Day 1 of 365

Happy New Year, everyone!

How was your first day of 2020?

NYE

Hubby and I rang in the new year with a great group of people last night. We made some new friends and had plenty of laughs. It was a night filled with great food, beautiful views, and good conversation. I wore a beautiful solid black dress with a leopard print, white pointy heels, a black coat, red lipstick, red nails, and my hair in a slick back pony tail with a black scrunchie. I felt magical. I hope to be able to up my fashion sense this year. It’s always so hard when you live in the gi! But I promise to try.

ENTERTAINMENT

I watched some very interesting and entertaining shows in 2019. Some of my favorites included “You” and “Dirty John” from Netflix (both psychological thrillers/crime fiction series), 90 Day Fiancé from Hulu (reality TV), and one I didn’t get to but I was told was very good/interesting was “Game Changers” from Netflix (health documentary). What did you really enjoy watching in 2019?

HANDMADE BUSINESS

I worked very hard on my creative business, Wild Needle Co, this year. I thank every person who supported my business in some sort of way whether it was a like, share, or comment on social media, inquiry, word of mouth, or a purchase. I hope to come up with new designs this year and finally open my online store. I have primarily sold through my Instagram @wildneedleco. Sewing was such a highlight of 2019. Setting up my little work craft space was the best thing I could’ve asked for. I am so thankful to my husband who sacrificed a small part of our studio for my happy place. I know that I am just getting started and have lots to learn about doll making this new year. I am especially excited to have practiced my product photography this year and to get even better with it in 2020.

JIU-JITSU

Our first BJJ training session is tomorrow. Two back to back no gi classes and I couldn’t be more pumped. I definitely want to work on my control and wrestling these next couple of months. I am excited to really dissect my game. I want to work on everything I am not good at and strengthen everything I am comfortable with. I want to:

  • get out of my comfort zone and roll more with everyone.
  • Take care of my health so that I am less likely to get injured.
  • Get stronger.
  • Train smarter overall.
  • Get into spinning and yoga.

SELF LOVE

I learned how to get out of my comfort zone with clothing in 2019. I started to take better care of my skin and teeth. I sewed a lot which helped me to relax and caused me lots of happiness. But I want to do so much more in 2020! I want to drink more water, read more books, eat more vegetables and less processed foods, do more things that make me happy and expand my mind and skills. How about you?

What do you want MORE of in 2020?

Thanks for reading,

Jules

End of Year Update (3 min Read)

Hey everyone,

Didn’t time fly by so quickly this year? It seems that the older I get, the faster time goes by… or maybe that’s just my perspective. I hope you all had a wonderful year. I hope that it gave you some laughs, challenges that led to growth, and fun. Did anything new happen for you this year? I’d like to hear about it.

One thing is for certain, I did a lot of jiu-jitsu this year. This year I reached my first year at purple belt, competed for the first time at an IBJJF tournament, and taught more classes at our academy, Gomez Jiu-jitsu. I’m really starting to enjoy the teaching side of jiu-jitsu. It’s making me understand things a little differently and molding me into a more confident, observant, patient, and critically thinking individual.

There are times when a student can’t perform a certain technique 100% as expected for many reasons, and that’s completely okay. It’s not always about such cookie cutter techniques. Jiu-jitsu is for everyone, not just the young, athletic star. So I figure out a way to modify the techniques for different students and scenarios, and explain why or how they can work. I’m also teaching kids jiu-jitsu which is a fun challenge. I have to be the firm, “I mean business” instructor to ensure that these kids learn discipline and respect, but also the fun and down to earth coach that they can chat with about whatever crazy and silly things are on their mind.

I’ve seen both kids and adults grow in their jiu-jitsu so much this year. The other day a 5 year old did the most perfect technical get-up and my heart just about melted and burst at the same time. I love our team, and I love that we are growing together in all different ways. My goals this new year are to add more amazing individuals (kids and adults) to our team, compete again, and of course, improve my own game and increase my conditioning.

In other news…

I’ve also been working on my little creative side business, Wild Needle Co, Handmade Collectible Art Toys, which you can find by clicking here. I’ve been working on improving my products, marketing, and customer service. Creating and crafting brings me so much joy. It really feels like the perfect thing to be doing this time of the year. I am stacked with holiday orders at the moment and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am very grateful for all of the people who supported Wild Needle Co. this year.

This coming year I would like to improve my product photography, increase production lead time, make more stock products, and get WNC a bit more social. I am having such a good time creating. I’ve set up a nice little space in my studio to do my work and it finally feels like a true creative business I’ve got going on. If you want to see anything specific in my shop this coming year, let me know in an Instagram DM or a comment here.

What are you up to these days? I hope you have a happy holiday season! Talk to you in the new year. And as always, thanks for reading!

-Julie

My First Year at Purple Belt

2 min read:

Yesterday was my Purplebelt anniversary 💜 It’s been a whirlwind of a first year, that’s for sure. At first I felt deserving of it… or so I thought. More so the IDEA of it because I was rudely awakened when I got tapped by a lower belt. (DUN DUN DUN) News flash! You still have to work hard when you get promoted!!! I thought I could just sit back and relax and NOPE Bahahaha. So then I felt VERY UNDESERVING of it, and since then we have been working hard on our relationship and guys… I’m pretty sure she’s the one😍 I am all sorts of GROWING🌱 right now, especially here ❤️ and here 🧠

Thanks to Professor Carlos for his teachings, coaching, opinions, feedback, hard talks, motivation and everything else. You’ve helped me so much with my game and my mindset. God bless you. Also thank you to my training partners because I can’t learn without them.

My game has changed dramatically from day 1 of whitebelt and these are my favorite things about the way I train at purple:

•Initiate first. When rolling with someone larger, stronger or more skilled, be the one to make the first move or chances are you’ll have to defend first vs attack first.

•Be relentless. If you shoot for a takedown and the person sprawls, don’t turtle🐢 up, COMMIT and drive forward until you put them on their 🍑.

•Believe in yourself✨ Try not to overthink, just trust your jiu-jitsu. Trust that it WORKS. There were times where I didn’t do this certain move/defense because I was afraid so and so would counter with this move/defense so instead I didn’t do anything and I got stuck. Take the risk🤪 and own it! 🙌🏽

All in all, this year has taught me that I can do hard things. I am stronger than I think and all it takes is belief in myself. This has improved my self love immensely. This art continues to mold me into an indomitable martial artist. How awesome it is to learn an art that has so much to give its practitioners.

Do you remember what your first year was like after your promotion? Did you love it/hate it? What did you learn? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

-Jules

Hi! It’s the First Day of Summer!

Good morning! Today is officially the first day of summer and half of the year has already gone by!

How are you feeling this month?

I am feeling refreshed. I took a couple sessions off from training to rest my knees. They were badly bruised and I had a hematoma on one of them from drilling a hard snap down. Although they are still bruised, the pain is tolerable enough to train hard again. I was hungry for it.

I couldn’t sleep last night due to some late night caffeine and training which had my brain all sorts of wired. Had a great training session last night. We drilled the anaconda choke from turtle to the darce choke from side control to mounted darce. I successfully executed the mounted darce during rolling so was pumped about that.

I woke up this morning in a good mood despite running on 3 hours of sleep. I will admit that I was listening to Christmas music on the way to training this morning. I’m not sure why I have been missing the Fall and Winter seasons lately. I am loving the summer weather but definitely missing the holiday spirit. I am hoping to hit up the beach some more this summer and do some drilling in the sand and good ‘ol relaxing. What are your favorite things to do or places to go in the summer? Let me know in the comments.

Just popping in to wish you a happy first day of summer! Put your sunscreen on and seize the day!

Thanks for reading!

-Jules

April: What I’m up to

5 min read

Hey everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post so I’ve decided to fill you in on some things that have been happening this month. Enjoy!

How I’m feeling:
I’ve noticed that I’ve been smiling a lot this month. Could it be the glimmer of summer approaching or perhaps the increase of water I’ve been drinking daily? Or maybe it’s my husband who is always making me laugh. Whatever it is, I’m feeling happy. I feel like I’m learning at a steady pace in BJJ and that is good enough for me! I’m getting a lot of vitamin D these days and it’s nice to be in social places in between training sessions. I’ve been smiling at every woman that passes, and they’re smiling back. It makes me feel fuzzy inside—like we’re part of an unspoken, powerful sisterhood. I’m feeling mentally strong, which is something I’ve always longed for. I know that any minute it could all change, but I am hopeful that these feelings of joy will always be with me, and if they are not, I’m confident that I will see better days because I’ve experienced this kind of joy. I hope you are happy wherever you are.

Health and Diet:
My good friend and fellow jiu-jitsu sister, Kayla, and I have been tracking our nutrition and training since the first of the month. For one week we tracked exactly what we ate—the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was easy to see how our nutrient intake (or lack of healthy nutrients lol) did not line up with our goals. I was barely drinking any water at all and eating mostly carbs. As soon as the second week hit, we both cleaned up our nutrition. I ate healthier foods, added more vegetables to my diet, refrained from sugary snacks (which is a tough one for me), ate more frequently, and began drinking at least 70 oz of water daily. The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is beer. There are just too many good sour beers to try and I’m having trouble saying no lol. It’s all about balance though, right?
Supplements: Nutrasumma Fermented Pea Protein Chocolate with BCAA’s which I take upon waking up and sometimes before bed. Enzyme Probiotic Complex, Joint support with glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin which I take twice daily with my largest meals.

Training and Exercise:
I am currently training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu daily and incorporating plyometric exercises into my warm ups and gym sessions. I usually lift at the gym 1-2 times per week but may start to increase those sessions.

My weekly sessions include: Mon/Fri: 8 classes in the GI. Tu: 2 classes of BJJ with strikes, self/weapon defense. Wed/Th 5 classes NO GI. 1 Open Mat on the weekend.
Favorite BJJ move this month: Clock choke, 1,2,3 boxing combo to double leg.
BJJ goal: Work on my set ups.
Favorite workout this month: Soft sand beach workout. Takedown drills to sprints.

Gym: Battle ropes, bosu-ball push ups, medicine ball wall throws, dumb bell shoulder press. Super set these 4 exercises. 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps. 2 mins rest in between sets.

What I’m reading:
The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss.

At first I was merely interested in bettering my health; so far 40 pages in it’s proven to be quite an interesting read! It turns out that balancing your microbiome is the “key to eliminating symptoms you might never have connected to your weight and the way you eat. Such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, brain fog, headaches, acne, eczema, congestion, frequent colds and infections, joint pain, and muscle pain.” It’s crazy to think that caring for our microbiome, the ecosystem of microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi) in our bodies, could be the answer to achieving good health.

Who inspires me this month:
My friend Kayla @keylock_kay on Instagram is a web and graphic designer by day and BJJ bad ass by night. We have been each other’s accountability partner’s for the past month keeping each other on track with our goals and venting about all things motivational, girly, and of course BJJ. She’ll send me motivational quotes, post-training selfies, and photos of her meals. This motivates me so much! Find yourself someone with similar goals and you may achieve them faster! Thanks for being an awesome friend, Kayla!

Where to go:
The Grove on 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles is one of my favorite places to hang out. There is so much to see and do. Watch a movie at the theatre, relax and read at Barnes and Noble, go shopping, have a drink at the Farmer’s Market Bar, or enjoy live music in the grass while enjoying a snack.

Events:
Carlos and I taught a self defense seminar for a non-profit organization called, A Place Called Home, a youth community center that keeps teens away from the dangers and temptations of the streets and provides a safe place for them to relax, do homework and hang out with friends. One of the most anticipated events hosted there is Girl Power Day where a group of over 35 teen girls get together at the facility and take part in a full day of presentations and activities that inspire and empower them; one of those activities is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos and I are surrounded by a diverse group of girls—some timid and stand offish, others not at all. These girls come from different backgrounds but for this hour and half, jiu-jitsu is uniting them.

Carlos and I also help teach jiu-jitsu at a women’s shelter. This location is kept secret for the safety of these women and children who have sought refuge there from abusive relationships. Most of the women don’t even speak English but jiu-jitsu is its own language and the best part is that it’s universal. The transformation some have made from day 1 to leaving the shelter is incredible. We taught this woman her last class before she ended her time there and she thanked us and the other Instructor for teaching her. I bawled, guys… She was SO shy and bashful when she started taking classes and now she was putting some grit into her technique and even encouraging other women with the way they did the technique. It’s just an indescribable feeling to see that.

It’s like magic seeing a woman witness her power when she successfully executes a jiu-jitsu technique. It makes me very emotional. Jiu-jitsu has done so much for me, and I wish that all women could find the gentle art and let it work its magic in their lives.

Services:
I am available for Jiu-jitsu lessons for women. No experience required. Take private classes at my Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy in Downtown Los Angeles and even invite a friend to train with you. You don’t have to be really strong or athletic; anyone can do jiu-jitsu and be good at it by using the proper technique and leverage. Try your first class for free. Also, if you would like to book Carlos and I for a women’s or co-ed self defense seminar for your school,organization, or work, let me know. Email me at bjjandselflove@gmail.com with any inquiries.

Is there anything you want to hear more about? Let me know in the comments and I’ll include it in next month’s post.

Thanks for reading!

-Jules
Keep in touch on
Instagram
Facebook
Email: bjjandselflove@gmail.com

 

 

Happy New Year!

Approx. 1:30 min read

Day 2 of 365

Hi guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful December filled with lots of fun festivities, good company, and yummy food.

It feels refreshing to begin another year with endless opportunities. Doesn’t it?

Some of my goals for this year are to begin learning Portuguese and a little French with my husband, share my “becoming a blackbelt at life” and jiu-jitsu journey on this blog a whole lot more, read at least 10 books, design more whimsical characters for my creative business which you can find on Instagram at @wildneedleco meanwhile my website is under construction, get better at drawing, become more organized, put some more heart into my jiu-jitsu training, become stronger – physically, mentally and spiritually, and be mindful of mine and my little families’ (Hubby + teacup chihuahua’s) health.

What are some goals that you are looking forward to working on this new year?

Whatever you decide, make this the year you go for it. Why not? We’re only getting older. Although you may not get around to each one, I believe that accomplishing the things we dream about will bring us more peace and wisdom. It’s like a good workout – you may not always enjoy the process but the post-sweat feeling is rewarding and you don’t regret it. So may this be the year that you gain knowledge when you work on your goals and may the accomplishments fill your soul with peace.

-Juliemarie

Come say hi on Instagram where I’m most active @bjjandselflove
Like my page on Facebook @bjjandselflove

How I Got from White to Purple Belt in Under 4 Years

From left to right: My husband and Professor, Carlos Gomez, Professor Gerson Sanginitto, myself.

The short answer is I consistently trained. I put in 14-16 hours a week for the last couple of years not including teaching kid’s classes. Training 6 sometimes even 7 days a week multiple times a day, and actively sharpening up my technique.

I was awarded my purple belt this weekend. It came as a total shock to me and yes, I did cry. My husband called my name and I couldn’t believe what was happening. He pulls out a worn over-sized looking purple belt hiding inside of his gi and ties it around my waist. He then explains that the reason it looks the way it does is because it was his purple belt (He’s currently a blackbelt.) He has had some of his most important fights in this belt so it is very special to him and now to me. What an honor. My eyes just welled up, guys. We exchanged a loving kiss and embrace. It was then that I thought I am so lucky to share this journey with my husband.

He is my best friend and mentor, and as my Professor – he is my biggest source of knowledge and motivation. He knows what I’m capable of and has seen my growth. He encourages me to let go of my fears, be confident, and take risks. I’ve never had anyone do that for me.

My journey in jiu-jitsu started January 12th of 2015. I came in as the only woman in the class and a little intimidated, which is why I initially wanted to try a class. I was on this mission of self-love and learning to face things alone. Over 3 and a half years later, I am still relentlessly training and feel so much more confident than I was pre-BJJ.

When I first started jiu-jitsu. Right top corner you will see my long braid.

I don’t know much about what it takes to be a good purple belt yet, but I’m excited to share once I learn. I can, however, tell you how I went from white to blue to purple belt in under 4 years and hopefully you’ll leave with the slightest piece of information or inspiration.

White to Blue

Time spent: 1.5 years

Stay consistent:
I had a really good support system when I started training as a white belt. The first day, a couple of guys adopted me. I learned etiquette such as bowing when walking on and off the mat and scooting over as a courtesy if a higher belt is having a close roll next to you. I continued training jiu-jitsu because of the community. I met some really nice people the first couple of months and that kept me coming back to class. Even when I had to move back home over an hour away from my gym, I would drive every weekend to train. So once you find a reason to stay, go to class, stay consistent, show commitment.

Stay loyal to one academy:
I switched schools only a couple of months into my jiu-jitsu journey. I have now been with Gomez Jiu-jitsu learning under Professor Carlos Gomez for the majority of it. Once I changed schools, I dropped my anchor. I’m not saying don’t train anywhere else ever. I’m saying that if you stick to training at one academy, your instructor or Professor will be able to track your progress from the very beginning. If you bounce around schools, not only will you have to prove yourself over and over again, but you will have to put in the time and learn the different systems and requirements of each school.

Be coachable:
As a white belt, think of yourself as a blank canvas. You will be fed so much knowledge in this part of your journey and it is your job to just be open to learning. Respect your Instructor’s knowledge, they have been in your shoes before. Take constructive criticism. Ask questions. Observe all angles when the technique is being demonstrated. Have a good attitude. Don’t be afraid to get tapped out. Ditch the ego.

Ask your Professor how you can improve: It’s no secret. Your Professor or Instructor will tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to get better. It’s easy to fall under the radar if you train at a big school. Stay present on the mat and communicate with your Instructor. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Drill your fundamentals:
Until you can do them with your eyes closed! I’m serious. Being mounted sucks. So don’t be there in the first place and if you are there, get out quick! Get really good at escaping mount and side control, bridging, shrimping, gripping, movements, controlling your breathing.

Use your technique:
Often times people get caught up using explosive power or being “spazzy,” using strength or athleticism. What happens when you’ve gassed out and aren’t the pumped athletic individual from the beginning of your roll? If you are this way, there is a good chance that you may be skipping details from your technique and forcing your way into positions instead. You may have success in this with other white belts, but it may come back to bite you when rolling with higher belts. You have to assure that you have a solid foundation of the fundamentals and are not skipping steps and building off of bad habits or athleticism from the very beginning. There’s a reason why jiu-jitsu is the most effective martial art, it can be done when you’re 8 or 80 years old. Don’t forget all those little details that your Professor focused on. They matter, and they’ll save your ass when you’re exhausted.

Blue to purple

Time spent: 2 years, 1.5 months

The best thing about blue belt was my increase in confidence;  something I struggled with as a young girl.

Train with all body sizes:
You will have to modify your techniques with each body type. Don’t get lazy thinking that it will work the same on everyone. Train with different training partners and experiment. This will allow you to have an answer for every situation.

Train as much as you can:
Two times a week isn’t going to cut it if you are serious about excelling in BJJ. Make the time and most importantly be consistent. I train at least 14-16 hours of jiu-jitsu per week. I have been training pretty much every single day for the past 3.5 years. Yes, there was a point during my blue belt where I didn’t enjoy jiu-jitsu, but I just kept going anyway. Professor implemented an attendance/curriculum card that would allow us to actually see our progress. I wanted my credit and I had a tangible way to track my progression so I just kept coming to class until eventually I fell back in love with it.

Train all aspects of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu:
BJJ is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. If you are only training one aspect of BJJ, you are depriving yourself of imperative life skills. BJJ consists of four phases: Self defense (defending against an attacker/strikes), BJJ with the gi, no-gi, and weapon defense. There is no better way to truly test your BJJ and control than when you are put under stressful situations such as in our Tuesday night self defense class where someone is coming at you with strikes, a gun or a knife. We learn how to neutralize that aggressive opponent, disengage from the situation or finish him. If you aren’t learning everything, you better get started, pronto.

Learn how to flow roll:
Choose your partners to flow roll with. You can control the pace. If the person you’re rolling with is too spazzy, you can bring the pace down to your level using your control. Not every roll has to be to the death. Flow roll with higher belts. You can learn so much while flow rolling.

After a year and a half into my bluebelt, I started to realize that although I was technical, a lot of my training partners were also technical but stronger than me. It was time to add a little aggression and grit into my game.

Be aggressive:
After competing and losing, a fire lit up in me. I had the technique why couldn’t I win?! I had to work 10 times harder on my technique and also learn how to be AGGRESSIVE. That meant no more Mrs. Nice Girl playing off of my back, getting my guard passed and getting smashed. Instead I would work to be on top. I also had to work on my strength and cardio. You know who to roll light with and who needs some tough lovin’.

Work on your control:
If you control your opponent, you will break them mentally. Half the battle is done. Sometimes it’s not all about submissions, instead work on controlling positions. Tire your opponent out by controlling them then capitalize when they make a mistake or get distracted.

Finish what you started:
It’s easy to get a submission when you’re drilling but when the person is defending, it becomes more difficult so after you shoot that triangle, don’t switch to full guard if they defend a little, be aggressive. Break their posture, get the right angle, lock it up and don’t let go until you get the tap.

Teaching:
You know how they say when you teach something it allows you to understand the concept even better? It’s true. If you don’t already know, my husband and I own our own academy: Gomez Jiu-jitsu in Downtown Los Angeles. I began teaching there at blue belt and it has benefited my game in many ways. Firstly, it required me to grow. Teaching requires confidence. Confidence has only made me a better grappler in the worst situations. You must know how and why a technique will work and what to do when it is defended against. It made me understand techniques from a student perspective and also from an instructor perspective. What are some questions student’s might ask about this move or when trying it? If you are thinking about all of those things, you are learning a technique in an in-depth way even more so than if you were just drilling it solely from a student perspective.

Review what you have learned:
Do you ever find yourself in a familiar position for a technique but can’t quite remember how to execute it? It happens all the time. At the beginning of each class, we take 5-10 mins to review any techniques we want. Fundamentals, something we learned a long time ago, or something we’ve been dying to try. We grab a partner and work together to figure it out. It has helped me so much to revisit past techniques through videos as well. Ask your instructor if it is okay to record techniques. This will help you to stay sharp with all of the steps.

Create your own mantra:
Do you have any self-talk or affirmations? If not, it wouldn’t hurt to create some. Before I roll I ask myself if I want to be the hammer or the nail. Obviously, I choose the hammer. It puts me in a confident and dominant mindset and I find the most success in that headspace. Even if I get smashed, I know that I gave the roll my best and it fires me up for next time.

I now get to call myself a Gomez Jiu-jitsu purple belt!

The best way to level up is to continue working on your jiu-jitsu and enjoy the journey because it’s different for everyone! What did you learn from white to blue? Blue to purple? Brown to black? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to say hi on Instagram! Thanks for reading. Oss!

-Jules