This started as a blog about training together as a family, in part to inspire other women & families to get involved. As female participation in jiu jitsu has increased, as we have grown as athletes and as we learned that families training together aren’t such an anomaly, the blog has evolved. Jen gets personal with posts on ambition, challenges & achievements in BJJ, CrossFit & with nutrition, while Tom's posts are more educational, informative and analytical in regards to training. On occasion you may hear from the kids.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lessons in Losing

By Jen

Yesterday I participated in my third bjj tournament. I placed second in the female blue belt light division at the Miami Open. (Yeah!)

Looking back at all three tournaments, there is a pattern of winning my first match and losing my second. With each loss, I’m disappointed, but I take away a lesson.

Miami Open 2009 – Lesson 1: Work on escaping full mount, especially with a much heavier competitor. I think I’m finally beginning to grasp this one.

Naga June 2010 – I mentally defeated myself. I tapped in the last half minute of the match. I panicked in a choke. I should have won that match on points. Lesson 2 – don’t panic!

Miami Open 2010Lesson 3: Eat better and rest more. I ran out of fuel during the 1st match. I felt dizzy the minute I stepped out on the mat for the 2nd match. This caused me to defeat myself mentally before the match ever began. Lesson 4: I cannot defeat myself mentally. I tried to overcome this in the beginning, but as soon as my competitor got into a more dominant position, I defeated myself. Lesson 5: Improve on pushing the legs, stepping back and passing. Marcelo knows this is one of my weaknesses because he has me drill it often. I try to avoid doing it because I know I’m weak here. Yesterday proved to me that I better keep drilling.
A few more words on the nourishment – I still need to figure out how to manage the weight. Weighing in with the gi stressed me out. I normally walk around between 135 and 138, so I knew I had to be careful in order to make 141 or under with my gi. As usual, I went a little overboard and ate and drank very little on Friday and Saturday. Normally I eat about 6 large and small meals and drink about 6 bottles of water between the hours of 5 am and 1 pm, so I was HUNGRY. I ended up coming in somewhere at 137 or 138 with the gi– meaning I could have nourished myself more.

I was proud to be there with Nova Uniao South Florida. I watched the video of my matches and heard the great cheering section I had in my team. I train with a great group of people – not full of egos and attitudes like you see with some of the other coaches and competitors. We’re all here to support each other.

A goal for the next tournament – break my streak of winning 1 and losing 1!


  1. Congratulations!

    To cut or not to cut, that is the question. I have done the exact same thing on more than one occasion, only to weigh in 5-7 pounds under. (I am middle weight). It's very frustrating because all of a sudden you are worried that consuming one banana will add 10 pounds. Ah the challenge!

  2. congrats! I like your attitude - hope you are happy with your tournament. You should be very proud of yourself. :)

  3. I watched you grapple!! I was in the middle of filming one of my teammates and I tried to run over there and find you afterwards to say hi but you were gone. Booo! Next time, maybe.

    I would have been in your division if I had been able to compete, and I have to say you and the girl you fought looks really good out there. I was glad I didn't have to take you on! You fought really well!

  4. Thanks everyone! Sorry I missed you, Allison. Next time we'll have to meet up for sure. I hope you're able to get back to training soon.

  5. VIDEOS?!?! And you didn't post them so we can see. I would love to see you grapple. I think any mom that gets out there is a victory.

    Cutting weight - I don't do it. Cutting weight is too stressful and competing is stressfull enough. But then I'm in the tiny tooth fairy division... So don't listen to me.

  6. @ combat -I'll post a video soon so you can see just how gassed I was :). You're so funny - sounds like you don't have to worry about weight at all. :) I'm thinking about fighting heavier next time - we'll see.

  7. Congratulations! Nice bling you got there :)

    Winning over myself mentally is also a major problem for me in tournaments.

  8. I feel you on the weight cutting thing. We're the same size (though I imagine you're taller! I am short for my weight ;)) and IBJJF tournaments always wig me out. It doesn't help that I really can vary in weight 4-6 lbs in a single day (amazingly from eating nothing, or eating one banana) AND I have to fly to IBJJF tournaments so I have to sit still, retain water, not work out, not have a scale handy, etc etc.

    I try to counteract this by routinely training on an empty stomach without having had food/water that day, so that the feeling is familiar. And it doesn't hurt that I have a camel's hump (my derriere) sufficient for a month on a desert island.

    VIDEOS! :)

  9. I cringe everytime I watch the videos - even the match I won. You'll notice how tired I was because I actually tried to help the girl up at one point. I didn't believe my husband until I saw it for myself.

    I posted my win and my loss :

    Here's match one -

    and match two -

  10. @ Jonna - thank you.

    @ Georgette - I can't even think about the whole travelling thing. And I thought I had it hard.