Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The end of October marked a year of doing Jiu Jitsu. My journey of Jiu Jitsu started with taking a small chance by trying out 1 class. I kept showing up, trying my best, and worked through the frustrations of the long learning curve of learning a martial art. After a year, I feel like the moves are becoming more intuitive and flowing together naturally.
I won second place in my division at my first Jiu Jitsu tournament in June. Afterwards, I consistently told my coaches that I was going to win first place in my next tournament. Somewhere deep down I thought I could do it, but self-doubt kept bubbling up. Admittedly, I wanted to back out. I tweaked my shoulder last week, and I thought I found my excuse not to compete. But then, I found that I REALLY wanted to do it. I was anxious about it, but I wanted to be challenged. I also had kept envisioning that I was alone there, but then I remembered that several teammates would be there. I babied my shoulder for a couple of days and meditated the night before, focusing on the goal of winning.
I got to the tournament and one of my teammates was there. About 10 people showed up altogether. I went towards the beginning, which was good. I got the take downs and won both of my matches by getting submissions. If you're familiar with the moves, Rear Naked Choke the first match and an arm bar the second. I won the tournament over the other 7 women.
This picture is almost unreal to me. I never thought I would be standing on a podium claiming a gold medal!
And a few hours later (I'm in the purple sweater) with some of the guys, watching UFC (and having a little too much to drink ).
I have found myself through doing Jiu Jitsu. There is something transformative about the raw physical experience of grappling, and in practicing, my true self is emerging. Practicing Jiu Jitsu has taught me to boldly face my fears. The guys at my gym have been telling me since day 1 that they believe in me. Their words have slowly sunken in and helped uncover the champion in me. Winning the tournament was not crossing a goal line, it was a stepping stone. Winning just makes me want to train even harder, work on fine-tuning what I already know, and building up from there. It also made me feel more serious on focusing on losing weight steadily again. The first year was great, but he best is still yet to come.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Image from http://www.10thplanetjj.com/
My gym has planned a trip to Los Angeles to take classes with Eddie Bravo, the founder of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. After a couple of weeks of waiting for plans to be finalized, the trip was finally set for 1/7-1/11/2013. I purchased my ticket to get to Los Angeles yesterday, waiting to purchase my ticket with my coach Nate so we could travel together. There about 10 people from our gym going. It will be an intensive week of classes. In addition to working with Eddie Bravo, we will hopefully get to do some work with Joe Rogan and Renato Laranja, a couple of other famous faces of Jiu Jitsu. Several UFC fighters and Ronda Rousey also train the the 10th Planet Burbank gym, so it should be an interesting and exciting week.
My coach Nate (taller guy) with 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo.
Image from http://www.nextlevelcombat.com
I feel like a kid waiting to go to Disneyland (well, close enough, we'll be in Burbank), I am so freaking excited. I also can't wait to get in some beach time. It has been several years since I have set foot in the ocean. I will be keeping my eating as clean as possible and sticking to my training regimen in preparation for the trip. The classes at the L.A. gym are tough, so I need to be ready.
My eating has been pretty good and I have been tracking well. Between Jiu Jitsu, intense cardio sessions, and heavy-weight strength training, my body seems to respond best to having some extra calories (about 500-1000 calories) a couple of days per week. Unfortunately, I seem to splurge on wheat and dairy stuff, so I should make a better effort to keep those foods at bay so I don't get bloated and puffy. Nevertheless, I continue to firm up and I have been less sore recently. My body seems to make good use of the extra food. My goal will be to have the extra calories come from high-protein, moderate-carbohydrates foods, avoiding wheat and dairy. In any case, I will stay the course with tracking.
My workouts have been fantastic recently. I have been writing workouts for my coach Nate. Some of the other guys at the gym jump in on the workouts. I have to say, it is satisfying to see professional martial artists grunt, groan, and sweat through my workouts. I try to do the workouts when I don't need to guide the guys through as much, and I almost laugh. My workouts are tough. We have been doing interval training, including old-school moves like burpees, mountain climbers, variations of jumping jacks, jump rope, and more, combined with boxing/kickboxing, kettlebells, strength moves, and Pilates. Every time I do one of my workouts, I end up thinking to myself, "WHY do I do this to myself?" But, the workouts are doable, modifiable if needed, and I feel great afterwards. It's been fun working out with Nate and some of the guys from the gym.
I have had great fun applying my knowledge from my kinesiology degree in designing these workouts. The guys are sometimes resistant to try new things, so I try to include one or two new moves in each workout, and we are building up from there. The best reaction has been to doing Pilates. Pilates has great applicability to Jiu Jitsu in the slow and controlled manner of working the abs and back, as well as smaller stabilizer muscles, but some of the guys think Pilates is too "girly." Getting these guys to do Pilates has been like trying to get a little kid to eat their vegetables. If I say we're doing a Pilates move, they crinkle their nose and groan. So, I have learned not to call the moves a Pilates exercise and just make them do it (if they even make it through all of the reps, haha!). So, if I call it "manly abs" or something, they'll just do it.
I have also started running again, and I have so missed it. I am doing run/walk intervals, sometimes timed, sometimes not. As long as I ice my knee right afterwards, my right leg is tolerating it. I do not think I will do distance running again, but am happy to return to running in some capacity. It will also give my aerobic capacity a boost and hopefully increase the amount of fat that I burn.
I finally remembered to have someone take progress pictures a couple of weeks ago. I have lost several inches over the past few months, so I was excited to take some pictures. I have been feeling pretty strong recently, so my reaction was pretty negative when I first looked at the recent pictures. I just thought I would look...different, I guess. I have to remember that they are progress pictures, not perfection pictures. It doesn't help that I was close to TOM, so maybe not in the best mindset to look at my body. I feel better about the pictures now.
"Before" picture, February 2011
"Before" picture, February 2011
"Before" picture, February 2011
Monday, October 01, 2012
Hah! Not the kind of pics you might think. I'll talk more later about diet and exercise in another blog (all is going pretty well), but wanted to update about what has been consuming my life over the past few months: my dog Dugan's tail.
My dog developed hair loss on the tip of his tail a little over 2 months ago. Then he started to act as though it hurt when he was wagging it. I noticed he started to chew at it, so I put the cone of shame on him, hoping that the issue would resolve. He seemed better after a few days, so I removed the cone. He seemed fine, but then a few days later, I came home to blood spatter on the walls and a wound on the tip of his tail. It looked as though it had been chewed.
I took him to my friend's vet clinic, and the tail was bandaged and he was started on antibiotics and painkillers. We assumed it was happy tail, which dog's can get from whacking their tail to hard. Happy tail is an incredibly frustrating problem to treat. It is difficult to get the tail to heal, and then the problem often recurs. If the tail does not heal, many vets opt to amputate.
We did weekly bandage changes, hoping to see the wound heal. After several weeks, the wound looked no different than it had at first. Dugan also seemed to be in increasing pain. We figured he may actually have nerve damage in the tail. I felt terrible for him. Dugan is the most cheerful dopey dog ever, and he just moped and acted painful, sometimes to the point where he was trembling.
When we saw the wound was not healing, I started looking into my options for amputation. I was hesitant to amputate, partially because I was concerned about creating a new problem with a new wound, and partially because of money. Luckily I have many veterinarian colleagues, so I went to another clinic where the surgery was relatively cheaper, plus they gave me a professional discount. Dugan had his amputation this past Tuesday and of course he charmed everyone at the clinic with his happy-go-lucky grin. He seemed a little painful the next day, but then he really perked up on Thursday. It was actually the first time in a few months that he seemed like himself. I removed the bandage yesterday and everything looks good. Dugan seems oblivious to the fact that he doesn't have a tail. He will need to wear the cone of shame for another couple of weeks to make sure the tail is completely healed, but then I am really hoping that is the end of that.
Dugan with tail, taken a few months ago.
Poor dog...he's been wearing the cone of shame for about 2 months. He actually LIKES it now, guess he's grown accustomed to it.
Dugan 4 days post-amputation. Took this picture yesterday, after removing the bandage.
Close up of "da nub."
I would have never considered cosmetically docking my dog's tail, but it sure is cute when he wiggles his butt now. I am happy to actually see his wiggly self return. He actually seems like he is not in pain for the first time in months. So, I hope this ends this tale of happy tail. Now my dog has happy butt!
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