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

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.



FAME-dom Thee to Thy Blog
June 2, 2009, 6:14 pm
Filed under: ETC Etcetera, MMA Mixed Martial Arts | Tags:
This is totally amusing. And I only discovered it TODAY!

I was tinkering with the statistics of my blog (I keep two blogs — one on my ordinary boring life and another on my BJJ adventures and misadventures, both in WordPress), which apparently is a very good feature because you can see how many views you get each day, which sites linked you, or which site did the viewer click first before they got to my blog.  I was looking at the graph and I noticed that there’s an unusual spike in the month of December.  Clicking further, it says that the busiest day was on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 — with 203 views!  Of course I had to investigate.  How can 203 people visit my blog on the same day?  And weird thing is, I didn’t even post an entry on that day (who would?!  It’s Christmas eve!)!

I was thrilled when I saw that someone actually posted a link to my entry in Sherdog, and they ran a 5-page thread discussing it!  It was about a little BJJ quiz I invented for fun, from a woman’s point of view, of course.  When someone commented that it was gay, my teammate (who is practically active in that forum) came to my defense, and said, “this was made by a girl…no worries guys haha, shes my team mate.”  It feels good to be so popular (hahaha, at least my blog was, for a day :p)!  YAY! 🙂

May 31, 2009, 6:24 pm
Filed under: ETC Etcetera | Tags:
I haven’t been training for a week, yet again.  My cat was sick and I had to take care of my little fellow.

I got home on Tuesday night with Qish the Siamese cat scratching his right ear wildly.  He didn’t touch his food as well, and kept on howling while scratching.  My teammate Mark said I should have it checked, because there’s some wax and watery discharge inside his ear, and it’s been red from his scratches.  I don’t think he was able to sleep last night, so we packed for another trip to the vet this morning.

I brought him to a different vet because he might still remember his struggle with his other vet a week ago.  So I brought him to Vets in Practice (VIP) in Mandaluyong, and I was pretty happy with it.  Actually, I might not go back to his old vet.  Not that he was treated badly in the other clinic, but they have complete facilities in VIP, and I have been reading a lot of good blogs about it as well.  But because it’s a popular clinic, it’s also pretty busy at 9:00 a.m.  There were about 10 dogs (4 Siberian Huskies!) lining up to be checked, and a Persian cat who came after us.  We waited for about 40 minutes before the vet checked Qish.  She got some wax sample from his infected ear.

She suspected Qish has ear mites, and I said it’s quite unlikely because he doesn’t interact with other cats.  In fact, Qish thinks I am another cat (that, or he thinks he’s another human).  Then she asked me if I touch other cats, and of course I do!  I actually cuddled a few stray kittens last week when we helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity.  Apparently, the ear mites could have clung to my clothes and finally found “home” in Qish’s ears.  So yeah.  No one else to blame but me 😦

Now he wears a new fashion, with a big cone collar around his neck.  And it irritates him big time.

Toast to My Hair’s 1st Month-sary
May 18, 2009, 10:35 am
Filed under: ETC Etcetera

Summer got boring, and so I cut my hair.  Real short.It used to be like this, even longer.

I’ve worn my hair that long for the longest time.  Most of the time in a bun, but sometimes I let it down.  Although there were brief moments when I would cut it short, this is by far the shortest of them all.  I have no regrets, really.  Like most women, it was a major decision for me and I had to make sure that I really wanted it.  And I did.  My only regret is that I should have kept the hair that was cut, because I don’t think I will ever wear it long again.  I love it short, this short!

I find it funny how people think that I went through some horrible breakup or major emotional downturn that made me cut my hair this way.  But I am lovin’ every bit of it!  It’s like a wash-wax-wear hairstyle, no fuss!  You wouldn’t imagine how light my head felt when the bunch of hair was finally cut.  The bun is gone, and so is long-time blowdrying, expensive shampoo/conditioner, and hairfall on the shower floor and  gym mats!

And it’s doing wonders on my BJJ, too.  It used to get in the way when I work on my guard (I tie it in a bun, and it stops me sometimes when I roll to turtle), but now I can roll in and out of turtle so easily!  It is just so liberating.

Too bad though, summer seems to be over too soon.  But in this hairstyle, who needs the sun to make you live the summer spirit?  I love it so much, I don’t think I’ll wear my hair long ever again 🙂

Towards Strength-dom
February 18, 2009, 5:09 pm
Filed under: ETC Etcetera
One night after rolling with a new girl who’s taller and heavier than I am, I realized I seriously need to get stronger.  She was strong as steel, that I never got to apply my armbars on her.  She just shakes me off, and has a very good base that I can’t sweep her.  She’s only been doing a few sessions, and I was getting frustrated that  I can’t get her.  I finally managed to get a double lapel choke on her when I got her back, but I knew it wasn’t good enough.  I have to work harder, and by “harder” I mean I need to get stronger.  My coach had been telling me about it a lot of times before, humoring me with “Jonna, you have to decide how much femininity you’re willing to give up for some muscles.”  But I still had that old school thought that you only need mad skills in BJJ, because, after all, it was developed by using leverage.  But seeing fighters in the UFC and observing my teammates (and coach) as well, it grows on me that strength is an inevitable add-on.  It’s handy when you and your opponent have the same level of skills, or if your opponent has better skills but is weaker.  So i deicded to get membership in Eclipse Fitness Center where two of my teammates work as trainors.  And last night, I had a blast with my conditioning.

When one of the trainors told me to join the women’s conditioning class, I frowned.  I expected to see fat women in tights stepping on a board, doing aerobics.  BJJ has toughened me up, and without stroking my own ego, some trainors have told me that i am quite strong, and well…tough.  So the thought of being part of a horrendously pathetic aerobics class is just so wrong.  My teammate’s frowning at it didn’t help my already churning ego.

When I went in the women’s area, I saw a bunch of women doing squats.  I spotted a white guy doing the counting, and I figured he must be the trainor.  I talked to him and he told me to just observe first and wait for the next set.  I complied.  While watching, I figured it ain’t so bad at all.  They were doing LOTS of squats and they all seem able to hold it up.  Squats are, of course, tough.  I remember having my first experience of it and not being able to walk down the stairs for two days.  So the girls doing it 5 reps per set for God knows how many reps, are looking good.

When they had their break, the coach zeroed in on me and taught me the “snatch” with the help of uber-slim & strong Jasmine.  I was feeling uneasy.  You know how critical girls are, especially when they have already bonded with each other and I’m the “newbie outcast.”  I was so conscious because I can’t seem to get the motion, but the coach assured me that I’m doing well, and that this is the reason why he’d rather coach women than men — because women can easily get instructions.  So when I finally got it, after a few tries, all of us started with the conditioning.  It seemed like 15 or 20 sets with 3 reps each.

After another break, he focused on me to let me do the wrokout that I missed.  he made me do squats and jerks (?).  but he noticed that I have some, erm, cuts on my thighs, so he asked, “you’ve been doing some kind of sport, aren’t you?”  When I said, “yes, BJJ!”, his face seemed to light up.  Suddenly, I’m an interesting person, not just another woman trying to lose weight.  He knows that I’m there not because I want to look good but because I want to do better in my sport.  And he seemed challenged by that.  He even told the other girls about it, and they, too, become suddenly interested in me!  They all started talking to me, asking me questions and telling me that they want to train in BJJ as well.

After all the sets, the coach talked to me still and told me that if I join the conditioning class, I will definitely see good results in my game in 2 weeks.  I also told him that I need to lose the weight that I gained over the holidays, and then some…all 10-12lbs. of it!  So he gave me tips on how/what to eat, etc.  I left in a giddy mood, looking forward to the next session and how it will change the way I play.  I totally forgot that I was hoping to catch up with BJJ training that night after my workout at the gym.  It’s about time i get stronger!

I Had a FREAK Accident!
October 7, 2008, 2:44 pm
Filed under: ETC Etcetera
…and I did a shoulder roll/breakfall while at it.  Coach and Karl should be proud, they taught me well!

I went for an early jog in ULTRA with Parky, my new Korean teammate (who’s a BJJ purple belt & MMA fighter, and I heard he’s really good).  We were on the track-and-field oval at around 5:45am. Yes, THAT EARLY! I have so much motivation flowing in my veins lately.  There were already a lot of people in the oval, 90% of whom are athletes — football players from AdMU and UP, runners, Muay Thai fighters, what-have-yous.  We started jogging as soon as we got there, at each one’s own pace.  After around 20 minutes of jog-run-sprint routine, I decided to break the routine and did jumping lunges on one end of the oval.  Not contented, I decided to do push-ups but since the ground is a bit wet, I eyed the bar where a big burly man was doing push-ups a while ago.  So i said to myself, “Uy, ako rin!

I started doing elevated push-ups on the bar, then with just ONE push, the bar slid off the frame and gave in!  The bar was up to my chest, and it is elevated in a platform that’s 3-4ft high.  I remember everything clearly, in slow motion:

I was going down with the bar, and wanted to stop it.  BUT I CLEARLY CAN’T.  In that split-second, I prayed that I won’t get hurt.  I saw the ground, slowly, coming to my face.  Slowly, slowly, slowly, I was going down.  Hitting the ground was inevitable at that point.  And then…BOOM!  The girl next to me yelled, “Ay, bumigay!”

I found myself lying on my side, on the ground.  Thanks to my shoulder roll/breakfall technique from BJJ, I did NOT fall flat on my face or on my back, which could have given me serious injuries.  I was curled up, my head tucked in, my back protected from the fall.  I didn’t break a bone.  Just a few scratches and bruises on my leg and arm which will probably set my BJJ training aback by a few days, but everything in me is working well.  In fact, I went back to my jog-run-sprint routine for another 30 minutes.  When Parky saw my bloodied leg, he asked me if I’m okay and when I told him I’m fine, all he said was, “Oh, hard to do the butterfly guard now!” with a shy smile.

I can only laugh at myself now.  But I’m really thankful I survived my 4-ft. free fall.  LOL.

Now do you really wonder why ULTRA gates gave in during the unfortunate Wowowee stampede?  I stopped wondering after my own unfortunate accident.

Winning in BJJ, Losing in MRI
April 9, 2008, 3:19 am
Filed under: ETC Etcetera

I popped my knee over a month ago during the Philippine BJJ National Championships (March 1, 2008). It was my first match against Macaca (New Breed Academy), whom I only found out later is a celebrity named Nyko Maca. I back swept her from open guard, I landed on top of her with my right knee a bit twisted, while her left leg was trying to stop me from passing (see photo below). I heard/felt it pop while I was at it, but I never knew it would be bad. I lost, and finished bronze. Even with a swollen and painful knee, I still managed to fight and win in the Philippine Submission Grappling Challenge on the second day. It earned me a silver — I did not fight for the gold anymore in the finals, against Nyko Maca. I was already feeling how bad my knee was.

trying to pass after a back sweep bronze, Phil BJJ National Championships silver, Phil Grappling Challenge (No Gi) beloved coaches -- Coach Stephen Kamphuis and Kevin Hindriks

PHOTO CAPTIONS: (1) back sweep on Macaca, (2) bronze, (3) silver, (4) coaches – Stephen Kamphuis & Kevin Hindriks

More than a month later, my knee is still painful. I can do “normal” movements without feeling anything. I can even jog, run, sprint. But when it comes to BJJ training, there are certain angles that I feel a shooting pain. I cannot even keep playing on top. So I went to see a doctor, only to find out that my knee is still swollen. He gave me medicine prescription and ordered an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

So I had my MRI procedure today. It was nothing short of exciting. It was intimidating and scary, specially for a claustrophobic like me. They asked me to come 30 minutes before my appointment, and asked me to fill up a form. There it was, on the form, the things that “may” stop you from doing the procedure — metal implants, pacemaker, metal dentures, metal whatever, tattoos…wait a minute, tattoos?! For real?! I was even more scared.

The technician explained to me that some tattoo artists use ink that has a metal substance in it. The last bad case that they had, the man’s tat on the arm was numb and swollen for two weeks. So the tech told me to hold the buzzer and press it should I feel anything unusual.

He set me up on the table, propped my knee in the brace. He told me to lie still — I cannot do even the slightest movement while the procedure is being performed (which took approximately 40 minutes). Of course that’s hard, but I was thinking I could live with that. But when he started inserting me into the giant tube, I was almost in panic. I wanted to stop myself from sliding inside. Good thing it stopped right when my neck was almost in. I figured, I can probably never do this with my chest or neck. The tube simply is too small for you to even feel comfortable. And the noise of the machine will drive you crazy! It was like a hundred machine guns firing at you, although you don’t feel anything. It was not exactly an enjoyable experience.

While I was trying to concentrate, I was kind of anticipating feeling anything wrong with my tat. Nothing. Thank God. I don’t want to miss the procedure just because I have a tat. I somehow felt a little comfortable along the way that I was starting to fall asleep. Ooops, I cannot fall asleep. I have to keep my knee from staying still. And the cold starts seeping in, so my legs were jerking involuntarily. Before I get frozen, the procedure was finally over.

Hours later, I was still shaken after the procedure. It was scary. And it is definitely not for someone who’s claustrophobic. I wouldn’t want to go through it again.

Self-Defense, My Way
July 29, 2007, 1:21 pm
Filed under: ETC Etcetera

These are some self-defense pointers I’ve learned from my coach and from real life:

  1. Be paranoid, especially when in public and notorious places. If you can, avoid places where most hold-ups/attacks happen. It is better to be cautious than to be surprised unpleasantly. Look out for suspicious-looking (and non-suspicious as well) people who may be looking at you intently, or following you consistently. If your intuition tells you something, head for the nearest place where a guard or police is present.

  2. Carrying a pepper spray (and the like) will be good, but make sure you know where to get it instinctively. You wouldn’t want to be rummaging through your stuff to get it while in the middle of a bad situation. Whenever I walk in dimly-lit areas or in infamous places, I open and hold it while walking so that I can just spray it to my attacker if the need be.

  3. Use self-defense only when you have to defend yourself. Don’t gamble your life for your purse or cellphone. If the attacker is armed, give whatever he is asking from you. Avoid confrontation at all cost.

  4. When there is no way out but to defend yourself (i.e. in rape cases or when the person has started hitting/attacking you even after you gave in to his request), aim for the sensitive areas like the eyes, groin, etc. For women, use open palm. Do not even attempt to punch, as we have smaller knuckles and bones. we might end up hurting ourselves even more. If you know how to deliver knee and elbow strikes, use them. Otherwise, turn body parts/kikay stuff into weapons like long fingernails, umbrella, brush, stiletto and use them to hit the attacker.

  5. Once you’ve distracted the attacker, run and scream for help.
  6. We were all told this when we were kids, but I think this still applies: don’t talk to strangers. Women have that instinctive motherly nature to help other people especially those who seem vulnerable, but always remember that most good-hearted women got into trouble for helping out.

  7. Always pray for a safe journey. I carry the Sto. Niño de Prague wherever I go, and He has never put me in danger.

I’m lucky not to be confronted by any life-threatening situation, thank God. Even then, I am always vigilant and paranoid. Like Agent Mulder in The X-Files, you should “Trust No One.” Because even if I’ve been doing BJJ and kickboxing for a little more than a year, I would still do what a woman always does — scream. And run. Or report it to the FBI.

New Year, New Addiction
January 25, 2005, 12:00 am
Filed under: ETC Etcetera

I find myself fascinated with a new “passion” each year. Two years ago it was cellphones, and last year it was cars (mini cooper! new beetle! Peugeot 307cc!). Not that I intend to like them, my liking comes to me like how my thirst for strawberry cheesescake arrives – intense, animated, unexpected.

This year I’m hooked into something off my character. And I love it so much it’s the only thing I look forward to lately. I’ve been punched, I’ve been bruised, I’ve been wounded, but still I manage to kick butts (okay, make that “thighs”) and give punches. Yes, I’m into kickboxing. So much into kickboxing.

I was never raised to be one athletic person. My childhood plays were game of minds (i.e. quiz bees, writing competitions) and femininity (Barbie dolls, keyboards). I was a sheltered flat-footed weakling and I never explored the sporty side of me for fear of being hurt and wounded and scarred. But now I’m way past those fear factors.

Only late last year did I start to discipline myself with gym workouts and training. And it paved the way to exploring my physical strength and capabilities. Which was pretty great, until kickboxing suddenly kicked in my fickle mind. And now I am nowhere near stopping. What amazes me is that two trainors told me I have a strong cardio and remarkable flexibility, which is really surprising for someone who has asthma and who lived a sedentary life in the smoggy city. And my left leg has great strength to literally kick butts!

I am currently nursing sore muscles, blue-violet knuckles and skin-scraped feet but I still go back to the gym and carry on with my kickboxing classes. My motto? No pain, no gain. Impossible is nothing. Who knows? I just might be the first Filipina to belt a title in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship – see it on USA Channel). Hehe. Dream on girl! And keep believing!

Surviving not-so-serious physical injuries…and I am expecting more to come!

(Hopefully I’ll survive them all…thanks to the Kill Bill spirit!)



A visitor made this comment,
Fitness regimen, very noble. I started one myself… and it is very rewarding!
comment added :: 27th January 2005, 04:01 GMT+08

Shawty made this comment,
damn i so love mini coopers especially yuing vintage one. want to have one tapos modify it how i wish. hay
ill be enrolling on kickboxing sa feb!! so excited
comment added :: 28th January 2005, 18:01 GMT+08

A visitor made this comment,
hei..i’d i think kickboxing is fun..and i’d like to try something new myself..nice blog btw..
comment added :: 4th March 2005, 16:32 GMT+08

jonna made this comment,
thanks thinktumbleweed! it sure is really fun…i just had my ankle twisted though 🙂
comment added :: 4th March 2005, 17:02 GMT+08

A visitor made this comment,
you should post a picture of your kickboxing-uglified toe. hehe.
comment added :: 8th March 2005, 13:07 GMT+08