Category Archives: classes

Mouth guards… and other protective gear.

Class was side mount escapes to guard and an arm bar attack. It was actually a lot of fun, but I realized during the warmup that my cardio’s dropped off the map again and I was pretty gassed by the time we moved on to positional training. FAIL! All my hard work the past few months seems to have really tapered off. I’m a little disappointed in my own progress.

Regardless, I still had a great class yesterday. I paired up with S since we’re the same experience level, and only 20 lbs heavier than me. He’s considerably stronger than I am, and it was only really noticeable after the 4’th time he swept me from side control. It was frustrating to say the least, but I learned a great deal about playing to my advantages, and using my (lack of) weight to a better advantage than my current strategy. Apparently my instructor says I’m trying to be heavy, and I’m really not. :( I’m at least on-par with some of the guys in class, but tend to be lighter than most.

Still fighting off a little whiplash from the O-soto gari class we did earlier in the week and wasn’t sure how hard I was ready to go, but it didn’t matter once we started. We had a few good rounds, and managed to drill the side control escape pretty well. I was on top during one round and caught S’s knee under my chin as he tried to bring it through to get into guard. I heard a pretty loud crack in my mouth and even though all my teeth were intact, my brain was still a little rattled and I’m more than thankful that I didn’t have my tongue between my teeth at that point. I think it’s definitely time to get a mouth guard…

In retrospect, most of the people I train with in class don’t wear mouth guards, at least not until they start to roll. In fact, I think most guys don’t even wear cups – which is kind of to their disadvantage when I’m trying to pass the guard leading with my knee. I feel horrible, but I’ve clipped a few good friends and can’t imagine why wearing a soft cup wouldn’t help. Maybe they just like the pain?!

In other news, Grappler’s Quest is coming to UFC Fan Expo at the end of the month, and R might be competing! Super excited to watch my own coach compete at his level. The provincials we saw a couple weeks ago were pretty amazing, but this should be even more impressive! I’ll definitely be attending and cheering on our team! The most exciting part is getting take home a set of Zebra mats after Grapplers Quest. I finally placed the pre-order in a few weeks ago, and should have a set of mats ready for my place by the first week of May! R and I are throwing a bit of a combined birthday celebration since our birthdays are almost exactly a month apart. We’re having random friends come over and grapple at my place to break in the new mats! I can’t wait… we might even have a playful showdown of my gym vs. his gym. ;)


Full-time training

It’s back to work for me, but I just took a week off to train, eat, sleep and enjoy a bit of a mini vacation at home.

Between training sessions at the gym, I cooked healthy delicious meals, slept in every morning and took afternoon naps when I could. I had originally planned to train twice a day (mornings and evenings) but after developing mat burn on Day 2 of the training regiment, I knew I had to take it a little easier. I purchased a set of wrestling knee pads online, and since they I don’t have them yet I’m not sacrificing the skin on my knees any longer.

Classes have been steady and seeing the classes for the third time, I’m feeling more confident. I’m picking up more than 75% of the class and I really appreciate the constructive criticism on the finer points of my movements. 

With a competition in NYC under two months away, I’m desperately working on my cardio and easing out 0f my hypertrophy phase. It’s time to lean down and start cutting weight. May isn’t going to be pretty as I try to drop 8lbs to make weight at 130lbs.

R’s hurt his knee a few weeks ago so we haven’t spent any time training. He attended an open mat session on the Wednesday and it was fun just flow-rolling for practice. More training sessions are planned for the following week. More on that to come.


That familiar feeling.

Finally headed back to the gym this morning after taking almost an entire week off due to my back injury. I’m probably 90% fully recovered, but since it’s a sensitive issue like my back I’m not taking any chances.

It was great to get started and see the regulars at the gym again. We stretched and chatted a bit before class began. It just felt so good to get back into my gi and tumble around. There were a few new kids in class, but nobody I recognized so I stuck with my friends.

Today’s class was a bear hug escape and mount escapes. I tripled up with A and another white belt I’m unfamiliar with, but he looked huge! I hung around A since he’s much closer to my size and I wasn’t going to try to stress my back by lifting anyone heavy. Another blue belt came in late, so once the numbers were even again, A and I paired up for the remainder of the mount escapes. Our general consensus about mount: it’s probably our least favourite advantageous position. Because I’m usually lighter than my opponent, I feel extremely unstable in mount. Whether my opponent is bridging, or attempting a sweep or escape, my instinct is to hop over into side control instead. It’s something I know I need work on, and perhaps might drill it with R later on this week when I have more time to dedicate to it. After the technique drills, I sat out for the positional training as I didn’t want to risk my back on my first day back.

The day was a little nostalgic since I recall this particular class fairly clearly. I think it was the first BJJ class I *ever* attended at the gym, and it was with the same instructor too! It feels like I’ve been at the gym forever, when really it’s only been around 4 months at least consistently. I still tell people I started in January because I think I attended a total of 3 classes in December. In any case, in a short time I’ve made some great friends and worked hard! It’s going to be a good week in class. I can feel it.


A new gym, a new start.

First: A quick re-cap of last week’s training. I hit class 5 times last week, including a special 2 hr class with R at his gym, which always leaves me shaking at the end. I had the chance to roll with some really experienced grapplers and learned to put more of the puzzle together. It’s always a huge win to walk out of class feeling like you finally ‘got’ something. I even put in an extra 2km swim at the pool early on in the week to try to increase my cardio. I dug my ‘Fitness Swimming’ book out of my bookshelf and skimmed a few workouts I’m going to add into my training schedule. We’ll see how well I do with swimming twice a week this week, and class 6x/week with a training session with R squeezed in somewhere. I haven’t really had the chance to lift weights at all this week, but hopefully the new gym (squee!) will be stocked soon.

———-

It’s always exciting to be apart of something new, but even more so when you’re right in the middle of a transitioning phase.

Our gym recently moved into it’s new home, and classes officially move in starting today! With three times the original space we were borrowing, it’s pretty amazing to have the chance to really sprint down the mats and slam down on the mats with nothing in your way. We had an open seminar session/open house event today. Even though I was only there for one no-gi class, it was amazing to see all the friends I’ve made in this short amount of time and have the chance to celebrate with them!

For the instructors and administration staff, it was clearly amazing to watch them beam with pride as our new school officially opens to the public. There were so many new people, I lost track of how many people I tried to introduce myself to this afternoon.

I’m totally stoked because along with the new space, the new schedule came out! There’s additional morning and noon classes! This means that I can finally squeeze in once a day training (at the very least) with a really flexible schedule. I was going around trying to convince my regular lunch class goers to attend the first week of 6:45am classes with me! Some of them honestly didn’t look too impressed/convinced that it would be a good idea, but I’m sure I can coerce them into it. :D

There’s so much to look forward to, including a new fitness/weight lifting area, kids BJJ classes (I’m totally bringing my nephews!), and hopefully some women’s classes in the near future!


Another slow start

March has been a really slow start thus far. I had to miss out on training the whole week last week because I was working night shifts. There’s nothing that puts a damper on my mood than being sleep deprived, and being deprived of a sport I’m learning to love.

R made up for a lacklustre week in training by putting me through my paces twice last week. We trained on Thursday and threw another quick workout yesterday (Sunday). In addition, I also had the chance to roll with some friends at a big grappling event on Saturday night. So, I did get my grappling fix in this past weekend!

I had a bit of a discouraging morning on Sunday though. I came out of the shower and was slightly puzzled by the image in the mirror. I can’t say that I’m happy with the rate of improvement thus far. I haven’t lost any weight (still at a steady 130lbs) but the fat isn’t being converted to muscle fast enough. I think I over-estimate the amount of caloric intake my body really needs. I’ve been training consistently for about two months now and June is approaching faster than I anticipated. I’m not particularly vain about my looks, and I’m feeling pretty well-rested and healthy these days. It helps when I’m sleeping consistently of course, but the occasional naps are still a fairly regular occurrence. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I have to stop everything I’m doing and lie down for 15-30min in the mid afternoon every day just to keep at a healthy functioning level well into the evenings.

There’s stripe testing at the new gym at the end of the month, so that’s even more incentive to get going on the increased fitness regime. I’ve upped the cardio by putting in at least 1km swims in the mornings three times a week before BJJ class on days that there aren’t two classes back-to-back. I went this morning with a good friend who lives in my building and practically felt like dying after the first 700 meters. It’s really quite sad considering I swam competitively for 7 years of my life.  But nobody needs to know that… right? :P


When push comes to shove…

Anger.

Being a rather ‘emotionless’ person – as my familiy would probably describe me as, I don’t frequently experience anger. In fact, I can’t recall a time I’ve ever been truly angry during an athletic pursuit. That being said, most of my past competitive sports have been individual sports. Competitive swimming, dragonboat racing and even rowing are all competitive sports where even though there may be other teams racing against you, your greatest opponent is yourself.

Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has taught me about the human condition, about how people change, and express themselves particularly on the mat, or traditionally – dojo.

I had a rather interesting experience that really threw me into a contemplative mood last Friday.

I was at the afternoon class, one of my favourites, as the instructor doesn’t try to kill us during the warmup. He’s actually a big proponent of active stretching which is great right before a bjj class.

My friend, K was in class and being the only two girls we naturally paired up. I remember my first few classes when I first started training were with K. She taught me some valuable lessons about body positioning and staying active. I loved rolling with her because she was a little more aggressive and wasn’t afraid to bring up the intensity with me.

We were working on escapes from side mount and at one point, she had managed to pin one of my arms between our chests. I made a deliberate effort to pull my arm out, elbow first. Unfortunately I actually managed to pretty strong elbow straight to her jaw. She bit her tongue and although there wasn’t much blood, I could tell from her facial expression that it probably hurt quite a bit. I apologized immediately, as it really was an accident.

We set up for another round and she went at 100% intensity on me. She likely outweighs me by at least 30-40lbs, and is much taller and stronger than I am and I’m still unsure whether or not she took an elbow to my head deliberately or accidentally in that round. I shrugged it off and tried not to let it bother me.

She left right after class, and I didn’t get a chance to apologize again, and I’m unsure when I’ll see her in class again.

Perhaps I’m just reading into it, but was she really angry at me? And why was I so bothered by it?

I had spoken to a few friends about it, but in reality I think there’s something about pain that triggers an emotional response. I’ll admit, I don’t know what it’s like to be in that situation (yet?) It’s frustrating to think that people lash out in anger when training. I mean, that defeats the purpose of training. Learning to express and manage your emotions when you’re upset during training should be fundamental to a physical sport such as submission grappling.

 


The Rant.

I dragged myself back to class last night even though I was still feeling my workout from Monday night.

I hadn’t eaten all day since my bowl of oatmeal that morning for breakfast since I was pretty swamped at work. I decided to take a quick nap at home instead of eating (bad idea in retrospect) and ran off to the gym.

It was the gi class first, and I was surprised to see all the new people in class on an early Wednesday night. Actually, I think more than 40% of the class was new – which is awesome! I took a quick glance into the class and spotted B – and made my way over to line up with her. We were the only two girls in the class, and seeing as she’s an experienced Japanese Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I love rolling with her. She kicks my butt on a pretty regular basis and I learn a lot every single time I get a chance to roll with her. Our instructor, K took us through our warmup and drills and I was feeling pretty good. We focused on bear hug escapes and attacking from mount. We both had done the class before, so it was a good review while we joked around after the class.

K was teaching the second no-gi class and our class size instantly doubled! Drats. Space is still a bit of an issue until we move into our new gym (hopefully) in March! Same warmup, same drills, and this time I was pretty gassed. I was breathing hard and chugging water by the second round, and since B had stayed for the second class too, I went to pair up with her again…

 Since the class was larger, and we still had the same amount of new students, K decided it would be a good idea to split up the more experienced students with the new students. There were quite a few more girls, and since we were an uneven number, I was sent to pair up with a relatively new guy, around my size. Oh boy.

rant

Someone should explain this to everyone who comes in. I may be new, but just because you’re some hot shot who thinks it *might* be embarrassing to be tapped out by a girl DOES NOT give you permission to try to muscle me around the mats. We started off by pummeling, and honestly it was me trying to gain underhooks while he shoved me around the mat. I was frustrated, irritated and just didn’t have the patience for his shit.

Look, I work hard in the gym because I love the feeling it gives me. I’m stronger than most girls, but I’m here to learn, not to prove myself that I can handle rolling with the guys. I’m not afraid to learn from you guys because I know you’re naturally better athletes than us females. Still, I deserve respect for coming and working my ass off in class, just as hard as you do, and not have to put up with you going 110% on every single drill. Next time you pull stupid shit like that, I’m going to choke your ass out.

/rant

I knew that my skill wouldn’t hold up to the fact that I was pretty tired already. So, while K was going over the takedown we were about to drill, I tapped B and asked her if I could switch partners with her. I figured: “Fine, if you want to be taught a lesson about what it’s like to roll with a girl, you can deal with B, she’ll show you.” I didn’t swap to ‘hide’ behind my friend, I knew that I wasn’t a good partner for this hot-headed kid, and it would likely end in some sort of injury.

From what I heard from B was that she barely worked up a sweat to defend against the less experienced kid. She told him that she could easily use both her experience in skill and her strength and it wouldn’t help either of them to leran anything in class. He instantly dialed down the intensity after that. Hopefully he’ll approach rolling with a girl in a different manner next time he shows up in class. 

If you haven’t had the chance, read this by BjjGrrl.wordpress.com – She kicks ass and pretty much addresses all the major issues of Do’s and Don’t’s for beginners to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! Including a great section about ‘Rolling with Girls’. Enjoy!


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