Women Self-Defense Workshop

At K2 Martial Arts and Fitness in Barrhaven, we did our first women self-defense workshop. It was a fantastic turnout.  We had women of all ages and all walks of life come out.   Self-defense for women is not about creating fear, but instead it’s about building your confidence to deal with any type of situation that may or may not come your way.  Violence against women is all around us and we should all be prepared on how to deal with these types of situations.

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Self-defense courses and workshops a great tool to help women understand different types of dangers and how to react to them.  It is important to keep in mind, that you need to practice self-defense and build that muscle memory.  This is why martial arts training is so important, you can build your confidence, strength, endurance and fitness all at the same time you learn to defend yourself.

 

K2 Martial Arts Women's Self Defence workshop with Delphie Dugal-Tessier copy

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

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

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

Never give up

Never give up

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is literally a physical and emotional rollercoaster.  One minute you feel invincible and the next you feel like you have never grappled a day in your life.  And all of this can happen in only one class!  As a new white belt, black belt can seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb.  But, always remember, every black belt started as a white belt, and they never gave up.

Every time you step on those mats, you are one step closer to achieving your goals: the only thing you need to do is not to give up.  You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.  The harder you work, the more rewarding it will be.  When you do achieve your goals, do yourself a favour and set a new one right away. The journey is never over: It is always the start of a new beginning.

Never give up

Never give up

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.

A girls’ best friends

A girls’ best friends

The Martial Arts is more then just a traditional combat sport, unlike diamonds, it teaches self-defense, discipline, hard work, respect, honor and focuses on physical and mental health and fitness.  I don’t know about you but that sounds like a pretty good best friend to me.  Martial Arts is a best friend that will always be by your side as long as you dedicate yourself to it.  Best friends are all around us, in non-material art forms from Yoga, dance, sport, music, to painting.  Embrace these arts and they will never let you down.

I searched most of my life for the place where I belonged and in Martial Arts I found it.  From the moment I stepped foot on those mats, I promised myself to become the best Martial Artist I can be.

Find your non-diamond best friend :)

Ottawa BJJ Women A girls’ best friend

Breaking all barriers

Breaking all barriers

As some/most of you have heard or witnessed, there was history in the making this weekend by having the first UFC fight featuring women.  Even more groundbreaking, it was featured as the main event! Coming in as the favorite, Ronda Rousey did not disappoint with a first round finish with her signature move; arm bar from the mount.  No one will dispute it: Rousey is one mean fighting machine.  She has all the qualities, and heart and soul to be a fighting legend, both genders combined.  Also, let’s not forget Liz Carmouche, who was absolutely amazing.  She is relentless and fearless, a fighter who went for the kill (which she almost succeeded).  Both these fighters represented women’s MMA on the centre stage, they went in for the fight, and showed the world that women can and DO belong in the ring.

Barriers are broken every day; just look at Danica Patrick, the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500.  Don’t ever let someone tell you it isn’t possible.  UFC president Dana White said there would NEVER be any women fighting in the UFC and now? 10 Bantamweight women have signed contracts with the UFC.

UFC is ultimately an entertainment business, and Rousey and Carmouche’s fight showed that women’s MMA is as entertaining as men’s.  One thing: I hope that women’s UFC doesn’t live and die with Rousey’s career.  Carmouche proved that there is talent beyond Rousey and I am very excited to see her fight again and hopefully these two fighters will go at it again: Rousey vs Carmouche II.

Ladies, always follow your dreams. Barriers are meant to be broken: Let’s break them and show every girl with a dream that anything is possible.

Ronda Rousey, you looked super cute with your sports bra, but Lululemon makes more supportive and appropriate sports bras for our sport, aka fighting. Instead of a breathe-easy bra, why not go with an energy or all sports bra. You can still double them up and that way, you won’t have to keep pulling it up.

Ottawa BJJ Women Breaking barriers Ronda Rousey

Motivation

Everyone will lack or has lacked motivation at some point during their training; this is completely natural.  What you have to watch out for is that inner voice rationalizing why the lack of motivation is a good thing.   Losing your motivation can lead to guilt (guilt of missing training), which can then lead into even less motivation, creating a dangerous downward spiral.  The secret is to break that spiral by showing up to class.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will attend ‘‘X’’ amount of classes in a given week. I can promise you, you might not want to train on a given day but when you do arrive to class, you will forget all the negative thoughts that you had related to training.  The repercussions of doing this are staggering: You will feel better and forget all the reasons and excuses that you had to avoid training, creating an uphill spiral (wanting to train more). I am strictly speaking of a motivational aspect and not other legitimate reasons preventing someone from training :). If you can make it, train as hard as you can :)

Looking forward to see everyone in class this week.

Ottawa-BJJ-Women-motivation-no-one-can-defeat-you