Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shhhh....shhhhh....go to sleep.

In my seven and a quarter years of training Brazilian jiu jitsu I have never choked someone unconscious until a few days ago. I've seen it happen to people in tournaments before and a few times in class. Typically most people tap, but sometimes if the choke is too quick they can not tap in time, or if the person is too stubborn and they just don't want to admit they lost.

I won't say any names as to who it was that I caught the other day. I will say that it was no easy task since he's one of the toughest blue belts in our academy. I had him in a loose triangle from the guard. I was having some difficulty closing it off and I felt him struggling to get out. Somehow managed to get both hands in the collar for a cross collar choke. Even though my grips were deep, I still had my doubts as to the effectiveness of the choke due to the angle. But I was determined to either finish it or get him to move so I could close off the triangle. I simply refused to let go.

The more time passed, the more impatient I got. It seemed like I had the choke for a good solid 30 seconds or so. My grips were starting to fatigue, but the choke was in good and no matter what I was not letting go. I knew it was just a matter of time before he would tap. Once I heard that snoring type noise from all the air getting sucked into his lungs, I knew I was getting close to finishing. I've had others make that noise with me before and it is usually quickly followed by a tap. I held on tight waiting for that tap to come....and it didn't. Next thing I know he is drooling on my pants leg and that's when I realized he was out.

Quickly I let go and moved him onto his back and elevated his legs to get the blood back to his brain. He woke up almost immediately and had a puzzled expression on this face. He asked "how long was I out?". It had only been a few seconds. He said that he could hear himself snoring in his dreams. He was confused and thought that we had just let him take a nap on the mats. It had seemed like he was out for a long time in his head. He said that last thing he remembered was thinking he needed to tap and then the tunnel closed in and off to dreamland he went.

Even though I know that if you don't tap you pass out, this experience still scared the crap out of me. For him on the other hand, (being the bad ass that he is), he shrugged it off and was ready to go only a few minutes later despite my insisting that he relax for a bit. Apparently I was more worried than he was.

Even though I may put on a "tough" face, I really don't want to hurt someone and I genuinely feel bad when I do. Even if it's in competition and winning is on the line, the last thing I want to do is cause another person harm. However, it is my opponent's responsibility just as it is mine to look out for our own safety. We need to realize that tapping out does not mean you are a "loser" if there is no way out, it means you are being smart. Everyone needs to tap out sometime. This is a dangerous sport we compete in and if you don't realize that then you are in the wrong sport. It is crucial, in my opinion to have good sportsmanship and be a good person in general. Nonetheless, I want to win just as badly as the next person and I will go for broke if I have to. So bottom line, feeling guilty is not the way to go but being a responsible competitor is!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I ain't no super hero...

I am one of those people who is cursed with the condition of becoming bored easily. Boredom and I have had our battles and as far as I am concerned, boredom is my #1 enemy. So in order to overcome this, I am constantly finding ways to keep my brain and body active in order to escape the grips of what I consider "death"(boredom).

So what is my medicine? To do as much as I can all at once! Yes indeed, the more the merrier! Bring it on! I consider my self to be a performer in the circus of my life. I am usually playing a juggling tight rope walker. I see my life as a carefully orchestrated balancing act where I am constantly juggling work, my business, school, jiu jitsu and my personal life. I am happiest when I am running a mile a min. and feeding off a full plate.

It seems as though there is always something more to do and never enough hours in a day for all of it. If only I could be a super hero. I wouldn't have to eat and I'd never need to sleep. I'd love to have super human strength, move lightening fast and never feel fatigue. These powers would give me a whole new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. Not to mention I would be amazing at BJJ. But to my dismay, I am only human and without super powers.

When I was in my early 20's I remember my loved one saying that I just needed to relax. Relax? What is that? Pfft, I'll relax when I am dead. I am one of those people who can operate at a high level of stress on a regular basis. I've been told in the past that I only have two settings, on and off.

However, as I've grown older I've come to realize that I need "me time" just as much as I need to rush to escape boredom. Without "me time" I am not the same Shama that I know and love. So I've learned how to "slow my roll". By listening to my body and to that inner voice that looks out for my best interest, I now know that I can not operate at 100% all the time. I am not invincible and I am susceptible to illness, disease and other elements associated with stress just like anyone else. I need to RELAX every once in a while. Sometimes doing nothing is okay. Sometimes that's what I need to do in order to be a happy, healthy and functioning person.

I have to admit even now, it is not always easy for me to slow down when I need to. I struggle with learning what it really means to be good to myself. Sometimes that inner voice is drained out by the rest of the world around me. I've come to understand that knowing when to "tap out" is just as important and "winning" the battles against boredom. And although super hero powers would be awesome, I think that if I had super hero powers I'd be back to square one and life would be just as boring with out any of the challenges we face as humans.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Schedule of Tournaments

April 8-11 Los Angeles CA

MAY 22
Fort Worth TX

JUNE 3-6 Los Angeles CA

Grapplers Quest

Australian Champions Cup - Saturday 18th September + Sunday 19th September - Craigie Leisure Centre, Whitford Avenue, Craigie, Perth Australia

SEPTEMBER 18, 2010

Aloha State Championship
of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

November 2010



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To cut or not to cut...that is the question.

It's no secret that I love food. Perhaps too much at times. Especially when I am in Hawaii where there's a wide variety of my most favorite fatty foods just at my finger tips. Needless to say, I've put on a few pounds after my most recent trip back home. Of course I've got superficial reasons why I want to drop the weight but this year I've got an even bigger incentive. My sights are set at winning the gold at the 2010 Pan Ams. But I've got my work cut out for me! The Pan Ams are in less than a month and I am raging a serious war on that extra weight. Yet most importantly, I've got my game face on and an undying desire to win.

There are a lot of different opinions on the topic of cutting weight. Some people say that it is not healthy, makes you weak and is in fact a disadvantage. Others see it as a strategy to win. My natural weight is right at the bottom of one division and just a few pounds over the top of another. I have personally fought at both my natural weight and have cut weight to the division below. I know based on past experience that if you cut weight right and do it in a healthy way it can be an advantage. However, I have had to learn the hard way, that depending on the tournament, sometimes cutting weight is pointless and just an added stress.

The first time I decided to cut weight for a tournament in Texas I spent a good few weeks prior the event dropping weight. I then found out the only other blue belt weighed in 30 lbs over my natural weight. Never again.

The trick to cutting weight and staying healthy is to balance what you eat and the amount of exercise you do. Too often these days we are looking for instant gratification through crash diets and the various fad dieting that come along. The most dangerous types of diets are those that promote starvation.

Starving yourself is dangerous. Eating less than 1500 calories a day, will plummet your metabolism. Your body goes into starvation mode which means it will hold onto every ounce of substance you consume for as long as possible. Once you start eating normally again (assuming you do), your body will continue to hold onto everything, and you'll gain everything back you lost plus some. So in the long run, starvation diets will cause you to gain weight.

Starving will lead to a loss of muscle mass, instead of fat mass. If your body eats at your muscle mass because you're starving yourself, then you will lose the ability to burn up those extra calories. Starving yourself will do damage to your body, which could be permanent. Your body will feed on itself, and will deplete the proteins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. Your heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, everything will suffer from malnutrition. As the body begins to feed on muscles, your heart (the largest muscle in the body) will weaken. You'll become dizzy often as your heart will have trouble supplying your body the right amount of oxygenated blood to your organs, brain, and extremities. Passing out is a high probability, and you'll run an extreme risk of organ failure and heart failure. Starving yourself can kill you.

I hate running with a passion, but I've found it has the best results when wanting to lose weight. My work out consists of: 15-20 hours a week in Jiu Jitsu, 6 hours a week in weight training, yoga 2 hours a week, run about 25-30 miles a week and I am hoping to incorporate crossfit into the mix shortly if they incorporate it into my gym.

As for my diet, when I am burning off all those calories, it is crucial that I am properly fed. I have cut dairy products, sugars, whole grains and starches out of my diet almost entirely. I eat a lot of veggies (my favorites are Brussels sprouts, avocado, broccoli, kale), fresh fruit (pineapple, berries, mango), fish (Salmon and Mahi Mahi are my favorites), Kambucha, nuts (brazilian nuts and almonds are my favorite), Zinco coconut water, Acai, egg whites and protein shakes. Most importantly I make sure to take my vitamins. I take fish oil, vitamin E, C, B, Iron supplements, calcium supplements, selenium, zinc and Echinacea.

By no means do I claim to be a health, fitness or nutritional expert. All in all, you know your body best and what works for you and what doesn't. I have simply found what has worked for me. I have also found that having a happy disposition and living a stress free life contributes to my over all well being. Not to mention having a positive state of mind contributes to my success on the mats. So the long and short of it is. live healthy, be happy and never stop challenging yourself.