First of all, HUGE congratulations to Sharon "Meow" Bonewicz, who was recently awarded her black belt by Lloyd Irvin. Sharon is not only a great BJJ player, but a real humanitarian who works with children in Brazil through a photography project. She trains with Jared Weiner at BJJ United in Philadelphia, an academy I have had the pleasure of visiting. (I have also had the "pleasure" of having Sharon and Jared school me in grappling.) Congratulations, Sharon! Can't wait to roll with you again.
Second, there was another women's open mat, hosted by Marco Perrazzo and Rick Macauley at New Jersey Martial Arts, on Sunday. I missed it, unfortunately, but my sources tell me there was another great turnout--lots of chicks rolling, chatting, exchanging techniques, and then, I assume, eating. Especially in light of Sharon's recent accomplishment, it feels pretty good to be a grappling chick lately.
My training is going well. I have decided not to compete in the PanAms, which are coming up at the end of the month. This may seem to be old news for those of you who read my post about being completely done with competing forever and ever amen. But this is one of those decisions that it's hard to stick to, especially when everyone around you is planning to compete. I knew it was the right one, though.
I was really nervous to tell Johnny and Ouano, both because of what I anticipated they'd say and also because once I told them it would make it REAL. But they were great, of course. And interestingly enough, some of the people from my academy you might most expect to compete from have decided not to. Unapologetically. And of course I don't think any less of them. So why do I have to fight to keep from thinking any less of myself? I give myself no quarter. Well, I guess there's always something new to learn and work on.
I'm working on another project with Ed Beneville, who, you may recall, wrote the book Strategic Guard, which I edited for him. I'm happy to be working with him again! Check out all his publications at http://www.grapplingarts.net/. He was also featured on a recent FightWorks podcast (http://fightworkspodcast.com/), the same website that interviewed little old me.
In other news, I got back in touch with another grappling friend over the weekend. He's been doing his share of traveling (geographically and psychologically/spiritually), so it was great to reconnect. In addition to just having a great conversation, he also had some really good suggestions for me about ideas I have for possible next steps in my life. And he came along right when I needed those suggestions. So I feel like I'm tapping back into the magic I can create for myself if I'm in the right frame of mind. It just continues to frustrate and amaze me that it's far more difficult to stay in that frame of mind if I'm too busy and/or working too hard. It's so easy to get bogged down in putting out the fire that's right in front of me and to forget to be grateful for what I have and mindful of what I still want so I can put my energy toward getting it.
Well, I'm glad I cycle back to this place of feeling powerful, grateful, and like good things are coming down the pike. I just have to continue to trust that I'll always get here again when "here" feels like it's a world away.