Thursday, October 31, 2013

Short Lived Victory

Gringo Squad @ Gordo's

I FINALLY tapped someone out yesterday, as a matter of fact, several someones! 

Afterwards, I sat around during the white belt class with the black belts talking and going over some positional questions that I had. After almost two months of being in Brazil, it feels good to be able to sit around and communicate with people in Portuguese. Being a white belt and a female in a house full of guys, in a gym full of guys, in a country that’s not your own can leave a girl feeling somewhat ostracized. It's nice to feel accepted. 

The president of Koral stopped by the Connection Rio house

Anyways, I left the gym feeling like a complete Brazilian badass. I went home and told my friend at the house and he looks at me completely unexcited and says, "What? You haven't tapped many people since you've been here". Victory short lived. 

Considering I'm almost 20 kilos lighter and at least 5 years younger than almost anyone that trains at my gym (with the exception of our gringo team), I most definitely have not be going into Gordo's and destroying anyone. In fact, my training experience there has consisted of a lot of drilling and a lot of me trying to throw arm bars on the incredible hulk. Trying to break someone’s guard feels like trying to break through a brick wall most of the time, so needless to say, I'm getting really good at getting crushed and then patiently waiting for the wall to open up a little, so I can transition and continue to get crushed from a different position. 

Repping Renzo Gracie PA!

I've considered switching gyms and going somewhere where they have more females or just lighter people, but loyalty is important to me. This gym is where I started and it’s associated with Renzo's back at home so it would be incredibly hard for me to leave.

I can't wait to compete in a couple of weeks so that I can let all of my frustration out on someone that is my belt level and my weight. I figure with the amount of time I spend training and the size of the guys I train with, I will destroy anyone that is my size. I went to my first BJJ competition last week and saw some of my friends compete, now I can't wait to step on the mats and bring home some medals. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One month down... many more beatings to go

My first month in Brazil has been everything that I wanted it to be. My first week I met Claudhina Gadelha (by met I mean I starred at her and tried not to jump up and down and scream like a little girl) at Nova Uniao. Hopefully in December or January I'll be able to pay for two gyms and I'll be able to start going to Nova Uniao in the evening to do BJJ and MMA and Gordo's BJJ in the morning.

Nova Uniao

My second week I started volunteering at a social project called Tropa Thai in the Tijuquinha Favela. The kids there are pretty bad ass, I mean you have to be to run around and do Muay Thai on an asphalt basketball court. They have a about 20-30 kids in their 7:30 class that I get to hold pads for, then aftewards I train for an hour. Well I'm supposed to train for an hour, but sometimes one hour turns into two and I just don't understand enough Portuguese to fully understand why I'm hanging out in a favela at 10:30 at night.

Soccer game in Tijuquinha

My third week, Nicole and I, started going to the gym around the corner to lift weights. She is my only female solace in a house of 16 plus guys so it's nice to get out with her. We go into the gym and get some serious work done, unlike most other Brazilian females that seem to go into the gym and get a lot of talking done. Working out with her a couple days a week brings my average number of workouts to 4 a day (Morning BJJ class, lifting, two evening BJJ classes or Muay Thai). 

This past weekend we celebrate children's day (October 12th), so the owner of Tropa Thai organized an event which was pretty cool. They had music, soccer games, trampolines and other cool stuff for the kids. The same day I got to go to Kyra Gracie seminar at Gordo's, the gym I normally train at. It was Kyra Gracie that told me about Connection Rio. I probably wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for her. She taught a lot of cool stuff, but I spent most of my time just starring at her amazed that I was actually seeing her in person. In Brazil its not rare to see UFC fighters and big names in BJJ, but either way I was pretty damn amazed.

Kyra Gracie and I

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nova Uniao- There's a thin line between protein and steroids

That awkward moment that you get paired up with this blue belt girl that looks like she is a professional body builder and you think you about to die. Yeah I just survived that moment with half the gym watching expecting me to get my ass handed to me. Apparently my BJJ game is on POINT when I think I'm about to die. 

Today I took a trip to Flamengo to train at Nova Uniao home to great fighters like Jose Aldo and Claudinha Galdelha (One day I will actually speak to her, I swear I will). I had just finished an hour and a half of (hard) drilling with Connection Rio owner Dennis Asche and dropped into the last 30 minutes of the of class just in time to enjoy this little treat. I managed to pull guard on her and she proceeded to spend the next 6 minutes grinding her knuckles into my chin. Apparently that's BJJ for an EZEQUIEL choke (never seen that before). She initiated the choke my slamming her fists into my chin (in Muay Thai we call that a punch) and grinding it incessantly. As I was holding on for dear life I saw a huge group of people huddled in the corner watching me get my ass handed to me. 

Unlike most of my rolls I started this one thinking of it as if it was a fight and seriously trying not to die (this girl had ridiculous muscles) and it actually worked out for me.I may not be good a BJJ but I am a good fighter. Not only did she have a hell of a time trying to choke me, I actually swept her in the process of getting my chin rearranged. I've found nothing pisses off a higher belt more then when they can't tap me... or when I swept them with my "dummy sweep". So, needless to say she got pissed and actually tapped me in the last twenty seconds, but in my defense, the only reason was because I tried to get an under hook and couldn't defend with both hands. All in all, I consider that a victory despite the fact that I now have a huge bruise on my jaw and a lump on my head. 

After class she told me that I was pretty damn strong. One of the spectators (another blue belt girl) that was eagerly watching me get my neck wringed even told me that my Jiu Jitsu was "good". 

After rolling with the beastly blue belt, they asked me if I was tired or if I wanted to roll again with another white belt. I said that I did even though I was tired as hell. (I live by the saying never give into defeat, not even when defeated). Well they could all see I was tired and some smart ass was like "she doesn't even understand" and they proceeded to make fun of my gringo accent for 5 minutes before starting the time. Then they proceeded to tell him what to do... leaving me to fend for myself. 
Well, JOKES ON YOU BRASILEROS, I DO understand and was able to use their advice for him to win the match. By winning I mean I was:

A. On top most of the time

B. Not the one bitching about how tired I was

Needless to say, I walked out of the gym after having completed 5 hours of training feeling like quite the bad ass. In fact, I'm going to take the next 24 hours off to bask in my greatness....and clean all of my gis, since they are all dirty.