Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Sixth Minute

Click on this picture to enlarge. It's called the Sixth Minute and it's a cool idea, I think. So if you want discount codes emailed to you, check it out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

San Diego??

Hey... Southwest Airlines had a sale (ends tomorrow!) and I jumped on a roundtrip ticket to San Diego in November. Looks like I'll be checking out some of the excellent jiu jitsu out there.

Talk to me about San Diego! Who lives there? where should I go? etc etc!!! :)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update: BJJ in Moldova

Super happy to share this with you from Bobby:

Hey guys,

Thanks to everyone who pitched in and made this work. My wife and I are headed to Moldova tomorrow with two or three bags full of gis but I will still have to make at least another trip in August to get them all out there (and as I understand there are a couple more gis floating around Chisinau somewhere). I plan to buy some shelves this trip as well as take the Burlacu team to Chisinau and back for a friendly competition with the Chisinau team with the donated $285 courtesy of the Ronin Athletics.

So thanks again to Georgette, Mikkel, Christian, Jason and all your people for helping out. I will be sure to take pictures of the donated material "in action". For now we don't need any more gis though. I have asked Tudor at Absoluto BJJ here in Bucharest to ask his guys to dig all their extra karate/judo/bjj/tae kwon do/kung fu etc. belts out of their closets to add to our huge pile of gis in our living room, but that's about all we need. So like I said, NO MORE GIS!!! And you guys are awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Leticia Ribeiro/Beatriz Mesquita seminar review

Thirty women and girls of all ages and belts braved the heat and humidity of central Texas in June to learn from two preeminent blackbelt champions, and it was so worth it!

One week after nailing her sixth world championship, Leticia Ribeiro and her star protege Bia Mesquita spent several hours with us, covering techniques from standup grip fighting, to takedowns, to a whole host of guard fun.

I've done a Leticia/Bia seminar before and this was par for the course. I have to say, Leticia/Bia present a STELLAR seminar environment, maybe the best I've ever attended. Why?

* They speak and understand English fluently.
* They teach a series of techniques that flow together from one to the next, never leaving you to wonder "how do I even get to that position?" or "what would I do from there?"
* Whether you're a yellow belt child or a brown belt, they give you material you can put to use
* Leticia addresses the emotional and psychological aspects of jiu jitsu in addition to the physical side
* They both walk around the room and correct your application and execution with such a friendly encouraging manner
* After the seminar is over, they encourage people to roll and train together and they stick around to roll with students, too.

We covered:
Grip breaks from standing
Three takedowns- a single leg, a double leg and a reap
A better sleeve grip for playing spider guard
A simple spider sweep
The Bia sweep she used against Lana
Spider to DLR to X guard
DLR to back take

I'll post some pictures later, I promise. Thanks to my husband for taking them!

I was happy to get to meet Margaret, this year's blue belt lightweight World Champion, and Maxine, this year's purple belt lightweight Pan Champion, who flew in from California to attend the seminar. I didn't get a chance to roll with Margaret, but Maxine and I had a really challenging (for me) roll after the seminar. I couldn't pass her guard for the life of me and she was probably being nice about that triangle... I got swept, too, and was not very successful in getting out of that kesa gatame until I tried to catch her head with my foot.  We called it quits then and I was pretty happy just to have been able to feel her guard and experience her transitions, which were excellent, of course.

Triin posted her seminar review on the Fenom Kimonos blog here, too.

While I'm at it, let me point out Meerkatsu's excellent post on a company in Poland which will make rashguards, grappling tights, shorts, etc with your own designs-- if you have academy artwork, this would be pretty cool for advertising!

Monday, June 13, 2011

One deal a day at BJJHQ

One deal a day and when it sells out, it's gone-- BJJHQ.com. Check out today's deal-- a Vulkan ProLight gi for only $135. Shipping is only $5!! Only A1 and A4 sizes left, sorry....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rodolfo Vieira seminar last night...

The Carlson Gracie school in San Antonio hosted 6th degree blackbelt Master Julio Cesar Pereira and reigning blackbelt Absolute World Champion Rodolfo Vieira for a three hour long seminar last night, and I was happy to make the 90 minute drive to attend and absorb.

Vieira is known for, among other things, his smashy top game (me likes!) and I knew Master Pereira from observing him referee at IBJJF tournaments. He's also a judo black belt. I came hoping to bring home details to make basic elements of jiu jitsu even more compelling. I wanted some "aha!" moments born out of that heartfelt appreciation for simplicity and elegance. While my blood fizzes for a nice flying armbar or any flippy spinny inverted sweepy thing, I know I probably won't see much grow in my garden from those seeds. I need seeds of solid basics-- the sunflowers of the jiu jitsu garden, instead of orchids.

Sadly (yes! I know! the music of doom and despair when you read a tournament review that has anything like "sadly" in it!)... I realized what a problem the language barrier can be for a baby grappler. So there were plenty of sunflowers, but I don't think I caught many seeds because I didn't understand as much as I would have liked.

I need to learn Portuguese, clearly. And if I had been a more experienced grappler, I would have had the educated eyes it takes to just see the little details, in action. Identification is the first step on the path to execution and incorporation. I know Rodolfo and Julio were talking up a storm, and observing their movements was definitely wonderful... but I just KNOW I missed a lot. And that makes me sad.

However, it was nice to see a big bunch of blackbelts on the mat, and several of them did their best to translate. (Had a few problems, like using the words "head" and "hand" interchangeably, but it wasn't impenetrable.) I liked finding out that in a general sense, I have seen a lot of the same things I am pretty sure Rodolfo was teaching. I think I would have had a much harder time following and executing if it was all new to me. I had some personal attention from Rodolfo, who did a technique on me and critiqued my execution when I did it to my partner-- it was like a 2 minute private. I had a great time with my drilling partner, a cool cat named Beau (sp?) from San Antonio, and it was nice to meet a blue belt gal from Brazil named Beatriz. I got to meet Ben A. and his baby daughter from Ethiopia face to face finally! and another nice guy named Andrew. Hung out with Tara for a bit. And I had a lot of help from blackbelts like Igor, Jean-Claude, and another dude whose name I didn't catch, so I definitely felt like I was moving in the right direction.

Here's basically what was taught:

* standing pass of open guard to knee on belly
* toreador pass of spider guard to KOB
* standing pass of sitting guard to half guard, then to side control
* two variations on a halfguard pass
* passing the halfguard where they have their knee in your hip (a Rafa Mendes pass I learned from Hillary Williams in a private, woot!)
* baseball bat choke from KOB
* butterfly guard offense- a sweep with wrist control, a back take, and transition to X guard sweep/takedown
* seoi nage and a foot sweep/trip
* and a couple thoughts on maximizing points in tournaments, thanks to an uncommon emphasis on understanding tournament rules and how points are accrued, which influences your strategy when in a sport jiu jitsu context. I LOVED this part, and I think this kind of information is invaluable for a competitor.

All in all a good time and worth the drive. Oh, and how sweet-- one of the gals from Carlson Gracie who didn't take the seminar made "American-style" acai bowls for us as we left! mmm... chocolate ice cream, granola, and nana slices...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Why have a women-only seminar?

From: [name deleted]
To: georgetteoden@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2011 11:33 AM
Subject: Female BJJ Seminars

Hi Georgette,

This is [name deleted]. I met you at the __________.

I just read your post on the Leticia seminar and wanted to know your thoughts on why women seem to only put on female only bjj seminars. I have heard from some female teammates that they get more from seminars when they are taught by women. It would be nice to be able to experience it.

Have you been to a coed seminar taught by a woman? Why do you think they tend to only put on female only seminars?


* * * * * * * * * * *

Hey ________! :) Sorry this is gonna be a long one, but you asked excellent questions that made me do some thinking and I'm posting my answer for the blog too, though I will anonymize your question.

You posed (I think) three questions. Why do women teach women-only seminars, why do women like woman-taught seminars, and why don't they have them co-ed instead.

I (personally) don't necessarily get more out of a seminar taught by a woman, or less out of one taught by a man. To me gender isn't as relevant as their ability to communicate and instruct how size and leverage influence technique. I (so far) tend to get more out of seminars taught by small people because they seem used to dealing with the size disparity that I experience, as a smaller person. I really like Royler's seminars for this reason, and Cleber Luciano's, and Hillary Williams', and Leticia's.

However, at the women-taught seminars I've attended, I have appreciated their insight into competitive strategy offered, because women seem to roll differently than men (in open mat, and in competition. For example, there's a LOT more guard pulling by women, and a LOT more closed guard playing, too at least so far at my belt level and at whitebelt.) I have actually competed against men in a tournament setting (though I lost!) and I have trained with Hillary Williams, who has also competed against men.  I believe women do offer a unique insight into women competing against women that men (who usually teach classes and seminars but usually have *not* competed against women) don't offer.

But that only addresses why women might get something unique from a woman instructor. Then there's the question of why wouldn't women allow men to take part in the seminar too.

One reason is, some woman might have to be partnered up with a guy for the technique drilling. Men are usually bigger, have different upper to lower body strength ratios, and generally feel very different in terms of what it's like to attempt a technique against (even if they're the same height and weight) especially when it comes to sweeps and takedowns.

Women usually compete against other women, so it would be nice if we could maximize our time training with other women. A corollary to this is, some seminars (usually women-only ones) offer rolling/sparring time at the end, and we women get plenty of time rolling with guys. We get precious little time rolling with a (variety of) other women. (We might have 7 women training at one academy if we're lucky, and maybe 4 show up together in a class; more often, more like 1-2. So we get used to their game, and would like the challenge of a new opponent with a different body shape or experience level, yet with the same type of physicality i.e. lower body strength, lower body base, etc than a guy.)

Another reason is more on an emotional level, I suppose. It's very empowering and exciting to see a roomful of women who all train and all love this great sport, especially since seminars uniquely draw attendees from other schools around the state, country, world. It's a rare experience for us to see more than one upper belt woman at a time. This Leticia/Bia seminar will have women from other states and other countries in attendance. Normally at my school there's 1 female brown, 1 female purple, and 2 female 4-stripe blues, and rarely are we all on the mats together. Our 2-3 whitebelts have a limited exposure to black, brown and purple belt women. I love women-only seminars because they draw these experienced ladies who can offer advice and encouragement on more than just pure technique, but also on dealing with interpersonal and emotional aspects of the game (and some would say guys in attendance result in less of that dialogue.)

Some new girls who only take women-only classes so far (they're a great intro to the sport) might get WAY more out of a women-only seminar environment than they would if they had to also deal with guys.  Maybe they wouldn't go to any seminars at all till they were advanced enough to be comfortable rolling with guys... and I do think it's EXTREMELY important to get as much exposure to high-level instructors/blackbelts teaching the basics early on. So I really want baby whitebelts even on their 4th or 5th class to come to seminars. In fact, we have someone from another martial art coming to this seminar for what I believe will be their first taste (or one of their first tastes) of jiu jitsu. Maybe she wouldn't have come if it were coed. What better intro for a woman into the wonderful world of jiu jitsu, than to meet Leticia, this tiny delicate looking thing, and see and experience how strong, empowered, technical and graceful this game can be! Better to get the best habits on your basics started early. I can't tell you how many seminars I've been to where I walk away with a detail for a basic that I use every day... and have totally forgotten the cool flippy-spinny-flying-reverse-gogoplata.

Women do teach co-ed seminars, though.  I'm not sure why there aren't more of them to be honest.  Without having asked, my guess would be that maybe there isn't as much demand?  Maybe the best women are not asked to teach co-ed seminars as often as they're asked to teach women-only?  Maybe men need to be asking them to teach more! :)  I haven't been to Hillary's or Leticia's co-ed seminars, but I know lots of guys have indicated interest in attending. 

I don't think we're trying to exclude men out of misandry. (Yes, the equivalent of misogyny, only against men. When I googled it, I found it listed as "humor" which I did in fact find funny.)

Bottom line: I have been to classes where women were teaching students of both genders (Christy, Val and Tatiana) and I think in jiu jitsu, technique is king/queen. If your technique is solid and you are capable of expressing yourself, students of both genders will (and should) flock to you regardless of your own gender. If your game has giant holes, if you're resistant to teaching outside of your narrow comfort zone, if you're crappy at LISTENING to their questions and EXPLAINING the answers or you can't teach without making people feel stupid for not already knowing stuff, then it doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman. The level of respect you receive is directly connected to the quality of your product (and in the rare instance that you do experience bias against your gender, ignore it!)

I do think there are people out there who don't teach well even though they execute well. And I think all instructors should be concerned with whether their students are comfortable, motivated, and aren't deterred from asking questions-- but that's not a gender issue either.

Thank you for asking and (if you made it this far) for reading my babble. Thoughts?


Rodolfo Vieira tonight. Leticia Ribeiro & Bia Mesquita, Sunday.

I'm driving to San Antonio this afternoon to attend a seminar with Master Julio Pereira and Rodolfo Vieira. Then Saturday, 6x world champion Leticia Ribeiro and 4x world champion Bia Mesquita arrive in Austin, for a ladies-only seminar at my academy on Sunday afternoon.

I'm pretty excited, to say the least :)

Hoping my knee makes it through, it's sore, swollen and stiff again... foot still jacked... neck sore too. Gah, I would say I'm getting old... but I think I'm just getting BJJ.

Also, hush-hush, there's a new website coming soon, focused completely on BJJ aficionados. I haven't gotten the go-ahead from the owners yet, so I can't tell you the address or when it will be open.. but it will be SUPER cool.

I'm going to have some minor surgery next week so I will be off the mats for a bit, which is great, as I want to review the navy blue Vulkan Ultralight, the Dom gi, BJJStyle (a totally cool online and print BJJ magazine you can buy here), and 5 DVD sets. And I will review the Vieira seminar, and the Leticia/Bia double trouble too.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Get your horse, get your bells...

From Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, today:

"Sarah Palin is a fraud with charisma — and enough political support to effectively hold the Republican Party hostage. She is ridiculous and dangerous in equal measure.

Palin is certain about everything and knows about nothing. The only true facts are those she recognizes; other facts, when cited to contradict her private truth, are deemed politically motivated. History books are nothing more than weapons used by her enemies in their incessant attacks, their pitiful attempts to play “gotcha.”

In her view, she does not make mistakes. Therefore, it may surprise you to learn, this is who Paul Revere was:
“He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells, and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”

Utter, complete nonsense. The purpose of Revere’s midnight ride was to warn townspeople and patriot leaders that British troops were approaching. He didn’t ring any bells or fire any warning shots; the prearranged signal involved hanging lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church, one if the redcoats were approaching by land and two if by sea.

Palin gave her fanciful account Thursday after touring Boston’s historic North End. “We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn,” she told reporters — neglecting to add, I guess, that she didn’t bother to read any of the brochures.
It was comical and weird, like a lot of Palin’s antics, but so what? Anybody can have a momentary lapse and say something dumb in front of a television camera. You laugh it off and move on.
Unless you’re Sarah Palin. She appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and Chris Wallace asked the obvious question: “You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?” He must have expected her to be charmingly self-deprecating. Instead, to Wallace’s evident surprise, she insisted that her ridiculous account was correct.

Palin seized on a lesser-known incident during Revere’s ride, when he was captured and briefly held by several British soldiers. He bluffed his way out of his predicament by boasting that 500 well-armed militiamen were up ahead, ready for battle.

“Part of his ride was to warn the British that, ‘We’re already there,’ that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have.’ ”
Wallace smiled as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing.
“I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere,” Palin said. “I know my American history.”
Yes, you did. And no, you don’t.

Anyone who believes that Revere rang bells and fired warning shots simply isn’t going to know — until after the fact — about the encounter with the British soldiers. And in any event, Revere didn’t set out “to warn the British” — he was warning colonists about the British. And he wasn’t making some kind of Second Amendment statement about “American arms” because there was no Second Amendment. And . . .
Yes, I’m belaboring the obvious. But I’m doing so because the incident says so much about Palin’s arrogant disregard for objective fact. It’s never about the truth. It’s always about Sarah.

She told Fox that she was the victim of a “gotcha type of question.” But there is no indication, from video of the encounter, that she was asked specifically about Paul Revere. Her peroration came amid a general recounting of her visit to Boston.

The gaffe is understandable — well, almost understandable. But she doubled down with a claim of persecution and a bald-faced lie. That is what we ignore at our peril.

This is a small, unimportant matter. But Palin demands to be seen as a big, important person in the nation’s political life. Her party is so afraid of her that the putative front-runner for the presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, won’t even call her out for stealing thunder from his campaign kickoff by just happening to be in the neighborhood, complete with the attendant media circus.

The woman, like Lord Byron, is “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” I’d shout it throughout the land, if I could find my horse and my bells."

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weekend report...

Spent the weekend in Spring TX with family friends and got to roll at a new (to me) school... Team Gacho. They were very welcoming and friendly, and I had a good time at the women's open mat that afternoon. I put in some time doing nogi as well, which was excellent as I rarely train nogi.

My husband jumped out of a fully-functional airplane on Sunday with two friends of ours. This is not on my bucket list, but it was on his, so I was happy to watch and take pictures (will post a couple tonight.) I'm not afraid of it, but I guess I'm just not that interested in it. There's not much challenge to my spirit in that, you could say. I'm actually afraid to bungee jump, so I'm a little more likely to challenge myself with that. But anyways-- one of the friends he jumped with had a chute malfunction and unbeknownst to me on the ground, there were some stressful seconds for her and her tandem instructor until the fabric caught the wind.

I posted additional photos with the hemp gi review and more commentary, so go check that out.

Mundials results and writeups...

I did not compete at, or work, the Worlds this year.... sadly! But I did watch as much of the Budovideos stream as I could. Thanks to Caleb and Jake for the color commentary; I know from personal experience how overwhelming it can be to try to watch and process 10 mats running at once. Bandwidth (literally and figuratively) is limited! But they did the best they could.

I noticed some serious problems at the Pan (they banned note-taking systems where the ring coordinator would write down, for the scorer and ref, the last names of who was fighting who and who should wear the green/yellow belt... this resulted in slowdowns of the matches, insane confusion, and skyrocketing stress levels for the RCs) and I wonder if they managed some improvements in the system. I hope next year IBJJF busts out the technology and integrates all the scoring tables with an online results system. If that were possible, then keeping Caleb and Jake in the loop would be far easier, and we who watched online wouldn't hear "Well, this is Marcelo Garcia, fighting an unknown opponent" for example.

I will say that the online chat forum was stupid. Just.plain.stupid. I would estimate 20-30 asinine comments for every one legitimate question. Shut the stupid thing down and save the bandwidth for a third screen, please.

You can get all the Mundials results in black and white here, at the IBJJF site.

How freakin' cool that MONGOLIA brought a team? Granted, they're judo people, but still, they got at least 2 golds and 2 silvers... not bad, not bad.

Graciemag put up a great writeup here....   And then Kirsch did too....

I'm borrowing from Jake's recap of the results (check out his excellent blog The Ground Never Misses...) sorry, I was watching on a smartphone, while driving, so my writeup (had I done one) would have sucked.

"Absolute Divisions:
Gabrielle Garcia is the first absolute champ of the day, overcoming Bia Mesquita by 2-0, coming close to finishing early on with a clock choke. With two gold medals, Gabrielle is the big name of the female division.

Rodolfo Vieira got the takedown, passed guard and mounted Bernardo Faria. With a score of 9-0, Vieira is the big winner in the men’s division.

The men’s division now has its champions. Check out who the current world champions are:


Rodolfo Vieira beat Bernardo Faria by a guard pass, in the first of two encounters between the two on the day.


Bruno Malfacine outpointed Caio Terra by 4-2, making Malfa four-time world champion.

Light Featherweight

Guilherme Mendes and Ary Farias closed out for Atos

Rafael Mendes and Augusto Tanquinho draw at 4-4 after exchange of sweeps, but Mendes leads by 2 advantage points to 1. It is the first time brothers Rafael and Guilherme are champions together at the same Worlds.

Gilbert Durinho outpoints Kron Gracie by 9-2. Kron took the lead with a sweep but Durinho swept back and followed up with a guard pass and then another sweep.

Marcelo Garcia scored two points early on against Lucas Leite. That was enough to secure Garcia his fifth world title. He ironically thanked Steven Seagal for helping him win.

Medium Heavyweight
Sérgio Moraes beat Rômulo Barral by 4 to 2. Both were awarded penalties. Moraes landed a takedown.

Super Heavyweight
Léo Nogueira edges Marcus Bochecha after 2-2 draw on points and draw on advantage points. Léo wins his first world title.

Antonio Braga Neto defeats Rodrigo Cavaca by a score of 7 to 0.in

Check out how the finals of the female division of the World Championship played out:

Light featherweight
Letícia Ribeiro outpointed Nyjah Easton by 3 to 2 in an emotional match. Leticia is now six-time world champion!

In a controversial match, Michelle Nicolini defeated Kyra Gracie 3-1 on advantage points following a 4-4 draw.

Luanna Alzuguir made quick work of Luiza Monteiro with a choke from back mount.

Hannette Staack submitted Ida Josefin with the most beautiful finish of the finals so far: a flying armbar!

Medium heavyweight
In an uneventful affair, Talita Treta outpointed Penny Thomas 4-0 to take gold.

Gabi Garcia chased down Emily Wetzel and quickly finished with a choke."

Jen Flannery wrote up the brown/blackbelt womens' divisions and absolute on one of her blogs, Grappling Girls Guild:

"The women’s divisions did not disappoint this year! The feeling on the budovideos chat log was that the women’s division finals were much more interesting than the men’s. These ladies came out to fight and by all appearances were not satisfied to squeak out a win by advantages if they could help it. Whether the match actually ended by submission, points, or ref’s decision, it was clear that each woman on the mat was playing for keeps.

* Please note that they didn’t show all of the women’s matches so I don’t have exact play-by-play for all of them other than the finals.

Gezary Matuda Kubis finished her first two opponents (Tove Sodersten and Claudia Martinez) by triangle/armlock and armlock respectively to meet up with Leticia who had a bye first round before besting her first opponent on the way to her match with Gezary. Leticia and Gezary battled it out with Leticia coming out ahead 8-6. On the other side of the bracket, Nyjah Easton bested her first 2 opponents before beating Jennifer Sutingco by a large point margin in the semifinals.

The final pitted the experienced black belt and reigning champion, Leticia Ribeiro versus Brown Belt, Nyjah Easton. Nyjah quickly pulled guard at the opening of the match. After a long stalemate, Leticia finally forced her to open and Nyjah quickly switched to De La Riva Guard. Leticia managed to secure 3 points for a pass before Nyjah exploded with a bridge and managed to roll Leticia over. Leticia managed to base out and in the scramble land back on top. Nyjah was able to secure a sweep to give her 2 points towards the end and the match ended 3-2 in favor of the current champion, Leticia Ribeiro.

Michelle Nicolini defeats Kyra Gracie

Michelle Nicolini defeats Kyra Gracie
Fabiana Borges won her first match when her opponent was DQ’d for reaping the knee. Next she came up against Sayaka Shioda, coming off a win over Alliance’s April Robinson. Fabiana secured the win over Sayaka earning the spot against the legendary Kyra Gracie who was entering the match after a bye and a 15-0 then submission win over Heather Reynolds. On the other side of the bracket Michelle Nicolini and Ana Carolina Lebre would meet in the semi-finals, both coming off a bye in the first round and wins in the second. Michelle snapped a quick triangle on Ana from her signature spider guard and finished it fast. To no one’s surprise Michelle and Kyra were to meet in the finals on Sunday.

Kyra initiated the action by going in for a throw, but Michelle managed to pull closed guard. Michelle went to her signature spider guard and shot a triangle, it looked close for a second but Kyra managed to escape quickly and turn it into a pass. Michelle rolled out of the pass and landed back in open guard. Michelle hit a sweep and knocked Kyra down but fell back for a toehold instead of securing. She wasn’t able to secure the toehold and based out to come up for the sweep. She was now up 2-0 but landed in Kyra’s best spot, her closed guard. Kyra shot a triangle/omoplata combo but Michelle shook it off. She goes for another and a sweep but Michelle manages to sweep right back. Kyra comes up on a sweep, but lands in Michelle’s triangle. Kyra seemed to be attempting to feed the omoplata to get out but Michelle Nicolini didn’t take the bait and just kept working to keep the triangle until time ran out and she became the victor. I’m not sure if this can be claimed an upset since both are multiple time champions at different weights.

Shanti Abelha bested Ana Maria Gomes (known as Ana India) before succumbing to the superior Luanna Alzuguir in the semifinals, who entered the semis on a bye. On the other side of the bracket, Beatriz Mesquita had a bye while Luiza Monteiro fought Kiri Liao. Louiza managed to upset Bia and win a spot in the final against Luanna.

Luiza pulled De La Riva guard. When Luanna went in for the pass, she forced Luiza to turn away to avoid it. From there Luanna progressed to methodically take the back. First, she moved to a control position with a harness while Luiza was on her side. She then worked her second hook in while attacking the choke, sure to secure one or the other. Luanna Alzuguir finished Luiza with a bow and arrow choke.

Hillary Williams and Ida Hansson met in the semifinals after beating Vanessa Oliveira and Emily Kwok respectively. Ida hip threw Hillary, then took her back and choked her. On the other side of the bracket Hannette bested Carolina Kowarick.

Hannette Staack wow’ed the viewers securing the gold medal with a flying armlock after a 3 minute long standoff on the feet. This should win her submission of the tournament!

Penny Thomas first handled business with Karen Miller, then bested Fernanda Mazzeli in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, Tammy and Talita Nogueira met in the semifinals after overcoming Tracy D’Arcy and Kay Stephenson. Talita, still a brown belt, came out the victor and went on to meet Penny Thomas in the finals.

Talita pulls guard and Penny drops for a toehold. She loses it, Talita takes the top and receives 2 points. Talita manages to move to Penny’s back. But Penny escapes and lands passing to mount. As she’s trying to get Talita’s arm to take the back, a scramble ensues and Talita lands on top again. She’s now up 4-0 with about 7 minutes and 30 seconds down. Desperate, Penny shoots a triangle, but Talita easily gets out. Penny is able to come up on a takedown but for some reason the points are waived away (perhaps the knees were on the ground nullifying it – bogus rule in my opinion). Talita Nogueira surprises everyone with an upset win over Penny 4-0.

They didn’t show these matches. But Emily Wetzel and Gabriella Garcia met in the finals beating Lana Stefanac and Katrian Weilbacher on their way. Emily pulled guard but Gabi was able to pass pretty quickly. Gabi Garcia progressed up and tapped Emily with shoulder pressure/choke from side control.

I missed the earlier divisions of the absolute but Beatrize Mesquita won all her matches on her way to the semis against Lana, who she beat to earn her slot against Gabi in the finals. Gabi beat Penny Thomas to secure her spot against Bia.

Poor Bia had little to offer the much larger Gabi during the Absolute Division. She seemed to adopt the strategy Tammy Griego used at the Pan Ams earlier this year, turtling up and waiting for Gabi to get frustrated and over commit, giving her an opening. Bia was able to return to guard a few times but couldn’t get much going before repeatedly being forced to turn away and turtle. It comes as no real surprise that once again, Gabi Garcia was the Absolute Division victor."

Thanks Jake and Jen for the commentary I could pinch, you guys did a great job and it makes for interesting reading. I can't wait for the DVDs to come out :)

I am so busy at work again, I don't even have time to read many blogs like I used to. But I especially miss one that isn't being written any more... Dev's Fueled by Fear. He's off in the wild blue yonder, working for our government in a foreign country and without intertubes for now. I wish I could read his thoughts on things, training or otherwise. I'd love to tell him he's missed.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Gi Review: the Datsusara MMA Hemp Gi

I love that there are gi companies out there trying to be innovative. I first heard of making gis out of hemp about two years ago. Unfortunately, that company never took off, so I was never able to buy one. Bummer!

But then I heard about Chris Odell's company Datsusara MMA which markets gear, gis, bags, and clothing made of hemp. Hemp fibers are longer, up to four times stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton. It's environmentally friendlier to grow than cotton, requiring no pesticides and producing more fiber per land area. Hemp fabric is also naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial-- so I was very excited to give it a try. Chris generously sent me one of their Hemp Combat Gis for this review and I have been wearing the HECK out of this thing ever since.

Chris sent me the natural color gi, but they also come in black. The natural color is like HCK's unbleached-- a creamy oatmeal color, with a nice, subtle flower/ sunburst emblem embroidered in black on the left shoulder and in between the shoulder blades on the jacket. (Nothing on the pants but a small label you'll see in a later picture.)

The Datsusara website describes the gi thus:
• Made of durable 100% hemp
• Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style weave and cut
• Jacket made of a 17oz (580gsm) long fiber weave (very breathable)
• Pants made of 11oz (370gsm) long fiber canvas
• Reinforced stitching for strength and durability
• Machine washable: Due to the properties of the hemp blend the gi actually gets softer and more comfortable with each wash while retaining it's strength, it wears in rather than wearing out
• Featuring the Japanese Mon (crest) representing hemp embroidered on the left arm and upper center back
See size chart (allow for up to 5% shrinkage with a hot water wash)

I received the gi at the end of February. Right off the bat, I noticed they include two pants drawstrings-- one of fabric, one of cord, like a thin rope but smoothly-woven or twisted. I left the fabric one in the drawstring pocket and it seems like it might be tough to switch out, as the drawstring pocket is narrow, so I might have to unknot the ends of the cord and use a wire coat hanger to make the switch. However, the fabric drawstring hasn't given me any problems.  There are only two loops for the drawstring on the front of the pants, which is not my preference.  Here's the only labeling or "bling" of any kind on the pants-- a label sewn on the front of the left hip.

I've worn this gi over sixty times, in 3 hour classes, and machine washed it each time. I have tried airdrying it 3 times and the rest of the time I machine dry on normal temperature. Here's my measurements (A1 size) for your shrinkage comparisons, from out of the box and then after one hot wash and hot dry:

Jacket center of collar to end of sleeve: 27.5" 25.25"
sleeve cuff width: 7" 6.25"
back collar to bottom hem: 24" 23"
chest width, side seam to side seam: 22" 21.5"

waist across back, side seam to side seam: 20" 19"
rise, drawstring to crotch seam: 11.5" 10.5"
leg length: 37" 35"
pants cuff width: 9" 8.5"

Since then I haven't measured each time, but I have not noticed any additional shrinkage. The gi fits very well-- it's competition legal, but not excessively flappy anywhere. I do not believe this to be a "judo" cut, which was a comment from the early test versions (2009-2010) of this gi.  The drawstring itself is definitely on the short side, but I don't like to tie mine in bows, which is good as this is clearly too short for bows. I tie a square knot which doesn't come undone and is easy to untie when wet.

I notice that not only is the drawstring "pocket" or channel narrow, but the side slit on each hip, separating front from back, is also very short (about 1.25") which is nice for us ladies if we don't want more underwear showing through the side gap than absolutely necessary. (I don't usually wear compression shorts because it's too damn hot.)

Also, a nice touch: the front half of the pants is lower than the back!

Therefore, more room for junk in the trunk, without the front waistband coming up to your ribcage.


I was very impressed with the fabric itself; a little less impressed with the construction. Everything is double seamed or triple seamed.

First, the fabric does indeed wear in very nicely-- it feels like heavy linen. It's soft and fluid, it feels great in hot weather (today's high is 99) and even when you air dry it, it doesn't get stiff like other gis will. (It takes about the same amount of time to airdry as a regular gi.)

Second, I only noticed one "error" in the construction-- on one of the seams on the inner thigh, I found a loose thread.

It's a length of seam about 1" long and the thread just wasn't caught properly by the bobbin thread, so it's a loose loop as opposed to a cut thread hanging out. It's the center seam of two lines of stitching, so it doesn't affect the durability or integrity of the seam itself, but it does invite you to stick your finger in it and attempt to break it because you're too lazy to get a pair of scissors. I think the thread must be hemp as well, because that sucker is STRONG! I have tried and tried to break it (even used my car key once) and it refused. So I leave it alone now.  I did notice a few other loose threads in the interior of the gi, but haven't had issues with splitting, tearing, or durability in general.  And I have worn the cr*p out of this thing in an attempt to really put it through the wringer.

Third, the fabric feels awesome if you're wearing the gi, but it has garnered some complaints from training partners especially from my jacket smearing across their face in top side or north-south. They say it's rough and annoying. Waaahhh, too bad. I have noticed that the pants over my knees/thighs feel rough-- like the fabric pills a little? it does get a bit sandpapery, I suppose, but I haven't noticed any other signs of wear or abrasion.  Here's the front of the thigh (the fabric is double layered from the ankle hem all the way up to the upper thigh.)

Here's the cuff, triple-stitched and French hemmed.

The interior of the armpit and the front breast seaming is thoroughly reinforced.  There is no seam on the back of the jacket.

Here's the inside of the slit on the sides of the jacket.  I can't see this ripping.  You can see two loose threads in the picture at the bottom.. again, didn't seem to affect the life of the jacket. Loose threads appear to be a common issue for these gis, as you'll see in Slideyfoot's review (link below.)

The collars are soft but quite thick. I don't feel a rubber/foam core like many gis, and so it is a little easier to grab than a new Atama, but not much easier than a worn-in Gameness, and it fills up your hand a little faster because of the thickness. The benefit of the fluid fabric and soft collar is immediately apparent if you play a wrapping game.  For thickness comparison, from left to right-- the Atama Mundial #9, a Koral (not the MKM or the Lightweight one, just ordinary Koral), and then the Datsusara on the right.

Fifth, I tried to make the gi stink, to test this antimicrobial thing. I had three legendarily stinky tshirts (the ones where you wore them grappling with a stinky guy, then let sit in your trunk during the hot day, and forgot to wash promptly when you got home, and so even when washed, they have a stink?) So I wore one to class, got it all wet and sweaty, with this gi. Put the gi and tshirt in the trunk and parked on the roof of the parking garage so it was in the hot sun all day. Took it home and left it balled up on the laundry floor for 24 hours. (It was still wet and even WARM in the middle the next night.) Washed it in ordinary laundry soap and voila-- the tshirt smelled still, but the gi was fine! I know, not very scientific, but it's the best I could do without a microscope. (hint hint Seymour....) So I pitched the stinky tshirts, and kept the gi in the rotation.

Over time, I have noticed that the color is a little less "warm" in tone and has become a tad greyer.  I wouldn't say this is a "white" that would be IBJJF-legal, either when brand new or when well-worn like mine.  


Light, fluid, strong. Feels like pajamas! Soooooo comfortable. Fits well, never feels stiff or cardboardy. Another guy at my academy bought this gi after I started wearing it, and he likes his too. (Unfortunately he also got the unbleached, so I can't tell much about how well the black stays black-- but the instructions suggest a vinegar wash.)

It retails for $140 and I think it is worth it. However, some say the price will go up.

Here's a review and more photos on Sherdog.

And here's a link to Slideyfoot's review.

Sarah Pinnochio Palin

From the Washington Post, by Glenn Kessler, today....

"Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has spent this week taking a high-profile bus tour up to New Hampshire, in what may or may not be a prelude to a presidential run in 2012. She spent half an hour the other day chatting with Fox News’s Greta van Susteren. The full interview is posted on Palin’s Web site, but we watched all of it so you don’t have to.

Much of the interview consisted of fluffy stuff, but every so often van Susteren diverted into asking about policy issues. Palin responded with her trademark style of making broad assertions with only a shaky command of the facts. We’ll go through the key statements in the order in which she said them, which allows us to begin and end with some absolute whoppers.

“We don’t have the $2 billion [to give to Egypt]. Where are we going to get it? From China? We are going to borrow from foreign countries to give to foreign countries. … We want to know to know where those dollars are going because we don’t have the money to be providing foreign countries, not in this day and age when we are going broke.”

Palin managed to get almost everything wrong in this comment. She clearly was not listening too closely to President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, because otherwise she would have realized that he was not talking about spending more taxpayer dollars.

Obama proposed to forgive up to $1 billion of Egypt’s $3.6 billion debt (money that was spent buying American farm products). The forgiveness, which would take several years, would take the form of a “debt swap,” in which the money saved will be invested in designated programs in Egypt.

The other $1 billion would consist of loan guarantees by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which are structured at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. So none of this would involve new debt issued by the Treasury.

Palin appears to assume that the United States simply hands out dollars with little idea about what happens to the money. This is a common misnomer. Actually, there are often strings attached.

Under the terms of the 1978 Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel, the United States gives about $2 billion in direct aid to Egypt every year, making it one of the largest foreign-aid recipients. But most of this aid — about $1.3 billion a year — is financing to buy U.S. military hardware and services.

Egypt, for instance, has used the U.S.-supplied funds to replace aging Soviet-supplied equipment with at least 220 F-16 aircraft, 880 M1A1 tanks and 36 Apache helicopters. So Egypt ends up with weapons — but the money actually goes to U.S. firms and helps create U.S. jobs.

Palin is also wrong to assume that every dollar of foreign aid would be borrowed. The budget deficit is high, but the U.S. government still takes in substantial revenues. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office forecast, about 40 percent of the federal budget is financed through new debt — and that percentage is projected to drop significantly as the economy improves.

Finally, while China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, foreign countries actually hold only about 28 percent of the $14 trillion debt. The latest Treasury bulletin shows that the biggest holder is the U.S. government itself (i.e., Social Security and Medicare), while U.S. pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies and state and local governments hold almost as much as foreign investors.

“If you have more recipients than you have payers into the [Social Security] system, it is like a Ponzi scheme that’s going to be upside down in no time at all. We are going to be underwater with Social Security.”

Palin correctly identifies a potential problem for Social Security — that as the Baby Boom generation retires, there will be fewer workers paying into the system. But she overstates the case by calling it a “Ponzi scheme,” in which money from new investors is used to pay off old investors.

You cannot just look at the number of workers. You also have to look at productivity and technological change — which over time has allowed the nation’s economic output to greatly exceed population growth. That’s why the system has worked so well for so long.

As for being “underwater with Social Security,” the latest trustees report says that Social Security’s trust fund reserves will be exhausted in 2036; after that point, tax income would be enough to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits through 2085. That’s certainly a problem, but not an insurmountable one — and clearly not a Ponzi-like collapse. (For those who do not believe the trust funds exist, please see our previous article on this issue.)

“Look at the debt that has been accumulated over the past two years. It is more debt under this president than all those other presidents combined.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is sometimes described as a possible Sarah Palin rival in the presidential sweepstakes. In this case, Palin is virtually repeating a claim for which Bachmann had previously earned Pinocchios.

As we noted then, the numbers simply do not add up.

To keep it simple, we will look at the historical tables on the White House Web site, which lists the debt totals by fiscal year.

The national debt (including bonds held by U.S. government agencies) stood at just under $10 trillion a few months before Obama took office. The United States recently reached the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion, more than two years after Obama took office. Last time we checked, $4 trillion is much less than $10 trillion.
[Note by Georgette: Ms. Palin needs to brush up on her basic logic. Duh.]

“[Obama passed] a trillion dollars in stimulus package projects that still have resulted in record-setting unemployment, a heartbreaking number of home foreclosures, crashed markets left and right.”

Obama’s stimulus plan was actually $800 billion, not $1 trillion. The bill also included more than $200 billion in immediate tax breaks, so it is incorrect to suggest it was all spending projects.

We’re not sure one can make a direct link between the stimulus bill and home foreclosures and “crashed markets left and right,” whatever that means. But “record-setting unemployment”?

Perhaps Palin is referring to raw numbers, but given population growth, that’s a silly way to look at it. The most relevant figure is the percentage of workers who are unemployed.

During the Great Depression, the unemployment rate reached 23.6 percent in 1932. In the modern era, the rate topped 9.7 percent in 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president. It reached 9.6 percent in 2010, which is certainly pretty close, but it’s not a record.

“[Look at] the impacts of that [drilling permit] moratorium [in the Gulf of Mexico], where 97 percent of our offshore has been locked up. What we are looking at now is 150,000 barrels less per day next year, and 200,000 barrels per day less being able to be developed from the Gulf the year after. …We are going to be looking at $8 billion a day that we are going to be pouring into foreign countries in order to import that make-up fuel that we are going to need to take place of what we could have gotten out of the Gulf.”

When Palin started talking about oil — and the “drill baby drill” decal over the gas tank of her bus — she became very emphatic, slicing the air and hitting the table with one of her hands. But once again her facts were wrong.

We’re not sure where she comes up with the notion that 97 percent of the offshore area has been “locked up,” though this is a phrase she has used before. In any case, the relevant figure would seem to be the precentage of technically recoverable oil that was affected by the drilling permit moratorium, imposed by the Obama administration after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The independent Energy Information Agency (EIA) pegs the number at 20 percent (18 billion barrels), with 4 billion barrels in the Gulf of Mexico.

Palin’s figures on the production decline are not far off, but the EIA last month cited the moratorium as a secondary factor in the decline: “EIA expects production from the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to fall by 130,000 bbl/d in 2011 and by a further 190,000 bbl/d in 2012 because of production declines from existing fields and the impact of last year's drilling moratorium and the subsequent delay in issuing new drilling permits.”

In fact, the Interior Department this week issued its 15th drilling license for the deepwater region of the Gulf of Mexico, so that 2012 figure may well improve.

Meanwhile, Palin’s claim of $8 billion a day in additional imports is absurd. That amounts to 80 million barrels a day at $100 a barrel—and the entire world's consumption is about 85 million barrels a day. If Palin took out a calculator, she would see that her own estimate of 200,000 barrels a day amounts to just $20 million a day.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Hot dog, starting tomorrow, more fabulous jiu jitsu on display at the Long Beach Pyramid....

If you don't read any other stuff about this year's Worlds, read THIS PIECE by JSho over on the MMA Underground forum. He delves into each [mens'] division with copious and fascinating facts, and I enjoy reading his predictions. I just wish I knew the fields of contenders half as well as he does. One would wish he would have commentated on the womens' divisions as well, but one takes what one could get. I'll quote from his introduction:

"Some random Mundial stats to start us off:

*Of the 150 black belt golds won since 1996, Gracie Barra & offshoots have won 51 gold, Alliance & offshoots have won 41 gold, Gracie Humaita have won 22 golds, Nova Uniao have won 13 golds and Carlson Gracie Team & offshoots have won 11 golds
*Roger has won 10 golds (7 weight and 3 absolute)
*Xande has won 6 golds (4 weight & 2 absolute).
*Saulo Ribeiro and Robson Moura have both won 5 golds at their weight.
*Royler Gracie, Fabio Gurgel, Roberto Magalhães (Roleta) & Rubens Charles (Cobrinha) won 4 golds at their weight.
*Robson Moura won his first black belt gold in 1997 and his most recent in 2007, the longest span in terms of first and last golds. If he wins this year, that will break the record.
*Only 4 men have won 10 or more medals at Black Belt: Xande Ribeiro (10), Saulo Ribeiro (10), Comprido (10) and Roger (13)
*Roleta and Cobrinha have both won the Pan Ams and the Mundials 3 years in a row.
*Royler, Robson and Cobrinha have won their divisions 4 years in a row.
*Saulo won a different weight division 4 years in a row (1997 - 2000 Medio, Pesado, Meio Pesado, Super Pesado).
*Roger Gracie has been in his weight category final 7 years in a row, winning all 7.
*Marcelo Garcia and Cobrinha are the most decorated champions here, with 4 Mundial Gold apiece, but in terms of black belt titles at all the various Mundials (CBJJE and CBJJ/IBJJF) and the older CBJJO Copa Do Mundo, Mario Reis leaves them for dust with 8 gold."

I'll be in Houston for the weekend, planning on doing as much training as my family schedule, knee and foot allow. I hear there's a women's open mat in Spring, which is where I'll be, so I look forward to that. Of course when not training, I will be paying close attention to Caleb's online commentary on the Fightworks Podcast live blog... and I know BudoVideos is putting up a free live stream on Saturday, and cheapie (under $10) on Sunday...

I finished my big work deadline yesterday, phew, and now have two more! But I do plan on reviewing BJJ Style and the hemp gi from Datsusara MMA by this weekend. And I have a LOT of thoughts to share on the recent boys vs. girls discussion, too.

Last but not least, I set up an appointment with Dr. Hurt for my foot, tomorrow afternoon, so we'll have answers. ANSWERS, dammit :)

And for your viewing pleasure...

A mount flow drill by the brilliant Emily Kwok.. she's fighting Ida Hansson of Checkmat in the first round of Mundials..

Hillary Williams is bracketed against Vanessa Oliveira first... here's Vanessa vs. Emily at the 2011 New York Open..

Here's Penny Thomas vs. Gabi Garcia in the finals at this year's Abu Dhabi World Pro..

This year, Lana Stefanac is competing at Worlds, on the other side of the bracket from Gabi. I look forward to the possibility of these ladies meeting in finals.