Monthly Archives: January 2011

BJJ as Self Defense.

Remember, only choose Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as your method of self-defense if you want to shove your crotch in their face…


Safe Word.

Before starting my regular training regiment at BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) classes, I knew my endurance for cardio wasn’t great. In fact, it was pretty dismal. I used to have problems with exercise-induced asthma as a teenager when I swam competitively, and the last thing I wanted to do was try to cough up a lung in class.

So, I started swimming/training on the elliptical again.

At first re-training my heart and lungs was really rough. I could pace myself when I was on my own, but when our instructors were pushing us to do cycles of burpees, pushups and crunches in class, I felt like my lungs were burning out of my chest. I was going to class two to three times a week, and the end of the 15 minute ‘warm-up’ my lungs were aching. In a little over 3 weeks, I can now do back-to-back classes without the use of a puffer before class.

I had my real test last week.

I’ve got a friend that’s also become a bit of a personal trainer. He has years of BJJ experience over me, and is dedicated to helping me achieve some of my BJJ goals. ‘R’ came over to roll with me last week and work on fine-tuning some trigger drills at my place. What I didn’t know was that this was going to be a real test of all my endurance cardio over the past few weeks. He told me to choose a ‘Safe Word’ that was basically my chance to call it quits in the middle of the workout if I felt like I was pushing my body beyond the point of no return. My ‘Safe Word’ is Atari.

We started off at a steady pace of active pummeling, fighting for double under hooks, and moving around the mats. We did classic jumping jacks, burpees, tuck jumps, and active rest (jogging on the spot.) It felt good to have my heart rate spike fairly quickly and I didn’t feel the need to cough (win!) We practiced a variety of drills that constantly changed the body position to mimic sweeps and maintaining position. We moved on to a variety of drills for the arm-bars, triangles, and the kimura over and over again. At this point, my heart was beating so hard, I could feel it pounding on the inside of my chest. On the downside, it was frustrating to feel my body react slower than my mind was commanding it. It was a combination of dehydration and mental sluggishness. At this point, I had no idea how much time had elapsed, but we started to cycle through the repetitive drills. He called ‘Burpees’ and as he partnered in front of me to start the first count, I was shaking my head in frustration.

I didn’t feel the need to call my safe word, and I would probably be throwing up on the mats before I felt compelled to use it. However, after the first cycle of burpees he called ’20 more’ I was ready to punch something fierce. He was trying to motivate me, telling me I wasn’t tired and to keep going. I was cheating with the burpees at this point. I couldn’t get down and up fast enough and was literally stepping to stand up.

Have you ever been in a dream where everything was out of focus except for a single point?

My workout felt similar to a dream at that point. Everything was out of focus.. except for his face. Which I was feeling a combined emotion of frustration and absolute loathing. It was weird.

5, 4, 3, 2…1.

And it was over. I asked for some water, and was obliged.

“So, now that the warm-up’s over.. we can move on to the work out.” He jested.

I barely heard him as I sipped water carefully, making sure I didn’t make my stomach contract and attempt reverse-flow.

I was breathing hard, but beaming on the inside. I knew I’d come a long way three weeks ago, and it was just another small victory in my training. No puffers, no asthma attack, and I still finished without stopping, or calling the safe word.

Step on the mats.

Welcome to a brand new beginning.

It’s January 30th, 2011, and I’ve been inspired by friends and family to start an online journal about my experiences, challenges and triumphs in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I’m a 20-something year old female from Toronto, Canada and my journey started not too long ago. I have brief recollections of watching my little brother study Judo and Wushu as a child. I always watched with fascination, wanting to join in but ‘proper’ Asian parenting told me that girls didn’t ‘fight’ like boys did.

In university I was exposed to the UFC by an old ex-bf and remember the excitement and energy every time fight night came around. We watched with earnest as our favourite fighters entered the cage round after round.

Fast forward a few years later and I’ve found myself play-wrestling with a group of friends, and sick and tired of losing to them…all the time, I decided to educate myself a little. I did some research and ended up taking my first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in November of 2010. With some positive encouragement from friends (and family!) I officially registered and started attending classes (3-4) every week. This is really where this blog starts.

It’s been a solid month of classes, and I’ve made significant changes to my lifestyle, eating habits, and taken up yoga on a regular basis as well! I’ll be documenting my progress as time goes on. More to come on philosophy and mentality, goals, inspiration and my progress!

Please read the disclaimer about this blog if this is your first visit. 🙂

Names of people and certain places will be changed to protect privacy. Enjoy!