Saturday, 25 May 2013

I'm sorry everyone.

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Costa mesa, California with my team mates stephen, Alasdair, and Jon.  We are here to train, and compete at the worlds.  We planned and booked this trip months ago.   Then, at the ontario open 3 weeks ago, I was kimuraed. 

I have been resting it for the last 2.5 weeks in hopes that it wasn't to badly damaged.   On Thursday, after trying to do some light drilling and being brought to tears trying to get t-shirts on, I decided  to see my physiotherapist.

My physio guy is awesome.  I've be seeing him for my injuries since my judo days.  He took care of me when I had knee surgery, bursitis, torn mcl, torn quad tendon, and all the other stupid shit that has happened to my body over the years.  He works with Dr. Levy who is arguably the best sports doc in Canada.  The pair of them have kept me training and competing over the years. 

Anyway.... I called the office up Friday at.noon and they could squeeze me in right away.  My work was cool with me leaving an hour or two early to get it checked out.  They are really supportive and I really appreciate that.  I headed right over, driving pretty much exclusively with my right arm and got to jump right in to be assessed.

After a bunch of poking proding, lifting, pushing, pulling and a few yelps and ouches, and lots of incomprehensible note scribbling he came to a few conclusions.

1.  Torn labrum
2. Torn rotator cuff
3.  Torn muscle who's name I can remember that does the lifting of your arm when it's straight out sideways.
4.  Incredibly instable shoulder.

Having not had a lot of shoulder injuries in the past, the gravity of this list of diagnosises was unclear to me.  So I flat out asked him "how bad is this, should I train and or compete with it". The look on his face said "are you insane?" And his answer was equally lacking in confidence.  "If you can keep it from moving into any of the "dislocation positions" aka kimura, Americana, arm out straight, and pretty much any position other then my arm close to my body with any pressure on it.  Followed by "it will dislocate and absolutely require surgery that has a very long recovery if that happens". 


Before the appointment, my shoulder hadn't felt toooo bad, I think because I'd been not using it at all.   I mean, dressing sucked, especially bras,  but I think I'd been managing to just not use it and avoid agrevating it because after the assessment it was awful, I've been popping extra strength liquid gel advil like they are candy.  I've upgraded to extra strengt liquid gel Aleve here in Costa mesa. 

I've been trying to figure out what to do with the whole situation.  I've spent probably 800 bucks just on my portion of this trip.  I've used up half of my yearly vacation time, and I have my awesome sponsor redstar Bjj who out with the registration fee.   There are 10 or 11 Girls in my division, I won't have an opportunity to compete with more then one or two in a division till this time next year.  I have already paid for the training at aoj,  I've bought the atos gi patch and team t-shirt.  I've been training hard, cutting weight and working on my co.conditioning for months for this tournament.  I've got team mates who have helped me train, family and friends who have out up with grumpy, hungry, exhausted, to busy training to be a good sister/daughter/friend.  Co-workers who have been so supportive and accommodating to my stupid diet restrictions. 

On the other side.... I can't even get my.sports bras on without Tearing up, I haven't trained in 3 weeks,  I can't even close the trunk of our rental car with my arm.   I can't close a door behind me, I can't take my phone out of my back pocket. I can't lift my arm above 90 degrees when it is out sideways.  Every moment I live is agony.  (yea, if you can name where that's from you are as a big a nerd as I am, everyone I'm this hotel room will know instantly I am sure).  As it stands, I might, but not a terrible one. If it gets any strain, then it will likely need a major surgery that will likely leave me off the mats for a year.  

We went to open mat at aoj this morning.  The plan was to see if I could do some technique drilling and test it out bit.   I can't even SLR and berimbolo because I can't even maintain a grip on a belt or sleeve.  I can't hug an arm to my body to armbar,  I can't do shit with that arm.  Not only can I not use it, just trying to avoid it makes me tense it and whatnot which makes it hurt even more. 

I know the saying is that if you are 100% going into a fight, you didn't train hard enough.  As someone who has been a competitor since I was a teenager, I know this is pretty much true.  I've gone into competitions and fights at less then 100%, its a rare thing to be 100%.  But, there is a difference between not being 100% and having a useless arm that you'd be better off not having at all. At least, if the arm was go.e, I wouldn't try to use it and end up dislocating destroying and completely ruining it.   How can I preform and represent my team well without having trained for 3 weeks, trying to protect my arm, while also trying to win a fight, when I cannot do any jiu jitsu with it.


I've had a few cries since last weekend thinking about this.   I had a mental breakdown last weekend because I was so stressed out about what to do and that was before I had the diagnosis of doom. 

It kills me to have to have been off the mats the last 3 weeks,  to have the 3 guys rolling with guys like the miyao brothers, that guy from the kumite, and other awesome purple brown and black belts.   It kills me to have wasted probably 1000 bucks, not all of it my own.  It kills me to not compete.  I'm fighting tears as I type this. 

I can't imagine how disappointed everyone is that I am pussying out and not competing.   I will likely have to withdrawl from the five grappling event ad well. I can't imagine this is going to be sorted out before then.  

I'm sorry to you all. I don't even know for certain this is the right decision. Normally I don't worry about future Patricia, but this is current Patricia and future patricias problem and hopefully I can get future Patricia back on the mats without needing surgery and without being out for a year or more. 

I will be going back to see Ruddy and Dr. Levy as soon as we get back from California to get a prescription for some diagnostic imaging to confirm the diagnosis, and see the extent of the damage and make a game plan for my recovery. 

I'm sorry. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Transitions and change and losing

First off, I want to say,  I am NOT trying to  make excuses for all the losing I've been doing lately.  I'm more trying to figure out why I've been having such bad "luck" lately  and convince myself that I'm not terrible at Jiu Jitsu. 

I don't even really know where to start.  I suppose, at the very beginning, with Judo and my first transition to Jiu Jitsu.  It went decently,  I was able to use my judo to get a take down most of the time, and then flounder my way through the rest of the fight.  If they had a decent guard I would spend most of the match inside it.  I gave up my back a lot those days because I had instincts ingrained into me from the Judo rule set.  Mount/Side control, North South, and most other positions where I'm on my back, and they are on top (without a guard), I was 20 seconds away from losing.  Back Control, in Judo,  isn't points and if you can hold off the choke for 5-10 seconds you get stood back up.   It took me a long time to stop doing that, and it cost me a lot of matches.  I still do it sometimes, but quite rarely.

Everyone around here got savvy to my Judo pretty quickly and everyone started pulling guard before I could even get a decent grip.  This was pretty frustrating, because I was (and still am)  pretty bad at breaking and passing a closed guard.  Let's be honest,  It's really hard!!  Anyway,  that made for a big turning point in my game,  I started pulling guard instead of letting them pull guard.  It was awkward at first, but I got the hang of it, and started hitting a lot of armbars from there.  I still love going to closed guard, but I'm working on other things now...

Next big transition was switching schools.  This was a hard decision to make, but since retiring from MMA, and wanting to focus on BJJ, being only able to train 2x week wasn't going to work out. I could always go to the affiliate gym, but that was another 20 minutes (on top of the 40) to get there.  I know there are people out there who drive 60 min to train on a regular basis,  but with a full time job, and the dojo's being in the opposite direction of home from work.  It just wasn't really viable.  The switch came off a pretty long layoff from injuries and when I hit the mats for the first few months at Pura I felt like I didn't know any Jiu Jitsu.  It was awful!   I felt embarrassed to wear my blue belt because I was so awkward and awful.  Turns out, a year off from injuries, and switching to a school with a very different style will do that. 

That is the second last part of the transition/change/making me suck.  Jiu Jitsu is constantly evolving, and Pura is at the front of the curve with Professor Rafa and Gui designing the curriculum. It's "Modern" Jiu Jitsu as they say and it doesn't really involve a lot of arm bars from closed guard, my bread and butter and winning formula.    At first, I just drilled and worked the technique in class, and when I rolled still went back to my old game.  At competition pretty much all of 2012 I didn't use a lot of the new stuff,  but towards the end of the year, I started adding it in, because like earlier in my journey, people got savvy to my style.  I am really bad at this stuff still, and I'm at a weird point where I don't instinctively go for my old game, but still have to think about my new game.  It leads to a lot of fights like my fight in New York where I went for something, had to pause to think, it failed, and shortly after I was taking a nap. 

The final key to my being terrible at Jiu Jitsu is the insane jump in the level of competition from Blue to Purple.   It's partially because there is so few local girls for me to compete at, so I have to travel to the bigger competitions, and the only people that bother to go to those seem to be people who are really really good.  I'm not saying the local girls aren't good.  But when you go up a belt, and go from the local, to the non-local scene. It's like 2 giant steps instead of just one.  That being said,  I lost to a blue belt a few weeks ago, in Montreal,  so, there goes that excuse.  Anyway... I was talking to a few people, and the general consensus is that the step from blue to purple is bigger on the women's side than the men's.  I've been trying to figure out why that is, but I haven't been able to come up with anything concrete.  

I'm trying to figure out if my size is also part of the problem.  I've been steadily shrinking and often still competing against girls in medium heavy, and heavy, just because that's the way absolutes and +whatever divisions work. I have also lost to smaller girls, so it's certainly not the only reason.  I think I haven't quite adapted my game to my smaller size.  I don't have the weight to throw behind things and to use in top positions and it takes less work for the competition to get things to work on me.  This seems like a pretty weak excuse/explanation but, I wasn't even the one who came up with it, I forget who it was.  

When I got my purple, I had all these grande schemes in my mind. I would travel to New York, Chicago, Boston and California and get lots of fights and experience and wins.  I would continue winning almost all my fights, and maybe pick up some serious sponsors along the way.  Instead, I've been floundering on, getting 1 or 2 fights per competition, mostly losing, and feeling like I've been wasting my money and embarrassing myself, and my team with my "performance" or lack there of.

I keep trying to tell myself it'll get better, and I'll find my place in the purple belt world.  But I'm getting pretty sick of losing.  I hate it.  I hate losing at anything.  When I was a kid,  I got 2nd place over all in my class for track and field day. I threw out the ribbon because It wasn't first.  I'm competitive at pretty much everything I do and I despise losing.  When ever I play a board game, or card game, I get caught up and have to remind myself it's just a game. 

I need to put all this negativity behind me, maybe actually listen to my own advice from my blog series on the mental side of the game.  I've gotten away from a lot of my pre-comp and comp day habits.  I have been doing a lot of the opposite of positive self talk, and not a lot of visualization and whatnot.  I need to stop making excuses and trying to explain away the holes in my game and my lack of ability to implement my game plan, wait, I'd have to have a solid game plan to implement it. So, I guess making and drilling a solid game plan would be a good start.  This blog post is the last you will hear any of this negative excuse like bullshit. 

Worlds is just under 2 weeks away.  We are leaving Friday to train at Art of Jiu Jitsu for a few days then competing on Thursday or Friday. The Pre-Schedule has me fighting on Thursday or Friday.  Jon will be fighting Wednesday or Thursday.   My division has 9 people in it!  It's the best opportunity I have to have multiple fights against girls my size and level. 

After worlds is Five Grappling Ontario 1.  This should be a pretty cool event.  They are giving out lots of swag, and having prizes for submissions.  I think that's a cool idea, and hopefully it will get people to push the pace and not win on advantages. Oh, wait, there are no advantages!  They are following basic IBJJF rules except no advantages.  I think this will get people to screw around a lot less, but who knows. Jiu Jitsu is at a weird place right now and hopefully events like this will help steer it in a good direction.  Part of this tournament is a super seminar with Marcelo Garcia AND Xande Ribeiro.  That is going to be amazing! 

Also coming up this summer, is Grappling Industries: Summer Havoc.  They are giving away a whole bunch of trips this time around and 2 of them are going to the ladies!  I will be competing in the Gi and NoGi portions of this event to try to win a trip to Atlanta and Nogi pans.  I will also be refereeing!  So that will be a pretty busy day.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

2013 Ontario Open May 12th and 13th Tournament Report

Move over IBJJF,  there is a new king of the tournament scene, and it's name is the Ontario Open.

As you probably know,  since you read my blog, or at least, you pretend too read my blog, and like the post when I put a new link on facebook,  I have always said that the IBJJF run the smoothest, most professional tournament I have attended.   Not Anymore.   The Ontario Open just stole that crown,  with very little pomp and flair.  They've been uping their game every year, and this year tipped them over.   This comes after reports from Dallas and Vegas that the IBJJF has been sliding.  I was not at either of those events, so cannot say for sure, but stories of running behind schedule, and confusion at weigh ins, and other bad things have been coming up on the communities I frequent.  But, this is not about them, It's about the Ontario Open.

Lets start at the very beginning, the registration process.  In the past at OJA events, you would have to register for the OJA on site, or, if you were already a member for the year, you would just have to check in.   Now, you register online before you register for the event!   I actually saw someone complain about this on facebook, I need to know what kind of drugs they are on, or if they have ever had to deal with the line up at any tournament that doesn't do everything on line.    The online process isn't perfect, and you still need to duplicate some information, so I give them 8/10 for that.  Check-in at the venue was fast and easy. They had printed lists of names, and slapped a wrist band on. There was never a long line at the door and they were very friendly and lovely.  It was a 30 second process verse 20 minutes to 45 minutes that I have experienced at other events(IBJJF New York anyone?). 

They posted a competitor list early (not quite IBJJF early, but who needs a list with 5 people on it), and it was updated regularly leading up to the deadline.   They were prompt with updating peoples changes when the competitors made mistakes, and were quick to answer questions sent via email or facebook.

The venue was the Brampton Soccer Centre.  This is a favourite venue in the BJJ community, and it's easy to understand why. It's very simple to get to and it has ample, free parking.   The gymnasium is gigantic, and easily supports the 10 rings the Ontario Open ran, and could likely support up to 12, maybe even 14.   There is food available, and plenty of room for sponsors.  The one down side is the lighting situation,  the wall opposite the spectator area (which is on the 2nd floor, so they have a great view) is all windows.  So, when you are taking pictures or video, they get screwed up and dark, because all the light from the windows makes the camera go "Hey it's bright, I'm going to be dark".   The other, minor problem is, while having the spectator area above the gym, offers a great view, it is not overly large, and I think if the tournament grows anymore,  It may become over crowded.  I know our space started out comfortable, but as people went downstairs to compete, and came back up, it shrank drastically.  I even had a strangers gi on top of my gi bag at one point.  No big deal, we are all friends and whatnot in the community, but that is a pretty good indicator that space was limited and people were feeling cramped.

So, we got to the tournament about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to begin, and low and behold, competitors were already weighing in,  all the mats had staff at them, and the referees were dispersed to the mats.  Half an Hour before the scheduled start.  Are you serious?  This was our first indication that we were indeed in for a treat.  Speaking of referees,  the head referee was none other than Andre Terencio, the head referee of the IBJJF.  Arguably the best BJJ referee on the planet.  The 18 member team, consisted of 90% Brown and Black belts.  There were, I believe, 2 purple belt referees, both of which had extensive experience.  They had 18 referees for 10 rings.  It was great to see the referees able to have breaks,  watch each other work, and have rest and food.   This keeps them fresh, and alert and makes them better referees all day long.  That being said,  the refereeing wasn't perfect,  there will always be mistakes, but they were minimal from what I saw  As usual,  Jon had points score against him when he went for a baseball bat choke (got his guard passed),  and there were some points from 50/50 that were missed, but overall,  excluding crazy situations,  the refereeing was solid!

The first matches started right on time, and that schedule was maintained throughout the day.  Divisions were even started early!  Of course, if not everyone was there yet,  they waited until the scheduled time,  but It was amazing to see the efficiency improvements.   They had 2 large TV's set up with a feed showing what divisions were on what mat, and which divisions were currently being weighed in.  This was really helpful with the kids on Sunday Morning, and was a cool extra as a spectator.  It could use some improvement, as the font was small and difficult to read, and the corner screen should have faced the spectator area better.  But, that's just being picky and looking for things to complain about.

They had paramedics for the medical staff, which is always good.  They know how to handle the serious injuries and head trauma that can sometimes happen.  They do have a tendency to recommend going to the hospital pretty quickly, but I think, they have to do that to cover their asses.  I think, ideally, a combination of paramedics, and athletic therapists, or a sports injury doctor would be perfect.   The paramedics are great for assessing concussions,  and major injuries, but for determining a torn ACL, or other weird sport specific injuries, they are a little bit out of their element.  Also, having an athletic therapist would be super helpful when it comes to having injuries taped to keep competing.  That being said,  they were very friendly,  very attentive to the mats all day, and well equipped to deal with everything that came up throughout the day.

Saturday's absolute saw 10 trips to the IBJJF worlds given out.  10!!!   4 of which went to the ladies.  Unfortunately, none went to me.  Whatever, one day I will beat my nemesis.    The prizes went to the following divisions:
  • Brown/Black Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) LEE VILLENEUVE
  • Brown Black Male Light Absolute (light and down) DARSON HEMMINGS
  • Purple Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) MATTHEW PASQUALE
  • Purple Male Light Absolute (light and down) REUBEN SAGMAN
  • Blue Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) NATHAN DOS SANTOS
  • Blue Male Light Absolute (light and down) ERIC CONG PHAN
  • Purple and up Female Heavy Absolute (middle and up) ALISON TREMBLAY
  • Purple and up Female Light Absolute (might and down) MELISSA BISCARDI
  • Blue Heavy Female absolute (middle and up) YACINTA NGUYEN-HUU
  • Blue Light Female absolute (light and down)  AJ REITSMA
Congratulations to all of these winners.  It takes an insane amount of skill, dedication, and hard work to be able to win these absolutes and my hats off to all of you! 

The format for Sunday's No Gi Event was a bit different than the normal OJA style. It was not split by belt, but by experience.  Novice being less than 2 years, and expert being over 2 years.   This was a cool idea and it lead to some very interesting match ups.   Unfortunately, I think it scared a lot of competitors away, the nogi divisions were significantly smaller than the gi divisions, which is not that unusual, but when you think that the expert, should, in theory, encompass all the blue, purple, brown, and black belts,  they should have been much larger.    I think the fact that the prizes for the absolutes were much less significant also affected the numbers.   That being said, there were some ridiculously good matches in the nogi on Sunday and I hope that they can tweak the format a bit and get more guys and gals out next year.  I was really looking forward to the nogi,  since, with the combined levels, I actually had a division of 4.  Unfortunately, an injury kept me from being able to compete. :(

Speaking of Sunday's experience... How did I forget,  THE KIDS RAN ON TIME.   You heard me right.  The kids!  Ran on Time!   How is that even possible?  I don't know, but they did it!!  Like normal,  they moved kids up that were to heavy for their division, and they combined and rearranged on the fly as they had to and STILL ran on time.  Everyone was certain, that nogi would be starting late, but low and behold,  they were weighing people in almost an HOUR before the scheduled start and some nogi divisions started before the scheduled start.   One thing, with the kids, that wasn't quite ideal, was, one of our kids,  only got 2 fights,  in a division of 9.   They did 3 pools of 3, and the winner of each pool went against each other.   The OJA normally does round robins for the kids, so the pools were to be expected, but I would think a pool of 4 and a pool of 5 would be better. Divisions of 5 they leave as one pool, so It seems like the best case.   Then some kids get 3 fights, and some 4, but that's better than most of them getting 2, except for the 3 winners, who get 5.  It would work out to be more even that way, in the long run.

We had a decent size team out to the event this time around.  Not nearly enough to threaten for one of the team trophies,  but considering the size of our club, I think 22 competitors is pretty good.   I believe, all together,  the team earned 5 golds, 7 silver, and 5 bronze.  I try to keep track, but it's hard sometimes.  Some teams had several pages of competitors. I hope, next year, that they implement the IBJJF rule where only 2 competitors from one team can register per division.  After that, they have to register as a different team.  I think that will make for some more interesting and diverse divisions and team trophy winners.  I still don't think our small team would vi for the title, but when one team has like 15 affiliates then are they really actually teammates?

Enough about that... Let's talk about my awesome team mate Matt.  Matt used to be... a big boy,  but, he's worked his way down to making super heavy!   It's been insane watching him shrink over the last few months.  He's put my journey to middleweight to shame!  He trounced the Super heavyweight guys like they were children and he did it with a smile.   It was a pleasure to watch, he fights and moves like a light or feather weight.  Here is one of his fights from Saturday.  Feel free to turn the sound down/off It's full of inane conversation and stupidity.  Here is another one, from nogi on Sunday, again, turn off the sound, it's full of me heckling the referees and being a bad person haha.   Anyway,  Matt is crazy, and lots of fun to train and roll with. 

I suppose I should talk about how my matches went,  I don't really want to though, because I wasn't to thrilled about my performance.  In my division, I only had one fight, since it was just the two of us.  Tiffany implemented her game plan pretty much perfectly, and I did very little to stop her.  I'm not sure where I was for that fight, but hey,  She did everything right and kicked my ass.  

The absolute went a little better.  First match was against Alison,   it was a good match, as much as a match against Alison can be.  I have yet to beat her, and this weekend did not change that.   It went down to points in the end,  with Alison winning 29-0 or so.  I did get a semi-decent armbar attempt in, but it was sloppy and easily defended.  She had me in a triangle at one point, but we ended up out of bounds, and my head was almost popped out anyway. 

At this point, I had to explain to the guy with the drawsheet how they worked.  I know a 3 person division is a little odd, but they probably should have explained them.  I also had to tell them how long my rests were supposed to be.  It's all good though, they believed me and everything carried on wonderfully.

Next, I had to fight Tiffany again,  because it was just the three of us, so as the loser of the top half of the bracket, I filled in the empty spot on the bottom half.   This fight went a lot better than the first,  I passed her guard, and set up an armbar, she escaped, we had some scrambles, and I passed and set it up again.  I managed to get the tap after a couple minutes of fighting.  It was a great match I think.  

This put me inline for a rematch with Alison for the final.  I started out good, but then put my arm in a stupid place and bam! Kimurad!!  She didn't crank it any harder than she really needed to.  But, since I didn't have a grip on anything, it ended up wrenching pretty bad.   But, if she hadn't have done that, chances are, I would have gotten a grip, and defended, and blah blah blah.  I don't blame her one bit for my shoulder getting tweaked.  It's still pretty sore, but I'm not taking any advil or anything for it anymore so that is progress.   It's just kind of weak, and hurts if I do something stupid like try to change the water bottle cooler at work using mostly my left arm.   I'm just going to take it easy this week,  train light next week, and do what I can to protect it till worlds. 

Speaking of Worlds!!!   Steve leaves on Saturday, Stephen and Alasdair leave on Sunday and Jon and I leave on Friday!! Joel is actually in California right now on a kind of vacation.  He's scoping out the sites and hopefully arranging for some team t-shirts for us.  I am so freaking excited!  Training at Art of Jiu Jitsu for a couple days and then competing at worlds.  It's going to be great.  Last time we trained there I felt like my game improved like crazy from all the small details and the intense pace that they push there.  I'm really looking forward to rolling with my extended team mates again, and with all the new ones that have joined since last summer!  We are fighting under the Atos banner at worlds (well, some of us,  that registered before 2 other in the same division did).  This will be a very different experience, because we will be part of such a large team who could vi for the team title.  This is so weird compared to having a little team of 3 or 4 or, when a big crew comes out 20, who come out to play and support each other. 

We aren't going to have much time for site seeing this time around, not like we did last time either.  I'd love to beable to hit up Atos San Diego while we are there.  Maybe it will end up part of the training schedule for the camp.  I'd also like to get some shopping in, of course, hahah. 

Also coming up fairly soon is the Five Grappling Event. I met the organizer/owner of Five at the Ontario Open this past weekend.  He seemed like a very cool cat, and they have a lot of great ideas to grow the sport of Jiu Jitsu and build a league and whatnot.   I think the event in July is going to be great and would strongly encourage anyone looking for something a little different to check it out. 

Grappling Industries is also coming back to Toronto in July.  The 20th to be exact.  It's going to be a killer event, with lots of trips and prizes.  I will be refereeing, as well as competing in the gi AND nogi!

I made this cheesecake last night, it's keto friendly, but not diet friendly, if you know what I mean. It's super addicting and I can't stop eating it.  I need Jon to come home and stop me from putting another slice in my fat face before I end up struggling to make Medium Heavy, not just Middle hahah.    Here is my pin of the recipe on Pinterest.  I love pinterest.  I have found so many amazing recipes on there.  I have pinned a billion of them, and tried about 20 or so.  I wish I had way more time to cook and bake, I would love to try every single recipe I've pinned.  Though, if I did, I'd probably be right back in Heavy in no time.  and ain't no one got time for that. 

I think that is enough rambling for me for one day.  My shoulder is getting kind of sore from typing anyway. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

My Journey to Middleweight

As you may or may not know this weekend I will be competing at middle weight.  This will be my first time competing in this weight class in BJJ.   The last time I competed at a comparable division was my last MMA fight, July 2009.

Me at 145 July 2009

Middleweight for women is -152.5 with your gi, and everything else you need on.   In nogi its 147.5.  For men, its 181.5, I know men and women are different sizes, on average, but is the average really 30lbs difference?   If I look at the guys at my gym and the divisions they compete in, more are in light and feather then middle and above.  I should look up dome proper research on the matter.    That's not what I was planning on blogging about anyway....

My journey to middleweight started the day after I lost that MMA fight.  You can watch it here if you want to see me be embarrassed by TKO by a body shot lol.  It you want to see me not losing at MMA, watch my first fight, at 155, from earlier that year.  That cut, to 145, was pretty hard on my body; I think one of the main factors in actually making weight was the super dry Vegas heat.  I couldn't stay hydrated if I tried!   After that weekend, I binged, hard, I had fought only 6 weeks before then, and so hadn't really had a chance to have my post fight cheat week as most fighters call it.  So oars up for it.  Chocolate, ice cream, pizza, more ice cream, more pizza, it was bad, I was 160 in less them a month.

Over the next 6-8 months, I was training and getting ready for fights that kept falling through.  I planned and match made for the gfight summit, which I was supposed to also fight on, but a staph infection sidelined me for I maintained around 155-165 depending on the week.

I officially retired from MMA in late 2011, after suffering lots of stupid injuries, not being able to get a fight, and having trouble balancing training enough to fight, while maintaining a full time job, and being a decent wife.   At the same time, I took, and aced the command MMA judge course, and joined the OAC.  I wanted to still be part of the fight scene and judging fights seemed like the best way to contribute.  

I didn't train much in 2011, I was promoted to blue belt in late 2010, and nagging knee injuries kept me sidelined for most of it.   Mcl tear, quad tendon tear, bursitis, cartilage damage, arthritis, tendonitis, you name it; I've had it, except for a blown ACL. Somehow I have managed to avoid that one, it’s been suspected a few times, but turns out my acls are intact, just loose and sometimes useless.  Over 2011 my weight slowly crept up and up and up.  I am embarrassed to even type the number down... 195... Man, it was bad.  I just didn't care at that point, I was pretty depressed, and it was a bad time for me.

It turned around in the fall; I got a cortisone shot in my knee, switched to Pura, and decided that my knees were not going to stop me from training anymore.  None of my jeans fit anymore, and I was avoiding cameras because I was so embarrassed and self-conscious of my new found fatness.  I was almost always the "fittest" one in my group of friends and family.  My sister recommended I start using to track my food and set my goals.  I was semi-tracking what I was eating with a spreadsheet, but it was a lot more work.  MFP is a really great tool, when used properly. 

2012 Ontario Open Absolute Podium

I jumped right back into competing and competed in the heavy weight division For the first half of the year,  I was slowly making my weigh down to medium heavy, Eating 1200 cals a day(The MFP Recommendation, see where I said "When used properly", this was not the case), and kind of avoiding really bad food.  This left me grumpy and drained. I wasn't recovering well from training, and I was getting sick a lot.  At the 2012 Ontario Open, I competed in the heavy weight division,  I THINK I weighed in around 175 or so, I don't remember,  I had a big carby pasta dinner the night before, and a big breakfast, so in reality, I was probably more like 170 (with my gi on).  I've got to get Gringo to look up the actual weigh in amount; they keep a history, which is pretty cool.

My first foray out of heavyweight was the Grapplers Quest event in June 2012.   I competed in the -160lbs weight class.   I had to cut pretty hard to make that, not eating anything on Friday, and eating quite little on Thursday.  Also, doing the over hydrate, then stop drinking thing to help get rid of excess water weight.   The good thing was, weighin were on Friday evening, so I had plenty of time to rehydrate and refuel.   The bad thing was my body still didn't like the cut.  I had some bad lactic acid effects (which had really never happened to me in all my history of competing) and I felt week and drained.   I performed OK, but I lost a match I shouldn't have, because physically, I was done. 

Toronto IBJJF Medium Heavy
 The next foray into Medium Heavy was the Toronto IBJJF tournament in August,   My weight was much more comfortably under the limit, but I still needed to restrict my intake and watch how much water/and food I was consuming before I weighed in.    Physically, I felt much stronger then at Grappler’s Quest, and I didn't gas nearly as bad.   It wasn't ideal though, not being able to eat a big breakfast, and snack throughout the day was still affecting me and I knew I needed to get down a bit more.

Montreal IBJJF Absolute Podium

Fast forward a month or two, to the Montreal IBJJF tournament.  I made weight fairly easily this time around, had some pasta for dinner the night before, and had a decent breakfast.   I made weight just under the cutoff, and didn't have any trouble with my gas tank!   At this point, I was pretty content to sit in Medium Heavy for a while, and maybe make it my home.  Unfortunately,  looking at tournament registrations, and past results, and attending multi events and having no one in my division lead me to believe that, if I wanted to have people to fight,  I needed to move down 1 more division.   This was reinforced by a few matches over the next while where I felt that I was just physically to small/weak to compete against the girls in medium heavy.   I know, I could just lift weights and get stronger, but let's be honest, me, and medium heavy, is not me at my optimal body fat and whatnot.

So, In November, I decided to try a Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet or to some Primal (which is like Paleo, but allows dairy).   It's basically eating only real food; nothing processed or packaged no grains either.   It's eating food that was generally available before industrialization and agriculture and whatnot.   I didn't fully embrace all facets of Paleo (like organ meat, and a few other gross things).  This was a pretty tasty adventure, and I think it kept my weight from skyrocketing out of control when, On December 1st I suffered a concussion while competing at Grapplers Quest.

Grapplers Quest Absolute

As you have read in the past and if you know I well, when I am injured, and out of commission, I get depressed, and it generally can get pretty bad.   I won't do anything, I'll avoid going out, I'll avoid people, I'll make excused to not do anything.  It becomes a pretty bad cycle and can be pretty hard to dig myself out of.    Not this time!   I think, one of the major factors in me becoming so depressed, was the food I was eating.   I know, I know, it's hokey pokey pseudo-science.  But, for me, it’s the only thing that was really different from other times I had been injured.  I have read a lot of blogs, and posts, and articles that support the "science" as well.    Anyways.... I was off of training completely for just over 2 months, pretty much 0 physical activity.  I was able to get out for walks at about the 4 week mark, and slowly was able to walk faster/longer.   Then at about 8 weeks, I was able to do very very very light drilling, but nothing interesting, or inverted, or rolling/twirling/moving my head much.   Around 9 weeks, it was like a switch, and I wasn't getting any physical symptoms from the concussion anymore.

So, in 9 weeks, which, in the past, I had managed to gain 25 or more lbs. in, I only gained about 7.   I credit the Paleo diet to that almost completely.  I still ate quite a bit, but I wasn't eating processed crap anymore.   I went gluten free, and it made my joint pain go away almost entirely (It can't stop me from tweaking my knee lol).   I had been finding, I was starting to bend and skirt the edges of the rules for Paleo, and I was making cakes, pies, and other delicious treats.  They were not losing weight friendly.  I still felt great, but I wasn't getting leaner.  I came across a post on r/Paleo about the benefits of a ketogenic diet, and whether you could balance Paleo and keto.   I became intrigued by this, and did a lot of research on the matter.

A ketogenic diet is basically an ultra-low carb, high fat diet.  It forces your body to use ketones, instead of carbs for fuel.  I'm not going to get into the science of it too much. But basically, you keep your carbs under 20-30g per day, eat enough protein to keep your lean body mass, and eat lots of healthy fats for fuel.  It was when I was doing research for this, that I discovered Avocados.  They are freaking amazing. So delish, so versatile.  I had used them a few times in my Paleo phase, but only as small parts of a few recipes.    Coconut Oil is also a staple of a ketogenic diet, and a Paleo one, for that matter.  It's got so many great health benefits.   Have you tried bullet proof coffee? It's so good.  It has made me a coffee drinker!   I don't go crazy with the fancy coffee beans, but I drink coffee, with a tbsp. of coconut oil, every freaking morning.

Just after fighting in Medium Heavy in Chicago

Before the concussion, my plan had been to compete at the Boston and Chicago IBJJF tournaments in the middle weight division.  Not being able to train, and not being too strict on what I was eating, sidelined that plan,   and I competed in the medium heavy for those events.

I started my keto diet at the tail end of February, I was around 165lbs.  The first 5 lbs. dropped off like nothing, which is pretty normal.  Basically, carbs = water retention, take those carbs away, your body retains a lot less water. Also, by not eating carbs, your muscle glycogen stores are depleted.   Some people will say, this will affect performance, and it will, at first, while your body adapts to using fat for fuel, but after a while, it's happy to use fat/ketones and performance no longer suffers.  In fact, for endurance, it gets better.  You no longer hit the "Wall" that is glycogen running out.   I've been at this point for a while, I’ve noticed I still get tired, but when training, I can do more rounds of rolling, without feeling like I am dying.

Me, after competing, and weighing in around 152 (without my gi)

Anyway... I've been ketoing since Mid Feb; I had a few cheat days, where I gorged on Deep Dish Pizza
(Chicago Open), but generally have been sticking to it.  I've tried to stay mostly Primal with what I am eating. So real food, but with dairy (cheese is a pretty big staple in keto).  Now, a lot of people will say "What about the cholesterol???", "Eating so much fat makes you fat" No. it doesn't, and there are lots of studies, and people on r/keto posting their before and after cholesterol levels and eating like this has lowered their bad cholesterol levels,  a LOT.   Does this mean we should just all eat bacon for every meal of the day for the rest of our lives?  NO, of course not.  But a bit of bacon, chicken (not just the breasts, thighs, legs, and all the meat), beef, and things like avocados, and coconut oil ARE good!

grappling industries Montreal April 28th
I dropped from 165 to 150ish by May 2nd. Eating way more calories than I did early in my weight loss, and feeling fuller, more energetic and better focused then ever over the last year and a half. Right on track, and perfect for the Ontario Open.  Then, on Friday my body went "Hey, I hate you, I'm not going to play nice", Like it does, any time I ask it nicely to play nice, and do what I want.  Now, haters and naysayers will say "It's because of your silly diet".  No, it's not.  It's because my body fat is getting relatively low,  I've been dieting/cutting weight for almost a year and a half, and my cortisol is likely through the roof due to life stress, work stress, stressing my body out training like crazy and do HIIT, and because, I'm a girl, and our bodies all hate us.

I hit up the guys on r/ketogains for some advice, and was recommended to do, a "protein sparring modified fast".  This is basically, eating just enough protein to maintain your lean body mass, some green veggies and pretty much nothing else. I was desperate.  I was back up to 153lbs, and panicking, so I went for it.   I cooked up some chicken breast, turkey breast, extra lean ground beef, broccoli, asparagus, and leafy green veggie mixes.   I also bought a bunch of egg whites.

 Saturday was the first day of the "fast" for me.  I ate hardly anything, I didn't have time, I trained for 3 hours and a bit in the morning, went home and showered, had a protein shake, then went to Toronto and trained some more. I think I ate about 400 calories, and I felt great.   Sunday was about the same, except we went for a hike at princess point, and I saw Iron Man 3.   I had more time to eat, I just wasn't hungry.   Throughout the week, I ate a bit more, having one or two shakes, and one or two small meals, and I trained hard Mon/Tues/Wed.    On Thursday, I was mad hungry, craving and wanting to eat everything in sight.   I think, at this point, it was more of a psychological thing, then anything else.  I was still feeling great!

This brings us to Friday, today, I weighed 148.5, (152.5 with all my crap).  I've made it!  Today was BBQ day at work, we tend to do a BBQ every Friday, or sometimes Thursdays if the weather is bad, or everyone is out of the office on Friday.  On the Menu, giant chili dogs, with a side of sun chips.   It smelled amazing, but looking at the food, I didn't even want it. I sat and ate my grilled turkey breast with leafy greens, and enjoyed it.  It wasn't as flavorful as a hotdog and sun chips would have been, but it sure was better for me.  

I hardly crave bread, pizza and ice-cream anymore.  I've found some recipes that I can really enjoy, like cauliflower crust for making pizza, and avocado smoothies, and almond flour based baked goods.   These delicious and far more nutritious options have kept me sane!  I still do look longingly at the ice-cream in the frozen food isle, but I don't ACTUALLY want it,  I'm not actually sure what it is,  but I've picked it up a few times, and put it back every time.  I'll have 1/2 an avocado, with cocoa, and a bit of stevia instead.

Some tasty treats I have made over the last few months:

I really can't eat gluten anymore, I feel pretty sick when I do,   I stole a bite of Jon's cheesy bread sticks (from Dominos, used to be my favorite cheap takeout), and felt like crap, for a day, and my joints got all swollen and whatnot.   I've embraced the lack of gluten and grains, and I don't see myself going back to it any time soon.   That being said,  once I get comfortably into middleweight (I am aiming for 145 or so (without my gi),  I plan on re-introducing some carbs,  like sweet potatoes pre-workout and things like that.   I love how my body runs on ketones, and how I have a steady source of fuel and don't get the afternoon fog, or need to eat insanely regularly. 

So, here I am,  the day before the Ontario Open,   1 year ago, I was 175lbs,  1.5 years ago I was 195,  and now, I am 148.5(well, I was this morning anyway).  It's not been an easy journey, but it’s been a great learning experience.   I really think that human bodies run better without grains then with.  From how I've felt, personally, vegetables, meat, and good old fashion fat are what really fuel your body.   I think that the general idea behind Paleo/Primal is a very solid lifestyle plan, and I'll be following it pretty closely.   The one thing I do have, and love, that isn't Paleo, and probably isn't good for me, is my sugar free coffee syrups. Oh man, they make everything so sweet and delish.

 Here is a chart of my weigh ins from, for the last year.
My weight loss, over the last year
  I wish it would let me go further back, but 1 year is the max.  As you can see,  I've had my ups and downs,  but, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for pulling this off.   According to my scale, I have about 22% body fat.  But, according to comparison pictures that float around the internet, I'm leaning more towards 18-20%.  If, I tell my scale I'm a guy, it says 15% lol.  It's weird the assumptions scales make about muscle and fat distribution.   When I hit 145, I am going to try to set up an appointment at Mac to use their BodPod.  It's a cool thing that measures your body, and tells you all sorts of interesting facts.   I wish I had taken some before pictures, at the very beginning of this journey, because then I'd have a good comparison.   When I hit 145 again, I'm going to get out that Vegas Bikini, and get Jon to take a pic of me in the same pose, and see how I look, 4 years later. 

So, there you have it.   Some nutritionist might not agree with my methods, a lot of people will be "There's no way I can give up ........."  But, if you are determined to do something, and you decide, in your mind, that you want it more than pizza, and more than ice-cream, you can do it.

If you want to talk about any of this, find me on FacebookMyfitnessPal, or reddit.   I wouldn't look to closely at my posts on reedit, especially those in r/xxketo,  there is a lot of stuff that could be considered TMI, and especially if you're a dude, it's stuff your probably just better off being oblivious to. 

My biggest piece of advice would be to prepare your meals in advanced, and don't have crap in the house.   It's really hard to cheat when you have nothing to cheat with.  Plan your order ahead of time when you are going out to eat, and keep healthy snacks and gum in your purse. 
right on the dot for middle weight

Up Next:  This weekend, the Ontario Open.  Then: WORLDS!!!!!!!!!!  I'm not really thinking about anything else right now.  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Montreal Grappling: April 28th 2013

This past Saturday we made the short (well, relatively short, compared to Chicago and New York) trip down the 401 to Montreal for the Grappling Industries Montreal: Mundials edition.  It was a lovely trip, traffic was pretty much perfect and we made great time.

The day started off with a trip to the dentist, which is never very fun, but a semi-necessary evil.  I didn't go to the dentist for the longest time because I had no coverage and was a poor student, then house poor, then jiu jitsu poor. Now, my work, and Jon's work both have coverage, and we are DINKS, so the dentist is a-ok.  Anyway... everything was fine at the dentist, no cavities! Yay!

So we picked up Stephen around 11:15 and hit the road.  We made great time out of Toronto, and the 401 was smooth sailing all along.  We stopped for gas at the Odessa service center (just before Kingston) and carried on straight to the hotel.  

We stayed at the A Loft hotel, by the airport.   It's a weird hotel.  It's right on the airport property, so we had to pay $10 parking, but compared to the downtown hotels, that's nothing.  The hotel had a strange vibe.  Hipster, modern, but loft-like - so tall, rough ceilings, and weird use of space.  The front desk lady was very friendly and helpful, and had excellent English.  The room was nice and large, but only had a shower, and the bathroom door was a sliding door, that didn't really seal or sound proof too well.  I swear that is my most common complaint when it comes to hotel rooms.  When you’re staying at a hotel, with 3 or 4 or 5 people, you don't really need or want to hear them all do their business.  The room had 2 queen beds, and a little couch/bench thing, that someone could sleep on in a pinch.   It also had a very large desk, and a very nice TV.   The really neat thing was that the TV had a box with a bunch of different plugins that hooked straight to the TV.  The hotel also had cables to lend out, but they had run out when we asked. 

We got directions to Amir (which is a Middle Eastern chain in the area) from the front desk lady, and Jon and I headed out for some food.  Stephen was a fatty, so he stayed at the hotel watches streams of people playing video games.  I don't understand this phenomenon, but apparently it's quite popular, 100’s of thousands of people were watching it.  Weird.  We picked up some tasty food and then wanted to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a cable, and maybe some drinks and snacks, and it was closed.   Walmart closed at 6:00pm on a Saturday.  What is wrong with Dorval?  Anyway... some interesting traffic circles and construction later and we were back at the hotel.

The food was tasty, I asked for chicken shawarma, but got beef, but that's ok.  I enjoyed it anyway.   We streamed the fights on my netbook for a while, and then on Stephan's laptop after he fell asleep.  Some decent fights, but some very strange calls!  Like the instant stoppage for the eye poke.  Wrong call by the referee. He should have had the doctor come in and check him out, give him a chance to recover a bit, and keep fighting.  I fell asleep during the first fight of the main card, and still haven't watched the rest.  I did see the clip of Jon Bone's toe going all crazy. Ewww, that is freaky.    While we were watching some of the fights, Stephan the Fatty took a super super hot shower, and turned the entire bathroom into a sauna pretty much,  to sweat out a few lbs.   Not ideal, but the best we could come up with without a tub, and no Sauna in the hotel.

In the morning, we checked out, and headed to weigh in.   Jon weighed in at a whopping 162lbs with all his clothes on.  That boy needs to move down to feather weight.  He is too small for lightweight. But he likes candy and pizza more than fighting people his own size so whatever.   Stephan squeaked by right on the 1lb allowance of 169, wearing much less the Jon.    I weighed in at 152, with ALL my clothes on, except my shoes.  Hello Middle weight, it’ll be nice to see you at the Ontario Open.  It didn't really matter how much I weighed because the division is +141. 

After weighing in, we headed to our traditional breakfast place for the Montreal Grappling tournaments, Cora (previously known, and always for me known as Cora's, calling it just Cora is awkward and dumb).  We like to go here because it's just down the road, and has a lovely selection, and, there is almost always someone with us who is cutting the weight closes and starving by the time weigh ins come around.  They are pretty quick and, unlike the ones around here, it's not very busy.  Jon got the maple latte, which was disappointing, so, don't bother with that if you are in there.  It sounds so promising, but does not deliver.

Back to the tournament.... I had 3 matches with my friend Sissi.  She's a ridiculously good blue belt from BTT Canada.   We fought once before at the Toronto IBJJF tournament and I won by armbar.  That was when we were both in medium heavy.  I believe she has been fighting in Heavy for the last couple tournaments, but barely, so the weight difference isn't really enough to be a factor.    I'll be honest, I underestimated her.  I came in expecting the Sissi I competed against in Toronto, and got a version about 5x better!   Man, she has gotten good! 

I won our first match on points; I believe the score was 3-10 or so.  I can't remember exactly.  I got a pass, a sweep, and maybe mount?  She definitely got a pass, but that may have been it.  In our second fight, she came out more aggressive, and scored early.  At one point, with about 1 min left, I was in her guard, and she went for a hip bump/kimura/sit up sweep, and her elbow caught me in the side of the head and eye.  I panicked.  It was bad. My brain was like "Ahhhh I’ve got a concussion, ahhh panic, ahhhh you can't fight anymore ahhh ahhhh ahhhh” I completely stopped fighting and she got to mount and I'm still panicking.   I tapped and it took me a while to re-compose myself.  I wasn't actually hurt, but I clearly have some mental shit to get over still.  After the match I told the match setter I couldn't fight anymore, and sat down.   I thought about it for a bit, calmed down, and realized, it was all in my head, and I was actually fine.  So I asked to do the 3rd fight, Sissi was all for it, and David and Mathieu were fine with it as well.   So, third fight, she was super aggressive again, and I was trying to play the new stuff I was working on, with DLR, and rolling to recover my guard and inverting and whatnot.  It worked OK at some points, but eventually I ended up flattened out on my stomach, with her hooks in.  For like 3 minutes.  Throughout the match she had racked up a few stalling penalties and was 1 call from being disqualified.  She kept busy enough to avoid the DQ, but didn't really go for anything.  It was pretty frustrating to be stuck on the bottom like that, but it gave me motivation to tidy up my game and not get stuck like that again!

Jon's second opponent forgot his pants.  How do you go to a tournament without pants?  I always bring 2 full sets of gear for a tournament, gis, shorts, rashguard, sports bra.  Two of each.  You never know what could happen, and this way, if anything does, I've got it covered.   Did he not have a teammate he could borrow pants from? Or buy a pair or a gi from the gi hive, who was there pimping some wares.  They actually had some really nice stuff, cheap Redstar gis, Tatami gis, and scramble rashguards. Also, Gi Soap, which isn't for washing your gi, it's for washing your body, after doing gi things. 

Jon went 1-2 in his matches.  He scored his first points in almost a year and first points at blue belt.   Jon has a weird style; He pretty much doesn't pay attention to the score and constantly tries to sub people.  It works, sometimes, but he tends to lose on points if it gets to the end.   His last guy was a judo guy, and it was insanely obvious. He had no idea what the rules were, and almost got disqualified for stalling, in the first minute and a half.  He sat in side control doing NOTHING for almost 2 minutes.  Then, moved to mount, and did the same thing.  The only reason he wasn't disqualified was because Jon was squirming so much it made him look busy.    I love to see the judo guys come out and compete, but know the rules, and play the game.  You don't see basketball players trying to play soccer and carrying the ball or dribbling it down the field, do you? 

Stephan went 1-3 in his fights.   He had some tough guys, and the weight cut really affected his stamina and power.  He gave the guys a hard time though, and got a chance to work his DLR guard a bit.  We are working on the mental side of the game together for the next few weeks and He is going to ruin people’s day at the Ontario Open and Worlds.    Oh, the fight he won, it was with a beautiful loop choke.  It was nicely set up, and the guy didn't see it coming. 

One competitor that stood out to me on Sunday was Kieran from Lin martial arts.   I've seen him compete before I think, with mixed results.  I noticed him warming up with a team mate and was really impressed with the flow of their roll and the level of skill they were showing.   In all the matches except one he showed some really nice open guard stuff and pretty much dominated the division.   He fought the judo guy Jon fought and got stalled out with the guy in his guard not trying to pass or do anything.  It was a shame to see, but I think it was a great lesson for him.  I'm really looking forward to watching him compete in the future.

We didn't stick around for much after we were done fighting.  We were looking at a 6.5 hours (ish) drive home and work early in the morning.  We stuck around long enough to be able to give Mike B a ride home, and took off.  Mike went 3-1 for the day, and, probably should have been 4-0, but I didn't see the entire match he lost, so I cannot say for sure.

The drive home was pretty uneventful as well.  There was this one van, who insisted on staying in the fast lane, and not driving very fast.   They would go 105 for a while, then 110, then 115, then 105, then 125 for a while.  It drove me crazy.  They were causing all sorts of traffic headaches, and people kept tailgating me because, you know, by tailgating the person in front of you, it gets the car, 10 cars up, that is the reason for the slowdown, to go faster.  

It started raining around Oshawa, which caused some traffic slowdowns, but nothing major, with the detour to Brampton, and dropping of Stephan, it was about 7 hours all together to get home.  Not bad at all. Considering last time we went to Montreal it took us 19 hours to get there and about 9 to get home.  I love summer road trips, except ones that start on Friday afternoon, and involve going through Toronto traffic.

The tournament itself was smooth, as usual. The mats were cleared at 9:55am and matches were being called right at 10:00am.   Things went smooth all day, except when the few guys who registered and didn't show up were called.  That caused a bit of a delay, but nothing Major.  In the future, Grappling Industries will be giving refunds, instead of no-pay for people who earn a free entry to their events.  I think this will help keep people honest, and hopefully keep the now-shows to a minimum.    What they should have done, was cross reference the weighin list, or the check-in at the door list, with the draw sheets, before handing them to the tables, so that they would know if the guy was there or not.  This would take some time, but will save time down the road.  Hopefully, in the future, they will be able to do that.

The new medals came in! And they are nice!   I didn't get one though :(  All of the silvers were stuck in transit lol.  I probably would have just used the old medals for one more event, but Hey, I like how excited these guys are about making their events better each time.    Like I said, last time, the next thing they need to get is some kind of noise maker, to signal the end of a match.  You can't always keep an eye on the board as a referee, and it's difficult to hear the score keeper sometimes.  Also, the mat size, as I mention after every event.  They need bigger mat areas, or even just an extra row of black between the mats.  It would make for a lot less stoppages, and would be much safer in general. 

So, this weekend I am heading to the OJA coaching course.  I don't imagine I will get much out of it, as I have already completed NCCP all the way up to Level 3, which is the level you need to coach everywhere but the Olympics (for Judo). But hey, I could pick up a tidbit or two, and it's always good to attend these kinds of things to keep up with the times and be on the same page as everyone.

Next weekend is the Ontario Open. The BIGGEST and highest level tournament in Ontario, probably in Canada.  They are giving away 10 trips to worlds, and tons of rashguards, belts, gis, medals, trophies and other crap.  It's going to be an amazing event.  Registration closes on Monday, so, if you’re in the area, or driving distance, or flying distance, seriously, if you can get there, Do it!

2 weeks after that is WORLDS.  Yup, we are going to California Baby!!   Jon and I are flying out on May 24th, training at Art of Jiu Jitsu till the tournament (4 days), and then competing at the Mundials!   I've already got 8 girls in my division!  EIGHT!!!!  Can you believe it???  That is more purple belt women than have attended any of the tournaments I have been to since December, and they are ALL in my division!   I am so excited!!  Alasdair and Stephan are also going to worlds.  They are heading up 5 days earlier, and, coming back with us Sunday night.    It's going to be an amazing 10 days.

The weekend we are in California training, is Grappler's Quest and FILA.  If you are in town, you should check them out. They should be pretty great events.  Grappler's Quest is giving out trips to Las Vegas to some of the absolute division winners, and lots of other cool prizes to.  The FILA event is a qualifier for the FILA worlds, which will take place later in the summer, in London, ON.

I was supposed to go train today, but instead, I got some groceries, cooked some lunches and finished registering and paying for the camp.  I suppose these are all things that needed to be done, but I hate missing class.  It's really difficult juggling a full time job, training, conditioning training, teaching classes 2x a week, and finding time to do things like cook, laundry, and other household things. Not to mention going on competition road trips on weekends, when most people would be doing the catch up on the non-work-things.  Oh well, this is the life I choose, and despite this little bit of whining, I love every minute of it.

Hey you, do you have a company or brand you want to get more exposure for, how about sponsoring me?  I'll pimp your wears, I'll advertise your stuff, I’ll spam my friends (well, maybe not spam them, but share stuff with them).  I could really use some financial assistance for worlds and whatnot.  I've already spent about 5000 bucks this year on tournament trips, and that's not including all the money I have spent towards worlds. 

See YOU on the mats!