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Jits My Life

Boxing Great is Newest Coach at Select Jiu-Jitsu

Coach SuarezSelect Jiu-Jitsu Academy of Martial Arts welcomes Coach Luis Suarez as headstriking/boxing coach.

 With over 50 years of martial arts experience, Suarez is a well-known coach in Waco. He has taught boxing, kick boxing, taekwondo and coached mma fighters.

 At age 71, Suarez is a family man with three daughters, one son, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

 He’s originally from San Benito, Texas but has lived in Waco for nearly 50 years.

 Suarez first learned martial arts in the military. He served his country in the Army from 1965-1968, where he traveled to Europe and Southeast Asia.

 He originally learned and studied taekwondo and eventually earned his black belt under the American Karate Black Belt Association (AKBBA).

 Suarez owned his own “Tex-kwon-do” school in Waco, called El Sol, for eight years. El Sol was a taekwondo school that allowed full contact. His students learned knife and stick fighting, as well as Aikido.

 In 2005, Suarez was fortunate enough to travel to Japan with boxer Michael Lerma for a K-1 Max main event. Lerma was the main event and fought Yoshihiro Akiyama. Again, in 2006 Lerma and Suarez traveled to Japan when Lerma had an mma fight.

 “There were boxers from Greece, Holland, Thailand and Mongolia,” among other countries, stated Suarez. “It was neat. I want to go back to training camps in Thailand or Costa Rica.”

 Suarez worked at General Tire and Rubber Company for 16 years, but he always made time for martial arts.

 “It is something you can practice by yourself,” he said. “It’s always been a part of my life. Martial arts keeps me going.”

 Suarez likes to help his fellow vets.

 “I like to make them move around and they will feel better,” he said.

 He likes to see people making improvements.

 “Martial arts gives people manners and discipline and you are able to see a live transformation in people,” he explained. “That drive you get from martial arts is good.”

 And one of Suarez’s favorite things is seeing his students progress.

 “God trained me to be a motivator and that’s my ministry,” Suarez said.

 Select Jiu-Jitsu Academy is proud to have Suarez on the mats as a coach. He wants to continue to train and coach others for as long as possible.

 “The rest of my life is the best of my life,” he said.

 And keep a lookout for two of Suarez’s fighters (and soon to be champions), Vernon (Big E) Lewis and Mando (La Lumbre) Villarreal.

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At the Top of Her Game

Here is another article I wrote for Girls in Gis about black belt Jena Bishop. Follow the link here or read below.

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When it comes to female black belts, Jena Bishop, of Gracie Humaita San Diego, seems to be the talk of the town. She has won not just one, not just two, but three double golds this year- in Master Worlds, Pan Ams and Europeans.

With these new feats on her resume, Bishop is no newbie to competition. She began training jiu jitsu in 2007 and competed in her first tournament just four months in.

“I haven’t stopped competing since,” she said.

And Bishop remembers her first competition very well. It was the Arnold Classic ran by NAGA. “I was very nervous, but had Tyler (my husband) by my side. I think I had 10 matches that day (gi and no-gi) and I went home undefeated,” she explained. “I was completely hooked from that moment forward.”

Born on Feb. 22, 1986, Bishop said she has always been a competitive person.

“Jiu jitsu has been an outlet for my competitive nature. It gives me confidence, keeps me in shape, and it has given me a second family and great friends,” said Bishop. “I’ve gotten to travel to places I wouldn’t have dreamed about because of jiu jitsu.”

Bishop trained from white to black belt with JW Wright at Gracie Humaita in St. Louis. In 2016, she and her husband, Tyler, moved to San Diego, where they are jiu jitsu instructors at Gracie Humaita under Regis Lebre. Bishop teaches the kids, women and adult classes, where she trains 15-20 hours each week.

A typical day for Bishop includes getting up and takes her fur babies, Niko and Toast, who are Shiba Inus, on a long walk.

“I do my hard training at noon every day and after training I work out,” she explained. “Then I come home, eat lunch, wash some gis and head back to the academy to teach or train again.”

She used to be a personal trainer, but once she moved to San Diego, her main focus has been her jiu jitsu. However, she still follows a strength and conditioning routine two to three times a week, which is how she stays in shape, without weight cutting, for competition.

14While competing is always fun for Bishop, she said she still gets nervous before stepping on to the mat.

“I think a little nerves are healthy,” she said. “As soon as I slap hands with my opponent, that feeling disappears and I’m just having fun.”

Bishop competes not only in her weight class, but also in the open classes, where she has been winning matches against much larger women. Because she trains with men who are bigger and stronger than her every day, she said she thinks this helps her in strategizing against a larger opponent.

“I don’t do anything special to prepare for the open class, but I have to play a smart game,” explained Bishop. “I think I’m a little more conservative in the way I fight a larger opponent because there is no room for error, so I stick to the basics.”

And when competing in the adult versus master divisions, Bishop said the one huge difference is a 10 minute match versus a 6 minute match.

“I think the game is faster paced in a shorter time period,” she said, “but there are tough women competing in both divisions.”

Bishop said she is still chasing after that World Title at the Black belt Adult division and said, “I feel like my jiu jitsu is the best it’s ever been.”

While she has been competing a lot over the past year, she does not have a set plan for her next competition.

“I need to take time to let my body rest and heal up a little bit, but you may see me at NOGI Worlds,” Bishop said.

So, be stay on the lookout for Bishop; follow her blog at https://bishopbjj.com/, or watch some of her videos for inspiration.

She believes the secret to her success is surrounding herself with the right people, seizing every opportunity and training smart.

“Come to class with a purpose, as well,” she concluded. “I like to work hard, but I like to have fun in my training.”

A Desire that Lead to a Movement

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I wrote this article about the woman who came up with the idea for Girls in Gis and it can be found here on the Girls in Gis site, or below.

Nowadays there are many women and girls who are well known in the jiu jitsu industry. Women compete, they own their own academies, they are sponsored, they teach classes, they make a living doing jiu jitsu, etc. If you study jiu jitsu, you will see plenty of women in the lime light.

But what about the ones who are hanging out in the background? What were all of the jiu jitsu women who are now brown and black belts doing eight to 10 years ago?

Let me introduce you to Ashley Nguyen. Nguyen is a wife, a mama to Mackenzie (2 yrs) and Lexi (4 yrs), a jiu jitsu student, a teacher, a pharmacist. . . and the founder of Girls in Gis. Most of us are familiar with Girls in Gis, because, let’s face it, you are reading their blog right now! Girls in Gis is an organization that helps grow  and strengthen the jiu jitsu community by empowering and uniting females. Nguyen is a brown belt and her husband (Hai Nguyen) owns elite MMA in Houston.
“I’ve trained jiu jitsu since 2005,” Nguyen said. “I used to kick box and a girlfriend invited me to one of her jiu jitsu classes to try it out.”

What Nguyen liked about jiu jitsu is that, “you can train full speed, and you’re not getting punched and kicked. You can go hard and you can stop when you are ready.”
Back when Nguyen first started training, there weren’t many girls who trained.

“We had two girls at my school and when the girls trained it was always competitive,” she explained. “The girls would only get to train with each other at competitions.”

Nguyen wanted women to get the same thing she saw the men getting out of jiu jitsu.

“The guys had this social aspect of training that wasn’t there for women,” she said.
Nguyen founded Girls in Gis in 2009. She was in a self expression and leadership program, where she actually created Girls in Gis as her project.
“I wanted friendship and camaraderie,” so that is how Nguyen came up with the idea of Girls in Gis. And what she wanted is exactly what happened through Girls in Gis.

Nguyen, who is a pharmacist, used to own her own pharmacy and she taught leadership programs. About a year after Girls in Gis was created, Nguyen was just too busy to put so much time in to what the program needed.

“People wanted to help make Girls in Gis bigger and it was a great idea,” she said. So she handed the program over to Shama Ko.
“I let her have it,” explained Nguyen. “Shama does everything now. At first she’d run ideas by me, but now she does whatever she wants and needs to do for the program.”

And the program has grown from 15 girls at the first event to having 60-100 girls (even 187) at most events. Girls in Gis has spread beyond Texas and events are held in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Washington D.C, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, California, Georgia, Ohio and Hawaii.

“I love all of the impacting Girls in Gis has done,” Nguyen said. “It’s so great and I love that it is spreading everywhere.”
Often, people speak to Nguyen about this great program called Girls in Gis, not knowing that she started the program, and she finds it funny, humbling and amazing to hear.

“Jiu jitsu is a common language that you (practitioners) speak that others don’t,” stated Nguyen.
And because so many women are involved in the sport, if Nguyen travels she can find a jiu jitsu friend in nearly any city.
“I’m really happy with who girls get to be in jiu jitsu right now,” Nguyen added. “It’s not only a guy zone. Girls can be respected and treated fairly.”

Top 10 Jiu Jitsu Memes

#10: Has anyone met a Tapout shirt-wearing-guy who actually trains?

bjj-funny-memes-010

#9: How good are you at acting?

yoda

#8: There is always someone willing to challenge you once they hear you train bjj.

come at me bro

#7: In jiu jitsu, there’s no “A” for effort.

tina fey

#6: Just because we both wear a uniform does not mean we scream “kee-yah,” and kick people. We will choke you out.

pulp fiction

 

#5: Sometimes getting a promotion can be life altering.

nap dynamite

#4: Don’t you hate when your training partner sees a shiny object and can’t focus on the technique?

the office

#3: It’s too fun to pass up the opportunity to tap out your buddy.

i went hard

#2: You can’t grab what’s not there.

baby chin

#1: Finally, the nail gets to be the hammer.

hannibal

Honorable mention:

Less chat; more splat!

gorilla

Those are some of my favorite Jiu Jitsu memes. I know there are a lot. Please share some of your favorites!!

Tips of Buying a Jiu Jitsu Gi

Don’t get gi overload. . . read my tips on buying a gi and let it assist you!

In the game of gi Jiu Jitsu, everyone wears a uniform. Nowadays, there are so many gi companies to choose from. Everyone can be unique on the mats. Not only are there different gi companies, but each company has a plethora of gis to choose from. There are men’s gis, women’s gis, kid’s gis, colored gis, different thicknesses/weaves on gis, and different designs. Not to mention, anyone can “Nascar up” their gi by putting patches on it.

Gi shopping can be fun, but it can also be intimidating. Now, for Jiu Jitsu beginners who are not familiar with what they need in a gi, I suggest reading The Best Gi Buying Guide. This article will inform you about the basic information one must know about Jiu Jitsu gis before going gi shopping.

Price: Gi prices range from $90-over $200. You can buy a perfectly good gi for under $150, I think. $150 is usually the price I try to stay under when buying my gis.

Sizing: Gi sizes tends to be all over the place. Depending on what company you purchase from, a size A3 might be a perfect fit in one brand, but a size A4 might be a better fit from another brand. Luckily, each company has a gi sizing chart that customers can go by.

My number one lesson I have learned when it comes to buying Jiu Jitsu gis: Buy a gi on the big side. Using a dryer shrinks the heck out of the gis. You can definitely air dry a gi to prevent shrinkage, but I’m tired of air drying my gis. Air drying gis takes half a day and they turn out stiff and crunchy. I like to wash my gis in the washing machine and dry them in the dryer. I didn’t put that lesson to use until after 4 years of training. From here on out, I will buy a bigger sized gi so I can wash, dry and shrink it down to my size. I am sick of having to get rid of gis because they barely close across my belly, or because the pants become tight when I bend over. You can also look like you are ready for a flood, because sleeve and pant lengths shrink, as well.

Logos: My next criteria (which is totally my preference and not a tip on whether a gi is good or not) is to get a gi with a clean look. I prefer simple gis over something fancy. The less logos, the better for me. Some logos are embroidered on, and others can be cut off with a razor (if you choose). But that’s the cool part- there are plenty of flashy Jiu Jitsu gis on the market for those of you who want to showcase your style.

Male and Female Cuts: As for female cut gis and male gis, I prefer men’s gis most of the time. The female cuts are more slim in the thighs, hips and shoulders. However, I am curvy with large thighs and a big ‘ol booty, so I would prefer to get a men’s gi and shrink it down.

Drawstring and Loops: I also prefer a Jiu Jitsu gi that has a rope drawstring closure- and the more belt loops, the better. Rope drawstrings tend to close more tightly and have a bit of stretch to them. And the loops also help my pants stay on more securely. Once I tie my drawstring, I like to secure the excess back through the loops.

Collars: My other criteria in purchasing a Jiu Jitsu gi is to pick a gi with a thick collar. Yep, that’s because I feel like it makes my opponent have to work harder to choke me. Most gi companies will try to describe the collar as thick, but that is something I have never been able to judge until I put my hands on it. If I see someone wearing a Jiu Jitsu gi I am unfamiliar with, I ask to grab and feel their gi collar so I can know what that brand’s collar feels like.

Weaves: As for gi weaves and thickness, I like thick ones and light rip stop material, as well. It basically depends on what I’m looking for. Thick ones last longer, they are often more difficult for your opponent to get a grip on, but they are also hot and heavy. Rip stop material is thin, airy and light, but they do not hold up as well in the long run.

Below are links, some pictures and descriptions of most of the gis I have owned in my Jiu Jitsu career.

1.Basic martial arts uniform from Academy Sports.

haha crappy gi

Haha. Do not make this mistake and purchase a karate uniform. This was my first gi that I bought, and I knew it wasn’t a real Jiu Jitsu gi. I wanted to test it out before I decided to sign up and invest in a pricey gi. As soon as I started training in it, I remember my instructor commenting about the flimsy collar that no one could grab. And to this day, I think it’s awkward when a student wears a karate uniform to Jiu Jitsu class.

2. Fuji Relson Gracie gi

relson gracie fugi

Fuji gis always feel loose and comfy like pajamas. The collar is not thick and the pants are twill. I ended up selling this gi because I could not shrink it enough and the adult size A1 was still too big for me. It did not have a rope drawstring. I really like the look of this gi, though.

3. Shoyoroll Her Honor gi

shoyoroll

Boy oh boy are Shoyorolls ridiculously expensive and hard to get a hold of. There is a waiting list for their gis and you are only allowed one gi purchase at a time. I spent under $200 on this gi. Surprisingly, I was not on a waiting list for it. However, I was competing at the time and I bought the smaller size rather than the larger size. It felt so light, almost like I was naked. The collar was not very thick and it had light weight twill pants. It shrunk a bit, and I ended up selling it to a friend. But yes, I really liked this gi.

4. Inverted Gear White Panda 2.0 gi

panda

Inverted Gear is one of my favorite gis. I only stopped wearing it because it got stinky in the armpits. (That was before I learned my secret way to defunctify gis!) It is cheap, lightweight and the cute panda makes me happy. Since it is a lightweight gi, the collar is pretty thin. The pants are rip stop. The Inverted Gear gi shrunk a little, but once I stopped drying it in the dryer, it didn’t get any smaller. I am waiting to purchase more of these!

5. Grips Primero Gi

This is a nice, clean and simple gi that I still wear. Over time, the light twill pants have gotten tighter in the hips, but they are still a comfortable fit. The drawstring is a bit short.

6. Grips Amazona Women’s gi

grips women

This gi is a female cut gi, that is thin and comfortable. The collar is medium thickness and the pants are ripstop. It is not too prissy and feminine, with just a few purple embroidered words and logos. I am a fan of Grips gis.

7. War Tribe Fundamentals gi

I know the owner of War Tribe Gis, and I know many athletes sponsored by this brand. I like the designs and the thickness of the collar. However, my rope drawstring became unraveled in the wash. The gi also shrunk more than any other gis I have had. They are well made and are very sturdy. I just got tired of trying to fit into a tiny gi. (And I know others who bought big sizes only to have them shrink two gi sizes.)

8. Gameness Pearl White gi

gameness

This was my very first Jiu Jitsu gi I owned. I think Gameness has great products. I probably wore this gi as my only gi for too long, because the rip stop pants eventually ripped on the rear. And the top now fits children- it shrunk a lot. However, I have since wound up with other gameness gis as hand-me-downs, and they feel nice.

9. Vulkan Ultra Light gi

me in vulkan

I received this Vulkan gi from a student who thought this gi shrunk too much for him. But for me, the fit was perfect. I have a wholesale account with Vulkan and when I buy my next gi, I will buy a size up. It was comfortable, roomy, the collar felt semi-thick and it had a simple design. I like Vulkan’s but I think they are pricey, and they don’t have a rope drawstring.

10. Ronin Brand 2016 Rio Brand gi

I bought this gi for my husband because it was unique. I bought the A2L, which he quickly outgrew after washing and drying it several times. And it soon became my gi when I was pregnant. It is thick, has twill pants, and a very thick collar. And I like it because it is sturdy.

11. Fushida Compls women’s gi

fushida on me1

This was my favorite heavy weight gi. It was simple, a female cut and had a very thick collar, as well as thick twill pants. It held up well, except I gave it a pink hue when I washed it with something I shouldn’t have. The employees at Fushida took my measurements and took the time to send me the best fitting gi for my body. I now air dry it, but I still love it.

12. Hypnotik lightweight gi

I bought this gi when I was pregnant, because I needed a larger size and it was cheap. It is still in my rotation, even though it is a bit baggy. I did not think I was going to be as big of a fan of this cheesy gi as I was. But I am a fan. It is lightweight. It is strong. The collar feels pretty thick. It is ripstop material. My rope drawstring is way too long, though.

 13. Tatami Ladies Zen Gorilla Gi

This is a female cut gi, and while I bought it on the bigger size, I feel it has gotten tight in the pants. I will just deal with that, because I like everything else about the gi. The inseam crotch is thick rip stop material on the twill pants. It has a colorful monkey rashguard liner inside of the jacket.

 14. Tatami Nova Plus+BJJ Gi

tatami nova

I like this simple, clean gi. It is inexpensive, but feels sturdy with a thick collar. The material feels thick, but it is not heavy or too hot. I will be ordering more with a wholesale account with tatami. I also really like the little bit of color running down the collar.

So, those are my tips on buying a Jiu Jitsu gi. What do you look for when purchasing a gi? What are some of your favorite gis? What are your least favorite gis?

Welcome, Everyone

medals

Hello my friends and fellow jiu jitsu practitioners!

I love jiu jitsu, and I wanted an outlet to write all about it. I welcome you to read my blog and share your comments. I plan to have personal stories; videos; re-posted videos, photos and articles from other sites; tips; pictures; recipes and reviews. Also, I would love to have other people contribute to my site, as well- because the jiu jitsu community is all about sharing our experiences and learning from one another.

I’m new to blogging, so I’m still experimenting with it. I’m basically having fun with this.

Here we go………..

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