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UAEJJF

Abu Dhabi World Pro 2018

black belt , competition , friends , gi , Jiu Jitsu , Lachie , Uncategorized , World Championships • Jun 6, 2018
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Let’s rewind 6 weeks to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships. This year I was lucky enough to qualify as Oceania’s #1 fighter, as I collected points at LA Grand Slam, Continental Pro and the National Pro and as a result I won one of the travel packages on offer. In fact, Absolute MMA won all the black belt packages for males and females! Lachie and I were joined by Shantelle, Ben Hodgkinson (who had to withdraw last minute), and Chi, Sarah and Apryl in the adult divisions. It was also wonderful to catch up with my International friends like Margot, Reem, Rose and Erin.

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I decided to cut to 49kg. It is still an extremely difficult cut for me, as my usual walking around weight is 53kg and I’m already quite lean, but UAEJJF comps have 24 hr weigh in, so it’s just manageable. It’s the third time I’ve cut this much weight, and although it gets mentally harder each time, I also find it easier physically because I know exactly how my body responds and what is required of me. Not many people can understand how difficult it really is… I work full time, coach and train up to 4 hrs a day, which is no fun, when you have zero energy. Whoever says weight cuts are easy, flat out lies! Dropping down below 10% body fat is certainly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

It took me 5-6 weeks to get down to about 49-50kgs on a very calorie restricted diet. The rest of the weight came off with manipulating my sodium and carb intake and eating low fibre for a few days before the comp. I sweated out only around 800g before the weigh in. The most important thing for me is safety and health, so I always consult with my dietician Reid Reale and make sure that I am disciplined enough with my diet, so I don’t have to cut a lot of water.

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I had an interesting bracket with a bye first round, then a multiple Worlds medalist Serena Gabrielli in the semi final. I had a great fight with Serena and although I couldn’t consolidate my pass attempt, I won by 2 points from a sweep. I was stoked to make it to the World Pro final, especially after over-coming such a tough opponent. Just 2 years ago, I remember watching Mackenzie and Michelle fight on the big stage, feeling like it was a far-away dream to ever follow their footsteps. I was pumped when I woke up and couldn’t believe I would be stepping on that stage as the first Australian to ever make it to the finals in the adult black belt division. Walking out through the lights and the fireworks was electrifying and I couldn’t wait to tap hands and fight. I had to keep remembering that the pressure I felt, was a complete privilege of an emotion, that only a few could ever feel, so I embraced it with all my might.

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My opponent in the final was Brazilian Mayssa Bastos, whom I fought at last year’s World Pro and lost by 1 point. Mayssa is one of the most technical fighters on the scene and I knew she would bring her relentless bermimbolo game. However I felt well prepared and ready for everything. I am a quite well rounded fighter, who is not afraid to wrestle or stay on top as well as play guard. We double guard pulled and I decided to come up for an advantage. As expected, Mayssa attacked bolos off a lasso, which I defended and deflected well for a few minutes. However as I defended a shin flick to possible triangle, I left my leg out for Mayssa to get a deep DLR hook. Things then went from bad to worse – I defended a back take but the choke was already on as I started to scramble back on top. I had no choice but to tap.

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After such an amazing build up, losing the final was definitely underwhelming and disappointing as I expected much more from myself. However, the better fighter won that night and the only thing I can do is learn from it and improve. I have gotten a lot better at not constantly replaying the mistakes in my mind and making myself feel terrible about them. Instead, I make a plan on how to build on my game and fix the things that didn’t work.abu dhabi 15 34563625_10155390413057461_6331076905801875456_n Abu Dhabi 16 Abu Dhabi 9Abu Dhabi 7

I was so happy for Lachie to win the prize for the top ranked male in Oceania for the season – he deserved it so much. I ended up ranked # 7 female in the world and #1 female in Oceania.Abu Dhabi 23

I flew home full of inspiration and ready for my Worlds prep.

Every time I have competed this year as a black belt, I have improved and gained confidence. I am finally starting to believe in myself and trust my technique. I try my hardest to fix the mistakes I make and compete smarter, but also I am constantly up-skilling my game – be it working on my bolos, half guard, wrestling or torreandos. I know I haven’t reached my potential yet and I also haven’t competed to my full abilities at black belt… but I am building momentum and I know I am not far. Can’t wait for the rest of the year!

Recent Competition Fun

black belt , competition , friends , gi , Jiu Jitsu , Lachie , no gi , Uncategorized , World Championships , wrestling • Oct 16, 2017
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This year has been non-stop and slightly exhausting competition wise… and it’s not over yet! So far I’ve had 7 International trips and a few domestic ones for either comps or seminars. Anyone who lives in Australia knows how tiring flying 17 hrs to get anywhere is. My lack of annual leave and a tight work schedule means, I usually land, drive home, have a shower and go to work. It generally doesn’t hit me until a week later, but I guess I’m used to it now and I just keep on going.

A few weeks ago I flew to Sydney to compete at the Aus Sub Only Championships. It was a no gi, sub only format with no time limit in the finals. Since I’ve had a pretty poor showing at my no gi fights this year, I really wanted more experience. I was a little worried about open weight since I’ve hurt my back, but I felt like I could keep myself safe in a ruleset with heel hooks.

It was lovely to catch up with Katie from Sydney who picked me up from the airport and looked after me for the day, and even coached me during my fights. My aim for this competition was to try leg entanglements as much as possible and tighten up my heel hooks. Of course I always fight to win, but I focus on my problem areas in the domestic comps and peak 1-2 times a year for Worlds. I had three fights – first one I spent trying to sub from from an inside heel hook in 50/50 and let go quickly when I felt the tap, but for some reason we continued to fight. I won my second fight by arm-bar from mount after many unsuccessful heel hook and straight ankle attempts and I won the final by an inside heel hook. I took away a few things to work on and won myself flights to USA and a spot to fight at Fight To Win Pro. I really wanted to make it back to USA for FTW before the end of the year, but since I have Worlds No Gi in December, I will compete early next year instead to give my body a little rest.

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The next adventure was a somewhat spontaneous trip to Los Angeles for the UAE Grand Slam. UEAJJF offers good prize money and top level competitors, so I was super keen to test myself out against the best back belts. I was accompanied by Katie  – a Sydney blue belt whom I have become really good friends with. It was special to see Katie prepare and tackle her first International comp, which is a nerve wrecking task!

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We had a few obstacles like having our AirBnB fall through when we landed and having to have to look for a hotel last minute, which also meant me dealing with Katie’s soothing snoring sounds all night.

After weigh-ins I got to catch up with a few people including Erin, whom I see more of than some of my friends in Melbourne.

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I wasn’t willing to cut to 49kg, so I fought in the 55kg division and felt super strong at that weight. I lost first round to Ana Carolina Schmitt by 2 points, but felt very comfortable in my guard. I went through to repacharge and won 11-2 in a technical battle with Tassia Pimenta. The next win was against a tough brown belt, which meant I was through to a bronze medal match against Ana again. I really wanted to pass her guard, so I decided to play on top, but got swept toward the end of the match and couldn’t make up the points. I was definitely sad coming home empty handed and losing the bronze medal, because I think it was in me to win it. However, I had 4 fights against top level black belts and plenty to improve on – both strategy and skill wise. Although I’m not winning everything (yet), I’m also not getting smashed by the best and I’m more determined than ever to be on the top of the podium.

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The next day was Katie’s turn to leave it all on the mats and she did just that. I was very proud watching her handle the stresses of international comps like a pro. Before our flight home we got to go on a fun hike around Runyon Canyon, soak up some much needed Vitamin D and explore Hollywood.
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ADCC was on at the same time as the Grand Slam, so I set my alarm to 3am to watch Lachie, Craig and Kit… and holly shit, did they bring it! I am so proud and happy for them and although Craig’s performance surprised many, we expected it. For the last 2 years, we have consistently trained specifically for ADCC and our sessions include wrestling, leg entanglements and specific training the positions that are often seen in ADCC. We left no stone unturned in our prep and watching everyone mix it with the best has inspired the crap out of me. I will do everything in my power to be in ADCC finals in 2 years.

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I’m very grateful for the opportunities to compete overseas, which help me improve tremendously. My next steps will be the Pan Pacific Championships in Melbourne and then No Gi Worlds in December. Hopefully I can make it to European Championships in 2018 too!

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