Second stripe happened!

It’s been a long time coming, a LONG time going by the “usual” white belt journey depending on how you look at it.. but I’ve finally earned myself a second stripe!!

It’s a big deal – huge – because it’s the first one from my coaches here in London, Marco Canha and Bruno Ferreira, and a whole 2+ years since my last one.

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Bruno’s morning classes at Fightzone have provided me with some much-needed motivation and consistency over the last few months. Work and other competing evening commitments mean night classes are regularly pushed aside, but 7am twice a week? Perfect for this early bird!

In these classes I have found a really wonderful, encouraging crew and an attentive coach who couldn’t be more supportive and positive.

At every grading Marco talks about attitude and how important it is to not compare yourself to others on the mat. And it has taken me a long time to truly find my happy place in this sport, and accept my life and body’s limitations:

  • I can’t train five days a week and that’s ok!
  • Other white belts will start after me and progress faster than me, and that’s ok too!
  • I’m going to have lower back issues every so often, and I need to listen to and rest my body.
  • I’m not super flexible, but it doesn’t mean a move can’t still work for me in SOME way.

2015 has been a turning point year on a few fronts, all of them good. I think this second little stripe turned up at the time it was meant to, and I’m now really excited to work towards the third!

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Oh, hey there

Stuck between tube stops due to a signal failure on the district line… what a perfect opportunity to play catch up on the blog!

Belated Happy New Year – I made a simple BJJ related resolution, and I am proud to say that I have stuck to it so far:

Make it to training at least twice a week.

Two sessions as a base is extremely achievable, and I find I’m beating myself up much less than when I was getting to four classes one week (huzzah!), but then sometimes none the next.

In happily averaging three times per week at the moment, and trying to really focus on retaining more of what I’m learning. Moving off one stripe in 2015 would be kinda nice. I do still have the short term training memory of a fish though, sadly.

What else is occupying my time? Well, I’m job hunting – I mean proactively job hunting as opposed to just wishing a new gig would fall out of the sky. Crossing fingers and toes a shiny opportunity presents itself soon (well spoken EA/Project Manager and media type for hire, just sayin).

Happy 18 months in London to me!

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HOW have I been in the capital this long already? Ashamedly I am yet to see the inside of any museums bar the Hunterian, and have only made it to one musical (Urinetown, odd title but a good show).

While many of my Aussie friends here are now realising they have under a year left on their working holiday visas and are frantically trying to tick off their euro travel bucket lists, I am wondering when I should start compiling mine.

The beauty and danger, of an EU passport.

I’m really keen to make this year count – on and off the mat, in my career and in my personal life. The latter part of 2013 was very much a career holiday. 2014 saw me jump into a bunch of new things including my first Gi competition (I did enter a second Southend Open in November, annnnd let’s just say I didn’t surprise myself but I DID learn a lot).

It’s time to build now. Oh, and I’d also love to find a new flat.

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*

 

*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?

’tis the season..

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!

BJJ slump.

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?