Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kids and Submissions... a debate.

So there has been a lot of discussion about kids doing subs in tournaments.  Some people are all for it, and won't even bring there young students to tournaments that don't allow it.  Some people are completely against it, and won't bring their young students that allow them, at any age. 

I'm a bit on the fence and like the approach of doing "simulated submissions" that I have seen at some  tournaments. So the kids can set up the subs, but it's stopped when something is locked up but not applied.  They get 4 points and they are stood back up.  So kids get a lot of match experience, and still get to work on getting into position for subs.    

The arguments for allowing subs are:
  1. kids like subs
  2. teaches them to be aware of them so they don't learn bad habits
  3. teaches them to be aware of subs for the future so they will know what's open when they are older
  4. it's part of jiu jitsu
  5. i'm not sure what else
arguments for no subs:
  1. They are dangerous
  2. kids don't have as much control so they can hurt each other
  3.  kids don't know when they are in trouble and might not tap when they should
  4. kids are still growing and getting an elbow hyper extended could have a horrible life long effect
  5. parents don't like seeing kids get hurt
  6. i'm sure there are others

So there are some good reasons on both sides of the coin and I can't say either side is completely wrong.   Coming from a judo background,   as kids only throws and hold downs were allowed until Juvenile, and then chokes and arm locks were allowed.  I think since I was that young, it's changed and now, i think, it's tiered so under 15 some things are allowed and under 19 others are.  I can't be sure, i'm way out of the loop.

I think, ideally,  under 15 or so shouldn't be doing joint locks.  Sure, kids are gumby and flexible and would probably be fine, but it only takes one back lock for a kids elbow or shoulder to be ruined for life.   Chokes could be fine at a younger age, maybe 12 or 13,  worse case scenario, the take a nap,  very little damage is done, especially if the refs are on top of things and stop it quick.    To me, young kids, 10 or so and younger,  probably should be putting submissions on each other,  maybe simulated subs, but not full on subs. 

I've got friends with strong opinions on both sides of this argument, and would love to here their reasons for/against  their opinions.

Do you teach kids subs at your school?  Do you want them doing subs in a competition environment?  what age do you think is good for kids to start doing subs?

Friday, 28 September 2012

Soluntion to the Grapplers Quest Vs Provincials Dilema

So... we've got two tournaments that want to be on the same day.  What a mess.    

Disclaimer:  I respect and consider many of the OJA and OGA people as friends. They are both doing amazing things for the sport in their own ways.  This isn't a personal attack on anyone. It's a discussion of a bad situation, that isn't really anyone in particulars fault. It is just a situation.  I'm not blaming anyone, and I'm not pointing fingers. I hope that this doesn't alienate anyone.

Late last night Grapplers Quest promoters announced that GQ is coming back to Ontario Dec 1st.  It was hinted at earlier in the week that they were coming back, early December, but had to wait to annouce the date until it was firmed up with the venue.

Throw in the mix on Wednesday, after someone asked in the OJA Facebook group where the provincials would be held, we all got a shocker that it wouldn't be the Nov 23/24th date that had been on the OJA website since very early this year, It "should be December 1st and 2nd".  But, like GQ. They couldn't announce anything until they had the venue confirmed.


Here's my soluntion.

Turn the 2 tournaments into ONE.  Co-Promote the Grapplers Quest.  Grapplers Quest North America, Brought to you by the OGA and the OJA.  Two organizations working together for the good of the sport and the competitors.  Can you imagine how amazing that would be?   No more short Staffed GQ.  No more lack of prizes for the provincials.   It's WIN WIN WIN WIN.  No one wins when we have 2 tournaments on the same day,  Even a week apart some people will choose one of the other. Some will do both.    As part of this Grapplers Quest North American Championships as they are calling it,  have the "Provincials Divisions" that are open only to residents of ontario.  and have the regular divisions to.  wouldn't add that much to the day. In theory.  Or don't I don't think provincials was going to be closed to Ontario only anyway.    Maybe put an Ontario flag on the medals or something. 

Give the people who have earned free entry to provincials, free entry to the grapplers quest.  That'll convince the gta people to make the trip down the 401.  Make it so if you have OGA or OJA membership your covered and don't need to pay any extra membership fees.   Have Both organizations sponsors present and advertised on flyers and stuff.  Work Together at all things, share the costs, and share the profit.


It's time to put aside the blame game, the "I had the date first", the "You should have asked me", "No you should have asked me" .  Put the egos and politics aside.  Put your money where your mouth is, and do something for the sake of the sport.   

I know it won't be easy, it's far fetched, it's crazy But It would be AMAZING.  The OJA probably has a deposit on the venue, but it's not confirmed, so I can't imagine it's impossible to cancel.  Take that cost out of their contribution.  I'm sure there are complications about insurance between the two organizations, but there has to be a way to make it work. 

 London might not be Ideal for people on the far side of Toronto, but it's not a terrible drive, and it's a nice city.   It will be good for south western ontario athletes to not have to drive 3 or 4 hours to get to a tournament.  

Sunday, 23 September 2012

GTA Classic and Upcoming stuff

Saturday Sept 22nd was the Annual GTA Classic!   The OJA is stepping things up and I like it!  

They had 8 mats running, pretty smoothly for most of the day I was there.   The reffing was decent, I saw a few interesting calls, but not enough, and not that bad that I would say the reffing was bad.  It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst by a long shot.

      All the staff was friendly and efficient, and put up with me trying to rush them along as much as I was.    I'm normally really patient at tournaments and don't care if they run late or whatever, but I had to head to work and I felt like such an ass when I was asking about my division start time 10 minutes after it was scheduled to start.  The only reason it didn't start on time was because there was a bit of a discussion with the light weight blue division that needed to be sorted out before we could do the absolute.

The tournament was really well attended on the kids, masters, and adult men's side of things, but the ladies division were super sparse!  There was 10 registered, but only 8 competed.   that is so sad.   It's not the tournaments fault, like I talked about in a previous post, it's a weird situation and we need to work together to find a solution!!  

I enjoyed watching the kids competed,  Pura had 3 kids registered, and they all had really tough competition!  I was really impressed with the level of jiu jitsu that was happening in the kids divisions.  Some people were complaining that the kids divisions don't have subs, but to me I think that is the way it should be.  Kids don't have the degree of control that adults do, and if their arms get hyper extended or something else bad they could do serious damage that will affect them for their entire life! 

I didn't get to see a lot of the adult competition, but from what I saw, competition was fierce!  I caught a few of the purple belt matches and was really impressed.  There was more purple belts there then I've seen at a lot of tournaments lately, It's cool to see that many come and compete.   BJJ in Ontario is growing like crazy and its good to see that the higher up guys are able to compete at the local tournaments now.

I only got to compete in the absolute because there was no one in my division (medium heavy) and no one in heavy to move up to.  I was pretty bummed, and tried to cut weight early in the week to move down to middle, but my body was not co-operating, so I was stupid in medium heavy.  I plan on being in Middle for Provincials, or ascension at the very latest.

   I was super stoked that everyone who competed registered for the absolute,  that made for a 5 person division!   I was even happier when I saw that I was the only fight in the first round!  More matches!   I was a little bummed it was against my friend Melissa, since we have fought in the past, and I would have rather fought someone who I hadn't fought yet, and had a chance to fight Melissa later in the rounds.   But that's the way the cookies crumble, so we went out and had a great match.   Melissa is crazy strong and very explosive for someone her size and it's a challenge to catch her in submissions.    Her guard is really strong and I had to bait a sub to get past it!   Dangerous, I know, but it gets the job done more often then not.  I ended up eventually catching her with an arm bar and moving on to the next round.

Next up was Terri,  who I had competed against at the IBJJF Montreal absolute a few weeks ago,  I think it's great that she made the road trip all the way down from Montreal for the tournament. I wish more girls would do that!  Last time we fought Terri had really good gripping early on the match and pulled guard quickly, so I was ready for it this time and was looking for the pass before she even hit the ground.  This worked out pretty well, and I spent a good portion of the match in side control looking for subs.  I eventually was able to isolate an arm and setup a kimura.  I don't do a lot of kimura's but they are a cool sub, and I like them.

In the final, I fought Jodi,   she's got a killer guard and I tried to pull guard before her, but she beat me to it!   I spent a good amount of time working to pass her guard,  once again, I baited a sub to get her guard open and passed.  This is probably a bad habit, and I think I should spend some time drilling breaking the guard and passing. 
Goofing around on the podium with my sword!

I'm the right height now! I'm to tall for this sport!

Heather and I with our sweet samurai swords!
I had a great time competing and chatting with all the girls that came out.  We need to work on building more of a community amongst ourselves and carving out a space for ourselves at these events! 

I have to give a shout out to my team mate Heather!    She won her division and the white belt absolute!  She's a killer and I absolutely love having another girl who loves to compete on the team!

Thanks again to all my amazing team mates at Pura BJJ for helping me get ready and supporting me at the tournament It means so much to me to be part of this great team.

Next up for me is Toronto Grappling.  I am really looking forward to this event.  It will be nice not to have to drive all the way to Montreal for this round robin format!  I heard their is already some tough girls registered and I am looking forward to the challenge!  There are 4 trips to the IBJJF Pans on the line at this event for some of the absolute winners, including one for the ladies!   I can't really say enough good things about this tournament.  It's perfect for anyone looking to get more experience, new and experienced competitors alike!

Also coming up is the NYC Pro Trials.  I'm have been and will  continue working my ass off to get ready for this event.  I had a not so great time trying to qualify for abu dhabi last year, and I am hungry for another shot.  I am heading to that tournament with only one goal in mind, I will be winning a trip to abu dhabi.  To me, It's not an option.   This will be the the culmination of a year of hard work and dedication and I can only accept one outcome from that tournament.

 See you all on the mats!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Video Contest for a VVV Rashguard!

Here's the deal! 

This contest is going to be fun, and will help spread the word about my blog, and my facebook fan page

The prize is going to be a VVV rashguard, in YOUR size.  It was going to be the actual rashguard that I had won last weekend, but the cool cats at VVV are going to hook you up with your size instead of my size.  Isn't that nice?    I personally love my VVV rashguard, it's a great length and not to baggy, not to tight.  It's also a lot lighter then some of my other rashguards, while still feeling like it's high quality.

Check out VVV website here:

How to enter the contest:

1.  Make a video with a friend of your favourite way to get a fight onto the mats.  It doesn't actually have to be your favourite,  just one you like, or think is funny, or whatever.  You get the idea right?
2.  Post the video to Youtube.  Title it:  "YourName 's entry to Patricia's First Video Contest".   In the description include a link to my blog: and also a link to my fanpage: 
3.  Post a link to your video in a comment on this blog post.
4.  Post a link to the video on my fan page.

The winner will be the video with the most likes on my fan page and you tube combined.   So your going to want to share the post you make on my fan page to spread the word, and share the youtube video where ever you go.   If there is magically a tie,   the winner will be the video with the most likes on facebook.    If it's still a tie, I will flip a coin, or some other random way of determining a winner.

The contest will be limited to the first 30 videos and if there isn't 5 videos by Oct 7th, the contest will unfortunately be canceled.    The contest ends Oct 14th 2012 and the winner will be announced on the 15th. 

Video Requirements:
  1. An introduction with your name, club, and mentioning that the video is for the contest on .  
  2. Your technique, at least 2x, either from different angles, or fast and slow.  Just so we can get a good look at it.
  3. Don't forget to include the links to this blog post, and my fan page in the description.

It's really easy, with a modern smart phone to take a video, and upload it straight to youtube!  The quality doesn't have to be amazing!    I'll make a sample video tonight and post it here when I get home.

 Have fun and good luck!  I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Sad state of women's Bjj in Ontario and cutting weight sucks

So  my last post I was all excited about the number of girls who competed at the montreal grappling.  This week I'm ranting about the lack of girls at the GTA classic.

There is no purple belts, and I am the only blue in medium heavy or heavy,  there are I think 7 blues in medium and below, which isn't bad, but its weird that my division and heavy are empty. They are often the most populace divisions!

The white belt situation is dismal at best, my team mate Heather is in light, and has to fight all the way up to medium heavy to have a fight! She will he giving up about 30 lbs.   She's awesome and will be fine, but its crazy that there isn't anyone else in light or middle!   There are only a couple girls all together in white.  It's sad.  Those girls are the future of jiu jitsu in Ontario and there isn't very many.  Statistically speaking there isn't going to be anyone left if a year or two!

The GTA classic isn't to blame. They are doing all the can to get girls on the Mats.  Discounted registration, good abosolute prizes and separating the belts so people arnt intimidated by the prospect of fighting more experienced girls.   What else can they do?  I would like to see an absolute for the white belts, even if there are no extra prizes,  just so that they have a better opportunity for matches.  Other then that, they are doing a great job.

So who's responsible for this sadness?  Is it the clubs? The coaches? The tram mates?  Are girls not being encouraged to compete like the guys are? Or are they to discouraged by not being able to roll competitively against there male team mates that they think they aren't ready to compete?     Is there names on the list that are scaring people away? I've heard this talked about but I personally love to have a tough fight so I find this difficult to believe.  

It doesn't matter who is to blame,  we need to fix it.   I think I will start a facebook group or fan page for the ladies of Ontario who do Jiu jitsu so we can talk about tournaments and encourage each other.  

I think one problem is, no one wants to register and then have no one to fight,  so you wait and wait till someone else registers, meanwhile,  they are waiting for you!  So ladies,  just sign up!! Worst case senarjo, at most events, you'll get your money back and you might even get to still compete in the absolute.   

In a few weeks the best opportunity on the planet to get good competition experience will land in the GTA.  The toronto grappling grand prix.   Round robin.  White separate from blue and up,  and let's not forget, a trip to worlds for the blue and up absolute winner!    I have been attending the montreal tournaments for the past year and the atmosphere and conradarie at these events is amazing.   I encourage every one of you to register.  Don't wait for a competitor list, register, and inspire others to do the same.

So, the 2nd part of this.   Cutting weight sucks.  As you may or may not know, I used to be kind of fat.  Well, I was skinny, then I git injuries and got fat.  I was pushing 200 lbs at this time last year.  I hid it well because of my height and build but it was bad.    I've since worked my way down to comfortably making medium heavy, which is -163.5 with my gi on.   As you now know, there is no one in this class, so on Monday I decided to try to cut to middle.   Middle weight is -152.5 with my gi.   This will he the lights I've been since I fought MMA in 2009.  My body doesn't like being much smaller the. 155, so this is pretty rough.    I have until tonight at midnight to let the organisers know if I am moving down or not.   Last night, with my gi on, I was 6 lbs over, after class.   It made me realize how dehydrated I will have to be to pull this off.    Is it worth it? Should I just stay and only do the absolute and hope that it will be early enough in the day that I will be there for it?  
The worst part is, my team mates can cut this kind of weight no problem. They eat clean for a day or two and bam, they are down 7 lbs.   Guys can cut weight so much More easily then girls.  There is science to it and its rather unfortunate. 

So, that's what's on my mind right now!  Do you have any ideas on how to get girls out? Any weight cutting tips tricks? stories? 

See you on the mats!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Montreal Grappling Sept 15

Yesterday was the last road trip to Montreal for the year for me, and it turned out to be quite the grueling adventure. What should have been a 6 hour drive took 8.5 hours. A bad combination of rain, construction, and accidents left us driving at a crawling speed for the majority of the way there.

 Then, on the way home, what should have been a quick in and out stop for a bite to eat at shoeless joes in Cornwall turned into a 2h+ horrible experience of waiting, being neglected, having hair in my food, and then having to wait some more. It was terrible. I am never going to eat there again. I think we will stick to Pizza Hut in Kingston from now on.

 The hotel was an adventure as well. When we got there, there was no indication of where to park, so we were a little lost on what to do, Matt ran in to ask, and after waiting a while and stuff was told I had to come in and check in, and then we could park. Well, that took a while as well, but we got it sorted and headed down to the underground parking. It was mega sketchy but after an 8- point turn I managed to get the car parked. 

We got up to our room, and it smelled pretty bad.  I don't know what happened it it, but it was smelly,  like a diaper, mixed with mold and i don't even know what else.  I tried to stay positive about it all, and whatnot, but it was terrible.  The room was also insanely run down, and the bedroom door had a hole in it!!  after a few minutes we decided we couldn't stay in it and went down to the lobby to ask for a new room.   After humming and hawing the very nice lobby guy gave us a new room.    It was WAY nicer!  It seems the hotel is in a process of renovating all the rooms.  The sofa bed was unsleepable,  but the sofa it self was quite comfortable for sleeping.   All in all, it was fine, but I'm not sure I would stay there again.  It was pretty cheap, but for obvious reasons. 

Alright, On to the tournament!!

We had 6 people from Pura compete this time around, which is a new record for us at these tournaments.  It was great to have so many friends make the trip down together and be there to support each other.   

Brad sporting his hard heard silver
Josh pulling a Rafa Mendes armbar
Brad competed in the -150 intermediate no gi, and blue -150 gi.   He placed 2nd in the no gi and did great in the very competitive gi division as well.    It was a lot of fun watching Brad compete.

Josh competed in the -150 advanced no gi, and blue -150 gi divisions.  He had a bit of a rough go in the no gi, but seemed to be enjoying himself anyway.  Gi went better for him and he placed 3rd. (Montreal Grappling only does medals for 1st and 2nd, so no hardware for Josh :(  ).

The goofy newfy ruining someones day with a sprawl
 Stephen, the goofy newfy, competed in -170 advanced no gi, and -170 blue belt gi.   He also had a bit of a rough day, but I think it was a good learning experience anyway.    There is no better way to learning then competing, and you win much more from a loss then an easy win.

Matt playing deep half guard. setting up a sweet sweap
Matt competed in the +190 advanced No gi, and the +190 blue belt gi.  This was only Matt's 2nd competition as a blue and He fought well!  In the No Gi he competed against Alex Fraser, a black belt in judo, and blue in bjj. Alex has already won 1 trip from Montreal Grappling, and Matt gave him a run for his money.  I was really impressed!  The other guy in his no gi division was a brown belt. I know Matt wasn't to happy with how his day went, I've been there, done that. But he did really well and should hold his head high!

Alasdair after the gi final

Alasdair had a great day again.  He placed 3rd in the No gi, and 1st in the -170 gi.  He made it to the final of the blue belt Gi Absolute, then lost a very close fight to Alex Fraser.    The final of the -170 was a great fight to watch.  The guy he beat was also a judo black belt and had ridiculous base and posture.  

 Alasdair and I chatted for a bit about winning.  There is a lot of pressure on us to win, because we've made a bit of a habit of doing well.   A lot of people just kind of expect us to win and don't realize that It's just as much work and just as hard for us to win as it is everyone else.   It's nice to have a team mate like Alasdair who understands what that's like and has the same kind of pressure to preform. 

I had a pretty good day as well.  I went in with a plan to try to work on parts of my game other then arm bars, because, if you know me, you know I love to arm bar. arm bars from guard, arm bars from side control, mount, triangles, half guard, I don't care, I'll try them from anywhere.   In my first fight, I stuck to this, and won with an american from side control.   Linda was super tough and fiesty,  She'll be a force to reckon with in her own weight class!

  In my 2nd fight, I got disqualified for reaping the knee. OOOOPPPS  It was a stupid mistake on my part, and I didn't even have my foot touching her hip before i was like "oh no leg doesn't go there" and took it back, but the ref saw and called it right away.   It's good to see the refs on top of the rules, but it was pretty frustrating for me because I hadn't put any pressure, and had moved it off before it was even called.   This is probably the one rule in BJJ that I find the most ridiculous.  It should be a warning, or even an advantage for the other person the first time, then 2 points the 2nd and then a DQ.  and instant DQ for it is kind of crazy.

My 3rd fight didn't happen because the other girl was injured in an earlier fight.  I hope she's ok!!  In my fourth fight I threw out my original game plan because I needed to win it to move onto the final because of my stupidity in the 2nd fight.     So I was all business and won by arm bar.       This made it so that we had 1 girl that was 4-0 and 3 of us that were 3-1.  So we did a 4 person bracket after the round robin. 

I was paired up with Stephanie for the semi final.  She had looked quite tough and dominated in most of her fights so i wasn't going to mess around to much with her.   I had locked on an armbar, and though she tapped on my leg so I eased off, but I guess it was only 1 tap, so she kept going, so I kept going,   shortly after that I slapped on another one and she tapped verbally.

In the final, I fought the girl who I was dq'ed against.  She had won every other fight so far today So I knew I had to take her seriously.   We had some good stand up exchanges and I got a throw in.  I don't remember which one though.   I actually don't remember much about a lot of my fights,  good thing the videos will be on youtube soon.   Anyway,  like in my semi final, I got an armbar,   she yelped so I eased off, but the Reff didn't hear, and she didn't stop so shortly after I caught her in another,  but she tried to roll, and the way she rolled it ended up going on way tigher, and she tapped mid roll, but the way we went, I couldn't take the preasure off.   I felt so bad, and was pretty frustrated with the whole situation.

  I absolutely HATE it when people get hurt doing jiu jitsu.  I know it's part of the sport and shit happens, but so many times it's avoidable by taping sooner!   I try to always give people a chance to tap when I lock on a submission before I start to really put the pressure on, but so many times girls will still try to escape and then I have no choice but to put them tighter!  I'm not a mean spirited person, I'm not out to hurt people, but I'm not going to let you out because you can't admit when your caught.    I feel so bad when girls have to ice their elbows after fighting me,  It makes me want to quit jiu jitsu. 

Mandy and I after our gi fight
In Gi, there were only 2 of us.  So we had 1 match.   Mandy is a brand new blue belt, and smaller then me so I went back to my game plan of not doing arm bars.   I worked a bit of De La Riva,  and some guard passing.  I got to side control a few times and was trying to set up a brabo choke but after a while realized I was setting it up all wrong and abandon it.   She had great defense to all my attacks and when I heard my team mates yell there was 30 seconds left, I set up an armbar for the finish. 

Team Pura

So that was our day.   All in all, Montreal Grappling ran a great event as usual.  We started on time, and ran smoothly the entire day.  The super fight was very entertaining with an amazing come from behind finish!    Congrats to Jon-Taine Hall on the great finish and the new baby!! 

Dainis going for a triangle from the bottom.
One other thing,  My Friend Dainis made his Montreal Grappling Debut this weekend!  He fought in the -170 advanced no gi, and the purple and up absolute.  He is always a pleasure to watch compete as he is so technical and calm in his matches.   He ended up winning the -170 and placing 2nd in the absolute, losing a very close match to Alex Fraser.   In the Purple and up absolute, It was a small division and he had a great match with the giant brown belt that Matt had fought earlier in no gi. 


The next Montreal Grappling Event is November 10th.  Sadly, we won't be sending a team because we are having a big team thing that day.   But you should check it out.    Also coming up from Grappling Industries (the people behind Montreal Grappling)  Is the First TORONTO GRAPPLING GRAND PRIX.  This is the tournament to be at this fall.  They are giving away a pile of trips,  it's going to be round robin. and It's going to be amazing.   I can't tell you how excited I am for this tournament to be coming to the GTA.  You NEED to be there. 

Next weekend is the GTA Classic(formerly Bravado).  It should be a really good event.  They run a top notch tournament and i'm really looking forward to it.  We have quite a few people from Pura registered and I'm really looking forward to watching them all compete.   I'm registered in blue medium heavy, and I'm all by myself right now.   I'll gladly move up to heavy if someone registers there.   I am slowly working my way down to middle,  hopefully by Provincials I'll be there!     Also coming up is the next Zombie Leauge Event, It's No-Gi this time, and they are planning on having a ladies only division.    I don't think I will be attending because I have a dentist appointment that was set up like 10 months ago :( 

I'm going to be running some kind of contest here on my blog soon.  The prize will likely be one of the prizes I won yesterday at the Montreal Grappling event.   I've just got to figure out exactly what the contest is going to be, so keep your eyes open for it, it's going to be something fun. 

See you on the mats!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

well, that was quick!

That's what she said hahaha jk. Mebtal block smashed. Completely. I'm actually quite surprised how easy that was. I guess it wasn't much of a block. Maybe I was just having a bad day in California. Either way, here it is! you tube video That's all I have to say. Looking forward to montreal grappling and the GTA classic coming up!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Mental Blocks

So this post is another one that is a little bit different then the norm. It's not a report on a tournament, again, I'll do another one of those on Sunday when I get home from the Montreal Grappling (fb event link)! I'm excited for this tournament as there is 2 other girls registered this time around and we have 6 people going from pura!

But, that isn't what this is about, it's about me and my brain's/body's inability to do some things.

There are some pretty normal things to have this problem with... wiggling your ears for example. Everyone SHOULD be capable of doing it, but lots of people can't figure out how. Some other examples are flaring your nostrils, or being able to bend just the top knuckle of your finger, or just bend one finger/toe with out the others moving. Index finger is easy, but pinkies... not so much. I think you guys get the point about what I'm talking about.

For me, this post is about my inability to do any kind of very explosive movements with my legs, particularly, with my knees. I'm 95% certain it's all in my head. I've had so many knee injuries in the past that I've built up a mental block that when my brain says "jump to your feet" something subconscious says "hellll no, that will make my knee explode". I've known about this issues for a while, but I've been able to work around it, adjusting exercises and drills and whatnot to make up for it.

This became insanely apparent to me at the Mendes Affiliate training camp we went to in California this past summer(Which was amazing, I still have to blog about it!). We were doing this guard break/ pass where your in their closed guard on your knees and you hop up to having your feet on either side of the hips. You kind of post your hands on their hips and lean into them a bit to make it work. I couldn't do it. Not even a bit. It was so weird. I couldn't even figure out which muscles I should have been using to make it happen. Thankfully Rafa and Gui were pretty busy watching everyone else and didn't see my complete inability to do the technique. At the time i just brushed it off as my knees being bad, and broke it down into stepping one foot up, then the other. Then let my partner go for extra time because I was so frustrated with my brain/body.

I think this same mental block is also why I hate wrestling so much, the motion and explosive power needed to double legs is kind of the same. The ridiculous thing about this is. I used to have insanely strong, powerful legs. I could leg press 500 lbs. Which for a mega weight lifter isn't that impressive, but for someone who lifts just to make other things better, It was pretty good. I have no idea what I could press now, I haven't lifted in ages.

This youtube video is a clip of the basic motion i'm talking about if my description is no good: knees to feet jump It's a lot easier when your in someones guard and can lean on them and whatnot. Or so it seemed to me since EVERYONE else was doing the guard pass properly.

I'm making it my goal for September to be able to do this. I don't have an exact plan in place on how I'm going to accomplish it. I imagine I'll start with doing it on something very soft and having something so I can have my upper body help out and progress from there. Maybe once I get it, I'll video it and post it on here.

Do you have any weird mental blocks? Can you wiggle your ears or bend your pinky with out any of your other fingers moving?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Something completely different... A Recipe!

I thought I'd take a post to share with you one of my favourite recipes. I have made these brownies 4 or 5 times now, and each time they turn out better! I'll admit, the first time they were very dry, and tasted a bit... not chocolatey enough but now, they are delightful.

The BEST thing about these brownies is that they are healthy. They have more protein then carbs, and are loaded with good fat and don't have any regular sugar in them. I think they are probably gluten free to, for those of you avoiding that.

I have these for breakfast, or post training, or something just for a snack between meals. Because of all the protein and good fat they are quite filling. Sometimes I bring a few to work when I know i won't have time between work and training to eat a proper meal, nothing sucks more then training on an empty stomach. Except maybe training after just drinking an entire large froster from macs. I imagine that would probably be pretty rough to, or all you can eat sushi. Ok, so maybe there are worse things, either way. These solve that problem!

I originally got this recipe from this website here: share your weigh but I've changed it so much it's not really recognizable anymore!

Without further ado here it is:

  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 3 scoops of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 can of black beans (rinsed thoroughly)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbps coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 tsp backing powder
  • 1/4(ish) cup of plain 1% yogurt
  • 2 tbsp (or so) monin sugar free white chocolate syrup (or 1/4 cup of splenda, or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
  • square cake pan
If you can't have dairy, skip the yogurt, and use only 2 scoops of protein powder.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. Blend the beans till they are a paste. If you have a lame blender like mine that won't mix something that is mostly dry, put the egg whites and the beans in together.
  3. Put it all in a bowl and mix it up
  4. Grease the pan with some cooking spray, or some more coconut oil
  5. Pour it in
  6. Put it in the oven for about 25 minutes (then keep a close eye on it this time it took about 29 to be ready)
I cut them into 16 brownies.

each one should have about: 100 calories 8g of carbs, 4g of fat, 10g of protein, 2g of sugar and 69mg of sodium.

If you make these, let me know how they turn out! Enjoy!

Monday, 3 September 2012

My Year in Review, So far... (a plea to sponsors)

So I thought I would just give a summary of my year so far, so potential sponsors could see how much exposure they could be getting!
  • Jan 27th - Michigan BJJ Open Silver in Heavy and Absolute
  • Feb 4th - Ascension - Gold in Heavy
  • Feb 25th - Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Montreal - Did not place
  • March 11th - Abu Dhabi Pro Trials NYC - Bronze in Absolute
  • March 24th - Montreal Grappling - Gold in Blue and Up
  • May 12th - Ontario Open Silver in Gi Heavy, Gi Absolute, Bronze in No Gi Heavy, and Silver in No Gi Absolute
  • June 16th - Ottawa International Open - Gold in Heavy and Absolute
  • June 23rd - Grappler's Quest Toronto - Gold in -160 blue and Silver in Purple absolute
  • Aug 4th - Toronto IBJJF - Gold in Medium Heavy, Silver in absolute
  • Aug 11th - Montreal Grappling Experience - competed in the men's division, did not place
  • Aug 18th - Zombie House Submission - competed in the -160 division.
  • Sept 1st - Montreal IBJJF - Gold in Medium heavy and absolute.
  •  Montreal Grappling Sept 15th  Gold in No Gi absolute,  Gold in Blue belt Gi Absolute.
  • GTA Classic Sept 22nd  Gold in Blue Belt Absolute.  
  • Toronto Grappling Oct 13th Silver in Blue and Up 135+ 
  •  NYC Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Oct 27th  Did not place
  • F.F.C Super fights in Montreal Nov 16th - Lost
  • Provincials Nov 24th  quadruple gold, all by default (no purple belts to fight)
I haven't made this post to brag or anything. The farthest thing from it. I just want to make people aware of how often I compete, and how much exposure it would be for their brand. That's a lot of podium pictures that your patch / logo / brand could be on. It's also a lot of match time that my gi is in(which is currently not very patched up).

I want to compete in most of the following tournaments to round out the year:

  • Grapplers Quest North American Championships Toronto December 1st

I am planning on winning a trip to Abu Dhabi and a trip to Worlds at these tournaments. That means extra exposure for your brand on a much larger scale and market to! Here's what I need:
  1. Travel Expenses covered - flights, hotel, gas, that kind of thing
  2. A supplement sponsor - protein shakes and whatnot so I can keep training hard.
I don't REALLY need more gear. I have 7 or 8 gis and a pile of rash guards. That being said, If as part of your sponsorship you need me to wear your gear, I'm sure we could figure something out.

Look: I know I'm just a lowly blue belt, and most blue belts don't have sponsors. But most people don't compete like I do (a few of my team mates do, they could use sponsors to). The higher level belts don't get as many opportunities to compete so I feel like It's a good opportunity for you!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Another road trip to Montreal is in the books

And it was amazing!
My Medals are stacked on top of each other.
First, a bit about the tournament in general.

It was well run, all of the staff that I talked to were fluent in English and French, which made it easy for them to communicate with everyone.  The event started on time, normal for IBJJF, but a luxury I'm still getting used to.   The last Montreal Grappling was pretty well on time to, so It's catching on!  One or two of the mat areas had some trouble finding their first couple competitors, but once the ball was rolling it went steady and ran on time all day.  We were even a bit ahead of schedule at one point I believe. 

The venue was one of my favourites: Centre Pierre-Charbonneau. It's like a mini area with the competition floor sunk in so all the seats have a great angle.  It's easy to get to, has free parking, and is generally clean.  It is showing it's age,  a lot of the seats were broken yesterday and replaced by folding chairs strapped to the seat.  Which was fine, they were probably more comfortable anyway.  

Most of the divisions were pretty well attended, the black belts were pretty sparce, with only 5 competing I think.   All masters and seniors to.  Oliver Geddes was there, but I don't think he got an opportunity to fight, which is a shame because he is here in North America doing a tour and training and competing at as many tournaments as he can. Here's his blog and website:  .

A bit about the trip in general

Toronto traffic sucks.   We left around 2pm from Pura BJJ where Alasdair was teaching a day class.  I knew traffic would be a bit rough, but my goodness, that doesn't even begin to describe the situation.  It took nearly 3 hours to get past the entire GTA (like past oshawa). Which should have been about an hour and a half.   My clutch foot was starting to cramp up!  I love driving standard 99% of the time.  Toronto traffic is the other 1%.  We made 1 stop for a stretch/snack/gas/bathroom break and got into Montreal around 9:30 pm.    I had been warned that traffic in Montreal would be bad because of all the construction, but it wasn't bad at all.   I guess because we weren't coming in during rush hour.  

We stayed at the Holiday Inn which was the official tournament hotel.  It's nice enough, but is mandatory valet parking, and it costs $26/day!   which was a bit of a kick in the pants when we were leaving.  Oh well, I've paid more then that in Toronto.  The room was nice and spacious, we had a nice TV and the beds were comfy.   The bathroom was small, and a little run down, but functional.   The view was nice enough, not the side of a building or anything.  Weirdly, around 10:30 or 11pm.  We heard a commotion and sirens outside, and there is about 10 cop cars, and hoards of people crossing the road.  I have no idea if it was a protest, or just all the university students milling about or what, but it went on for a while.  Traffic was backed up both ways as far as I could see!  We didn't bother with the continental breakfast, both of use were well under our weight so we had a proper breakfast and it was really good, for only about 10 or 12 bucks each.  

We left the tournament at around 3:45 or 4:00pm.  It was still going on, but we wanted to hit the road.    A quick stop at tim hortons for a frozen lemonaid (oh man, i think i am addicted, so delish) for me, and an ice capp for Alasdair and we were on the road.  Traffic was GREAT all the way home.   We made another pit stop for gas and coffee just outside of kingston, I wanted to just make 1 stop in kingston, but we weren't going to make it lol.  We stopped in Kingston for Pizza Hut, which might be the new tradition for Montreal tournament road trips.  It's pretty well the 1/2 way mark and the service is good and quick!  We didn't go to crazy, only had a medium stuffed crust meat lovers.  It was amazing.  I've been dieting pretty hard, making my way down to medium heavy, and now trying to make my way down to middle, So pizza was quite the treat and i enjoyed it immensely.  We were out of there in less then 1/2 an hour and back on the road.   Dropped Alasdair off around 10:30 or so and I was home before 11pm!

And now what you've all been dying to hear about...right?  or maybe your just humoring me by reading this haha

It was a great day for me, I had 5 matches, and won 4 of them by arm bar and one on points.  The best part for me was getting to fight new people!  The only person I had fought before was my friend Sherri from the Ottawa area.   Laura came all the way from Nova Scotia to compete!  She is one of the coolest people I have met through Jiu Jitsu and I can't wait to hang out with her at a tournament in the future.  She's got mad arm barring skills and won most of her fights by them!    

In medium heavy there was 3 of us,  so me and Laura fought first,  I won, so then Laura fought Andrea and Laura won. So then me and Laura fought again and I won.  So it ended up with Gold - Me, Silver - Laura and Bronze - Andrea.   

 In the absolute there was 6 girls.   I had a fight in the first round against Sherri,  it was a great match and she was ahead on the board at one point i think!  I ended up getting a sweet oma plata sweep that'd Alasdair showed us in class one day and I had been working on.  so that was pretty sweet.  anyway, I got an arm bar eventually so I moved on to the semi's.   

In the semi's I fought a girl named Terri, who is a middle weight, who had no one to fight in her division :( .   She also had a bye, so she had gotten the mega short end of the stick match wise yesterday.  She pulled guard on me really quick, and I had a hellova time passing it.  Her legs were really strong, and she did a great job breaking down my posture.  Eventually we had a few scrambles and I got passed her guard to side control.    Time was called about 10 seconds later.  It seemed short, but I thought nothing of it.  Turns out, It was only 5 minutes instead of 6!!  So she lost a minute of fighting to.  I personally don't think the last minute would have changed the way the match turned out,  I love side control and once I get there, I don't usually lose, but it's jiu jitsu and anything can happen, so it's to bad we didn't get to play out the full length fight.

On to the final!  Against Laura again!  Laura won her 2 fights in the absolute by arm bar to get to the final.  We did a bunch of stand up, both getting so good attacks in and once I got bored of that I pulled guard,  her balance was to good for my lazy tired judo!    We worked in guard for a bit and a eventually sneaked an arm bar in.  

I really have to thank all the girls who came out to compete!  It was great to meet you all and compete with you.   I'm looking forward to seeing you again!

Alasdair is an animal 
He's a kitten... a vicious, no mercy, triangle arm bar machine kitten.  Check out his fan page, it's amazing.  Anyway... He won his division decisively, subbing all his opponents by triangle/armbar or just plain arm bar.  Then went on to get silver in the absolute, subbing the ultra heavy weight Vijay by triangle, winning by bow and arrow, winning on points, and losing a very very close match to Carl in the final.