2016 is flying by so fast that I have not had time to update my blog. Between working as a physio, teaching pilates, teaching BJJ classes, privates, running the business and training 2 x day, I don’t have much energy for anything else.
Right now I am right in my competition preparation. Abu Dhabi Pro is just 2 weeks away, where I will be competing with the best black belts in the world and many of my idols! I’m so excited to have an opportunity like that so early into my brown belt.
After Abu Dhabi, I will be home for 3 weeks, then we are off to NYC for the Worlds camp. We booked a cute place in Brooklyn, so it should be good fun exploring the area as well as training hard. Can’t believe it’s nearly World Championships time again, but I seriously can’t wait to compete with brown belts this year.
The competition year started off for me with the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Absolute MMA sponsored 10 athletes to go up to Sydney, which is an amazing recognition for the competitors. Absolute won 5 of the 15 packages available (Lachie, Craig, Ben, Demi & Nikki), as well as the best team award. I didn’t have a great competition myself. I think I fought well in under 61kgs open, but lost a ref’s decision in the crucial match, despite numerous sub attempts. I also lost the open weight final, but at least improved on some of my previous mistakes. You win some, you lose some, that’s the way it always goes in sport. I learnt a lot in the process though, which is the most important thing for me. In the end, I am going to Abu Dhabi anyway and I’m stoked about that.
In training, we have been doing a bit of ADCC style rounds with heel hooks and leg locks, so I couldn’t wait to jump in to the Grappling Industries Sub Only to test out my game in no gi. I had 7 matches in the open and my weight division and won all but one by subs. I am LOVING no gi at the moment and really enjoying learning heel hooks – it changes the game completely.
In addition to our advanced ADCC sessions, I have been wrestling 2 x a week, and I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable on my feet. I find it improves not only my stand up, but also my scrambles, grip fighting, aggressiveness and spatial awareness.
In early March, Lachie and I were thrilled to be involved with HeartKids BJJ Super Hero Throwdown and help to raise money for the Heart Kids Foundation, which is dedicated to providing support to families of children with heart disease. It was a lot of fun, and I loved dressing up as Rey from Star Wars and taking on the Raptor. That was the only time that Lachie let me beat him up! Gotta take what I can get I guess.
At Easter I hosted an advanced girls’ training camp that saw some of Australia’s best females all rolling together. We trained 2 x day and hang out. I got to have many tough and technical rolls with women of different styles and weight divisions. Many thanks to my crazy and super technical friend Margot and Hope (and Mia) for coming to Melbourne from interstate. I love that we can compete against each other as well as being good friends and great training partners. In my eyes, that’s how we will continue to shine on the international stage.
I competed at Synergy Pro in Adelaide yesterday. Synergy Pro are one of the few competitions that put on equal prize money for men and women, so I decided to take a day off work, fly to Adelaide and support the shit out of the guys who support us. I had two exciting and tough matches, but since there was no one in my weight we only had open weight. I won the No Gi final by an ankle lock and lost the Gi final by a choke in the last 19 seconds after being up on points. Lesson learnt… Don’t stop till the buzzer goes, and conversely keep fighting till the end. I’m so glad to have all these competitions to make mistakes, try new moves and to gain more and more experience with every fight.
I have so many more exciting things happening this year. After the Worlds, I have been invited to compete at the Copa Podio selection tournament for the women from Australia. 5 of us were chosen, which is an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately for me it’s an open weight format, so at 51kgs it will be a very difficult job as I will have to give up 30-35kgs. However, I am so happy for both Lachie and Craig to be picked to represent Australia to fight the ‘Vikings’ in Norway.
In September, Lachie and I are off to Japan to compete at the Asian Open. This is my favourite competition to date, so I’m really looking forward to it.
On a personal level, I am really enjoying working on a lot more balance in my training. I’m having many more light rolling days, analysing more videos, visualising and specific training rather than hard rolls every session. I am really watching my fatigue levels and pick my days. When I’m fresh, I go hard and fight for each point. When I’m exhausted I flow roll, practice speed and movement and I always make sure I dedicate a couple of days to specifically training just one position over and over again. This is making my BJJ journey a lot more fun.
Besides that I am loving coaching and teaching privates. It really makes me think about jiu jitsu in a more and more technical way, but also forces me to be more clear, simple and logical in my explanations.
So next stop is Abu Dhabi, where I plan to train a lot and compete with everything I have. I want to be tenacious, aggressive and assertive and I can’t wait for the challenge. With such great coaches and team behind me, it will be that little bit easier.