Fourth of July

Middle Heavy, or Super Heavy? Yeah, I’ve been a failure at maintaining my competition weight. I’ve been eating healthy, but the scale is not moving where I’d like it to go. As usual – when I first start a diet, I feel more trim, and clothes are feeling loose, but the scale never wants to go down. Maybe it’s the protein, I don’t know.

My meals a few weeks ago looked like this:

Meal Prep for the week

And for the last week all my meals have looked like this (Protein + Veggies – less refined carbs) :

Chicken and Veggies

Perhaps it’s the chicken… I’m getting about 1700 calories a day.  Enough to train hard every day and feel strong.  I don’t want to compromise that.

As for skipping heavy weight – NY Open has no opponents at Heavy Weight, which would be perfect for me, but there’s one in Super Heavy – which is why I’m thinking of jumping all the way up. Hopefully she’s not TOOO much bigger than me and if she is, oh well.  I feel strong and I’m moving well.  At this point I have 5 lbs to go, and I don’t want to compromise hard training for making a weight class.  Usually this isn’t hard for me, but I’m thinking that I’m eating more protein than I normally do and this is why I’m heavier.  I did every single tournament last year at Middle Heavy.  This shouldn’t be so hard.

Today is July 4th. I’m debating this morning whether to suffer a bit and just stay healthy, or enjoy the holiday and say hello Super Heavy.  Let’s see how this goes….

Happy July 4th everyone!!

NY Open in a Few Weeks

Jeeezzz, last year I competed a ton.  I can’t believe it’s been a full year from all of the opens I did.  Registration for No-Gi Worlds just opened up, as well as Toronto.  Just feels like yesterday I took that long trip up to Canada.  Shooooot, time flies!

The last three months have been pretty fun.  I trained a little less than normal after moving, and for the last month I’ve been back on my regular schedule of training and drilling.  Technique wise, I’ve been opening up my game and working on new things.  A few new girls joined the school so that’s been good.   Also there were a lot of girl visitors getting ready for worlds who came by to train so that was nice.  Slowing things down a bit and opening up my game, I’m seeing improvement with my training.

I signed up for NY Open which is in a few weeks, so I’ve been training harder and upping the intensity.  Insane that they closed registration for this tournament so early!  Registration seems to close up earlier and earlier every year.  Glad I signed up last month.

I’m excited to compete in this one.  I’ve fixed a lot of mistakes and I’m trying new things, so I can’t wait to get out there and do my thing.  I know I’ll have some tough competition, so I’m making sure to prep well.  I’m happy there are two other opponents in my division.  Last year at blue belt medium heavy there was NO ONE!  I’m grateful that there’s a few purple belt girls in almost every weight class.  Now I just hope I make weight. haha!  It’s a struggle for me sometimes.  I love to eat.  Hopefully I won’t have to move to heavy weight.  I think the heat will help.  MGA gets RIDICULOUSLY HOT IN THE SUMMER.  It’s so bad that when you come out of the showers, you’re sweating again.  The heat is out of control and feels like a hot sauna, but thankfully, it doesn’t bother me so much or affect my training.  In general, I can keep pushing in 110 degree weather and not get too tired.  Must be my Caribbean roots haha.

No Competing, No Pressure

Lots of things have been going on in my life outside of bjj, so I’ve decided to take a break from competing for a little bit.  At least until the summer.  It was so weird to go to NY Open and not fight, but it was enjoyable to watch everyone and not have to stress being on a diet or drilling or doing extra conditioning.  I miss it a little bit sometimes, but I also appreciate not having that stress on me.  I’m having more fun training.  Doing things I don’t normally do.  Expanding my game.  I never do this when I compete.

When I get back to competing, I’ll focus on pushing myself, without putting pressure on myself to win.  What the heck is pressure anyway….Made up.  In your head.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Pans 2014

It was a good experience for my first purple belt tournament.  In all I am upset with myself with a few things that I did, but I got a lot out of this one, so it was worth it.

In my first fight in my division, I felt relaxed and ready to go.  Didn’t have crazy nerves right before the fight, just went in there and did my thing.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t really put myself in my position, and I started attacking something that I don’t do all the time successfully in training.  I guess it works (occasionally) but it wasn’t my A game.  I also got surprisingly tired.  Moving from a 6 minute blue belt match to a 7 minute purple belt match really hit me hard.  The last minute was grueling.  I must work on my cardio big time if I’m going to compete at that level again.

I made very basic fundamental mistakes that I shouldn’t be making anymore.  One of my teammates recorded me, and when I saw it again, I was cringing at the errors. I will not make them again.  I was upset after my fight because I thought I had the potential to do better.  I lost by 3 points, but I should have been much more aggressive.  Anyhow – I took my gi off right away and went up into the stands pissed at myself.  I watched the finals with the girl I had just fought.  She finished her opponent with an armbar and won the division and I thought shoot!  It could have been worse! At least I didn’t get tapped in my first purple belt tournament! Lol!  Yes, I said that to make myself feel better, but I still know I have A LOT to work on.

I went in with the mentality that I wasn’t going to do the open weight division if I lost.  Placing by default and knowing that there were a few other girls on my team competing who’d win and legit earn a spot kept me from putting my name on the list.  Out of curiosity, I had gone to the table for open weight registration to see who on my team signed up and only one girl did – there was one spot open.  It was the last minute and I said screw it, if no one wants to do it, I flew out here from NY, I better get a few more fights in!

I didn’t put much thought into it at all since I wasn’t going to do absolute till the last minute, but my very first fight out of the 13 purple belt girls who signed up was a good friend.  We were staying together for the trip.  I should have been prepared that it would be a possibility I’d fight her, but I didn’t even think of it and when I saw our names next to each other I was just like oh no.  I didn’t want to fight her, but since we are on different teams, we had to.  It was an excellent technical fight, but I let my emotions get involved too much.  I didn’t want to fight my friend, and honestly it was weird.  I didn’t give it my all.  I wasn’t hungry to win.  I dominated the beginning of the fight and didn’t attack really, she dominated the end and won.

I let my emotions get in the way of winning and I still can’t believe I did that.  I guess winning for me was never everything, but then I realized after the tournament, why do I bother flying out to the other side of the country and competing if I’m going to have an attitude like that?  In this trip I realized, if I’m not going to give it my all and leave it all out on the mat REGARDLESS of who I fight, it’s not worth doing it.  I trained hard for this, but I didn’t have that hunger to win.  The minute I get hungry and want it bad, that’s when I’ll compete again.  The biggest lessons I learned with this tournament is that I need to have better conditioning, work on my fundamentals and me being nice in a tournament —- yeah —– fuck that.

For now, I’m taking a little bit of a break from training.  Not sure if I’ll be gone a few days or a few weeks, but I have a lot going on.  I might not do NY open, like I normally do.  I’m moving away this week, and that’ll take up a lot of my time.  My head is not into getting ready for another competition right now.  I don’t want to burn myself out like last year.  So I’ll just come back when I feel like it and after I’m settled in my new place.

Here’s some pictures taken from Pans:

Focused before my first fight

Mental Focus in Sports – Part III Remove Distractions

Excelling in any sport mandates that you must resist distractions in the mind.  Whether before, during or after your performance – they can be internal fears: psychological, anxiety or self doubt.  They can also be external: ex – the chaotic loud environment sourounding you.  When you can keep your mind in the moment and not let your attenion leave you you can focus better.

Conserve your energy.  If you think of a match other than the one in front of you, you are wasting a precious resource, you’re taking focus away from the person you’re facing.  The only shot, is the next shot.  Never focus on something that happened in the past or worry about the future.  Lost to someone before?  No problem – get back in there and do your thing.  Beat them before?  Don’t assume it will be a walk in the park.

If you find yourself becoming anxious, all you have to do is focus on what’s in front of you right now and your anxiety will dissipate.  The quality of our performance is a function of the intensity of our focus.  If you want to perform at the highest level, you must learn to be absorbed in the reality of what you’re doing while not being distracted.

It is human nature to focus on results, however if you want to win, you have to realize that many things are needed to make this happen.  You must have executed some good sweeps, takedowns, guard passes, back takes, secured dominant positions and win on points or finish your opponent with a submission before you can get to the top of that podium.  You have to be crystal clear on what it is that you are going to do.  Focus on the process first and the result will come later.

You must remember that you can’t control what other people do, but you can control what you do first and how you react.  You must visualize what you want to do.  Do it with conviction and without doubt, and if it did not work, you must clear your mind and do it again without being distracted or upset that it did not work the first time around.

Get absorbed in the match by having fun!  Focus on what you’re doing and block outside disruptions. Conserve your energy.  Learn to differentiate what you have control over and what you don’t and focus on what you can control. It is also important to focus on the process.  You will win if you focus on how you will make it happen, not just the end result.  Ultimately you need to do things in order to win, so don’t worry about the result, worry about what you’re going to be doing to your opponent in every match and you will get far in every tournament!

Mental Focus in Sports Part II – Keep it Simple

Learning to keep things simple follows preparation.  If you’ve prepared, it’s now time to focus on what’s in front of you and commit to the execution of your gameplan.  When highly skilled golfers overthink their shot, they they throw their timing off and choke.  Keep it simple, don’t over think and you will perform your best. Have a simple and consistent routine and you will win.

Just do it.  You’ve practiced it, now you have to use it.  Don’t do other things that you wouldn’t do when you practice.  Remember to trust yourself and stop worrying.  Remember to think of it as one match at a time.  Don’t fast forward and think of other matches.  Focus on what’s in front of you, then move on to the next match and do the same thing.  If it worked the first time flawlessly it will work again.

It’s human nature to react to stressful situations by feeling the need to do something extra.  But doing something extra is what leads us away from what we need.  We need to trust in our own training. When you think you attain something special you don’t.  When you give up no longer wanting something special, you do something special.  Over trying impedes our ability.

Do what you know. Period.  Stay committed regardless of the circumstance and you will do well in the tournament.  Don’t bail on your regular routine because something distracts you.  Doesn’t matter who your opponent is, just go for your moves.  You can only control what you do, not what your opponent does.

The more complicated the task, the harder it is to trust yourself.  Complexity creates doubt and makes us second guess our own instincts.  If we keep it simple, trust comes naturally.  The easy way to develop trust in your performance is to see the task in your minds eye and transfer the visualization into action.  Our mind does the best when we see the whole situation.  When we see the whole we can simplify. An athlete gets into trouble with himself when he second guesses himself and doubts what he already knows.

Bottom line – Trust your brain, keep it simple and stay positive and you will have the edge every time.

Smashed

Training was really rough last night with all of us getting really rough for Pan Ams.  Last night was brutal.  It was one of those days where you just roll straight for an hour without stopping.  I kept going, but my body didn’t want to.  Thoughts of why I do this sport ran through my head.  In the end – if you want to be the best…you have to train with the best.  Endure that rough training during class, and the competition will be a breeze.lions