Sunday, August 25, 2013

No Days Off- open mats

Closed Gym. Open Mats. 

In class you don't just learn from the instructor, you learn from a lot of the people in class as well. Especially, the people you drill and roll with a lot. Most of the time the girls stick together, and if there are no girls, they work in with the smaller guys (if there are no smaller guys they generally stop coming!). 

 Today they gym was closed but the NoGi instructor was there for open mats. Jackie, my usual rolling buddy, was unexpectedly absent leaving me to fend for myself with about 5 other purple and blue belts. Luckily, I've now been training at Renzo's for 3 weeks now and I knew all of the guys there, so even though they were bigger then me, I didn't have any problems working in with them. Sometimes it can be intimidating working in with a bunch of big guys that all have 50-100 pounds on you when there is no instructor there to pair you up. I've learned, or been advised, that there are several different types of people that you may encounter when stepping onto the mats. 

My fellow white belts/ lower belts: I've been told to stay away from them when going live because they lack technique and can be rough, whether intentional or not, I, on the other hand, like going against them. I find it a lot easier to practice the drills we do in class on people who have no idea what's going on before trying it on the higher belts who generally anticipate your move and stop you.

Higher belt: your typical partner that rolls with you. Hopefully they have enough consideration to use more technique then strength because they generally outweigh me.  Sometimes they like to tap you out (over and over again)  and other times they just like to transition from one position to another. They generally move at a slow pace that lets you see what your doing wrong so that you can learn from your mistakes. You leave your arm in the wrong place, you get an arm bar, but they let you escape it. You escape it wrong and end up in the triangle, they explain to you how to defend the triangle because you forgot... And so on. Eventually the stuff you drill sinks in.

Teachers: these are the people that will flow nice with you and actually stop to explain a certain technique or point out something your doing wrong. It's almost like a 5 minute private lesson and can be very helpful.  HOWEVER, there are people that want to teach you when you just want to roll. 

Badass: this is the person that shows you what a bad ass you can be if you train hard by making you tap in ways you can't even explain. This will generally continue about 3x per minute no matter what you try and happen so fast that its very hard to learn much other then how to tap effectively. The other day I heard a blue belt tap and it was then followed by, "what the hell!?!?", and I knew immediately that it had happened it him; the guy I was rolling with confirmed it. Apparently they both got caught in something that had to do with a dangling hand that resulted in a vicious choke. Rolling with this kind of person is good for practicing your defense (against all the chokes and arm bars you will probably be forced to tap out to) and if your quick you can pick up a few nasty tricks. They rarely "give" you anything, so if you do gain position, you know you earned it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Packing. 23 days away

Make sure to bring running shoes to climb Pedra da Gavea
Located in Barra de Tijuca

When I decided to move to Brazil I didn't realize what a monumental task it would be to condense my life into two 70 pounds suitcases. In addition to that, I had to move ALL of my stuff from Virginia (VA) to Pennsylvania (PA) unpack it, live for a month, repack it, then i'll have to take it back down to Virginia to live for a week, repack it again, and catch my flight to Brazil. I'm flying out of VA because flights turned out to be a lot cheaper from there, although I have not confirmed exactly where I'll be staying or who will be taking me to the airport yet.

Overall, the whole packing experience has been more painful than training. Luckily, I have some idea what to expect from the Connection Rio Blogs and from previously living in the Dominican Republic, but this time I'll be traveling for an undetermined amount of time.

 So far I've got:

  • Several long sleeve shirts
  • a bunch of tank tops and t-shirts 
  • Jeans and a few pairs of shorts
  • BATHINGSUITS (I keep forgetting I'll be at the beach)
  • a Ridiculous amount of work out clothes
  • Medical tape and prewrap for training
  • 6 months of contacts, and two pairs of glasses
I still have to go to the store and buy:
  • Peanut butter (expensive in South America)
  • Toiletries (tooth paste, razors, face wash, hair stuff, etc)
  • Feminine products (hard to find all the same brands in South America)
  • Protein powder and vitamins
  • Headphones (to block out the other people in the room in necessary)
  • Bugspray and sunscreen
I also want to get Brazilian money so that I have money to pay the taxi and other random fees that ALWAYS pop up at the airport. Since I speak Spanish I've managed to weasel my way out of random visa fees in Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, but I'm not going to push my luck with my broken Portuguese. 

Shoes have been another hard part. I'm a tomboy at heart so you would never think that I would have so many shoes, or be so sentimental attached to the ones that I do but I proved myself wrong as a loaded box after box of shoes into my Uhaul truck. I've broken it down into 
  • Running shoes (possibly two pairs sense I've had a pair destroyed by mud on a mountain before)
  • Two pairs of normal shoes
  • 2 pairs of sandals (nice)
  • Two pairs of flip flops (for wearing the the gym, the beach, and in the shower)
  • a pair of high heels
The goal is to have one of my two suitcases packed by next week because I have to go down to Virginia to teach some private kickboxing lessons (I'm using the money to pay for my private Jiu Jitsu lessons). This way I won't have to lug two heavy suitcases on the bus and the metro when I make my final trip to Brazil Via VA. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Private Lessons

Packed gym despite the fact that we were closed!

I got in a lot of BJJ this week. On Wednesday morning I met Jackie at the gym to grapple a little bit. She is training for a tournament in September, so she wanted to get in some NoGi in the morning. There is a decent group of people Jiu Jitsu students that show up when there is open mat time to get some extra rolling in.

I scheduled a private meeting on Saturday and also arranged to roll with Jack afterwards since the gym with closed because of Jordan Stiner's fight (he won his 5th professional fight that night making his record 5-0). The private lesson was with Mike, a Brown belt that has been training at Renzo's for 6 years. He's relatively small which makes him a nice person a drill with. We worked on some guard passes. After an hour a whole bunch of other people started showing up to roll. I tried one of the guard passes on a purple belt about three times my size. It didn't work, he just smiled and told me that I did had at least done it right.

For being closed for the day there were a lot of dedicated people that wanting to get time on the mats.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kyra Gracie on October 12th

I am officially going to the Kyra Gracie seminar in October. I'm siked. I have a little over a month before I move to Brazil. I will be buying my plane ticket tomorrow as well as finalizing my reservation at Connection Rio. I'll get there on a Sunday morning. Before I buy my plane ticket I want to confirm that they provide transportation from the airport to the house in Tijuca. I wonder if they have class on Sundays...

New Rashguard from Renzo Gracie PA

I've been living in Pennsylvania for a week now and training at Renzo Gracie PA. The owner Rich Latta has been doing be a real favor helping me get my Jiu Jitsu ready for Brazil. It's nice to finally get to know people in class. A lot of the blue and purple belts are really helpful so I've learned a lot from them. I'm in there everyday, but they only have BJJ classes there Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I do boxing, Muay Thai, and Nogi in between. Despite the fact that I'm clearly better on my feet, I've really been wanting to roll more. I've definitely been getting better in the short time that I've been here. 

I wonder what classes in Brazil will be like. I'm used to working out twice a day, but I always switch up my routine. It will be interesting to transition into doing nothing but BJJ for three months. Starting off my trip with a Kyra Gracie seminar is like a small dream come true. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New State. New Gym

So, I finally moved out of Virginia (and out of my cubby at MiKiDo) and I made it without crying! Before leaving I stopped by the gym one last time because I forgot my Bo staff. I got a chance to say goodbye to Umaer (one of my trainers), and my title belt, that is now hanging on the gym wall.  Then I had to drive a Uhaul truck all the way up to Pennsylvania by myself, which I was not happy about! Well I broke all the stereo types about women and driving. Not only did I make it up to PA in great time, I backed the truck into my driveway in my narrow one way street!! Needless to say, I feel pretty accomplished. 

I left VA at 1:30pm which gave me enough time to get to PA park the truck, unload a few bags (i.e. unleash chaos in my room),  and make it to Renzo Gracie PA in time for their 6:30 Jiu Jitsu class. 

This happened, but I found rashguard 
and compression shorts!

I got in a nice hour of rolling. We went over the arm bar, how to finish the arm bar if your getting stacked, then triangle and triangle escapes. What I like about their Jiu Jitsu classes is they teach a series of techniques that flow together over a week or two period and continuously reinforce those specific techniques. The end results is a lot more drilling and technique perfection then I normally get. At other gyms they drill arm bar for 10 minutes then go live. Then the next day they'll drill another unrelated technique and go live. As a smaller person, I need all the technique that I can get because there is no way I'm going to over power a guy thats got 50-100 pounds on me!