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camp

I was going to blog, then life happened…

black belt , camp , competition , friends , gi , injury , Jiu Jitsu , Lachie , no gi , review , seminar , team , World Championships • Aug 31, 2018
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Life has been so wonderfully busy lately that I have slacked off with my blogging and I’m now literally months behind. So, what has been keeping me up late at night? The answer is the usual training 2 x day, working, running a business, coaching, The Board commitments, travelling, and planning our wedding.

Let me re-cap the major events of the last few months:

1) World Championships 2018.

I had some big goals for the 2018 World Championships, which I didn’t achieve. It left me a little broken, but also lit fire in my belly like never before. I had a great prep and a fabulous trip with the girl squad from Absolute MMA. I decided to stay at my normal weight and compete at light-feather, in which I feel strong and competent. It was great catching up with the usual training partners like Margot and Rikako at a few open mats in Longbeach before the competition started.

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On the day I felt great. I was strong, prepared and ready to go. In my first round I swept, passed, mounted and eventually won 27-0. Obviously, I need to fix my positional control and subs, but I was happy with my intensity, aggression and confidence.

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The 1/4 final was against Vanessa English, whom I recently lost to by 2 points at the European Championship final. This time around, I knew what to expect, had a better strategy and was going in with everything I had after a few months of fixing my mistakes that I made in Portugal. I was ready for war. And what a war we had! Couple of minutes after pulling guard and threatening sweeps, I locked up a tight triangle which I held on to for 2-3 minutes, but couldn’t finish. I then got another opportunity when I secured an omaplata, but again could not get it tight enough. With 2 minutes to go, Vanessa got an advantage for 1/2 guard, which I immediately recovered back to closed guard. We were even with a minute to go, and with literally 5 seconds till the clock run out, I attempted a kimura from 1/2 guard, which Vanessa countered and received an advantage for a near pass, after the timer went. I lost a bronze medal and a chance of making it to the final, by an advantage. Words will never describe the heartbreak I felt at that moment…

But a couple of months later, I can honestly say I left every ounce of my energy on the mat that day and gave it my all. Can I improve and be 100 x better next time? Without a doubt! Fights like these make me a million times better and more determined to get it right next time.

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 2) BOA Super 8Boa Super 8

End of June saw the return on the highly anticipated Boa Super 8, with $20K up for grabs for the main event for the men. I was offered an ADCC rules no-gi, 6 minutes super fight. Due to lack of black belt local women my size, I accepted a fight against brown-belt Tegan from QLD. My aims were to put on a show, and execute 2 of the things I’ve been working on – front headlocks and heel hooks. It was so much fun fighting in front of home crowd, and I could not ask for better support than my Absolute MMA teammates!

I pulled guard at the start of the fight, but was unable to find a leg lock entry, so I decided to come on top. I locked up a chin strap from top 1/2 guard and patiently waited till the half way mark so I could get point for passing. As soon as points started, I passed straight to mount and really wanted to finish the guillotine I had locked on. About a minute later though, my grip started to loosen and I don’t want to burn my grips, so I let go. I saw an opportunity to step over for the saddle, which I took and finished the fight with a sideways knee bar as I was rolling to set up an inside heel hook.

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Boa was such a fun event, with some serious international and Australian talent and incredible fights. I do wish though that there were more females showcased, specially as Australia boasts a few brown and black belt Worlds medallists. It would also be awesome to have black belt female fights closer to the main event and definitely, definitely (!) after purple belt male bouts.

3) Asian Seminar Tour and Tokyo Grand Slam

Anna from Malysian Jiujitseiras invited me to teach a seminar in Kuala Lumpur. She is doing amazing things for the development of female BJJ in Malaysia, so I jumped on the opportunity to support it. Anna met me at the airport the day after her wedding (crazy lady) and opened up her home to me. I loved spending time with her and getting to now her family and friends.

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The next day I taught a seminar on my passing series from headquarters position and got to roll with all the lovely ladies and guys who came. Thank you to Unforgiven Gym for hosting me and Bruninho for being the most awesome roll, dummy and a fellow midget black belt friend. I was also lucky enough to attend KL’s black belt rolls at GF Team. Safe to say I got royally (but gently) smashed by all the boys.

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After all the KL fun, I flew to Singapore, where I was scheduled to teach 2 seminars. Sue-Ann organised by entire stay and the amazing chef and super woman Arlene hosted me at her house. I will be forever grateful to these woman for making my stay so much fun, for feeding me, sight-seeing with me and for simply being such beautiful friends.
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I taught a no-gi ‘saddle/heel hook’ seminar at Team Highlight Reel and then a gi spider guard seminar at Trifecta. Thank you to both teams for hosting me, you have some killer students! Again, I was lucky enough to join ‘black belt’ sessions at Gracie Barra, which solidified my prep for the Tokyo Grand Slam.

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I flew to Tokyo 2 days before the Grand Slam and joined Lee Ting for some light rolls and drills at Isshin Jiu Jitsu, in Ota. Tingy was so much fun to hang out with and kept me laughing during our entire Tokyo trip.

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I can’t say my performance was great during the Grand Slam. It was the first time in a long time, where I just could not switch on. I was tired and found it very difficult to focus. I managed to win my first round 15-0, however sustained a bad elbow injury as my hand got caught in my sleeve when I was on top in side control. I fought the rest of the round virtually with one hand and lots of pain.

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Heavily strapped up, I needed to change my strategy for the final with the amazing Amal Amjahid. I have been working hard on my stand up and top game, but there was no way I could really use my right arm or post on it, so I decided to pull guard quickly. I felt good while I had the right grips, however I lost a collar grip for a split second and Amal took the opportunity to grab my sleeve to set up a quick arm bar. Knowing how fast Amal is and how injured I was, I started tapping as soon as I felt her grip, but unfortunately it was still a little late and I hurt myself a bit further. That’s the risk I took, but I only wish I could show much better BJJ…

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When I came home, I spent 2 weeks training with 1 arm and slowly fixing the mistakes I made in Tokyo.

4) Lachlan Giles Thailand Camp

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I have been looking forward to a mini BJJ holiday at our new Absolute MMA Phuket gym for a long time! Lachie taught a butterfly/single lex x/x guard no gi camp and it was one of the best weeks we have had in a long time. There was around 25 participants of all levels, different shapes and sizes and a few advanced girls that ended up being fabulous training partners and hilarious company.

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We trained twice a day, rolled lots and spent our time in between either exploring Rawai and it’s beautiful beaches, lazing by the pool, eating delicious local food and doing tours around Phuket. We went to night markets, watched Muay Thai fights in Patong, went out, visited The Big Buddha and explored some stunning view points.

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I made friends for life and really miss the amazing group of humans I got to share my week with. Thailand 5

I am beyond excited to teach a Women’s BJJ Gi Camp with 4 x World Champion Rikako Yuasa in October in Thailand, but more on that in my next blog post!Thailand 1

5) Planning a Wedding

Our wedding date is set for the 5th January 2019 and we are pretty chilled about the whole thing. I have my dress on order, we have a beautiful venue, our friends will be providing catering, deserts, entertainment, and MC-ing and I think most things are taken care of.

To married couples – if you could do it again, what would you add or do different? What did you love about your big day?

Jiu Jitsu Escapes Camp, Bali

black belt , camp , competition , friends , gi , IBJJF , Jiu Jitsu , no gi , World Championships • Jan 1, 2018
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One of the last comps of the season was the Pan Pacific Championships in Melbourne. I managed to win my first championship title as a black belt, but the biggest highlight was my team Absolute MMA – we won the no gi team trophy, every single Absolute lady who entered the comp came away with a medal and my amazing fiancé Lachie earned himself 4 gold medals like a boss.

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2017 was a hectic and exhausting year with work, comps, training, travel and everything in between, so when I heard about Jiu Jitsu Escapes in Bali, I jumped at a chance to have a little R&R whilst still being able to train.  Bruno Malfacine, a 10 x World Champion and Gezary Matuda who has been dominating my division for years, were the coaches leading the camp – it literally doesn’t get better than that!

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When my training partner Chi and I landed in Bali, we were picked up by a driver from Uluwatu Surf Villas – beautiful and luxurious villa resort right on a surf beach, and far away from the craziness of Kuta. Our villa had it’s own pool overlooking the ocean, a hammock, outdoor showers and a beautifully crafted common area.  Chi and I went exploring the surroundings, but really, we just couldn’t wait to train that night.bali 21 Bali 8bali 15Bali 5

The mats were set up outdoors, under a cover and to avoid over-heating,  training sessions were held either bright and early in the morning or at sunset. There were optional yoga classes each day, which were designed for BJJ fighters and totally worth getting up early for. In between training our time was spent lazing around in the sun, trying our luck at surfing and paddle boarding and going on excursions to Ubud, where we got to explore some pretty waterfalls and walk around the monkey forest.

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BJJ Girls…

BJJ Girls... The Reality

BJJ Girls… The Reality

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The food was so fresh and delicious that I decided to take a break from my weight cut for no gi worlds. I simply could not control myself and wanted to enjoy my short time in Bali as much as possible, without restricting my diet.bali 17bali 24

Now, let’s talk about jiu jitsu, because it was insane... Bruno and Gezary alternated teaching classes and each session build on one another. Bruno is an amazing teacher and not surprisingly, his techniques blew my mind. It was so much fun rolling with him and it certainly inspired and changed my BJJ in just 5 short days. After meeting Bruno, it is clear why he is a 10 x World Champion – his work ethic and attention to detail is second to none. Same can be said for his selfie and photography skills… everything had to be perfect – the light, the colour coordination of gis, the formation and even Bruno’s hair…

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Gezary taught some of her signature moves and her amazing submission oriented game. Her aggressiveness and the push to always finish her opponents has had a big influence on me over the years.

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There was also no shortage of great training partners. Each day there were at least 6 black belts on the mats, all of different sizes, and men and women of every belt colour, from all over the world. Because the group comprised of just 25 people, I was able to roll and get to know pretty much everyone. It was also so much fun catching up with some great friends like Naoko, Ly, Gabi, Bruno, Thais and Gui.
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It’s hard to put into words how amazing this camp was. Gabi looked after every tiny detail and whilst super organised, she managed to stay completely relaxed and in control. I have so much admiration for her and her husband Gui from Garage Jiu Jitsu, who made this camp not only possible, but exceed all expectations.

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If you are considering of going to the next one, don’t even think twice about it, because you will not regret it. The top level BJJ, dreamy location, delicious food, a great group of people and constant laughs made for an indescribable week. The whole experience was perfect and I miss it every single day.

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AIS Wrestling Camp

camp , friends , Jiu Jitsu , team , wrestling • Apr 16, 2017
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I have started training wrestling about a year ago. My goals were to improve my stand up game, get better at scrambles and to get ready for ADCC trials and ADCC style competitions. I am loving wrestling so much right now that I am even seriously considering jumping into a competition and giving it a go.

For a few months I only managed to train 1 session per week, and then I tore my ACL and wrestling had to wait as I continued my rehab. It is only in the last few weeks that I have been able to wrestle comfortably and not think about my knee too much.

I have the most wonderful coaches in Rio Olympian Talgat Ilyasov who’s technical knowledge is second to none and his fluidity and smoothness makes me admire even his warm up movements. Connor Evans who is one of the best wrestlers in Australia and a wonderful, encouraging instructor also coaches me out of Absolute St Kilda. It is not easy coaching a  newbie like me, so  I take my hats off to Talgat and Connor’s patience as they explain the same concepts and moves weekly, or so it seems.

I first got excited to wrestle a little more when the one and only badass swear-mouthed MMA fighter Young and I paired up to be training partners. Although she is a little smaller, we are similar sized and close in skill level, which makes for a perfect partner in crime. Young and I actively encouraged all the girls at Absolute MMA to wrestle at least once a week. It hasn’t always been easy, but we have successfully used bribes such as buying matching leggings for anyone who starts wrestling classes. It has worked and now we have a good group of ladies training regularly.

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Wrestling has made a massive difference to my BJJ – not only do I feel confident in standing and going for take downs, but my spatial awareness and fight from scrambles have really improved. I am learning how to control my grip fighting and head position and I get enormous amount of excitement and satisfaction in trying new things … it feels like I’m a white belt again.

This is why when former Olympian Kyla Bremner and her husband Kris Grzywniak announced yet another wrestling camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, I jumped at the opportunity. I figured 3 days of wrestling a selection of girls my own size will do me good even so close to the World Pro in Abu Dhabi.

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My teammates Shantelle, Apryl and the young up and comers Stella and Nacinta jumped in a car and drove up, which was not without mishaps. We had a flat tyre on the way up, which turned it into a really long drive.

I am so grateful to Kyla and Kris who housed and fed us for the weekend and of course provided some great coaching at the camp. Each day we focused on a different concept and I loved the amount of drills and ‘play’ time we got. Even after 3 days of immersing myself in the sport, I feel like I came away with so much new knowledge and a much better understanding and feel of certain positions. I feel my BJJ and athleticism really compliment my wrestling, and of course my wrestling is making my BJJ a lot better. It was so wonderful to be a student at the camp, and a beginner one at that. Even though my energy was super low as I was cutting weight, Kris and Kyla’s passion and excitement carried me through the weekend and I laughed a lot, though mainly at myself.

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It was great to get back home to my own wrestling coaches and continue to work and improve on some of the set ups, take downs and pins.

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing coaches, training partners and other athletes.

If my body is up for it, I will give Wrestling Nationals a go next month… Because you only live once!

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Photo credits to the lovely Apryl Eppinger.