Tuesday, 25 October 2011

ADCC in pictures

I haven't written anything in forever. I am ending my silence with some pictures of ADCC from September. It was UHmazing watching all the big names fighting. Was even better that the stadium wasn't full and I could wander around and find the best seat, depending on who I wanted to watch fight. Anyway, I digress.

First up, my previous coach Tom Barlow vs Jeff Glover.

Now, I'm a fairly laid back kinda girl. I like my funny. I'm all for people wanting their fights to be entertaining to watch for the public (it is afterall, what we are there for). I'd seen a few fights of Jeff's before and thought he's coooool. After seeing him fight Tom my opinion had swayed from cool to twat. Right from the start, Jeff tried to humilate Tom. Turning his back to him, doing some lame baiting his leg shit. It angered me on quite a deep level. If you want to be entertaining, smash the shit out of someone then tap them. Did Jeff do either? No. Prick. Here he is, failing to pass guard.

Sorry about that. It was like I was re-living it..

On a lighter note, the ladies fights were frickin' AWESOME. Michelle Nicolini in particular stood out for me. I want her butterfly guard, please. In general, I'm not gonna lie- USUALLY the mens fights are more entertaining than the ladies. I'm not going to lie. But I reckon they were pretty close at this event. Here's Kyra taking some bitches arm home..

Here's Nicolini with her butterfly guard trying to sweep the UK's own Yas Wilson. Was good to see a share of UK women representing at ADCC. Hopefully that'll continue.

The final between Michelle and Kyra was AWESOME. I was 2 rows from the front and took about 6 bazillion pictures of that fight. It was so back and forth. Nicolini so very nearly finished the fight with this armbar..

..Which got even tighter..

Kyra managed to escape and then they both found themselves scrambling for each others feet..

My knowledge of toe holds is fairly limited so I spent the whole time grimicing and them bending each others feet around..

The stoof up again.. Michelle took Kyra back down again...

Then Kyra sank in some some rear-naked-choke-but-not-from-the-back-and-I-had-her-arm-triangled-up-out-of-the-way kinda, thing, which forced Michelle to tap.

Kyra, stick choking Michelle..

Happy Hoger..

But yeah- AWESOME fight.

Other highlights of the competition included... Marcelo Garcia (duh.)

 Finishing Viera in the final with this slick triangle..

..and having us all panicking when Kron nearly finished him with a tight guillotine

Galvao wins, a lot..

Cyborg latching onto a knee..

 Happy Mendez and sulky Mendez

Cheery Gabi

..And Joao Assis squeezing some guys head


Friday, 16 September 2011

Stranded in NYC

So this "hurricane" caused my mini holiday in NYC into just over a week in NYC. I was there with my friend Nebby, just to hang out and do touristy stuff for 3 days before I flew home. But he fucked off to see his family in the US so I was left, with my flight delayed for 4 days in the big apple.

Well, I'd done all the touristy stuff, so I figured I'd visit some top gyms whilst I was there. My friend Jemssix (who used to train at Fightsports before he moved to New York) invited me to come and train where he trains- at Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiros gym.

Jem, Shaolin and me
 Shaolins academy is situated right the the heart of times square. It's on the 6th (?) floor (maybe..) and has AMAZING panoramic views of the city. It was a super friendly club with super welcoming people. They had 4 or 5 tough girls there (one of whom offered me a place to stay if I had to stay here any longer afeter being introduced to me 5 minutes earlier). Most of the guys introduced themselves to me and made me feel very welcome indeed.

Anyway- to the class. Shaolin himself took the class. He had a great sense of humour and the club had a relaxed but focused atmosphere. There was plenty of talk about the Boston Open that had happened the weekend before, so people were driven to identify flaws and improve their game for the next competition. He showed us a good strong guard pass (avoiding  the omoplata sweep from opponent) and a few variations of a butterfly sweeps before the class ended with 7 or 8 rounds of hard sparring. I'd say there were 20 or so people at the club that night, but it had a real family feel to it. I'd definitely recommend a visit if anyone's ever in the Big Apple!

Jem and me- gangsta

On to day 2..

I managed to get my flight moved forwards 2 days, so I had one full day left to train. After lots of negociation (with myself- I'm stranded alone, remember..) I had to decide between training at Marcelo's, Royler's, or Alliance. Marcelo's wasn't far from where I was staying plus, he's AWESOME, so it wasn't a hard choice. I had training in my gi and washed it after training at Shaolins, so decided I'd go to a nogi session at Marcelos.

So, I make my way to his gym, which involves me walking right down Broadway and through Times Square. It was, without a doubt, THE most amazing walk to and from training I have ever done. Pictures don't do this place justice.. I took this on my walk there:

 So, I finally stumble across the gym (it wasn't as easy to find as I had anticipated). I manage to see somebody on the door (and thus avoid having to navigate another frickin' intercom system to open the door) and follow them up to the gym.
It was most peculiar, as soon as the lift door opened, you step out and onto the mat. And there you see those recognisable grey and black mats. It's a really loooong gym. It's literally 4 times as long as it is wide. I arrived midway through a beginners gi class and went and satat the end of the gym with some others who looked ready to train nogi. There was a beginners class first, followed by an advanced class. So there must have been about 20 of us at the beginners class. Beginners class was basically a few beginners and then a load of no so beginners. Marcelo didn't take the beginners class (and I was yet to meet the man) but one of his black belts, Paul, took an amazing class. Very knowledgable and helpful- he showed us a guillotine from opponent turtling, as well as lots of grip work from the same position. Time went really fast and before I knew it, it was time for the advanced class.

So, doing the casual BJJ warm up, running around the mat, couple of side steps here, some skipping stuff and that thing where you pull with your arms and skip (and I don't get that thing, someone explain it's purpose to me..?) and another girl walking across the mat catched me eye (I had noticed that I was the only girl there for the beginngers class). "Jesus Christ, she's big" I thought as I skipped around. She was plastered in Keiko gear, and looked 7ft tall. It dawned on me. It was Gabi Garcia. Holy fuck. What a giant woman. A little bit in awe I preceeded to skip and sidestep around the room. Running around the gym in this beginners class, I lost count of the number of times I tried to count the number of people on the mat. I lost count at 42. It was CRAZY. I later realise that Gabi was there with a heap of other guys from Alliance, who had come to Marcelos to train for ADCC.

Advanced NOGI at Marcelos

Marcelo taught some great grip fighting from open guard, followed by a number of butterfly sweeps. The emphasis was really on transitioning to different sweeps depending on the grip available. It was a really technical session which was really enjoyable. Onto some rolling..

Now, with 42 (odd) people in the room, we were grouped into 3's with 2 people sparring and their lives were wuite literally in the hands of the third guy, who was trying to prevent numerous fatal crashed from occuring. I get moved from sparring with some tiny little guys after Tatiana Garcia decided I was too strong for them, (?!) and get I put with a couple of solid looking purple belts. Both guys were super friendly, and humoured me with my attempts of passing/ sweeping either of them. Now, when it came to my turn to watch them 2 roll, it became very apparent that we were right in the centre of the gym, with Gabi sparring super hard behind me. The 2 purple beltswere fiesty little bastards, so preventing them from crashing into other people was fairly exhausting. It was quite stressful making sure they didn't crash into anyone, whilst fearing for my own life that Gabi was going to accidently crash into me and crush me whilst I had my back to her.

After that ordeal, I got a chance to spar with one of a few other girls that had turned up. She was called Dominyka. She asked me if I wanted to roll and followed up with asking what belt I was, whilst smiling. She looked young. I knew she was young. I had a horrible feeling I was about to have my ass handed to me. I was right. She was a purple belt. A 16yr old purple belt. Marcelo gave it to her as she turned 16. I know most young people tend to get their blue when they turn 16, but her Dad told me that this girl entered the adult womens blue belt division at the Mundials last year. She won, when she was a freakin' green belt. People get a lot of shit if they sandbag students, but this girl technically entered a division above belt, yet smashed her opponents. Can't argue with that. Fully deservant of her purple. Her legs were about 6ft long, and she smashed the shit out me with ease. Excellent stuff. Lovely girl, and lookm out for her name. Purple at 16. She's going to be one to look out for.. Man I wish I started when I was younger.

Anyway, the session had ended. I plucked up courage to ask Gabi for a picture. She looks terrifying in person. A very serious looking face. But I asked very nicely and smiled lots, and she replied "sure!" with a massive grin.

 She was super lovely. She gets a lot of shit, but she came across very introvert and shy. She doesn't deserve the comments she gets and she trains like an absolute beast. I told her I was going to be at ADCC and that I'd cheer her on. She smiled and nodded (not sure if she understood a word I said) and then I grabbed Marcelo for a picture too. Lovely guy, always smiling...

I stumbled back to the hotel, on the best walk ever. I could do that walk everyday I reckon! 

To conclude, getting stranded in New York wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be.

 I need to write a blog to end my time at Fightsports really, but I need to upload the remaining pics from my camera. All in time..

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Grapplers Quest videos

Being stuck in Newark Airport for 5 hours before hearing my flight would be rescheduled for this Friday has it's good points! Plenty of time to upload the videos, as promised.

Semi finals of the NOGI advanced absolute: 

Grapplers Quest Gi final 160lbs:

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Grapplers Quest- South East Grapplers Championship


So yesterday myself and a whole heap of the Fightsports team traveled to Coral Springs to represent Fightsports and team The Avengers. In true me style, I was bricking it. God knows why I compete. I truly truly hate it. Well, the waiting around part. I question why I spend my money feeling SICK with nerves for a day. It's only once the fight hits the floor that I remember " Ooohhh yeah, I remember now. I enjoy doing this rolling around stuff. I remember why I'm here now!". But until then, I quite frankly would rather die than sit around waiting.

Half of the mats. 12 in total with a championship mated area in the middle for the mens advanced absolute

In stereotypical BJJ competition style, it was running a little late. Ladies were due to fight at 12, when it was about 3:30 before a lot of the girls got on the mats. 

Anyway, to the details. I registered for 2 nogi divisions (advanced 160lbs+ and absolute) and 1 gi division (160lbs+). Nogi was first, and the absolute division. I got a by in the first round, and fought a strong looking girl in the semi's. Now, this was my first nogi competition. I have a gameplan in the gi that I like to stick to, but for nogi I don't. I decided I didn't want this strong girl on top, so in a last minute decision I decided I would go for the takedown. She seemed super comfortable gripping up, and I had seen her go for trips other girls. Double leg it is then..

*Note to self * My takedowns require a LOT of work. I managed to score 2 points as I shot in for a terrible double leg, due to her pulling guard when I was still holding her leg. So I'm 2-0 up. Those were the only points I score the ENTIRE TOURNAMENT. Every other fight I had, went down to advantages. Grapplers Quest nogi rules state that if one person turtles as a result of the other person trying to pass guard, the person trying to pass scores 1 advantage. Fair enough I suppose, but I am turtle queen. I'm quite fond of hanging out there. Shit, I know, but it's something I'm working on and something I'm hoping I'll stop doing as my guard gets better. So I think I may have given away a couple of advantages at the competition, due to my love for turtling. 

Now, as shit as turtling up is as a strategy, and as shit as my guard is, I still give people a hard time passing. I'll find a leg, lock half guard on, and will NOT let go. I try to advance from half or deep half to a sweep and then work to pass again. Which is how they went. I spent a lot of time on my back, almost having my back taken, but preventing her from getting her second hook in, and holding onto that half guard until I had space to move. Jesus Christ she was strong. I ended up winning due to those first 2 points.

Working open guard

Looking to pass


So to the final I go..

The girl had just won her weight division, by annihilation. She was this tiny little girl, but a little ninja, apparently. Her guard was awesome, so I figured I'd pull guard so I didn't get armbarred or triangled in the first 20 seconds. Well, in theory it sounded good. But instead she managed to get me flattened out in half guard, and as she went to mount, I bridged... and she took my arm with her. 20 seconds, no. 52 seconds, yes. Haaaaa. Turns out, she was a purple belt who had previously won the worlds. I'm happy with my silver and both my arms thank-you very much.. 

"You only lose if you compete. Wanna win all the time? Stay home". The comforting quote from the referee who told me the girl was a prolific nogi competitor and was very experienced.

My fight in my weight division was to the same girl who I beat in the semis on the absolute. I had lost before I stepped on the mat. I knew I had. My mentality was that I did not want to fight her again. She was strong, and I was exhausted after fighting her last time. Wrong attitude to have. She won by taking my back and getting the 4 points in the last minute or so of the fight. Nobody to blame but myself. I was pissed because I had beaten her once and I knew could have done it again. 

Taking the back

Now.. the gi division I come across her AGAIN. The joys of being in a minority category. This was the closest match I've ever had. I decided I would pull guard. The 2 previous matches I had lost because I pulled guard. Why oh why did I pull guard..? I didn't want to stand with her, and decided I'd rather have her tire trying to pass, whilst giving me a chance to work my (still crappy) guard.

I knew I hadn't got points for passing, I knew she had no points either, so it was going to be down to advantages. She nearly took my back, I nearly took hers. It was a real back and forth kinda fight. I had no idea what was the score and to see I had lost 2-1 on advantages was devastating. I had Sofia and Felipe Amarante 

screaming and coaching for me throughout the fight. They gave me so much motivation, and I gave that fight my all. I felt so exhausted (a result of previous fights, mentality and my cardionogi, so every fight I had was against girls with quite a bit more experience than myself. Doesn't take away the gutting feeling of not winning, but Grapplers Quest was an awesome experience and I have a big list of things to work on before I compete next.
Silver in 160lbs+ in the gi

3 big thankyous before I finish up...

1- The Amarantes- for screaming at me to the point that I feared for the consequences if I didn't do what they were telling me..

The Amarantes- coolest BJJ family ever?

2. Fightsports and Avengers- we brought home loads of medals guys! My Jiu Jitsu family home from home. Love you guys! Oss!
Fightsports Familia! Osss!

3. Scramble- for their support for women in BJJ and for giving me the opportunity to represent the brand. I'll get gold next time! Promise..

"Win a silver medal? Melt it down, make a spoon, go eat cereal- only gold counts"

**VIDEOS TO FOLLOW**- Youtube hates me. I'm spending my day sat here uploading. And its real sunny outside. That's dedication that is..

Friday, 19 August 2011

Favela stylee

I know, I know I've been super slack. I've been training lots and haven't had time to escape to the computer to blog. So here's a really pointless one:

The neighbours don’t like us drying our clothes out on the balcony. Understandable really.. There are 4 of us in a 2 bedroom apartment, and between us we have approximately 6 bajillion gis we hang out to dry at the same time. We can’t bring them inside. We’d die of deathly fume inhalation, so I figured I’d bring my general clothing inside to dry. Not that there was any room to hang anything, until Angie found an old washing line. We hung it across her bed, proper favela stylee. Thought I’d share a pic.

Favela style washing line

Looks nice huh? My spats take 12 seconds to dry anyway. She doesn’t sleep with the washing line up. C’mon. We’re not ACTUALLY in a favela…

Scramble washing line
I'm competing as an honourary Avenger at Grapplers Quest in Coral Springs tomorrow so will post a blog about that on Sunday. Fingers crossed I get some bling.. Eurgh, I feel sick thinking about it.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Roli Delgado seminar

Roli Delgado (in the blue at the front) at Fightsports

Last Monday, Cyborg arranged to have a good friend of his, Roli Delgado, come to the gym to give us a footlock seminar. Cyborg has mentioned how neglected leg locks are within BJJ and that he wanted to give us the opportunity to have a seminar with one of the top leglock guys. Roli, an ex UFC veteran, is from Westside MMA and is the teacher of Hillary Williams. Hillary is my biggest, bestest, favouritest (?) lady in BJJ. I think she’s badass. And she taps guys...

Told you. I love this picture..

 To learn from the guy that taught her everything was very cool indeed.
The seminar wasn’t based on super fancy, never-before-seen ninja moves, but rather an experienced insight into the biggest misconceptions and mistakes people make when attempting footlocks. He showed us tiny little tweaks that really help increase the likelihood of getting the submission. They had most of us kicking ourselves, they were so simple, but often not practised.
We focused a lot on the straight footlock. Being legal from white belt onwards, it was the most relevant leglock and often, the most incorrectly applied. A perfect lock to practise our new knowledge on..

The guys drilling
He showed us drills to practise to ensure we catch the foot correctly and thus have the position correct. Having the positioning correct from the start, prevents the opponent “putting on the boot” aka straightening their leg, and 99% of the time means the submission is on before you even hit the floor and physically start to apply it.

Set up drill- faking a guard pass

Correctly catching and positioning the foot

The seminar consisted of:

·         Positional drilling
·         Same side straight footlock
·         Cross side straight footlock
·         Defence of same side
·         Defence of cross side
·         Counter to defence of same side
·         Counter to defence of cross side
·         50/50 guard to cross side footlock
     ·         50/50 guard to toe hold

Cross side straight footlock

Same side straight footlock

Roli is a great guy, super helpful and practically hurled his knowledge at us. He didn’t hold anything back, and allowed a lot of time for questions at the end.  The seminar has helped me recognise opportunities where a footlock could be attempted as opposed to say, a pass. So, yeah. Amazing seminar. Have some pictures of me and Angie drilling the techniques..

Kicking off leg counter...

..to knee on belly.

Finishing a same side straight footlock
Fifch/Fifch gward..

*Note* My notepad in the background of a few of the pictures. I've been writing every technique down in an attempt to remember everything!

I'd like to thank Master Cyborg for arranging Roli to come down and give us a seminar. It was awesome. I am now a footlock ninja. Kind of..