03 October 2011

Cute BJJ video of the Day

Just because I love cute BJJ kids to death here is video of my youngest student Mr. Carter Cope, showing off what dad had been working on with him at home!Carter is a blast in class, always excited to try whatever we are doing and participate as enthusiastically as possible.

Carter has amazing shrimping! Most parenrts actually don’t do as well as him… So there is youre cute BJJ video!!! enjoy!!!

02 October 2011

I have left this too long

So I have realized a few things. I'm not updating like I should be on here and I'm extremely frustrated with being injured. Im so frustrated with it that I have actually been avoiding the gym except to teach the little kids class.. I feel bad about it but after almost 5 months of not being able to train I'm kind of starting to crack. I gained 15 lbs. Started eating like poop and have been throwing myself a pity party when I have no right to be. Yea I'm injured and not able to train like I want... No I'm not allowed to go to my old Bjj coaches seminar in November when he's here. But I need to stop being a Debbie downer. So here is what I have been doing

2 weeks ago I decided to start working out like crazy, this way when I was released to train I'd be in as good of shape as possible and hopefully close to my original weight... I've never been 140 till now and it's not exactly easy to het back in shape when I'm still not cleared to wok out on all machines/ exercises. One of the personal trainers at my gym is an mma guy and he trades me doing his mma fit class for me teaching grappling moves at the end to anyone interested

I have decided the little kids in my Bjj clas need to learn Portuguese too.. They know numbers 1-5 so far and are learning the positions in Portuguese. The easiest time to learn another language is as a young child and I am taking advantage of that. It will also make me work on my Portuguese (Brazilian friends beware)

I'm hoping to get a really good black belt interview lined up. I have someone in mind and will be emailing them shortly...

Finally my coach doesn't know this but tomorrow I am releasing myself to train Bjj. I will only do techniques, and slowly, but I need to start again. I'm really struggling with not being able to train. I need to do whatever possible to work on creating a new game, since I'm not sure how the ACL injury will effect me.

That's really all for now... Im going to be writing a kind of personal post here tomorrow about something I don't talk about often (actually at all on here) the content of my blog will not be changing it is just a one time thing.

I apologize again for not updating I promise I am out of this funk

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

13 September 2011

The Answer to no Physical Therapy

So the answer to not being able to go to physical therapy? Work with what I had been given, work out at the gym, stretch… and the assistance of an old high school friend. An old high school swim team teammate, Paul, has been following me and my injury since it happened. He’s an athletic trainer, saw on my facebook  that I no longer can afford my physical therapy, and actually emailed me a full progression forphoto (1) post ACL surgery therapy. I’m on track with what I’ve been sent. Things are working better, my leg is straightening well and I’ve started ‘running’ on the elliptical, it’s slow, but i can do it without pain. I usually stretch, run 10-15 min on it and lift. I’m sore when I do lower body but it’s more to do with the Atrophy that has happened in my muscles, not the actual acl graft. It’s kind of crazy, my favorite stretch is when someone encourages my leg to hyper extend at the knee. Both of my knees use to go past 180 degrees. Honestly it feels amazing, an honestly good stretch

As for being able to lift weights, I am ecstatic, it feels great to be able to do physical  activity, even if it’s only weight training. From the looks of my training regimen at week 12 I’m allowed to start back slowly in sports specific training. Slow easy techniques… no rubber guard-esque technique, yet. I have to wear the knee brace but I can definitely handle that as long as I get to do bjj again!!!

09 September 2011

Darn you curve balls…

So I’ve been religiously going to physical therapy. It’s been going great, and not only that I had been cleared to do light weight lifting on lower body. Unfortunately I was blindsided by a new fun fact. I apparently have a $40 copay, I was never informed of. Every time I got to PT I have to pay $40…. My insurance says it’s the PT office’s fault, and the PT place claims it’s my insurances fault. So until they stop battling, I can’t go to the PT I need. With all the bills I’ve accrued from being injured, on top of the bills I have normally, I’m easily struggling.. My PT office is trying to help… They have found a way for me to get some assistance for my bills, which believe me, is nice. I have a home program for now. It’s nice to be able to at least work on some stuff, but until this gets under control I’m on my own for therapy. Stupid curve balls. Oh well life goes on and I need to try and keep working to make this all work out…

Sorry I’m not one for complaining, especially not on her but shit has just sucked this past year. And it’s seeming to get worse. Ok! on my way to work out! I need an endorphin rush!

06 September 2011

Training and Injuries: 5 athletes weigh in

Since I’ve been injured a few months, I took the advice on one of friends and went ahead and found a few friends who train either Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and/or MMA, and have had some run ins with injuries. Injuries are part of life and training. It’s nice to know others out there are going through injuries, tough times, but are working through it at all levels.

So enjoy, and a big thanks to my friends all of the US that made this possible!

Greg McNamee198141_207324615951403_100000215990409_903689_5922491_n

What Martial art do you do?
I grew up training Tae Kwon Do from age 5 to 21. I obtained a second degree black belt before the times of the dojo on each corner era, where you basically bought your black belt. I have trained Muy Thai and boxing and dabbled in other traditional Japanese style Karate arts.

But now I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 4 or more days per week. The more the better.

Who do you train with, what is your rank?

I am a mid level blue belt and train under Bill "The Grill" Cooper at Paragon Academy in Agoura Hills, California.

What is the injury you are currently working through?

Currently I am nursing an ankle injury that I sustained a year ago while competing at the IBJJF Vegas International Open. It just will not go away and becomes aggravated every once in a while. Plus I have a "something" going on in my left shoulder. Neither one prevents me from training or competing. I just have to favor both, and adjust my game plan a bit. I have 2 blown discs in my lower back. And had neck surgery back in 2004 for my nerve to my right arm. The nerve was crushed into / against the cervical area, and the doctor cut bone off of two vertebrae to release the nerve pressure.

How did it happen?

I am a Detective with the Los Angeles Police Department and sustained the injury on duty during a physical altercation with a gang member. I was laid up for 8 months. I went to P.T. and the chiropractor 4 times a week. I had three batteries of injections on two disc levels during that time. And eventually had to have the surgical procedure done.

Have you been able to train with your injury?

I was out of BJJ for several years and slowly began cadio and weight training after my rehab period. Now, years later, I have been back in BJJ for almost two years. And I am loving every minute. I am 36% disabled over my neck and spine and was predicted to be crippled in my right (dominant) arm. But I am going strong, with very minor disability. I am in pain every day of my life. It just depends on the day as to how much pain I am in. But training eases the pain. And it keeps my core strong, my neck loose and my body in good shape.

How has it affected your game?

Because I was so inexperienced in BJJ when I sustained my injury, I don't honestly know how it affected my game. I was only training for a little over a year. So I all but had to start all over. I'm sure I have my limitations, flexibility and range of motion, but as far as how it plays a role on my game, I am not sure. I am still coming into my game as an artist of the art and as a competitor.
Is there anything that you cannot do because of the injury?
I am not a young kid anymore. And I have to watch my neck and lower back when I train. But limitations, for me, are only in my head. Especially now that I have a new lease on life and my body. It was extremely scary to hear at age 33 that I may have been crippled in my right arm. I can not fight MMA or compete every week end. But I feel that the sky is the limit in my BJJ career.

What is the plan for recovery?

This may sound serving to our art form, but honestly, the more I train, the better I feel. When I am inactive for more than a day or two, due to work or other obligations, I start to feel the pain creep in.

What are you most excited about doing normally again?

I am just glad that I am not crippled in my neck, arm and back. I have permanent nerve damage (slight) in my right arm and have constant neck and back pain. But I get by with training and VERY little pain medication. I'm just happy to be doing what I'm doing. And doing so at a great level.

Any suggestions for the people out there who are working through an injury?

Never give up on your goals. Train smart and train consistently. Be aware of your physical limitations and train with solid partners who understand your limitations. But train. Inactivity is the worst thing for your injury, your body and your mind.264309_1988052500003_1204026942_31882283_1160031_n

Jeremy May

What Martial art do you do?

I train in BJJ & Muay Thai...

Who do you train with, what is your rank?
I train under Renato Tavares (5th degree black belts in bjj and muay Thai under Joel Garcia. I am a purple belt in bjj.

What is the injury you are currently working through?

Fractured and sprained my left wrist in my last fight (may 27th) & fractured my neck in Feb of 2009...

How did it happen?

3rd round of the fight I landed wrong on my wrist and messed it up....

Have you been able to train with your injury?

I have trained some, the main thing is icing as often as is healthy and light workouts for the injured area...

How has it affected your game?

My neck injury has made me work on standing more and the wrist injury has sharpened up my punches so I'm landing them better and more controlled....

Is there anything that you cannot do because of the injury?

I'm limited when it comes to standing on my head or lots of push UPS... I'm right handed so I get by, but still like I said earlier have to ease up on the left side... Bench press kills it...

What is the plan for recovery?

Recovery is simply rebuilding strength around the joints slowly and carefully so I can function like normal asap...

What are you most excited about doing normally again?

Sparring HARD... I love to brawl and spar mma...

Any suggestions for the people out there who are working through an injury?

Take your time, let the injury heal and listen to your doctor... I have old injuries that haunt me to this day because I just didn't give them enough time to heal properly....

Brad Maddox250622_2082582823614_1216407993_2462238_5586697_n

What Martial art do you do?

I train brazilian jiu-jitsu

Who do you train with, what is your rank?

I train under marcello c. Monteiro. Im a black belt.

What is the injury you are currently working through?

I have 2bulged herniated disks with a part of the herniation broke off in my spine.

How did it happen?

It happened by getting hit with a forklift in 2003.

Have you been able to train with your injury?

I teach and train 5 days a week.

Is there anything that you cannot do because of the injury?

My back will never be the same but as long as i continue to stretch and not over due it it will be fine.

Any suggestions for the people out there who are working through an injury?

The best advise i can give to someone with a injury is to take it slow at first. When it feels great thats when ur at ur weakest so dont jyst jump in and give 100%. Take ur time start slow and build urself back up. Jiujitsu is for life and u have all the time in the world to do it. If u cant perform the way u used to try to adapt ur game /style to your injury..

Christopher Dealy150497_1333584000124_1846784745_623191_6617611_n

What Martial art do you do?

I have been studying and training the grappling arts since 2000 starting with wrestling(freestyle, collegete, and greco thru my high school years and one year of college), submission grappling since 04', brazillian jiu jitsu since 2007, and judo since 2010

Who do you train with, what is your rank?

I am currently the brazillian jiu jitsu instructor and head coach of the grappling competition team at touch m up mma in Vancouver, WA, I am currently a purple belt in bjj.
What is the injury you are currently working through?

I have been dealing with a reoccuring bulging disc between c6 and c7 in my neck.

How did it happen?

The first time it happened was during a training session in 2009 while sparring with a larger opponent whom stacked me while having him in a triangle, and again in january of this year when it reoccured believe it or not while i was sleeping and i woke up with my head tilted at a funny angle and literally couldnt get out of bed.

Have you been able to train with your injury?

each time it has happened i have been out of training for roughly 3 months and only doing physical therapy and some instructing

How has it affected your game?

Ive never recovered back to 100% strength in my neck so it causes me to tap early in certain situations neck cranks etc and it has hindered any of the times where ive needed to go inverted.
Is there anything that you cannot do because of the injury?
as far as training goes it jjust limits my ability to play inverted that often or to hang out in stacked positions. the only real thing that i cant do any more that bums me out is being able to hold my son on my shoulders like i used too..

What is the plan for recovery?

continue with my chiropractic visits and physical therapy check ups as well as doing my neck stretches and exercises, i also do strength training that targets the muscles around the area to strengthen it up as well.

What are you most excited about doing normally again?

it seems likely that my neck will never be back to 100% while i am still actively training which is something that ill have to live with as this is a lifestyle for me and wouldnt be able to slow down if i tried. like i said the only real thing id like to be able to do again is be able to hold my son on my shoulders when were walking somewhere.

Any suggestions for the people out there who are working through an injury?

only thing i can say is to stay positive throughout the process, the human body is made to heal itself so trust in your doctors, therapists, coaches, friends, and family as they are always looking out for whats best for you. something really important as well is to keep training mentally if you cant physically: watch tech vids, comp footage, and any other material you can get your hands on and take notes( i used to search for active competitors who were my height and build and would study what they were doing and took notes.) and also when youre able make sure you at least get into class and drill technique even if you cant spar or roll..drilling is so over looked now a days and is a key to success and can be done even if you’re not 100%

Kaitlin Carlucci264291_578790841768_41701517_32464132_5007694_n

What Martial art do you do?

I currently train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Who do you train with, what is your rank? I am a purple belt, I received it from Marcello C. Monteiro when I lived in Indianapolis. I am currently living in Olympia WA, and I train with Robert Owens and BJJ of Olympia

What is the injury you are currently working through?

Torn meniscus, fractured knee, and torn ACL

How did it happen?

During no gi a teammate jumped guard while sparring, she slipped, dislocated my knee, and the damage was done.

Have you been able to train with your injury?

I did a little of technique, and right before surgery, I flow rolled a few days before surgery.

How has it affected your game?

I don’t know yet. When I did flow roll I had to open guard immediately. I couldn’t use my left leg much at all.

Is there anything that you cannot do because of the injury?

At the moment? no BJJ, lots of watching, and only doing the upper body part of techniques. If I tear the graft, I need another surgery.

What is the plan for recovery?

Well I had surgery about a month ago, I have 5 more months of physical therapy/ recovery. Then I will be allowed to start actually doing jiu jitsu again.

What are you most excited about doing normally again?

Training, sparring, competing, at this point straightening my leg and getting it to bend fully.

Any suggestions for the people out there who are working through an injury?

Listen to the doctors, if you get injured, get it checked out, you don’t want it to get worse, or get to the point where it’s so bad you can’t train. Martial arts are a journey, and injuries are just little speed bumps.

27 August 2011

Winning a few Mini Battles.

I had physical therapy again. This time I had some really good results! They put me on the bicycle no resistance, and just wanted to see how far I could go before my knee would stop me from finishing the revolution. I did a full revolution on the first try! I had to go slow, but it was great! I did about 30 revolutions and then got to go onto the next activity.

After that I did the inclined sled (i cant remember the name at the moment) and di small leg presses to get my quads to strengthen.

I was given 2 more at home workouts to do and an at home stretch as well. I love getting new things to do because it’s just more advancement on my knee!

We measured my range of motion again, and only checked two measurements, the two that matter,flexing and straightening. I am at –5 for straightening my leg (5 degrees off from my leg being straight, it wont get all the way there until the swelling goes down. AS for flexing my leg, well the big news is I photogained 15 degrees of movement!! I went from 95 degrees bent, to 110 degrees bent! that’s a 15 degree gain!!

The final thing my therapist did was put this webbing of kinesio tape on my knee. She said it would somehow help encourage the draining of the swelling away from my knee.  My knee looks like I have two fighting tan squids on them.

23 August 2011

My First Post Op Physical Therapy

I had my first physical therapy appointment Monday. It was a huge eye opener. I’m kind of worried. I’ve never had a bad therapy appointment but oh my lord, I have to relearn everything. I am working on the most basic things like walking, going up and down the stairs, how I sit, I can’t even think of it all. My physical therapist is actually upset that I am back at work and walking on a wet floor. Oh well, I’m not sitting at home while I need to work.

My biggest issue right now is the atrophy to my Quadriceps. I can’t get them to fire enough to straighten my leg. So I’m doing lots of little workouts, just to get my quads in my left leg strong enough to fire as soon as I try, not struggle to get them to work properly.

We did measure my range of motion though, I’m going to try and get constant updates (if I could take pictures of the numbers I would…) But here are the results thus far. I can get my knee to bend to about 95 degrees. If I am standing without my knee brace, I am 15 degrees off of straight, if the knee brace is on, 18 degrees, when I am sitting down trying to get my knee to straighten I am 5 degrees off. So my issue  is that strength… I have to get it back so my leg will be able to straighten.

I just keep hoping, and working… I want to get back on the mats, back to no pain, back to a normal life. Not that life is ever normal, but back to a not so pained place. Oh and one other thing, I went to practice Tuesday, it was gi class, and we actually did some side control work. I got to work a few of the techniques I won’t lie I felt like I was breaking the rules, but it was totally worth it. I made sure I went slow, and didn’t push anything. The rest of the techniques were too difficult to do without using my legs so I only went through the upper body motions, and stopped. One day at a time…

21 August 2011

Working on this knee…

I’m in week three of trying to recover from surgery, and it isphoto 1 (4) rough. I knew it would be but after starting to feel so good with my knee before surgery, this just stinks. I’m knocked back down to about the same amount of pain, range of motion and ability as I was when I first got injured. Most of my pain is in my toes or hip, I’ve actually stopped walking as much as I was and am now using crutches again. I’m not sure what is going on but it’s kind of stinking.

My knee is still swollen, it bends to about 95 degrees, but it can’t photo 2 (4) straighten yet… The pain sucks... It’s the worst part, it never goes away, not even when I use pain medicine, so I’m just working on dealing with it. The good news? They took my stitches out, my cuts are tiny, and not only that the doctor says I am on track with my healing. My doctor lost pictures of them doing surgery on my knee, I really wished he wouldn’t have so I could  have possibly put the pictures up on here.

I can’t wait to be back at practice. I’ve done almost 3 weeks, 3 months is the mark for techniques. I’m walking (with a decent limp) I can feel when I  stretch the graft a little too much, it feels crazy, not really painful, just weird. I’ve started back at teachingphoto 3 (3) kids class again (they’re adorable) and they are fascinated with the cuts and all. I’m dressing out for practice of my own, but just sitting and watching, helping where I can with what little things are missing when people are doing techniques. It’s amazing how much I am picking up, even though I can’t actually try the techniques, I can sit and watch and help with little issues that arise.

I start real physical therapy next week.. wish me luck!!

10 August 2011

Knee Surgery

So Tuesday, August 2nd I had surgery photo 2 (3)on my knee!! I woke up from surgery and heard 2 good things, #1 my meniscus had healed back. I guess it’s possible, I had no idea. #2 My ACL was better than they thought. It was still torn, but I didn’t need to have it fully replaced! Instead they wove the cadaver ACL in with what was left of my ACL. I am now part zombie!

So now all of that work I did in therapy, seems almost like a waste. I know photo 1 (3)it wasn’t, it will hopefully help me recover. But its a little frustrating to be back at the exact point I was at when I injured myself. Lots of aches and pains, minimal walking (mostly crutches) minimal range of motion, eh this stinks.

Anyway here are some beautiful pictures of my knee. I ice it every night, work through my few stretches and exercises. There is of course swelling and cuts, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

01 August 2011

My birthday cake!

So for my birthday my work gave me an amazing birthday cake... It's dedicated to Bjj! My work knows me way too well.. It was pretty much the highlight of my day. Here's a cute picture of it. Heck they even wrapped my desk in superhero wrapping paper :) I've gotta love my work. It was a good 30 lbs of cake... Good thing I had 40 lifeguards to feed!

Tomorrow is ACL/ meniscus surgery. I'll be up super early getting my knee cut into. I just need to keep thinking happy thoughts!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

25 July 2011

Well it is official!

It is official, I will be having surgery next Tuesday. After a pretty stressful day, the consensus  is there is at least part of an ACL there. Unfortunately there is not enough of one for me to not get it replaced. So the best option is the cadaver ACL, it has a faster recovery time, and for what the Surgeon says, women have shorter hamstring tendons which can cause problems in the future. The will also be fixing the medial meniscus tear.

I’ll have a few days off of work to recover, then it will be back to work on my best friend, crutches… (someone kill me now, I do not have the coordination to do crutches again) Nah as long as I don’t fall down the stairs again on my crutches I will be happy. I will hopefully be back to walking in my normal knee brace after a week on crutches.

The approximate timeline i have been given is

2 weeks- full weight, with knee brace slow work on straightening and bending my knee

2-6 weeks, stationary bike (slow no resistance) and swimming (yay!)

3 months some muscle conditioning and light cardio (to me this means slowly going through techniques, and only ones that I can comfrotably do)

6 months specific training!!! Working on all techniques, and light sparring/ flow rolling.

9 months full contact! Absolutely no restrictions on my practices.

1 year, back to the condition I was in before the injury, hopefully I will have a tournament done by this point, even if it is just a slow introduction tournament.

I am really glad to know what all they are fixing in my knee before they go digging in to it.  I guess recovery is the name of this blog for now. Not sure if I’m relieved or upset to know that it’s finally going to happen. It’s mostly surreal. The first few months are going to be rough. I’m lucky to have Lance', my boyfriend’s help for the first 2 weeks after surgery. After that he will be deploying, and then I am on my own. I’m hoping family will be able to visit, I would actually really love family and friends from back home to visit. I won’t lie going through this without the support system of my family near is scary. So happy thoughts! I will be a huge mat rat and will hopefully have my own little corner to sit and watch practice.

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts!

19 July 2011

Women’s Training in BJJ

Women training in BJJ is always a hard subject. There are few females that do the sport, and fewer that stay in long term. There are many ways out there to try and combat the high attrition rate. Women’s only open mat, female instructors, women’s only classes, women’s only BJJ Camp, and women’s only seminars. So from personal experience, and assistance from a few other females, here are some things being done to help women training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In advance thank you so much to Kristen and Ariadne, you have definitely helped make this article possible!

Open mat/ Class

In Indianapolis, my old team had occasional women’s classes. It was an opportunity for all of the females, pre teens- teens and155070_104891999581857_100001831728370_38323_2086738_n adults to get together and train some. It took place on Saturdays during open mat. If any of us were competing soon we would make it more competition focused. That way we had a little more time to work with possible skills and styles we may encounter at the tournament. Otherwise it was more of a Q & A where we worked on popular issues. It was pretty loosely run. We would always invite any females we could find to it. Mainly we wanted to get more females interested so we could try and have a permanent women’s BJJ class.

Female black belt, Women’s only class

As jiu jitsu grows and women who started years ago are  becoming black belts, schools are finding ways to incorporate women’s classes into their schedules. In Chicago, IL team Brazil- 181708_574585336329_210800143_32952630_5421209_n021 has women’s classes 3 times a week. Their instructor Hannette Staack , is a black belt and teaches the hour long class. A white belt girl names Kristen Martin, who reached out to me through my blog, volunteered to talk about what class is like there.

There is about 4-6 students there every class sometimes there is less. we work on what people mainly have problems on or just the basics and then spar. I like the small class it is easy to work out the small details to work out positions.

This small class, give the ladies a chance to get together,ask questions and slowly let new females build up the courage and techniques before going to the full blown co-ed class.

Open mat/ Seminar/ bonding time

In Texas, something completely different has formed. Girls in Gi’s is a community group in Texas. Ariadne is a purple belt and an active member of the group. She was awesome at explaining how exactly everything worked.

Basically it's a completely free open mat for women of all ages to get together and train in a non-competitive environment. It is open to all women, regardless of affiliation (there are just too few of us and we need each other). It's not a place to check out the competition or 'win' training. We start with a warm up, then a mini seminar lead by a higher belted woman (usually the one hosting the event at their gym), then open mat till we all get tired.

To make it fair Girls in Gi’s rotates through different cities, all the ask for is a host gym where the ladies can get together and train.260455_224208244277672_223743377657492_780837_4617601_n It’s a monthly event for them. Currently Girls in Gi’s is only in Texas. They hope to see that change soon, Girls in Gi’s is working on making it easier to start a chapter of the group in other states.  Honestly I think it’s an amazing idea. I hope to get help from the amazing women at Girls in Gi’s to possibly open a chapter up in Washington/ Pac NW.

Starting a women’s program is definitely a plus. If you aren’t an instructor, sometimes the best thing to do is talk to your coach, see what could be done, if anything and start to work from there. Don’t just wait for it to happen, be the catalyst that sets everything in motion.

Bending the Rules

Sooo instead of just sitting by the side and watching or doing technique only,I bent the rules today. I did a lot of light rolling. I did about an hour and a half of either positional rolling or light flow rolling. My knee is a little sore but not bad, it’s actually really refreshing. I’ve not rolled at all in 6 weeks. This little bit even if it was super light was so amazing. I may be bending the rules a bit with my knee but I’m making sure to not do anything that would hurt it or damage it any more.

I also taught my little kids today, they were hilarious. We played knee tag, went to pick up tag and then had a takedown battle. Miss Cameron won. She beat 3 kids who were all bigger than her and had a smile the whole time. Nothing better than a little girl who can beat up kids bigger than her while giggling and doing te techniques right!

Well more to come later I was just excited about being able to actually grapple a little tonight. Tomorrow I have physical therapy and I need to rock that so I can get this surgery bs over with!

14 July 2011

Showing off my progress.

I had my second physical therapy appointment!photo 3 I know I shocked  everyone there by the amount of progress I have made in only a week. Not only can I completely straighten my leg, but my knee can actually bend past the 90 degree mark!!! This is a huge step! With the help of gravity,photo 1 (1) there is only 5 degrees difference in my range of motion!! The swelling is low, almost non existent. After seeing the progress my physical therapist added a few light weight training exercises, and then I even had a few balance exercises…  Big surprise, my photo 1 (2)balance still sucks on my left leg. It sucked before, it sucks even more now. Oh well I knew that was a losing battle…Anyway I took a bunch of pictures, I’m excited about my progress with not only being able to bend my leg more, but also being able to use weight, bike longer with a higher resistance, and not needing to wear my knee brace all day. I feel like I’m winning lots of mini battles, even if the biggest one is still not here.

So I’m still photo 1awaiting my next actual doctors’ appointment, hopefully to set up the surgery, and go from there. The physical therapist said she couldn’t feel my ACL, which is bad, but I’m just hoping she’s loony and it really is attached in there. Anyway I’m going to keep working my butt off to help heal my knee. I’m not good at beiphoto 3 (1)ng injured so I will push my discomfort level, and work to get as much strength as possible built up! That last picture is of the amount I rode on the stationary bike, 3.07 miles on level 8 resistance, in 15 min. yay!!Take that you dumb knee! I’m gonna come out on top!

photo 4

12 July 2011

The BJJ Birthday Wish List

For Christmas I jokingly made a BJJ Christmas wish list. Funny thing is I actually ended up with a few of the things I wanted on the list. Now I’m not sure I’m going to be able to beat last years birthday. I got my purple belt a few days before my birthday, got a BJJ Life purple belt for normal day use, a purple ranked JJPG rash guard, and then on my birthday I helped coach a few teammates at a tournament then refereed the rest of the day at the tournament. I am going to try to make a BJJ Birthday wish list.

1.  My knee fixed. Not so much a BJJ wish but an every day wish. I want my knee back to mostly if not totally normal.

2. Funny/ cool bjj tees.JJT Shrimp W-2 Really I have very little fashion/ style  since my job entails me spending lots of time in a fantastic polo, shorts, and in a hot, loud indoor water park. Something to show my BA ness, while walking into and out of work while still entertaining my lifeguards would rock. The BJJ Life always has funny shirts..

3. Enough sponsors to live bjj.  That just sounds like a nice dream lol. People paying me to train all day every day. Just doing bjj. that’s all.

jjpglightgiwht-2 4. Jiu jitsu pro gear rip stop gi. Seriously have you seen these? Insanely light, insanely strong, and pretty stylish. My buddy Ty has one and he thinks it’s the bees knees. Yes, you heard me right, bees knees.

5.  more kids in my bjj class. I love teaching the little kids bjj and if I could have like 10 kids between the ages of 4 and 6 I would be ecstatic. Nothing better than going crazy while teaching bjj to kids for an hour a day 4 days a week!

6. BJJ patches.  My gi looks awful naked… not sure if I like that.. so a few patches namely a patch of my new team… would be pretty awesome

7. BJJ of Olympia gear.  i don’t have any rash guards, or BJJ Oly shirts, I need to change this. I would like to represent my new team, the next time I am at a tournament, whenever that may be…270030_10150247850449089_69520374088_6919331_3899489_n

8. Fight soap. Not just any kind though… I want the new liquid  kind. Mainly because it’s new, not out so that makes me want it more...  Besides fight soap rocks my socks on a pretty normal basis.  Seriously it smells good and prevents ringworm, life doesn’t get much better than that. 

9. Keiko Raca Capris. The black ones are cute, and they look good for no gi and working out.

10. Headgear. Gotta prevent cauliflower ear from returning… Simple as that!No idea what kind I want though.. It’s gonna be awhile till I can get back on the mats…

11. All expenses paid training trip. Brasil and or southern California, preferable to visit a bunch of bjj schools, and after my knee is fixed. No point in going if all i can do is sit and watch, at the moment.

12. BJJ belt Keychain. Thank you BJJ Life for making my life harder and making my want to buy your whole website…  now I want their cute little key chains.378_1484 There’s a purple belt one :)

13. BJJ Rashguards/ Tank Tops. Keiko Raca has tanks that  would work awesome under gis. I only have a few rash guards, they’re getting beat up, and  I want either on to represent my new team or basic BJJ ones, pretty simple, nothing fancy. (The black and green one is my favorite)

Like I said this is all in good fun.I need a goofy pick me up. Everyone has a wish list, and sometimes it’s fun to write it all down.. So what would you like for your ultimate BJJ birthday present?

07 July 2011

Day one of physical therapy

Well I started therapy. I did well, it's not like the therapy I've done before... Im not allowed to use weights at all. Just body weight, and movement. It seems easy enough but seeing how much range of motion I'm missing is rough.

The thing that is making me go crazy though is this breakdown of communication. At first it was torn meniscus and ACL. Then it was just the meniscus. Now they are talking about an ACL tear, again. I am just going with it not being torn, and am going tondo as much as possible to get ready for surgery.

Off to do my exercises!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

06 July 2011

Being able to train

Since the orthopedic surgeon told me as long ad it didn't hurt, I could work out lightly, I've started to participate in practice again. Some of the techniques I have to alter to do them without hurting my knee, and take downs are completely out of the question but I can still go through 80% of the class without too much difficulty. Heck I even did modified burpees in a tabata yesterday. It was very awkward and not by any means fast, but I could do it.

30 June 2011

Some Good News! (Finally)

Well after they went over my MRI and CT Scan, the consensus is a torn meniscus. I have a fracture in my knee but it will heal fine on its own. My ACL and MCL are damaged, but not torn. I have to do physical therapy to help them heal for the next 4 weeks. After that as long as my knee is improved, I will have surgery on my meniscus. Then more physical therapy. Hey it’s way better than a torn ACL!

I have a kids class again! I am now teaching kids between the ages of 4-7. It just started up this week and it’s been amazing!! The kids are hilarious, work hard, and it’s starting to grow already! I’ll be posting pictures, videos and whatnot from class. If you are interested it’s MWF 5-6, and then Saturday 9-10 am.

My blog has hit over 26,000 view, thank you for all who have subscribed, and all who read! If there is anything you would like to see or  read please send me comments/ suggestions!

And now something BJJ and funny to watch!

28 June 2011

Why Training with a Female can Help your Game

Whether she’s the 130 lb girl in muay thai class kicking higher than you every think you can get, or that girl who whether she’s in or out of a gi seems to be a walking dictionary of grappling technique, that female who always seems to be at the gym can be a wealth of not only knowledge but training that may just help you get to that next level, or tighten your game even more.

1. Touch Your Toes
    The first place those females around the gym can help youn700805304_4164684_1597 is with your flexibility.  Generally while males have the ability to build much more muscle, they start to lose their flexibility. Females stay more flexible throughout life and she may have some pointers.  The more flexible you are the less issues you have with tearing tendons and ligaments,  the higher your kick can get, and the more techniques on the ground you are able to do (think rubber guard, de la Riva, etc…)

2. Details Details Details
    How often does your girlfriend, mother, sister catch things you 38426_900047749940_909420_50057417_6376580_ncompletely miss?  How many more dates do they remember, notice when the smallest thing change like your hair or soap. If she catches and remembers the most obscure things in every day life how often do you think she may catch a detail in a technique you may have not seen?

3.  Different movements
     The smaller a person is the faster they usually move. A female is probably going to be smaller and will move and react differentlygirl kick than a male. Trying to control someone and train with someone who doesn’t move as expected will give you a new set of possibilities.

4.  Use your Technique
    With a female and any other smaller opponent it should become less about strength and more about your technique. Since you have to worry less about them using their strength, your chance to work technique and use less strength helps your game grow. Besides they will be happy you have only decided to use technique as well.. It makes the exchange better.

5. Tighten your game.
    Working with a female will help tighten your game because when their size comes into play you need to keep yourself tighter to erase the gaps. Working to keep tight on a small opponent will work to keep you tighter on a bigger opponent.

25 June 2011

The results....

Well the results are in.

Issue #1although I had a clear X-ray, the MRI is showing a bunch of hairline fractures all over my knee. I have to get a CT scan to see how bad the cracks are.

21 June 2011

My first big Injury

Well I had planned on waiting on getting some form of good news before I started writing about what has recently happened. 3 weeks ago today I was at practice and training with one of the other girls. She went to jump guard and somehow she slippeddown and right into my knee before I could brace myself for her. There was a crazy crunching noise, my leg locked twisted and then I collapsed on top of it. Lots of pain, and I ended up in the emergency room. In the emergency room the x-ray’s came back fine, but I couldn’t straighten my leg, bend it, nothing. photo (11)

I was put on crutches and was told wear an immobilizer for at  least a week. The doctor at the emergency room thought I had just sprained my knee. I had trouble wearing the immobilizing splint and found out that part of the reason for that was I had torn part of my hamstring and the splint wasn’t allowing me to heal properly. I’ll admit while trying to climb the stairs, I fell twice.. not the best feeling ever.

I ended up going to see an orthopedic surgeon after 5 days. The doctor told me that I had most likely torn my ACL/ MCL or both. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. So I had an MRI and now I am just waiting for my results. It’s kind of a horrible waiting game, all I want is the results but instead I’m sitting around waiting. I’m on week 3, and it’s feeling better, but maybe 50% at best. I’m being careful, still wearing the knee brace for most of the day. Occasionally it will hurt out of nowhere, which isn’t fun but it happens.

So I’ve been put on the side for now in bjj. No training. Instead I go in whenever I can and just help. Even on Iorn man days, I will stay and help wherever I can. It’s recently been me explaining and helping new students get the fundamentals down. I also still go in and help with kids, I can show techniques, and fix little things. It’s really humbling to sit and watch and work to do nothing but help, and not do yourself. The knee brace is a good reminder that I’m not supposed to be practicing. Every time I try, it stops me from being able to move into the techniques. Which is good, I need to heal. The worst part is just not knowing. I need to find out what is wrong, so I can take my next step in my plan of action, but without an answer. Its just nerve wracking.

So until I get all healed up, the blog is going to be a recovery mission. What the diagnosis is, what me limitations are, surgery/ rehab as needed, and just staying in bjj. I’m going to keep looking for people to interview, and keep looking for topics to write on but. There is going to be tons on here about working through an injury, once I see hoe severe it may be.

Keep training everyone I wish you well!

09 June 2011

Black Belt Spotlight: Samuel Braga

Ok I am really excited about the fact I got the chance to do this n41701517_30979002_2473interview. Samuel is probably the most decorated  competitor (it  is between him and Helio) that has agreed to do an interview on here! I met Samuel Braga not long after I got my blue belt. He was the referee for one of Helio Soneca’s tournaments. He ended up refereeing all of my matches, and I had no idea who he was. I later found out who he was and was pretty shocked. Samuel is a 6 time Mundial Champion. He is a black belt from Gracie Barra, and even though there has been some controversy surrounding him, he is an awesomely nice guy, and has a great sense of humor.

How old are you?

(Samuel didn’t want to reply to this one, He doesn’t want people to speculate on how much longer he will compete. Also like you saw with Helio, It’s pretty much impossible to get a Brazilian to tell you their age)

208567_124700044271562_100001947021476_164043_720472_nWhere are you from? Where are currently living?

I'm from Brazil , Belo Horizonte MG, I’m living in Knoxville TN .

How long have you been training Brazilian jiu jitsu?

I've been training BJJ for 11 Years

When did you receive your black belt and who awarded it to you?

I got my black belt in 2005 from Vinicius Magalhaes Draculino

What got you into it?n822779886_972098_9410

I got into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu because of UFC watching Royce Gracie fights was really inspiring .

What is your favorite position?

I like using De la Riva guard. (Samuel also mentioned another form of guard that he has been working on but isn’t sure about it yet, granted he could have been joking with me, he kept laughing.)

What do you like about Brazilian jiu jitsu?

Its an amazing martial art , it is actually a life style , one thing really amazes me is that allows the smaller player to overcome the strength and weight difference with technique to beat a bigger opponent .

What has been one of the most memorable moments in your Jiu 15853_172237119886_822779886_2636836_4244644_nJitsu Carreer?

I think winning my first world championship as a black belt.

Do you plan on competing again this year in Mundials?

Yeah , I do pretend to compete :) (Side note Samuel got third Place this year at world Championships in the black belt light feather division)

How do you feel about what Caio Terra said about steroids at Pan Ams after he won?

I think he has good intention on his statement but You always  have to watch to not generalize it.

Where do you draw inspiration and motivation?

I think my inspiration and motivation comes from I want to improve as a person also my BJJ I love to compete and prove myself .215730_124700110938222_100001947021476_164048_650479_n

What is a lesson you have learned from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

You can always overcome hard ship on the mats and in your life as long you believe in yourself .

Are you where you want to be?

I want to have a great school and a family and above all be happy .Turkish--Sammy-Get-up

What is next for you?

I look myself always that someone needs improvements in many ways , I want to become a good instructor and be able to change life in a positive way

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to share that you have to believe in yourself and follow your instincts and dreams and pursue your happiness and what would you make you happy that is the most important thing and above all to do the right things in life would not regret later , follow right path god's path .

04 June 2011

My Mini Battle with Cauliflower Ear

Soooo after 4 years, I finally got cauliflower ear. Which stinks….IMG_0533 The good point, it’s not horrible. The bad news, it hurts.  My wonderful fear of needles also made it an entertaining experience. So I had my teammate Joel, who is a medic drain it. Surprisingly it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. It felt by far after it was drained. The first day they pulled IMG_0534out 4 cc’s of blood. I immediately started to put pressure on it, and just stared at the needle. Kind of gross. At home I used a finder splint to compress it and keep it from filling with blood again. I also ordered a pair of headgear online to make sure i could protect my ears at least during class. I don’t mind having the little amount of cauliflower ear that I have I just really don’t want it to get worse… Anyway day two I ended up needing it to get drained again, I didn’t have the compression on long enough and it ended up withIMG_0536 another bubble underneath the skin on my ear. Robert tried to drain it this time and never again will I let him… It hurt, and it bled out more than it actually was sucked out. Back to more compression with my awesome finger splint. This time I even wore it at work as long as I wasn’t on deck in front of people. It actually almost looks like a really weird bluetooth. A few days and practices passed and i was doing great but accidentally caught a forehead to my ear and it inflamed again. So I drained it one final time and got the last of the gunk out, my ear is hard now and actually looks pretty normal yay!! That being said the two pictures at the bottom are of my ears, the one that I had to have drained is on the left and the normal one is on the right. Like I said not too bad right? It’s just a little bit different. IMG_0539 IMG_0540

03 June 2011

Women in BJJ

So I am writing this mainly for a good friend Mr. Suleman Yousef. He is the owner and operator of a place down in Miami called Monsters Training Center. He asked me if had anything I had written anything for my blog about the intimidating aspect of jiu jitsu for women or something for supporting women who did bjj. I had two that were close but they hit on specific groups inside women’s BJJ, one on pregnancy, and one on making it past your blue belt. So I’m going to try and do this without sounding too cliché.

Before I get too into keeping women in BJJ I’m going to go ahead and tell why I started. I’ve never written about it mainly because it’s not the easiest to talk about. My senior year of high school I had a close friend that I had known for 7 years try to rape me. He was bigger, stronger, and would have succeeded but when he went to pull off my pants I caught him in the groin with a knee. After it all happened I went through a pretty bad year, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress, and even after I started college, I rarely left my dorm room unless it was to go to class or work. Sophomore year I knew i couldn’t keep it up and started to look for self defense. A friend of mine had an MMA fight and he suggested I look at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I found a school ten minutes  from my University and wandered in after emailing the man that ended up being my coach for 4 years.

There are plenty of reasons women start, Self-defense, interest in martial arts, social aspect, getting in shape, etc. Whatever the reason Brazilian jiu jitsu is a great way to achieve these goals, make friends, and be in a low pressure situation.

For women it’s not the easiest to get into this sport. Martial arts area male dominated sport to begin with, throw that into rolling around on the ground with guys in really close contact, it’s scary. The attrition rate is high, but schools are starting to target women and trying to help bridge that level of awkwardness. Women are encouraged to come in and there is more cross training that is starting to be done. There are extra classes, women’s only seminars, and when ever possible coaches try to make sure a higher ranked female is around when a new female is coming in to train. All these things help keep women coming back and it helps them get acclimated to training such a close contact sport.

Women will face some adversity in training martial arts, especially BJJ that guys aren’t apt to deal with. My coach Robert was explaining to a new female why she was only rolling with me and one of the higher ranks and no one closer to her size and skill level. He very simply said “The worst pairing I can do is a new young guy and a new adult female. The guy won’t want to lose and will most likely end up hurting her to prove his dominance” Men may not realize it, but how badly do you want to walk into practice and lose to a female every day? Most will claim they don’t care, but it has been engrained into us socially, that the man is dominant and takes care of the woman. Women are the weaker sex. Physically females just don’t have it in their genes to be muscle bound. Along with that mindset, for a woman to come in and here guys at the school say things like “don’t be such a girl”  using overly derogatory language (hey it happens), can be a turn off to a school. Yes you want to portray a real look at the school but if there are kids training there, do you really think the parents want to hear the language too? Finally we seem to notice smells a little more than the average guy. And smells usually lead to fears of dirty stuff, and getting gross diseases like, ringworm, impetigo, etc.

The benefits for joining Brazilian jiu jitsu are numerous for women. It’s great exercise. The camaraderie of your teammates is amazing. Learning something that could help you defend yourself against an attacker, boosts your confidence.  BJJ is a great release for frustration or any pent up energy. When you do find those females in BJJ you’ll find a small community within BJJ that love to support each other and work together to make things better for the whole group.

So guys, get your female friends, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, daughters to try BJJ. It may not suit everyone but those ones that catch the BJJ bug, will thank you for it later!

26 May 2011

Black Belt Spotlight: Helio Soneca

Helio Soneca is a black belt currently residing in the midwest. I ran into him a few times when I was a blue belt out in Indiana, and even competed at a few of his tournaments. At his first tournament he threw in Kentucky he joked that he was a ‘Brazilian Redneck.’  Helio was great to watch at the tournaments, he was continuously running from mat to mat. He either was instructing people on what he wanted done, and how he wanted it done, or he was running around trying to make sure he was there to coach any of his students. Even though he was shorter than almost everyone else there, except for me I’m short, he could easily be hear. His telltale yell was the Brazilian word porra, turned into two words “POH- HA” he wasn’t mad, just getting his point across. Helio is a happy guy, someone who would answer any question you had, settle a debate on points, and then run off to help elsewhere. It is my honor to interview him, and I know there are typos, but I refuse to alter what anyone says in an interview, I would never want to accidentally misinterpret them.

How old are you?Soneca

I can teach all BJJ secrets. Except for my age, this is like I am giving you my neck to choke.

Where are you from?

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Where are currently living?

Louisville, KY

How long have you been training Brazilian jiu jitsu?

34 years

When did you receive your black belt and who awarded it to you?

In 1993 by Carlos Gracie Jr. but I was always a Jean Jacques Machado and he left for the US

soneca (1)What team/association are you a part of now?

I am part of the No Liars BJJ association, I am myself.

What got you into BJJ?

My best friends, my family, integrity, personality and values.

In jiu jitsu what is your claim to fame?

To be the first small guy to become a champion in the open class6213_1196995485589_1249545517_30569619_7895615_n many times over. Also when I won the world championships in 1996.

What do you like about Brazilian jiu jitsu?

The lifestyle.

What has been one of the most memorable moments in your Jiu Jitsu Carreer?

Winning the World Championships in 1996

What have you seen as the biggest changes in BJJ?

I BJJ lost the glamour and I think a lot of people came to America where they started to think that they were Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck, etc.. Also their is a lot of liars who never did 10% they claimed to have done.

Where do you draw inspiration and motivation?

To create good students and instructors that will be31710_1316020937380_1136425573_30759269_8124119_n there to  teach my kids. My inspiration is to save peoples lives, to change their personalities to make strong men and women.

What is a lesson you have learned from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

It doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you are when you put on the Gi everybody is the same. The most important part is the dedication and the brotherhood.

Are you where you want to be in your jiu jitsu career?

No I have not, I will be complete when I am able to change poor  American kids lives. Because USA has given me too much and I have not done anything in return, but I will one day I will create life champions through BJJ.

What is next for you?helio-three

Change the big the fightwear companies mentality and make them give support (tournaments, sponsor new fighters, etc) for this part of the country. Because everything is concentrated in California and people from this area buy more fightwear than everywhere.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I want to say thank you for the opportunity and make people understand I am in this life for people to have strong feelings about me. Love me or hate me!

20 May 2011

Hermes franca facing some serious charges

While browsing the internet I came across something a little crazy. Apparently Hermes Franca, an ex UFC fighter, flew into Portland, OR to face sexual misconduct charges. The brief overview is a former female student, who is a minor has filed charges against him. There are 2 counts of unlawful penetration and 7 counts of sexual abuse of a person under the age of 14.

Hermes has pleaded not guilty to all counts, and voluntarily flew from Brazil to deal with the allegations.

A good link to the news report is http://content.usatoday.com/communities/mma/post/2011/05/hermes-franca-accused-of-sexual-abuse/1

Weird the allegations say that it happened in December, I saw Hermes in January at a tournament in Oregon... He seemed like a nice polite guy, and was helping coach everyone who was competing. Hopefully the truth whatever it may be, is found out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

17 May 2011

I have been slacking big time

So I have not updated in a while. Mainly because of work being crazy, visiting Indianapolis for my brothers' wedding, moving, and some harassment issues I've been taking care of. Bjj has unfortunately had o take a back seat to everything else going on so I've not been able to train as much..

24 April 2011

The Draw of the Cage

So this is something I had written a while ago. It was published in a magazine in Miami. The guy failed to pay me, and failed to send me a copy of the magazine so in retaliation I am posting MY creative property. Since he did not buy the article, its mine to do with as I please… so enjoy!

In the middle of an MMA class, I am the least likely person you would think to see. At 5’3” and 120 lbs, I 34899_1342396041331_1274115372_30828884_2156465_ndon’t seem like much of a threat. Somehow though I am drawn to the sport, not that I am sure I will ever fight in an MMA fight, but for me just watching isn’t enough. I want to understand. Thousands of people are drawn to Mixed Martial Arts. But what is it that keeps us intrigued? From the MMA fighters themselves, the people signing up for MMA fit class, to the people that just watch, and can not get enough of the show. To the casual passerby it seems brutal, almost barbaric, but as you start to study start to learn there are techniques, game plans, fakes, strategies, something more to keep the movement going.

Humans have been in battle for their entire existence.  At first it was with animals, not just between each other to survive. After humans started to cultivate and become more sedentary,revolutionary-war-soldiers humans  battled for rights over land, food, water, their basic survival. More recent this fight has turned into war; warring for money, land, honor, not just to survive. It is in our makeup to fight. But as we evolved, and created more technology the need for fighting has become a want.

Although the spectators do not want to get completely into the ring themselves, The want for the fight is there. MMA has started to fill that gap. It is the closest thing to a real fight a real battle, while still having the technique, and being somewhat safe. The momentum of the fight can carry over into what the spectators are feeling. It’s not just he won, it is “My guy won, the person I believe in, the person that I can connect with, the person I train with has succeeded.”

To an MMA fighter it’s an ultimate test. In the ideal case, they are two equals who have worked everything they know and are MMA-Fighting-Techniques-Throws ready to test themselves. That one other guy wants to hurt him just as bad as he wants to hurt his opponent. The fight is almost a dance though. Each fighter knows their part knows their techniques, and his job is to make the other guy make a mistake to show their next step, to fall. Even two amateurs can have an outstanding fight with the most simple of techniques.

MMA is not to be romanticized though, for all of the reasons people are drawn to the fight, to train, to watch some are drawn for it’s most base nature, the blood. Some people are fascinated by the blood and possible brutality of the sport. While many appreciate the hard work that goes into it, humans look for the fight for the blood to see someone fail. Some are motivated by the money, but to just be motivated by money, can lead to a disastrous end.

Whether it is the primitive instinct to fight, the romanticized dance, the technique, emotion, or blood we are drawn to MMA. However we decide to participate the fighters deserve the respect for giving us something to look forward to. MMA continues to grow, continues to evolve. I plan on being there to see what happens next, who else is staying tuned?