jiu-jitsu

ETT Wrap Show Ep.18

This week’s episode features an interview with published author and MMA gym owner, Dr. L.A. Jennings. L.A. was kind enough to speak with me about her book (She’s A Knockout! A History of Women in Fighting Sports),  Cris “Cyborg” Justino and how the image of women in the ring and in the gym has evolved. In addition to the interview, Shannon and I talk about jiu-jitsu training, aerial yoga and influential figures in the field of health & fitness. This ETT Wrap Show is jam packed with content. Please let us know what you think of any or all of it by leaving a comment below. THANKS PEEPS!

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ETT Wrap Show Ep.8

I start off this week’s episode describing my recent increase in jiu-jitsu training which quickly leads to our recap of Conor McGregor’s & Holly Holm’s shocking defeats at UFC 196. We also discuss new prospective ETT personal training clients, the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meat and why we need to start eating insects. Those are just a few of the topics discussed on this week’s ETT Wrap Show. We want it! We need it! We crave your feedback so please leave a comment below. Thanks!

First Step In A Long Journey

I had every intention of posting this back in September, shortly after my first jiu-jitsu tournament in years. However, due to a small roadblock brought on by the tournament, and my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to writing, it took about two and half months longer to complete this post than I originally intended. I know, I know, shame on me. Anyways, the rest of this post will be a match by match summary of the learning experience that was the in-house jiu-jitsu tournament held at Gracie Tampa South this past September. ENJOY!

Match Making

Brackets were created based on experience/belt level, which placed me in the adult white belt (beginners) division. There were no weight classes and after looking around at my competition I knew the likelihood of me grappling someone bigger than me was highly likely. My assumption soon came true when I was matched up against my first opponent, who was approximately 30 lbs heavier.

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Match #1

My first opponent was someone I had grappled with in class. I knew he wasn’t terribly aggressive but since he was bigger than me, I knew using what strength I had was probably not the best idea. I attempted a few unsuccessful arm drags and trips until my opponent finally took me down, and landed inside my guard. I worked off my back for the majority of the match until I was finally able to escape and take his back. I finished the match holding onto a half-hearted submission attempt that was more “prevent defense” than “attacking offense.” I ended up winning the match on points.

Match #2

My next opponent outweighed me but he had just finished a full length match, which meant I most likely had the cardio advantage. He didn’t waste anytime taking me down, but he fell into my guard. He had a low posture which allowed me to get my legs up and slap on a leg triangle. I adjusted my posture to really tighten up the choke and forced him to tap. I think my technique was a little sloppy but coupled with my opponent’s fatigue, I was able to get the win by submission.

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Match #3 (Semi-finals)

I had a chance to guarantee myself a 1st or 2nd place finish, but I had to get past the biggest competitor in my bracket. I grappled with him before and I knew he was EXTREMELY aggressive. However, much like my previous opponent he had spent a lot of his available energy in his prior matches. Even though he outweighed me by about 50 pounds, I foolishly tried to setup a takedown for the first minute of our match. He finally scored a takedown and I was once again working off my back. I made repeated attempts to sweep him, but his weight and posture prevented all my attempts. I attempted a guillotine and arm bar late in the match but to no avail. I lost the match on points.

Match #4 (3rd Place match)

I went into the 3rd place match excited by the opportunity to get on the podium. As excited as I was, the fatigue of three matches was starting to catch up with me. My opponent and I were pretty evenly matched weight wise, but as soon as the match started I knew he had more in the gas tank. He quickly took me down, passed my guard and attempted an arm bar from the mount. I was able to escape the arm bar and almost locked up a guillotine in a wild scramble, but we had to restart after going out of bounds. Once we restarted, it was essentially a replay of how the match began: takedown, passes my guard, mounts and throws on the arm bar. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the energy to escape this attempt, and I was forced to tap. I lost due to a submission, and ended up 4th in my bracket with a 2-2 record.

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Match #1 in the gi (Ultimately the end of my day)

Four competitors stuck around after the no-gi tournament to compete in the gi. Even though I’m still a novice at jiu-jitsu, I can say with confidence that competing in the gi is WAY different than competing without the gi. It takes a different skill set that unfortunately I’m not quite skilled at yet. Regardless, I threw on the gi and went up against a frequent training partner of mine who I knew was better than me. The match was going pretty much as I expected with my opponent controlling the action until I finally pulled an escape and took his back. My good fortune didn’t last long because as I tried to prevent my opponent from escaping, I suffered a non-contact injury and was forced to verbally tap out. I lost via verbal submission due to injury.

Wrap-up

“I did a jiu-jitsu tournament and all I have to show for it is this stinking cast.” I say that in jest because even though I sustained a broken metacarpal in my last match, I am extremely happy that I participated in the tournament. I learned a tremendous amount AND realized I still have a tremendous amount to learn. I finally returned to the gym last week after 10 weeks of recovery, eager to continue working toward my goal of earning my blue belt.

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Test Yourself ***UPDATED***

Originally published Saturday, June 6th

Adhering to a healthy, active lifestyle can be difficult for some people. Whether it be a lack of time or results, people have a hard time sticking to a regular exercise regime. One sure-fire way to maintain an active lifestyle is to set and achieve SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, some people may start an exercise program because they want to “look better” or “feel better.” Unfortunately these goals are neither measurable nor specific. A SMART goal for someone who wants to look or feel better could be “I want to go down two dress sizes in 8 weeks” or “I want to complete a 5k in the next 6 months.” These goals will provide the individual with the motivation needed to stick to their training program. Also, when they achieve their goal, the feeling of success will most likely inspire them to set another SMART goal and convert their exercise program into a lifestyle.

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Even though I adopted the active lifestyle years ago, I still set SMART goals for myself. Today actually, I will attempt to achieve a SMART goal when I have my first jiu-jitsu belt test. I have admired and enjoyed learning jiu-jitsu since I began my martial arts training over 8 years ago. I received great tutelage from several instructors over the years, but it was only recently that I began a formal training program at Gracie Tampa South. Even though I’ve trained and competed in jiu-jitsu previously, I wanted to start as a beginner to ensure that I learned every aspect of the martial art. Wish me luck and I’ll let you know soon if I achieved my goal or not. In the meantime, set some SMART goals for yourself and begin the journey to an active lifestyle.

UPDATE

Monday night I found out that I passed my first Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt test. I received the first of what I hope to be many stripes on my belt and felt the satisfaction of accomplishing a personal goal. Thanks to my teacher Coach Josh, all the students in my class for helping me prepare for the test, and all my friends and family who wished me good luck. The time to enjoy this milestone has come and gone and I’m ready to get back to work to prepare for the next test.

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