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Time for another competition!!

15 Sep

My blog has been pretty slow lately, but life has been crazy.  My (not-so) new job has me working around 60 hours a week (probably more if I was honest but I’d rather not be), but I’ve been getting in to train at least 3-4 times a week which is pretty nice.  On Wednesdays, my midweek day off, I can usually get in twice, which definitely helps.  I’ve only been lifting 2-3 times a week if I’m lucky, but I’ve been making steady improvements in both my squat and deadlift, so at least they’re going somewhere. 

All of this basically boils down to the fact that I finally feel like I can be ready to compete again soon.  Las Vegas is great for tournaments, but it seems that this season has passed me by before I really got a chance to train hard.  Now that I’ve finally got a rhythm going, I think I can be ready for Grappler’s Quest in November and really feel like I prepared.  I wish I could have competed at the IBJJF Las Vegas open last month (FOUR women in my division!  That would have been unheard of in Tennessee!!), but I knew I wasn’t ready.  I had barely started training again by that point.

I have officially requested off of work for that day, and as soon as Fredson gets back from Brazil I’m going to tell him that I definitely want to compete.  Oh man, this is going to be painful…


Found it!

10 Jul

My new Las Vegas BJJ home, that is.  While Drysdale’s was really great and I could learn SO much there, it’s just too far to drive all the time.  I checked out Epic Training Center today, and while it was a little smaller than I expected, the instruction was top notch.  Fredson Paixao teaches all their BJJ classes (which ended up being a total of 7 students including myself–5 blues and two whites), which started with some technique and then moved on to open rolling.  I only had two rolls (maybe 7-10 minutes) and then Fredson had me sit out–I was completely exhausted.  Everyone was really nice, and they really want me to stick around, which I will definitely do.  Fredson also asked me if I was interested in competing, which I would love, if my schedule allows it.  It’s only 5 minutes from home, maybe even less, and about two minutes from work.  While I do wish there were some women (or more people in general, just for variety), what I got was pretty great and I can’t beat the commute.  Unfortunately, I made the deadly mistake of a) revealing I’m a vet, and b) jokingly referring to myself as “brown sugar”, as it has now stuck.  Oops. 

In other news, work is going well.  In addition to a wide variety of cats and dogs, I’ve seen some exotics which has been exciting.  It’s nice to actually be decent at something that others aren’t, although in their defense my school was great for it and I really learned a lot from my professors.  I love my new job!

Vegas, baby!!

28 Jun

That’s right–I’m finally here!  I start my new job over at Sunridge Animal Hospital in less than a week.  I got approved for my new place, a two-bedroom condo, and hopefully I’ll be able to move in by Thursday or Friday.  I’ve already met a few new friends, but I’m very grateful for the old ones that are here with me!

Also, I finally got a chance to roll again.  I went to Drysdale’s for a trial class, and it was pretty great.  Unfortunately, it’s about a half an hour away from where I work/live, so I don’t think it’ll be my main school, unless I only end up training on my days off (I have 10-hour shifts, and apparently most people end up staying an hour or so after to finish paperwork).  They were pretty cool with me coming in only once or twice a week and training at another school, but they said other schools might not be ok with it.  I do have one other school I would like to check out, and it’s super close to where I’m going to live.  Maybe that one will be awesome enough that I’m ok training there all the time.

I’m the VET!

23 May

I know, I know…it’s been far too long.  After my first week in Asheville, I went home for the weekend and somehow injured my one index finger during the Women’s class.  I had to stop the jiu jitsu so my finger could heal, although doing surgery every day for the two weeks that followed kind of sucked.  Then my very last rotation, Radiology, was really intense–not a whole lot during the day, but a LOT of studying every single night, so BJJ once again took a back seat.  But I passed, graduated, and now I’m a veterinarian!!

Humane Alliance externs

A small group from my class. We all interned at the Humane Alliance in Asheville at some point.

A lot of my family came, and we had a great time.  We hiked in the Smokies, ate some great food, and got to spend time together.  Of course, the week after (when I planned to attend my last few classes at KnoxBJJ) I had a cold, so I couldn’t train.  However, I went in on Tuesday, the day before I left Knoxville, just to say goodbye.  Instead, I was surprised.

my delicious goodbye cake!

They ended the basics class, awarded some stripes (Congrats Michelle and Ryan!  Well deserved!!)  and then called me onto the mat to say a few words.  They were all very sweet, and then Ian brought out this cake and started talking and of course I started crying.  One of my coaches said something along the lines of how I was “a little less tough than a coffin nail” (nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me!), and then we took some pictures (which I have yet to see) and had cake.  After which they were to continue with their knee-on-belly lesson.

Anyways, since then, I’ve made my way back home to Long Island.  I’m not planning on training again until I get to Las Vegas, but I might take a class or two while I’m on vacation in Hawaii with my family.  I was planning on working out and at least trying to get in shape again, but somehow being home always makes me so lazy.  I guess I’ve earned a break, though, because soon enough I’m gonna be the vet!


Asheville Food Tour, Part I

1 Apr

I’m usually not a huge foodie, but I’ve heard Asheville is known for its eateries and all-around vegetarian friendliness (also microbreweries, but I’m not really a beer drinker).  I had to take advantage of it, so unfortunately for my wallet (but lucky for my tastebuds!) I’ve been going out to eat as much as possible.  I want to go somewhere different every single time, since I’m only here for three weeks.  So far, I’ve been to:

1. Chai Pani–this was on the recommendation of the New York Times’ 36 Hours in Asheville, N.C. article.  It’s located in downtown, which meant parking was icky, but it’s really pretty in that area, and it’s nice to walk around.  It’s has a cozy atmosphere, the staff was friendly, and the food was pretty good.  I had a bhel puri and aloo tikki chaat. I’ll admit, I’ve had better bhel puri, but then again I’m also completely spoiled when it comes to Indian food.  The aloo tikki chaat was really tasty, and not too spicy.

2. Wasabi–another downtown restaurant, this one was (rather obviously) a Japanese sushi place.  I came here with one of my classmates who is also on externship with me, on the recommendation of our supervising veterinarian.  Unfortunately, there weren’t any specials going on, so it wasn’t super cheap, but the wild mushroom+cream cheese and the inari avocado rolls were quite excellent.

3. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge–this was also at our supervisor/teacher’s (Dr. Saxton’s) suggestion, and we came here after the sushi.  They have all sorts of chocolate truffles, chocolate drinks, chocolate desserts, coffee, and tea.  It’s a nice place to hang out as well.  I wanted something a little sweet and a little spicy, so I got the hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne ganache.  It was thick and rich and delicious.  Renee (my classmate) got a coconut macaroon brownie in addition to her hot chocolate, and she graciously let me try a piece.  Let’s just say it’s a really good thing I don’t actually live in Asheville, because I’m pretty sure I’d be moving up a weight class or two pretty quickly.

4. Lucky Otter–again, at the suggestion of Dr. Saxton.  This place is not in downtown, so parking was easy.  It’s a sort of hip little place, with outdoor seating and a somewhat dim interior.  The lady at the register taking my order was super helpful since I had never been there before.  I got soft tacos (something delicious with pineapple and tofu), and they were HUGE, and came with a side of rice and beans.  Somehow I ate it all and I was stuffed all night long.

5. Mela–Dr. Saxton’s suggestion for Indian food.  This place was downtown as well, but there’s a parking garage not too far.  The ambiance is a little more upscale than Chai Pani, although the total cost was about the same (I went for the lunch buffet + chai).  It wasn’t the best Indian food I’d ever had, but it was pretty good and I was happy they had South and North Indian choices (yay for idli and sambhar!).  The chai was also pretty damn good–made the real way, with the boiled milk and ginger and cardamom.  Starbucks needs to take some serious lessons.

BJJ in Asheville, #1

29 Mar

I started my Humane Alliance externship in Asheville on Monday, and it’s been great!!  It’s a 2 week externship that teaches students how to perform high-quality, high-volume spays and neuters, and throughout the two weeks we also learn about the other parts of running a program like that, between transporting animals, selecting the right patients, what kind of peri-operative care they get, and so on.  Then I’m staying for an optional third week that’s all about surgery.  This morning didn’t start off so great, but my afternoon spay when a LOT better and with any luck, I’ll be spaying cats in under ten minutes when I’m done here! 

Last night I checked out the first of the Asheville-area BJJ schools on my list.  I went to Ichiban MMA, owned and run by BJJ black belt Erick Jordan.  Unfortunately, he was out of town, but one of his blue belts was teaching.  It was myself and another white belt in the class, which is actually bigger than normal.  Apparently the gi class is usually just Erick and the blue belt (whose name escapes me at the moment). 

The kids class was just wrapping up as I finished, and Blue got me signed in.  He got us stretching some, showed us a bow and arrow choke, and then we just rolled for awhile.  Apparently, the white belt (Ronnie) has done MMA for about a year, and was a wrestler, but this was his first gi class.  He was really nervous about it, but I went with him after rolling with Blue and it was obvious he knew what he was doing on the ground.  There was an accidental slam, and of course the obligate freak-out, but it got sorted quickly and we were both back to rolling.  I was playing mostly defense, and did get submitted a few times, but I think overall I did a pretty good job of frustrating their submission attempts.  Ronnie finally felt confident enough to roll with Blue, and then after that we went over a few gi grips.  I got in one more roll with Blue before the MMA class started. 

While the class wasn’t very structured, I still had a good time rolling.  Obviously when Erick is back in town I expect things will be a little different, but since the class is usually pretty small anyways it seems like it would be informal.  It seems like the school is more oriented towards the MMA and no-gi stuff, so I’ll definitely need to try a no-gi class (or at least a class when Erick is teaching). 

The basics:  There’s a nice big sign on the front, so it’s pretty easy to find.  There’s one bathroom for changing, and the mat fee is $10 (but Blue wouldn’t charge me).  The mat space wasn’t huge, but everything was pretty neat and clean. 

New Training Buddy

25 Mar

I intubated a lioness on Friday!!

Like this guy, but with fewer helping hands.


I was pretty excited to get it on the first try.  Cats can be difficult, and with big cats the bigger tubes can be floppy and don’t always go where you want them.  Plus, it’s hard to see all the way back there.  Clearly, I was meant to do this.

Saturday saw a great women’s class.  I finally convinced Rebecca to come in for a class, and it was a blast.  She hit it off great with Jess and Michelle, and we all had a blast rolling and chatting about being women in BJJ, or in their cases, work.  Turns out that Michelle and Rebecca know some of the same people through work, and it was hilarious listening to them talk about their jobs.

We started off class with a warm-up and then some rolling.  Rebecca and I rolled first, and it was pretty great for both of us.  I definitely had some height and weight on her, but for both of us it was the still the closest we’d ever come to finding someone our own size.  Even knowing that I was slightly bigger, she still felt tiny!  I can’t imagine what I feel like to bigger guys.  It was great knowing that whenever I got swept or couldn’t escape, it was pure technique–no muscling and definitely no fat boy jiu jitsu.  It makes me even more sad that I’m leaving Knoxville so soon, after having found such an awesome training buddy! I rolled with Michelle next, which is always great.  It was good to see that she could stand to roll so well after her surgery, and she’s even made progress since Monday as far as what she can do with her knee.

After, Jess went over some “small guy” techniques–her variation on the knee-through guard pass, and different ways to take mount from side control.  I always love when we go over the basics.  At some point we got so caught up in talking we just sort of stopped drilling until Michelle (the one white belt! lol) got us back on track.  After class, we took some pictures (which I plan on shamelessly stealing from Rebecca’s blog once she posts them) and discussed trying to start a women’s open mat in Knoxville.  Even if I’m gone, I really hope it works out.  In any case, I hope Rebecca comes back soon!

Open class started soon after, and I got my wish from Monday–we started drilling takedowns, and then went live for two minutes from the feet.  As always, the old “be careful what you wish for” adage remains true–a minute in, I brilliantly decided to headbutt my partner with my nose.  It’s not broken and it wasn’t bleeding, but it crunched loud enough for another blue belt to notice and check on me.  And of course, when I went to go ice it there was no ice in the freezer–go figure.  I decided to stay for the techniques and go next door to Walgreen’s for an instant ice pack during the rolling part of class, and we worked on some half-guard passes.

I’m starting an externship in Asheville, NC tomorrow, so I won’t be able to train during the week unless I find a school there (any suggestions?).  I’m planning on coming back for the weekends though, so at least I’ll be able to hit up Saturday classes…and pack…and start saying goodbye to my life in Knoxville.