28 December 2010

The Joys of Teaching

So now that I have gotten settled in Washington, I’ve started teaching the little kids bjj class and started helping with the Juinior Adults bjj class at my gym. I’ve got to say it some of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The kids class has students from the ages of 3-6 and the junior adults are 7 and up. The kids though never cease to amaze me. I’ve always been stunned at the young kids i see competing bnut the more i teach the move i realize that if you get kids into jiu jitsu and sports at a young age the faster their coordination evolves, the more outgoing, and confident they become. Bailey is the pack leader of the 3-6 year olds, she has been in jiu jitsu the longest out of them and not only knows tons of technique, she can shrimp better than most of the adults. She also loves to help fix the other kids techniques. Nico is the youngest at 3 but even he amazes me with how much he can do and how easily he picks up the training. The junior adults are great too1 if they do any little thing wrong as soon as we tell them how to correct it they have it down! Some of them are too smart for their own good. They love to compete, love to play jiu jitsu games, and just generally shock us with their technique on a daily basis. Anyway enough talking here are some videos of the kids and i will definitely be talking more about these awesome kids.

21 December 2010


So UFC is coming to Seattle!!!!! I’m really excited because last time I had an absolute blast running around Indianapolis and talking to the fighters. This time it will be March 26th in Seattle. But it kind of stinks because by the 24th I will be in California competing at Pan- Ams. So I’m going to try to get as much coverage as possible before heading to pan ams.

I’ve heard a few of the guys from Indiana will be fighting on the card and possibly even visiting to train. It will be great to see a few teammates again. As more info comes up on not only the Pan Ams, but the Fight Night I will be posting them on here and seeing what fun stuff I can get planned for it!

Oh by the way the main event for Fight Night 24 will be Ortiz vs Little Nogueira.

18 December 2010

A little Christmas picture

So my iPhone has an Elf your face app, instead of doing the face, i did the association logo! Enjoy!!

13 December 2010

My BJJ Christmas Wish List

Everyone has a Christmas gift list. Well just for fun I made a BJJ wish list. I know it’s all far fetched, but hey you have to admit we all have dreams of what we want out there… So Jiu Jitsu Santa, if you’re out there, here is my Christmas list, I am also sending one to you in the mail. But I have to ask do I send it to the North Pole, or are you down in Rio somewhere training?


1. A new mouthpiece, I haven’t had one in years32271

2.. the drawstring bag made out of jiu jitsu gi. 

3. A sponsor or two to help with my Airfare to tournaments.

4. All Expenses paid training trip for two, preferably to Brazil or San Diego… both have amazing BJJ.

Blue_to_Purple_48cfb3802b0385. A new gi, preferably a nice one, I’ve had the same two for about 4 years now… They are just to small. And I will give them to a kid or two on my team that have outgrown theirs..

6. Marcello C Monteiro’s full BJJ DVD Curriculum.

7. Assortment of jiu jitsu tees. maybe even a few to give away fight-soapon here.

8. The chance to do a self defense seminar for a local girl scout group or two.

9. Enough Fight Soap to build a fort.

10. Like 20 kids in the little kids BJJ class, so I can teach them all of the time and have crazy/ fun classes. 

3226611. A few ranked rash guards.

12. Keiko Raca Supplex capris

13. Private bjj lessons

14. More jiu jitsu….

15. Whatever my school needs equipment wise, I want everyone who goes there to get the training they deserve.

So what would you ask for from the BJJ Santa? This was in a perfect world, and Santa brought me unlimited presents…

07 December 2010

Athlete Update : Ruben Alvarez

72227_1641562127315_1484672447_1588285_3827668_nRuben Alvarez was one of the first people I interviewed on my blog. He’s a 19 year old purple belt from Fight Sports South beach who has worked his way up, and has competed and placed in the top tournaments. Unfortunately Ruben had a pretty unfortunate injury happen to him this past summer and he has been working hard to get back into the sport he loves.

Injuries happen in our sport and some of them can be really bad. Because Ruben is a friend I wanted to make sure I featured him, and kept tabs on his recovery. From a few weeks after the injury happened to getting back to practice, and hopefully his first tournament back.

When were you injured?

I was injured July 18th

Describe what happened to you.62018_1587613618636_1484672447_1480739_5199465_n

I broke my leg in two places competing against Hector Lombard, Bellator MMA champion.

What is the extent of your injury?

the tibia and fibula were broken

How long did the doctor say you would be out?

One year

How long were you out?

I was out 4 months, But I am waiting to get the screws and plates out.69812_1641562207317_1484672447_1588287_1254799_n

What did you do to aid in your recovery?

I did lots of physical rehab.

How did you work your jiu jitsu while injured?

I watched lots of videos of many different grapplers I like.

When Was your first practice back?

October 21st, a few days before the Miami Open

How was your first day back to class?67694_170648006282593_162955207051873_653898_6526322_n

It was Amazing, I almost cried. Just to see my instructor smiling was the best feeling.

What has your training been like since you got back onto the mats?

It’s been ok. I’m still getting used to what I can and cannot do.

Do you have your eyes set on an upcoming tournament?

Hopefully,ADCC trials in March and Mundials in June, if God lets me.

69812_1641562247318_1484672447_1588288_4937098_nDo you have any advice for other people going through a rough recovery?

Man try to stay positive. It’s hard trust me. I had my ups and downs. I owe all my recovery to friends and family.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?

I would like to thank my brother Hard Core for all he did, he was a major impact. My great instructor Cyborg, who helped me keep a focused mind and positive thoughts. He is my hero, if it was not for him I would not be there. My father and mother, I love them so much and I would not have made it without them. Enrico Cocco for always coming by and checking on me, and giving me positive feedback. He helped me a lot and is a great person. And all of my teammates from Avengers, Fight Sports, Deninho Fight Team, and Zen BJJ, thank you all for the calls and wishes, much love to all of them


26 November 2010

Sports Psyche Paper on Anabolic Steroids

So I wrote a paper my final semester of college on steroid usage in MMA. I tried to be impartial and keep my opinions to myself on what I thought about Steroids. That being said it was a sports psychology paper, so enjoy!

    Use of Steroids in professional sports has become more and more prevalent. With the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a new professional ‘must see’ sport, the governing bodies have started to crack down on the abuse of all forms of steroids. Steroid use has repeatedly been found in MMA fighters and the psychological effects have had more negative effects than positive effects on the performances of MMA fighters.  So why do MMA athletes use steroids? And what are the drawbacks psychologically, from using the steroids?

Use of anabolic steroids has for some time been widespread among competitive sportsmen and women, who selfadminister[sic] doses of up to 100 times the recommended therapeutic dose, and use combinations of multiple oral and injectable [sic] preparations.”(Williamson)

Baseball players, football players, and professional wrestlers have all admitted to, or have been caught using steroids. They claim the steroids enhance their athletic performance. The psychological side affects range from

reports of violent, criminal behavior in individuals taking AS(anabolic steroids). Other side effects … are euphoria, confusion, sleeping disorders, pathological anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. (Kuipers)

One thing that seems to also be a problem is when the athletes try to stop using steroids, the psychological withdrawl symptoms can be very severe includidng “aggressive and violent behavior, mental depression with suicidal behavior, mood changes, and in some cases acute psychosis.” (Kuipers) In July of 2007 pro wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife, child, and himself during a ‘roid rage’ episode. The psychological affects can greatly harm not only the athletes, but even the people around them.
In the past eight years, the three major commissions, Nevada State Athletic Commission, California State Athletic Commission, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship have had Thirty one fighters test positive for some form of steroids.

Two fighters, Jeff Monson, and Kevin Randlemann both admitted to using steroids or trying to alter their urine tests to not get caught.”(potato)

In 2007 there were fourteen major professional fighters that had failed to pass their steroid tests. In an article posted on Cagepotato.com an interesting trend was seen “Of the aforementioned fighters who were accused of steroid use after fights, 11 were successful in those fights, while 18 were unsuccessful.” (potato)  Two of the fighters in this article were repeat offenders. Josh Barnett and Kimo Leopoldo were tested before their fights and failed; they were not allowed to fight.
The two most common psychological side effects are,

‘roid rage,’ a manic rage where the user displays episodes of outright aggression and/or violent feelings and actions”(CESAR)  and “ users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility(CESAR)

Both of these side effects can have very negative effects on MMA fighters during their fights. If the fighter does start having any of the psychological effects of steroids they make the fighter lose focus, which can be very bad. They make mistakes leave openings, and end up being more vulnerable. Another problem that happens, is when the fighters start to cycle off of the steroids, they do not have as effective of practices and training. If an athlete has multiple practices where they perform to a lower standard, or can feel themselves getting ‘weaker’ it can start to negatively affect athletes psychological stability. Not only are the effects a negative, but the Sports commissions have made it very costly to break the rules.
Is it worth it to break the rules for a better physique, and better practices?  Many of the athletes claim they had only used what doctors had prescribed to help them get over surgeries, or overcoming major injuries. One of these injured athletes, Dennis Hallmann, said after testing positive for steroids

I honestly think that taking steroids is counter-productive for MMA, they do not improve how you punch or how good you are at subs. They actually hurt your cardio which is the biggest factor in MMA. (potato)

Many others were not even aware they had used an illegal substance, at least four of the MMA fighters mentioned in the cage potato article claimed they had picked up supplements from national stores like GNC and Max Muscle. Not one of them had realized some of their supplements would make them test positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. In the case of Ken Shamrock his brother commented that “Why do you think he crumbles before the big fights? He's got no psyche. He let steroids give himsteroids a false sense of security and the moment that stuff is gone he's no longer superman.” (potato) Losing that edge it starts to make the fighters doubt, and if they do not go in confident, they lose the fight before they can even start. And the governing sports commissions usually fine the athletes, then suspend the fighters anywhere from a few months to indefinite bans.
  Athletes in all sports have been coming under harsher and harsher punishments for steroid.  With more MMA fighters losing in cases where they have been found to have steroids in their system, it is getting harder and harder to justify using them. They psychological drawbacks to using the steroids do not end up giving the fighters the edge they had hoped for and in the long run end up hurting them even more in the long run.

14 November 2010

Cutest BJJ’er I’ve ever met…

So I have met probably the cutest little BJJ girl ever. Her name is Bailey and she is a very hard little worker. Check out her practicing in class. She’s going to be a champion!

09 November 2010

The Blue Belt Triangle Part 1

Martial arts are hard. I will never nock someone who does a martial art. In many martial arts though it does not take very long to advance through the belt system. For everyone in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu though, it is a little different.The average amount of time it takes to get from white to black belt is 10 years. For many, that is a huge commitment, but when they finally do get there, they are more than ready, and there is a HUGE sense of accomplishment. Making it to black belt for a guy is hard. For a female, it is even more rare. It’s so rare, that at the most prestigious tournaments, they are forced to have brown and black belt females compete together, just so they can fill divisions. I’m not saying that male BJJ black belts are a dime a dozen, because they aren’t. But when looking for a black belt female, it’s like a needle in a haystack.

So where does the decrease start? True there aren’t many females that do BJJ in the first place. But there has to be a point where the amount of females that are in BJJ start dropping off.  The points where both men and women start to disappear are relatively close in time. For women, this point is near the end of their white belt, beginning of their blue belt career. For men the point happens a little later, mid blue belt to almost purple belt. I like to call this the Blue Belt Triangle. It is just like the Bermuda Triangle in the ocean. Tons of BJJ’ers enter this area like a ship into the Bermuda triangle, and like many ships, some are never seen again. The ones that make it out of the Blue belt Triangle, tend to be a little battered, hardened but in the long run much better jiu jitsu players for the time put in. My coach Marcello says that other than your black belt, (which you will spend most of your jiu jitsu career at, if you make it there) you blue belt is the place where you will spend most of your time. Sherdog and other online forums are littered with with ‘Blue belt blues’  forums. This is of course different for everyone but blue belt is a huge step. It is also where the biggest difference in skill is at. Think about a brand new blue belt, a few days in, he’s definitely not a white belt, but compared to a guy who is about to get his purple belt. The difference can be staggering. So why does this happen? And how can we maybe get more people to stick with it so the field becomes deeper, and the competition, as well as the technique become better?


I’m going to hit on the women’s Blue Belt Triangle for now. Mainly because just about 2 months ago I escaped this triangle and became a purple belt. As excited as I am for being a purple belt, I know I was already having trouble finding competition as a blue. In my almost 4 years of Brazilain Jiu jitsu I have seen over 25 different females at my jiu jitsu school. Vanessa, who is a brown belt and just had a baby, is the only one that has been there longer than me. out of the ones that I have seen start, 12 no longer do jiu jitsu, or made it our of white belt. 3 are white belts that have been there less than a year. 2 have their blue belts and have moved to other parts of the country. 3 are newer blue belts at my school but do not come regularly now that they are blue belts, The last two are white belts that are advanced and will hopefully be promoted soon.

The biggest obstacle for females in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is getting started in it. There aren’t many females, and walking into a room full of guys who possibly train MMA or roll hard, is intimidating. 32204_538765532808_41701517_31807248_2707849_n Even if a female and a male are the same height and weight, a guy is going to have that physical advantage. Now  turn that into pairing a small female with a bigger muscular guy, even just to train techniques in those first few months, it gets down right scary. The first day I went into class there were three females there. So it wasn’t so bad. Vanessa immediately started talking to me and was very friendly. She was a blue belt at the time and made things much easier to get use to. The first time I had to train with only the guys I was terrified and it showed.

I will give the females at my school credit for one major thing though, half of them are mothers and juggle very hectic schedules while still trying to train when possible. I think the pressure of after college, getting careers, or starting a family life, play a huge roll on why women don’t get past blue belt. Many females like Vanessa, Lindsey, and Allison had been doing Brazilian 58839_544652096088_41701517_32040769_479936_nJiu JItsu, before getting pregnant. While Vanessa just had her baby and still has a little bit until she can probably train again, she was coming to practice even into her 6th and 7th month of pregnancy. Getting back into jiu jitsu after having a baby though is rough. So when they do come back to practice it’s an awesome thing. The major events in our lives can be difficult but there are always ways to work things out.

Probably the most noticeable place to see this Blue Blue belt Triangle is at tournaments. At major tournaments there are tons of white belt females in many divisions. The blue belt divisions are almost cut in half with participants. By the time purple belt comes around there are only three or four females in a division. Finally the brown and blacks, compete together. At the more localized tournaments, there are always female white belts with a few different weight divisions. Occasionally there will be one or two  blue belt weight classes, but more often than not, it’s more of an open weight class. By Purple belt, they IMG_0174struggle to find more than one or two if there are even any. I’m speaking mainly from my experience. I’ve not done smaller tournaments on the coasts so I’m not sure how the breakdown is out there. Every year I hope to see more females sticking around. But in the three years I was at blue belt, I never competed against the same girl more than one tournament. They were all blue, but they all disappear.

So what should be done to help keep females in the sport, to get them past that blue belt slump? First, invite friends to train, make friends with your guy teammates’ girlfriends, wives, fiancés, sisters etc. and maybe get them to come in train as well. When there is a new female in class go out of your way to help them, make them feel comfortable, and get to know them. My female teammates are some of my best friends, and almost like sisters. Push the other females in whatever road they want to take in their jiu jitsu careers. If they want to do it just for fun, then push them to come in, learn more technique, and relax at practice. If they want to compete, push them to compete with you, push each other and always make sure to keep each other positive. One of my teammates would feel horrible if we text messaged her and she didn’t go to practice. So every chance we could we would send messages to see who would be at practice to train. It kept everyone coming more often. If you know of girls on other n41701517_30781044_7225 teams, try to visit their school or have them visit your school. Nothing is better than getting a whole new group of girls to visit, and trade experiences with. Try to establish a women’s only class/ team, if your school has a decent amount of females. When there is an option of going to women’s only class, more females tend to stay because they can get use to jiu jitsu before diving into a full class with a mix of men as well. Or at the very least organize a time at an open mat for everyone to get together. Try to hit up a women’s only seminar, or a women’s only competition, etc. Finally, with all of the social networking websites, try to make contact with other women out there that train. The more we encourage the other females we know to keep pushing the more of us will get past that blue belt hump and progress through the belts.

08 November 2010

Impromptu Open mat

So even though it was Sunday Michael and I went over to the gym because a few people were there to roll for open mat/ mma. It was cool, I got to meet a few more of the guys Don and Aaron. Both have mma fights coming up and were working hard on everything. I went with Jared, an white belt who for only a few months of training is doing awesome, and really seems to be grasping how to work hard on only using technique, and trying not to muscle around. The best part is he will admit any time he uses it. Michael and I rolled, of course, and we always go for a while. I tried so many times to submit him, but no way was it going to happen… he’s got such a smooth technique, and it’s great to go with him. After I sparred a few times, Michael went over some techniques he had been working on, showed a bunch of things I hadn’t seen before, I think I’m really going to like this school.

I do miss Indy though. It’s going to definitely be weird not going in and seeing my jiu jitsu family, but at the same time I’m excited to add to it. It’s definitely some mixed emotions. Tomorrow my mom flies home, I move into my apartment, and there is a full day of BJJ! I can’t wait to see the school with classes running! Also Marcello comes Friday for a seminar up here, I’m excited to see my professor! The Gambred team has a tournament, the Revolution BJJ tournament, and a few of the guys are fighting so it’s a big week! I’ll keep everyone posted as more happens!!

02 November 2010

I told you changes were coming…

So for everyone who doesn’t know Thursday November 4th I will be moving across the country to Olympia, WA. This for me is a huge/ crazy step. It is something I need and want to do though. I got a great job with a great company. I have a bjj school to train at out there, and I’ve even got a few people I now know out there.

So Today is my last day at work. The rest of the week I will be packing up my life into boxes, and on Thursday, I do a cross country road trip. I will be at every practice I can get to until then.. I will take pictures, video, whatever I can, because I am going to miss everyone terribly.

To my team in Indiana, I will still try to keep a list of Midwest bjj tournaments updated for you. For my new team, I will keep a new list of bjj tournaments for us. I promise to keep in touch with Indianapolis. I will be on the lookout for belt promotions from you guys, and any time I’m in town, you better believe I will find my way into the school.

I’m so sorry to the ladies on my Indianapolis team… I’m going to miss Vanessa kicking my butt all the time. For Alison and Lindsey, you guys are amazing blue belts and I can’t wait to hear about you getting your purple belts. Easton, keep going to practice, that blue belt is in sight. Beth, keep at it so you can beat up Paul. To any new ladies, keep at it, work hard, I look forward to seeing you when I come back

To the BJJ young adults,you guys are amazing. I wish I had found bjj at your age. Edwin and Mikey, I know you guys will take the bjj world by storm and become amazing blue belts, and eventually black belts. Hollie and Becca you ladies are hilarious, keep everyone smiling, keep working hard, I want you guys to beat me up when I come back to visit. Tony, stick with it, you have some great teammates, and you will be able to progress with them so much.

To the rest of my team, thank you so much for being a part of my bjj family. I know it’s only been four years but I look at you as an extended family. Marcello, you are an amazing professor and I am so lucky to have wandered into your school first. You have shaped my jiu jitsu, and I am honored to be one of your purple belts. I am also so relieved that I found an affiliate school of yours to train at. I don’t think I could fully ever leave the association.  Junior, thank you for being my first black belt interview. You are an outstanding black belt, mma fighter, and instructor. I can’t wait to see you compete in both, again. I will miss your attention to all of the details, you pushing me to be better, and work harder. Thank you so much.

I promise to be back, I already know when it will happen for sure. I want pictures of everyone when they get promoted, when they compete, everything that happens.

To Gamebred Jiu Jitsu. I can’t wait to come out and help however possible. You guys have made me feel so welcome, even though I have only been to train once. What ever I can do to help your guys’ game, any questions I can answer I want to help! I love jiu jitsu and hope to make the gym and team a better place.

So 7pm will be my last bjj class for now in Indy. I’m taking pictures, maybe getting video, all will be posted, I love you guys. Now on to the new adventure! wish me luck! Please stay tuned!!!

27 October 2010

Product Review: Fight Soap

Something pretty interesting happened a few days ago, I was approached by the owner of Fight Soap and asked to do a review of his product. Now this is something totally new for me, but I am definitely up for it. My normal skin cleaning regimen had been girly body wash every day, and then once a week I took the dermatologists’ advice and used dandruff shampoo, because I didn’t know where to get anything like Fight Soap. I’m really excited to try some of this soap out after writing the whole article about skin diseases you can get from training. If this stuff prevents it like it says it will, I will know a lot of happy fighters.

Thursday, 10/7, I got the soap and me being me, was super excited. They sent me a  purple soap call Vicious Vixen. They also sent me this little yellow sample one, which is called Brazilian Bully. There are 5 different soaps each one with a unique name, and purpose, so I am excited they sent me two to try. The big selling point on these soaps, other than the fact they can kill pretty much anything on your skin that is creepy or crawly, is that they are “made with vegan friendly and all natural ingredients.” So this stuff wouldn’t harm my skin with anything crazy and it was good for the environment. Sweet!

vv Vicious Vixen

Fight Soap actually has done something pretty cool with the Vicious Vixen. They made a strong soap, for the females in the sport. There may not be many of us females but the fact that they do have something for us in mind, is awesome. I’ve used it for almost a month now and I have got to say I love the stuff. The Vicious Vixen smells amazing and it has Shea butter in it so my skin still feels smooth! The nicest part is no matter how gross and sweaty I am after BJJ I jump in the shower, and the soap makes the gross grimy feeling go away. So I can still smell feminine but not have to worry about if my soap is strong enough.

fs1 Brazilian Bully

I’ve been using the Brazilian Bully to wash my face, mainly because it gets a lot more contact with gis and skin… And I’ve noticed I’m not getting the weird black heads I use to get.  This is a big plus, my skin is clearing up!! The Brazilian Bully has a clean Citrus smell, great for waking up in the morning. Also the crushed apricot seed exfoliated my skin. Which think about it everything these soaps are made from are all natural. Apricot seeds as the exfoliating ingredient, very ingenious.

The thing I love, that I mentioned before is the scents. They don’t smell like a hospital, or like sandalwood. So far Fight Soap comes in 5 different scents, all with varying ingredients.  I will admit the boyfriend is loving the smell of the soap. He didn’t know the smell was the Fight Soap. But after reading this he probably will… One month down and no ringworm, staph, etc. I know it’s only been a month but I am definitely sold. I really like the feeling, the fact it’s getting me very clean, and that I don’t need to worry so much about the nasty stuff you can pick up on the mat. This soap is my new body wash. 

All this being said. Fight Soap and any other heavy duty soap made to kill these diseases can only do so much. If you don’t clean your gear, or help keep your gym mats clean, then you won’t be able to prevent everything… sooner or later your luck will run out. So keep you stuff clean, wash with the right kind of soap, and you will keep yourself healthy!

Check out Fight Soap, the Fight Soap models, and the fight soap blog at fight-soap.com hope you guys enjoy!!

20 October 2010

Updates, Seminars, and help these guys out!!

Ok lets do a quick update, Ruben Alvarez is now back to walking! After being on the receiving end of a nasty ankle lock. He’s been working hard though and is getting closer andcloser to being back on the mats!

There are to really awesome seminar opportunities for midwesterners coming up. We can thank Small Axe Jiu Jitsu for putting both of these on so check them out!

There is an Andre Galvao seminar October 30, check it out here It’s a really great opportunity. Andre Galvao is a great competitor and has a lot of good technique.

The next is something that I wish I could do! Small axe is working on doing a women’s weekend bjj camp. Again Small Axe bjj, is trying to put this on, and if i could be here for it i would definitely be going. Check here for the info on the seminar. Seriously ladies of any level should go to this seminar they have Emily Kwok, Felicia Oh, and Val Worthington coming to teach the seminar.

Finally there is one other big thing that I want to encourage everyone to go and do. There is a gym in San Diego trying to help give kids a chance to do bjj even if their family can’t afford it. I’m a major advocate for kids and women’s bjj programs so I have to ask you guys to PLEASE cast your vote for these guys… They are doing a contest to win $5,000 from US Bank to give kids bjj scholarships. Let’s see how many children’s lives we can change.. So please Vote!

18 October 2010

I was Interviewed, Wait Hold on A Second….

That’s right guys I got interviewed. Which is weird because I have never been interviewed. Normally I am the one asking the questions… So anyway I did it for a group called Musica1. Its a bilingual website that’s now all over the Nation. I was really honored to be their first athlete and non latina, that they interviewed. Anyway check it out! it was pretty fun!

I wish I could put the video on here but I don’t have the embed code, anyway check out the link! My Interview it’s at the 22 min mark!

Don’t make too much fun of me, I was super nervous…

10 October 2010

Tips for New Students

Everyone has been the ‘new person’ so in an attempt to make the transition either to starting BJJ or training with a new team, I’ve come up with a list of rules and I have also gotten other people that have been doing jiu jitsu for a while to give helpful suggestions. Like always take posts like this with a grain of salt, they are supposed to be a mixture of serious and funny.

1. Tap out on your opponent.This may sound weird but if you are sparring or even practicing a submission, tap on your partner, not the mat. And do it with some meaning, not just a feather light tap. There are always lots of things going on if you tap on the mat, the sound may get drowned out by other sounds going on at the same time. If you are in a place where you can’t tough the person, say ‘TAP’ loudly and/ or tap with your feet. Doing this may be the thing that saves you from passing out or getting injured.

2. The trunk of your car is bad storage for your gear. If you throw your gear straight into your trunk after practice and don’t take it out till then next day before practice, it will make your gear stink/ and possibly mold. That is gross, end of story

3. If your gear stinks, we reserve the right to not spar with you. Sorry but if you do not follow the above mentioned rule, or if you wait until you smell so bad someone tells you to wash your gear, then we reserve the right to say no. Yes not everyone washes their gi every day, but buy some Fabreeze, preferably the anti-microbial one so it will at least kill some of the gunk on your gi. Most of the time people will endure a little bit of smell, but be reasonable here, don’t make us suffer.

4. When using changing areas or bathrooms lock the door. This should be a no brainer. Close and lock the door. I don’t want to open a partially closed door and run into you changing. You may not care but remember your gym has adults, females, teens, and children. Protect everyone!

5. Knock on said doors before trying to open them. Again some people forget to lock the door, by knocking you can find out if someone is in there or not. Also it scares the crap out of me every time I have the door locked and someone just yanks on the handle and tried to open the door. So just knock, it’s a nice thing to do.

6. Wear  something on your feet to go to the bathroom. Bathrooms are generally dirty areas, so going from our mats to the bathroom bare foot, in the socks or wrestling shoes you were wearing on the mats, is just gross. Buy a pair of cheap flip flops and put them on every time you leave the mats, or keep your shoes by the mats and put them on before gong to the bathroom, it keeps stuff clean.

7. If you find something weird growing on your skin, get it checked out before coming back to class.  It’s that simple, if that infected hair isn’t looking right, you have weird bumps or sores, or a round red spot on your skin get it checked out before going to practice, don’t infect your teammates, if you’re not sure what I am talking about, see THIS article.

8. If you are a larger person/ muscley  please be aware of your weight or strength.  In my case yes I may be a purple belt. But that only helps me so much when I have a guy that can bench 3 times my weight picking me up and tossing me. Or if someone twice my size has side control and is trying to suffocate or squeeze me. From experience, my 5’3” 120 lbs can’t handle Your smaller teammates will love you if you learn to balance and not use all of your weight/ strength on them

9. While some catch on faster than others, no one becomes amazing over night. With the exception of BJ Penn who got his black belt in 3 short years, jiu jitsu is a difficult sport. The people that have higher belts have been right where you are and know that it can get very frustrating. One day in class you will just kind of hit you how much you have learned or how much you have grown so far. So keep working this sport does take time!

10. Sparring in class is not Mundials nor any other big championship. Use this time to make mistakes, and fix them. Sparring in class is to try new techniques, to think and make game plans. Please don’t go full out against your teammates, someone could get hurt. Most of all relax and have during class!

11.While sparring, move for higher belts. That’s right, if you’re sparring and you get to close to another pair, whoever has the highest ranked person rolling gets to stay, the lowest one’s have to move. It’s just courtesy. Now occasionally everyone is even, whichever set can move easiest and restart in the same position, moves. There will be some times where higher belts will move for lower belts, like when the lower belts are in a place to finish the match (submission), or the lower belts are much bigger and the higher belt moves to get out of the way of whatever is going on. But generally speaking, move for the higher belts.

12. Please do not call it ‘Jits’ yes we all like to shorten the name of the sport some how. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long name, but there are already jiu jitsu or BJJ, how many names do we need to call it? Besides, there are a lot of people that have been in BJJ a very long time, and really don’t like hearing it called that.

13. While there is some good technique shown on Youtube, most of it is bad. We all like to watch video of technique, read the books out there, take notes, practice at home, etc. You need to be careful about what sources you are using. Many good jiu jitsu coaches have websites and online video tutorials. Many will have a couple free tutorials, with a membership you can buy to see the rest. Those are the best online sources. Using Youtube to supplement your game is like using only Wikipedia as a source to write a paper for school… Not smart. Anyone can post anything on Youtube. There is some god stuff but most of it isn’t legit. If you’re going to use it, make sure the person teaching the skill is good, many of the top competitors have one or two videos up, but leave youtube for looking up opponents past fights, or watching top athletes compete.

14. Remember to relax! You’re here to learn how to do a martial art, specifically BJJ. BJJ is the ‘Arte Suave’ it’s really hard for your teammate to help you through a technique, if you are so stiff your arms are shaking. If you remember during technique to stay loose and relaxed, the techniques become easier. If someone comes over to help keep loose, listen to everything they say then try and move, occasionally they will put you in the right place, don’t resist, just go with the flow!

15. And finally! If you have a question, just ask! If you don’t know how to tie your belt, if a technique just isn’t going right, or you just aren’t sure ask someone! The higher belts know what it was like to be new, the white belts that have been there a while know how it was to be new we all are willing to help but if you don’t ask, we don’t always catch it. If you’re shy, look for someone on the team that is always talking to every one, or has a smile on their face, and of course the instructors will always try to help. The more questions you ask, the faster you learn!


Those were just 15 basic things that should help out anyone who is starting BJJ, or switching/ visiting a school. Some were meant to be funny, but all of them are there to be helpful. I hope it helps someone new. If you have been training a while hopefully it made you reminisce, or made you think about how to help out those new people at the gym. Either way hopefully it affected someone!

08 October 2010

Big changes may be coming.

So for those of you who don’t know me very well Iam a recent college grad. When I graduated, I didn’t have a job lined up, I couldn’t find one anywhere. I reverted back to lifeguarding which was something I have always done and loved. Well it doesn’t pay well for someone with bills, and student loans. So I have been actively seeking jobs. I have found a few, and one of them is calling me in for a second interview. The only thing is it is literally across the country. In a totally different town, state, region, etc. But the good thing, and honestly one of the reasons I agreed to apply for the position out there, is because there is an affiliate school, close enough, that I will be able to still do BJJ in my free time.

So What does that mean for now? Well it means next Thursday I will be in another part of the country doing my second interview, visiting the BJJ school, and just seeing how everything goes. The good news I get to visit an affiliate school! Train with them for a day, meet everyone, and watch some of the students fight in an MMA event. The bad news, well I’m not sure about bad new yet but I really am excited to go out there and visit Michael Proctor, and his team at Gamebred Jiu Jitsu.

Fight Soap

So this group called Fight Soap got a hold of me and requested that I do a review of their soap. I just got my sample, and I’m excited to try it out and see how it goes! I think it’s a great that I’m getting to check some of this soap out. It kind of goes along with the post I did about what you can get from the mats. You can check out that post here. So look for that post coming up soon.

There is a new BJJ poll up on the right hand side, please feel free to vote! If I can get a good response on it I will try to find good video of the winning guard position. n1058494569_328338_3258579

I have a few shout outs. Congrats to my blue belt teammate BT    for an awesome showing at the Michigan Open on 10/2. BT got third place, and is a pretty hilarious guy if you have never met him. Every school has a comedian of the team, well BT is actually a comedian, he gets paid to make people laugh and he’s always keeping us in good spirits at the gym!


Secondly, good luck to John ‘Sampson’ Correa at the US grappling Chicago this Saturday! We wish you all the best and let us know how the tournament is!!

Finally, I have to shout out my friends over at BJPenn.com, Erad, Jofil, Filharmonic, Munks, Benjii, Eddie C, Miss Hillary of Penn Academy, and to anyone I didn’t name I’m sorry! Thank you guys for the support! you know I’ll be in there chatting away whenever I can!

And finally, as crazy as this sounds, in the month of October I have already gotten over 1,000 views already! Thank you everyone for reading! Please give feedback I love to hear what you guys want to see. If this keeps up I plan on building a full website and seeing what happens! So stay tuned!!!


07 October 2010

Apparently I’m now Sponsored by the BJJ Lifestyle!

The past few months I have been working on getting sponsored by the BJJ Lifestyle/ BJJ legion. After a bunch of fun/ crazy missions I am now sponsored! So anyway any time I end up succeeding in completing a mission I will go ahead and post it on here.


So here is the car with her newest sticker… YAY BJJ LIFE.


And because I’m always on my computer, blogging and such I decided to put the Life/ Legion stickers on it too… DSC02069

So if you guys haven’t seen the stuff that is  on the BJJ lifestyle you will definitely have to check it out. They have super affordable gi’s, t-shirts, lifestyle belts, just crazy stuff! The guy in charge of it Luke, is pretty hilarious so even if you don’t buy anything, just go on there and read his posts, and the crazy stuff he comes up with.

03 October 2010

Kind of a stinky Week

So this past week I have definitely been a little under the weather…. Strep Throat will do that to you. I’m finally almost totally recovered though, YAY! Unfortunately I was bad enough I only was able to go to jiu jitsu once this week, and after techniques I was so wiped sparring and specific training weren’t an option.

I’m also working on a few blogs but unfortunately while waiting for other people to come through I’ve been left with a few mostly finished posts, so I am going to do a few things with this one. #1 I am going to talk about the newest addition to the BJJ family,  #2 I am going to post some pictures that i forgot about from the UFC and #3 I am going to put video up of a technique that I like, and want to learn more of.

Say a big olá to Olivia Marie Riviera! She is the newest addition to the BJJ family! She' has one tough Momma in Brown Belt Vanessa Smith. Anyway I wanted to wish well to Momma and baby. I can’t wait to see them both around they gym!! Vanessa and baby Olivia actually inspired one of my earlier posts, which you can check out here.

58839_544652096088_41701517_32040769_479936_n 63009_546332513518_41701517_32087412_7502293_n

Ok so I found a few more pictures from the UFC weekend, and I’m still trying to get a hold of the last few… Dumb camera of mine kept messing up. Thankfully I have people who took pictures, it’s just trying to find them… Anyway here is Mr. 10th Planet, Eddie Bravo and I. And then Herb Dean and I. Crazy week way to many pictures, I need to find the rest!!

2 DSC02098

The final thing today is a highlight technique that I definitely want to learn more of. I was shown this video a few months ago and I keep watching it because it’s something completely unique. Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu has made it famous. If you don’t know who Cyborg is, he is a black belt, who competes at Super Heavyweight, but his tornado guard, is something that has really made me want to try it.. I have a friend who trains down in Miami with Professor Abreu, and I actually hope to visit him and train with the team, this video kind of pushes me to go sooner rather than later..

Anyway check out this intro to tornado guard. I will be trying to do these during open mat until I can get them right!


To all of my friends who competed at No gi Pan Ams great job!!! I believe a few of you medaled if you send me your names I will definitely do a big shout out!! Keep working hard and training hard!

26 September 2010

UFC 119 and the Post Fight Press conference.

Enjoy the random pictures, video etc from my adventure last night!!

DSC02110 Dana WhiteDSC02112 DSC02113 DSC02114DSC02098 Herb Dean and I

Weigh Ins!!!! UFC 119

DSC02090 So thanks to some more dumb luck I Ended up meeting Dean Lister Thursday night. Pretty awesome right? Well Friday he ended up helping me out some more by having me come with him to the UFC weigh ins where I got to sit pretty close, with all of the teams of the fighter’s… Holy heck how did I get here?? Like I said it was pretty awesome to see everything. Everyone was really nice. The would come up and joke with me. I talked a bunch with Dean about jiu jitsu, and MMA. Dean actually is a very smart man. He was teaching himself Croatian, DSC02092but already knew how to speak English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Again pretty freaking cool.  I’m going to try and interview him for a black belt spotlight.. ok here are the videos I got at the weigh ins!






23 September 2010

UFC Press Conference pics and video!!!

Well I got to go over to the UFC Press Conference today…Pretty cool I won’t lie. Standing a few feet from the main fighters was cool But by far the best question of the evening was Matt Mitrione asking Chris Lytle if there was a fire Saturday night was he on call and would he have to go take care of the fire? I’ll try to find the clip because his reply was awesome. but enjoy some of the videos and pictures!!


I wish the frank mir pic wasn’t so blurry. I’m waiting to get my ryan bader pic too….

21 September 2010

UFC Hunter Strikes again!

I found Waylon Lowe at the Airport! he was a good sport! Enjoy the little interview!

Look who I found walking downtown!

Yep that’s right look who I found downtown Indianapolis! Click and enjoy!!

The UFC in Indianapolis!!

So this week the UFC comes to Indianapolis and along with that I have decided to run around the city looking for UFC fighters, Dana White, Joe Rogan, and the ring girls, caude heck why not have fun and get some great video? These little segments are going to be called UFC hunter, Kind of a spoof off the croc hunter, so we will see how this thing works out!

At the moment I’m sitting in on the pro MMA class. Chris Lytle is here. He’s been cracking jokes, talking about Sonnen testing positive for PED’s, and how guys his age can’t have after parties at nightclubs. Everyone is getting ready joking and having an all around good time. Practice started and everything is more serious. Some of the guys are working stand up, others are listening to Marcello who is back from Brazil, and showing jiu jitsu techniques in the other room.


15 September 2010

A Random Blog of Updates.

This blog is going to hit on a few quick topics! Honestly none of them are long enough to stand on their own so I figured I would put them all together.

First off, I randomly get free gear sent to me, and some of it doesn’t fit or at this point, I really don’t want, be it because I don’t think it looks good, or I have too many pairs etc, already... From now on if I get one of these objects, and it has to do with BJJ I will be having little contests on here. If you win I will find a way to get it to you ok? Sweet! I have a few little things right now, so I’ll work to put something together as a contest!

Secondly, with the end of the year coming up, there are fewer and fewer tournaments to do. Just the nature of the beast. There is one October 16th, though, that I would LOVE to have a good showing of Team Monteiro at. Honestly we have a great group with great techniques, I think out team could place if we just had more people show up to compete together. Not only that it’s more fun to compete when you have your team there to cheer you on and keep you relaxed. It’s the Bluegrass BJJ Open in Louisville, KY. It’s not a huge tournament, like NAGA where you sit there the whole day and don’t leave until late late at night,  but the price is preregister $60, and at the door $70. Pretty good for a gi and no gi tournament. And if it’s your first tournament, that makes it all the better, low pressure situation. The team that puts it on are a good group of people too.


Athlete Spotlight Updates

Omar Sabha, has had about a month off of school. He has been travelling around  the Middle East.

In UAE I trained with a Machado brother and that's it....In Jordan I trained daily with Zaid Mirza BJJ....who are having the first MMA tournament in the Middle East in a few weeks, as well as the second biggest BJJ tournament, the Capital Challenge here....

Omar will be returning home to his team of Brazilian Top Team Long Beach in November. You’re almost home Omar!!

Ruben Alvarez, has been rehabing his leg, and still watching every bjj video he can get his hands on. He found out 9/13 that he is on crutches for 4 more weeks. Injuried like his are hard but he’s keeping his head up, studying and visiting class. Step by step Ruben, keep your head up!!

Joao Herdy Junior, was supposed to fight September 11, 2010 up in Wisconsin. Unfortunately his opponent was way over the allowed weight class, and the Wisconsin gaming commission would not allow the two to fight. So the next time Junior gets a chance to compete or fight I will plan on having the full information as quickly as possible!

Third, since about July I’ve gotten over 2,200 views to my blog! thank you so much to everyone who reads it!! Honestly it makes my day to see people are reading it, that I’m getting feedback on my posts. I’ve still got a few ideas on things I can’t wait to write, but as always I LOVE getting feed back, and ideas for articles. So please do not be shy if you want your opinion to be heard. Also, ideas for jiu jitsu polls are always welcome!

You guys are great and I hope to keep my blog growing! I may do a few video blogs, we’ll see how it works!!

11 September 2010

Working for NAGA

So for everyone who doesn’t I kind of stumbled into workingDSC02040 for NAGA, a group that puts on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments, about three years ago. It has definitely been a huge help in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu career. It’s helped me understand what goes into putting on a successful tournament, how brackets are made, the rules and how they can sometimes differ from tournament to tournament, and finally, as they have evolved over the past  three years, I have seen the changes, and what changes make everything run a little smoother. This past weekend was the NAGA Midwest. After the Last NAGA they had in Chicago had an insane amount of people come to the tournament, Kipp Kollar decided to make the tournament two days, instead of the traditional one. This made the tournament run much faster, and keep everyone, including the workers much happier. Up until this most recent NAGA I had been on permanent table worker. Which is fine by me I like being able to help people out and make brackets, occasionally I would referee when there was a need. This time though Kipp actually told me to referee some, because he wanted me to ref more.

On the first day of competition, we had adults compete gi and no gi. I was at the women’s table getting everything set up and was happy to see all of the new females. When I was a white belt I felt lucky to see more than two females at a NAGA, but this past weekend, there was enough white belt and beginner females to have three or four weight classes an d multiple females in each weight class. I ended up having to compete because a purple belt did end up coming to compete. Her name is Fatimeh, and she apparently has been to the Olympics for tae kwon do. I had no idea, I just knew there weren’t any other females to compete against her, and NAGA keeps me around for the reason that just in case,  I can jump in and fill out a female division. In no i I pulled guard, got her to the ground, and almost had an omoplata, when she went to defend I swept her and landed in a really akward position, I was in guard but facing the wrong direction. she wrapped her legs around my waist and I worked to get out but she grabbed the ankle I sprained a few weeks ago, and heel hooked me (heel hooks are allowed in the expert division of no gi at NAGA)… it stunk, and hurt but it was an interesting learning experience.

Before gi, Junior (see black belt spotlight) was giving me advice on what I should go for. He flat out told me just got for a flying armbar, she doesn’t want to wrestle you, you can set it up and just go for it. So I took his advice and went for the armbar. I almost got it too, she was surprised I had gone for it, and I’m sure if it was something I practiced a little more, she would not have been able to defend it. Anyway, no more making excuses, she got out and backed away, so I rolled back got to my feet and when she charged me I landed on top of the scramble. So again I was DSC02059leading by points. I’m not sure exactly what happened after that but she kept grabbing my fingers and pulling/ twisting them. She then wrist locked me (wrist locks are allowed at purple belt in NAGA, i didn’t realize that until right before we started.) So both times I was leading by points, had good submission attempts, and even though she was about 30 pounds heavier than me I held my own. Next time I work for NAGA I think I am going to train like I am planning on competing there, just in case.

A few of my other teammates competed in Chicago. Jake won his blue belt division. Easton competed in both gi and no gi, she won her white belt gi division, and

After the first day of competition, we all went out to eat, after I ended up just going back to my room and crashing. Sunday was all of the kids divisions. I got a great surprise when two of the kids from Marcello’s showed up to compete. They got to be inDSC02060 different weight classes which was even better. Gabriel and Brandon? both went beginner, and won their gi and no gi divisions. I didn’t get to see gabriel compete but brendon was on my mat and I got to watch every one. He submitted his opponents easily, even after a few of them scored points on him. After he won his gi division, we needed someone to fight intermediate and he willingly competed in intermediate. The best part was, Brandon won!! Gabriel originally was in the novice division, but I convinced his parents to move him up, because after we moved him up to beginner he still did an amazing job and got first place. It was awesome to see Gabriel win since he has only been training about three months.

Overall it was a great event NAGA had about 800 competitors over two days, and from what I could tell everyone was fairly happy. I had a blast working with NAGA again, watching the new female competitors, and even getting to ref. There were a couple added bonuses, like getting to spend time with a guy named Mike Reyna. After talking to him and learning about his time in BJJ I decided to make him the next black belt interview I do. So keep your eyes peeled for it!

08 September 2010

Black Belt Spotlight: Joao Carlos Herdy “Junior”

25823_111171245564059_100000135529568_258873_871315_nSo I finally got the chance to do an athlete spotlight with a Black belt! And to kick it off, I am using the first person I ever met that did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Joao Carlos Herdy “Junior”. I wandered into Marcello C Monteiro’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school and Junior, who was a brown belt at the time convinced me to come back when Marcello was there and talk to him about trying out the class. After I started Junior seemed to be a staple in the school, giving people little tips and hints to improve their game. When he left there was definitely a hole at the school. Junior recently was able to come back to the United States and started with a bang. He won his black belt division at the Arnolds, started teaching and training back at Marcello’s  and won his first MMA fight back in the United States against Dustin Neace. With everything he does Junior seems to live, eat and breathe the sport. He pays attention to every little detail, and during class, he makes sure to point out every one, then he makes sure to stop and watch every person do the technique.

At his young age, Junior had some great responses. He has an amazing view on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. He was also the first OgAAAJ8ZvBxu5b-QGXudSzv_e4SkmfwCoOE1SxouTfKnWgL00Hjl_G2LEq5J2hTlZIiriW1qctO2FDW8ayLm1QWzRTYAm1T1UIUU3r-snFQjA4QwBXjM_9ieZtxiperson I got to interview in person, which is a totally different experience, it is a little more interesting to see the responses people have to the questions. So I hope you enjoy Junior’s interview, and take something he had to say away with you !

How old are you?


Where are you from?

I am from the mountain range of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

How long have you been training BJJ?

11 years, I started when I was 12.

OgAAANJ6aC5Hdvr12vawlLu2aBAaVN1KbuLlQ17iXgnkBB7b9r4NTxZeZXX9Fr-SYA5cbotHXSVhUFesaXh4MjxbVFkAm1T1UKmyj8ifqE6WJqVi1Td7x44-XpVZWhen did you get your black belt, and from who?

Marcello C. Monteiro, in my home town in Brazil. I got my belt when I was 21

What got you into Brazilian Jiu jitsu?

(Laughs) Do you want to know the truth?? I started really young  and I started because of girls. I saw girls my age with older ex boyfriends, and the ex boyfriends were beating up guys my age that would date their ex girlfriends. I didn’t want to get beat up over a girl. So I started with judo but the school was too far and I had a classmate who was about to start jiu jitsu and Marcello’s and invited me. I started with my classmate and we even got our yellow belts together.

What do you like about BJJ?

The simplicity of the controls. You learn how to not depend on  your strength you learn how to combine speed, pressure, DSC_0024everything. You learn about your body and about your reactions. you learn more about yourself.

What was one of your best memories so far from BJJ?

Every day on the mats, every day I am on the mats is a good memory, because everyday I’m around friends. Sure there are tournaments, but I love every day on the mats. That is the secret to doing this every day!

Are there any black belts that have influenced your game?

Many if not all! I used to watch a lot of Margarida, when I started jiu jitsu. Saulo, all of the old school guys, I grew up watching them.

28907_124024257612701_123295837685543_328185_3552119_nHow old were you when you did your first MMA fight?

I was 17. I did 5 fights at 17. I got my only loss on my fourth fight, it was against Brian Garidy. I started learning wrestling muay thai boxing, I started to learn different martial arts all at 17.

What made you want to do an MMA fight?

I was a purple belt, I was training with the guys from Integrated  Fighting like Chris Lytle. Someone just asked me to do a fight. I did it just to see how I would react. I never fought in the streets because of the BJJ, and I wanted to test myself.

What weight class do you fight at?

I fight at 145 lbs.

What do you plan on doing in the future with MMA?58650_157515037596346_100000135529568_517177_4065639_n

(Smiles) To be one of the best. I would just like to be one of the  best MMA fighters, I’ve been training for it and I have the team for it.

Do you prefer competing in MMA or BJJ?

I can’t compare them. MMA is technical, but you have to be really aggressive and want to hurt your opponent. Jiu jitsu is more technical, more smooth. There is adrenaline in both but it’s used differently, and you have to learn to use the adrenaline right.

DSC_0025Do you plan on competing in BJJ or MMA again any time soon?

Yea! I’m young I can compete in everything, I have nothing to lose. I am always looking for fights, and look forward to doing  another again.

* Junior will be fighting in Wisconsin September 11th. More information will be up soon!

What advice can you give BJJ practitioners?

We all have those days where we’re not felling good, or don’t have the ‘mojo’. Just go to jiu jitsu and leave your problems at DSC_0026the door. Relax and have fun every day we are learning and changing our game. Don’t be lazy (laughs)

Is there anything else you would like to add or talk about?

Thank you very much for the interview congratulations on your purple belt and like BJ Penn says, “the belt is just an accessory!”