Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Doing things I never thought I would...

Every time I take the changes training BJJ brings to your life for granted, I get a reminder...

I was at Panera Bread with a group from my church tonight. The one I frequent has one of the little, side meeting rooms that closes off from the restaurant with two doors. We were chatting and out of nowhere, heard a crowd cheering and a boxing bell sound twice. I joked that someone was watching TV, but noticed the entire restaurant was looking around. In particular though, was one man in a leather jacket with a motorcycle helmet who looked especially frazzled and profoundly irritated. He kept looking in the direction of the noise and eventually, as I knew he would, got up and walked toward it. He said some words, the volume dropped and he returned to his seat, seemingly even more agitated. As he sat, the volume increased. I looked back and saw his jaw clench and shoulders tighten. I cracked another joke about a fight about to happen...but something in me knew it was a real possibility. Training has somehow made me more sensitive to fine changes in aggression, especially in men.

I got up, left the room and came out to find a boy in his mid to late teens, happily smiling at a phone, volume blaring. I smiled and made eye contact. "Excuse me. Can you please turn that down? We're meeting in the other room." He looked at me, got up, and left the restaurant.

Maybe the two of them would have settled their differences peacefully, I don't know. All I know is, four years ago, I probably would have stayed in my room. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

GiFreak: Sneak Preview

So I've been working on GiFreak for...a year and a half now. It's been a really interesting journey so far...from pipe dreams of upgrading the functionality of this blog (not really an option on blogger) to launching GiFreak.com (to help people find gis) and now, a print and digital magazine. The original site will always be my baby, but I'm really excited about the magazine. I love words. I think anyone who writes regularly has to at some level. This magazine has given me the chance to work with other lovers of words in BJJ and I'm excited (and just a teeny bit nervous) about the launch.

Short version, it's a reader supported (no ads), print and digital publication about the BJJ community around the world that's readable even by people who don't train (I've been harassing my non-training friends with copies). It's something you can give to anyone and give them a glimpse into BJJ beyond techniques and competition, but still offers insight, and hopefully inspiration, to experienced players.

The first issue features advice on keeping kids in BJJ, an introduction to Ginastica Natural, interviews with Ryron Gracie and Rafael Lovato, exclusive discount codes from gi manufacturers and more fun stuff!

I'm a fan of trees, so we're kicking things off on a print-on-demand basis, meaning that no publication is created until it has an intended home. It's also printed on 80# text stock, which is acid-free and FSC-certified (which means it's from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources). It's also recyclable. The goal is to continue this method as long as is viable. It makes for a slightly more expensive product, but we think it's worth it.

So yeah...officially, it drops August 1st, but I couldn't wait to share, so anybody who reads this blog, click on the link below and you can download a free copy (it'll be free until August 7th) or order a print copy. I'm itchy for feedback now, since I'm just kicking off the ideas for the second issue. This is a community-based magazine, so any constructive criticism anyone has is more than welcome. Thanks in advance!

GiFreak Fall 2013 Issue
24 pages, published 7/29/2013
We hope you enjoy our inaugural (abbreviated) issue. Visit us at magazine.gifreak.com for more inspiring content. Contact us at info@gifreak.com

Friday, July 26, 2013

More Jitsu.

Ladybug's back!!! After a year off with a popped collar bone, she's back in and going hard. We made a deal tonight to commit to 10 min rounds, and again, my mind gave out before my body. Love it. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jiu Jitsu Style is growing!

I just got word from Callum over at Jiu Jitsu Style, that from issue 15 on, JJS with be available on newstands in Sweden, Italy, Belgium and in selected Barnes and Noble bookstores in the USA.

Per Callum...“It’s another big step in the right direction for the magazine. We have had lots of demand for the mag to be made easier to buy around Europe and the USA, so I’m really glad we have been able to make this happen. I hope we can add more destinations in the near future.”

Issue 15, featuring cover star BJ Penn, will hit European newsstands this month and Barnes and Noble book stores in August.

I love international-ness:)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gabi's done with the gi?

I was delighted to find Gabi Garcia when I first started training. The large woman is an oddity in life, perhaps even more so in BJJ. There's the perpetually strange dance of size advantage and strength disadvantage that, pushing four years in, I'm still a novice at navigating.

When I read this on Bloody Elbow about her reasons for considering leaving BJJ for MMA, my heart sank a bit.

I want to figh MMA now. I don't know when I will fight on a GI again. I'm unmotivated, not because I think I'm invincible, but we need to find another challenge. Many people is not fighting the absolute class, focusing on the weight classes, and I need another goal in life. If I am able to get down my weight, and if UFC or other events begin to have bigger weight classes, I will get down my weight as much as possible. Now I am going to train to defend my title in the ADCC.

While I'm quite practically aware that existing on the tail of a bell curve changes the options life has for you, I still had a big-girls-can't-catch-a-break moment of self pity when I read it. She seems to enjoy training in the gi, and while other competitors are finding deepening fields of competition, she's looking for new horizons...and in the back of my mind, I know that in reality, MMA won't likely offer any greater size equality than BJJ does...it's not like women grow bigger in the octagon. A part of me wishes she'd stay with BJJ and maybe do something off the wall like pioneer cross-gender competition (whatever that would look like), but it's definitely not something I'd expect her to do alone, or even want to do. If she does fight though, it may end up being the first PPV bout I spring for.