So you had to take a break from bjj? 

Between a horrific rash and two new additions to our household I want to say it’s not entirely my fault. Just mostly. Sadly I know it’s all my fault. 

It’s surprisingly difficult for me to return to training after taking extended periods of time off. The amount of laziness I develope after even a couple extra days off is truly amazing. It seems like sooo much work to include bjj in my daily routine: Going to the academy, doing the classes, the extra showers and hair care steps, the shocking amount of extra laundry, and then the sore, tired, overall body aches add up to a lot. I’ll rephrase that. They are a lot when you’ve forgotten how much you love the sport. Because when I go everyday it’s all worth it. Except the laundry. I hate laundry and I only have one gi (omg lol). 

The one thing that caught me off guard about returning was how quickly my comfort level reverted back to when I first started. I’m scared again. My bubble is firmly in place. Basically I’ve had to start all over on the mats. Fortunately, when someone has me controlled, I know why my mind blanks and my breathing stops and I can try to control it. (Closing my eyes really helps.) I hope the return to previous comfort levels will be swift and so far so good!!

The great parts of returning after absences are many but for me its the people more than anything. Guys and gals that genuinely seem to care if I’m there or not and the encouragement they offered, it was sorely needed after feeling like I was starting at day one again. 

I feel truly blessed to get to train bjj and to have found my academy. It’s good to be back. 

Class today! 



Nikki – That one guy they warned you about came to class?


So Thursdays class was interesting! Tony was out of town and I went to my first class without him.

It’s the class we usually attend. You might see a few different people but mostly the same faces everyday. I’ve started to get comfortable with those faces. I’m even looking forward to some of them sitting on my back! (Explanation here.)

Not today, today we have about half and half. Some I train with regularly, some I’ve seen before, in the advanced class (after the fundamental classes, schedule.)  And one I’ve never seen before. He lines up with everyone else, like he knows what needs to be done. Not a white belt either, awesome, he DOES know what’s going on. We run through the various calisthenics to warm up. Many of which I sit out as I am way overweight and my knees would refuse to work anymore if I tried to do them. (Try to walk on hands and feet then come off one hand and one foot and kick towards the guy next to you. Oh, and your body is parallel to the ground as you do it.)

After we review the weeks technique, Ninja sets us to a game with bases and pulling guard/sweeping, that kicks my tail for a good 30 minutes.

Ah yes, the good part. Now we roll. I get a good one in with my usual female partner, then we all switch. I’m exhausted, so is the new guy. He offers to roll light, OK, I can always get my ass handed to me lightly.

When I was watching Tony do his first week of training and trying to decide if this was something I wanted to try, I ended up talking with a lot of the students there. One in particular stood out to me. He spent a long period reassuring me that this gym did not tolerate higher belts tearing into the white belts. This gym and its members understood that they needed white belts to stick around long enough and get enough knowledge to challenge them; because without them, they, the higher belts, wouldn’t grow either. He gave several examples and went out of his way to impress upon me how serious he was. I thought it odd at the time.

Until that conversation it had never occurred to me that people would abuse, misuse, hurt, or in anyway undermine another person. No matter the belt. We are people doing the same thing after-all.

Well, this rolling partner was new to our academy. It quickly became apparent that his previous facility did not teach the same philosophy. Or he didn’t believe in it. Whatever. I have never had anyone not release when I tapped. He got an arm bar. Good for him. I tapped. He didn’t let go. I yelled, he let go.

When he offered to show me how he got me there and how to defend it I figured, OK, sure. Maybe his reflexes where a little slow, out of practice. Sure. I directed him to a different arm as my other elbow was already starting to swell. We dropped to the mat and he did his setup, slowly. He pulled my arm back, I tapped. He didn’t let go. He quickly bent the arm all the way back into the full move. I yelled again and he looked at me and started explaining how to roll my body forward to prevent the submission. Then let my arm go.

In hindsight it’s a really good thing Tony was out of town.

It did teach me something though. Something in my naivety I didn’t know: It’s OK to decline a roll. It’s OK to choose not to roll with someone mid roll. Honestly, it’s made me a lot more cautious and it’s made me really appreciate the guys I’ve had the honor of training with so far.

So, when that guy I’ve warned you about comes to class? Just say no.

Class Saturday!


Nikki – Fear, claustrophobia, and enormous sweaty people sitting on your back.


So they tell me fear of claustrophobia and being in close quarters will eventually become feelings of the past. They tell me that these things will cease to horrify me or paralyze my mind or cause me to go into fight or flight mode.

I am now in my fourth full week of training. We train a minimum of four days a week with alternating Saturdays. I originally had no idea that I had any of those issues. It wasn’t until my third week that they were brought to the surface and I found myself very grateful to the enormous purple belt that sat on my back. He sat on my back and immediately jumped off it and to the side with his hands held up in front of him. He told me to breathe. And then he explained what I was feeling and how it was completely normal. After that roll with the super huge purple belt, I’m very aware of when fear takes control.

It’s a subtle thing really. All thought goes from the mind, any technique that my little tiny bit of experience has learned doesn’t exist anymore. I tell myself when I roll with the huge purple belt, (I request him now…once every session), I tell myself, “you’re OK, breathe. You’re OK, breathe. Over and over again, sometimes it is the only thing I can think at all. Sometimes I close my eyes and focus on my new mantra while just reacting to any sensation I manage to interpret. I have had to use the same technique with other people, mainly folks I’m not familiar with yet.

My oldest son is feeling the same concern with people being in his bubble. I told him to have faith that his teacher won’t allow anyone to hurt him and to breathe and tell himself that he’s all right.

He still doesn’t believe me when I tell him it’s normal…haha!!!

Next class is Saturday!

Saturday = BJJ

Went to the Saturday noon class at Brazil Academy with my butt dragging.  I didn’t get a decent amount of sleep the night before and felt less then stellar.  But I was going to class and make the most of it.  As always, I felt 10 times better afterward.

The class was packed!  Only a few white belts were there which meant about 20-25 higher belts (I didn’t do an official head count, don’t hold me to those numbers).  It was impressive.

Towards the end of class we did “base” rolling.  Four people are base and the rest line up to go against them.  The drill was the base had to sweep or submit the person in their guard.  The person in guard just had to pass and get into a position of control (side, mount, back, etc…).  If the base loses the other person becomes base and is awarded the next person up.  Fun drill that keeps things moving!  It was during this time I met Lou.  After class we talked a little bit about life and a lot about BJJ.  Lou instructs BJJ at Fort Leavenworth.  Great guy with a wealth of knowledge.  If you are in the area, check him out.

After dinner, we sat down and watched Fight to Win Pro 30.  Lots of matches and some big names.  Kurt Pellegrino won submission of the night.  Barbosa lost a decision to Gordon Ryan (complete bs).  Grippo beat Olsvaldo and was fight of the night.  UFC old timer Ricco Rodriguez lost to Tom DeBlass via decision.   It was a great way to spend a Saturday night with the family.

Nikki – Saturday Morning Compromises

They say marriage is all about compromise. This is true when you are testing out a marriage too (engagement). I can say with much humor and some frustration that I never thought I would be compromising over who GETS to go train on a Saturday afternoon.

Our training schedule is usually four days a week with alternating Saturdays. Alternating because we have multiple kiddos, and some of them we don’t have 100% of the time. The child in this scenario spends 50% of his time with my ex-husband , so we have him every other Saturday. I should add that between the two of us we have four children. 13, 11, 5, 5.

Now the reason for this mornings rock paper scissors lizard Spock situation is one of our five year olds is having some serious sinus/booger issues and didn’t sleep well last night.

Tony and I also missed a week of training due to a minor surgical procedure Tony had last week, as such he has determined that he needs the training more than I do this week. (Sarcasm) Naturally, I want to go as I missed a week of training too. Two months ago I never would have thought this would be something to consider.

And so, a compromise is struck. Well, I should say, Tony won. Bleh lol.

A side note, I lost some of the weight I had gained in the last two days. It was certainly my coffee creamer. It’s amazing how such a small thing can derail everything.

Class Monday!!!


Tony, an intro…

First, let me thank you for visiting our blog!  I am a 37 year young IT professional who has had a love of martial arts for many years.  I have practiced Kenpo, kickboxing, a little bit of Judo, and my personal favorite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  My BJJ journey started back in 2010 in York, PA under Daniel Beleza.  An amazing teacher and competitor!  Unfortunately it was short lived due to work obligations and family life.  I tried finding a school closer to work in Harrisburg, PA and discovered 3rd Generation BJJ ran by Gregg Anderson.  Even though it was a larger school, the instructors made it feel at times you were getting a private lesson.  Once again, life decided I had to make a choice between the  art I loved and the people I loved, my family.  I chose family.  I tried a couple of times to get started again however each attempt was unsuccessful.  My hiatus from BJJ may have been years, but my love for it never died.  Fast forward to 2017!  A new wife (fiancé 😁), a new family, a new life! I now train at Brazil Academy, in Kansas, under Ninja Pinto and I am loving life.  The whole family is training.  I am so proud of Nikki and the boys!  Together, we are living the BJJ life.

Keto, a crash course

Hi! Got Keto?

Part of my diet plan is fasting, but that’s not required with a Keto diet. Fasting is a little push that Ninja added. At three weeks in, I’m by no means an expert and any dieting and fasting should be approved by your doctor before beginning.

I started eating Ketogenic and fasting together. Depending on who you ask fasting will help your body differently. The important thing is the body learning to stop burning carbs and sugar for energy and instead start burning fat and the most efficient way to make it do it!  You can learn more about how that works here. You can find a solid start at a food guide here.

It started with a 12 hour fast. Sounds totally crazy, I know. But if you eat right and schedule the bulk of your fasting time during sleep it’s not really that much time. I have slowly been working up to a higher fasting time and its been pretty cool, mainly because it’s been pretty easy. I’m not hungry. That makes it A LOT easier.

I’m currently undertaking a daily 16 hour fast. Jumping from a daily 14 hours to a daily 16 hours has so far been the most challenging. I’ve been a bit cranky and one night I was hungry.

It’s all about the macros, but mostly it feels like its really all about the fat, if my fat intake drops too low for the day it makes me super hungry and super…cranky.

Break fast this morning, three eggs, 2oz bacon 1oz extra sharp cheddar cheese and an avocado (smushed on top of the omelette). And water, lots and lots of water. All day, water…


Nikki, an intro

Hi! I’m Nikki, the tall heavy set one on the left.

This photo was taken on Monday, April 3rd. Five days ago.

I realized last week that I was changing so fast I had better start taking pictures and keeping track or I was going to miss it. That’s about the time Tony, my fiance and other writer on this blog, suggested we keep a record of our journey. Not just my weight loss and his fitness but of our new lifestyle. Because that’s what it is when you do Brazilian Jui Jitsu (BJJ). A life style. Don’t worry, it was a surprise to me too.

When we started this…change, Ninja, my professor, put me on an ass-kicking diet while also allowing me to workout immediately in his classes.

I received my gi and white belt and attended my first class on March 13th. I was 6’1 and 322lbs.

Today I weighed in at 304lbs. (I gained a couple pounds back and I’m thinking my coffee creamer is the culprit, but we shall see.)

18 pounds in less than month. Sure some of it’s water weight. As long as that number keeps going down and my clothes keep getting bigger I’m happy to lose “water weight” forever! Ninja said I would be 200 pounds, I’m starting to believe him.

So far I’ve missed documenting my first “roll” with Ninja, my first bruise and my first tap. I’ll most likely recount them at a later date as they are still fresh and exciting to me.

Next class is Saturday!



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