Training with Sarah Kaufman

Just before heading down for the World Masters in California, Chris and I did a little stop on Vancouver island to visit family. We were fortunate enough to be able to train at Zugec Ultimate Martial Arts (Zuma) in Victoria, BC. I got to do a couple of rounds with the one and only, Sarah Kaufman. She is phenomenal and one of the nicest person I have ever met. It was great to find some mat time and she gave me the workout I needed this week. Thank you Sarah :).

If anyone is around the Victoria area, please look up Zuma, they are awesome.

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The No Gi experience

This weekend I competed in the IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championships in New York.  Unfortunately, the competition went terrible.  Leading up to the tournament, my condition and strength was excellent, however, I definitely did not give myself enough no-gi time on the mats, and it showed this weekend.  I got submitted twice and I made mistakes that I would of never done in gi.  This competition was a real eye opener, I didn’t lose because the competition was way over my head, I lost because I did not efficiently train no-gi to be ready to compete at the level I needed to be.

The Pan No-Gi taught me a valuable lesson, if I want to compete in no-gi, I have to train in no-gi as hard as I train gi.  Bad days happen but the Pan no-gi wasn’t a bad day; it was a lack of not enough no-gi training and drilling.   Losing is heart breaking, however this does not shatter my confidence it only makes me want to train harder and be more prepared for the next tournament.

 

I will always come back stronger after a lose.

 

Ottawa BJJ Women Pan No-Gi 2014

Gold in Boston

On August 23rd, I competed at the Boston Summer Open IBJJF Championship.  It felt great getting back into competition training.  There were no other women competitors registered for my usual light feather weight class, so I decided to compete in feather,  one weight class above mine.  I easily made weight for this competition but unfortunately my first opponent did not.  I went right through to the finals.  I was feeling good during the fight and I was able to get a submission for the gold.

Ottawa Women's BJJ Boston Summer Open 2014

It is always unfortunate to see fellow competitors get disqualified for not making weight, especially at higher belt levels.  I always monitor my weight very closely and I keep to my training, eating and drinking routine.

This was a good start to the fall competition season, I got some important tournaments coming up, stay tune.

 

Ottawa Women's BJJ Boston Summer Open 2014 Delphie

What weight class should I be? Part 2

When training for a competition, especially your first ones, try and give yourself 1 to 2 month (ladies) to try and clean up your diet.  See blog “Eat well, stay strong” for nutrition ideas.  You will surprise yourself what healthy conscious eating (not restriction eating) can actually do to your weight without affecting your strength. This will give you an idea of what weight class you can safely and easily compete at.  With experience, you will learn to tweak your eating habits and establish what works best for you.  Asking your friends and teammate, how to drop 20lb overnight is not the way to do it.

My rule of thumb is NO alcohol for at least 1-2 month before competition and I don’t put anything in my body that has no beneficial effects.  Carbs are good before training, you need that sugar to fuel you up and keep your muscles strong and energized. However, not all carbs are created equal, sugar from fruit is much better then cookies.  Drink lots and lots of water, competitors who dehydrate them-self 1 week before competition, are only making them-self weaker.  Second, listen to your body, you shouldn’t feel like your going to pass out, that does not make for a great competitor.

Talk to people who have successfully been able to compete at their optimal weight to strength ratio.  Keep in mind what works for them might not work for you.  Experience will help you develop what is good for you.

Most important HAVE FUN!

What weight class should I be? Part 1

Ottawa BJJ Women Weight Cut

For this entry, we will focus on IBJJF type competition, where you weight in with your gi on before the start of your division.

Competition can be a very stressful time on its own but when you factor in weight divisions, weight cuts and weight in’s, it brings competitions to a whole new level.  From when I  was a white belt, I competed in three different weight classes, before I figured out the ideal weight class for me.  I didn’t drop any weight or change my diet for my first tournament.  I was at the very bottom of the light weight division, size and weight.  I decided to make a conscious diet change. I cut alcohol, deserts, and nachos and I easily made the feather division. When I received my blue belt, I wanted to optimize my weight to strength ratio by taking my diet much more seriously. I successfully compete at light feather.  It is much more work but worth it on competition day.

As a new white belt competitor, this question of what weight category should you be in can be very stressful, especially if you have never cut weight before.  My advice to a new white belt is don’t go to crazy with the weight cut.  At this point, you don’t want the additional stress of weight cutting/hydration for the first time.  The white belt division is a very heterogenous pool, from new white belts to very experienced white belt competitors, this is the time to feel the field.  If you didn’t choose the right weight category, it’s not a big deal, change your diet and try again.

The more you compete, the better you get,  and have a much better  understanding of how your body reacts leading up to a  competition. Furthermore, as you grow through the ranks, your weight division becomes more and more important, especially for the bigger competitions, you definitely want to be at your optimal weight to strength ratio.

 

Michelle Nicolini Seminar

Michelle Nicolini Seminar,

It is not everyday, you get to learn from a world-class women BJJ black belt competitor that is my size.  I had a great opportunity  for me this weekend, an opportunity to participate in a Michelle Nicolini seminar.  Michelle is 7 time world Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion and is one of the most decorated competitors in BJJ in both men and women.

I met some awesome girls at the seminar.  It is great to see the Ontario women BJJ community come together.  I also got to take the seminar with my training partner Jen and our Canadian RCJ Machado affiliate sister, Fariba.

Ottawa Women's BJJ michelle Nicolini Delphie Jen with Fariba

There is only one word to describe the seminar: amazing.  It is not easy being a girl in BJJ, especially a small girl.  Michelle Nicolini is the prime example that size and strength doesn’t matter.  She taught us great techniques and I can’t wait to try them, master them, and share them with all of you.

 

Ottawa BJJ Michelle Nicolini Delphie Jen

World’s Recap

Worlds was just a little over a week ago and my break time is over.  The Worlds has been a great learning experience.   My division was absolutely insane, we were 16 of the top purple light feather women in the world,  most of us have had  medals at the Worlds and Pans in the last two years.  I had a challenging draw.  My first match was against one of the most experienced purple belts in the division.  I knew, she would be a tough match.  I have seen videos of her and she has a solid guard.  As I expected, she pulled guard first.  I was able to solidify half guard, I took my time and applied a lot of that RCJ Machado shoulder pressure.  She had a tight half guard,  so I decided to finish the fight from top half guard with a kimura.

My quarter finals match was against the #1 IBJJF ranked light feather purple belt.  She had came 2nd at Pan and at Worlds last year as a purple belt and won Pans this year.  Definitely a challenging 2nd round.  I had already beaten her 2 years ago in the semi-finals at worlds as a blue belt (one of my toughest matches of my career).  Last time, I pulled guard first, this time, she pulled guard first.  She has an awesome spider guard and I got swept early on in the match.  However, I recovered my  guard.  I tried everything to generate opportunities but it is not easy when you are trailing 2-0.  She kept her elbows tight and her weight down and that was that.  I lost 2-0.

I was physically and mentally ready, I felt great.  I am still a new purple belt and my first big tournament at that level.  I definitely need to build up my experience.  I am already drilling new strategies to help me create better opportunities  when I get stuck.

Losing only fuels my desire to try harder, train harder and fight harder!

At the Worlds with Prof. Aksell and my husband Chris

Ottawa BjjWomen Worlds 2014

Ready for the worlds!

Chris and I arrived in Cali on Tuesday afternoon. The next day we went for a nice easy run in the morning, it felt great to get all the airplane stiffness out of my legs.  It is super important for athletes to keep moving and keep doing exercises the days leading up to a competition.  You have to keep a good balance between relaxing and light exercising.  Your muscles get used to increase blood flow due to training and you don’t want to decrease it to much the week of a competition.  A little light training goes a long way.

We are 16 girls in my division, 7 minute matches, Friday, 9 am pacific time.  All these girls are champions. I will treat my first match like it is the final match, it is the only way to make it to GOLD!!

Ottawa BJJ Women IBJJF Worlds 2014

Getting ready for Worlds

I won the light absolute purple, brown and black belt division and the free trip to the Worlds in California at the Ontario Open International Jiu Jitsu Championship at the beginning of May.

Ottawa BJJ Women Training hard for worlds

Worlds is only one week away and what do you do when Worlds is only one week away?  You try and get as much training in as you can; this is the last boost before heading out to California, there is no slowing down.   I feel good, I feel strong and I feel ready, lets do this.!

Ottawa BJJ Women Training hard for worlds2