Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gear Review: Scramble Rainbow Spats...also known as my super magic rainbow pants

Scramble is a European based BJJ company. They put out lots of cool tshirts and gear that aren't your typical glitter, foil, and skulls designs. I've been following their product releases via their Facebook page, and one day I saw them announce the release of their rainbow spats aka rainbow grappling tights. Being an Aoki fan AND a lover of unique gear like this, I was dripping with envy at those across the Atlantic that could get their hands on these. Since they are a European company, it's tough to get their products in the USA, and I wasn't too keen on paying a conversion fee and international shipping. HOWEVER...

...MMA Outlet carries Scramble gear too!!! I tweeted/emailed/begged MMA Outlet to stock the Scramble spats. I'm guessing they received a lot of these requests and a month or so after the initial release, they stocked the rainbow spats. I immediately jumped on the chance to buy them.

The picture appears to be too big for the blog post, so you can find a direct link to a picture of the spats by clicking here.

As soon as I opened the package, I was VERY impressed by the spats. They are very smooth and soft with sublimated logos. The colors on the front are different that the ones on the back, and the Scramble logo is on the bottom right shin while there are some Japanese characters on the upper left thigh. It has an elasticated waist with no drawstring. As you can see in the picture, it looks as though it's made of multiple pieces of fabric stitched together. This may be a factor in future wear and tear, but it's far too early to tell.

I've worn these in gi and nogi. I was so stoked the first time I bought them that I wore them under my gi even though there are long tights! People immediately took notice and asked where I bought them. I've also worn them to nogi classes. In both scenarios, they did not ride up and I didn't have to adjust them. I am 5'5", and these are a little long on me (I bought a size small), so I have to pull them up a little and roll the waistband over. They are really comfortable to roll in and they don't make me overheat while rolling.

Pros: cool looking, sublimated logos, comfortable, light but durable
Cons: price, no drawstring (doesn't bother me, but some prefer the drawstring), may be flashy for some.

I would recommend these to anyone bold enough to buy them. Would I wear them to a tournament? Not me. My opinion is that if you wear something so flashy, you'd better be REALLY awesome at BJJ (i.e. Gene LeBell and his pink gi, Aoki and his rainbow tights) and dominate your matches, otherwise you're going to look like a fool. The price is also steep at 55.99. Since this is a novelty item, I decided to splurge a little. (It also helped that I found a coupon code hidden in my gmail!) However, I love wearing them to my nogi classes. If you're interested in buying them, check out www.mmaoutlet.com. The direct link to the spats at MMAOutlet is here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Competition at the Blue Belt level

The one good thing about not having a full time job yet is that I have time to train! I'm back going to BJJ about 5 times per week and love every minute of it. The good thing about my new academy is that they balance gi and nogi training very well. I have the opportunity to train in both styles without losing leverage in either.

I am considering competing at a Grapplers Quest event coming up on June 18th. Since I've only been a blue belt for such a short time, I'm debating whether I should do it or not. Competition never hurts, but I'd hate to pay and only have one match. I've also realized that when you're competing above the white belt level, there is going to be a bigger gradient of experience. People don't often stay at white belt for more than 1.5 years, but people will remain at the higher belts often for more than 2 years. I could be going against a blue belt on the verge of getting her purple. I think it's important for me to get out there, see what the level of competition is like, and work on my weak points after my match.

Since I'm back living at home, I have less control over my diet. When I was at school, I could cook whatever I wanted and could cut weight appropriately. Even if I do cook at home, it's not normally for myself, but for my entire family. I think I might start cooking different meals for myself so I can cut weight appropriately. The good thing is that I'm not far off from my weight limit, so I have plenty of time to come to the right weight.

I'm also thinking about doing the No Gi Pan Ams in the fall. They are held in New York City, so it's only a train ride away for me. I'll see where I am at the end of the summer. I imagine a lot will depend on where I'm working, if I have enough time to train, and how much I can expand on my no gi game.

Friday, May 20, 2011

NOW we're doing Jiu Jitsu!

Since I am now back home from college, I've been training back at the place(s) I trained when I was home on break. I made it plural because even though I mainly trained at one place, I definitely checked out a bunch of other schools. Being in the New York/New Jersey area, there are a TON of great schools in the area.

I was training with someone I'd consistently trained with during school breaks and it came time to rolling. We rolled for a few minutes and briefly before the timer signaled the end of the round, she caught me in a tight triangle. Keep in mind that it had been a LONG time since I'd rolled with her, as I was injured over my winter break and hadn't really been home since then. She told me I was SIGNIFICANTLY more calm when rolling and even exclaimed "NOW we're doing Jiu Jitsu!"

When I started BJJ, I was definitely a spaz. I never injured anyone, slammed anyone, or cranked submissions really fast, but I definitely had very quick, sudden, jerky transitions (not submissions) that were done at a high speed without much technique. I felt frustrated every time someone mounted offense on me, and would then begin to furiously and quickly try to regain control. I'm now much more calm, collected, and methodical while rolling. I noticed this myself, and I think part of it has to do with being injured. When I came back, I wasn't necessarily nervous about rolling, but I was much more aware of certain movements and positions. This awareness hasn't left me, and I hope it never does. It has definitely elevated my game, and I'm glad that others have noticed it too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The best graduation present is...

Between final exams, graduating, moving out, and Blogger being down, I haven't had the time to update this thing.

Last Monday, May 9th, I graduated from college. It was pretty cathartic and nostalgic to walk across the stage and see all my classmates. I've got friends from all over the country who I hope I'll stay in touch with. Needless to say, I strolled over to BJJ that day in my graduation regalia! Quite honestly, I was running around that day and only realized I was in my graduation cap gown when it was time to leave.

Last Thursday morning was my last BJJ class at Unit 2 Fitness/Roberto Traven BJJ. I was pretty sad to be leaving my teammates but it was a great last class. There was lots of rolling and many people I knew where there. As soon as I was done rolling, I turned around and Roberto Traven was holding a blue belt in his hand! I could barely contain my excitement as he tied the belt around my waist. I absolutely did not expect to get my blue belt, so it was a nice surprise. Talk about a graduation present! Lots of people congratulated me and it was a great way to end my time in Atlanta. Especially since it was followed by vicarious packing, squishing my car full of boxes, and a 14 hour drive that ended at 3:30am.

I still have not found anything paid but am searching. Some have told me to travel in my year off. It's tough to do that without any money, but I have a friend traveling to Brazil in November and one friend going to Vietnam in July so I may ask my parents for a graduation present...

I've also realized I should change the title as school currently does not have a place in my life!