BJJ Girl Problems

I love this post on BJJStyle.com – hair, bruises, period woes YES! But it was point no. 1 I found myself referencing on the tube ride home from a party tonight.

Making small talk with a random guy, conversation turns to interests, I mention BJJ and get the “Ohhh I’d better not mess with you then!” line.

Normally, I kind of laugh it off and keep chatting about whatever. This time, with the BJJ Girl Probs list fresh in my mind I called him on it.. “Why do guys even say that? If I didn’t do Jiu Jitsu would you be messing with me??”

The answer – Um, Ahhh no I mean.. Well, I guess it’s kind of like a pickup line, sort of thing..”

Conversation kind of dried up after that – sorry dude.

Surprising Myself

I did it! It has been a long time coming, but I finally mustered up enough courage to enter my first Gi competition on the weekend and I did much better than I expected.

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I wasn’t exactly prepared – I decided to compete only two weeks prior, and then hurt my back so figured I’d have to pull out. But I felt okay enough the night before, and this comp was what I knew I needed to do to boost my progression and show my coach I actually want to improve.

I was a stressed-out bundle of nerves come the day of the Southend Open – I’d talked myself down so much during the week, I’d gone from ‘I’m aiming for better than bronze’ (there were only three of us in the weight category) to ‘I just want to put up a good fight, not get stuck underneath the whole time, maybe not get subbed in the first five seconds…’

My first fight was the hardest, but I lasted the whole five minutes, and was actually leading at the start before losing on points.

Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open
Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open
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Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open

I was only supposed to fight twice, but after the second fight which I won on points (woohoo!) the organisers asked for girls to enter the Absolute category.

I was already in the heaviest female weight division of the day so why not, right?

Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open
Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open

I won my first two fights (though again no subs) and ended up facing the same woman as before for 1st/2nd place.

To be honest I was dog tired by the final and mustered as much energy as I had left, but she got an americana … pretty quickly, and it was all over.

Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open
Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open

I didn’t mind though, she was a beast – and I was already over the moon with how I’d performed. I didn’t do anything uber spectacular in the fights but I was able to keep my balance and stay on top a lot of the time, and I managed scrambly-but-successful guard passing!

Of course my coach was right – I’ve learnt so much from the experience and now have a platform from which to start being that bit more specific with how I train.

A chat with a teammate later that day is what will really stay with me though.. she said I have to cement this moment in my mind, hold onto the happy, confident feeling and only look forward. Build on it now, don’t go back to that uncertain, self-doubting place I was in before.

I’m going to stay as far away from it as I possibly can.

Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open
Photo: James Dennis/Southend Open

Post-Class Euphoria

Yay endorphins! I really really enjoyed class tonight. It’s not something I’ve been able to honestly say for awhile – usually I’m too busy feeling so ridiculously useless on the mat, and lamenting my lack of progress.

I wasn’t necessarily any less useless tonight mind you, but I felt like I was ‘getting it’ where I normally wouldn’t. Ironically, we were being shown a technique with a few more steps to remember than usual. It may have had something to do with the gazillion brown belts and like, three white belts in attendance.. but I felt good!

Annnd then I bought Doritos on the walk home. But THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY RIGHT?! 

*Happy dance*

 

Wine, Cheese, (Beer!) And BJJ

Partially bailing on a girls weekend in France for BJJ? I thankfully have some very understanding friends. While they don’t ‘get’ the sport, they certainly do get that it’s special enough to have me gushing like a teenager after attending a class on our first night in town.

I honestly didn’t know much about Strasbourg before this trip, other than it being near Germany, and one of the seats of the European parliament. But thanks mostly to super cheap EasyJet flights, I found myself in the main city of the Alsace region in eastern France, asking for directions to Gracie Barra 67 (thank God for Google translate).

I was reminded yet again just how awesome – and small the BJJ universe is, when I met the only other girl in the gi and no gi class, Marie-Laure. It turned out she had recently been travelling on my ‘home’ side of the world, AND rolling with some of my favourite AGIG  ladies! You should read her most excellent blog.

Marie quickly took me under her wing, partnering me and translating instructors Geoffrey Kintz and Christian Sardella.

This particular night’s classes were less focussed on techniques and more on rolling rounds, giving me the opportunity to be paired up with (and squashed by) pretty much everyone on the mat. Later, Marie was great in letting me work through some specific techniques with her.

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After class, in true BJJ Globetrotter spirit (a team/movement I only recently heard about, ashamedly) Marie not only offered me a ride back to my hotel, but also a walking tour of Strasbourg the following day.

Taking in and learning about the sights from a local’s perspective.. what could be better, seriously?

How about hanging with her BJJ teammates at a cool little beer festival right next to a stunning gothic cathedral? Yup, I got to do that too, and nervously say “une bière s’il vous plait” – baby steps, you know.

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Meantime back with my girlfriends, copius amounts of cheese was gleefully eaten along with way too many croissants and pastries. I also inhaled my fair share of the local specialty – flammekueche. Did I mention the Alsace wine? There was plenty of that too, naturally.

We also wandered around the Petit France quarter, took a boat tour and caught the train to the pretty town of Colmar.

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I’d love to head back to Strasbourg at the end of the year to experience the Christmas Markets. After such a warm welcome however, I could easily return to this city just for more BJJ.

Done & Dusted

Well, I have successfully completed my dating-for-charity challenge – who knew dating could be so exhausting?!

You can catch up on dates 4 and 5 here and here, and find out if I hit the dating jackpot.

Meantime on the BJJ front, there hasn’t been any for two weeks. It is KILLING me. Blame the new job and all the clunky long hours that go with it. I think I have a handle on things now though, so it’s comeback time tomorrow night.

God help me… so unfit. Well and truly time to reverse that Heathrow injection!

 

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A couple of awesome things

  • I went to my first London women’s BJJ open mat last weekend at Horizon BJJ – got my butt kicked, learnt a lot about where I’m at and where I want to be. The Horizon guys seem great too, a really wholesome club that’s very welcoming – I’ll definitely be dropping by in future.

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  • I GOT A FULL TIME JOB! It’s only taken eight months, countless applications, unanswered emails and phone calls and very few interviews. Gosh London you are a hard nut to crack. And because the universe has a twisted sense of humour, two days after I accepted the job I got called to interview for another, AMAZING job *shakes fist* but, I’m going with my gut on this one. Right now the job I’ve accepted is what I need. It’s “9-5,” working with some pretty inspirational people and it’s going to allow me to train frequently, which means I can really focus in on some little goals – like my first gi comp, I’d like to get THAT out of the way this year. Another stripe would be nice, feeling like I deserve to actually have my first one.. this lax little white belt is getting to work.

First Date Down!

*Another non-BJJ related post – if you’d like to read about my Five in Five dating adventures, you can do so here. And if you’d like to support my campaign which is raising funds for three Australian charities, you can do that here and expect a HUUUUUUGE virtual hug and maybe even a big sloppy computer kiss, from me! 

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Will Date For Charity (and myself)

*Not BJJ related, but I am up for a BJJ related date!

A bit of shameless self promotion all for a good cause. In a nutshell, I’m dating for charity. Three Australian non-profit organisations in fact that help fight homelessness and poverty. I’m dating for me too, mind you – maybe I’ll have better luck in London!

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Photo: Birdman Foxglove Photography

Five in Five is an annual event that signs up singles to go on five dates in five weeks, raising funds along the way. I took part in 2012 and my mum (among others!) sponsored me $10 per date. She was quite excited just to see me dating. I had six very lovely dates over the five weeks, one guy I saw again but it didn’t go anywhere. “Just not feeling the zing” seems to be my frequent reasoning for pulling up stumps.

But you’ve got to feel some kind of connection, right?

Lining up five dates (no dating sites/hook up apps allowed!) is a tad harder when you’re away from your main friendship/colleague pool, but through some new friends I’ve made in the capital I already have a few date leads, and am going on my first one tomorrow. He has chosen a really cool location, I’m pretty excited.

If you’re interested, you’ll be able to read about my dating adventures on TNT Magazine‘s website – they’ve given me a column! Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out! (I wasn’t a SATC fan mind you).

And if you’d like to support three incredibly worthwhile charities in Whitelion, Kids Under Cover and St Kilda Gatehouse, you can do so here. 

I’m still looking for a couple more dates and suggestions of things to do in London on said dates.. trying to get away from the usual dinner or a drink, so would love your ideas.

P.S Was paired up with a very encouraging and helpful brown belt in BJJ class yesterday. Oh the thrill!

*Crunch* “Ow!”

Well, this is one for the awkward and mortified files. 

I may have broken a training partner… her nose, I broke her nose and embarrassingly we weren’t even really truly, properly grappling at the time.

“Light/playful roll?” I’d suggested after class as we were going over the knee ride to far armbar transition we’d just learnt.

Living up to my slow off the mark reputation, she had mount in an instant – and we were laughing as I attempted to wriggle out from under her.

Hips up to buck her off, my head comes forward and… *CRUNCH* “oh my God!”
“Oh crap are you okay? Is it bleeding?!”

It wasn’t – but out came the bag of frozen peas and a mirror to check how crooked her nose was (thankfully it still looked pretty straight to me, just red and starting to swell).

I haven’t seen her since as I’ve had a cold and she has also been away from the gym to let her nose heal, but chatting over Facebook there appears to be no hard feelings. At least I hope there truly aren’t.

Just mortification on my side, and the awful feeling you get knowing you’re responsible for hurting someone.

Have you ever broken a training partner? Did it affect your future interactions/friendship on or off the mats?

A Gracie in the Building

It’s not every day you walk into the cafe upstairs from work, to be told Roger Gracie will be taking a BJJ class in the building.

Maloca moved in a couple of months ago, and Roger was dropping by as part of their grand opening weekend.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

Roger took us through submissions starting from knee on belly (lapel choke, baseball bat, far armbar, kimura). It’s a position I have never been very confident in, despite having the weight to make knee rides quite effective.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

So with regular Jiu Jitsu classes literally above my office, I really have no excuse now, do I? =D

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