Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Recap

I lost my match at the Abu Dhabi Trials on points. People keep telling me it's okay because I was small for the division (I weighed in with all my clothes on at 122lbs; the upper weight limit is 139), but frankly I didn't care. I entered that tournament knowing I'd be on of the smallest people there and that it wouldn't stop me.

On a somewhat positive note, I was not as upset as I could have been. For the first time in a couple of tournaments, I didn't feel the same helplessness I have felt the past 2 tournaments. I definitely "lost better" (does that make sense?) than I have in the past in that it wasn't a quick submission, I was able to block some sweeps, and some of my past weaknesses weren't as glaring or capitalized on by my opponent. I also got to see some incredible matches afterwards. Of course there were big names like Cyborg, Keenan, DJ Jackson, Tanquinho, Mackenzie Dern, etc., but one of the cool things was that I got to see some of the rising colored belts. There were some INCREDIBLE purple belt matches; it's always great to see this sport continuing to progress and to see who are going to be the future big stars.

I've already moved on and am focusing on how to prepare for the Big Apple BJJ Open in December. It's a gi and nogi tournament being put on by Shaolin. Kinda weird that it's his tournament and I'm not with his school anymore, but I didn't leave with any bad blood so it's all good!

Training has been put to a temporary halt because of Hurricane Sandy. I'm EXTREMELY thankful that my house was not hit badly; we have no power (running on a generator though) and don't expect to soon, but my house wasn't damaged and there were only a few downed trees. My thoughts go out to those near the beach who were hit much worse.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Mindset for Competition

Tonight was my last night of training before the Abu Dhabi Trials and Grapplers Quest this weekend. For the first time, I feel relaxed. I remember the last time I did the Trials, I looked at the competitor list and promptly bugged out. I googled all the names, tried to figure out their rank, and tried to find video footage. This time, I saw the list of girls in my division, and continued what I was doing. I don't really care who is in my division, what their games are, how tall/big the other might be, or where they train. Because frankly, it's irrelevant. I'm 121lbs right now and the upper weight limit for the Trials is 139; I know I'm going to be one of the smaller ones in my division, but who cares! Is my game going to drastically change in the next 3 days because of something I found out about them on YouTube/the Internet? Probably not!

I've realized it's best for me to just focus on implementing my game against my opponent as opposed to worrying about what they will do to me. And logically that's made sense to me for a while, but it's finally clicked in my brain. I'm relaxed and confident without feeling cocky. This time, I doubt I'll be listening to loud music while getting amped and tense before I compete. I'll probably read or listen to something calm before I go out to compete. I'll post an update after Sunday!

Also, I'd like to thank Killer Bee Gi. After emailing them to ask when their women's gi was coming out, they responded by asking if I was sponsored. Since I wasn't, they extended a sponsorship opportunity to me! This is especially great for me because I'm not getting paid right now. Without the support of Killer Bee, I would not be competing this weekend because I wouldn't be able to afford to do so. I can also honestly say that the Killer Bee Gis are awesome; they are durable, have a clean design, and are within a VERY reasonable price range. I'll post a review in the coming days, but for now, go on over to Killer Bee Gi's website to check out their selection of men AND women's gis!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shelve It For Later

After a weekend in Atlanta for the wedding of one of my old coaches and training partners, I came home on Monday and went to the gym yesterday as well as this morning to make up for lost time. We've been doing some drills in class that have really been helping my game, and I've been rolling outside of class to stay sharp.

Jason said something about BJJ that really resonated with me. He said that sometimes you just aren't ready to learn certain moves or positions yet. For example, when he was shown Reverse De La Riva, his first thoughts were "What the heck, this is just some kind of weird half guard, why would I ever use it?". Of course he eventually learned Reverse De La Riva and can use it/teach it in many situations. But his advice was not to get frustrated if something doesn't click immediately or quickly because sometimes you just aren't ready for it yet. By the time you're a black belt, you'll have strengths and weaknesses, but there won't really be any more "mysteries" in terms of knowing and understanding moves, concepts, and positions.

That sentiment is kind of how I feel about my jiu-jitsu journey. I would see some of the things my coaches taught and it just wouldn't click. And I'd think/wonder for months if I was a bad student, if I was dumb, would I ever understand it, is it the teaching style, etc. But in reality, I just wasn't ready for some moves. I know some blue belts who LOVE the berimbolo, but to me it's still kind of a mystery. What seems "fancy" and intricate to some isn't to others, and it's not really anyone's fault nor does it point out some kind of deficiency. Sometimes you just need to shelve things for later.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tatami Women's Zero G V2 Gi Review

This gi was given to me by BJJHQ for the purposes of review. In no way, shape, or form does this influence my opinion of this gi. BJJHQ offers a "deal of the day" on BJJ gear and apparel, ranging from tshirts, gis, rashguards, and more.

Tatami is a British BJJ company that has made waves in the United States in the past year thanks to distributors like BudoVideos and MMA Outlet who now carry the brand. Tatami has also come out with a women's line of gis, as the amount of women participating in the sport continues to rise and there is a continued demand for gis that fit a female body type.

There was a delay in me posting this review because I've lost some weight from the time I initially received the gi, so it fits a little differently than it did when I first bought it.

First Impressions

This is a really sharp looking gi. The teal color really stands out against the white fabric. There are rectangular patches on the top side of the pants leg and the top of the shoulders with "Zero G" written on the patch. There is an embroidered "G" on the bottom of the right leg.

Direct from Tatami's website, the specs are as such:
- jacket made from 475gsm pearl weave reinforced gi material
- rubberized collar to stop moisture absorption during training and competition
- single piece jacket for reinforced strength, durability, and comfort
- 10oz heavy cotton stitching on all areas of the jacket and pants
- tapered fit for maximum competitive advantage
- 8oz double reinforced lightweight competition pants
- NEW Zero G V2 brand embroidery is strategically placed on the jacket shoulder, back of the neck and the bottom of the right leg

This gi is INSANELY light, under 3lbs! I received the F3 size, which is for someone who is 5'3-5'6" and from 52kg (about 115lbs) to 65kg (about 143lbs). When I initially received the gi, I was about 138lbs, but now I'm only 122lbs.


I've only washed this gi on cold and hung it to dry, and didn't notice any shrinkage.

The pants were a little tight on me when I was in the high 130s, but are a great fit now that I'm in the low 120s. I'm 5'5" so the length is just right, as the bottom of the pants fall just above the top of my feet without touching my feet. The pant material is almost like my old karate pants, very thin and light. I'm wondering how durable these pants will be over time, but as of now I don't see any fraying or tears. They're quite comfortable and I expect this is how the pants of most really lightweight gis will be unless the manufacturer opts for ripstop pants.

The sleeve length is good as well, definitely IBJJF legal and the width of the cuff is a good size; not too big that it's easy to grab and not too narrow to not pass a gi checker. The collar on this gi is reasonably thick- not quite as thick and stiff as a Keiko or KF gi, but definitely study, especially since this is such a lightweight gi.

However, the top of this gi is far too long. The skirt comes well below my bottom, which is a bit bothersome to me. I also find that the gi top comes out of my belt and undone too frequently during training. The actual material of the top is a nice pearl weave, very lightweight and breathable.


Overall, this is a great competition gi if making weight is an issue for you, but there are some sizing issues that Tatami should take in to account. The length was bothersome to me, but perhaps there are some people that prefer a longer skirt. I am wondering if this is a true women's cut or simply a men's gi that was made a little smaller. On their website, Tatami does say that they did a lot of research for this gi, but I'm wondering if most Tatami gis are known for having a longer skirt or if it was simply a mishap on Tatami's part. It's a solid gi, but the fit isn't right for me. Given the chance, I wouldn't get another one of these gis, but I'd recommend it to someone who might be a bit taller than me.

You can buy the gi through the website "Martial Arts Supplies". They offer hassle-free returns as well as free shipping on all items. The complete line of Tatami gis can be found by clicking here.