Tag Archives: Grading

It’s grading season once again

23 Nov

You know it’s the season for pretty coloured belts and shiny new stripes when your social feeds blow up with photos of said belts and stripes, and heartfelt posts about the BJJ ‘journey’, amazing coaches, teams, God and next chapters etc.

My own version of the above happened two months ago (early, since I was moving countries before the next Fight Zone grading). And while I mentioned it on Instagram and Twitter at the time I neglected to post about it on this frequently-neglected blog so, here tis:

Carlie Bonavia, Bruno Ferreira, Fightzone London

My third stripe!

Four years in the making, and my second stripe from Bruno Ferreira and Marco Canha. I was super chuffed and a tad emotional, obvs.

Carlie Bonavia and Bruno Ferreira, Fightzone London

I’ve posted before about my progression hang ups, and finally feeling like I could push them aside and just enjoy training without being all angsty. This stripe was such a surprise, and reinforced to me that I WILL get better, slowly but surely, one class at a time, and while having fun.

It was also a really nice way to say goodbye to a club that has been my home and family for three years. I’ll be visiting Fight Zone relatively often I’m sure but, I’m still sad to have left the morning crew and such great coaches.

Sending a big congrats to everyone receiving new belts and stripes this grading season!

’tis the season..

15 Dec

Spring has sprung in Australia and my Facebook feed is loaded with news of belt promotions – happy days!

So many awesome BJJ guys and dolls back home are proudly posing for photos with club certificates, and pretty new colours tied around their waists.

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Congrats Amy!!

I am so damn blessed to know this crew, all from different clubs – who show such passion, talent and dedication to their training.

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Woohoo Apryl! You look fab in blue

Of course, all the grading amazingness has me reflecting on my own progress – or lack of, which is especially noticeable when I see friends who began at the same time or after me, receiving their stripes and/or blue belts.

Again I’m having to remind myself not to compare, and not to be so hard on myself.

That first stripe achievement seems so long ago now, and here hasn’t been one since, but my training hasn’t been half as consistent since either..

– I’ve had minor but niggling injuries

– I’ve moved overseas and started at a brand new club

– I’ve been working my butt off in a casual job while hunting for a permanent role here in London, meaning often I am choosing to log more hours over making class.

My goals for 2014 are clear though:

–       Lock in permanent work

–       Train harder, and much more often

–       Jump into some gi comps

–       Earn a second stripe, hopefully a third and in a perfect world, maybe even a fourth as well!

AET Grading.

7 Jul

An Australian Elite Team grading is the stuff of legend. Among the BJJ crew I mix with, anyway.

Ninos doesn’t tell a student when they’re about to grade – he tells everyone else. The class begins as usual, but sometime midway through a demonstration he or she whose time it is will suddenly be pounced on by a pre selected student – a collective roar will go up, accompanied by the thunderous sound of bare feet and hands, slapping and stomping the mat in encouragement.

“The chosen one” quickly realises it’s time to put up their biggest fight yet and gets to work, while Ninos regally makes his way through the crowd of students selecting the next opponents.

On the battles go, until everyone has rolled with the suffering student. The most senior team members give him or her a hard time before it’s Ninos’ turn.

The crowd again roars as the head of AET shows how it’s done, and when he decides they’ve fought hard enough, a submission is applied which signals the grading is complete.

I was hoping to witness this and the hardcore belt whipping that follows before I left, and last weekend I was able to.

AET held an open day at the new headquarters; a bigger warehouse than the old digs, kitted out with arguably one of the biggest mat spaces in the country (and even then training can still feel crowded).

Around 300 people came – mostly grapplers and their family members from affiliates, but also rival club members, to show their support.

Three students graded, two to purple and one to blue.

Poor Dany dislocated his knee halfway through, but he continued on with all the moves he was able to do.

The line up at the end for belt whipping was pretty epic – whites and blues the full length of the mat with a second line needed for purple, brown and black belts.

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Photo: Courtesy of AET

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Huge congrats Tony, Jason and Dany! Photo: Courtesy of AET

Some really heartfelt speeches followed, then it was barbecue and open training time!

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I got to hang with a gorgeous bunch of jits girls, and received some tips from one, Emily – to get more comfortable on my neck/shoulders and in situations where I’m being stacked. (“bring your knees into your chest, people forget they have another joint between their neck and legs!”)

I’m gonna miss these kids.

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– How do your club gradings work?! Do you like the surprise approach?

BJJ slump.

26 Apr

So I hurt myself playing with the big kids again.

I joined a grading class last weekend, Andrew was going for his orange belt (coach uses the kids system to give adult white belts ‘stepping stones’), lots of the blue belts were there to give him a tough rolling session, we drilled while he went through the techniques he had to know, then he got me for some scrambly white belt relief!

I felt a lower back twinge and hobbled off straight after class to get a massage. I have had three bulging discs in the past (not jits-related) so am very wary when I get back pain in BJJ.

Thankfully it’s not very often. But it’s also the reason why I hate being stacked – I freak out about my back and pretty much let my training partner pass straight away to avoid the pressure/potential injury. Not great, I know.

I haven’t trained all week – I haven’t exercised all week actually except for a big walk. Shame on me.

To be honest the motivation died pre-injury though, when the local Gi comp I entered got cancelled due to the organiser being unable to pull it all together. 

But tomorrow I get back on the BJJ train. Sophia Drysdale (old interview, I believe she has 2 kids now!), Australia’s first female Black Belt is holding a seminar at Dominance, so with a week of rest behind me I’m hoping I can participate without much pain, and learn a new thing or two.

Just being around some of the incredible AGIG crew should get me back on track.

** I have been told to ask Sophia tomorrow, but as it’s my first seminar and I’ll probably be sitting out some bits, I’m wondering what the general rules are when it comes to note taking, photo and video recording? Can anyone enlighten?