This Saturday my herd officially expanded. My ex-husband married a rather amazing woman and with her comes her awesome seven-year-old son.
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, sometimes there are no good answers. And sometimes the only thing you have to go on is that God is good and that’s all.
Last summer Ryan and were offered the best piece of advice… we were sitting at a very nice French restaurant with some friends at Virginia Beach and going over what exactly was going to go down over the next few months. We had made the decision to divorce a while ago and were currently on vacation filling out paperwork together. Only a small handful of people knew at that time, our two oldest children being the majority of that circle, and we were struggling with how to navigate what was going to just be a mine field of, well for lack of a better term, sh*t. We were two hurting people knowing that we were getting ready to hurt many people around us with our decision, when our friend very adamantly said, “it’s no one else’s business.”
And so that’s how we rolled. Ryan and I are still friends and good teammates, so we just did what we always did, worked through how to keep our focus on our kids and the health of our home and we didn’t tell anyone else. We didn’t make it Facebook or IG official, we concentrated only on our baby buffalos. We realized that we could handle this our way and that it didn’t have to look like what the world thinks a divorce should look like. We could still be honorable to each other. We called the shots.
We chose to subtly break it to the internet world that we were divorced and that Ryan had a girlfriend only through a post on Tazz’s social media about her being out on a date with “her guy.”
We broke news of their engagement through much giggling on my own social media by showing Tazz’s ring off together while we were out to dinner one night. Ryan wasn’t there. We thought were hilarious. We are.
It wasn’t anybody’s business and now I am making it yours, but just what I choose, because that’s the point, you get to make the choices of how you handle the hard things. You get to choose your attitude, you get to choose to laugh about the awkward stuff, you get to choose how you want to maneuver, and you get to choose the kind of example you want to be to your children.
I am not glorifying this at all. We never asked for support of our decision to divorce, just kindness as we swam these choppy waters with our heads barely surfacing. There is no good divorce. I am not advocating for divorce, but I am advocating for what’s healthy for the babies and the choices we make. There was so much hurt. So many tears. So many prayers. So many late-night talks explaining to family members what went wrong and with our large herd you can imagine that by the time we had worked through our immediate family and parents, it was too exhausting to even break it down to close friends. Consequently, that’s how you know who the reals ones are; the ones that let you take your time and don’t demand what you currently don’t have and what little you do have, they know, is given to your kids.
We were unraveling 15 years of a life together, there was mourning to be done, realizations to be had.
I helped Ryan set up his online dating profile. The very first date he went on ended up being the woman he said “I do” to this past Saturday and the grateful tears were aplenty as I watched them say their vows in a large 100-year-old dairy barn in Southwest Missouri.
Tazz has become my good friend, one I have (you guessed it) cried to and cried with over the past few months over whatever random thing had us emotional that day. She became a mentor to my kids and rather quickly her and her son become part of the herd.
With this large of a family, we realized that if they wanted a wedding anytime in the next five years it was going to have to be June because literally every other weekend for like ever was booked. And so we as a team worked and planned one inside of a few months. It was beautiful.
And all the while we needed to make sure we were open and honest with the baby buffalos. They needed to know it was okay to mourn a life that will not ever look the same as it did and at the same time, be excited for the new one. It was okay to be all over the board. They love Tazz, Nicolai became their brother, and having all the emotions is okay. They now have a third parental figure that loves them and can light fires under their chores in a rather fantastic South African accent.
We planned. I did the flowers for the wedding, and why wouldn’t I? Tazz and Nikolai were going to be an integral part of my children’s life as well as mine. I did her hair the day of, just grateful that she trusted me with these things. But that’s not all….
My dad officiated.
My mom served the cake.
My daughter Amy bought her pearls which is a tradition for the females in our family.
Two of my brothers drove here from Virginia with these astronomical gas prices just to be here support Ryan, and meet his bride.
One of my brothers was the DJ…
In their words and in the words of my in-laws (my mother in laws brought me a Crumbl cookie the day of the wedding shower) they weren’t losing a son in law or a daughter in law, they were just getting another daughter by marriage, they were getting another grandson. We were just adding to our herd like we always do.
Everyone worked together to make their day special because that’s what family does.
On Friday I spent 4 hours in a 100-degree barn decorating tables and setting everything up. Tazz had left to do more wedding errands and Ryan and I were waiting on the chairs to arrive that were two hours late. I was laying on the floor sweaty and trying to muster up air. The song Nobody Knows by the Lumineers came on over the speakers and I started smiling while I teared up because of how fitting the first line is,
“Nobody knows how to say goodbye, seems so easy until you try.”
Especially when it got to the end,
“Nobody knows how the story ends
Live the day do what you can,
This is only where it begins”
A person that had been my person for fifteen years is now another woman’s person and I truly couldn’t be happier or more at peace. When the chairs finally arrived and I had them set up, my friend Maria took a picture of me that I thought rather neat. I was walking back up the aisle grinning because of how damn pretty everything looked, and I couldn’t wait for Tazz to see it. When I saw the photo, I realized how symbolic it was.
I joked I was going to give a speech at the wedding and then Tazz asked me to actually do it, so I did. I was also asked to sign the wedding certificate at the last second, so I did; the inside jokes are aplenty around here…. I purge cried (because that’s what I do, I cry) on my dad’s shoulder to the same song I danced with him years ago when he gave me away because it was the best day and a new beginning and despite the timeline there has been healthy progression and now there is healthy closure. It was perfect and we all win here.
As I said in my speech, here is what is amazing…
At the end of the day my kids get a stepmom that will love them and is someone they can look up to.
Nicolai gets many, many siblings, and the best dad out there.
Ryan gets a woman that will stand by his side and light fires under him.
Tazz gets a man who I know from experience will always be loyal and faithful, will always love her and support her and encourage her in whatever project she takes on.
And I get a good friend.
So, what is good for the baby buffalos is that we keep the foundation of family and we do this by multiplying our love and make our already large herd larger.
Oh, and consider this Social Media official.
Why you should always be a white belt- AKA Tactical Fitness Austin's Third Party Protection Course EIRRead Now
About six months ago I made a joking rashguard for jiu jitsu that said white belt for Eva. I was poking fun at myself (which is basically the majority of all my shirt designs) that due to traveling and constant going I was never going to be in a place long enough to belt up and that was life..
About a year ago I took a room clearing course with AR tactics in Charlotte and had a sweeping realization (pun totally intended) that I was not going to learn everything I needed to know about clearing a house in a couple hour period…
I know, big surprise, hell I am not likely to learn to be proficient in it inside of a couple months.
So those last two points? I swear I am going to not so smoothly Segway into this next part, but hopefully I can tie it all together in a neat little bundle later, so strap in
Last weekend I took a third party protection course with tactical fitness Austin. Bernardo chernitsky (I told him I was going to try the pronunciation out anyway, how did I do?) was our esteemed leader and I gotta say based on his background of like Israeli special forces thingys, I was pretty skeptical I was going to get much civilian relational things out of it…
I had been looking for a course that would go over protecting a third party for a while. I have like hella kids to watch in public and I get questions all the time about the what ifs when out and about and needing to protect them babies… I had also been following tactical fitness Austin for quite some time. I liked some of the drills and such the owner Rob had posted and so when that class popped up I thought, you know, I was in Austin like 20 years ago and don’t really remember it outside of some good Thai food I had #collegebuzzedyears
Soooo ride or die or at the very least make new friends.
One thing I want to note that was awesome about this course were the people I met #newfriends. We were a group of about fifteen and when we had an opening introduction I loved how many men and one other gal, Ashley stated that they were there for the sole reason of wanting to be able to responsibly take care and protect their wives/girlfriends and children. You could tell they had put in the work before and were wanting to soak up more. They also had developed a community of friends. They all train together and were very welcoming to an outsider.
I love fundamentals. You are never too good for foundations and when someone takes the time to explain the basic? listen, because you will probably hear something you still haven’t heard before…
One thing I had done but honestly never knew why I did it, probably just copied those around me, was after shooting a target, tracing the target down with my gun. Bernardo explained the fundamentals of this by explaining you were following the body to make sure the threat was fully eliminated, then making sure you are in the habit of looking around you for other threats. I was probably just doing this before because I saw John Wick do it..
I know now the why
My fears of this being an extreme militant tactibro course were quickly laid to rest because Bernardo very much made this relevant to my civilian world as a mom where my third parties are my kiddos. Or now, possibly my tinder date…
Bernardo laid good foundations for specific ways of manuervering a third party out of harms way as well as laid a foundation of the combat time line ie safety plan.
Combat- what to do when he’ll breaks loose
Tactical position- understanding cover and your lines sight
Containment- controlling the crowd effectively for leaving safely and
Evacuation- getting the hell out of there
We ran several simple and easy to hammer home drills empty hand and then with live fire, we went over how to manuever around your person, we then moved into my favorite, scenario work with sim guns. Also got to run a little KCC knife defense in my evolution so that was super fun.
Bernardo ran a safe course and I got to say the only injuries I received that day were to my ego when I did the same exact thing while dialing fake 911 this time as I did when I was at ECQC.. thought I had learned my lesson prior.. guess not… to be fair I was holding a doll at this point and didn’t know exactly what to do with my hands.. that needs some work..
And a bug flew in my nose and stung me… I was waiting for it to swell up like hitch and then wondered if anyone had an epi pen since we were like in Area 51 only like in Texas… I survived.
I loved how in the end Bernardo asked for us to state ways that he could improve this course, that is the mark of an excellent teacher, one always seeking to fine tune his classes and become better.
So two things, one: if you are a good instructor you must have the constant desire to achieve more knowledge and place yourself in a position to be student consistently.
Attend new courses, seek out those that are doing new things. I have trained under several bad assess in their field and then a few months later was a fellow student with them in a different course taught by a different instructor. Those are the people I want to learn from. The non stagnant ones, the ones always seeking out a better way.
And two: If you are constantly learning you are never not going to stop being a white belt. (Told you I would tie this in)
You will constantly find new skills that you want to add and learn and master. You will be attending something and realize crap that’s one more thing I need to add onto my list of things I already want to learn and need to know
You will have to figure out which ones you want to prioritize, the ones you find exciting and the ones that are practical and you will then find yourself being a white belt again, learning a new skill and that’s beautiful
Tactcial fitness Austin put on an incredible course and Bernardo proved to be an fantastic teacher, one of which I will definitly be back to take part two of the third party protection.
This was an extremely relevant course to the civilian world and i got exactly what I was hoping to get out of it. If you are concerned with what to do during an active shooter when you have another present this is an amazing start.
Check them out on IG and get involved, they have an awesome community down there in Austin.
Stabby Things I EnjoyRead Now
I wear leggings pretty much 90% of the time. The rest is jeans that lack any sort of usable pockets and dresses. So my “pocket dump” would be a lie since it is pretty much nonexistent. I have to work around it as well as shoot for what is slim…. So here you go, my edc knives, depending on the day and mood, non pocket, pocket dump…
1) Pieces of Fox Knife trainer courtesy of my 10 year old son he “found” in the laundry room- In reality this is a dupe for the fox knife trainer. You can buy the real one for 119$ of you can buy the Andux for 20$... I bought the real actual knife, this trainer is awesome and has definitely held up…. Until my son. This is actually the second one bought because the first one that I trained with so much finally gave out when the clip snapped. I bought this one, switched the parts and then kept the old one in working order for sentimental reasons. Good trainer.
2) Fox Folding Karambit FX-599- So this has been my go to ever since my coach Aaron introduced it to me. I have trained with it, sliced myself as well as ruined many clothes while screwing around with it. It looks cool when you open it to show your friends. I am a huge retention ring person (argue away but never once has my finger even remotely come close to being stripped when FAFO screwing around with it). This knife is slim, conceals nicely and I may or may not have gotten it through security in concerts with metal wands by flashing a smile. Take that as you will….. also I have a couple decent dupes for this knife as well….
Fox 599 G10 Black Emerson Wave Folding Karambit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F931FXQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_N411JRGDNNH20FE6TX3N
3) Dupe for Bastinelli Picoeur Fighting Scalpel- (legit don’t ask me how to pronounce it, hence why I am not doing a video on it) Okay so this may become my new go to carry… I have no issues with the dupe, I am not out in the woods using this to cut down bamboo trees for a house, I need it to extend the belly button of the bad guy so not really all that concerned about the steel… its plenty sharp and outside of an occasional amazon box and my fingers when screwing around with it there isn’t much I am doing to make it lose its edge. It does its job, its 17$ on amazon, I have been messing with it, and truly it is amazing. It removes the variable of the folder not fully opening under stress, it has a retention ring, it is slim, the clip holds to leggings well through a draw, though I plan on attaching Discreet Carry Concepts Clip (will add link below), the Kydex sheath is solid (I have shook it around a bit) it fits nicely in small hands, and can do some damage. I actually bought this one to see if I would even want the real one. I do, it’s in my cart. I will post that link too, but this is a good dupe.
There is no trainer out there for this one…. if anyone knows of someone who can make one for me please message me!
4) Toor Marlin Spike- This thing is just plain fun. My friend Adolfo recommended this for a backpack carry and the only issue I have with it is it’s a real pain in the a$$ to remove from my strap to put in my suitcase when flying. This knife/spike is useful AF and harkens me back to karate days of training with a ywara stick, only this one will go through bad guys ear/brain/neck as if sliding through spam. I carry it on my left strap easy go to for icepick grip, Adolfo carry’s his on his strap in a kydex sheath upside down for easy pull similar to a clinch pick, sky’s the limit for what you need. I have also dropped this thing multiple times and the tiny pointy end hasn’t bent so for all you bougie metal heads out there I am sure you can use it for survival when you need to plant seeds or remove a squirrel eyeball. Also it comes in turquoise so woot woot!
5) Shivworks El Nino- I have spoken of this knife several times. It is a phenomenal go to and one I recommend to women all the time. It is versatile and extremely easy to pull and execute under stress with little training from both standing and sitting. I mean, still train, but you get what I am saying. I posted a video of me pulling it left-handed and stabbing a guy during an evolution somewhere on here… that was 100% not a testament to any skill I might possess, but to the knife itself. This one is for stab-punching someone while entangled when you want to feel like Wolverine but a unicorn at the same time. Once it gets in hand it’s pretty hard to remove from hand. I do not have a dupe for this because I love Craig and refuse to look for one. Buy it here:
6) El Nino Trainer- Useful AF. Only complaint? Doesn’t come in Tourquise or Tye Dye…. https://shivworkspg.com/product/shivworks-el-nino-trainer/
Discreet Carry Concepts Clip- this sucker is amazing and sticks to leggings like a lover. Buy for any knives with a sheath if you are wearing waistband or thighband to FAFO.
I also have a nice dupe I found from wish.com for the SOCP….bought two, tried to bend it in a clamp and it held up pretty nice… The sheath is complete crap so I didn’t post it on here.. also, honestly I have the real one and it’s not my favorite for what I need in terms of how I carry…
Link in bio for all of this if the links don’t work through Instagram. Much love to you all!!
#foxknives #shivworks #elnino #toorknives #marlinspike #kydex #slimcarry #edc #stabbymcstabberson #leggingsforlife #fightingscalpel #knifedupes #bambootreehouses #squirreleyeballs
This weekend I was biased. This weekend I forgot the root of why I started Healthy Buffalo in the first place. This weekend that reason was reminded to me gently by a gentleman, but not so gentle man. This weekend I felt shame. This weekend the lesson I learned will not be forgotten nor ever repeated due to the now seared brand on my brain.
My EIR’s (Ego Injury Reports) started out as a joke towards AAR (After Action Reports). Tactical-ish describes me better and I am constantly getting my ego trashed in the combatives world. Normally it hovers on the physical side, this weekend was no different. I could write ten other articles on how many different ways I fudged up a drill or evolution, however I want to point out that even when you think you do, you never seem to quite have it in the bag. Basically something I thought I knew and knew well, I managed to fail miserably and let my irritation take over.
I started Healthy Buffalo because I wanted to meet people where they are at, women especially. I understand how intimidating it can be to just take a self-defense course or walk into a gym to learn. I want to bridge that gap. I want to bring awareness to the need/priority of personal protection, and I want to be an encouragement to start training and to keep going.
Saturday I forgot. I was wrapped up in my own goals for the weekend. I saw only what I wanted to accomplish, and I failed to take in just how alarming these courses can be to those who haven’t attended anything like this before. What was worse is that it was also geared in bias.
ECQC is literally a pistol fighting course. You learn how to draw, retain, talk, and fight your way out of a potentially dangerous situation. It is three days of drinking from a firehose mentally and physically. I am a fairly active person and yet I still found myself on Saturday afternoon having to take a break for a round because I was feeling my beef jerky trying to work its way back up my esophagus. I work out four days a week, three of those days are in some form of combatives/boxing/punching and kicky things coming at your face and this course still had me winded and tired. It was, like most, heavily male laden and I made an assumption that would later need correction. Women are not the only ones intimidated.
I have watched countless scenario drills being ran in many classes and it’s the same for everyone; when you put in real world context, everyone gets amped up. I watched a man capable of a 20-mile ruck get gassed inside of 2 minutes during his evolution. If you have never done this before, your anxiety will totally get the better of you. Your body can’t throw another punch. The helmet feels suffocating, hell it is hard to just put the damn thing on. When you are in scene it can feel real, people are watching. You have seen the others get physical. You are wondering if you can hack it. The violence is essentially pushed directly in your face and the weight of carrying that pistol and your own ability to survive is thrust like a neon sign to the forefront of your psyche exposed for all of Thunderdome to see.
Craig is the master of MUC/Managing Unknown Contacts. He created it. When I run my clinics it is a female version of this geared more towards a woman’s perspective, but the foundation of MUC is very much there. This course I was taking notes leaning more towards improvement of how I teach. I wanted to bring back and trim down my own curriculum and you don’t really get a better example of that than Craig; that is not just me fangirling. What I was able to witness more in depth was his ability to read students and apply the correct pressure accordingly. He wants you uncomfortable; he purposefully creates drills for this. I unfortunately focused on someone’s inability to do the drills at the correct intensity, never mind that they had never actually drilled, at all. The correct level of fervor could not be understood or applied. Then when you throw that in with their adrenaline rolling all weekend, you get quite the cocktail that is hard for any person to overcome. Sadly, because this person was a man, I held him to a different standard. I would not have thought twice had he been a woman. I would have talked to her and explained what was going on if she asked a question.
Now to be fair, I dance on a razorblade in the tactical world. I cannot tell you how times I have been in a class, the directions have been given for a drill, we all partner up, only to have a man explain it to me as if I wasn’t there for the instruction. I try to brush it off because I know of the biases that permeate this industry and their heart is usually in the right spot. They see the women in their lives through me and just want to help, but it can get frustrating. Sometimes I let self-control get the better of me and I just shut it down with, “Please don’t coach me.” That usually ends with their ego slightly bruised and they likely will not follow Healthy Buffalo later on…. #razorbladedancing
During the debrief everyone was given a chance to speak about what they absorbed from the course and three men said they were “scared $h*tless” before and during the weekend. I hated that I was floored. The day before when I had let my frustration get the better of me and I whined to Craig not so subtly, he basically told me I wasn’t reading the situation correctly. It was humbling. I knew better than to pop off, hell I just got done writing a blog on something similar a few months back. I needed to give grace as a fellow human being who had been there before. I needed to be understanding and my first reaction was anything but. That was my deficit, it was shaming.
I have seen large and in charge, ego driven men “from the Tactical Local Yokal,” (Craig’s words) who quit this class because they couldn’t hack it. They let their pride get in the way of a stellar education. The men in my course didn’t, they absorbed. I normally write from a female’s perspective and this time I am trying to level out my head correctly. These guys had seen videos online, were way out of their comfort zone, paid a good amount of money, brought their ammo and guns, checked their ego at the door, and never once quit. They never stopped hustling. I am humbled by them. They had good attitudes, persisted, and didn’t whine which, sadly, I myself cannot say of the weekend. These are the types of men that are driven to make themselves and those around them safer. They are putting in the time and effort and emotions to become better and I was privileged to be a fellow student with them.
My ego was successfully injured and in true fashion I wrote it up for you to read. I am sure I will do some sort of video poking at myself as well. To the men and women who have persevered through these classes and those that will take them; you are a small percentage of people that will take this step. You have beaten the odds by signing up. You are doing what most will not by pushing through and you will walk away safer for it; your family will be that much safer for it. You are an inspiration, and I am privileged to be counted in the same category as you.
#ECQC #EIR #egocrush #MPShield #pewpew #evolutions #intimidation #pistolfighting #shivworks #hugsandpunches #tacticallocalyocal #dothedrills #newfriends #oldfriends #realfriendspuncheachother #whiskeyandtears #thereiscryingintraining #healthybuffalo #bruises #simrounds
I am going to assume here that most of us have likely seen the scene where Batman’s parents get murdered. They are walking down the street just coming back from an opera and even as a kid I questioned the decision making of ol Dr. Wayne here… He is worth gajillions, knowing this is an insane, diseased, crime ridden city, he is strutting down a dark alley with no witnesses and no easily accessible way out, he has no security, and thinks, hey sweet family let’s take a stroll at midnight we will be just fine… Unfortunately, as I type this, I am thinking that line of thinking is not that far off with the general public hence why I am writing this article.
To be fair the good doctor, despite his serious lack of judgment on situational awareness, does engage with the criminal quite well offering him money while trying to talk him down. I believe in some versions the mom gives her pearls or they just scatter later when she hits the pavement for a dramatic effect, but Thomas doesn’t strut around being all ego ridden, he tries to diffuse. Still despite this it tragically ends with both he and his wife getting shot and sweet little boy Wayne left to become the scary, smoker voiced legacy that is Christian Bale *sigh.
A common statement I hear from women after they take one of my courses is that they feel their eyes are opened just a bit to the responsibility that is on THEIR shoulders. Something I hear quite often, and it is always said with honesty mixed with a tiny bit of sheepishness in the admittance, is that they always assumed that if they were with their spouse, they would save them.
The tagline for Carry Trainer with Mickey Shcuch is, “Be your own Calvary.” His page is constantly talking about how, “no one is coming to save you.” In everything I have seen and what I have researched, he is absolutely 100 % correct, and this is something that needs to be very much hammered home.
In a lot of the scenario work drills I have watched and filmed; I see the men that come into these courses for various reasons just bomb them. Now I need you to know most of the time you do screw up in these, I don’t think I have ever not bombed. The point is to first have your eyes opened to the reality of actual force on force scenarios and then the other is to learn. These men are there because they are gun enthusiasts, military, law enforcement, or a civilian gun owner all wanting to responsibly train to make educated decisions in fight. All are there taking the steps to become better for themselves and those around them. And they bomb, they make terrible decisions when amped up, and these are the guys that are putting forth the effort for self defense. I am not slamming your spouse when I ask, has your significant other done that? Because if the men who took the time and cash out of their lives to go learn/run scene work make poor decisions during their drill when it is just them, throw in the variable of you being there. You are a hinderance.
I want to be clear that in this write up I am only addressing the thought process of “my significant other will be there to protect me;” not the other variable of the times they may not even be by your side.
A common thing that is asked of me in courses, especially moms is this, what about if my kids are present. Yes, that exactly. When I am by myself, I am a basic brontosaurus. I am jovial, friendly, smiling eating tree star leaves. When my kids are with me? I am a velociraptor. Get within fifteen feet of them and I will chew your face off while using my back talons to sort your small intestines from your large. The reason is because I can’t take the chance. I can’t give it a rest because the what-ifs are even more skewed and broad.
I sit in these classes and watch everyday men who, just like me, get their a$$es handed to them and I am impressed with them and then even more scared for the general population of ladies who roll with the above way of thinking.
He is not going to save you because he can’t. In the martial arts world there is a joke that rolls around; basically any person, usually a man, that arm chair warriors about what he would do when attacked by saying, “I just see red and they are all dead” is made fun of. Because that is just flat out untrue. You may see red when you are threatened, but then you make poor decisions, then your adrenaline wears off with your poorly performed punches, and your lady friend is drug off by a third party. That’s reality. The truth is you rise to the level of your training. That’s it. And women, if you love him, don’t be another factor into him making a mistake, become an ally, become an asset.
But he carries a gun! Yep, have seen this scene too. I would venture to say that without the variable of the third party they are having to protect, when these drills are run with a pistol about 60 percent of them either can’t pull their gun, or if they do, it is used on them later. That’s without you there.
To gain some fodder for this article I reached out to numerous law enforcement, first responders, and defense instructors for their opinion on just general questions of, how long is an average response to a 911 call in their city? What was, in their opinion, the average outcome for a man protecting his significant other in a self-defense situation? Pretty much everyone wrote back solidifying my point here. He won’t be able to save you; at best he will be a deterrent if he is of larger stature.
During my courses we eventually work our way up to what is called hand-fighting. This is where they are in a clinch with their partner, ear to ear, and trying to wrestle out of each other’s grip, preventing grabs, working the problems, etc. I announce that I am only going to run it for 30 seconds. When finished all of them are winded and surprised at how the time felt more like five minutes. I have a funny boxing t-shirt that says three minutes is a long time. 30 seconds is a long time, a lot can happen inside of that. The average national response time for 911 is ten minutes (smartsafeliving.com, also basically every LEO/first responder person I asked for this article). And that’s if you are capable of calling. If your spouse can’t even pull their weapon, they certainly can’t call for help.
Your man can be a deterrent but even that is a small variable. Chuck Smith, former law enforcement, laundry list resume of all things gunfighty, and owner/instructor of Five-O Tactical said, “Often when the male was engaged, the female was targeted by a 3rd participant, so the male’s presence was nullified.” This is not the fourth, fifth, sixth, or even tenth time I have heard from people who have run this field in law enforcement for years speak of an accomplice. Yes, your man may deselect you from a singular rapist on the trail, but in other settings you are getting your head slammed into the gravel while he is fighting off leader of the pack.
You are responsible for your safety, just like you are responsible for your children’s safety. Put the above perspective of your man's inability to protect you and replace it with you and your babies. What is the third party doing while you are engaged fighting off an attacker? Are you capable? Ladies I will tell you in every class my goal is for you to continue to take steps towards personal safety. My course is only a jumping off point, it’s barely shaved ice from a glacier. Make the move and stop being a liability. Be an asset, be a velociraptor and start shredding guts. Don’t end up like Mama Wayne, hole in head, pearls bouncing down the street leaving her child to sort out his grief by becoming an antisocial schizoid with a borderline personality disorder.
#batman #rufflingfeathers #selfdefense #starttoday #fightback #foryou #foryourbabies #foryourSO #rufflerufflechickentussle #healthybuffalo #mamavelociraptor #landbeforetime #basicbrontosaurus #raisingvelociraptors #happyvalentines
Like any self-respecting angsty teenager of the 90’s I listened to Alanis Morrisette. The angry girl music scene fed my self-proclaimed, artistically deep feelings, like sweat to the bacteria in my boxing gloves. The world was “Ironic,” I am pretty sure I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, so yeah, I really didn’t know (please tell me some of you got that joke)…
The world actually did end up being ironic as the 17-year-old vampire poem writing, art major with no childcare experience ended up taking and teaching martial arts in later years as she attempts to keep her nine children alive and kicking. And guess what? I still really don’t know.
But it’s like raaaaaaaaiiiiiin on your wedding day (okay I will slow with the Jagged Little Pill references) sometimes things seem ironic, you doubt the merit of it, and then are pleasantly surprised.
The Under Rug Swept title I am only using because it mildly fits in my brain where I am going to try and go with the subject of goal setting. And by mildly fits, I mean if you have ever seen me do a jigsaw puzzle, I start the edge with maybe two pieces, get frustrated, hulk smash like a child in an attempt to work, arm sweep them all dramatically off onto the floor, falsely blame my three year old Rosie for losing pieces, and then throw the box away. So yeah, this is going to be a vague correlation at best.
I am a goal setter. I like a plan, I can roll if it doesn’t work out, but I do like to set them. I even like petty goals because someone told me I couldn’t do it (thanking my sweet mother-in-law Kim for that awesome shirt!) I thrive in the challenge of the negativity, but sometimes that is just not enough when the rug is figuratively swept out from under you.
I had big plans for this upcoming 2022 year. I was excited with where I wanted to take things personally and with Healthy Buffalo when I tripped with, “My Hand in My Pocket,” fell right in the trap of, “You Oughta Know,” and I started the year ill equipped needing to wash my “Hands Clean” of all my preconceived notions of what I thought was going to go down. (can’t help it, sorry not sorry). I was having to rewrite my song for the year (okay, yeah that one WAS cheesy)…
This brings me to how I am finally going to relate Victory MMA in Joplin, MO to my teenage wonder years of musical enlightenment. Doing High School in the predominantly Catholic city of Wichita, it seems inevitable that any teen will end up doing some form of a CYO or Catholic Youth Organization event. At the very least your friends talk you into joining a volleyball or softball team playing rival diocese. I was no different, not catholic, but hey the dances and lock-ins were fun. Not heavy on the chaperoning (truth comes out, sorry mom), however while slow dancing to “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden (this was hella romantic) you could always count on the priest with roller-skates scooting by stating, “leave some room for the Holy Spirit.” It was epic and the Victory Sports Complex drug me right back into the memories by looking just like every catholic church gym I had danced, volleyballed, or slept in.
I must admit, even as a Christian, the idea of a ministry-based MMA gym sort of had me hesitating. I wondered if punch face was going to be watered down like so many things…. My Friend LB went with me, and the skepticism was in high alert walking into a place resembling less complicated years in life.
It wasn’t. Watered down that is. Teejay “Bad Newz” Britton is a Pro MMA fighter and the Gym Director at Victory Ministry and Sports Complex. Not only did he deal with my long-winded inquiry on Facebook messenger and my six and three year old wreaking havoc by interrupting class with their own unsanctioned MMA, he is an excellent instructor with a real quality fight program going on.
I partnered up with LB while attempting to keep Henry and Rose entertained with the books we brought. This plan obviously waned quickly and Teejay, holding his own child throughout most of the class, fed them all chocolate as they ran willy nilly around the basketball court just barely avoiding the wrestlers there for another class. My fourteen year old daughter Lili attended as well, she was paired up quickly with a sweet red headed girl and over the course of the two hours, learned and was built up by both Teejay and her partner.
For the first time ever I shadowboxed and mildly enjoyed it. Teejay had us do this with a partner and facing off with someone somehow made me feel less idiotic. So from now on, wherever gym I am at, if they say shadowbox, I am grabbing the first available body and making them fake spar with me. Also my six year old videographer Henry, took some epic video footage that is completely useless….. I think I might still post it. He must have misheard and assumed I said film arms and legs only, really shaky, and blurry. He nailed it.
We ran good combos, we ran them hard, Teejay would not allow anything to slip and was constantly making the rounds on everyone correcting form in a kind but firm manner. He is not a yeller, and I was surprised at the number of women in his class. A couple of them and Teejay himself had fights coming up and the mood was calm but energetic. There was another woman, I unfortunately did not catch her name, that wandered through the drills. She was pregnant, had what seemed like a Russian accent, so that alone made me listen to her when she tweaked a few things we were working on.
The class was a good pace, and we were ran just as hard as I have been in many places. The fear of the “don’t hit people too hard because we are showing love in a fighting gym because #ministry” (yes, I know I was being judgy) was quickly replaced with seeing great leadership, realism, and a class of top shelf fighters. My ego or in this case, preconceived notions of just how badly I was going to have to watch my mouth while kicking each other’s shins, was once again checked. I loved it, sums up my world.
Towards the end of class, we did some cardio, an ab workout, and then was given a rather inspirational speech and prayer from Teejay. He spoke of the statistic that only 4% of people make and keep goals and it was a reminder I needed to get over and get on with mine for the year.
I had felt backed into a corner with my regrouping for the year. I had given myself an extra month, till March to write down my yearly goals. At first with my “Under Rug Swept,” I was thinking grand scales out of almost minor spite but knew that was no way to go. Honestly, I might do petty goals, but when done in spite they are not personal, they are projections. That’s no way to start your year when constant growth is and should be the ultimate plan. As I have stated before, around here we don’t look backward very long. I had stewed and hashed and wrote down and scribbled out. I had ran the gamut of extreme likely impossible ones for the 365 and knew I was just stubborn enough to pull them off, however was glad I gave myself the extra month because I was also able to dwell on the yes Christun, you could do that but, at what cost? To my kids? To my family?
Teejay’s statement lit the fire I had put on the back burner purposefully because I just didn’t want to deal, for the first time I didn’t even have a semblance of a plan and was out here in the world floundering. After that class, I was able to visit a few friends in other states and tussle my ideas around with them. I got to chat with my dad over a bottle of wine and listen to his advice about five- and ten-year goals. This article is probably going to drive him batty because I decided not take his advice for those plans currently, much like I did as an angsty teenager before I learned better. Just kidding, I am rolling with a hybrid and not stressing myself out this year with big goals. I am regrouping with what I have been preaching over and over and over, “how do you eat an elephant?”
Turns out 2022 is not the year for grandiose. It’s the year for small bites, small personal ones, the ease of the achievable, still upward, still challenging, but close and not a projection. A staying in my lane year of sorts. I have till March 1 to write them down fully and commit them to my “$h*t List” paper that I got for Christmas, because then that makes it contractual between myself and myself, but write them down I will. Sometimes in order to advance you have to retreat a bit.
So “slap me with a splintered ruler,” and head over for a class or two with TeeJay and his gang at Victory Sports Complex, you won’t be sorry. It’s fun, anyone can join, they will beat you up and down and then pray for you, and heaven knows I will take all the prayers. Also, I enjoyed all the little puns in here so much I think I am going to continue with the angry girl music theme… my next article will be entitled, “Angry Johnny.”
#angrygirlmusic #alanismorrisette #jaggedlittlepill #underrugswept #angryjohnny #gottalistpoeinhere #angstyteens #vampirepoems #coolbeforetwilightwascool #selfdefense #mma #joplinMO #victorysportscomplex #victorymma #CYO #leavesomeroomfortheholyspirit #priestsonrollerskates #dadsadvice #henryhasnofutureinthefilmindustry
In Ancient Greek there is a term called Aristeia. This would be used to describe a dramatic scene in poetry that was warrior based; it would be the pinnacle of a hero’s battle, the epic zenith showing all their glory and prowess. It would be magical.
Sunday this white belt 4-eva watched an open mat session with several much more seasoned practitioners after having her face smashed into the floor and between someone’s knees several times. I was slightly euphoric, definitely sweaty (I prefer the term glowing, but am realistic that this is not the case for me), but Aristeia is what came to mind while holding up the wall too tired to adjust my gi. It was a beautiful battle to frontline view seeing several black belts roll and even more spellbinding that one of them was a woman.
My friend Chris Crosby owns Combat Athletics near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a BJJ black belt and Pro MMA fighter and whereas I haven’t checked out his gym (going to have to make plans now), I was able to meet up with him in Little Rock and follow him like a monkey with cymbals to check out an open mat session with West Side Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
A discussion (translation- me trash talking) had before class was about whether Chris was one of those jiu jitsu purists that spends a good chunk of his time obsessing and watching professional tournament rounds. Several months ago I was in a restaurant with the Knife Control Concepts class and one of the instructors Eli, was watching one on his phone. I feigned mild interest (pretty sure I was not convincing), but all I could think of is that it was like viewing fishing on TV. Chris however had a different take on its merits that had me reevaluating. He said he watched those verses individual reels of moves on IG because that was real time not just a video of a certain technique with minimal resistance. In the tournament is where you see if it actually works, and he felt he learned more observing that way. I couldn’t argue, I mean, I talked smack of course, but teaching jiu jitsu is literally his job so.....
When writing about training weekends I have noted several times that everyone’s force on force scenarios are ugly. I have videoed countless people with all sorts of backgrounds; military, LEO, special forces, just general bad asses, and when they do their drills there might be some technique, but it is still a giant scramble that is nothing like John Wick. Several are black/brown belts in some form of martial arts, mostly jiu jitsu and it’s still a wild, messy looking ride. In fact, sometimes it is more on the scale of the posh Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver restaurant fight. That is in Bridget Jones Diary for those punch-face people out there too good to watch a chick flick. Youtube it.
It is not going to look exactly like it was practiced. You can hammer technique, and you should, but in the end, what works in the scramble is what works in the scramble. I recently was rolling with a person who, let’s be realistic, likely gave me the submission, however I was so surprised it worked that when he tapped I hesitated to release because I didn’t understand that I had actually succeeded (okay it’s not that bad, but close). I was shooting for a bow and arrow; I am sure what I was doing was something more along the lines of the Nerf version… either way it got the choke.
As I sat married to the wall Sunday, chest dramatically heaving after two awesome rolls with a kid named Emmerson, I got to watch Torrid Gianstbane and several black belts roll and it was an education. I tried to observe from the viewpoint of what Chris had mentioned and was surprised that I hadn’t done this before with jiu jitsu, or even with my force-on-force videos of others. I learned a ton.
Betina Penedo makes BJJ look stunning, not only does she have a beautiful face and accent (she is Brazilian) she also manages to not look like a homeless troll after two hours of rolling. I am serious I was ridiculously jealous when I walked into the bathroom later and looked at my red, veins bulging, not glowy, just plain horse sweaty mug. But watching her maneuver was literally like art to me; I can say that since that was my major in college (obviously it paid off in life… *insert eye roll at myself here). She was smooth and constantly moving in all directions at once. She appeared levelheaded the entire time and always seemed to be calculating several steps forward. I am sure I looked like a Joe from “You” observing from the side. I viewed several of her rounds and was floored, literally because I physically couldn’t get up and figuratively because I was mesmerized. Then I watched several of the others and where I could have just been hallucinating on the endorphins, my brain was likening it to Aristeia.
Okay so in reality that’s not quite how it all played out… I came back home, started typing this up, called my brother and told him I needed a word for how it appeared magical when two beautiful people were fighting each other. I am assuming the nogi MMA fighter that rolled with Betina was her significant other (sorry, I didn’t get your name) and they will make pretty babies someday. I told my brother think Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and he gave me the word Aristeia and a Wikipedia link. So yeah…. #literaryscholar but hey, we all get an education here….
Arete is another Greek term that I ended up bunny trailing on, it means, “excellence” in a most foundational sense. I visit many gyms and do not write about all of them; I am a sweetheart by nature and am apparently incapable of writing negative things unless you are Larry Nassar, he gets negative stars; bars, he gets lots and lots of prison bars. Basically, what I am saying is that if I have attended your class/place and didn’t write about you, well there is your answer on my recommendation and word of mouth…. That being said, Arete is obviously rolling (pun totally intended) at Westside BJJ. To make sure I am not being deficient in why I write these up, I can say with the utmost confidence that they are a place I would recommend to any woman starting out on their martial arts journey. Everyone was welcoming and Betina had a smile immediately when we walked in. Emmerson was a sweetheart and every person I talked to was warm and engaging and that was just an open mat. So check them out if you are in the Little Rock area and looking.
In fighting there are no absolutes, but you can find better and more efficient ways to progress and up your odds. I eat crow and the trash I talk a lot, but I cherish it when concepts that lay separate in my head get pieced together by a person or one good instructor to create a stronger one; that is beauty. And when that concept is in the creation of finding better ways to learn, well then that’s my Aristeia.
#dothejiujitsu #wyattiamrolling #westsidebjj #aristeia #itsallgreektome #whitebelt4eva #knifecontrolconcepts #arete #betinayouneedayoutubechannel #selfdefense #drymop #combatathletics
Why Teaching Multi-Faceted Moves in Women’s Self-Defense is Dumb/ AKA Address the Freeze ResponseRead Now
In every class I have taught I use a demonstration of calling on a random gal to come up to the front. I stand about 10-15 feet away and then start walking towards her at an even pace. Speaking in a harsh tone about my neck hurting, I use blame language, something like, “Lady it was you who hit my f*%king car!” To date there has not been one woman who hasn’t froze. They stand there wondering what the hell is going on and blink at me immobile.
I am 5’6’’, usually wearing a brightly colored T-Shirt with a stupid saying, they are in my course to become safer, and yet they are rendered stock-still. Mostly due to bewilderment, some to language shock (see my article here on why this is very important), some a bit of confusion, but that’s exactly it, these are all normal responses to even if I was a 200-pound man, same phrasing, walking up to them in a parking lot. In the end they are rendered stunned, and that person is in their space set up perfectly for a surprise blow while she is still trying to come to grips what is even going on.
A recent study done by a Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden showed that over 70% of women experienced tonic immobility during a sexual assault. Tonic Immobility is the rigid, unmoving state in response to intense fear. Out of the 278 of those interviewed, 192 is an extremely high number to have experienced this. (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Also please keep in mind this is the number reported, estimations go much, much higher.
Last week we had a woman walk into the gym who had been the victim of a recent assault. This snail-slick-scum-excuse-for-a-human had seemed harmless to her before, but this time had shown he knew her route and personal details of her life. For the sake of being my typical sweetheart self and not calling things out specifically I will leave off the name of the actual women’s self-defense course (only stating it is a popular one) and point out that she had attended three of their clinics prior to her incident, when burning-racoon-rot laid hands on her. She froze. She came into our gym angry and rightfully scared, looking for a more permanent solution so as not to be a victim again.
So, in the spirit of ruffle, ruffle, chicken tussle, I am going to lay it out here. With that high of percentage, with literally every female I have tested that example on becoming immobile, if your Women’s Self Defense Clinic does not put the most stress on overcoming freeze responses and managing encroachment of space, you are not doing any good, and just hindering valuable time. Most women are going to come in once for a three-hour slot at the most and that’s all you have. An emphasis of technique verses mentality is, to be quite honest, showing you have not done the research and are out of touch with actual real responses from the general public. If you have truly chosen your job to help make people safer please remove your ego and hear me out. You only have a specific amount of time; there can be no comparison of the ladies who will only take this tiny bit out of their life, to your ingrained daily fighter mentality. Of course the goal is to have the continuance of training, but that is likely not going to be the case and you have to teach the most imperative in the shortest amount of time. And guess what? The imperative is just getting them to move.
Our MMA fighters at the gym run the same constant drills over and over and over for punching and kicking… I believe I have even wrote an article about spending an entire class on just jabs…. These are hammered into their head like a high-production factory line manufacturing the world’s finest concussions. But when they get into the cage, it is all they can do to string just a couple combos together when under stress and adrenaline. Meaning there is no way a person can take a couple hour class and then possibly a year later pull off the four-point move that was taught when someone grabs their hair. No, they are getting their face slammed into a brick wall. They are going to be stunned, they will be thinking, “this is not happening,” they will be BELIEVING that, they will not understand the violence behind the act because they can barely get over the shock of the language used, they will not be looking around for person two, they won’t even be able to yell, and they will probably hesitate to hurt the person that is hurting and violating them because they weren’t the ones to wake up and choose violence.
One of the best courses I have taken and am retaking for a third time in April is ECQC (Extreme Close Quarters Concepts) with Craig Douglas. What makes him, in my opinion, a premium shelf instructor is the MUC (Managing Unknown Contacts) portion of all his workshops. He has fined tuned how to deal with potential threats, what to look for in an attacker, and how to keep them at a distance while constantly surveying surroundings. It is honestly a four-hour instructional that I think every person should take male and female. You can actually watch it on the Warrior Poets Society Network. I obviously am geared more towards the female side. Craigs class can be intimidating because, well, it’s about fighting with a pistol, but I base a good portion in my classes off what I have learned from him and his drills dealing with unknown possible threats.
Model Mugging, a 30-year-old women’s self-defense conglomerate, did a study of their course graduates, "Out of 1000 students threatened and actually assaulted, over 800 were able to prevent victimization by just their voice, boundary setting, and conflict resolution skills.”
You cannot teach technique if 70% aren’t even going to react. You must start with what is mentioned above and work into movement, not necessarily moves; then the actual mentality of survival, stressing that they HAVE to keep fighting, they cannot quit. In my opinion pummeling is important for teaching how to flow constantly. It doesn’t have to be a militant version but is a good foundation, easy to do quick reps, and can be pressed into the brain as a segue for being a hard victim to keep a hold of.
There is nothing natural about fighting. I heard someone once say in a course (likely Craig), “You know what is natural? Drowning. You have to learn how to swim.” What is natural is a freeze response to an average person untrained. Their brain is just trying to play catch up to someone that has already chosen assault making the other possible flight response obsolete.
Geoff Thompson’s book, Dead or Alive, speaks of studies that have shown just mastering the prefight is 80% more effective at deterring a predator. He goes on to say, “the people we are talking about, those in society that attack for fun or for profit do not give a monkey’s f*&k about what is right or wrong. They have no morals and would take great pleasure in raping a girl. They have already decided to break the law and are on the very dark side of wrong.”
The tagline for Healthy Buffalo is, “Know when the fight starts.” Understanding that the beginning of a fight is not the physical, but the mental aspect is key and will give a possible victim even more precious seconds to use their body to act. Knowing what to look for, being alert, and possibly being able to stop the encroachment of a threat with a clear assertive voice can help overcome the freeze responses giving one ample time to think.
We can teach management of surroundings, but we must include the management of strangers around us, avoidance tactics, HOW to speak if necessary, and what to look for in predatory cues so that if the time arises when under-the-table-gum-goo goes for a grab, the reaction is indignant and swift and all movement.
#healthybuffalo #womensselfdefense #egocheck #knowwhenthefightstarts #wemustdobetterforthem #research #noyoucantjustrunaway
My friend and fellow fighty gal at TCB, Natasha used to be a Strongman Competitor. She is approximately 175 of all phenomenal muscle and physique, can squat 1075 pounds, and also has the personality to show up to her gym in jeans just because, and then accidentally participate in a full body truck pull event. Yep, you read that right. Showed up, thought, meh I could haul that giant a$$ truck across a parking lot, hold my pre workout gel, then proceeded to achieve.
It is not a goal of mine to be a powerlifter, like at all, hell I am not a lifter of anything much more than a fifteen-pound kettle bell; #bodytypeofaslightheroinaddict. So when someone that can basically haul a semi across asphalt calls and politely asks you to attend an MMA Seminar, you say yes. I had a hunch that I was going to be rag dolled the entire time, I was not wrong.
J Street Fights is a Professional and Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Promotion that recently started getting its roll on here in Northwest Arkansas. Joe Phebus moved from California six months ago to work with J Street Gym Owner Bobby on getting this whole shebang up and running. Funny story about Bobby Bittle, I had met his sweet wife, Stacie through Natasha at fight night prior to this seminar. He was attempting to get a picture by temporarily sitting in my second row seat and I had just come back from getting a drink. I like to occasionally see how awkward I can make situations and occasionally the tables are turned on me. I faked a bit of indignation; he was not impressed because #hisgym and just gave me my coat pointing to three other seats. I hopefully brushed my bad joke off and introduced myself, he likely could probably care less at the blonde double fisting two vodka and diets (one was for a friend) and I won Best Loser First Impression of the Night. I wish I could say that was the only time something like that happened that evening….
So Joe used to run several fight promotions in California and from there several others fighters and those from punchy culture have matriculated to the Ozarks to join the fight, pun definitely intended. Along with promoting Fisticuff Extravaganzas, he also helps promote MMA Seminars with professional fighters.
What does one wear to an MMA Clinic? I should point out that Natasha called asking me to attend knowing I veer towards constantly putting myself in uncharted territory; she thought this was right up my alley and something I would want to write about. It totally was and I absolutely came prepared with my pink notebook and wearing a matching rash guard and leggings that was later described on IG as the posterchild for a Lisa Frank Slumber Party. I disagree, it had a t-rex painting her toenails on it.
The Seminar was taught by Jesse Taylor and Joe Stevenson. Give me two seconds while I look up their pro punch-face names…. Tuf Season 25 Winner, JT Money and Tuf Season 2 Winner, Joe Daddy Stevenson. Both had the typical Seasoned MMA badge of honor cauliflower ear, were very professional, and for a two-hour seminar, the fifteen dollars was a hell of a bargain. I would have paid 50 easy for the class.
We started off shadowboxing. Or I should say they started off shadowboxing, I mulled around flopping my arms and bouncing a bit, there is tragically a live video of this somewhere on the internet…. You know, it has been a year or so in boxing and this drill still makes me feel like an idiot. We were then split into two groups with half going with Joe and the other with Jesse.
I was in Joe’s first group and with Natasha as my partner, I spent the first five seconds getting my arm snapped off and the rest of the class trying to breathe. Seriously this girl later would hold me against the cage with her little toe; like if I was on a rollercoaster, I would trust her steel arm around me more than the safety bar. There were all stages and ages attending and it was a very good class for both seasoned and unseasoned. Joe went over getting to a kimura from side control. It was something that I have seen and always wanted to work through but never took the time to learn how they were getting there (probably because I am always the one on my back and never IN side control). The instruction was clear and the information just enough for the 50-minute section and it consequently flowed seamlessly into the next part with Jesse.
Jesse was spazzy in a funny way and a super likable guy. He taught head positions and takedowns so that maybe, just maybe I could actually get to side control someday… He made us do these off a combo so it would feel natural and then went into control while being pinned or pinning someone up against the cage wall; nail shoulder through stomach and grabbing legs using head pressure. This was great being able to work these on a person bigger than me. I love to always look at this from a self-defense standpoint as the one not as strong. I found this portion super informative as I am constantly seeking out ways that work for a person of smaller stature against larger opponents.
Both Joe and Jesse were excellent instructors capable of going over and breaking down and improving what would look like simple things, but things that are common and imperative in MMA. I had a blast and will definitely attend the next one J Street Fights hosts. Also may considering entering a smart car pulling contest…. Coming at you J Street Gym….
Follow J Street Fights on Instagram and Facebook to see when the next cage brawls and seminars are, you won’t regret it.
#cagefights #mma #lisafrankrules #t-rex #jstreetfights #jstreetgym #armsnappedoff #vodkaanddiet #firstimpressions #truckpull #smartcarpull #hellgocartpull #selfdefense #mmaseminar #healthybuffalo #thrashedhairdontcare
When our Arzetta came to us she was three. She had long been known about and prayed constantly over for her safety. According to the state, who had already terminated rights to six of her older siblings (we had just started fostering her one-month-old baby brother who would also eventually be adopted by us too), a well child check had been done and they didn’t know where she was. They had no idea if she was hurt, hungry, anything; the was a court order out to remove her from the home, but she was in the wind.
The night I got the call that she had been found I cried so many happy tears while I drove to Northwest Arkansas to get her. I won’t go too much into the situation she was found in or the circumstances surrounding it, but you would never find a person happier to be picking lice out of a baby’s hair just staring at her in disbelief knowing she was finally safe with us.
She was the most unhappy little girl we had taken care of to date and her adjustment into the home was one of the harder ones. She was incredibly weary of men (sort that one out yourself) and she never smiled. She played well with the kids but lacked a vigor in life that my others had, she just existed.
About a month into her living with us we attended a birthday party at our church. If you know me, you also know I think kids’ birthday parties are right down there with the 7th level of Hell. Sorry not sorry. I was worried for her and was in the last atmosphere I wanted to be, but after 30 minutes she zeroed in on a pink balloon and her entire demeaner lit up. She was finally smiling, and I would have paid an easy 500$ for that helium filled sack; at the very least would have thrown hands just to make sure she went home with it. That balloon was Zetta’s catalyst, her turning point in healing, and I was eternally grateful.
I have written before about how we never know what another person is fighting so we must give grace and be kind. Part of the Ego Injury Report for Virginia Beach Jiu Jitsu has to do with me needing to humbly be reminded of this fact; the other is just the constant realization that I am the physical embodiment of a dry mop for the mats when it comes to rolling.
I met Scott Oates, one of the owners of VB BJJ a year ago while attending Edged Weapons Overview with Shivworks. Scott was Craig Douglas’s right-hand guy for the course and a key person in my survival that weekend. He lends a fun, comedic relief with his trash talking which creates a drive to finish when mentally you are stalling. I find this invaluable in training. He also holds a resume of just insanity that makes me feel lazy and super ill accomplished in life. I had the pleasure of getting to know Scott’s wife, Vanessa and we became friends through shared quirky interests thus leading us to visit them and get crushed on the mats.
Virginia Beach Jiu Jitsu is a rare gem of a gym. Seriously. I cannot speak highly enough of the three classes I attended and those I attended with. They have good full classes, and they are extremely organized. This is straight up one of the places I would recommend anyone who is just starting jiu jitsu. They begin white belts with a fundamentals course, something I find incredibly useful because the first year you literally spend most of your time wondering what your objective is while standing there with your finger in your nose (note I am still in this phase). You are told to roll, but you have no comprehension of the rules, only to hear what you were doing to just survive getting your chest caved in, is such a, “white belt move.” Yeah, I am totally selling BJJ right now… Eventually it gets better when you learn a couple things (more like ten because the first several submissions won’t work on others in the class because they are better than you). #itsprobablyjustme
They also are incredibly helpful with law enforcement, offering a discount up to blue belt. They encourage their health, better movement and control, and several LEO’s were in attendance of all ranks.
At VB BJJ it is not just a bunch of struggling white belts. There are direction and objectives by thorough teachers and instructors. I can say this with the utmost confidence because even though the Daisy Chain of Demoralization drill was, well, demoralizing as usual, the higher belts were still very kind to the lower ranks and that is sometimes not the case in other gyms that I have attended. There were plenty of high-ranking individuals, male and female, making for an intimidating atmosphere on the onset that very quickly wore off with their friendliness.
That being said….. I met literally the most friendly woman I have ever met in jiu jitsu as well as the most unfriendly which leads me into my EIR…
I was able to attend three BJJ classes while in town, one being taught by Becky who is all peace, love, happiness, essential oils, and really good tequila. Seriously I don’t care if you are even into combatives, just go sit and learn from this gal. She is sweet and fun, and her women’s class is the epitome of what I love to recommend for women in jiu jitsu, epic learning and warm welcoming. If you are in the Virginia Beach area ladies and interested in starting, I could not tell you a better class to begin with in the Continental US than her Saturday morning one.
I managed to rassle with an old friend who had previously knocked my head back permanently with a rubber knife like 4000 times inside of 30 seconds at the Edged Weapons Overview. After that weekend my chiropractor had to hammer me upside the back of my skull with a bat in order to get me looking towards the horizon again. Bunchy spent the five minutes of our roll not so subtly letting me know I was being submitted multiple times, not even giving me a chance to tap, just moving onto his next move. I was pretty much a grappling dummy at that point. He is an instructor there as well and very much in his element running a kid’s class, it was fun to observe.
I also attended one of Scotts classes and his teaching style is exactly how I thought it would be, humble, funny, lots of trash talk, thorough, easy instruction, then crush your soul. Makes for solid learning. He also reminded me of an important lesson that I have wrote about before.
The first night there, I met the unfriendly individual I mentioned above. I was so put off that while driving home I mentioned to Ryan that though I normally choose not to write about things that aren’t positive or uplifting, I was thinking of writing about her. To be honest my impression was that she would probably take my petty remarks as a badge of honor and sort of figuratively dip her fingers in my literary article blood and rake them across her face…. In a funny twist or irony, I actually used a comment she made in a previous article about not quitting. I had cracked a joke about being a #whitebelt4-eva; she didn’t find it (or me if we are being honest) that funny and said, “the only white belts forever are the ones who quit.” #sheisnotwrong #goodone #iwasobviouslynothercupoftea.
The following night we went to dinner with Scott and Vanessa for my 40th birthday. We were snails and a couple glasses of prosecco in when he asked how the class went. I teased that I was contemplating writing my first ever write-up that had unfavorable snark in it. Scott inquired and I told my thoughts in sort of a brushing-it-off teasing manner; especially when he seemed genuinely concerned that someone from his place had possibly come across as rude. (also marks of a good instructor, one that cares that the gym is welcoming).
So here is the kicker, his concern was for not only for his gym and reputation, but for her equally as well. He responded that he was surprised and stated there must have been a reason for her mood. I said of course there was, she thought my jokes were stupid… I then was ashamed when he asked me to give her another chance; then mad at myself for not automatically making that my plan after class in the first place. I had automatically decided I was put off and wasn’t willing to try again. I had to be reminded that everyone is fighting something, I don’t know what is going on in her life, and regardless I need to be kind.
Mental ego bruised a bit, I attended a class the next day (Daisy Chain of Demoralization) and she told me I was ugly and pushed me down. Just kidding, she was fine. It was honestly one of the more exhausting but fun jiu jitsu classes I have done. Everyone razzed each other constantly, the sound of laughter was everywhere, and all of them heavily encouraged my daughter, Lila, and son, Cole who attended. It was one of the best ways to spend an evening.
Several years ago, at a birthday party I didn’t want to be at, I was likely frowning. Most assuredly I did not have the correct facial expressions for the Chuckie Cheese type aura. My three-year-old was there unsmiling as well. I was flooded with worry over her, whether I was failing her as a mom, and she was just a confused, sad little girl around strangers. And I knew I was included in that. Anyone who would have approached me probably would have received an uninterested or short response; I didn’t have the energy to try and make friends when I was trying to show love to a sweet one who so desperately needed it. I hope they gave me the grace and second chance that I had to be reminded of in Virginia Beach. I hope they brushed it off as a bad day and came back later and found me excited to tell them the story about how a balloon literally turned a baby’s life around that day. I hope they didn’t hold that ugly first impression against me and saw the warm me, the very same warmth I saw that emanated through VB BJJ while people sat stacked in guard watching instruction, piled like puppies as they absorbed friendship.
#everyonesfightingsomething #firstimpressionsarehard #fostercare #adoption #BJJ #dothejiujitsu #virginiabeachjiujitsu #scottdidyouknowyourlogosortoflookslikejimmyjohns?
#gocheckthisplaceout #hippybjj #tequila #goodfriends #stillnottalkingtoyouscott #leo #doingwhattheycanforthecommunity
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal