and what isn't.  

That in and of itself is crap as well, but I won't go off on that tangent.

When it comes to BJJ, we as women have to make ourselves VERY vulnerable to train.  We have to put our heart, soul, sweat and tears into our training... in a room full of men who are climbing all over us, and kicking our asses.  Literally.

It is hard.  It can suck a very large amount.  But I feel like BJJ is the common ground we all as women need.  It is the great equalizer.  We can, should, and need to put all the petty female rivalry we were born into behind us.  Use BJJ to help lift each other up for a change.  Support each other.  Be there for each other.  

BJJ has changed my life in such a dramatic astounding way, and brings me so much joy and happiness I want more than anything to share that with the other people, and especially the women in my life.  I want everyone to have access to the wonderful world of BJJ.  I would never in a million years try to squeeze someone out because I didn't like her, was jealous, or because I didn't like her personality. 

BJJ is so more than that.  

So, stop it.  Stop being mean.  Stop being condescending.  Just stop.  Appreciate each other for what you are.  Thank them for being there for you to train with.  They are walking down a similar arduous path.  BJJ is hard... and while their journey may be different than yours, know they too, have similar struggles.  Other women are going to be the only ones who know what it's like to be smaller and weaker than a man.  It is a frustrating thing to always be weaker, and capable of being overpowered   Most men won't know what it's like.  They won't understand when it makes you cry... But your female teammate will.  You can be immensely powerful tools to each other, but just as just as immensely defeating.  Don't be that girl.

I am not saying you have to be BFFs with every girl that walks in the door, but while you share the mat with them, treat them them the way you would want someone to treat your sister, or your daughter or your mom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pan Ams 2013 and Tattoos

Fabio competed again this year and brought home another medal!  Congrats Fabio!  Always proud to be one of his students.

I watched online, and serious props to Budo Videos.  Their multimat technology kicked ass.  I saw every single matched I wanted to see.  Absolutely worth it this year... my only request would be they have the scores on the screen for all the matches, not just the adult male finals... which by the way, were amazing.  Caio Terra is probably my favorite grappler, so I always enjoy watching him grapple... Third gold at the Pans in a row! Woohoo!

I would watch the Pan Ams online next year, but I'm going instead. Woohoo! I've wanted to go the past two years, but I am tried of just wanting to go.  I'm going.  I've already got it worked out.  So, 2014 Pan Ams.. I will see you there! =D

I am also doing the Miami Open in six months.  So, it works it self out perfectly.  Miami is in 6 months, and the Pan Ams are six months after that.  I'll have plenty of time before each to give my body rest, then kick my own ass training.

And speaking of rest.. .that is what I am doing now.  I am in the middle of a one month break.  My knee is being lame and I would like it to fully recover before I start competition training.  The break perfectly coincided with tattoo time as well.  So my arm and knee can heal at the same time.  Multi tasking for the win.

Sean Williams, my tattoo artist is all sorts of awesome as you can tell.

This tattoo is finished, but in all likelihood this will become a half sleeve.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thank you for being trustworthy.

My team has an unusual number of women on it.  We have at least a dozen women who train regularly.

But that still leaves us out numbered over 20 to 1 when it comes to our male teammates.

Training BJJ was actually a little difficult for me in the beginning.  If I was not instantly obsessed, I don't think I would have kept training.  I have trust issues as well as personal space issues (Well, HAD personal space issues.  BJJ fixed that.) but to train BJJ I had to blindly trust that these essential strangers, who were climbing all over my body, were doing so with good intentions.

Three years in and they have all proven their intentions to be pure... at least in the way that they are only trying to do me bodily harm.  =)

Sadly, with the Lloyd Irving horror story unraveling, I realize more and and more that, that is not always the case. 

So, thank you Team Fabio Novaes for being decent, upstanding human beings.  Thank you for not letting my trust be misplaced.  I feel blessed to be part of this team and thankful to have my teammates, male and female in my life.

Trust is not something I give lightly, or easily so it means more than I can express that I have a place where I can let my guard down, and still feel safe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Tonight I got my second stripe!

And like I always, I am happy Fabio thinks I deserves a stripe, and decidedly against receiving said stripe.

One of my favorite training partners got a stripe too, and in all honesty I am happier for her than for myself.  I love her to death, and she totally 100% deserves it! 

Erica America!! 

Jimmy, one of my good friends, got his first stripe as a purple belt tonight as well.  Congrats Jimmy!  Well deserved!  ....and then we made him an honorary girl and included him in our post class excessive picture taking.
You make a lovely lady, Jimmy.  Hope it wasn't too awkward for you!  haha =) 

And I still fail at the whole being serious portion of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.  Good thing Fabio doesn't seem to care.

And congrats to Eddie, Cruz, Little Cruz, Gary x2, and Raul!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vacation: Over

We went up to the mountains for Christmas this year.  

My kids saw snow for the first time!  They were very excited... as you can see here.  The look on her face is priceless.

It rained two days we were there.  I am told one of the storms we got was considered a blizzard, even though there was no snow, but I don't claim to know anything about real winter weather.  I was cool though, and pretty.  We were in a really, REALLY rural area and you could hear the wind coming.. snapping branches as it came.  It sounded like a giant was storming through the woods.  

This fire place was the soul source of heat for the entire house.  Which meant we had to chop wood everyday if we didn't want to freeze to death.  (And yes, I was on vacation   I had whipped cream on my coffee.  It's freaking delicious.)

 I learned to chop firewood! I am told I stand wrong, but I'd rather stand wrong than lop my foot off.  Fair trade I think.  Plus, the wood still gets chopped in half even if I stand like an idiot.  And Zaile being my little mini me had to give it a try too.  I helped her chop the ax a few times, and then staged this picture for her.  She loved it.

I loved this little winding road that lead up to our cabin.  And mountain driving is a trip.  Its like a roller coaster in which you can fly off the track and die, and a lot of the roads we had to drive down were essentially one lane.  I took a wrong turn once, and ended up having to drive down BACKWARDS, because there was no where for me to make a turn.  Insanity.  

This was the first morning it snowed.  It was also the first day the sun broke through the clouds in three days.  This picture doesn't capture it AT ALL, but it was snowing when I took this, and all the little snow flakes caught the sunlight and it looked like it was raining white glitter.  It was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.  That, and I desperately missed the sunshine.  I could never live somewhere that wasn't generally sunny.

This is my niece.  I got to spend a lot of time with her while we were up there too.  She and my other nieces and nephews are fantastic kids, and I wish we lived closer.  I miss them so much!

I took these on my snow adventure.  You non Floridians may not as been overly impressed with snow and frozen water as I was... but I never see it.  I'll spare you the 300 other pictures of snow I took.

We went snow tubing down the side of a mountain too.  It was a lot of fun, and also terrifying and painful.  I almost always had to go down with a kid in my lap... and we weren't sliding down snow.. we were sliding down ice.  My butt was sad about it.

This is what I got for Christmas!  Yay!  

This was me New Year's Eve.  We spent it at Disney World like we do every year.  

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope your 2013 kicks ass!