Saturday, November 7, 2009

Some Info from My London Trip

I have been so unbelievable busy lately, I haven't been able to get a new blog entry up! But I have been twittering, and my webmaster has been collecting my tweets and blogging for Doom Maidens in general. I am going to share some of his work regarding my London trip:

Our webmaster writes:
As some of you know, VeVe is currently in London!

She just arrived on Friday and she will be staying until Tuesday.

She's participating in a tournament at Monica's and shooting videos for Mixed Wrestling Zone. I will forward some of her latest twitter updates:

3 pm EST: "In London. Had first tournament video match against Anita of Hungary. Nearly smothered her in her hair, but she got revenge with headlocks!"

Apparently that was VeVe's first match and first victory so far. We eagerly await further news.

VeVe writes in to respond:

Thanks for passing that on! I'm just gearing up for second day of fighting and first day of the official event with live audience. That should make for a much more intense day than yesterday.
I'm heading down to the hotel breakfast for a good meal because I think once we get started today, all I'm going to get is those awesome British digestive biscuits to fuel me through at least three tough matches.

Supposedly, I'm in the last fight -- the "main event" -- of this tournament. Very flattering! This was supposed to be match with Kim, but she wasn't able to make it at the last minute due to plane trouble. So now my main event fight will be with Jenny of Manchester. I saw her roll yesterday, and she's got a nice, well-rounded game. And a size advantage over me -- of course!

More updates after the fights, if only my computer battery and the sketchy hotel internet connection hold out!

- VeVe

Here's more word from VeVe about her matches at Monica's tournament in London. We've also been twittering about it on the Doom Maidens Twitter.

Sept 26: VeVe says: "...the filming today was good. I fought Jenny of Manchester, which was a terrific fight and I believe everyone's favorite. We ended up with a draw, though... And I fought Anita again after she was very tired and slaughtered her... Total sporty f v. f..."


Here's a blurb from Monica's site:

"26 September is looking great, with a fantastic line-up of wrestling talent. The incredible NY grappler Vetiver Lane from the Doom Maidens has just confirmed, and the legendary Robin from LA is raising sponsorship for what might be her last competitive match! It's to be with our very own Lina, and is set to be a classic! The beautiful Mutiny from Montreal has confirmed, along with new girl Kim who's one of the brightest new wrestling talents. Then there's awesome all-round fighter Jenny Sjdin: pro wrestler, bjj grappler, submission wrestler “ watch out! Regrettably, Reni is unable to come but is replaced by ANITA, who's flying over with Zsuzsa, two more wrestling sensations from Hungary! Don't miss out on this awesome Event; it will be a long time before this much talent is assembled again. Call Monica on 0788 187 2505 or email MWC now! "

Looks like there's some good stuff going on in London this weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

great parties, great matches

I am so frikkin' tired today and just getting tireder. This is all because I ended up with no break between my Montreal trip and the party last night. Too much fun lately; recovery needed! But about the fun stuff...

Montreal was beautiful as always -- gorgeous weather, gorgeous city, new favorite patisserie - yum! I definitely need to make a longer visit next time. I enjoyed some shopping in the Latin Quarter and the Village -- found what I thought might be some good new wrestling video thongs, but upon further consideration, they may be TOO tiny. We shall see.

My match with Pamela proved to be an unexpected adventure. I had assumed we were doing competitive grappling, since that's what I usually do and no one told me otherwise beforehand. But I showed up at Gladiateur Gym and discovered we were doing a pro-style match.

Now I've done choreographed pro matches before, and back in my wild young wrestling days, I used to do pro-style jello wrestling on top of nice soft matresses in a pool of squishy jello. But never before had I done an unscripted match in a hard-surfaced ring with a drop through the ropes to a cement floor below. Ane especially not with an opponent like Pamela who was versed in all sorts of ways to lift, bend, and toss me.

But what the hell? I'm game and a pretty quick study too, so pretty soon we were yelling and kicking and Boston crabbing all over the ring, and I was getting lofted and hurled around (nearly straight through the ropes a couple times, which would really have been the end of things!) So that was a lot of fun and a little bit terrifying, and Pamela deserves super props for being great to work with and great at what she does.

After that shoot we got some good footage of me kicking judoboy's ass six ways to Sunday, and also some photos, particularly a little set of lift and carry photos. There hasn't been a second to work on any of this stuff since shooting it, but hopefully it will be up on Doom Maidens and my site soon. All around a good collaboration with the Fightingirls crew.

By this time I'd done a lot of fighting, and it was getting late, but I rallied and made it out to the Montreal Fetish Weekend Rococo Ball. Very high fashion event with not a trace of wrestling. I was an idiot not to take a picture, but my corset and sparkly, feathery masquerade mask definitely deserved one. I did cheat on the formality to wear my comfy dancing shoes though. There were good drinks, great perfomances (fetish fashion exhibits, of course, and also an excellent strip + trapeze dance number), and a wonderful spectacle made by the audience. And dancing!!!

And afterwards I was very tired. Got back to New York late on Monday (scenic route = beautiful but loooong), stayed up late on Tuesday tweaking the Party playlist, and stayed out late at the party yesterday.

And the party was great. I invented a Solar Sorceress costume for the superhero theme (complete with solar sceptre and solar sandals). This was all an excuse to wear my cool new shiny gold leotard -- worked out well. I got to see, fight, and chat with a lot of good friends. But I did have two fierce and very large men gunning for me all night -- after having The Bulk (280 lbs.) and Mike (220 lbs.) going after me as hard as they could, I was yet more exhausted. But still victorious in both cases!

Aaaand today I was very good and responsible and made it into work by 9 a.m. Thank god that's done now. Now I will go home and RELAX!

Monday, August 24, 2009

true blog revival!

OK, so it's the end of August, and most days it's horrid and sweltering out. Actually, I think that's great. I love hot weather, but it is very lazy weather and makes it hard to actually do anything. I'm distressed that I've been trying for a week to make it to any Fringe Festival show at all and have been prevented by subway malfunctions, over-scheduling, or heat-induced fatigue. (I WILL succeed tomorrow night; there is no other option!) I STILL have to make it to the beach this summer. My academy has added several new class options in the morning, which is ideal for me, but I haven't managed to increase my training frequency yet despite a couple weeks of good intentions. (Again, this WILL happen this week; I'm determined.)

However, some very good things HAVE happened lately. Somewhat in order they are:

My vacation at the beginning of August. I swung south to Wildwood on the Jersey shore for a couple of days, where I had fun strolling the boardwalk, witnessed a fantastically impressive storm sweep in off the ocean, and was able to watch some live MMA at a Reality Fighting event there. Then I proceeded out to western PA for my yearly trip to Pennsic, a giant medieval festival. I spent a week camping and sword fighting (well, I personally use a polearm rather than a sword) in huge armored battles with a 1,000 people per side. I got a bit carried away buying belly dancing costumes even though I can't belly dance – although I did take a class while I was there. Unfortunately, it was a fairly advanced class focusing on the particular art of balancing things on your head while belly dancing. So now I know more about balancing than the basic dancing. Oh, well. Also went out to a few excellent parties around campfires. The best one was the Ladies’ Night Party, which featured ungodly amounts of wonderful food and drink and (mostly) attractive shirtless male servers being indecently harassed by the feasting ladies. And, yes, this too was done around a campfire. Great night ;) And great trip.

Next, I confirmed that I’ll be travelling up to Montreal again this year for the Fetish Weekend there. I’ll be doing sessions and shooting wrestling videos with Pamela and judoboy while I’m there, but enjoying the city and the fetish galas will be a big part of the trip. I’m having fun planning for the high fashion scene at MFW (designing Rococo Masquerade Domina wear!), and in anticipation (and as a result of actually not having the past few weekends at home) I’ve been getting out to New York parties again. Dropped in at Suite Abyss the other weekend, and I must say that club dancing is a good time. Planning on much more soon!

(Other upcoming travel notes – I won’t be going back to Atlanta in September after all, sadly. But I will be going to Indianapolis later that same month. Should be an interesting trip – I’ve got family out that way, and they’ll get to meet some of my wrestling colleagues. Worlds will collide.)

Also, there was lately the Grapple Den Two-Year Anniversary Party. We had a summer beach theme and an arena rock soundtrack. A lot of good matches – we’ve had great talent over the past few months. I continue to believe, though, that more people need to be brave and try oil wrestling at the beach theme parties. Sure it’s a little disgusting, but it’s great fun. Cloberella was game for it and, of course, Tony, who’s always game. Props to them.

Also a good news/bad news note – I had such an utter hell of a time putting together the party music on my dying laptop that it finally convinced me to get a new laptop. Alas for hellacious difficulties. Yay for the new laptop! I’m composing on it now.

Finally, there was the afore-mentioned video rematch with Kim on Sunday. That girl is so much fun to fight and really frikkin’ good. I’m thrilled with my takedown performance this time around, but I also nearly died in one choke… It was an even closer fight than our last December battle, and our highly critical video editor has been raving to me about it. A good sign! And best of all, it will be available very, very soon. [ETA: It is available NOW: VeVe vs. Kim REMATCH Video] This should be the start of a good run of video production – besides the Montreal matches, I’ve got a mixed competitive video and a second (and maybe third?) spandex match lined up. Good stuff heading into September; stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2009

catching up!

It's been forever since I posted a blog, and I blame two things for that --

1) My extremely busy and travel-filled summer

2) My laptop, which has gradually been dying a slow, painful death, making it really unpleasant to get online.

So let me just throw a few things out here to get a little bit caught up.

First, an exciting announcement for this weekend. I'm going to be taking on Kim in a video rematch this Sunday, and we're opening up the match to a live audience. Kim and I faced off back in December, and it was an excellent, very close, very technical, very intense and exhausting submission grappling match! Now we're both just that much better -- we were both blue belts last winter; Kim's actually been promoted to purple belt since then. I don't plan to let that make a difference, but it's going to be a hard fight!

So if you want to get a front row seat at the live event, follow this link for all the details: Live Taping Tickets

And if you want a preview of the action, or if you want to get caught up on the full drama of our first battle, you can check out these links:
YouTube Trailer
VeVe vs. Kim I in the Doom Maidens Video Store

Damn it, now I've run out of time for the rest of the updates I wanted to make, but I vow that they're soon to follow. Stay tuned for tales of my fantastic summer vacation, the latest Grapple Den Party, and my upcoming travels!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

everything that's been going on...

Damn, so my last post was my June Grapple Den report, and here we are on the eve of the July party. Well, it's been a busy month. Just a few odds and ends about what's been going on --

My Fourth of July was nice and mellow, but NOT restful. I spent the day biking through both Brooklyn and Manhattan in glorious sunshine but too much wind. Summery and exhausting. A fine day. Then I finished off the weekend on the fifth with a late-night trip out to TES Fest in New Jersey. TES Fest is a yearly BDSM Convention; I visited to teach a Wrestling for Fetish Play demo and run a fight club party. The fight club was more or less one of the closing events of the weekend, and some people had already headed home, but the people who stayed were serious devotees. I wrestled (and demolished) one fellow who told me he'd been waiting through the whole event for that.

Just this past weekend I travelled down to North Carolina. It was a quick trip but good. One of my clients, a fine fellow who can take a HELL of a belly punching, gifted me with an awesome pair of weighted police enforcement gloves. Needless to say, we tried them out in a very fun session.

I also got to attend a UFC 100 party at a local martial arts school while I was visiting. They'd hung up a big projection screen, and I was able to grab a kickpad for a pillow and lounge on the mats while bunch of other fighters crowded around to watch and place bets on the matches. I was sorry to see Bisping lose to Henderson, but I had more stake in the St. Pierre and Lesnar fights, and those went just the way I hoped. Perhaps I should go into a big defense concerning why I DON'T hate Brock Lesnar, including why I thought his post-fight interview was NOT awful, but I'll try to be brief -- let's just say a session wrestler who prides herself on being a legitimate athlete can easily sympathize with a former WWE star who's also a legitimate athlete and an utterly impressive one at that. And any audience that boos a guy who just successfully defended his title is being inappropriate and has no business getting offended at an appropriately inappropriate response.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June Wrestling Party

So the Wrestling Party last night was a blast! We had so many wrestlers, and so many new wrestlers, it was incredible. Scarlet Menace and I were there representing the session wrestlers (Scarlet was treated to the experience of taking on the Incredible Bulk -- something of an initiation ritual for session ladies); we had a slew of regulars, a few new martial artist fellows, two tiny new ladies who were brand new to wrestling but very brave, and one bubbly, ferocious, and CRAZY girl who reminds me of myself before I had any training.

There was a main mat and a warm-up mat, and both were full continually with a queue for main mat time. Oh yes, and these fighters were not only numerous but insatiable. Just kept coming back for more, until we had to toss people out at closing time. Fantastic night.

My personal favorite bit of the night was my "revenge match" against a fellow I'd fought at the last party. He'd put up a hell of fight until I finally managed to pull off a win, and this time he called me out demanding vengeance. The ref gave him the option of a 5-minute, most points or submissions wins match or a sudden death, first submission wins match. He opted for sudden death.

Well, having only one chance to win was extremely motivating. I locked a guillotine on him in about five seconds, and it was VERY tight. He barely managed to pull out, and he admitted afterwards that in any other situation with less pride on the line, he would have tapped. But he managed to get free and take my back. He made the mistake of crossing his feet between my legs though, so even as he thought he had the advantage and was setting up a choke, I was able to trap his feet and score the victory with an ankle compression lock. And it was all the better because he'd chosen the sudden death option. Needless to say, we have a rematch scheduled for the July party!

I also had a great time rollin with a new girl who gave herself the fighting name Road Kill. She was new to wrestling and very light, so we were able to have a fun, easygoing match with a lot sweeps, somersaulting, and tumbling. Road Kill was very excited to start training in grappling, so we're expecting to see her at training in the park on Sunday.

Looking forward to July now...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

photo shoot plus odds and ends

I was extremely pleased with the photo shoot I had last night. I was working with photographer Lou Benjamin, and I put together two excellent variations on a punk Apocalypse outfit. One involved an ironically contrasting dainty white blouse, and the other made use of my giant black buckled and bespiked "stompy" boots. Both used stockings, garter belt, G-string, and my ridiculously badass posture collar made of bullets.

A third and final costume had something of a showgirl look -- turquoise vinyl top, mesh panties, and rhinestones.

I've gotten to see the raw images at this point, and my favorites are definitely the stompy boot shots, though there are some winners throughout. Lou did very nice work with the lighting, so the two blouse-less series turned out as beautiful muscle shoots. Lovely shadow and accentuation. I can't wait to get images up in my photo gallery.

I do begin to wonder, though, if it's somehow mandatory for photographers to own cats they forget to mention to the models in advance. Resulting in a practically ritual exchange before shoots --

"Oh, I'm sorry, you're not allergic to cats, are you?"
"No, no, that's fine."
"Oh good. Well, this is [cat's name], and sometimes she likes to get into the shots."
"Of course, she's the star after all."

And only after this formality is complete can we proceed further.

A few other things I've been meaning to mention, i.e. stories from my return trip to Atlanta over the past weekend.

Had a great time Friday night despite horrible weather related mishaps. My traveling companions and I were supposed to meet up with some local wrestling friends of ours at 1763, a BDSM club that was large enough and kind enough to give us permission to lay down mats during one of their parties. We fought our way out there through torrential rain to discover that not many other people had gone to the same trouble. And that the lady bringing the mats was feeling ill and didn't want to take herself out into the weather.

We ended up rerouting to a nice publ with the couple of other brave souls who showed up. We planned more grappling on future trips (and also potential white water rafting -- ???) Lovely low-key night.

I then spent the rest of the weekend WATCHING a lot of grappling. Saturday night I enjoyed the UFC at a splurge-worthy, posh sports bar. I wasn't pleased with the outcomes of the fights necessarily (I was definitely rooting for Marcus Davis over Dan Hardy, and Cheick Kongo is one of my favorite fighters, and he made a complete ass of himself against Cain Velasquez), but I fully approved of my crab cake burger.

On Sunday I saw the kids' division at the NAGA tournament. This was well worth watching. Some of the kids are amazingly impressive, and some are just freakin' adorable. I don't like kids normally, but fighting children are able to (temporarily) change my mind. I saw a 3-year-old girl, who actually trains in judo, hip throw a 5-year-old boy. And then go around for the rest of the day with her medal hanging down to her knees, grinning beatifically. I wish I'd started training so young -- I like to think I'd have conquered the world single-handedly by now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

travel -- details!

I really thought I would get this report out yesterday, but it simply was not to be. Summer is obviously wake-up time for everyone, myself included -- I have been SO much busier lately with email, session and video requests, and more travel planning, not to mention belated spring cleaning of my website. Thanks to everyone who's making this a lovely full season for me -- you're keeping me jumping!

Anyway, the trip. Since it was a quick session trip, I did spend a lot of time in and out (mostly in) hotels with not too much chance for sight-seeing. But a few things that I did see were the Chicago subways and the Milwaukee bars. These things may sound unexciting, but I am always comparing everything to "how it is in New York," so they were fascinating to me. The Chicago trains have working intercoms, and the above-ground tracks are very scenic and pleasant. But there are no Unlimited Ride Passes -- that makes no sense. And you can still smoke in Milwaukee bars. In fact, they sell cigarettes in the bars. I'd forgotten such things were ever (and still, obviously) done.

As for fun highlights, also in Milwaukee I got a chance to meet up with the Madtown Beatdown crew, a bunch of grapplers who've lately been bringing rough combat and martial arts paly to the Madison BDSM scene. I'd been corresponding with these folks online for a while -- it was awesome to meet them in person and hear about what they've been doing to build a recreational fighters' community out in their area.

And of course we celebrated the meet-up with a party -- matted out my hotel room for a late-night open mat. The featured event was a thong bikini anything-goes catfight match between myself and Zen, one of their fighters. We allowed submissions, slapping, hair-pulling, spanking, smothering, and even licking, and despite all that it was still a very fun, friendly, and sometimes hilarious match. Also, with Zen standing at just 5 feet, I got to fight someone smaller than I am! We did film the match, but the bikinis proved so flimsy that the final product turned out too scandalous to release. Great still photos came out of it though:

I have an entire new gallery dedicated to this fight up at my website, here: Fight with Zen Gallery

And the rest of the party was very good too!

On the way back home, I stopped in Cleveland. Cleveland was an old stomping ground of mine when I was in college; I pleased I got to revisit a favorite restaurant there -- a New Orleans Blues venue where they give you crayons to draw on the table clothes and provide you Mardi Gras beads. (New Orleans Blues in Chaicago? -- I know, I know.)

Here I also got to shoot another fun video that, I believe, WILL be released. I was working for the second time with Utopia Entertainment and much enjoyed demolishing the producer, Kip, in a scissors domination match. Again on the comparing everywhere to New York topic -- NYC would never spare space for such a filming studio as that, or if it did would charge for its use in bricks of gold.

So now I'm back home -- got back to the gym on Tuesday and back finally back to training last night. Whether I got too much rest over this trip or not enough, that was an unGODly gruelling class. Welcome back me!

I'm really going to have to get a good and disciplined groove going with my training immediately, since I'm going to have so many disruptions from MORE travel throughout the summer.

Should hopefully be posting my calendar for that (travel, not training) later today. Or tomorrow, if things go the way they did yesterday with this bog post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

travel recap!

I am newly back from my week-long session tour to Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia! Just arrived home last night after a lot of wrestling and a lot of driving.

I'll have a fuller report out soon, but for now let just say that was a lot of travel to fit into a short time. I would have liked to have more time every single place I stopped. But you take what you can get, and you plan return trips!

And on the subject of return trips -- I had SO many people contact me on very short notice about sessions during my stop in Philly. I wish I could have met with everyone, but the quick-time schueduling was messy, and I ended up missing a ton of people. So for everyone I didn't get to see in Philadelphia yesterday, I am planning a return trip very soon. June 19 & 20, I think -- just need to double check and confirm that.

Overall, this was a very successful and inspiring trip. I'm revved up to do more traveling, and this summer is going to be a very busy one! Atlanta, Providence, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania trips are all coming up... Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

party wrap-up, and also videos

Writing in on the day after the May Grapple Den Party, and dear gods, am I sore! It was a fun night with a smaller crowd and a good number of spectators, which meant those of us who wanted to wrestle got all the mat time we wanted. Yay! And also Ow.

So the theme last night was Jocks vs. Nerds, and I went representing the jocks (having already gotten my nerd on earlier this week seeing the new Star Trek movie, which I quite enjoyed). I got to battle Princess Slayer in her wrestling cheerleader get-up, and Damien and I fought the signature match of the evening with him in the nerd camp (we're always on opposite sides!) That match came to a draw, so while jock pride was not damaged, I didn't score any stolen lunch money or get to stuff him in a locker either. Ah, well...

I'll also mention that the nerd highlight fight of the night occurred when "Hanz" Vanderkil and "Princess Slayer" faced off. This wasn't pre-planned, but fortunately I had the Star Wars theme on the playlist anyway, and it served well.

And another fun thing for me was getting to spar with a quite skilled former high school and college wrestler. Collegiate wrestling always fascinates me; the movement is so noticeably different than in grappling, and I love finding technically challenging opponents.

* * *

Now on another topic, it's high season for videos again. I had a very fun shoot with Utopia Entertainment last Sunday. This was a domination style match, very leggy with long, torturing holds. But again, it was such a fun shoot! My opponent, Thrash, was an excellent victim, great to work with, and loved getting beaten up. I couldn't stop laughing while choking, scissoring, and tossing him about; it was great play time. I'm told it's a little frighting that I grin so much when I fight; push me a little farther and I'm sure the gleeful cackling could be considered maniacal. Muah-ha-ha.

Also, I've got another shoot coming up with FemFightClub this Sunday. That'll be a couple of competitive fem vs. fem matches with Keri and, I think, another of her girls. Not to mention that I'll be shooting another female wrestling match when I'm on the road next week in Milwaukee or that my rematch with Gianna will be coming out soon at Doom Maidens.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Just quick update to share some excellent news. I was promoted at my BJJ academy today! Well, not exactly promoted, but I did get a new stripe on my blue belt. So a step on the way to purple belt. Very fun. And encouraging!

Also, I have to say how much I like this morning's instructor. He teaches basic, simple, high-success-rate moves, he's super-positive even early in the morning, he gets to know students individually, and what especially struck me today, he sticks to traditions some of the younger (and "cooler") instructors let slide.

There was a mass of promotions this morning -- like 5 stripes given out and two people raised to blue belt. For the belt awards, the instructor made the whole class turn to face the back wall so we couldn't see what would happen, snuck through the class and delivered the ritual beatings with the new belts. So you could hear the thwacks but not see who was being honored. Or know, if you were a high-ranking white belt, if you were going to be chosen. And afterwards everybody was encouraged to congratulate everyone else.

It was a little mini-party atmosphere at 8:30 a.m. with everyone needing to rush off to work. But it completely set such a great tone for the day. I am so pleased this guy sticks to the ritual forms. It's much more fun and meaningful that just handing someone a new belt, which I've also seen. Like keeping Santa and the Easter Bunny real for kids as long as you can -- it means something; it's special.

So, awesome morning, and thanks to a great professor.

Monday, May 11, 2009

excited for travel...

So things are a little quiet at the moment, but they're about to get exciting. Right now I'm hanging in, keeping up with my training and lifting, making a concious effort to get up-to-date everywhere and with everything online (getting my MySpace out of the Stone Age...), and looking forward to getting my poor old clunking laptop fixed up at the Apple store tomorrow.

But I'm very excited my upcoming session tour at the end of the month! I got the whole thing confirmed after a good bit of uncertainty, and I'll be making stops to offer wrestling sessions in Pittsburgh on May 26-27, in Chicago on the 27th-29th, in Milwaukee on the 29th-31st, and in Cleveland on the 31st-1st. It will be a lot of driving, but fortunately I love that. It's high time to get out of New York for a little while and take the fighting on the road!

Also on this trip I'll be competing in a grappling tournament on the 30th (I can't get enough, clearly). AND I'll finally get to meet some online grappling friends from the Madison area -- they'll be coming to my tournment and hosting a fight club afterparty at their hotel that night. Cheering squad + party = tons of awesome. Can't wait to meet these folks. And to top it all off, I have a few video prospects along the route as well.

So this trip probably doesn't count as a vacation. It will be great, but madly busy. That said, anybody out there in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, or Cleveland who'd like to get together for a session while I'm visiting should get in touch and schedule! Time will be precious!

And as a final note, things are getting ready to pick up back home in New York as well. I have a few video and photo prosepects brewing here as well; more soon when I see what materializes from them. Grapple Den is increasing its training workshops from once to twice this coming week, and since the weather is FINALLY getting nice, the Wednesday session will be moving outside to Washington Square Park. And of course the Grapple Den Nerds vs. Jocks Party will be May 20. Should be a good kick-off to the travels!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last Weekend's Tournament Report!

May 6, 2009, 10:09 p.m. --

So now, belatedly, which is an unfortunate trend with my blog posts, I have an account to offer of my tournament last Saturday. This was a no-gi only tourney, so it was smaller and quicker than most of them, but it was still a fun, full day.

The adventures began even before I arrived. Going out on the train, I made a new friend, which is to say another tournament competitor recognized me as a fellow fighter and latched on. This was pretty amusing; the guy was just out of college, very new to grappling, and unbelievably excited about everything. I got to hear all about the intense water-fast, weight-cutting program he’d put himself through for this tournament and his involved strategy for winning it all. Good guy, and it’s fun to know people and cheer them on between your own matches, but, holy shit, this one was, I repeat, excited.

So, arriving at the event, I found that there were a lot of women there, more than I’d expected, but they were divided up into many weight and skill classes. I ended up with only four total women in my advanced flyweight division and five in the absolute division. There was also a freestyle wrestling tournament going on in the same huge warehouse-like convention center. Fun to see that side-by-side with the grappling.

My division rolled around. Unfortunately, I got no advance notice of this, so I went into my first fight totally cold and still subconsciously in warm-up mode. So that was not my fight. In fact, the other girl rather demolished me – but she only won on points, and I found out afterwards that she had a 20-year martial arts career, 12 years of grappling, and is training as a pro kick-boxer. So I didn’t feel too badly. I would have had another match for third/fourth, but my opponent was injured in her first fight and had to forfeit. So in advanced flyweight, I took third based on survival credit.

Then there was the absolute division. Sadly, the way the bracket worked out I ended up facing the same girl again, again in my first fight. She still had her 20 years of experience, but at least this time I was warmed up. I am very pleased that I was doing much better in this match. The score was much closer, and I had the lead for a while…but she went for a footlock, which she’d tried before and I’d managed to escape. I wasn’t worried; I went to perform the same escape, but then there was an audible pop from my ankle. For that, I had to tap.

Everyone was pretty distressed (“Was it your knee?!?!” “No, it wasn’t my knee…”). But I iced the ankle for a few minutes and felt all right to go in for my third/fourth fight.

My opponent this time was much heavier than me (170 lbs), but also much younger – only 13. Some of these advanced kids can be amazing; they’ve started training young, and they can easily have been at it longer than I have! So in this match, my opponent took me down with a very neatly done hip throw and took side control. I got my hips out, hooked her leg, and executed the escape to take her back.

I don’t remember how she recovered guard, but I managed to pass, take side mount, and finally gain mount to win on points. A more legitimate third place finish in absolute, so that was pleasing.

Meanwhile, in between matches I’d discovered that one of my opponents from the Providence tournament was at this one as well. We got reacquainted; she was very interested to hear about my March trip to the Atlanta competition and wanted to get in on future long distance tournament road trips. She also got to meet my eager young buddy from the train. They got on very well. Apparently they follow the same water diet.

So that was my tournament. An acceptable showing and more stock for my trove of experience. I made it back to the city in time go for a lovely but unwise walk on my compromised ankle and get a badly needed dinner.

Fighting Gianna and Wrestling Party matches

April 20, 2009, 9:27 p.m. --

I was going to post this much earlier today, when I was stealing internet time at my day job. Then, just as it was ready to go up, there was bizarre accident at work involving a car falling on -- not hitting, actually falling on -- my building. I emailed the blog to myself for later posting, and joined the general evacuation. Now, here's the original entry of 3:33, slightly delayed:

OK, some excellent news. I've got a video match lined up for tomorrow with Gianna, who's currently visiting in NYC. She's just my size, and an experienced BJJ grappler, so this should be a fantastic, technical, close-fought match. A spiritual sequel to my fight with Kim, I'm hoping. My one fear is that we're not shooting in my usual studio this time, but in another that I know, and there's a small but real danger there of going through the wall!

Other things to mention -- I had a very nice submission grappling class this morning. Techniques worked: Hip throw and single-leg catch from underhook set-up and many unorthodox triangle tricks -- triangle set-up for straight armbar; sidemount to reverse triangle step-over; triangle as a single-leg defense, and finally a very unusual arm-trap to arm bar via a sacrificed triangle. Also the live rolling was great -- you don't get such perfect guillotine set-ups often...actually, ever. What was my partner thinking?

I'm trying to increase my technical drilling time, so I'll actually start remembering more than one of the six techniques I learn in a class at a time. Yesterday, one of my sparring partners and I came up with the brilliant idea of meeting to drill in the park. Today, we accordingly ordered some protective outdoor kneepads, and I'm going to appoint some of my old workout clothes as OK for grass stains. I'm looking forward to this -- now refer back to Part One of this entry, re: how much the weather needs to leave off sucking.

And finally, though this is very belated, a report of last week's Wrestling Party. It was a great one. Things started off very mellow with the early crowd settling in, the spectators claiming their seats, and a few warm-up matches alternating on the mats. And then, wham, a flood! A ton of wrestlers suddenly showed up, and the mats were packed the rest of the night. Later in the night, we started running multiple matches at a time to give everyone the fighting time they wanted. Some people wrestled so much they did their socializing during their bouts -- you could see someone holding guard and looking up to chat with folks on the ring-side sofas. It was great!

Highlights of the night for me personally included the return of my dear friend Mentee Fresh, back to grappling at last after recovery from knee surgery; a match with very skilled newcomer who said she used to train long ago (she hasn't forgotten much!); my classic rematch/continuing grudge match against Big Vince (who says he now wants to do a video match with me, which is great since he'll have to stop lying about winning once I have hard evidence of his defeat one film); and my not-so-classic team-up with Kim against Vince -- that was hilarious, and even more of a spectacle since the two of us look like twins. Also, my favorite match that I wasn't fighting was Miss Juliette's face-off with SnakeEyez -- he's 250 pounds of muscle; she's probably 130 physical pounds, but armed with 300 pounds of sass. Watching her move in on him was a sight!

The next party will be May 20. The theme is Jocks vs Nerds!
- VeVe

Quiet weekend -- but stolen bike!

April 6, 2009, 1:43 p.m. --

My weekend -- Well, I did NOT go to the NAGA tournament in New Jersey this weekend, and on the one hand that's sad because apparently it was a huge, successful tournament with 80 competitors in the womens' divisions and I'm told some people were actually asking for me and wondering where I was.

On the other hand, I didn't feel like I'd had enough training time between Atlanta and Jersey to really improve my game, I'd been desperately needing a couple days at home to get about 20 things done, and I am so goddamn intensely sore after just training and lifting at the gym this weekend that I think my body needed recovery time more than it needed a tournament.
So overall I'm pretty pleased with my quiet weekend. My no-gi academy class on Saturday was fantastic. I've been irritated lately with a lot of the instructors' emphasis on sparring and endurance training almost to the exclusion of teaching techniques. And the same instructors have very "figure it out yourselves" or "skip it entirely" attitudes toward takedowns, which I don't find helpful at all.

So I was thrilled to find we have a new guy teaching who, wonder of wonders, balances technical drilling and live sparring, has some kind of method to his takedown instruction, and is furthermore very pleasant and detailed in his teaching style. Definitely going back to the same class next Saturday.

As for the 20 things I needed to do, I only got done about three of them, but it wasn't for lack of working. And at least those things are done. You can see them, actually; they are new photo galleries for my website -- The Boxing Gallery, The MMA Gallery, and The Fashion/Portraits Gallery. These came from my questionable black-eye photoshoot, but nonetheless, there are some lovely images, and I'm proud of both the photos and the gallery construction!

A few other tidbits about the weekend --

Good Things: Went out to two lovely dinners in Manhattan, which included trying two new restaurants and exploring one new neighborhood (during one of the warmer rain showers of April so far); enjoyed a long and thorough lift for legs and biceps on Sunday; finally got confirmation that my sessions/tournament trip to Chicago and Milwaukee in May is a go (yay!); and had a great time taking my bike out in the first nice biking weather of the year.

Bad Thing: The bike got stolen. Fucking NYC bike theives. I'd be more pissed off about it if the rest of the weekend hadn't been so nice. But apparently, since I have no proof of ownership, I can't even file a token police report. Actually, it IS pretty annoying.

- VeVe