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.
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.
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.
2) BOA 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
I made friends for life and really miss the amazing group of humans I got to share my week with.
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!
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?