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

 

Learn to fight again

Last weekend, I participated in my first purple belt competition.  I have been competing pretty regularly since I got my blue belt in January 2012.  Things did not go as planed.  For the first time since I have dropped to light featherweight division, I had to fight dehydrated.   I will talk more about my weight cut in my next blog.  We were only three girls in my division.  The loser of my first fight would have to fight the third girl to continue into the finals.  I unfortunately lost my first match by 1 advantage and soon after lost my second match by points.

I have always learned much more by my defeats then by my wins.  When I started competing as a blue belt, I lost my first couple of tournaments.  I had to learn to compete as a blue belt.  The Boston open was a great experience; I am now learning to compete as a purple belt.  At every belt level, the competition learning curve gets steeper and steeper.  I have all the tools to be a great purple competitor and I can’t wait to compete in the upcoming tournaments this year and apply all my new strategies.  It’s all part of the learning curve.

We got to lose to learn how to win.

 

Delphie,

Ottaw Team Boston Spring Open

Monday’s Training Tip!

Training tip

When tired or lacking motivation, it is easy to push training to the next day, and then to the next. You will wake up on Friday and you have not had any training at all.  Best way to avoid this, start training on Monday.  You will be more likely not to push training to the next day this way! So get off your butt and get training!

 

Ottawa BJJ Women Sweat

Huge Promotions this weekend!

Huge Promotions this weekend!

The 5 brothers Machado camp in Dallas Texas has been an amazing experience.  This is my second time attending the camp and the brothers did not disappoint.  Three words: Mind was Blown.  I learned so many new techniques and game ideas.  I can spend the next lifetime perfecting all these techniques.

Ottawa BJJ Women 5 Brothers Machado Camp 2013

I was very honoured to be promoted to Purple Belt  during the second day of training at the  camp.  It is not everyday, you get a coral belt promoting you along side the 4 other Machado Brothers.  I am now a Carlos Machado Purple Belt, RCJ for life!

Ottawa BJJ Women Delphie promoted to Purple

The highlight of the camp was seeing three of our instructors being promoted to their BJJ Black Belts.   It takes years and years of hard training and dedication to become a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt.

 

Even better, they got the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from one of the most respected families in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world, the Machado family.  Aksell, Scott and Alain have been  pioneers in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Sport MMA in the  Ottawa area.  At K2 Martial Arts and Fitness, we are very lucky to have not one, not two, but three amazing BJJ Black Belts.

 

Ottawa BJJ 3 Machado Black Belts

Lesson from Worlds

Ottawa Womnes BJJ Worlds

Lesson’s from Worlds,

Coming off a sold competition season, I came in strong, trained and ready for the World championships.  The outcome was not what I had hoped.  I got eliminated in the second round.  I hadn’t realized that my opponent had scored two point for a sweep from the bottom of half guard, this is a new IBJJF rule that I am not familiar with.  There is no excuses, everyone should read the rules for every tournament. Unfortunately I got stuck in top half guard and couldn’t solidify the mount in time to get my points to get the win.

My first match was one of my toughest match so far in my grappling career and also one of my biggest victories.  It was an absolute battle, and I had to dig  deep.  She was pushing really hard against my guard and a couple of times I felt like I wasn’t in control anymore.  We had really good back and forth and neither of us wanted to give away any points.  She defended my sweeps attempts and there was no way I was letting her get side control or my back.  I was trailing by a couple of advantages and only 30 second left to the match.  All I knew was that I was not going to lose this one.  As she started to move backwards from my guard, this was the perfect opportunity to shoot in for my triangle since her posture was leaning forward.  I closed my triangle and kept my legs at tight as I could because I needed that submission to win and I got the tap.

In a competition as big and prestigious as Worlds, it only takes one mistake to be eliminated.  These girls are absolutely ruthless, talented and amazing and I am so proud to be able to compete with these women.

I might of lost my second match and unfortunately couldn’t better my result from last year’s Worlds, but I have grown as a competitor in the last year.  As much as I am disappointed in myself, this is only one day out of the year.  Jiu jitsu is a life time journey and the most beautiful moments are found on the mats with the people you share this love with.

A team that only values medals is not a team worth fighting for, but fortunately for me I have the best team in the world, the RCJ Machado flag shown bright and strong, and I was so proud to show what it was made off.  You know you have a true family when they are proud of you not for your wins but for your loses.  There is no better feeling having Chris and family by my side to corner me and pick me up after my disappointing lost.

Pan-Am Jiu-Jitsu Championships 2013

It’s been a week since I came back from competing in California for the Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships.  It was a great tournament and it was surprising to see how big my blue light feather division was.  Even better then that, the competition was absolutely fierce. I was one of four girls who didn’t get a bye and I was hoping to get my first match done and over with quickly.  It was not the case, my first match was tough and I won by points.

Ottawa Women BJJPan 2013 fourth match 2

My first match showed me how good and talented the women’s division has become and set a precedent for the rest of the tournament.   I won my 2nd match by submission and the quarterfinals by advantages.

Ottawa Women BJJ Delphie Pan 2013 second matchUnfortunately, I loss in the semis by ref decisions, both my opponent and I had 0 points, 0 advantages.

 

 

This is the 2nd time I lose a match at a big tournament this way; I lost in the finals at worlds last year this way.    I was disappointed by the lost but very satisfied of my 3rd place finish in the tournament.  I came in strong with all my matches and kept a solid game plan throughout the whole tournament.

 

I love competing in California; there are always a lot of women for me to compete against.

Now it is back to the drawing board, it is time to come up with new strategies to keep my opponents on their toes. Training is not over; let’s get ready for worlds :)

Ottawa Women BJJ Delphie Pan 2013 podium

 

Cutting weight, the good, the bad and the ugly

Cutting weight, the good, the bad and the ugly

In fighting sports, where fighters are separated per weight categories, everyone is looking for the bigger edge on their opponent.  People are looking to be at the top of their weight category and be physically stronger then their opponents.  In a sport as technical as bjj, strength isn’t everything, there are many factors contributing to the success of a fighter; technique, health, cardio, hydration, psychology and physical.

Picking your weight category as a white belt can be very hard.  Should I drop weight? Should I bulk up? Will losing my water weight give me an advantage against my opponents?   The more you compete, the more you will identify yourself with the appropriate weight category for you.

For women, this decision is even harder, it is harder for us to lose weight fast and I DO NOT recommend this tactic at all.  If you Google weight loss, you will have pages and pages of different ways to lose weight.  Most of these searches are unhealthy, dangerous and are NOT beneficial.  There is NO fast healthy way to lose a lot of weight.  There is absolutely no reason why you should wear a garbage bag to lose that extra 5-10lb of water weight the day before the competition.  You will fight tired, dehydrated and weak (the contrary effect of what you want to be).  If you do things right, you should be at your strongest the day of.

Our bodies are different then men, our hormones fluctuate during monthly cycles and there is always a time during the month where we retain more water (we all know what I am talking about…..the bloating sensation).  We have to respect our body and if you are planning on cutting weight, be sure to have a very long slow cut (I am talking months).  You have to let your body adjust; you need to keep your muscles and strength strong.

What people don’t understand, competition isn’t just about the weight cut.  You will naturally get stronger, leaner, faster, better cardio and naturally lose the weight while you train BJJ.  BJJ in itself will help you lose weight.  If you are a competitor, you are the first one to show up, and the last one to leave.  You drill as hard as you can and roll as much as people let you (or until they turn off the lights on you ;)).

As a white belt, I competed in the light division (under 141.5lbs), and as I got fitter I naturally fell in the feather weight division (under 129 lbs).  As I took competition more seriously as a blue belt, I started training specifically for BJJ competitions and eating right (never a diet), it takes me 2 month to gradually lose 5lbs to be comfortable and strong in the light feather division (under 118 lbs).  This means, no alcohol, no fast food, no cookies, cakes, candy and I am very careful not to eat too much potatoes and bread.  At times, this can be hard I absolutely LOVE cookies .

Carbs are good, your body needs carbs, have it before and after training, your muscles need this. Don’t have a carb over load at night.  Eat very green, salad and vegetables are good for you at any time during the day.  Chicken, fish and meat are good source of protein. Beware of salt content, salt is absolutely everywhere and we get a overload of salt.  Salt is what will make you retain water and get that bloated sensation.  I have some eating tips in my post eat well, stay strong.

The important message here is you do not need to cut weight to win and if you are cutting, do it right, talk to your instructor if they have experience in this domain, I am lucky enough that my instructors are very good at this.  Most of the time, you should NOT go on a diet or water diet to cut weight.   You just need to be careful of what you put in your body and train as hard as you can.

Here is a terrific post about the pressure of competition and fitness and what harm you can do to yourself if you push to hard the fitness life style, by Shelsea Montes, IFBB bikini pro (Click Here).  It is different then competitive BJJ but the outcome can be the same.

BJJ is about being healthy, strong and confident. There is no million dollar bonus attached to any of the gold medals, don’t ever compromise your health for it :) Competition is the perfect place to learn and become a better jiu jitsu practitioner and show off your skills. Also it is a great place to identify all the holes in your game, it is an awesome learning tool.

Women Can Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

Can Women Really Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?…… REALLY? This is the title of a absurd sexist post to why women  don’t seem to fit or handle BJJ.  I get it, this post is trying to encourage women to ‘’Stick with it’’ but unfortunately this post is an epic fail on that matter!

Let me address some of the concerns of this post.  The problem why women are not fit for BJJ is because they don’t stick to it and this is after they ‘‘DEMAND to try it (BJJ) out’’.   DEMAND is a very strong word, its insinuating they forced their way into a class against all warning signs of ‘‘danger’’.  It happens to EVERYONE, they think they will like it and they don’t, it’s a human nature not a women thing.  Your discouraging women to try BJJ just in case they don’t like it.  If you lived your life like that, you would never try any new things.   Second, they always stay for a short time, women do get pregnant, life change, job changes, that’s a fact of life.  Men go through the  same experiences, however there is (I admit) more men in the sport so it is less noticeable.

A women practicing the sport of BJJ who don’t get their black belt should not be seen as a waste of time.  A blue belt is accomplishment all in itself and a woman or a man with a blue belt in BJJ has a great deal of knowledge in self-defence and you should be proud that these women and men are walking the streets with a blue belt they earned from you.  Ideally, you want the best for all your students and receiving a black belt in BJJ is an incredible accomplishment men or women but unfortunately priorities in life can change this.

The most insulting part of this post is the fact that male student puts their marriage and relationship at risk because they might roll with a women during class.  This is a completely ridiculous concern.  This is blaming women for potential relationship problems just because they roll with men.  If a wife or girlfriend has a problem with this, then the men are in their rights not to roll with women but that’s definitely their lost. Women make awesome partners.

Women who don’t stick to BJJ are not weak and need to be tougher.  We are not dolls who need to be protected and need to understand that someone will be between are legs, we get THAT sense in the first couple of months (enhance the trying out period).  Some women just hate it and find another sport more fitted for them.  The reason why women don’t stick to it is not because of awkward human contact, especially senior white belts and up (we know all about it).  There are probably other underlying problems of why women are leaving.  Like any other sports, people will come and go, new students should never be seen as a potential waste of time.

BJJ is a male dominated sport but women are starting to understand how beneficial and amazing BJJ is.  Just look around you at all the women bjj groups and all the enthusiasm there is for it.  We don’t ask for special  all women classes, we make our own. You should check out women Open Mat all around North America and all the women giving seminars around the world.

Women CAN handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and there is many qualified black belt BJJ instructors out there for women to get their black belt from.

Here is the link to the post I am referring to:

http://keith-owen.blogspot.ca/2013/02/can-women-really-handle-brazilian-jiu.html

Lessons in Personal Injuries Part II (Prevention)

Injuries can be very frustrating and discouraging.  You can learn from understanding why and how you got injured.  For me, it changed my whole perspective of sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also helps me understand on a self-defense aspect.  I didn’t concentrate on technique per se but on the concept of moving and getting out of the way (technique will follow).

Both men and women athletes can be very susceptible to injuries especially during hard competition training.  This is especially true for woman in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Most time, our training partners are guys who can be stronger and/or bigger then we and can leads to unfortunate injuries.  There is ways of preventing injuries and staying healthy.

Know yourself:  You are more susceptible to injuries if you are tired, know your body and know when you have to hold back.  You don’t have to stop training all together, but you can use this time to focus on techniques or slow down your game.

Rest: As hard as you train, you should match it with equal amount of rest.  Give your body time to recover.

Strength: If you plan on rolling hard and you want to compete.  You need to increase your physical strength.  Don’t go from zero to 100%, build up your intensity and the strength will follow.

Nutrition and water: Increase consumption of carbohydrate during periods of heavy training and pay attention to your state of hydration, meaning, drink lots of water.

Before and after: Allow time to warm up, injuries are very common if you skip the warm up.  Don’t forget to cool down and stretch.

Be honest with your partner: If you are injured, let your partner know.  They can’t know you’re injured if you don’t tell them. ;).

Let your coach know, they can build an alternative training program and help you through the injury recovery period.  Depending on the severity and type of injury, you don’t have to lose time on the mat but you need to address the injury and let the people around you know.  In my case, I kept my rib muscle healthy by getting out of the way 😉

Ottawa Women BJJ

 

 

 

Eat well, stay strong

I know cutting weight can be very hard, however, if its done right it should be a walk in the park 😉

I start regulating my food at least 1-2 month before the competition. This way, I have a healthy gradual decrease in my weight and keep my muscles strong.

I cut all fast food, sugar (especially artificial) and bring down my carb intact.  I take a lot of protein, vegetable and fruit.   I also watch out for salt.  Pretty much, all process food is out the door.  If I make it, I know exactly what I eat (that’s actually the key)

Here our some food tricks that works very well for me:

I start my day with a double shot of espresso in a chocolate protein shake. Lol this might not be for everyone but it sure works for me.

I love spaghetti but noodles are very high on carbohydrates.  I replace the noodles by spaghetti squash or zucchinis.

My favourite favourite meal is BBQ chicken, on a bed of vegetable salad.  I also add wild rice to the salad. I pretty much add any meat or fish to a salad; I can eat that every day.

Natural peanut butter on apples or unsalted almonds in Greek yogurt usually does the trick to stump on those bad sugar or salt cravings.

Don’t forget to drink a lot of water, not drinking enough water during the day will have the negative effect on your weight cutting and you will increase your predisposition to retain water.

If you have any tricks or awesome receipt, please share.