Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 / 2013

Just a warning, this post might be a little unorganized, disjointed, and generally not very well thought out. That's because my brain is STILL not working quite how it should be, and I have a lot on my mind when it comes to jiu jitsu and such.

So, 2012 was a pretty good year as a whole, I Joined Pura BJJ very late 2011 and really started training hard in Jan 2012. I have absolutely loved every minute of training with my the team and am so thankful that they have all welcomed me with open arms and have made me feel like a part of the team. It feels like I've been there a lot longer than only 1 year. That could be because in that one year we had five road trips to Montreal, a road trip to Ottawa, two trips to New York, and ten or so tournaments in the GTA that we competed at together. That's a lot of time in a car, gymnasium, and Pizza Hut to get to know each other, support each other and become good friends.

Over the year, I attended over 25 events, including competing at 17 tournaments, fighting in one super fight, attending the IBJJF ref course, attending Sub-X, training in California, and attending a couple tournaments I did not compete at. That's over half the weekends of the year spent doing something jiu jitsu related! Great times. Of course, because of that, I have seriously neglected my non-jiu jitsu friends and family and I feel pretty bad about that. In 2013 I am going to work harder to find a balance so I can pursue my jiu jitsu career and support my teammates while not neglecting my friends and family who have supported me so much over the years.

I had plans for 2013 to start with a pretty big bang. Ascension, Montreal Grappling, Toronto Grappling, and the Montreal Pro Trials, all in the first six or seven weeks of the year. I was also planning on re-starting working with my kettle bells, doing some serious cardio, and lifting heavy things with my mega strong power lifting teammate Ken all in December to be better prepared for the competitions in Jan/Feb. Instead I've sat on my ass, played XCOM, watched a couple classes and tried really hard not to get depressed and fat.

I credit eating mostly paleo to helping me with that last bit. Normally, when I'm injured, I eat garbage, feel like crap, so I eat more garbage, then get depressed because I get fat, so I eat garbage. It's a pretty vicious cycle that I've been working on not getting into. Jon's been pretty helpful with that because there have been a few times where it's like Jon: "What do you want for supper". Me: "Pizza and Ice cream". Jon: "No, what do you actually want for supper". So that's good at least.

Oh, that reminds me, one of my other goals for the new year was to fight in the -132 or whatever division at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials in Montreal. I know that is mega light, but it's day before weigh ins, and with clean eating, and lots of cardio and lifting and whatnot I could have done it, IF I had been able to get an early start in Dec and kept to it. Not any more. Now competing there at all is a grey area. This whole paleo thing has been going pretty good. I haven't really lost any weight in December, but, all things considering, the fact that I haven't gained 20 lbs is a win for me. I've maybe gained 2 or 3, depending on the day, and how thirsty I am when I weigh myself.

I've been sleeping a whole lot better, and feeling generally more energized, except when I over do it, and the stupid concussion symptoms come back. It's really hard to say exactly how things are from my diet when I am dealing with this head stuff. The other good thing is I haven't caught any of the crazy flu/colds that have been going around and I am usually the first person to catch them, and then the last as well. I'll catch the same flu twice haha. I read the other day on Facebook that last year at this time there was 10 lab confirmed cases of the flu in Ontario, and this year there is over 1000. I think this is partially because the flu season peaked a bit early, but it's still insanely way higher than it normal. So it doesn't just seem like there is a lot more sickness around this year, there IS a lot more.

The other, probably most noticeable side effect of eating this way has been my ability to sleep well. I used to sleep terribly. I had to take melatonin to get to sleep pretty much every night and I would wake up a bunch of times throughout the night. Not anymore. I fall asleep much easier, and wake up a LOT less. Even Jon noticed that HE is sleeping better, because I'm not waking up and tossing and turning and waking him up with it.

The one good thing about not being able to train, and being on vacation from work, is my disaster area of a house is getting a good cleaning... the main floor anyway. It's been in a state that is to embarrassing to have people over for over a year. I just haven't had time to clean, and was a a point that it was overwhelming to start somewhere. I was planning on cleaning over Christmas either way, but not being able to train/exercise gives me even more time to do it. I still have to take it easy, and not do to much though, or i get a headache and nausea all over again.

I started with my living room, rearranged the furniture completely, so I could move some dining room furniture to make room for more storage space. That is one of the big reasons my house was always a mess, there just wasn't anywhere to put a lot of stuff. Also, I have too many small appliances: microwave, dishwasher, 2 single serve blenders, coffee maker, Keurig coffee maker, food processor, hand mixer, and a George Foreman grill. and if they all sat on my counters I would have one square foot of empty space. Now, things like a hand mixer, and one of the blenders could easily go in cupboards or cabinets, but they are all full of dishes because there is so few of them.

Ikea solves everything. We picked up 3 24" cabinets to put in the dining room for more storage AND counter space. WIN WIN! also, they look nice. We don't have a top for them yet though, Jon is hopefully going to get one tomorrow when he borrows my parents truck. we couldn't quite fit a 72" counter top in my accent. The cabinets pretty much fit entirely in the trunk though, which i was impressed with. Except for the bag of hardware, which would have fit, but i felt it was probably best to go in the backseat. I didn't even have to put the seats down!

Did you know that if you buy certain things at Ikea, like cabinets, you have to get an order printed, pay at the checkout, and then drive to the furniture warehouse around the block to get the stuff? They don't have everything in the self serve area! It's a bit of a pain, but also kind of nice, because they find all the boxes for you, which is good, because each cabinet had 7 different boxes/packages, not including the handles, which were found and bought in the store. Complicated. I know.

Tomorrow I'm going to fill my new cabinets will all the stuff for baking/cooking... Big utensils, pots, pans, glass things for baking, measuring cups, bowls, spoons, that kind of stuff. Well, I might leave the pots and frying pans in the kitchen area, we shall see how it all fits and works out. I also have to unpack all my new containers, and put them away on the new lazy susan in the other corner cupboard. It was to a point that we were just tossing in the containers in the cupboard, with the lids sometimes, but not usually, it was impossible to find anything. I threw out an entire recycling bag full of containers with no lids and lids with no containers. Most were those disposable Glad and Ziploc ones, but not all. We are switching to mostly glass ones, I don't like plastic containers, especially for using in the microwave. Jon's always like "it says microwave safe" so it'll be fine. But when you see the plastic all kind of melty and weird looking on the inside, especially when there is tomato in it, you have to think twice about using that for food right? So I don't microwave in plastic anymore, even if it says microwave safe, glass only. So for lunches, it's a lot easier to have glass containers than plastic ones.

I've noticed, the last week especially, that I've been having trouble thinking of words and when I'm writing things down, I'll skip like 5 letters in a word. I've always done that, but it seems like I've been doing it a lot more lately. Or maybe I'm just noticing because i'm trying to be aware of my head and other concussion related symptoms. Thinking a lot still gives me headaches to, I thought I would be past that by now, but maybe because I didn't take any time off work when it happened I think I've delayed my recover a bit, which sucks, but you gotta pay the bills right?

So, 2013... I'll be reffing at ascension probably, not fighting for sure and maybe heading to Montreal for Montreal Grappling- not fighting there either, but supporting Jon and my other team mates, and maybe reffing there too. I don't see myself fighting till probably March at this point, fingers crossed.

Gui Mendes is coming to Pura for a week in January. starting Jan 12th till Ascension. I'm really hoping my head holds up for the technique portions of the classes at least. I will be so disappointed if I can't train with Gui! On Jan 12th there is a 3 hour seminar, 100 bucks before Jan 1st, 125 after that. Then Mon-Fri, there are 1.5 h classes for $70 for non-Pura members. It's going to be an amazing week of training and if you can get to any of it, you should. Gui is an amazing instructor, and not to mention a 3x world champion at black belt.

I just made a batch of cocoa roasted almonds, and they are delish! Just take a cup of raw almonds, coat them in a tbsp or two of maple syrup, then toss them in a tbsp or two of cocoa. Put them in the oven at 275 for 20 min, stirring them up every 5 minutes. Then let them cool down, and eat them.

I totally forgot to mention, in my blog post about Grappler's Quest, that I went from having zero sponsors to TWO in one day. I earned a sponsorship from Pecker'd Promotions by wining the no-gi women's advanced absolute.

The other sponsorship that came to fruition at Grappler's Quest was Redstar BJJ. Now, if you've seen my posting and stuff on Facebook and my blog, you probably thought I was already sponsored by them because I go on about them a lot, but that is because I LOVE their gis and Egor is a cool guy and is working hard to progress the sport and support local athletes and tournaments and stuff. Well, now it's offical and I couldn't be happier to be part of the team. Speaking of Redstar, they are having an INSANE sale right now in their website. $100 for a stamp gi is ridiculous, it's outrageous, it's amazing. They are pre-orders so you won't get your gi till Feb or so, but that's still pretty quick turn around for a pre-order. 

I rearranged my blog layout, and added these two logos/links to the side bar, so check them out and support them, because they support me. I also made a new cover photo for my fan page to add Redstar BJJ's logo to it as well.

I think that is enough rambling for now. I'll see you on the mats, from the sidelines.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Help a friend out!

Hey Everyone,

My Friend and Australia team mate Cristiano recently had a bad eye injury that requires 2 surgeries and since Australia is only ALMOST as amazing as Canada,  the surgeries aren't covered by their health care. 

Full Metal Jiu Jitsu in Australia is hosting a fundraising night on Friday December 14th at 6pm.  So if you're in Australia you should be there to help a jiu jitsu brother out.    Checkout this Facebook Picture for details.  They have some sweet raffle prizes to be given out like RVDDW shorts and t-shirts, spots at the upcoming mendes bros seminar and more!

Pura BJJ will also be hosting a special workshop/class on Wednesday December 19th at 6pm to raise money for Cristiano..   Not a lot of details have been finalized. But keep an eye on PJ's Facebook for details.   Here's what we know so far:

"Next Wednesday December 19th at 6pm we will be having a special workshop with a few raffle prizes - gis, rash guards etc with all proceeds going to help out our aussie brother from another mother Cristiano!! Details to follow! Donate what you can!"

 Hit me up on facebook, or twitter, or comment here or more info on either event. Or, donate straight to his paypal account:

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Grapplers Quest - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Saturday December 1st brought Grapplers Quest to Ontario for the second time in 2012. The first was June 23 in Toronto. This time around it was in the booming metropolis of London, Ontario, also known as really far away from the major population hubs in Ontario. Probably not the best choice of city, but far from the worst. It did bring some people up from the States, who probably wouldn't have made the drive up to Toronto. I don't think anyone flew in, because London's airport is very small, and very expensive to fly to. Toronto probably could have gotten some more wide spread attendance because of it's airport.

I will break up this review/report into 3 sections, like the title implies... The good: things that were good about the tournament, things that I liked, things that other people liked, and things that didn't make me curse the sport. The bad: things that weren't so good that I, or my friends noticed. The ugly: things that were really bad.

The Good
  1. The mats: They were high quality tatami mats, and the fight areas were large enough. They didn't come apart, and they weren't crappy wrestling mats. I absolutely HATE fighting on wrestling mats. I can't stand the way you sink into them a bit. I feel like my knees are going to get blown out anytime someone tries a foot sweep or even a sweep from guard. Any tournament that uses Tatami gets a bonus * in my books. 
  2. The whole computer system: They used Splitdraw and used all parts of it. The weigh ins recorded everything and put you in the right division. In addition to that, each mat area had a laptop that worked as a score board, and kept track of who won what matches. They also had a monitor on the table listing the orders of the matches so people would know when they were up. Finally, each mat had 2 monitors attached to the laptop for scoreboards, facing opposite directions. These showed the score, and which fighter was which colour. All very cool and very helpful for the competitors.
  3. Sponsorship Prizes for the advanced absolute divisions, including the ladies. It's really nice to see tournaments giving equal prizes to the ladies, even though there is so few of us. It's strange to me, how few people (men and women) signed up for the absolutes at GQ though. Some of them were packed, but the ladies divisions were very small. There was a lot of beginer women out though, which gives me some hope for the future of the sport.
  4. They collected food for the London Food Bank. I love events that try to help out with the community. Women competed for free if they brought a bag of non-perishable food! I think that's a great initiative, and I think it did help bring out more ladies. I think there was more female competitors out than at any tournament in Ontario in 2012.
  5. Round Robin for small divisions. Divisions of 2 did a best of 3, divisions of 3 did a round robin, and I believe divisions of 4 also did. I'm not sure about divisions of 5, but bigger than that got into the single elimination. There was always a fight for 3rd as well, instead of 2 bronze medals. It's nice to see them realizing that people don't want to pay 85 or 100 dollars for 1 fight if they have a small division.
  6. The podium area. They had a nice stage setup, and the hardware is high quality. They had a guy working the camera and had bright lights so everyone's pictures should turn out well.
  7. The venue was nice, spacious, and pretty easy to find. There was enough sitting room, and plenty of room for all the vendors that were there. Also, there was food available from the venue's food places all day which is very important.
  8. The Medics. They were very qualified, quick to respond, and took great care of the injured athletes. Trust me, I was in their capable hands twice. and saw them take care of a few other people while I was there. Thanks Jon the Medic! 
  9. Lots of sponsors and vendors around the venue offering a wide variety of goods for sale. Was great to see so many brands out supporting the event.

The Bad
  1. Started around 2 hours late. Now, this was due to a few things.
      1. Allowing same day registration
      2. People showing up really really late
      3. Not enough pens at the registration area
      4. Having too many divisions so they had a lot of lonely people that had to be sorted out.
  2.  A shortage of table workers and referees. They had to use some referees who did not have a lot of jiu jitsu experience. This caused quite a stir in some of the matches as they were unfamiliar with many of the positions and scoring opportunities. This was caused by refs not showing up due to sickness and unforeseen circumstances, as well as me getting a concussion in my match, leaving them short a referee. This is a really common problem at events and one that needs to be addressed. I think the first step would be to encourage competitors to volunteer by allowing them to compete for free if they volunteer for a set amount of time. This opens up a huge pool of volunteers.
  3. A lack of intermediate and advanced women competitors. Now, this is clearly not the events fault. They even let us fight for free. This is on you ladies. What more can you ask them to do? Get your butts out to these events.

The Ugly
  1. The cut on my head and the concussion that went with it. Jiu Jitsu is supposed to be "The Gentle Art". But there was nothing gentle about my last no gi match where I sustained the cut and head injury, or the Gi match after that which I should never have gone into. I have no recollection of the Gi match I competed in that day. I lost... on points I think. I don't even know if the score was close, I have no idea. I think I have video of it...I'll have to check my camera.

So, that's that. Hopefully Grapplers Quest, and all the tournaments can learn from all the great things, and the less than great things that happened in London and together we can all make competition in Ontario better and better.

A little bit more about my experiences in particular:
As I suspected, there wasn't originally anyone in my advanced absolute, or purple and up absolute. I was a bit surprised, because I saw some pretty intense looking ladies walking around, but I guess they were all in the beginner and intermediate divisions. I talked my friend Tee into the advanced absolute so I would have a match, and then Chealsey's coach moved her up from intermediate absolute to advanced.

I had a lot of fun in the match with Tee. She's like 115lbs soaking wet so I tried to keep it a technical match. She snuck in a pretty tight toe hold which had me quite concerned and i finally managed to get a tight arm bar with about 10 seconds left.

The match with Chealsey was not fun. I started out fighting very calm and trying new things like knee bars and wrist locks. Chealsey came for business though and was very intense and tenacious, and rough. she took my back a time or two, and the score ended up very close 7-5 or something like that with 30 seconds left, when the ref finally noticed I was bleeding profusely from my forehead (from one of several knees/elbows/heels to the head). Once I was finally cleaned up and taped up, we tried to restart, but there was some confusion about our position, she thought we were in 1/2 guard, I thought we were in guard. Well, the reff listened to her and her coach, instead of me and the rest of the crowd. But I digress, I managed to keep a hold of her leg for the last 30 seconds and get the win.

I headed over to the medic after wards because He wanted to assess the cut and my brain. After about 25 minutes of questions and forms he concluded that I MIGHT have a concussion and that I should get stitches in my head. I, like the idiot competitor that I am, disregarded his advice and competed in Gi anyway. like I mentioned before I have no recollection of the fight, other than feeling very week, disoriented and unwell. I lost and was unable to pick myself up off the mats when it was over. I was so weak, and dizzy. I was eventually brought over to the medic area and re-assessed. I did much more poorly this time around and was told much more firmly not to compete and not to referee or work a table the rest of the day.

I will be off the mats for at least a week, probably 2, and then will have to be very careful working my way back up to proper training levels. Light cardio only first(after at least a week of no exercise), slowly increasing the intensity, then maybe light drilling, no resistance, and light weight lifting. Won't be rolling for probably a month. If I try to get back to it too fast, I'll just make it worse. This is probably going to be one of the most difficult injury recoveries I have had to deal with because once the cut is healed, I will have no real physical indicators of the injury and It'll be hard mentally to pace myself and not get to depressed when I cannot train.

I'll see you from the side lines.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Paleo Food Adventures!

So I've been doing the Paleo thing for just under 3 weeks now. I think it's going pretty well, I am DEFINITELY sleeping better than I used to. That, I think, has been the biggest difference so far. Some days I am waking up feeling almost rested, which hasn't really happened since I was a kid.

I didn't check my body fat or anything right before starting, but a few weeks before, it was regularly around the high 25 and low 26 range, when sitting at about the same weight as I am now. This morning, on a whim, I weighed myself with my profile, and it was low 24. Now, this could just be a fluke, because bathroom scales are notorious for giving not so accurate measurements, but it has been pretty consistent in its accuracy or lack there of, so I'm going to go with this being an actual drop. A small one, but I'll take it.

Ideally I want to get to around 20%. My non-athlete friends will be all "that's way to low to be healthy for a girl". My guy friends will be all "20%, you fatty" and hopefully a few, educated, friends will appreciate that 20% is a pretty good spot to be as an athlete and a women.

I think, in the last 3 weeks, I have cooked and baked more than I have in the last 3 years combined. My kitchen has never seen so much use, other than to put a frozen pizza in the oven hahah. So many dishes!

My staples for lunches have been vegetables cooked in a pan with some olive oil and random spices, and either chicken or steak. I cook up a whack on Sunday afternoons and put it in my lemon grass take out containers and into the freezer. This system is working out pretty well, an hour or two in the kitchen and I've got 6 or 7 lunches/dinners ready for the week.

Breakfasts have tended to be eggs of some sort, scrambled, fried, or in a quiche. I made a spinach quiche on sunday, cut it up and put it in the freezer for the week. It freezes, thaws surprisingly well. I've also been drinking coffee with coconut oil pretty much every morning. I know, that sounds gross, and the flavoured coffees probably aren't the strictest paleo, but whatever. It gives me a tonne of quick access energy and I like it. You can read more about this at the bullet proof coffee website. Since I'm also not eating dairy, I skip the butter, but I know lots of people who love it that way to.

Sweet potatoes are my new favourite thing. They are so delish. I don't know why I didn't eat them all the time before. Jon made a batch of roasted sweet potatoes the first week I started this diet and I was hooked, just chopped up, with some olive oil, rosemary, shallots and garlic. Stick them in the oven for an hour or so and bingo, amazing.

He also made this casserole thing, which was delish, but the texture got a bit ... stewish after being frozen and microwaved.

Everyone says they could never do paleo because they love bread and carbs to much. I'm not a big bread eater, but I do love sweets, and cakes and ice cream. There are a LOT of really good paleo alternatives. Like the cup cakes I made for my birthday on Wednesday. They were really good, and full of nutrients and not processed junk. I also just made a chocolate zucchini loaf, which is also very tasty, it sounds weird, but it's super moist and has a great texture. But, I think, the greatest thing I have discovered since starting this is new lifestyle is Paleo Chocolate Frosting shots. OH MY GOODNESS. The most amazing thing in the world.

Last weekend was the provincials, I wasn't fighting, so I wasn't too concerned about what I would eat. I brought along a couple clementines, some dark chocolate, and some almonds and walnuts. I didn't even think that there could be kids will allergies there when I was packing my lunch, so I didn't open the bags of nuts, which left me with very little food for the day. They gave us some coupons for Tim Hortons, and Subway, but nothing there was really edible for me, so I didn't use mine. Now, 4 weeks ago, eating as little as I did would have destroyed me, I'd be getting light headed, insanely grumpy and would have had a killer headache. I'll be honest, I got a bit tired, and wasn't feeling amazing by the end of the day, but I didn't have nearly as bad a time as I would have eating the old way.

Tomorrow is Grapplers Quest, I'm fighting in 2 absolute divisions and refereeing the rest of the day. I am going to have to pack a bit smarter this time. I'm going to bring my zucchini loaf/muffins, the trail mix I have for snacks all the time (yes, it has nuts, but unless the facility says it's nut free, I'm going to eat them. It was probably silly of me to not eat them last weekend). I'm also going to bring a bunch of berries, apples, and coconut water. That should be able to fuel me for the day. It's going to be strange not getting a giant bowl of pasta the night before a tournament, but hopefully my body has had enough time to adjust to eating like this that it will perform well on this alternate fuel.

I'll let you guys know how it goes.

I've gotten a bunch of recipes and ideas from PaleOMG. Juli has some great ideas, and is hilarious so I've been spending a lot of time reading on her site. A lot of her recipes use dark chocolate chips, which I'm trying to avoid (they have added plain sugar, at least the ones I've found). But that is where I got the cupcake recipe and some other ones I've saved for Christmas!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Gis For Sale

So, over the last year I've won a few gis from various tournaments. Some I love, some I do not. Between Jon and I we have, I think, 16, with two more on the way. I'm looking to sell a couple of them, to help raise money for a trip to Chicago, Pans, and Worlds. So, without further adieu, here are the gis I am looking to sell. I'd prefer someone kind of local, because paying for shipping will defeat the purpose of this sale. I will be traveling to most of the tournaments in Ontario / Montreal over the next 6 months though, so if you're going to any of those, we can work it out.

  1. A1L Redstar Clean White. $100
    I believe this is a 550 weave, and shouldn't shrink much. I have another A1L Redstar that fits me pretty much perfectly. I love my Redstar gis, I just have to many gis and this one is still in the package, not even opened. It has no patches on it, but came with some, if you like to patch up your gis. This is a great training or competition gi and would fit someone about 5'8-6'2 ish and probably 130-160 lbs. Donated to a raffle for a friend
  2. F3 Kingz 420 Blue $100
    Pretty much the whole world loves the Kingz gis but the fit is all wrong for my body type. Apparently I'm not built like a girl. The size charts for this gi say: 5'6 - 5'9 and 150-180lbs. I probably should have known I'm outside the range for a Kingz women's gi, because i am 5'10 and 150/155ish, but it was a prize, so I hoped for the best. This is not a lanky persons gi
  3. A2 #ONE Kimono Black (Very gently used) $75
    I won this one in Ottawa and it fit great, but then I washed and dried it and now it's flood pants and 3/4 length sleeves. It's a very comfortable gi, and light weight. I probably wore it 3 or 4 times max. It's not faded and won't shrink anymore than it has already. I Imagine it would fit someone who is 5'6-5'8 and maybe 140-170lbs, but that is just a guess.  
  4. A2 VVV White (Gently Used) $50
    This gi never really fit me well, and when I washed and dried it it became mostly unwearable. The good news is, it's a great gi and it's done shrinking. The bad news is it's probably about a size A0 in most gi brands. I have worn this gi probably less than 5 times. The jacket has a fairly lean cut, so it would be good for someone who is on the short and skinny side of things. I imagine it would fit someone who is about 5'4 - 5'7 and maybe 120 - 150.  
  5. A2 Original Red Star Black (Used) $50
    I picked this gi up at the MMA Expo when Red Star was just starting out. Love the cut, and the look, but this was before gis wear sold pre-shrunk and I accidentally washed and dried it once and that was the end of the properly fitting gi for me. I still wore it fairly often, but the pants come more than 1/2 way up my shins if I wear them so my butt isn't showing haha. It still has lots of wear left and would make a great spare gi. Likely this would fit someone 5'4-5'7 or so and 130-160 or so, but It's hard to say for sure. Sold
  6. A3 Fugi All-Around Gi $50 (Gently used)
    I picked this up on a BJJHQ sale about 8 months ago. Got the A3 because in the past everyone on the site had written about how much they shrink. Turns out they fixed the shrinking problem just in time for this batch. It's too big. I've worn it maybe 10 times, most of those teaching classes so it didn't even get sweaty. It's probably good for someone 6'0-6'2 and 170-190lbs.

That is all of them for now. I'll update this list if/when I win others or when they sell. Thanks for looking and helping me out.

See you on the mats!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Week 2 Paleo Log

Day 14  November 25th 

slept great.
Morning weight:155.8
Breakfast: coffee w/ tbsp of coconut oil, roasted sweet potato
Lunch:2 paleo coconut brownies
Dinner:bit of steak, spinach quich

Day 13  November 24th 

slept good, but only a couple hours, (1am-6am). was at the provincials tournament reffing all day.
Morning weight:156.5
Breakfast:coconut oil coffee
Morning Snack:clementine, blackberries, 30 or so almonds, 1 square of chocolate
Dinner:la luna express order of cauliflower and tomatoes, large fatoush with chicken

Day 12  November 23th 

sleeping by 10/1030.  slept well, less trouble getting up this morning
Morning weight:156.3
Breakfast: coconut oil coffee, still nut much of an appetite
Morning Snack:Honey Crisp apple
Lunch: 1.5 turkey sausage and some roasted sweet potatoes. (probably 1/2 potato worth)
Dinner: 1 sweat potato cooked in a frying pan w/ a bit of olive oil,  but of steak.

 Day 11  November 22nd 

slept well, but couldn't get up in the morning, hit snooze till 830

Morning weight:155.5
Breakfast: 9:00am cinnamon pastry coffee w/ coconut oil (no appetite)

Lunch: a bunch of fast fry steak, and some grilled Mediterranean veggies(ate less then 1/2). lemon water, 1/2 of 1/2 a pint of raspberries
Afternoon Snack:clementine, 1 lindt square, trail mix
Dinner: banana/raspberry/coconutoil/coconutmilk shake, 1/2 pint of blackberries

Day 10  November 21st 

slept terribly, couldn't get to sleep till 2am at least. woke up several times. just not sleepy. mega sleeping in the morning though
Morning weight:155.5
Breakfast: 6:30am 2 eggs with 10 asparagus and a bit of olive oil.coconut oil coffee.

Lunch: 12:00 pm  chicken breast and grilled Mediterranean veggies, clementine
Afternoon Snack: 2 squares of lindt 85%, 1/2 pint of blackberries
started feeling quite sick mid afternoon.  took a 2 hours nap when i got home
Dinner: 7:30pm lemon grass beef coconut curry.
went to be at like 930.


Day 9  November 20th 

Slept terribly, had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, woke up groggy
Morning weight: 155.0
Breakfast: 8:45am 2 eggs and some leftover sweet potatoes, coconut oil coffee.
Lunch:   Chocolate Mint Tea in the morning, 1:30pm) skinny steak and veggies
Afternoon Snack: 1 square of lindt, 1/2 pint of raspberries, lemon water
Dinner: 8:30pm  chicken breast and leftover sweet potatoes

Day 8  - November 19th  
Slept pretty great. woke up on my own at 6:15am
Morning Weight:  155.8
Breakfast: (7:15AM) coconut oil coffee, 3 eggs scrambled with spinach, chocolate mint tea

Lunch (12:15pm ): chicken and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts pea pods) with montreal steak seasoning (not very good spices) 1 lindt 85% square
Afternoon Snack (1:45pm)  trail mix and another square of chocolate 
got pretty tired and week at jiu jitsu, should probably eat a proper meal before training for 2+hours

Dinner:  830pm  steak and roasted sweet potatoes (in a bit of olive oil with some spices and garlic)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Week 1 Paleo Log

Day 7  November 18th 

Slept well.
Morning weight:155.2
Breakfast: 2 strips of steak, very small chicken breast, a few black berries, coffee w/ tbsp of coconut oil
Lunch: 1/2 pint of black berries 1 square of lindt 85%
Dinner:(large fatoush, no pita chips) with plain chicken
I feel like I forgot something... I'm not hungry but I feel like I should be.

Day 6  November 17th 

Slept pretty good for a hotel room.  but only for about 6 hours.
Morning weight:no idea
Breakfast: scrambled eggs (probably those fake ones restaurants use), fruit salad
Morning Snack:Pecan/walnut/almond/coconut shreds/sunflower seed trail mix
Lunch: 1/2 pint of raspberries 1 square of lindt 85%
Afternoon Snack:Pecan/walnut/almond/coconut shreds/sunflower seed trail mix
Dinner:Pecan/walnut/almond/coconut shreds/sunflower seed trail mix
hmmm, road food menu might need some tweaking.

Day 5  November 16th 

slept well till about 4am, then tossed and turned.
Morning weight:155.5
Breakfast: 3 eggs with spinach in cooked in a bit of olive oil
Morning Snack: Pecan/walnut/almond/coconut shreds/sunflower seed trail mix
Lunch: 1/2 pint of raspberries
Dinner:  ace restaurant pea soup (definitely not legal, but i was hungry and it was there).  steak and veggies

 Day 4  November 15th 

slept well till about 4am, then tossed and turned and woke up alot.  had xcom dreams haha
Morning weight:158.2
Breakfast: 8:15am 2 eggs with a bit of green onion and 1/4 red pepper.  20 1/2 spears of asparagus. 2 cups of chocolate mint tea

Lunch: sweet potato and squash caserole.
Afternoon Snack: 1:30 green apple, 2:30 10 walnut halves
sleepy around 3:15
Dinner: ribeye steak and "asian style" mixed vegetables 

Day 3  November 14th  

Slept pretty well, but had weird dreams.
Morning weight:159.6
Breakfast: 8:00am 3 eggs with spinach and a bit of olive oil.  chocolate mint tea.

Lunch: 12:05 pm  chicken breast and "summer" vegetables
Afternoon Snack: 1:00pm clementine, 2:00 10 walnut halves, 3:30 20 almonds
very lathargic and sleep in the mid/late afternoon today.
Dinner: large fatoush from la luna express no pita chips of tomatoes


Day 2  November 13th 

Slept much better.
Morning weight: 160.7
Breakfast: 8:00am 15 asparagus spears grilled in a bit of olive oil. 2 eggs scrambled with a bit of red onion
Lunch: 121:15pm squash and yam casserole by Jon.  Chocolate Mint Tea in the morning,  water with blackberry tea after lunch
Afternoon Snack: 1:45pm - 20ish almonds, 2:15pm - honey crisp apple, more tea
bit of a headache
Dinner:  4:30pm - chicken breast and "summer vegetable" mix. 1/2 pint of rapsberries
snack: 8:00pm - coconut milk, coconut oil, 1/2 frozen banana, bit of frozen fruit mix, bit of honey, bit of vanilla

Day 1  - November 12th  
Slept terribly last night.  Great way to start the new diet.
Morning Weight:  162.5
Breakfast: (7:15AM) 1 cup of spinach pan fried with about 1tbsp of olive oil and 2 eggs.   1 cup of chocolaty mint tea.
Snack (10am): 10 walnut halves
Lunch (12:20 ):  pan fried steak (rowe farm skinny ones) and some pan fried veggies in olive oil and dave's veggie rub). Very Berry tea
Afternoon Snack (2:15pm)  Clementine, big glass of water
Afternoon Snack (3:30pm)  1/2 pint of raspberries
Dinner(8:15pm) la luna express large fatoush, no tomatoes or pita chips.  plain chicken

The F.F.C. Autism Charity event

Yesterday, Alasdair and I made our way up to Montreal one last time for the year. We thought we were done with the 401 East for the year back in early November, but then this event came up and I was happy to make the drive one more time.

A little background in case you don't know about this event. It was organized by Glen MacKenzie, known as Glen MM on Facebook. He seems like a pretty cool cat. There were nine super fights: three purple, four brown, and two black (I think that's the right break down). All of the money from ticket sales and raffle sales went to two autism foundations. I think one was a research program, and the other a martial arts program for kids with autism.

I wasn't originally on the card, but when her scheduled opponant Elsa Sery injured her back training, Alison suggested me as a replacement and I was happy to help! I think fighting for a cool event like this is a much more worthwhile cause then competing in a tournament for a medal or whatever. I shuffled some plans around, got the day off work and I was in!

The event was nice enough to put us up in a room for the night, pay for our parking and get us coupons for a continental breakfast in the morning. Gringo is such a nice guy, he refused to let them even do that, so more money could go to the charities! I would love to have the financial freedom to do that, but this road trip probably will end up costing three or four hundred dollars when you take in time off work, gas, food and whatnot. I was happy to be there even with those expenses, but to have to pay for a room and parking on top of those would have probably broken the bank.

So how were the fights you ask?

I missed the first two because I was warming up. Up first was Mike Trembley and a local guy. Mike won on points, and from what I heard it was a great match, Mike had a triangle at one point and it looked like it would be over, but then later in the match the other guy got Mike in a tight kimura and they went out of bounds.

Second fight was a no gi purple belt match, I have no idea what happened in it.

3rd fight was Alison and I! I think we gave the crowd a great show. If you looked at the score board at the end it looked like a slaughtering: I lost 22-0, but I felt like it was a pretty competitive match. I stuck pretty well to my game plan at the beginning, but once again, when I didn't get my pass points it threw me off and it went a bit downhill from there. I did defend the kimura (thanks everyone at Pura for trying to take my arm off on Wednesday) and also one or two other attempts, but I kept reguarding a terrible half guard and getting it passed, so Alison raked up the points. I managed to create some decent opportunities, but I was sloppy and wasted them. I've got a few things to work on before we fight again!

I missed the 4th fight because I was helping my friend Dainis warm up for his fight which was 5th. Dainis fought Ryan Keller, a local brown belt who was ridiculously strong. It was a really great match. They did quite a bit of standup and Dainis got a throw straight into an arm bar. The crowd went crazy and Ryan managed to power out of it. They spent a lot of time in Dainis's guard and near the end Ryan got a nice half guard sweep and almost pass to tie it up. The ref decided to do a 5 minute overtime instead of a decision. Dainis really picked up the pace and laid it on in the over time, passing to mount twice and winning 16-2. 

Next was a nogi fight between the 10th planet guy (Louis Ho) and another local guy (Ord Millar). The local guy started strong with a nice takedown, but the 10th planet guy quickly set up a nice deep half guard and worked a banana split sub! Yes, you read that right, he did a banana split sub in real life! I've never seen it work and this guy wad actually pretty flexible, I was insanely impressed! He got sub of the night for it, and it was well deserved.

The last brown belt fight was Jimmy Tat, from Revolution BJJ vs David Guigui. It was a pretty fun fight to watch, Jimmy worked a lot of guard stuff and in the end caught the other guy in a slick arm bar. 

The first black belt fight was a tight game of attempted guard passes and sweeps with the guy with the mustache and tattoo winning by a single advantage. There probably could have been one or two more advantages scored on the match, but I think the right guy won.

Last match of the night was Gringo vs Mark. It was insanely close with no scores at all in the first 10 minutes, or maybe one advantage each, I forget. Either way, Gringo was working a nice closed guard almost the entire match setting up sweeps and stuff but Mark was defending well. Gringo almost got a really nice sweep -- he came up, but wasn't able to maintain enough to get the points. They ended up doing a 5 min overtime where Mark was able to get some points and a nice looking inverted triangle but was unable to finish. Mark won by five points or so I believe.

All in all it was a great night of fights to watch as a fan, and I learned a few things in my fight with Alison. So its win/win even though I lost.  

The event was packed to the rafters with fan. It ended up being in a much smaller place because the hotel booked the original room for a paying customer and we got bumped to a smaller place, which is totally understandable. The hotel hosted the event for free and also donated 1000 points to each fight winner, which I think works out to a free night or two, very generous of them. SAU was also a sponsor of the event, donating free entry to their next tournament to the winner, which is pretty cool. I will probably check out their tournament next time. Popeyes nutrition donated a huge prize pack for the sub of the night as well.

Thanks to Alasdair for coming along and cornering me, I may not have listened to everything he yelled but I tried most of the time. Also, thanks to Clidan, who happened to be in town for the UFC, for coming out to watch and work the camera for me. It's amazing to have teammates like this who support me everywhere. 

So that's that. Next weekend is provincials. I'm fighting for free, or I would probably skip it. I'm also refereeing which will be fun, and stressful.

The weekend after that is Grappler's Quest in London, once again fighting for free and refereeing. I've been hoarding away my referee and commission money to save up for Pans and Worlds. It's a slow process but hopefully I can save some other money as well and I'll be able to compete there.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Faixa Roxa and other unrelated things

Yesterday was the big grading day at Pura BJJ! We had a huge group of guys testing and it was a great day all around.   I have to thank my super awesome professors PJ and Riccardo, and all my excellent team mates who help me learn jiu jitsu every day!

Six team mates and I tested for purple belt. This brings the count of regularly attending purple belts to about ten or so. Eight people tested for blue as well, so we should have ten or so blue belts on the mat on a regular basis too!  Everything is going to be so colourful, it's going to be amazing.

Back Row: Steve, Matt, James, Vu, Joel, Rob, Jon, Greg
Front Row: Chris, Alasdair, Andre, Riccardo, PJ, Kyle, Me, Rodney, Mark
Jon and I with our new belts!

Among the guys testing for blue was my husband Jon! He's been doing BJJ for just over 2 years and has gotten pretty good at things. I'm ridiculously proud of him, it's kind of silly. He's going to have his hands full with the blue lightweight / featherweight division, but I think he'll fit in nicely.

For me, attaining purple belt is a cool milestone, on the way to a much more lofty goal of black belt. It's also quite inconvenient because there are so few purple belt women to compete against locally. The blue belt scene was sparse, purple is almost non-existent. There are about five girls in Ontario who compete sometimes.  The only tournaments that had any purple belts compete in Ontario were the ones with blue and purple combined (if I recall correctly) -- even the Toronto IBJJF tournament didn't have any.  The IBJJF tournament in Montreal had one purple belt division that actually had a fight and a 3 girl absolute. It looks like the OJA is going to separate blues and purples at all of their tournaments in 2013, so I won't be getting many fights locally that way.

Grappling Co does blue and up divisions AND because they give away trips, they tend to draw some higher level girls out, like a few weeks ago Nathalia came up from Boston to compete. So, locally in the GTA I'll pretty much just be competing at tournaments that give away trips and other prizes. I'm planning on heading out to California for Pans, and hopefully Worlds, if I can find the cash or win a trip. That's going to get really expensive so hopefully I can win a trip to one or the other.  I'm also planning on hitting up IBJJF Chicago and Boston. They both had a few girls in a bunch of the purple belt divisions so will be worth the road trip out.

The other cool thing about being a purple belt is now my super fight with Alison next weekend won't look silly. People like to see fighters of the same belt fight, and even though Alison and I have fought many times in the past (as white vs blue, and blue vs purple), next weekend will be the first time we compete against each other as equal belts!  I hope my new shiny purple belt is luckier then my white and blues were (jokes, I know it's not about luck)!

Does anyone have an recommendations for belts?  I really like the colour of my new one, and don't mind the belt itself, but unfortunately, we washed and dried our belts and they both shrank significantly! I was expecting it to shrink a bit, but it probably shrank 4-6 inches! It's a lot softer and easier to tie of course, but I don't think it's IBJJF legal anymore! On a related note, I'm going to need a new ranked rash guard or two as well. What a pain in the ass being promoted is. I really like the look of the new scramble ones, but they are pretty expensive and shipping them in from the UK adds another 10 or 20 bucks on top of that! 

Mike, Celine, Lucas, Brayden, Adrian, Diana, Cierra and Johnny

On a mostly unrelated note.  The Pura Kids were in action at the JCC Provincials on Saturday as well!  I wasn't able to watch any of them compete, but I know they worked really hard to get ready for the competition and they all did great!  I spent some time with them before the competition to help them with their take downs and it was a lot of fun working with them.  I'm looking forward to helping them out again for future competitions.

On a completely unrelated note, tomorrow I start my Paleo(ish) diet. I'm going to try to stick with it for 4 weeks at first and see how it goes. The basics are no dairy, no grains, no soy, no sugar, no processed crap.  Today we went grocery shopping and spent over 200 bucks!! Meat and real food is expensive! I cooked up a whole bunch of beef and chicken and veggies for my lunches. I'm quite looking forward to trying this out and seeing how my body adjusts and deals with it. I'm hoping for some great results, but I'll settle for decent ones. This weekend will be interesting, with the road trip to Montreal and everything. 

Coming up to round out the year:
I'm looking forward to a very busy 3 weeks, and then a few weeks off from competition to relax, work on some new moves and maybe go lift some weights and stuff to get ready for the INSANELY busy 2013 competition schedule.  You can have a peek at the list of potential tournaments to attend in the GTA / Montreal / Ottawa area on the Pura BJJ Blog.  It's going to be a crazy year!

See you on the mats!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Thinking about trying a little caveman dieting.

Also known as Paleo. It certainly isn't the most convenient diet I could test out, but from what I've read on the internet (and we all know everything on the internet is truth), it's a pretty healthy way of eating/living. Dieting/diet has such a negative connotation, when I say diet, I mean eating plan, or a list of the things I put in my belly -- not dieting in the calorie restricting lose weight kind of way. I'll be honest, I'd love to lose some weight while I'm at it, but for me the goal is to be healthier.

For those of you know are new to this diet. Basically it's eating like a caveman would. No processed food, and no highly farmed types of food. Lots of meat, vegetables, nuts, berries and some other fruits. Nothing that comes out of a package. No dairy, no grains, no soy. This is why I say it's not a very convenient diet.   You can't just stop at McDonalds on the way to work and grab an "Egg McMuffin". While the egg and bacon are allowed, the muffin and butter not so much.

Why would I do this to myself you ask?

I've read a lot and talked to a lot of people about gluten, and how it's not that great for you. For some people, it's fine, it doesn't affect them at all, for others, like my sister in law, it does very bad things to your digestive system, and entire body! I've read and heard all sorts of things about gluten affecting your bodies ability to heal itself and whatnot. It got me thinking, maybe that's the reason my scratches and things take so long to heal? Maybe the gluten I'm eating is affecting my body's immune system?  I know, I know, I'm the first one to say that completely eliminating one thing is not usually a good idea, but this is going to be more of an experiment than anything. I'm not doing it as a quick and easy weight loss miracle diet, I'm trying it to see if I do indeed have a sensitivity to it. So, eliminating grains takes care of the gluten.

The other big thing I've been reading and hearing a lot about is dairy. The argument can be made that no other mammal drinks milk as adult. Also, the whole dairy industry is a little frightening. Did you know the PPPM measurement is "Pus Parts per Million"?.  EWWW. That's how much infection is allowed in the milk. I know here in Canada the dairy industry is much more restricted than in the States. We don't allow the cows to be fed a lot of the fake shit and hormones that they allow in the US. But, let's be honest, does the fact that if you stop drinking milk for a while, you generally become quite intolerant not make you scratch your head and go "Hey, maybe we shouldn't be drinking this?" I think dairy will be harder for me then gluten. I love chocolate milk, I love cheese cake, I LOVE CHEESE! But, for an experiment, I think it'll be worthwhile.    There are coconut and almond milk/iced cream replacements that may or may not meet the rest of the guidelines for the whole paleo thing... I'll have to look into that.  

No soy is easy, I've never been a huge fan of the stuff. I don't like tofu, and while I used to drink soy milk, I've since replaced it with almond and coconut milk. I've read a bunch of stuff about soy and how it mimics estrogen, and how it's been connected to breast cancer and that alone is reason enough for me to avoid it. Even if it's the slightest barely connected link, I'm going to avoid that shit like it's the plague: I don't really need to increase my chances of that anymore than they already are.

Anything with sugar is out, although this mostly falls under the processed food category anyway. I'm going to miss iced cream so much. I think I can probably find a way to make some fake ice cream with plain almond milk, coconut oil, and some fruit or something. One thing that might be tricky is almost all salad dressing has sugar as an ingredient. It's weird, and seems completely unnecessary, but it's there! I suppose I can make my own, or just be careful which ones I buy. My favourites all have dairy in the form of feta in them anyway. 

What about Pork? While pork is not on the list of things that aren't allowed with this diet, I think I will cut it out completely as well. One big reason is, I'm undecided if it should or shouldn't be eaten as a Christian: in the Old Testament it was a big no-no, but in the New Testament there are couple of verses that seem to indicate it's OK. The other reason being pork is just not a very clean meat. There is a reason you have to cook it a lot more than beef, and that is a bit concerning. I do love bacon, but I think I can live without it. 

What about things from the water? Paleo allows for most things from the water, but like pork, I already don't eat a lot of it, and won't eat things like lobster, shrimp or other nasty sea insects. I do occasionally enjoy a nice battered and fried perch or cod, but the batter and frying will have to go. I'll probably eat some salmon and maybe tuna once in a while. 

Other things I love that aren't allowed:
  • Crystal Light and other things that make water taste good
  • Cookies
  • Protein shakes
  • Dessert
  • Cheese--  Oh wait, I already mentioned that.  Cheese might be the worst part of this. Seriously.
  • Gatorade
  • Alcohol

So, when am I going to dive in and do this? I'm thinking after this weekend. That will give me a chance to clean up my kitchen, get some proper groceries, and have some time left to enjoy the deliciousness that is everything that is bad for me. Also, Saturday is a big team dinner thing at an all-you-can-eat sushi place, and I don't eat raw fish, so that leaves me with tempura vegetables, which certainly aren't paleo.

Did I miss any of the big no-nos when it comes to this diet? Have you tried it? Got any tips? Please let me know here, on my Facebook fan page, or my fitness pal profile!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Stuff and Things

So I normally blog about a tournament as soon as I get home, but I have nothing good to say about last weekend, so I don't really want to talk about it. I lost because of poor reffing in the very first round of my division. So I was the ONLY person in my division who didn't get into the absolute by default. So I went all the way to New York, for five minutes of jiu jitsu. It wasn't even a standard length match, they only do five minutes. I don't want to sound even more like a big whining baby so I'm not going to get into it.

I will NOT be returning to the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials in New York, and I will be strongly cautioning against it to anyone I talk to about it. I'll stick with the Montreal Trials from now on, which are run very well, have qualified referees and have added a bunch of weight classes for the women this year.

Check out the facebook event for the Montreal Pro Trials here:   I will be competing in the Purple and up division, maybe -61kg but likely -68kg. 61kg will be quite a challenge for me to make, but it puts me at the top of the absolute, instead of the bottom. The weigh-ins are the day before, so in theory, I can dehydrate a bit of it, and still perform well.   When my mom reads this I'm going to get a lecture, but I deserve it. 134 lbs is really really light for someone who is 5'10. 

Yesterday, I agreed to replace an injured fighter on a super fight card in Montreal. I will be facing my friendly nemesis Alison Trembley in a purple belt super fight, assuming I pass my grading on November 10th. If I don't, well, I guess it will be a mixed belt super fight, which is fine, because a lot of tournaments are blue and up anyway so it's all good.

Alison and I have some serious history, we have competed against each other six times in the past, four of which took place at the Ontario Open last year. I have lost every encounter with her, but I feel like in the gi matches last year I wasn't being outclassed or anything, she was better than me, no doubt, but it wasn't like I didn't belong in the match. I did score some points on her, which is more than the people she fought in her division at worlds last year can say! I'm really looking forward to fighting her again because she is one very tough cookie, and it will be a good measure of how my jiu jitsu has come along in the six months or so since the Ontario Open. 

Here is a link to the Facebook event for the super fights: All of the proceeds from the event are going to an autism charity. None of the fighters are being paid, we are all donating our time and efforts to support the cause. The event has some great sponsors on board, and is taking place at the Holiday Inn Midtown Montreal, which seems to be a very supportive hotel to the Jiu Jitsu scene in general. It is often the official tournament hotel for events in Montreal. VIP Tickets are $50 and regular tickets are $30, hit up the Facebook event to order them.

Also coming up is the OJA Provincials. Myself and 4 team mates(Alasdair, Matt, Jon and Heather) have all earned free entry into the provincials by earning points throughout the year at other OJA events.  Alasdair was 2nd in male adult Blue, Matt was top 10 in white belt no gi, Jon was top 10 in white belt gi, and Heather was top 5 in female white belt gi. Congrats to all of my teammates and also to all the other athletes who earned their way to Provincials. It should be a great event, even though they aren't giving away any trips.

Last but certainly not least is the Grappler's Quest North American Championships coming up Dec 1st in London. They are giving way $500 to a bunch of the absolute winners, so that should bring out some top level guys and girls. This will be the last event of the year for me, and will be competition number 18 for the year, or 19 if you count the super fight.  

I'm really looking forward to the break between Grapplers Quest and Ascension in January. I am going to spend some time developing some new techniques and having fun with jiu jitsu instead of always being super focused on the next competition and the testing and everything else. 2013 will be quite different than 2012.  As a purple belt, I will have a lot less opportunities to compete locally. I will limit myself to tournaments that have significant prizes for the advanced divisions (because that will bring people out to play) and to the few tournaments that Pura will be attending officially as a full team. I plan on going to Worlds and hopefully Pans in California, as well as the Chicago, New York City, and possibly Boston IBJJF Open tournaments.  These tournaments have all had some purple belt ladies in my division in the last year, so in theory, I will have people to compete with there.

That's all for now!  See you on the mats!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Importance of Game Plans

This is part 4 of a series on the mental side of fighting and training.   Make sure you read the first 3 parts!

1. Intro and Goal Setting
2. Visualization and Positive Self Talk
3.  Fight Day Strategy

I touched on having a game plan a little bit in the visualization part of the series, but didn't really get into it much. Just said that you should be visualizing yourself executing your game plan. So, what exactly goes in the game plan and what do you do with it?

Your game plan should be simple. Those t-shirts and internet memes that say "Pull. Sweep. Submit" aren't far off from a solid game plan. It's a tad on the simplified side, but here is what you don't want your game plan to look like: "First, I'll grip with my left hand, then the right. If they step with their left, I'll go to the right. Then, I'll step in with my left, and scoop up their right leg for a single..."  Get the idea? That is way too detailed, way too much information.

Game plans can't account for every single scenario either. There shouldn't be 1000 "ifs" in your plan.  One or two is OK, but if your plan involves a lot of "ifs", then you are counting on your plan not being effective, and you need to go back to #2 and get that head on straight. Here's an example of an OK "if" in your game plan.  "Double leg straight to side control. If they get a guard, pass right away before they can close it. Follow with knee on belly to cross choke / armbar sequence.".  As you can see, there is one "if" but it resolves to the same place so we don't have a million branches.

So you've got a plan, now what?

Drill, Drill, Drill. You know the saying, "you fight how you train" or "perfect practice makes perfect" or "drill to win". All of these apply.  You need to drill all aspects of your game plan, individually, and together.    If your game plan is to get a double leg, you need to start standing when you roll.  If your game plan is to do a triangle from side control, don't pull guard every time you roll.

Now, it's important to note that I'm not saying always roll exactly what you want to do in a fight, because then you will never expand your game and never really learn jiu jitsu. But the week or two leading up to your competition should be full of very focused drilling and rolling. This is not the time to be experimenting with new techniques and playing around in your rolls. 

When your drilling your game plan, work together with your partner, let them know your game plan, so they can help you. Have them purposefully throw a wrench into your plan by reacting differently, so you can work on your reactions to all situations. Jiu jitsu may be competed as in individual sport, but it is most definitely a team sport. You will need your team mates to help get your game plan sorted and ready, and you will need to help them with the same!

There are some people out there who are against having a game plan. They feel like if they have a game plan, and something goes wrong, they will be lost like a fish out of water. But, in my opinion, if you don't have a game plan, you are already that fish out of water. If you are just reacting to what the other person does, you're going to be one step behind, the entire match. There may be a time that your game plan doesn't work out. Maybe they pulled guard faster then you could, maybe they've got legs that are a million miles long and got their guard around quick before you could pass. It doesn't matter why; at this point, you just go back to the jiu jitsu you know, and get yourself to a point that your game plan comes back into play.  

Like all the other factors in the mental side of the sport, this is going to take time to develop and work into your training and competition habits. Having a game plan will help you visualize more effectively and help you become more confident in your fights. 

So, what's your game plan?  How are you training to be able to implement it?  Where are you going to give it a test next?

See you on the mats!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Competition Day Strategy

This is part 3 of the series on the mental side of the game. If you haven't read part 1 and part 2  do it now, then come back.

It happens to everyone,  you train hard, you know your stuff, you can pull it off rolling, and then at the tournament you forget everything and get smashed.   It's not because your bad at jiu jitsu, and it for the sake of argument and this blog post, it's not because the other guy is better then you. It's likely because your not "in the zone" or any of the other buzz-words that basically just mean your head wasn't in the game.  

So, How do we fix this?   It's not easy, and it's not going to happen over night.  But it starts with the first 2 parts of this series and carries on with the rest of this post.

Developing your competition day routine

Sports players everywhere in every sport have there little things that keep them grounded when they compete.  They wear their lucky socks or underwear, they always have the exact same thing for breakfast, things like that.   These things that are often brushed away as being superstitious and nonsense can be really powerful mental tools.  Consistency in your habits will help you focus and be prepared for the day.

I can't tell you what works and what doesn't for you, Everyone will be quite different in this. Some people really like to be social at tournaments, some people don't like to talk to anyone.  Some people like to watch matches, some people that makes them very nervous.  The best way to figure out what does and doesn't work for you, is to keep a competition journal, and keep track of what happened that day leading up to your matches, and write down how you felt physically, mentally, and emotionally through out the day.  It's a bit of work, but it's well worth it.  After a few events you should have a bit of a picture of how what you do leading up to your matches affects your state of mind and your performance.

There will always be things that are out of your control, like when weigh ins are,  the time your division starts,  who you fight, what colour fighter you are.  But there are all sorts of things that you can control to counter act these unknowns and keep you focused.

This is a topic that examples will speak much louder then explanations, so let me give you a bit of a breakdown on the things that are part of my competition day strategy to get me focused and ready.
For the sake of the example, I'll use a local event that I'm driving to the morning of, since I think that is a more common case and will be a better example.

The night before:
  1. pack my gear back with everything I need, including, but not limited to:
    1. 2 gis, my mendes gi, and one other one, ussually a red star
    2. 2 pairs of shorts, 2 rashguards, 2 sports bras
    3. a full change of cloths for afterwards.
    4. mouth guard, camera, extra battery, nail clippers, a fresh package of hair elastics
  2. pack my non-gear  bag
    1. snacks including protein bars, granola bars, some fruit
    2. gatorade, usually a 6 pack, almost always grape g2.
    3. a bit of candy or chocolate for quick energy and a post-fight reward
    4. often i'll have some chocolate milk (the kind that stays good not in a fridge, weird, but tasty, and a good recovery drink)
  3. pick out my cloths for the morning, ussually a comfy pair of jeans, my pura t-shirt, and a sweater, you never know how hot or cold the venue will be, and layers are the best way to get warm, and stay warm, but not roast when your done. Also: my competition socks, not always the same pair, but always an interesting pair, and almost always mismatched, and knee highs.
  4. print out the directions, any registration confirmations, schedule, and the list of my team mates that are competing so we can keep track of the day.
  5. Shower and get to bed nice and early (I like to be in bed and relaxing by 10pm, but it doesn't always work out).
Competition Day: Before the tournament:
  1. Wake up about 45 minutes before we have to leave.  
  2. Get up as soon as the alarm goes off (If I lay around in bed I get groggy and get headaches)
  3. Check my mail, facebook, twitter.
  4. Put anything that was in the fridge in the snack/lunch bag and double check my bags
  5. Get breakfast, usually at mcdonalds. I know, it's weird, but I love breakfast burritos and orange juice on fight morning. 
  6. Drive to the venue! I like to give myself at least lots of time to get there, generally if it's less then an hour drive, i double the time, if it's more then an hour, I give myself an extra hour to get there.  
 At the venue
  1. Check in / Register right away,  pick up my free t-shirt if there is one and stake out a spot in the bleaches/stands.
  2. If it's all bleachers, I go for the top of the most central place. This way you can see all the mats, and you don't have to worry about people stepping on your bags b/c your at the top.
  3. I'll check my weight on the scale right away, and depending on how that is, have a snack, or not.
 More then 1 hour before my fights
  • The time way before my fights I'm really relaxed, I'll be social, I'll listen to music, I'll watch the fights.  
  • I tend to just be relaxed and not thinking about my matches, my division, whom i'm fighting and whatnot.
  • I like to watch my team mates,  video them, or take pictures.   
 Less then 1 hour before my fights
  • At about the hour mark, I'll get changed into my gi, and check my weight again, just to be sure.  If i'm good, I'll have another snack, likely some of the fruit, and gatorade. 
  •  At this point, you never really know when exactly your going to be up, even at the most organized and scheduled events.  (except maybe IBJJF they are pretty particular about their schedules).   So  I like to be pretty much ready to go about 1/2 hour before i'm scheduled.  
  • I'll put my headphones in both ears, but not loud. I listen to mostly metal, rock, alternative.  Pre-fight is a lot of stuff like In Flames, Korn, System of a down, avenging sevenfold and killswitch engage.   I have a lot of the same songs on my car's usb drive that I do on my mp3 player.
  • At this point I get a lot more anti-social, I'll still chat a bit with my team mates but I'm starting to think about my matches, and doing some visualization and whatnot.
 After my divisions has been called up
  •  Music on, socks on, sweater on.  
  • Generally I'll pace and do some light stretches before the matches, just staying warm, but not spending a lot of energy.  I'll close my eyes and do some serious visualization and self talk to.
 I'm up next
  • Head over to the mat,  pacing if there is room, or just standing beside it, staying loose.  
  • headphones, sweater and socks come off just before I step on the mats and it's go time.
 Match Time:
  • Check the score board, make sure it's clear and the match time is right.
  • Shake hands with the ref, shake hands with my opponent, and say "ooos".   This is something I've done since my judo days, back before ooos was said at the end of every sentence, on every picture that has anything to do with jiu jitsu, and before it was completely watered down.   It's me saying "Thanks for coming out, let's fight hard, and do what we came to do".  It puts my brain right where it needs to be. 
  •  FIGHT!
Between matches
  • Put my socks back on right away, ussually put my music on in one ear. 
  • drink some gatorade 
  • shake hands with the coach(if they are around) of my opponent and congratulate them and the coach on a good match.
  • I'll chat with a team mate or two between matches, but generally stick to myself, keep warm, and listen to music.  I don't think about the last match, and I re-focus myself with some visualization and whatnot.

So that's generally what I do,  If it's a tournament I have to travel to, I stick to this, but of course drive to the tournament, sleep in a hotel, but It's mostly the same.  This strategy, or plan, or set of habits, whatever you want to call it, is key to me being ready mentally and physically for my fights.  It's been in development since I was about 16 or 17 years old competing in judo tournaments.   It's shifted over the years but hasn't changed a lot.

For you, it might be quite different!  You might be social until right before you step on the mats,  maybe you like to sit at the bottom,  maybe you can't watch your team mates because you get to excited and nervous and it wastes all your energy.    It's going to take some experimenting to figure it all out, but once you do, you'll have a very powerful tool to help you perform the best that you can.

Alright, this blog post is long enough, I was going to talk about game plans but I'll save that for another day.   If you have any questions about this stuff please post a comment, or message me on facebook, or twitter, or email me or whatever.   I'm more then happy to share my experiences and the stuff I've learned in courses with fellow competitors.

I'll be running a new, much easier to enter contest on my fan page to correspond with this blog post.   All you have to do is Share my blog on facebook or twitter, like my fan page, and post on there that you shared it(There will be a post to comment on to say you shared it. if it's twitter, i'll need a link to the tweet, just to verify it) Alternately, you can just share the post from my fan page that has this blog on it, if that is easier for you.  OR, if you got here from twitter, give my tweet with the link a retweet and I should see it.    The winner will be chosen randomly and will win a VVV rashguard of their choice! Contest closes October 24th.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Toronto Grappling Grand Prix Oct 13th 2012

I failed, again.  I went into this tournament with the intention of winning the blue and up absolute to win a trip to pans in 2013.  Well, someone you may have heard of,  Nathalia Azoff, a brown belt from BTT in Boston, put an end to that plan, in a very decisive fashion.  She is ridiculously good,and a really cool person, so I can't even vilify her in my head.

I did have a couple good moments of competition.   I avenged my loss to Tiffany, and escaped or just survived long enough for her to transition to something else, an insanely tight bow and arrow choke, that I probably should have tapped to, but I had made a goal in my head over the last few weeks to not give up on escaping from chokes as quickly, so I feel like I accomplished that.

Here's a picture of me in trouble!  Link .The picture is courtesy of Kelvin Martin. Here is the album.

The +135 blue and up division had 5 ladies in it, and -135 only had one!  I felt bad for Jodi, who only got one match in the absolute (against Nathalia).  Thankfully she didn't come from a long ways away to be there, and she got to have a great match with Nathalia, so it wasn't a completely wasted day for her.   It's weird because ussually the smaller divisions have more girls, not the other way around.

The white belt ladies divisions were pretty good sized as well. I think under 135 had 5 people, and over 135 had 2 or 3.   There was more in the nogi.   and I don't think any advanced nogi matches took place because Nathalia had to leave, and that left only team mates in the division.  I did not compete in nogi because I was refereeing.

So, a little bit about the event.

There was about 380 individual people competing, which added up to about 550 competitors when counting gi and nogi.  The event ran from 9am to 7pm, which is pretty good considering how many matches that adds up to when pretty much everyone is fighting 4x.  The organizers stated that there was over 1000 matches scheduled.   They had 11 mat areas, in a U shape, with the tables in the middle, which is a great idea because it keeps the view of the mats pretty open for the spectators and coaches. 

It seemed like the tournament was running pretty smoothly,  There were a few very new refs, myself included, but from what I saw, and heard, they all did a decent job.   I heard a few cases of people arguing with some of the more experienced referees, but from what I heard, the refs were indeed in the right, and the coaches were not understanding the rules.   The tournament followed the IBJJF rule book pretty well, other then their tournament format (always single elimination) and a few other details not relating to the match rules.

The level of competition at the event was high, I think due to the fact that 4 trips to pans were on the line!  There was a LOT of purple belts, and a decent amount of brown/blacks to!   I didn't get a chance to watch many of the matches because I was busy, but from what I heard they were very competitive.  

My first time as a ref

I took the IBJJF ref course when it came to town with the Toronto Open back in the summer.  It was interesting, but I didn't find that I took as much away from it as I wanted.  I think the course could use some tweaks, and some more real-time and situation training instead of just reading the rules and talking about them.   Anyway, this got me invited to ref at this event.  At first I wasn't confident enough to do it, but I was convinced that I could, so I did. 

I was refereeing junior 1 and 2 all day. Gi and No Gi.   It was quite the adventure.  There are quite a few restrictions on subs that are allowed and not allowed, and it changes between 1 and 2, so I had to keep on my toes to keep them straight.   I know I made a few mistakes about allowing things in 1 when I they were not allowed, but they got sorted out, and the right kids won the matches in the end.  At the end of the day, I took over for one of the other refs and got to do a few adult beginner -170 nogi matches.  It was quite different from the kids divisions but I think i handled them well.

By the end of the day I was really really tired,  and my knees were more sore then they have been in months.  I guess all the standing, crouching, kneeling, and walking around to referee took it's toll on them.  They are fine today, so no damage done.   I certainly have a new appreciation for the referees at events and how exhausting it is.  10 hours on your feet, focusing hard on a task is physically, and mentally draining.  

Here is one of the albums of pictures floating around on facebook:  BJJ Addict
My Team mate Heather also took a few great pictures of my matches. You can find them on my fan page tournament picture album. Please stop by there and give the page a like. 

The next tournaments for me are:
NYC Abu Dhabi Pro Trials
OJA Provincials
Grapplers Quest London 

Also coming up, but ones I sadly cannot attend are:  Ottawa Open (this weekend), and Montreal Grappling  (November 10th).  Both of these are going to be great events that I am pretty bummed about having to miss.

Then I have a few weeks off over December and early January before Ascension, Montreal Grappling and Toronto Grappling in Late January/ Feb. 

See you on the Mats!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Believe and Achieve aka Visualization and Positive Self Talk

Alright, so I stole the title from our amazing team head instructors, the Mendes brothers. But, they are right on the money with the phrase so I decided to borrow it.

 If you haven't read the first post in this series make sure you do! It introduces the mental side of the fight game and goal setting.

Visualization and positive self talk really go together nicely. Basically, visualization is watching videos of yourself doing what your game plan is in your head, over and over and over. There's a bit more to it, but that's the basics. Positive self talk is basically telling yourself that you can do it, of course, there is more to that too.


This is something you can do any time, anywhere. Visualize yourself doing all aspects of your game plan from start to end. Watch yourself start the match, slap hands, pull guard, and set up your sweep or sub.  Watch your hand being raised at the end of the match.  All in your head of course ;)

It's important to visualize things on the high level, like I just described, and also on the more detailed level.  Think about and visualize exactly where your grips are going to be, exactly where your feet are going, how you break their balance, and so on.

So take 5 minutes before or after class, or while you're waiting for the bus, or brushing your teeth and do some visualization :)

Positive Self Talk

Basically, this is you not being negative. It's believing in yourself, and reinforcing that belief by telling it to yourself.  This is something you can do while you are working on your visualization, and before your matches to get you into the right mind set.   Some examples of this are "No one has trained as much as I have for this", "I will get the triangle set up I have been working on", "It will be my hand raised at the end of the match".

If both of these concepts are new to you, it'll probably feel weird at first, but give them a chance, try to spend a few minutes every day on each and you will feel less weird pretty quick. :)  And even if it does seem weird, do it anyway, and keep at it. It'll help improve your game and mind set quickly!

So these two tools will help you get your brain on track and help you get focused and ready for competitions and other challenges.   Like goal setting, these concepts can be applied to all things in your life, not just jiu jitsu.  They can be applied to your general fitness goals, school goals, and life goals.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

"90% of the fight game is half mental" or something

I think it was Tim Sylvia who said that particular quote, and it's almost kind of accurate.  The mental side of fighting is a HUGE part of it and there are many different aspects of the mental side of fighting.   

One of my team mates and I had a discussion the other day about the mental side of competing and ways to improve our competition results (aside from the obvious, drill more, roll more, lift more type things).   Mental Preparation is often over looked and can make a huge difference! 

 I'm no sport psychologist, but I've taken and completed the NCCP program all the way up to Level 3.  I'm not technically level 3 certified, because I never got around to doing the practical side of Level 2.  But I have passed everything for level 3. so whatever.   This blog isn't about my NCCP progress.   In these courses we talked and dealt a lot with the mental side of sports, and combat sports specifically, since I took the Judo sport specific side of the course.  I would day 99% of the content, aside from the technical stuff,  directly relates to Jiu Jitsu.   I have applied a lot of the things I learned over the years in taking these, and other courses/seminars directly to my self and had pretty solid results.

So what exactly is involved in the mental side of the game?  Some key parts are:
  1. Goal Settings
  2. Visualization
  3. Positive Self Talk
  4. Developing and Using your competition day strategy and mindset.
  5. Game Planning

Goal Setting
This goes way beyond making your new years resolutions.   But to give it some perspective, every year, we make new years resolution, and we are mega motivated to meet them, at first, then we get bored, or we've made them to lofty, or forget, or whatever.  But, think about how amazing it would be to harness that early motivation, and apply it to your training, and competition! 

There are really 2 main types of goals, short term goals, and long term goals.  You need both to be successful in the fight game, and in everything.   Your short term goals are goals, and milestones along the way to your long term goals,  and/or things that will make your long term goals possible.

Short Term goals should be based on a a time span of a week to a month, of course they can be shorter, or longer, but that's a pretty safe range.  So examples of short terms goals, for jiu jitsu are:
  • Drill 200 arm bars from 2 different positions
  • Use a specific technique in live rolling successfully X amount of times
  • roll 5 rounds in a row without taking a row
As you can see, these are generally easily attainable things, that are steps towards medium, and long term goals.  Some examples of long term goals:
  • Win a medal at a tournament 
  • Earn a trip to Abu Dhabi
  • win a match by submission
  • not gassing at a tournament

These goals are clear, consise, and measurable.   Goals like "have better cardio" arn't good goals, how much better? how do you determine what is better?   Same with "Do better in competition",  what is better? Is it winning more? is it not getting subbed? is it not being sloppy?  it's to broad!

So what do we do to use this information?
At the begining of the year, or season, or what have you,  You need to sit down, with a pen and paper (or computer i suppose).  and figure out what your long term goal(s) is.  Don't make to many, 2 or 3 is good.   Then, come up with the short term goals you need to reach that long term goal.   Once you have those written down,  make your schedule of when you want/need to obtain those short term goals by, in order to reach your long term goal.   Finally,  make notes on HOW you are going to achieve those goals.     Going back to my examples for short term goals:

For drill 200 arm bars:  the notes would be something like "Get to class early 3x a week with a partner, and do 2 sets of 20 each.  Also take 1 round of rolling during open mat to drill as many as possible".   For rolling 5 rounds without a break... "roll every other round the first week.  Roll 2 in a row with one off the 2nd week. Roll three in a row the third week, and so on.  Also, do this and that specific cardio at the gym 3x a week"  Got the picture?  It's basically making a road map for yourself.

I've made a little document you can use to set this up: Goal Document

It's important that your Long Term, and Short Term goals are reasonable, make them attainable, but not to easy.   It's also important to keep yourself accountable to these goals.   Update your goal document as the dates for them come around.  Make new short term goals as you accomplish them, and always keep your eye on the prize, which is your long term goal.

It can be helpful to share your goals with your coach, or a team mate or two.   Having them aware, and on board will help you be attain your goals by having them help you be accountable, and by supporting you on your journey!

 So, that's a basic introduction to Goal Setting!   It's a great tool to help you get where you want to be and a huge part of the mental side of the sport.   You can even have goals about the mental side of the sport, but since we've only covered goal setting so far, I'd stick to the more traditional goals ;)   

I'll write about the other 3 parts in subsequent blog posts over the next few days/weeks as time permits!   In the mean time,  set your goals, make a plan, and feel free to share them with me!