Friday, July 1, 2011


I am blue.  Not the soft sky blue or a harsh night blue.  I’m just blue.  I represent hard work, sweat, blood and tears.  I wrap around your waist and give you a feeling of accomplishment.  I’m the foundation and the stepping-stone.  I believe in myself when no one does and accept a helping hand when I need to be lifted up.   I’m smart yet dumb, strong yet weak, bold yet shy but always beautiful. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter....

I’m a creature of habit.  I like to eat the same thing everyday no matter what.  For breakfast it is Cheerios with blueberries, for lunch I have yogurt and carrots, then a mid day snack of an egg and cheese sandwich with a banana, and then at dinner I get a little wild making Mac and cheese or pasta and sauce.  Which leads me to my point, every Sunday I make hard-boiled eggs, five every Sunday.  A couple weeks ago I realized Easter was fast approaching and I debated whether to make Easter Eggs. 

When I was a child every Easter my father would help my sister and I dye eggs, nothing fancy just dye them yellow, blue, pink, purple or orange.  Nothing like the kits the kids have today where the dye has sparkles or you can tie-dye the eggs.  They were simple and nothing like the eggs my grandmother would make.

My grandmother’s family came from Eastern Europe; they were Russian Orthodox and had elaborate traditions. One of those traditions was making Easter Eggs.   My grandmother was taught how to make them from her mother who learned it from her mother and I think you know that story.  Her eggs were not as elaborate as Pysanky Eggs but they were beautiful none the same.  Basically she would dye a hard-boiled egg a solid color like blue or pink and then with hot wax she would take a toothpick and carefully create patterns that were similar to Pysanky Eggs. 

Unfortunately none of that was ever passed down to my sister or myself.  When I was young I wanted to learn how she made these elaborate designs but I was only 7 or 8 at the time and my grandmother and mother were not to keen on the idea of me playing with hot wax.  By the time I was old enough my grandmother developed Alzheimer’s and was unable to teach me.

This year I will not be able to spend Easter with my family and for the most part I’m sad that I will not see them but in all honestly I’m not missing anything.  It is not like we go to church together or sit around the kitchen table making Easter Eggs. There are not many traditions in my immediate family.  Yes we get together for every holiday and eat certain foods but that is where it ends.  I guess for my family that is our Easter tradition.  Maybe it is not elaborate as most but for us it works. 

For most Christians, Easter is a time of reflection.  It comes during a time of change not only in the seasons but also in our lives.  I haven’t often reflected about my life where I’ve been or where I’m going until this past week.   It has brought up a lot of painfully memories of training in Cleveland.  However, that was my past and I have the future to looks forward to and the way I see it, it is unlimited as to what I can accomplish.   And the one thing I will accomplish, outside of placing at Worlds this year, will be figuring out how to make my Grandmother’s Easter Eggs and hopefully pass that tradition to my children.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Work In Progress

It comes to the end of another week and once again I have waited until Saturday to write my blog entry.  I normally have an idea or two of what I want to write about but last week and this I didn’t had a clue of what I should say. 

The past month has been consumed with the Pan Jujitsu Tournament.  This by far was the biggest tournament I have ever competed in and the most stressful.  It was very very important for me to do well and although I lost my first match what I gained was greater than any victory.

As I’ve stated before, my love for and desire to obtain a black belt in BJJ has lend me to leave the security of my home in Cleveland and relocate to Austin, TX.  From the first day I felt as though I was an intercity kid immediately transferred to Harvard.  It has been a constant game of catch up not only accepting the limitations but the possibilities of my body. I did not have the luxury of a smaller instructor but I did have one who stressed the important of a good foundation, and without his lessons I would not have been able to even begin to piece together the picture that will one day become my game.

I can remember when I first arrived at Christy’s and Phil’s academy.  I was a four strip blue belt.  Far below a majority of their students but at my old academy I was the highest-ranking female.  Yes I had trouble with the larger blue and white belts but in a way I was convinced if not by myself but by others it was because I was small.  Most of the guys at the Cleveland academy, whether they admit it or not, would give me a break because of my size but once at Austin there was none of that.  I was crushed, smashed, squeezed and turned into a pretzel.  There has been more than one night I week I have left in tears not because they were too rough but solely out of my own frustration. I have now come to realize this frustration is not a lack of ability but knowing I’m better than the person how I just allow to beat me.

Over the past seven months I have seen my game begin to piece together.  It has been extremely important to me to concentrate on studying jiu jitsu and polishing what I know and what I do well.  If I cannot execute a simple armbar from the guard how can I ever execute it from the back or side-body. 

For the Pans I weighed in at 107.5, with my gi, I was at an incredible disadvantage.  I feel a little weak do to a massive anxiety attack I had an hour before my match leaving my with chest pains.  As a side note, I have arrhythmia that I have learned is worsen on by anxiety.  This tournament is not the only stressful situation in my life, i.e. work and “home’; so my poor little heart has been on a living a roller coaster of stop, slow down, now go, go faster, stop.

That passed weekend I fought with a girl who despite her best efforts could not submit me.  Unfortunately, despite mine I could not submit her either.  In the end she stored 9 points against me.  I remember getting up looking at the score thinking, that’s it?  Was that really only 6 minutes and she could only score nine points?  Afterwards, I spoke with my corner who gave me some good advice about competition and what he does to gain points.  Out of respect for him and his game I will not repeat the conversation however the main point he made was that competition is a points game.  It is about switching from position to position, gaining points.  A completely and total different game that learning how to protection oneself from a rapist.

Despite the lost in my division and then getting sat on in the open.  I’m not kidding, she sat on me and punched me in the face…twice.  The frustrating part is I’m more upset by this loss than the one in my division.  The girl in my division was not only my size but also technically my equal, however; the girl in the open was not as nearly as technical as me she was just…fat.   I would like to stress that despite what happened my opponent is a very nice girl who accepted a playful half nelson from me after her hand was raised in victory.  Actually win or lose I think I love and cherish all of the friends I have made through jiu jitsu; we are an awesome group of girls.

Where was I, oh yes my loses, despite this all I am very proud of what I have accomplished in the 7 months I have been training at the Austin academy as well as at the Pans.  I have seen my game improve so much that I have surprised myself.  I have an awesome group of training partners as well as instructors. I finally feel I have the right to wear the blue around my waist and look forward to competing with it at the Worlds in June. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Some one told me once, “ You don’t like change, do you?”   I had to stop and think about that for a minute but the truth is I don’t mind change.  I don’t love it either but change for a lack for a better word is good.  If I didn’t like change I would not have relocated from Cleveland, Ohio to Austin, Texas. 

I had lived in Cleveland all of my life minus the year I lived in Washington, DC after graduating college.  After being laid off from my job of 14 years, unable to find work in Ohio and having the desire to obtain a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and compete at a higher level I packed up my belongings and moved to Austin. 

Now being here in Austin, it feels like my life is in constant motion.  Like a wave bouncing me from one place to the next.  Especially in the past couple weeks.  From having to move from where I’m currently living, relocating my office and changes at the academy; I’m struggling to hold on to my sanity and keep a routine. 

Ah yes, my routine.  Okay I have to admit I don’t like it when I have to change my routine.  I am a slave to it.  I love the structure and organization to it all.  Something my life has been lacking since moving to Austin; which could be a good thing. 

But like I just wrote change is good and it is healthy and part of the normal growing process.  We need change.  That is how we adapt and grow as a person.  If we cannot adept to change we will die.   Some of the strongest people I know have over come incredible odds to achieve their goals.   They’ve had one obstacle after another placed in their way yet they’ve always had this, ‘If they can do it so can I’, attitude.

The next few months will present many changes not only for me personally but also professionally.  Even though this will be a challenging time I look forward to the change. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I had an interesting thought a while back and yes I do think contrary to popular belief.  I was at a tournament watching these girls and I thought, “Where does their confidence come from?  At what point in their life did they realize there wasn’t anything they couldn’t do?”

Sidebar:  I am a blue belt under Relson Gracie and compete in Jiu Jitsu tournaments in Ohio, Texas and California.

Most of us before of the age of 7 or so truly believe we can do anything.  That is why children are so talented at everything they try.  They’ve never done anything so they don’t realize they cannot do it.   Then as they get older something changes and there isn’t that belief they can do anything.  So they fall into two groups, the ones who do believe and the ones who don’t.

For many who know me my next statement will be surprising but for a few it will not:  I AM NOT THE MOST CONFIDENT PERSON.  I continually doubt my intelligence, my ability on and off the mat and my choices I have made.  According to most friends and family I am very intelligent, I am a skilled jiu jitsu practitioner, and everyone makes mistakes so deal with it. 

But for me that is not the case.  Failure can never be an option and yet when I do make mistakes I breakdown. I feel like the ceiling and walls are closing in on me.  There is a pressure within me that will explode any moment and then it passes, but it happens again and again.  And every time it happens my confidence get smaller and smaller.

I know most of this comes from losing the one person who believed I could do anything at a very young age.  Once he was gone so was my self-esteem and confidence.  It has taken me a long time to get where I am today and it will take an even longer time to make it to where I want to be.   But I’m not alone, thanks to several new friends here in Austin I can be anything and do anything; I just need to believe.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I don't know why I've decided to write a blog.  I guess there are so many things on my mind lately and Facebook or email just isn't the way to talk about it.  My goal with this blog is only to post once a week or so.  But don't be fooled this blog is more for me than anyone else.  I hope it is uplifting and inspiring and if not...well you know what you can do.

As Always....

Rebecca Lee