Honoring a Memory

2:37 PM Moo 2 Comments

I've never been very good at making sense of the way I feel about things, unless I'm writing, so I figured I would give it a try. Losing a team mate is more than just losing a training partner it's like losing part of your family. Essentially it is. You spend so much time with them drilling and training but also talking about your life and theirs. Jiu Jitsu makes people quite close, you have to be, as it is an art that is based on trust.  Recently a team mate of mine passed away.

I can't speak on the details of his death and I don't want to, but what I can tell you is about his life. Orlando was the type of person who inspired you on and off the mats. He may have been small but he had a huge personality and a Jiu Jitsu skill set that made him just as dangerous as any other competitor twice his size. When I first met Orlando I was going to train at his gym and I was the only girl there. We had been working on some drills and no one was really too keen to partner up with me. Orlando was the first person to step in and volunteer to be my partner. He said he was lucky and the other guys were probably just intimidated to be my partner because I would kick their ass. I loved that about him. He made everyone comfortable and he always wanted everyone to feel included. Others happiness was essential to his own. It was a huge testament to the amazing person he was and a big part of why everyone who ever met him, loved him

I learned a lot from Orlando in the short amount of time I knew him. Most importantly I learned exactly how I deserved to be treated and how I should treat others. He was encouraging for my game and essential in helping me develop in my early stages of Jiu Jitsu. I looked forward to the Sundays where he would come down to train with us. He would greet me with a fist bump and a joke about my non-existent cauliflower ear (although he insisted it was coming and would match my boyfriends ear). He was always there offering kind advice, selflessly helping others and giving you the benefit of the doubt...no matter who you were. If that didn't work he was more than prepared to school you with some of his sarcasm and his sense of humor. It might have been my favorite thing about him. Being around him felt like being around the type of person you knew you should be. He was the best ambassador for the sport and he was an even better friend.

After I had a rough loss at a competition he was the first to come up and say "I saw you tried that choke I taught you, you failed wonderfully. I'm so proud!" He was so funny and he knew just what was needed. It is rare that we know what to say in times when people most need to hear it but Orlando had it down to science. I do not. I wish that I did.

For others who are hurting and need to hear something, there are no easy words. He was a special person and a big part of our team, so it's no wonder people are feeling so empty. All I can say, is that we are pretty lucky to have known Orlando at all and even luckier that we have the opportunity to live in a way that honors his memory and his legacy. I think I can speak for everyone when I say I am happy to have had him in my life and I am forever grateful to have been one of the many people who were able to call him United Forces Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Family. Hope they have D&D, character cupcakes and softer mats in heaven, brother! Until we meet again. Oss!


Just Another Manic Gif....Wednesday?

10:27 PM Moo 0 Comments

How I think I look flirting with my boyfriend from across the mat.....

How I really look....

When someone chokes me from inside my guard......

When I see my training partners out of their Gi's and dressed up for the first time...

When my professor says there are snacks available after class....

When my training partner and I both decide to pull guard and we get nowhere....

Trying to keep up during the warm up...

How I feel during the helicopter sweep....

Every time I roll with a no-stripe "white belt" who has years of Judo or No Gi experience....

The one guy in every gym who's Gi always magically falls open....

When someone gets carried away during the roll and apologizes for their douchey behavior later...

When I finally pull off a submission I've been working on...


BJJ Collective Review

11:02 AM Moo 1 Comments

What is it? It is a personal online notebook and search engine of techniques to help practitioners expand their BJJ game. The creators invite you to: "search in detail for the exact technique you need, take notes, then add them to your personal to-do list. When you hit the mat, take your smart phone to quickly reference the videos and your notes.If you've got a great technique, upload a video of yourself teaching it and contribute to the evolution of the sport."

What is my favorite feature?
I love the list feature. You have the option to add selected moves and videos to your to do list and make notes on each one. When you have successfully completed it, it can be added to your mastered list.

What could use improvement? If you are a little OCD the Feng Shui of the page might bother you a bit with the large ad section, but it is of so little consequence in comparison to the exceptional nature of the database.

Pros: The website is really easy to use! If you have a question about a guard pass or a special technique it is guaranteed to be on this website. You can select a position and then "top" or "bottom" for various videos demonstrating both escapes and submissions. It's organized beautifully and is really effortless to use and on top of it all, it is totally free!

Cons: The videos aren't available in every language, but honestly this is a minimal problem. If you are there to learn technique, they have still selected great instructors and it's easy enough to catch on without verbal English directions.

Final Thoughts: All in all, I think this a really invaluable website for anyone interested in advancing in Jiu Jitsu. Register an account for full access to notes and lists.This is one of the best resources I have come across on the net. It's simple but thorough and precise and I definitely recommend it for practitioners of all levels! Try it out here. Oss!


Jiu Jitsu in Paradise: Guam

3:44 PM Moo 0 Comments

June 30th I boarded a plane to Guam with my boyfriend (purple belt), Mike. We landed at 4:30 in the beautiful sunshine and went to train at 6:00PM. Adjusting to the humidity was brutal. Our first stop was Figo. Figo is a gym located in Anigua, owned and operated by brown belts Luis and Elijah Reyes. The affiliation is Bonsai Jiu Jitsu and this can be seen in their rigorous warm up and dedication to the purity of Jiu Jitsu.

I'm not ashamed to admit, I struggled with the warm up. The jogging and cardio was no problem but I am certainly the least acrobatic person ever. Students performed berimbolos and somersaults effortlessly, while I rolled down the mat like a drunken, beached whale! Luis, however is patient and always willing to assist. He is an incredible professor.

Once, we made it past the 30 minute warm up, the class was pretty awesome! We focused on guard passing and head to watch technique with plenty of time to repetitively drill. I loved Figo's emphasis on drilling and it's something I haven't seen emphasized in many schools I've visited. After, we rolled 6 minute rounds and ended class with introductions of new students and a group prayer.

The next session at Figo, welcomed Marcos De Souza, involved tons of positional rolling and  two techniques taught by Marcos himself. It was an awesome day and a great experience with the gym. I was still sore two days later!

While in Guam we also trained at Purebred with black belts, Stephen Roberto and Terrence Aflague. The first class we showed up to just so happened to be advanced, so Mike was pretty happy to roll with so many upper belts.Our warm up was minimal but the class was amazing. We worked on De La Riva, which is something I've been really wanting to work into my open guard game. Stephen came around, adjusted my position and helped me out quite a bit. After technique, we went into a shark tank activity with 20, 1 minute rounds, of rolling back to back. Initially, I didn't think this would be so difficult. I can't blame it on the humidity it was hard work rolling back to back and setting up positions knowing I had only one minute to do so. This was my favorite class, for sure and I even got to work my open guard with a blue belt world champ with some awesome pressure.

Since we didn't have a car we didn't think we'd be able to attend the next Purebred class at the Anigua location, but sure enough, Stephen Roberto offered to pick us up, bring us to the class and drop us off afterwards. Now I must say I don't know many places where a black belt would do this and it really says a lot about the nature of the gym and the type of people who train there. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and friendly even while they were kicking my ass on the mats! Being in Korea, it's quite rare that I am able to roll with female upper belts and all of the woman at Purebred  were just as tough as the guys. It was refreshing and challenging. It was also one of the first times I saw my boyfriend rolling with men of similar frames with heavy top game. Was cool to see him sweat a bit and adjust his style to compete with theirs.

The day we were leaving, Stephen Roberto was bringing in Keenan Cornelius for a huge seminar, open to every jiu jitsu practitioner in Guam. He is passionate about the art and it comes across in every interaction you have with him.

Figo Highlights: Figo is super family friendly and has an excellent kids program. Time is divided evenly between both adults/kids and those children are absolute warriors! In addition, Luis is pretty much as patient and kind as they come, as is his team which is a direct reflection of his awesome leadership. They work hard and they play hard. We were invited to the home of some of the members and they treated us as if they had known us for years. In addition to being training mates, they are a family.It was really encouraging and inspiring.

Purebred Highlights: You are guaranteed to be challenged and push your body much further than you thought possible. This is a gym fit for champions.  If I were ever gearing up for a huge tournament, Stephen is definitely the man I would want in my corner. He is so knowledgeable about Jiu Jitsu and well respected as a serious ambassador to the sport, in addition to just being a pretty bad ass and awesome teacher and all around person.

All in all, our trip was great and our time split between the two gyms was fantastic. They are both legit training options for beginners and advanced students in addition to Spike 22, which I visited on my last trip to Guam (look for a post about this gym in the near future). Training in Paradise soon? Where are you going? Let me know what your experience is like! Want to learn more about BJJ in Guam? check out Rolled Up: Episode 31. Oss!

Side note: While I am clever and the title is pretty awesome, it comes from Stephen Roberto's Personal blog, which can be found here.