Fiercely Feminine

Fiercely Feminine

Our gym is amazing, and it is an atmosphere that enables women to embrace their inner strength; whatever that seems to be. There is not set definition/label or list of criteria you need to display in order to come train at the Academy. We have women who are tall and thin, whose hair cuts and styles are considered "alternative", express ourselves through tattoos, own quirky personalities, and can "hang with the guys". We get to roll with the toughest men in the room on any given day, and pour every ounce of our hearts, sweat and even tears onto those mats in efforts to redefine beauty; to be fiercely feminine.

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Techniques Don’t Matter… Or: How Not To Die Hang Gliding

Techniques Don’t Matter… Or: How Not To Die Hang Gliding

If I take 4 different people and I teach them aerodynamics, and then take them all to different islands and tell them to make a “hang glider”…… Those hang gliders will all A- Work. And B- look VERY similar. They have to. Because the PRINCIPLES of aerodynamics are constant!

If I take a 4 students and teach them HOW to hang glide on the hang glider I built. And then leave them in separate places and ask them to build their own….. It’s a very different story.

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Embrace the Opponent (Empower Women Tournament)

Embrace the Opponent (Empower Women Tournament)

He also remarked that what he saw at the tournament wasn’t what you expect when you look at me. His description sort of trailed off “Based on how she behaves and the way she looks…”  Let me fill that in for you – I am a cheesy dancing late 30-something IT office worker with a tall girl slouch. If you look at a photo or watch me hang around the gym, I am no one’s image of a bad ass. And despite having shorts that say something contrary across the back, I don’t really consider myself a bad ass either. I didn’t consider myself who had praise-worthy heart or gameness.

I struggled with this praise for a little bit. And I still I feel like anyway I describe it might come off badly. My thoughts felt rude or ungrateful. But let me just lay it out:  I felt conflicted because the praise was great, far beyond what I expected, but I already knew I had that heart.

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Recap of my First Tournament

Recap of my First Tournament

A little over a week ago now, I competed in my first BJJ tournament down in Mass. I've always been a competitor of various athletics growing up, so I made the assumption that this event would be very similar. Of course, I haven't competed in several years, but naturally my body would respond the same, right? I mean, how could it not? Surely, it will all come back to me the moments leading up to the mat.

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Own Your Fears: Women, BJJ, and Self Defense

Own Your Fears: Women, BJJ, and Self Defense

I was asked to write this blog about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and why women should train. There are countless reasons, articles, and studies as to why this is so beneficial. I was internally conflicted about whether or not to publicly share my experiences and story with you, some random stranger reading this blog...but you are the very reason I am. That staggering number of assaults is real and it is growing. Your sister, your mother, your cousin, daughter or even granddaughter could be dealing with the same emotions and experiences I have felt. That is exactly WHY I am telling this story.

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The Size and Strength False Dichotomy, and Self-Defense

The Size and Strength False Dichotomy, and Self-Defense

You do not have to be strong to do Martial Arts.

There. It has been written. Without a shadow of a doubt, my opening sentence is true, and true in all cases. As you continue reading, you may feel your fury rising at something I have put forward as an opinion. If this happens, you can go back to the first sentence, take a deep breath, read it again, and enjoy being Right.

You. Do. Not. Have. To. Be. Strong. To. Do. Martial. Arts.

But, being strong is pretty fucking useful.

 

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This Post IS NOT About Gun Control

This Post IS NOT About Gun Control

The purpose of this post isn't to get a huge debate started about gun control. It's about the psychology of fighting. Actually, the psychology that dictates whether a fight occurs at all, or is avoided.

In the wild, fights are EXPENSIVE. Literally. They can cost you. If a wolf gets a small bite on it's mouth from a fight, it could get an infection and actually die. Even though it "won" the fight and got the food (or whatever)..... It died. That was expensive food. It's not hard to see, how even little "scraps" can have horrendous costs. So, all animals (intelligent ones anyways) have an ingrained genetic urge to posture, and use other methods to "settle" disputes without actually trying to "fight".

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Pink Numchucks….. Or Why I Hate This Industry

Pink Numchucks….. Or Why I Hate This Industry

This day, she tells me how her kid was really upset at karate today. She passed her test, and now had the “opportunity” to buy numchuks!!!! Sensei gave her the catalogue to pick out the color she wanted and she chose pink. Don’t get me started on the whole society teaches girls to pick pink thing. Or that numchuks shouldn’t be any damn color…. or plastic. We’re going to stick with what REALLY pissed me off. And that is this Sensei telling her kid that she SHOULDN’T get pink. The kid protests. She really wants pink. The Great And Wise Sensei then explains that she shouldn’t get pink because….. all the other kids will laugh at you. ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME. That’s the character development you’re rolling with. That’s what you teach kids. It doesn’t matter what you want honey, do what makes other kids accept you. Awesome. Bullshit. I think you could hear the steam come out of my ears.

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To tap or not to tap….

To tap or not to tap….

If I had to pick one Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu question that I’ve been asked more than any other it would have to be some version of “How do I escape the armbar”. You could replace armbar with any finish of your choice. My answer is always the same, “Don’t get caught in one”. While it sounds like I’m either making a joke or drastically oversimplifying it is completely true. One of the hardest things to get people to truly understand in BJJ is that they will be alot better in the long run if they put in the time learning how to avoid ending up in a position where a finish is likely.

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Life Gets In The Way

Life Gets In The Way

Those who know me know that my attendance at the gym is not spectacular.  Those who don’t know me, you don’t know me because my attendance at the gym is not spectacular. Over the past 6 years that I’ve been a student at The Academy (six years?!?), my attendance has been spotty at best.  Even early on before the wife, house, and child, I trained 3 maybe 4 times a week.  But as life’s responsibilities added up and I moved further north, my training time took even more of a beating.  I still managed to earn my purple belt, and then I bailed.  I was in a major training “valley” (see Jay’s post on peaks and valleys) and instead of reassessing my training and goals, I pulled the chute and left the gym for a year.  I’ve been back for a few months now and I am paying the price for my time off.  Leaving for a year was a bad choice, but this post isn’t about that.  It’s about coming back and some of the things I’ve been doing to try to accelerate my return from the world of suck.  Grappling is a perishable skill after all.

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BJJ Is The "Vegetables"

BJJ Is The "Vegetables"

However........... Muay Thai (or any striking art) only works if the other guy AGREES TO COOPERATE with you. The second that guy says "screw this" and tackles you.... No more Muay Thai. Watch a Boxing or Thai Boxing match, and you'll see that the main function of the ref is to "break" the fighters and MAKE them go back to striking. If you have ANY desire to defend against an attacker who REFUSES to cooperate....... You need BJJ. If you can't grapple, you can't survive in the real world.

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Save the Sharks

Save the Sharks

BJJ made sharks……. Pure and simple.  And that’s where we stepped in and fucked it all up.  We got so interested in the “sportive” applications of the art, that we literally changed the selection process. We have World Champion ELITE level BJJ competitors getting disqualified for NOT engaging?!?!?  The analogy in that quote still holds dead true. The ground is still the ocean. And most people still don’t know how to swim. But those animals you see swimming around. Those aren’t sharks. They can swim like motherfuckers, but they are no god damn sharks.  I want to save the sharks. Please…. Please be a part of this movement. Please stop “polluting our oceans”. Yes we need other fish in the sea. Diversity is a good thing. I don’t want the tuna (or whatever the fuck sport BJJ’rs are supposed to be) to go extinct either. I just don’t want to see the all the sharks die off.

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