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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Prodigy in Manila!

BJ Penn, a.ka. The Prodigy, is one of the most popular and well respected UFC fighters. No doubt about that. So when I heard that my coach is meeting him for a few drinks (my teammate who arranged the meet-up, a purple belt, is good friends with BJ -- he got his blue belt from him), I couldn't keep still. Must. Tag. Along.

This man is an amazing athlete. And a great person, too -- funny, down-to-earth, wise. I couldn't stop laughing when he shared his antics and "nuggets of wisdom," but this one's my favorite: "If you want to win, you have to be hungry -- hungry for the win."

When he got asked about the much-talked about Pacquiao-Marquez fight: "Pacquiao won, no doubt. You have to BEAT the champion to be a champion."

So there. I'm surprised to find him so warm a person, he kept on hugging everyone! I guess that's the Hawaiian way of showing some love :) He's really super friendly, it's almost unbelievable how he turns into a beast while inside the octagon!

Here are some more photos of BJ and my coach, Stephen Kamphuis (yes, they were fooling around at the hotel bar):

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mr. CHEATER in the Tourney!

Cheating happens everyday -- cheating the traffic law, cheating in school, cheating on your partner. But when it happens in a sport you love most, what do you do?


I officiated in the 2011 Philippine BJJ Nationals in Manila last weekend. As I was weighing one of the guys (junior white belt), I noticed that the scale went crazy for about 10 seconds before it stopped on the right weight. I thought it was weird but I just dismissed it. When the guy went off the scale, one of my teammates told me what he saw: as my eyes were glued on the screen of the scale, his teammate (a blue belt) was holding his pants and was slightly lifting his left leg up! He made weight on his first weigh-in -- 81.95kg for the under 82.5kg division. So I asked him to step on the scale again, cleared the area around him, and told him to stand in the middle (his left foot was desperately hanging on the side of the scale) -- then I saw that his actual weight was 86+kg! That was a difference of 5kg! I was so freakin' furious!


I disqualified him from the junior division and told his coach about it. His coach was equally furious. He was so scared of his coach he almost cried in front of us. He was such a disgrace for the sport, and a mockery of the discipline that every martial art instills on its practitioners.

We let him join the adult division, and to our dismay, he tried to take two medals (he got a bronze) from us. WHAT A BLATANT CHEATER. He apologized after all the brouhaha, but now he's been branded as a "cheater." I'm sure the next time I see him in another comp, I will definitely be watching him to make sure he doesn't cheat again. He just lost his credibility and the respect of the organizers.


Friday, November 18, 2011

BJJ Action Tomorrow!

We're having the Philippine Gi & No Gi Championships on Nov. 19 & 20, 10:00 AM, SM Manila.

If you happen to be in Manila, Philippines this weekend, don't miss it!

More info HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


It only happens every 100 years, so what did you do on 11.11.11?

It was a very unfortunate day, as I learned that my student committed suicide by jumping off a building. According to the reports, it was because her partner was breaking up with her, and she couldn't take it. She's a single mom, but always delivered beyond expectations in school. She was one of the students who made an impression in me. 

So to make myself feel better, I figured the only way to forget about it (I was really upset) was to 1 - splurge on hotel buffet; or 2 - train hard. Because I have already gained unnecessary weight while recovering from my surgery (and still have to shake off A LOT of fat), I decided to divert my energy to a good training.

One of the worst things that could happen when you're in the mood to let everything out on the mat is to NOT have a partner. I got to the gym before training started, and as everyone partnered up, I got left with no one. There were odd number of people on the mat, and I got no partner! So I was sulking in the corner for the first 3 rounds, until someone noticed that I wasn't doing anything and called me. Thank you, guy! 

It went on well from there, and actually enjoyed the training. Sweat puddles were a bit too much, but I'm glad I trained on 11.11.11.

Anyway, have you experienced not getting a partner when you're the only woman training at that time? Does it make you feel alone/outcast? On normal days, I don't really mind, and if there is an odd number of people on the mat, I find a couple my size and we take turns in drilling. But sometimes when you are upset and just need a little bit of extra love, it hits you big time. Am I being too girly, or is there anyone out there who feel the same thing? Talk to me! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

This is Finally Happening!

I am finally meeting Kyra Gracie in a few hours! In my last post, I was talking about the Kyra Gracie seminar in Singapore and how I wish I could go. Well, I was able to move mountains and fix my schedule  so I can hide from work and take "meet Kyra Gracie" off my bucket list!

I'm sure I will have a grand time learning from her and meeting other girls from different teams. Just two more hours!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kyra Gracie Seminar in Singapore

If there are key figures in my BJJ life whom I look up to, one of them would definitely be Kyra Gracie. Most women BJJ practitioners I know see her as an inspiration, a role model, a bad-ass competitor. Her grace on and off the mat surely proves just how dangerous she is -- her charm makes you think she's just a cutie, but don't make the mistake of messing with her because she can definitely squeeze the life out of you. Her recent win in ADCC along with her numerous BJJ world titles just show how much of a female killer she is. On the mat, that is.

Kyra Gracie celebrating after submitting Michelle Nicolini with omoplata in ADCC 2011
Photo Source: gi3girls
GOLD: Kyra Gracie | SILVER: Michelle Nicolini | SILVER: Luanna Alzuguir
ADCC 2011
Photo Source: gi3girls

(Details of what went on in the finals of ADCC 2011 -60kg can be found HERE)

So Kyra Gracie doing a seminar in Singapore is definitely a good news for female BJJ practitioners in Southeast Asia! Here are the details taken from Evolve-MMA Singapore site:

DATE:     October 8 & 9, 2011
TIME:      10:00 am to 12:30 pm
VENUE:   Evolve Far East Square
COST:     Evolve students: $100/1 day, $150/2 days
                Public: $150/1 day, $200/2 days

I wish it was held when I was in Singapore last month. I probably couldn't go, but if you are, please do share your experience! I would definitely love to meet her!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Competition: Pan Asian BJJ Gi and No Gi 2011

BJJ Federation of the Philippines
presents the

Pan Asian BJJ Gi and No Gi International Open 2011
June 18-19, 2011
SM Mall of Asia
For registration and other details, click HERE

Monday, April 4, 2011

BJJ Globetrotter in the Philippines!

Imagine living a perfect life -- and by perfect, I mean traveling around the world, and training in BJJ along the way!

I am excited to meet Christian Graugart of, a BJJ brown belt who goes around the world to train in BJJ. He's arriving in the Philippines on Wednesday, and he'll be training with us! Yay! I can't wait to learn from him -- and to take him out for a burger dinner with the team! Because aside from training, he's also doing the amazing around-the-world burger project

So Christian, enjoy your stay in my country!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Competition: Rollapalooza Summer Open 2011

Rollapalooza Presents
Summer Open 2011
April 17, 2011
Ateneo Martial Arts Center

Weight Divisions:

Under 140 lbs.
Under 160 lbs.
Under 180 lbs.
Under 200 lbs.
Over 200 lbs.

NOTE: This is for announcement purposes only. Registration must be coordinated with the organizer, VPF-Atos.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

How Do You Like the New Look?

-- Jonna B.

I hope you love it! :) Okay, it's not exactly pink, but pink and purple go together well anyway. And they are both girly colors (ooops, I'm rationalizing!).

Not all tabs are working yet, as I will have to slowly (and painfully?) fill them up when I have the time and the inspiration to write. I originally envisioned this blog to be a resource for female BJJ lovers, and a showcase of the BJJ scene in the Philippines. Not everyone knows where my country is on the world map, so hopefully I will be able to help Filipinos get recognized in the sport.

Meanwhile, enjoy this Hello Kitty my teammate designed for me as a patch! Pink and girly, alright, but looks cool, don't you think?

This is How We Roll at the University!

-- Jonna B.

I just started doing casual BJJ classes at the university where I teach. The students started an MMA Club with a few of my teammates setting up the org, so I thought to do the same for the faculty and staff. We started two weeks ago, and look at how many turned up!

We don't do a formal BJJ class. We warm up, stretch, drill the basics (shrimping, rolling), and then I show a few techniques that they can practice on. Then we roll. It's a simple class for those who have genuine interest for BJJ, most of whom have only seen it on the UFC.

I have one female colleague who is very keen on learning BJJ. She is 44 years old, and her son was my student in one of my marketing classes! She is the only person I've met who never had hesitations and inhibitions on her first try at BJJ. She learned quickly, and was even game to roll on her second session! She already knows how to keep her arms tight (to avoid an armbar) and was trying to bridge to escape the mount. Watch our video:

I got mixed reactions from those who had their first session. Some are keen to come back, while a few others are forgetting about BJJ too soon -- I guess full contact sport is not really for them :) But my two female colleagues are sticking it out on the mat! I'm so proud of them and my little BJJ team at the Uni.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

BJJ Grading

-- Jonna B.

We just had our grading today -- four new blue belts, and one new purple! Congratulations!

There were two female teammates who got their stripes on their white belt -- currently, we only have about seven women in the team, including myself! I would like to see more women (and pink gis?) on the mat soon!

new colored belts -- 4 blues, 1 purple
colored belts with Prof. Stephen Kamphuis -- not complete, we're missing about 10 or more

crazy, eh?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Injuries, Injuries!

-- Jonna B.

This week, we had three major injuries, two in one night.  And the week is not over yet!

1.  JAW. Someone accidentally gave his partner a knee to the jaw, while the guy on top was going for a knee ride and the guy at the bottom was shrimping. Both of them are blue belts, and two of the best blues in our country. He couldn't move his jaw until the following day (lockjaw?). Good thing he has recovered already.

2.  KNEE. While doing standup, a guy landed badly on his knee.  He sort of twisted it, and he couldn't walk on it after. He was screaming in pain. He described the pain to be on the inner side, so it could be MCL. But he has to see a doctor and probably undergo MRI (which is very expensive in my country, by the way).

3. SHOULDER. Again, while doing standup, a guy did a double-leg takedown on his partner. Partner tried to counter, but the takedown was good. His arm got caught up while in the air and sprained his shoulder when it landed on the mat.

As one of our big local competitions is just two weeks away, the intensity in our training has been high in the past month. The good thing about it is everyone develops their heart for fighting. The bad thing about it is, well, INJURIES.

I've had my fair share of injuries during my white belt years, particularly in the first year or so. I have had a fractured pinky toe, sprained ankle, stiff neck, popped wrist, and the worst of all, twisted knee. Somehow, I haven't had a major injury (something that will take me off the mat for at least a month) since my bad knee in 2008. Maybe these are the reasons why:

  1. I roll better now. As I understand more about the mechanics of BJJ, I commit less mistakes, thus hurt myself less. I don't turn to the right anymore, when I'm supposed to go left. When I can't get out, I tap.
  2. My body is more conditioned to BJJ now. I was never athletic, and BJJ was my first dabble in anything sporty. As I train more, my body adapted to the mechanical and physical needs of BJJ.
  3. I choose my partner. I don't go for the egoistic novice grappler who uses brute force and power moves. I have been hurt by this kind of people before, so now I refuse to roll with them.
  4. I stop when I can't continue. I tap. And tap. And tap some more.
  5. I take supplements regularly -- Vitamin C (immune system), Calcium (teeth and bones) and Glucosamine (joints).
  6. I let my body rest. When I feel that I twisted or I popped something, I let my body heal. Before, I would be crazy enough to be on the mat the next day, wearing lots of tapes and some support around my injury. But I realized I am getting older, thus healing and recovering takes longer!
Injuries, no matter how minor, is always a bad thing to get -- the simplest will give you discomfort, the worst will render you disabled. And yes, I'll say it again: it gets harder to recover from an injury as you get older. So I try to prevent one from happening.

How do you get yourself away from injuries?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mouth Sore Treatment

-- Jonna B.

Who hasn't received an accidental hit on the mouth while rolling in BJJ?  I am always a victim of this:  my partner jerks his knee while I'm passing, or he forces a choke from the back by rubbing his arm on my mouth/jaw, or an elbow suddenly flies over my face and hits my lips.  

Almost every week, I get a new mouth sore (also called mouth ulcer or canker sore) from training.  I tried wearing a mouthguard but I couldn't get a perfect fit even after trying different brands.  So I have to live with getting mouth sores all the time.  I have tried different and expensive remedies, but they're not good enough.  Until I found the perfect one.  And a cheap one at that.

Tawas or alum is abundant in the Philippines, and can be bought for less than $1 for half-a-fist-sized crystal.  Powdered tawas can also be bought.  This is used primarily as a natural deodorant, but someone told me to try it on a mouth sore.  It's healing powers are amazing!  It usually takes only 1 to 2 days of treatment to heal the sores completely.

Applying this crystal on a mouth sore, however, requires a brave heart.  As soon as you put it on, you immediately feel a painful, tingling sensation.  Good thing the feeling goes away after the first 5 seconds or so.  I normally keep it there for up to a minute, then re-apply after 4 or 6 hours.

The taste is also a different matter altogether.  It has an awfully sour taste that is incomparable to the sour fruits that I have tasted.  But hey, at least it only takes 2-4 applications to heal a mouth sore!

This is how it looks like:

I wonder if this is available in your area.  Do you get mouth sores, too?  What kind of treatments do you use?


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rugby Jiujitsu!

-- Jonna B.

My teammates and I have an addiction lately.  It's a game alright, but we are so serious with it that we keep track of our scores, think of strategies to beat our opponent, then talk about it the day after!  This is what RUGBY JIUJITSU is all about.

I don't know if this is being done in other gyms (let me know if you do!).  This was started by my purple belt teammate who used to train with Yamasaki in the US.  Again, I don't know if he got this from his former team, or if he was just too creative to formulate a little game to enjoy BJJ more.  Here's what you need:
two medicine balls, preferably of different colors


some BJJ skills

The Rules:
  1. Form two teams, taking opposite (or diagonal) corners as the home base.  Make sure to distribute the skill level, weight and gender of the team members to ensure fairness.
  2. Each team gets a medicine ball.  We use the 5kg medicine balls, which is just right for the game.
  3. The goal of each team is to "steal" the ball of the other team and bring it to the home base.  If both were able to steal each other's ball, whoever gets to the home base first is the winner of the round.
  4. For you to get the ball, you have to submit members from the other team along the way.  For safety of everyone on the mat, we don't allow leg locks; just arm locks and chokes.  Members can gang up on someone from the other team.
  5. The person who gets submitted is out for that round.  As the game progresses and as more people are sent out of the round, the game becomes more aggressive and exciting.
  6. We do best of 3 rounds, or sometimes just do one round a night (we only do it on Mondays) but we make sure that the score is recorded on the board.
  7. IMPORTANT NOTE:  All players can only walk on their knees, roll, cartwheel or shrimp.  They are not allowed to walk or run.
When my coach saw it for the first time, he sighed and joked, "This is why you need a black belt in the gym!"  But eventually he gave in to our whims and allowed us to play one night while he was there!  (NOTE:  We usually do it when he is not around -- when the cat is away, the mouse will play!)


Monday, January 24, 2011

Man vs. Woman

-- Jonna B.

While I was away in the mountains last weekend, my fellow Filipina BJJ blue belt Maybelline Masuda beat a guy in a local tournament at the Copa Manila.  We are not from the same team, but I have respect for her just the same -- because she has excellent progress in BJJ, she fights with her heart, and she has made the Filipinos proud by taking home the gold in the Mundials in 2009.

I don't have any information on what happened during the competition, but I have seen the video of her first match:

Personally, getting on the mat and facing your competitor is already something.  Facing a guy competitor who is naturally stronger and has the capability to hurt you, requires even more guts.  I salute her for displaying pure skills in winning over the guy.

Here are some of her photos that I took during different tournaments:

And this is my favorite, only because I captured her femininity while on the mat, fighting!

And because I was in the mountains and away from all the BJJ action, I just want to share what kind of beauty my eyes feasted on after a four-hour hike to the summit:

Mt. Pico de Loro, Cavite, Philippines


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thongs, Anyone?

-- Jonna B.

Location:  Dojo Dressing Area

As I was getting ready to leave the dojo after BJJ, a teammate who just got back on the mat told me:

N:  Hey Jonna, could you excuse me?  I just need to get my thongs.

Jonna:  Uhm, what?!

N:  My thongs...

Dumbfounded that someone wears thongs to BJJ (and a BIG guy at that!), I gave him room to move.  He went straight to the shoe shelf.  And...picked up his Havaianas!  I laughed hard when I realized that he's an Aussie, and they call their slippers/flipflops/sandals/Havs as THONGS.

In my part of the world, however, this is what thongs are:

New Year, New Gi

-- Jonna B.

What's a good way to start another year on the mat right?  Get a pretty bad-ass gi!

When I say pretty, I mean this:

Atama Leticia Ribeiro Limited Edition Gi
Gi Top Size:  F2
Pant Size: F2

Out of all the other gis I own (Atama, Koral, Vulkan, Keiko Raca, Jansport, unbranded Korean), my favorite is my blue Atama which I got in 2006 (still alive after rolling with me for 4 great BJJ years!).  For a 5'1" short Asian girl with a small body frame, Atama's top is clearly built for a woman, hugging our body in all the right places.  The pants may be a bit baggy, but it's okay.  I'm not in BJJ to show-off a curvy butt.

So, the Atama Leticia Ribeiro Limited Edition gi comes with dainty purple embroideries of stars and butterflies.  As the website notes, the weave is similar to Mundial 9.  The gi is a bit big and loose when I first wore it straight from the packaging.  The sleeves run up to an inch beyond my wrist, and quite baggy on the shoulders and armpit.  The pants were a bit long and wide, too.  

After a trip to the washer and dryer, it has shrunk beautifully.  The tag says that shrinkage is up to 5%, and it seems accurate.  The sleeves are now right on my wrist and the shoulders are slimmer (but not tight).  And the pants are now a perfect fit!  On the average, the gi has shrunk about an inch on the right places (length and width of the sleeves, shoulders, body and pants).

Because I train in two dojos with different mats (one with tatami and the other with blue rubber mats), I swore not to wear this pretty white thing on the blue rubber mats as the color tends to rub on our gis.  Other than that "consideration," I find it a great gi both for training and competition.  I just hope it's as tough as my 4-year-old blue Atama.

Oh, and one more thing: I got a lot of oooohs and aaaahs from my teammates when I wore it, mostly from guys.  They're simply jealous of the design, they want one for themselves!  I guess it's a real headturner :)

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