Monday, March 26, 2012

New Training Buddy!

...and I wrote all about it over at my new home,  Update your bookmarks or follow the new blog via e-mail, because this one will be collecting dust soon enough. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New post

There's a new post over at the new blog!  Go check it out at

Sunday, March 11, 2012

MOVING! (online, that is)

I've had enough with Blogger.  For months, I haven't been able to get to individual post pages and the comments have been screwy.  I'm finally fed up enough to move to Wordpress.  My new home is .  There's nothing up yet, but I'll get some pages going soon.  In the meantime, if anyone knows how to migrate posts, help/suggestions would be much appreciated! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

BJJ in Omaha

I finally got to train in Omaha!  One of my roommates went out of town this weekend and let me use her car, so I drove over to train with Team Rodrigo Vaghi Omaha-North.  I called in advance to make sure they would be there and it was ok if I came, and the ensuing conversation was rather interesting.  Trying to explain where I'm from (New York?  Tennessee?), how long I've been training (8 years, but really more like 3-4), where I'm staying (at the zoo...), it seemed like I couldn't give him a straightforward answer to anything.  In any case, he told me that Saturdays were just open mat, but I was welcome to come on over.

I didn't have any trouble finding the place, although I drove right by it the first time, and let's just say the streets of Omaha aren't the friendliest to out-of-towners.  There weren't any signs indicating there was a BJJ school, as it was a youth center or something like that.  I walked in and found three guys in a wrestling room, and figured I was in the right place.  They invited me in, and the head teacher, Dana Taylor, gave me a fun lesson on takedowns--mostly arm drags and two on one.  He had to leave soon though, so the other two who were working together took me in and one of them, Greg, continued the lesson.  We did a little bit from the knees as well, and then it was time to go.  Unfortunately, we didn't really have a chance to get any rolling in, although given the size difference between us I'm not quite sure I'm unhappy about that.  It was just nice to get moving again after a month without BJJ.

In zoo news, we've been working on some fun stuff, like tigers, aye-ayes, tapirs (I pulled blood on one!) and stingrays.

Also, I finally got offered a job!!!  It's in Las Vegas (technically it's Henderson, but who cares??), doing exactly what I want to do--mostly small animal private practice, with some zoo animals thrown in (they see a lot of the show animals from the strip).  I probably won't start until late June or July, but I'm already looking into BJJ schools there.  So far I've heard Mica Cipili's school and Drysdale's school are the places to go, but they're kind of far and there are a TON of options.  I was really looking for something closer to where I work, and Epic Training Center is less than a mile away.  As far as I can tell, it started out affiliated with Drysdale, but it appears that those instructors are no longer there and Fredson Paixao now runs the BJJ program.  That would be ideal, and honestly at my current level I don't need THE absolute best instruction--I think as long as I can feel at home, and I will be able to get there with some regularity, it will be just fine.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I'm open to it!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not quite bjj...

I'm a week into my month-long stint in Omaha at the Henry Doorly Zoo, and so far it's been fun.  Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to do much, since I was out for two days last week for a job interview (in VEGAS!) and yesterday we were "off" for President's Day.  I say "off" because the other extern and I showed up at 8 AM for rounds, and only one other vet was there and she told us there wasn't anything going on, so we might as well go back.  It wasn't a big deal, since we were staying in the dorm they have just upstairs, but it was kind of a bummer for me because I wanted to do stuff. 

So far I have either helped or observed: a sable antelope necropsy, examine an injured springhaas tail, ultrasound a spider monkey (it was preggers!!), necropsy a wolf eel, scratch down a tapir for blood pressure (literally--you can rub them with brushes and they just...go down lol), examine a tiger shark wound, do a gastric wash and colon biopsy on an agile gibbon, draw blood on a saki monkey, attempt to dart a spider monkey, necropsy (a very decayed) mossy leaf-tailed gecko, and drain the remains of a pelican's eye (the eye had been removed, but fluid was building up in the orbit).   Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to post pictures of the stuff we do behind-the-scenes. 

Not ours, but this is a springhaas!

Anyways, one of the interns who lives here goes to a kickboxing class every day.  I figured it would be easier to just go with him to his class than convince him to try out a BJJ class so I could have a ride (not having a car in Omaha kind of blows), so yesterday I finally went. 

Of course, he didn't tell me until we were on our way that they do 10-week programs, and the next one starts in three weeks--when I leave.  Of course.  But I wanted to try it out anyways, and I'm glad I did.

I was expecting a class a lot more like what I saw at my school, with people working in pairs holding pads, and some crazy conditioning.  Yeah, notsomuch.  It was intense--I will give it that.  This place was pretty packed, so we pretty much stayed in our little square and did everything in-place.  The warm-up was of light to moderate intensity, with some shadowboxing/kicking and other stuff thrown in.  Then we threw on the gloves and rolled out the Wavemasters.  We paired up and alternated between doing 5-10 minutes of kicking/punching combos and other conditioning stuff--push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.  We ended with some stretching. 

Overall, it was pretty fun and I got a decent workout--much better than if I was just trying to work out on my own in my room.  I know nothing about kickboxing, so they kept coming over to correct my form so I wouldn't hurt myself.  Sadly, my knuckles were still kind of sore afterwords, and I'm sure the push-ups (with gloves) didn't help at all.  I was a little surprised at how well I could keep up with most of the class, given a) my complete ignorance of it, and b) my almost complete lack of exercise for the past few weeks.  I was also mildly disappointed at the lack of contact, but I suppose that's not what cardio kickboxing is for.  Honestly, I think I just miss BJJ.  I meant to talk to them about possibly signing up for just three weeks, but I was so exhausted and hungry at the end I just stumbled out. 

In all of this, I think the most fun part is watching my roommate knock down the Wavemaster every time he punched it.  I guess that happens when you're 6'7" and 270 pounds.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yay for free time!

Which I finally get on Field Services.  I have to say, it's actually kind of nice to have weekends off.  Plus, I was able to go to class on Saturday AND last night!  AND I went to the gym today!  I think my body might rebel tomorrow morning though. 

Saturday women's class:
Michelle (who needed knee surgery a few months ago) was finally back in class for the first time, which was nice--it meant that women's class was more than just me and Jess!  I started us on a super-careful warm-up, and then Jess taught us the foot-in-hip guard pull, followed by a takedown from that position.  There was a lot of adjusting to make sure Michelle would be able to do it, since her leg was still pretty weak. 

Regular class:
We started with some quick takedowns, and then did a sweep series.  It starts from getting stacked while attempting an armbar from guard, and moved on from there.  We finished with some open rolling, which resulted in playing the avoid-the-n00b game.

Monday night class:
There were only six of us there, four blue belts and two white belts who were really new.  After the warm-up, we started with the knee-through pass and some new details, and then moved on to the "windshield-wiper" pass (knee-through but it's the same-side knee).  Finished with 3-minute rounds of open rolling, with everyone in the class, so I didn't really get to avoid the new guys.  Luckily, they were fairly tame, although one guy (after multiple sweeps and triangle/armbar attempts) told me at the end, "good job." In that tone.  That condescending tone, like I'm a child who he was just playing with.  Eh.  We'll see who plays with who next time. 

On another note, I've been attempting to somewhat fix my diet as well.  It's been pretty terrible lately, and consists of either me not eating real meals and making up for it with pre-packaged snacks, or the Indian version of Ramen noodles.  I've decided to start packing a salad every day for lunch, which should a)get me eating vegetables again, which sort of disappeared from my diet, and b)actually get me eating lunch and not granola bars or peanut butter sandwich crackers washed down with soda. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting 2012 off the right way!

And by that, of course I mean with some good ol' BJJ.

No, I haven't vanished or died or suffered from amnesia.  I just haven't been able train lately, due in large part to school/slave labor hours (80 hours a week of overnight shifts is NOT fun, no matter what someone else may try to tell you).  Today was the first time in over a month that I was able to hit the mats, and of course I felt like ass.  Honestly though, I was just glad that our coach decided to have open mat today.

My first roll was with a very strong, solid blue belt.  I spent the entire time feeling like I was slowly getting rolled over by a boulder.  And once I got smushed enough to tap, it started all over again.  At least it was nice and slow, so I had a chance to warm up and stretch out some.  My next roll was with another very strong, but very shiny-new-blue belt who I could play with a little more.  Not that I could do anything, but just that it was a little quicker.  I was glad to finally see him and congratulate him on the belt, as our last belt testing was in early December, the same day I had to take the NAVLE (aka 7-hour-long national veterinarian board exam aka the "let's-make-you-feel-stupid" test).  After that, I had a few more rolls, which were a little quicker, but with the lack of recent rollage (and bare minimum of exercise), not to mention sleep deprivation, I was pooped pretty quick.  Plus, I didn't want to feel like complete garbage tomorrow.  I know how hard it is on my body to take weeks off of BJJ and then jump right back in, and I didn't want to deal with that.  

BJJ goals for 2012:
1) Train.
2) No really...just train.  That's it.

Life goals for 2012:
1) Find a job that fits my professional goals and will let me train BJJ. 

Which leads to my New Year's resolution for 2012:
1) Spend at least half an hour a day, and an hour on weekends, looking for a job or working on my job application skills/materials.  Speaking of which, does anyone know any vets who are hiring? 
2) Work out at least three times a week, even if it's just some tabatas at home.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work up the motivation for this after a long day at work?  I often find myself unwilling to hit the gym on days I finish at 7 because it's already so late, and on days when I finish closer to 5, I can't bear the thought of the crowds (which will be even worse with all the new year's resolutions).  I tell myself I'll just do something when I get home, and of course I just sit at my computer messing around, maybe being productive 25% of the time.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Awesome takedown

Where have I been the past few weeks? 

Well, for one, getting a black eye while I'm on vacation.
 Ignore the hideously unplucked eyebrows.  It actually developed a little more under my eye the next day, and it looked like I had some funky eyeshadow going on, but it really wasn't that bad.  Note to self: Do NOT allow the edge of your eye to come in contact with your instructor's cro-magnon forehead. 

Also, I've had my family visiting for the first time since I came to Tennessee!
Family + Smoky Mountains
It was nice having them come, and I finally got to introduce them to my friends and BJJ family. 

Also, I've been ultrasounding stingrays and metal-scanning penguins, among other fun things!

So, you ask: where on Earth have I been finding time for BJJ?  I've managed to squeeze it in here and there, and this morning was definitely worth it.  It was just me for the women's class, so I rolled/gossiped with Jess for awhile, then she showed me a cool takedown.  Maybe not suitable for people way huger than me, but still awesome nonetheless.  A new girl, Briana, came to the open class.  She's a blue belt from Memphis, and a sophomore at UT, AND close to my size!  It was really nice to finally find someone who is my rank and my size, and we had a really good roll.  I pointed out all the cool people for her to roll with, which was especially important today because we had some visiting students, which included some white belts who I didn't know at all.

Also, I've joined Fitocracy.  Maybe I've been "gaming" the system a little, doing some things just to complete quests, but at least I know I can still run a mile in under 8 minutes.  7:22 when I've barely been training for it--boo ya!

So share with me--what cool things has Fitocracy pushed you to do that you wouldn't otherwise be doing? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NOW I'm confused

So before I start this, let me just say how thankful I am that anyone even reads my blog.  I appreciate any and all feedback, but more than that it's nice to have a place where I can just think "out loud," in a manner of speaking.

But I am really curious to know...who are the people searching for:

"ovariectomy hook storz"
"ian and jessica aperna (sic)"
"andre galvao forearm tattoo"
"lifting neophyte"

I kind of understand where most, if not all, of them come from (the tattoo one is the only one that confuses me).  But what I really want to know is, are these people that I know looking for me?  Are they finding what they want, or are they looking for something completely different?  And for all those searching for "grappling vet," are you really searching for me, or for some veteran of grappling?  Also, I am sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping I was Jessica Martin or Mike Harmon. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday class

The women's class this morning was a little...sparse.  I showed up while the kickboxing class was still going on, which Jess does.  I got changed and sat around for awhile after 10, thinking that maybe the schedule changed and the women's class started at 10:30 now--until I asked Jess what time we were starting, and they all realized their kickboxing class had gone over.  It didn't really matter much, though, because I was the only one who showed up for the women's class. 

We managed to convince Nicole, the lady who teaches the kickboxing class, to join in for BJJ, and since it was just us three we also invited a new guy who was in the previous class to stay as well.  Nicole only had a little BJJ somewhere else, and the guy had none, so Jess kind of did an intro lesson for them.  They picked up things like forward rolls, backward rolls, shrimping, and break falls REALLY fast, and then she moved on to armbar from mount and the upa escape from underneath mount (which Nicole called "buck and roll"...that made me lolz a little).  The guy was decently sized, and both of them are pretty damn strong, but they had really good body awareness and I was impressed at how quickly they learned things, and how controlled they were when we did a little bit of open rolling at the end of class. 

For me, Jess showed a variation on a cross choke from guard, and taking the back when someone sprawls.  It worked off of a side control escape she showed me a few weeks ago.  After rolling, she also went over some small things to improve my game, which mostly involved making more aggressive grips.  Combined with Jack's little lesson on grips from open guard over at Jiu Jitsu Forums, I tried to put it all together for next class.

Open class was next, and there were only seven of us that showed up.  Apparently, Fall Festival is going on and we just can't compete with that.  Mike had us drill 30 guard passes apiece, any way we wanted, but starting with our posture broken down.  After, he went over a guard break to do when still broken down and hugging your opponent's chest, by making sure their hips were pinned between your legs, your body, and your arms.  I really need to work on that one.  Open rolling followed, where I (unsuccessfully) tried to work my grip game.  I got myself steamrolled by the Tucker boys

This is the first time I've done both the women's class and open in awhile, and I'm sure my body won't be happy tomorrow but it felt really good.  I figured I should take advantage of the rare weekend off.  I just wish I had a little more time/energy on weekdays to work out even a little, so it wouldn't hit me so hard when I do want to push myself on the weekends. 

And I finally got John's match uploaded to YouTube: