If you don\’t play to win, why play at all?

September 19, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have a new home, one that best gives it a little bit of a feminine kick 🙂  See you there!



February 27, 2010, 5:15 am
Filed under: BJJ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
I was watching some videos from the Euro BJJ Championships over the weekend and I came across this clip where both of the competitors were disqualified — in the black belt division!  I watched the whole video and I’m clearly perplexed as to why the referee ended it that way.

What do you think of this?

Totally BJJ-unrelated…
February 13, 2010, 11:06 am
Filed under: ETC Etcetera

…but here’s hoping that you’ll love it!

Meet my rescued cat Rue, whom I think is a puppy trapped in a kitten’s body 🙂

She fetches her favorite toy, drags things around, stands on her back legs, and meows at the door when someone’s knocking — her version of barking at strangers!

Rue is a kitten I rescued from a dark street while walking on my way home in July 2009. She was so tiny then, but had her way of making herself lovable. With her small, feeble steps, she tried to hurriedly follow me, but I didn’t want her to. I tried leaving her by walking away.

Five minutes later, I found myself making hurried steps back to her — I couldn’t bear the thought of letting her grow up on the street! And I am so glad I picked her up. She’s definitely a charmer and a blessing to me and my other cat Qish, a Siamese.

Sorry for the crappy camera work, I was just using my old Samsung D900 camera phone.



Choosing Your Partner
February 7, 2010, 6:19 pm
Filed under: BJJ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu | Tags: , , , ,

In BJJ, just like in life, you have to choose your partners wisely.  I have rolled with a lot of people last week, as long as my cardio allowed me.

BOY #1 is a new guy who have trained for a couple of months.  It was my first time to roll with him, and boy was I surprised with his utter use of strength on me!  I was stalling most of the time, tiring him out.  I was too scared that if I let my arm loose, he’d yank it off my elbow.  So I kept all my limbs as tight as possible, but kept my base strong so I won’t get swept.  I waited for an opportunity for me to have some space so that I could insert my right knee in between his legs.  When that happened, I immediately went for a knee-through pass, but my left leg got caught in half-guard.  I didn’t want to lose the opportunity, so I drove my shoulder to his neck to loosen his legs.  Then I just felt a violent tap on my back.  He tapped from my drive-shoulder-to-neck move!

✖ The only thing I learned from the roll is to wait patiently for my turn.  Personally, I didn’t think it was a good roll.  The guy was using all his strength to try to topple me over, so I just hunched and made sure my arms were tight.  So I was stalling to get him tired, but what if he didn’t get tired at all?  I would have been penalized if it were in a tourney.

BOYS #2 & #3 are blue belts, and I did some flow-roll with them.  It was good.  They were giving me just enough resistance to tire me out, blocking my techniques and not easily allowing me to apply whatever move I wanted to do.  They made me work hard, and in the end, I was very tired but happy.

✔ Rolling with people with more advanced skills makes me feel stupid sometimes, because no matter what I do, they are always able to block it off.  But it definitely gives me a lot of thoughts to ponder on.  What pass was he doing to counter my sweep?  How was he able to do the same sweep twice?  How do I get out of a triangle from turtle?  Why was my cutting armbar not working?  These thoughts then lead me to discovering more techniques and working on the loopholes in my game.  That is also one of the good benefits you get from a competition — with just one match (it doesn’t matter if you win or lose), you get a lot of pointers and realizations that will probably direct your training for the next couple of months.

BOY #4 has been training for almost a year.  He’s about my size but about 10kgs heavier.  He played guard, and he was able to sweep me in less than a minute.  While working my guard, I tried a few sweep attempts but was not able to finish.  I even got the opportunity to get the back, but I was too slow to pull it off.  Finally, I managed to slip a half-triangle.  I was trying to put on a triangle choke, but in a split-second I saw an opportunity for an armbar and went for it.  He tapped.  After our roll, he told me he was happy he lasted that long against me.  I couldn’t remember, but he said we rolled during his first few sessions, and I was tapping him every 30 seconds or so.  I was flabbergasted, in a good way.  It was funny to submit him from guard, because before we rolled, I just told my coach casually that I want to start playing on top.

✔ It’s good to be able to roll with people you haven’t rolled with for a long time, and be pleasantly surprised at how much progress they have had since they joined the club.  They also have their favored positions, submissions and techniques now, so it’s good to meet different people on the mat with different favorite moves.  It definitely makes you work harder being faced with something you are not used to dealing with.

BOY #5 is a white belt I met during an open mat.  He definitely moves very fast!  I wasn’t able to do anything — I just tried to survive.  He has good skills, very tight positions and tricky sweeps.  And very good guard game.  And oh, did I say he’s fast?

✔ I got my ass kicked nicely by this guy.  He was very technical, and a gentleman, too, so I had nothing to complain about.  I would like to meet him in the next open mat to try to survive another 5 minutes with him.

GIRL #1 is totally new in BJJ but has some Muay Thai and grappling background.  I was surprised at how rough she plays.  I ended up having a mouth sore from an elbow strike and a few scratches on my arm.  I was able to pull off an armbar from a triangle choke, and did a few sweeps as well.

✔ It is refreshing to finally meet a girl who plays it rough!  With the limited number of girls in our camp, we all are nice little ones who are a bit too girly when we roll with each other.  I can’t remember the time when I really went all out against them, maybe because I hold a higher belt and I sort of have that “mother instinct” to care for them, being less experienced than I am.  Somehow, I have developed that habit to play it nicely and sweetly on the mat when I am pitted against a girl that it doesn’t come in handy in competitions.  Girl #1 can help me train to become more fierce and aggressive, and the fact that she is a lot stronger than I am is a great plus!

So how do you choose your partner on the mat?

Find someone who brings out the best in you. This someone can be that person wearing a colored belt duller than yours (which means he/she spent a lot of time on the mat with that belt), or the small guy at the corner with superior skills, or the big sweaty guy who is working on something you are not good at.  The more people you roll with, the more choices you have.  But take note of the ones who are not worth your effort next time.  We girls know how to politely reject guys who hit on us once in a while, so I don’t see any point why we can’t use that on the mat.  Always remember that you are there to learn, progress and enjoy your time, and not to prove who is stronger and better between the two sexes — so avoid the guys who use too much power to compensate for their lack of technique.  In the end, safety is the most important thing.  Make sure your limbs survive to live another training day.

BJJ Heart Break
January 29, 2010, 6:08 pm
Filed under: BJJ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
This is probably one of the saddest moments in my BJJ life.  A lot of people have been switching teams lately, but I have a bunch of guys whom I used to think would be the last people to leave our team.  They are like brothers to me, and we happily laugh on and off the mat like one crazy family.  Well, used to be.  I guess people really just come and go.

It was so sudden, to me at least.  One moment I was with them on the mat, the next moment, they were saying their goodbyes to my coach.  I felt bad because they are almost like my brothers, and we’ve had so many fun times together that I just can’t accept the fact that they won’t be there anymore the next time I’m on the mat.  I sound like I’m having a bad breakup, but I really see it as such.  They’re more than just teammates:  they’re my family, my brothers.  But what can I do.  Just move on, I guess. And keep on training.

So long, brothers.

January 28, 2010, 6:36 pm
Filed under: BJJ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

I have started embracing sweaty men again, as of last week.  I spent over five (5) months of BJJ holiday, from the time when my interest in training started waning up to the time when I actually stepped off the mat.  I am happy to be back.

During the first week, I was sore all over.  My muscles have become so used to not being used, that they were complaining blatantly when I started moving my butt again.  And of course, the added weight (7kg!) really made everything worse than it already is.  I was having a hard time moving on the mat, and I was panting like a car that’s about to conk out.  But I loved every moment of it.

What I noticed is that I am more receptive now to new moves, and I learn quickly than how I was before I stopped.  I guess the vacation freed my mind of the bad habits I used to have.  My refreshed take on my training also allows me to focus more on the things that I want/need to work on.  The best part is, my muscles still seem to remember my bread & butter moves (armbars form different positions) that I was able to pull it off against a guy, transitioning from triangle to armbar.  This made me realize that BJJ is really about muscle memory, so that you react by impulse on every opportunity, rather than executing a move based on step-by-step thinking and execution.

On a side note, I enjoyed taking photos during the Philippine International BJJ Competition in Manila.  I also got a lot of “rave” comments made by competitors from different parts of the world, so I think I’ll keep on taking action shots during tourneys 🙂

Here are the links to the albums, and some of the photos I took:



In-Between BJJ
November 17, 2009, 1:34 am
Filed under: BJJ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
So I have finally decided to take a break from BJJ.  I’ve had my last training last Thursday, and I also decided to sell some of my BJJ stuff.  Keiko went home with someone already, and I am still selling my yellow Vulkan and Fairtex Muay Thai shorts.  I’m keeping a few — I still have my blue Atama, which I will never, never sell as it served me for two years being my only gi (and it still is as hardworking as ever!).  Black Koral is also staying, because I have competed in it several times, and the pants fit me perfectly.  Then there’s the white Jag Sport gi from my coach which is obviously for keeps for sentimental reasons.

I have been feeling down in the past few days.  I am pretty sure there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let go.  I am particularly down as soon as Jana, the girl who bought my Keiko, left with my gi.  I’m afraid that it is a symbolism — gi leaving my closet means my BJJ leaving me.  Or the other way around.  Whatever it is, I feel that I am betraying the sport that I have learned to love and live for.  A few years back, not being on the mat for a few days drove me crazy.  I was addicted to the sport, and I have learned to change my lifestyle to be able to accommodate BJJ better.  My work schedule revolved around BJJ.  Even my friends had to wait for me all the time, because I wouldn’t meet with them during training.  I just couldn’t afford to miss a class.  I’ve built friendships with the people I train with, and I’ve learned to avoid everything that will get in the way of my training (smoking, drinking, sleeping late).  But somewhere along the way, I noticed my waning interest in BJJ this year.  I still kept on training, until the only thing that made me train was the socializing part.  I like chatting with my teammates, and going out with them, and that was the only reason that made me come to the gym.  Although it was nice, I feel that it was not enough, and not good at all.  So last week when my coach was out for the No Gi Mundials, I thought hard and decided that it is best for now to take a break.  Forget the mat for a while.

I believe (and I am sure) I still love BJJ and will be coming back anytime I am ready.  I just don’t want to do it half-heartedly.  It’s unfair for the sport, for my coach, for my teammates.  I have to be on the mat for the right reasons.  Maybe I just need to miss BJJ.  I have been doing it for 3.5 years, everyday, for the most part.  It could be burn out.  On a side note, I have just started trail running and I figured this could be a good in-between-BJJ sport, just to keep me active and busy while I am trying to figure out how to get my BJJ mojo back.

Good times with some of my favorite teammates
While we’re on this, I found this on the net:

SOURCE:  http://thewisegrappler.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/10-signs-you-need-a-grappling-vacation/

10 Signs You Need a Grappling Vacation!

Here’s a question for you: if one of your teammates showed up for class, dropped their bag on the floor, plopped down in the chair next to you, and said “I do NOT want to be here today”, do you:

a) Call him a wimp for sitting on the sidelines whining prior to training?
b) Run and tell the instructor and take the chance of being branded the school snitch?
c) Tell them that maybe they’re burned out from training and needs a “grappling vacation?”
d) All of the above

As much as I would like for the answer to be “d – all of the above”, I’m gonna have to stick with my outline and say “c – grappling vacation.”  And if you’ve been grappling for any period of time, you’ve felt exactly like the grappler in the scenario above.

Unfortunately, most grapplers don’t recognize the symptoms of “mat burnout” and just keep trying to push through it until they either get hurt while training or stop training completely.
So, just in case you’re not sure if you’re suffering from mat burnout, here’s The Wise Grappler’s “10 Signs You Need a Grappling Vacation!” Checklist:

You need a “grappling vacation” if:

1. You’re tired even before the class or workout starts.

2. You have to talk yourself into training (or competing) from the time you wake up that morning until you actually get to the academy.

3. You intentionally show up late for class and, once there, are constantly looking at the clock the entire time waiting for it to end.

4. You start thinking about how cool it would be to just go straight home to relax and watch anything on TV instead of training.

5. You look for any excuse (e.g. taking your dog to get a teeth cleaning or you forgot to wash your kneepads.) to get out of training.

6. You’re happy when a holiday, special event, or tournament happens so that the school will be closed and you don’t need an excuse to skip training.

7. You can’t catch opponents with your go-to techniques because your movements and timing are off.

8. Your body’s sore all the time, even though you’re not getting ready for an event.

9. Classmates that you usually perform well against or dominate are kicking your butt all over the mat.

10. When you think to yourself, “It’s finally over, now I can get the heck outta here and go home!” once class is over.

During my grappling journey, I’ve experienced many of these signs myself, but refused to take time off to recuperate. For some foolish reason, I used to think it was better to train with a miserable mindset than to rest and give both my mind and body a chance to rest.  Once I discovered that taking a couple of mini-vacations during the year helped my grappling, I stopped fighting it and learned that taking a mental rest break is just as important (if not more important) than a physical rest break.

So, stop making excuses for not training (e.g. you didn’t train because your gi is dirty) to justify to others for skipping class. Take your “grappling vacation”, and watch how being physically and mentally rested will put you back on track to achieving your grappling goals!