Monday, April 23, 2012

Mind vs. Body-Frenemies Unite for the Common Good

The body has its way of slamming on the breaks and bringing your world to a screeching halt when it needs to be heard. To some it may seem like you've been blindsided, especially when you've ignored the warning signs like I did.

I consider myself to be a pretty intuitive and in tune with my body, but I realized lately that I have some really selective hearing combined with a really stubborn nature. I really am my father's daughter. However, no matter how stubborn and abusive I can be to my body it isn’t long before it throws a wrench in the gears and I have no other choice but to slow down and play by the rules.

I realize now that my mind has been telling me lies like: “It's normal that your knee pops" or "Shut up and don't be such a biatch, you stupid knee! “  Meanwhile my body has been pleading "No!!! Listen to me!  Listen to me! One more time is closer to your last! Warning! Warning!”

This battle between my mind and my body has been going on for close to ten months. Finally, last week my body got my undivided attention. Of course, only I could injure my knee in the most classic "Peter Griffin" fashion.

It was really very simple. All I was doing was sitting in guard and when I went to move, I rolled over my knee and it popped again.  But this time it didn't immediately pop back in like it usually does. To make matters worse, as I reached back to drag myself away I heard my thumb make a loud crack followed by horrendous pain. The most embarrassing part was this happened during the instructional portion of class and I was the "dummy".

I knew something was wrong after I tried to brush it off and keep going, but I was quickly pounded by a monstrous wave of pain radiating throughout my body. My knee was locked bent and hurt no matter how I rested it. My teammates later told me I looked like I was "giving birth" based on my facial expressions and cries of agony. I’ve never had a baby, and I hope it isn’t that bad, but this was the most excruciating pain I've ever experienced. I felt like my knee was hanging on by a twisted and mangled thread.  I could not walk. 

 I don't know how I slept through the night without pain meds, but when I woke up the next day I was at a level 8-9 in pain.  My whole leg was throbbing and my knee was destroyed.  I couldn't walk. I had to scoot around my house in an office chair because I didn't have crutches.  I called around and everyone told me to go to the ER.  I went and it ended up being a complete waste of time and money. I got some crutches, a leg brace, X-Rays and pain meds and I was sent home.

 Then, still in misery, I made the mistake of taking a trip down memory lane and decided to watch one of my old matches. This was the worst decision ever. All it did was make me feel depressed and remind me of how much I really miss competing.  I miss the level of dedication and self-development that competition brings. I miss eating GJJ for breakfast lunch and dinner. I couldn’t help but feel like I was even further away from returning to competition than before. 

I also couldn’t help feeling frustrated that this happened just when I was starting to be comfortable on the mats again and moving forward in my training.  For every step forward, I feel I am limping back even more.

Big wahhhh, I know.

Now, I could just sit around and throw myself a pity party, but I know there is a reason I've been sidelined again. Over the past few years I've come to the realization that everything happens for a reason and I just have to stay positive and keep moving forward.  I'm trying to understand what my body, the universe, or powers to be are trying to tell me. I have yet to figure it out, it could be that selective hearing again.

Even though I miss training and competing from my very core, I decided that I have another purpose, to finally properly take care of my knee.  Once I decided that, as if by “magic”, I found an excellent doctor who knows about sports injuries and has already helped me tremendously. He also told me that pain is the sign of distress within the body and that that conventional medicine, (synthetic drugs), tend to mask these alarms.  So, I decided not to take the painkillers I got from the Emergency Room also because they made me sick. So, you got my attention body, I'm listening!!!!

A letter to my body:

Dear Body,

I got your message last week and although I wanted to throw it in the trash and ignore it like I usually do, you played dirty and you got my attention! Well played my friend. I'm now at your mercy.

Body, you can be such a jerk! I really wanted to punch you in the face for messing up my plans last weekend and pissing all over my b-day...but now I forgive you.  I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, but I realize you were just looking out for us. I am sorry for calling you a biatch all the time and for telling you to shut up. I should have listened.

I admit that I did things the hard way. I enjoyed messing with you and took you for granted.  Those days are behind us now. I realize that we really are stuck with each other whether we like it or not. So I'd like to offer an olive leaf, as a gesture of peace. We might as well work together. Who really knows how much time we have left? Perhaps if we work together that time might just be a bit longer.

Looking forward to working with you.  Thank you for looking out for us. I'm listening now, so let's do this.

P.S. Even though a part of me will always want to sabotage our efforts, know I'm trying to change my ways. Please forgive me for being a douchebag. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Perfect Day to Learn with Master Royler Gracie at Gracie Humaitá Austin

There aren't many words to say after experiencing this Saturday’s seminar with Master Royler Gracie other than, “Holy Shiznit"!!! It was mind blowing!  The seminar was three hours of self-defense, sport Jiu-Jitsu, transitions, submissions, positions, fundamentals, advanced moves and much more. 

It was inspiring to see fifty people on the mats at one time from five different schools coming together to learn and better themselves through the teachings of Master Royler Gracie.  Royler's larger than life presence and fluidity on the mats was captivating. His record and the legacy of champions he has bred, is a testament to his level of dedication and passion for Jiu-Jitsu. Royler’s charismatic nature and humorous disposition made for an upbeat and fun atmosphere. Royler has perhaps the most striking resemblance to his father and also possesses the same loving spirit of all the Gracie's I've met so far. It is this same love that has been passed on and brings us all together within our Jiu-Jitsu communities.    

I was especially excited about a few moves I'd seen before, and at the seminar I learned some details I had been missing. With lots of practice I hope to implement them into my game...eventually.  Practice, practice, practice makes perfect.  

I've never been let down by a Gracie Humaitá seminar.  After experiencing my second Royler seminar I am reassured once again that I've chosen the right team and family for me.  Thank you Royler Gracie, Donald Park, and Gracie Humaitá Austin for this amazing seminar.  Much success to all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

Check out some of the amazing shots I captured at this seminar. 

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Academy Hunting Homework #6: Gracie Barra North Austin

Last but not least in my journey, I want to share my experience at Gracie Barra North Austin. The only formal class I took there was the women's class with Professor Fabiana Borges.  But I also attended Fabiana's Women’s only rape prevention seminars, their one year anniversary and other special events like Austin Women’s Open Mat and most recently Girls in Gis, both of which Fabiana instructed. 

Fabiana is one of those warm and friendly people that when you first meet, it is as though you’ve known her forever.  Fabiana possesses both a childlike innocence and wisdom beyond her years.  I could tell by the way she connects with people and her loving nature that she is a true Carioca.  

At the free women's only rape prevention seminar at Gracie Barra N. Austin, I didn't know what to expect, as I had never trained at a Gracie Barra affiliation or with Fabiana before. The seminar was full of useful self-defense information. It began with a warm-up, technique and concluded with structured rolling.  I remember leaving this experience thinking,  "Holy crap, this woman knows her stuff!”  I couldn't wait to train with her again.  

  The next time I trained at Gracie Barra N. Austin with Fabiana was at their women's class on Friday from 7-8p.  The majority of the women in the class are privileged to train with her on a regular basis.  The class began with a warm up, technique, drilling and then structured rolling.  Once again my training experience exceeded all of my expectations.  I strongly encourage everyone to attend and take advantage of this opportunity to train with central Texas' only female black belt.  She is a gifted instructor and talented athlete.  These classes are ongoing and open to everyone, even non-Gracie Barra students.  

Again, since I only went to one class, I couldn't say that I have a grasp of how a regular class is run at Gracie Barra North Austin, but I did gain an understanding of how Fabiana teaches. Gracie Barra N. Austin has a great team of professors, students and staff.  They live up to their slogan "Jiu-Jitsu for everyone", since they have been extremely generous with their time and resources to the community as a whole.   

Fabiana and Gracie Barra N. Austin also generously volunteered to host two women's groups that I organized, Girls in Gis and Austin Women’s Open Mat.  Fabiana did a fantastic job of leading the groups.  Girls raved about her events and they were smash hits.  Her association also played a large role in collecting donations for the Girls in Gis Wish List Donation Drive benefiting SafePlace Austin-a local Women’s shelter.  Fabiana volunteers her time and self-defense knowledge to their clients.  Her kindness is a representation of the spirit of giving and love that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu embodies.  

Carioca’s don't typically leave Rio and if they do they always return. When I was in Rio, Carioca’s thought it was weird that I left my home of Hawai`i to live in Texas.  Having such strong family values and love for their city and country is one of the reasons that Rio is always home for Carioca’s. Fabiana is one of the brave that ventured to America in search of fulfilling her dreams.  I applaud her courage.   She is an asset to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and we are honored to have her in Texas. Thank you for everything Fabiana Borges and Gracie Barra N. Austin.  Congrats to Fabiana on winning silver in her division @ the Pan Ams!!!