Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Brazilian jiujitsu for women

While at each competition I go to I see more and more female competitors they are still a pretty small group in comparison to the number of guys there. When I think back to my first experience of Brazilian jujitsu I guess it was a bit daunting soo i thought I would write a little guide for any girls thinking about or new to the sport.

1) Attire: Brazilian jiujitsui (BJJ) is a martial art that involves allot of grappling or wrestling (rolling in bjj terms). When you arrive to your first class you may not have a gi handy or want to commit to buying one as they can be quite expensive. Its important to wear big pants (underwear knickers lol) or cycling shorts 1)because less substantial pants are most likely going to get pretty uncomfortable and 2) you don't want any one to see your butt if your gi pants or shorts fall down! The same goes for your top half try and wear a decent sports bra and a rash guard style top.

The best place to buy rash guards is online, ebay have loads if your on a budget with prices starting from about 8 quid, while websites such as caged steel do some more expensive ones specifically for grappling and mixed martial arts. I really like the look of some of the stuff on and might order some if i ever have money again! Primark and sports world are great stockists of pants and cheap leggings to wear under your gi or shorts. For anyone looking to buy a gi for the first time I've heard that feral gi (search for it on ebay) are good quality and relativly cheap (38 quid)

2) Health and hygiene: Theres no denying it after a training session of brazilian jiujitsu be it your first class or just a particularly intense one, you are bound to feel short term muscle fatigue over the next few days. I find that the best way to combat this is with proper nutrition, some good supplements and a nice muscle rub cream. A couple of hours before training I try to eat a meal with a good amount of complex carbohydrates to give me plenty of energy for training. While some people like to cut carbs I find i always need a little immediately after training to replenish glycogen stores, maybe half a carb drink or some wholewheat toast with peanut butter and either a protein shake or a salad with chicken or fish. this is just what works for me atm as I'm not cutting weight. For anyone interested in learning more about nutrition watch this space will post a more detailed ramble about it soon. I get loads of bruises training, taking vitamin C supplement and using Arnica cream can reduce the look of bruises although this isn't something that really bothers me 2 much.

When considering long term health, the addition of supplements including gluscosamine sulphate or fish oils containing omega 3 and 6 to keep your joints healthy is important, as chronic over-use injuries can sometimes occur through excessive training. Your hair will probably start to suffer after a while so invest in some good conditioner and snag free hairbands to avoid it getting damaged, a multivitamin can also help to combat damage. (this is probably the most girly thing i will ever admit to being concerned about but hey I like my hair)
Its a good idea to have a stock of tiger balm, deep heat, pain killers, plasters, bandages, ice packs-in essence a first aid box- just in case.

Hygiene: try and ensure yourself and your gi are clean when training as this helps to prevent build up and spreading of germs and bacteria! I would recommend using an antibacterial body wash or wipes immediatley after training. I recently got an infected fingernail from not taking enough care so now will be stocking up on that dry antibacterial handwash stuff as it is probablly one of the lesser gross things you can get and it killed, when I was training in thailand some people were getting ringworm and other nasties so make sure and keep clean!!!

On that note, theres no such thing as nice nails after you've been training for a while (i still paint mine from time to time but they always get trashed in training) the best thing to do is keep the short otherwise they will break or even more painful get bent back, theres also the risk of scratching people.

These are all things that I've learnt while training bjj for the last year, as there is often a lack of girls training there is hardly ever anyone to offer advice to girls just starting out. While i guess that it maybe a bit embarrassing for some guys to point out, In the worlds of ray elbe my first grappling coach - yeah you can wear your thai shorts to train but make sure your not wearing no granny panties! -

Bjj is a great way to get fit, loose weight, and in my opinion the best martial art for females to learn. I have only been training about a year and met so many great people, and still get as excited about learning a new technique or pulling off a submission as I did in my first class, in fact i probably get more obsessed with the sport each class. So despite the some what scary first impression you may get of a room full of men grunting and rolling around on the floor, give it a go and stick with it and you'll be glad you did!

Monday, 22 June 2009

British open 2009

This weekend me, alex, lee, pete and Sophie travelled up to Birmingham from ebo to compete in the British open. We were part of the BTT/pedro bessa team and have been training from about September. I didn't really feel ready for this competition but as its the biggest competition in the UK i decided to man up so to speak and go for it. At 3.30 my alarm started blaring girls aloud waking me from my 3 hours of sleep, there was just about enough time to scoff some cereal, throw on my juicy tracky and walk round to lee's. The drive up wasn't too bad i managed to nap for about an hour and listen to my jujitsu play list on my ipod which consists of a lot of loud pumped up music and then we were there- half an hour before the place actually opened but better early than late! (Tolly would have been horrified at our tres uncool early arrival time)

I'm starting to recognise most of the girls on the competition scene. My first fight was against Emma leavy she pulled guard and i passed and went to side control don't remember much from it but i won on points. My second fight was against lauren reed who i had fought before at the Bristol open. I really enjoyed this match, i think we are pretty well matched strength wise, she got me with a kul sweep but I won in the end with a rear naked choke. Just saw on efn that they have the results wrong grrrr I'm listed as joint bronze as Raquel what cheek haha. We also discovered some of the medals were spelt wrong (not mine luckily but Alex's was). Sophie did really well beating her first opponent Camilla parker, her next fight against Megan mcgreggor started off really well with soph getting an awesome take down but unfortunately got caught out with a guillotine choke.

The rest of the guys did well with alex winning gold in white belt light weight and pete coming second in white belt heavy category. Lee did well too for his first competition but unfortunatly got arm bared with like 2 seconds to go! Despite not feeling 100% i'm glad I went to this competition, I think that its the best way to test out the moves you remember and see what you need to work on. Theres about a month before the next grab and pull tournament and I'm looking forward to getting back to training properlly. Think me alex tolly and lee are going up to slough to train at btt which will be good.

Saving for thailand is going slooowly temping agency is coming up with minimum wage job after job but fingers crossed!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Beach work out and the week before British Open

Well I have to say that the last few weeks havn't involved much training. First of all I had the last of my university deadlines to get in and then I got this mole on my arm which had to be removed so,,, while I was waiting for my surgery I wasn't allowed to train and now I have stitches so it will still be another week until I can get back to training properly which sucks! I was stuck in a bit of a self pity rut until last night when me and alex watched legacy, the film about renzo gracie (pic of me at RGA new york), and I made a promise to my self that I would drag my lazy ass down to the beach to do some cardio and strength work to keep myself motivated.

Beach work out! Brighton is a pebbly beach and 2 minutes away from where we live its generally quiet. I was in a good mood when I woke up to see that the sun had disappeared and it was a grey overcast day haha I'm not really a sun lover as i get burnt within 20 minutes of being outside! started off my jogging to the beach and doing a few laps weaving between the wooden posts. I decided I would sprint a length, run round the posts and then chose 4 exercises to do when I got back round sprint run 50 crunches " "50 sit ups " "50 leg raises " "50 V sit ups 2 minutes break " "50 squats " "50 side kicks " "lunges (just along the same length i sprinted) 2 minutes break

After this my legs were kinda dead so I just did 30 triceps dips and push ups on this wooden log and some shadow boxing but I'm going to try and buid it up so I can keep running more. It did prove to be a good workout though The British open is only a week away, I think I'm registered to fight in the under 64 cater gory which should be fine I weighed 61.4 in the morning yesterday so as long as i eat well this week and keep up with cardio should be fine. I'm kinda nervous about this just becasue I havnt been able to train properly with these stitches in, ah well I love competitions so will just have to hope I remember everything and havnt lost too much strength!