Thoughts

Women and Community in Jiu Jitsu

Community and the jiu jitsu lifestyle are discussed a lot.  But does this community extend to women in jiu jitsu?

In my experience – yes.  Meeting another woman who does jiu jitsu is like making an instant friend.  Even though I have been a part of my new school for less than a year (and have only been able to train for six of those months) I feel like I have a bunch of friends there – men and women.

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Thoughts

The Difference between Stretching and Yoga – For Jiu Jitsu!

I was talking to a fellow teammate and his wife at a party and was part of this conversation (its paraphrased because this happened a couple of weeks ago).

Teammate: I’ve been doing yoga recently to increase my flexibility for jiu jitsu!

Teammate’s wife: You haven’t been doing yoga, you’ve been stretching.  They’re different.

Teammate: What?  How are they different?  I’m using a yoga mat.

Teammate’s wife: Just because you’re using a yoga mat does not make it yoga.  Yoga involves more, like specific poses and breathing exercises.

Teammate: I breathe while stretching.

I don’t think my teammate left the conversation with any greater understanding of the difference between stretching and yoga.  But what is the difference?  And does the difference matter?

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Thoughts

Women’s Experiences in Jiu Jitsu

Starting this blog has helped me realize that there is no one experience for women in jiu jitsu.  This may sound pretty dumb because I knew before that there was no one experience for men in jiu jitsu.  But the way jiu jitsu is approached for women makes it seem like there is only one possible experience.

I have had the opportunity to experience jiu jitsu in many different ways – and I’m actually grateful I took so much time off because it gave me that opportunity.  Looking back at my own experiences and reflecting on my partners’ experiences has made me appreciate how different the jiu jitsu journey can be. Continue reading “Women’s Experiences in Jiu Jitsu”

Thoughts

Help! What kind of yoga should I do for bjj?

A lot of people say that yoga is great for cross training with jiu jitsu.  It builds flexibility, teaches you to breathe, and isn’t too hard on your body (jiu jitsu is hard enough).  But where do you start?  There are so many kinds of yoga it can seem overwhelming.

What kind of yoga is best depends on your goals, preferences, and flexibility.  What kind of yoga you can actually practice depends on what’s available in your area or what online resources you’re willing to pay for.

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Theory

The Importance of Friends in BJJ

In a recent podcast with Grappling Central, my coach, Sam, mentioned that if you aren’t enjoying your jiu jitsu school or if you’re thinking about trying a new school – try changing your social group at your current school first.  While I’m pretty happy with my jiu jitsu friends right now, I have experienced a few different social groups in jiu jitsu.  Also, our jiu jitsu holiday party was last night, which got me thinking about the importance of jiu jitsu friends.

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Technique

How to Actually Roll with Bigger People

I don’t like to criticize other people’s articles.  I know its hard to write and it takes courage to publicly say what you think.  But “Which BJJ Techniques Work and Don’t Work w/ a Small Man Against a Big Man” really got me fired up.  The title assumes gender for no real reason, the size difference is never specified, I don’t agree with the suggested techniques, and the grammar is terrible.

Rather than tell you everything wrong with the BJJEE article – I would like to explore what techniques work for smaller jiu jitsu players from an actual small jiu jitsu player’s point of view (I’m 5’2″, 115lbs).

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Technique

Combinations from the Closed Guard

One of my teammates was preparing for a competition last week (he double medaled!) and he mentioned that he wanted to learn more combination attacks.  He has been working on his closed guard recently, which is my favorite position.

Depending on how you choose to play the closed guard your partner may feel completely trapped or under constant attack (or ideally both).  Currently, I focus on keeping my partner trapped when I using my guard because it is a position I feel safe in with a larger partner.  But I would like to incorporate more combinations so my guard can feel both vicious and suffocating.

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Thoughts

Belt Jealousy and the Jiu Jitsu Journey

My husband was promoted to purple belt a week ago!  I am very excited and proud of him.  I know how hard he works on and off the mat to be the best he can at jiu jitsu and be a great teammate.  He has always been willing to roll with me and help me with my game even though I’m a lot smaller than him and not as good as him.  I could not have made it this far in jiu jitsu without him.

I also found out that our training partner and friend from seven years ago earned his black belt.  I’m very happy for him as well.  He trained hard and was always thinking about how to improve his game.  He was Evan’s primary training throughout his blue belt and I spent most of my time as a white belt either training with Evan or our now-black-belt friend.

Despite being happy for both of them – I have to admit I’m a little jealous.  I know I shouldn’t be.  They both have been training for years longer than I have.  And their rank has nothing to do with me.  But I feel like I missed out on so much by taking time off.  Yet when I step back I realize that I wouldn’t trade the time off for being a higher rank now.

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