Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ronda Rousey Fights Eating Disorders - Matwork Clinic

**** SOLD OUT ***


As promised, here are the details:

Ronda Rousey, UFC world champion, two-time Olympian, Olympic and world medalist in judo, six-time national judo champion and my darling daughter #3 is doing a clinic on March 9th. She has done exactly ONE clinic since winning the Strikeforce world title and right now she doesn't have plans to do any more other than this one.

What is it:
A two-hour clinic on matwork, judo and mixed martial arts. Limited to 30 people.

When is it:
March 9th , from 12- 2 pm.

Where is it:
Glendale Fight Club
601 S. Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204

Why is she doing it?
To raise money for the Don't Throw Up, Throw Down fund to fight eating disorders. 100% of all money goes to the Didi Hirsch Clinic

Ronda is matching the money raised by the clinic with $5,000 of her own.

How much is it?
$200 Make your check payable to Didi Hirsch.

How can I get a ticket ?
Pay attention here: You need to pay in ADVANCE as we are only selling 30 tickets and they are only available at three places.

You can register and pay during judo practice on Sunday, March 3rd  2-6 pm at Millennia MMA, 8423 Rochester Ave. Suite 102 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. Or email Gary Butts at  Don't ask the staff at Millenia because they don't have tickets and cannot help you.

Glendale Fight Club, 601 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91204 They are open Monday - Thursday 4-8 pm
         Friday 4-6 pm and Saturday 12-2 pm

What is the third place?
I'll tell you later.

Why is it so hard to get tickets?
So we can be sure we don't sell more than 30. 

Can I just come watch and not pay? Can I just pay a spectator fee?
No and no. The only exception is that if you brought your CHILD, say your fifteen-year-old daughter, you can certainly stay and watch.

Can I tape the clinic?
No. The gym asked that we not have videotaping and since they donated  the facility we will respect their wishes.

Anything else?
Copies of our book, Winning on the Ground, will be available. We donated these for the clinic, so, again, 100% of the proceeds go to Didi Hirsch.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Free Rice Winners - Prize ideas?

I selected a sample from all of those who participated in the free rice competition. The more grains of rice you donated, the higher probability of winning.

ALL of the people who donated over 990,000 received a prize. It was supposed to be over 1,000,000 but one person was at 996,000 so that just seemed too close not to win anything.

Username             Grains Donated
InvincibleDK    10,408,030
svtjer                 9,231,590
xxdoc_holidayxx 6,405,340
Yariv                   6,404,670
louchristopher     4,034,320
Blackwater01     2,772,810
jesslittle             1,410,540
yingherng           1,161,690
Rabble_Rouser  1,084,970
norad2                1,032,530
DSL                   1,013,990
Alan260             1,006,320
rainmaker_            996,030

Originally, four people were selected who had donated over 100,000, four who had donated over 50,000 and three other people. However, there were only five people who had donated over 100,000 and it seemed unfair to give a prize to four of them and not the fifth, so I just put the fifth person down as a winner also.


If your name is above, please email me your address. Also, email me your t-shirt size and shorts size .
If you donated over 1,000,000 and you have any special requests, please enclose that in the email. I cannot promise any special requests and Ronda is, understandably, taking a week off.  I know last time she had the Topps cards for the top two. There is a closet with cool stuff but I don't know how exactly she had planned to distribute it. There are t-shirts, shorts, a set of nice judo towels from Judo Unlimited, photos and I'm not sure what else.

Most of the t-shirts I have right now are small or extra-small. I think I have one large. I also have a couple of pairs of shorts.They are all autographed. If that is your size, you're going to give it to a small person or if  you are not going to wear it and don't mind the size, send me your address and I will get it mailed early next week.

The nice people at Fight Chix were supposed to meet up with me after the fight on Saturday about getting some extra large shirts but, as you can imagine, it was pretty CRAZY and we never did connect.

SO .... if your name is above and you could email me your information, that would expedite getting the prizes out quicker than last time.

A million points for you all. The total number of grains of rice donated between this time (almost 57,000,000) and the last two fights (31,500,000) is enough to feed about TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND PEOPLE.

In the unlikely event that you are interested in programming and how I fairly selected winners so that those who donated more had more of a chance, you can see the program here.  One winner had donated 580 grains of rice, so no matter how much you play, you DO have a chance (well not now, because the contest is over).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Random comments on fight night

Liz Carmouche in the post-fight conference said she thought she'd try knocking out some of Ronda's teeth and hope she could get her to tap. Of course, that did not happen. Although I don't blame Liz for trying, it illustrates what I've always said.

Techniques that just hurt your opponent but don't disable them through making them unconscious or dislocating a joint won't work on the really elite players. They WON'T tap just because it hurts. They will put up with the pain and when either they escape or the referee separates you, they'll just get even.

I think most women can relate to this story... I knew a young woman at the fight who had an awful ex-boyfriend who was a huge MMA fan. To further rub in the fact that he should not have been such a jerk to her, she wanted to get pictures with people like Chuck Liddell, Dana White, etc. I am not so much an MMA fan as a Ronda Rousey fan, but the seats in the front row have names on them. So, several seats for Ronda's family will have her name, and these seats next to us had Chuck's name. So, I asked him if he was Chuck Liddell and said,

"Hey, are you Chuck? I'm Ronda's mom. Would you mind taking a picture with this young lady?"

It turned out he was Chuck and no he did not mind but for some reason, my oldest daughter thought that was hilarious.

Did you know that Joe Rogan even broadcasts between the fights? I now know that because I went to ask him to plug in my cell phone and charge it up but he was broadcasting a fight.

My daughters also thought this was hilarious because HE'S JOE ROGAN which meant less to me than if he was Bob Rodriguez (president of the American Statistical Association, just so you know). However, since my youngest daughter was sitting with her friends and not under my watchful eagle eye and my grandchildren were with a babysitter I wasn't taking any chances on not being able to be contacted.

My second daughter, who is even less up on MMA/ UFC personalities than I am (apparently, that is, in fact, possible) kept pointing at random bald men in suits saying, 
"Is that Dana White? No? How about that guy?" 

When he showed up after the fight and gave Ronda a hug, her sister muttered under her breath, 

"I don't know why you guys laughed at me. He looks like every other bald, white guy."

And as far as arm bars,
  1. Ronda did the arm bar just right in the end. I was very pleased to see her lock it against her body to break it away, because in our book, Jim and I emphasize that A LOT.
  2. I thought (as did some others) that Ronda could have gotten the arm bar sooner. When she had Liz pinned and was hitting her, she could have transitioned to a bent arm bar, but when I asked Ronda about it and she explained her reasoning on it and it made sense to me. I have learned as a competitor, that a situation may look one way to the coach or spectators but the only person who really knows is the person on the mat. 

 Shameless plugs section  - you can find more cool stuff like this in the book from me and Jim Pedro, Sr. WINNING ON THE GROUND

for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here 

CHECK OUT THE GAME BELOW FROM MY COMPANY. IT'S AWESOME. Click on the picture to go to the Kickstarter site and get a license for the game, a signed photo of Ronda posing for a fight scene in it , a poster and other cool stuff.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Rice Contest, Gaming Ninjas and Throw Up/Down

In case you have the enormously bad taste to NOT read my blog regularly you may not know that Ronda has a group RondaUFC on free .  Read carefully and learn how to win stuff:

First of all, free rice is an advertiser sponsored site that supports the World Food Programme, it is run by the United Nations. Every time you answer a question correctly, the advertiser donates 10 grains of rice. About a year ago, Ronda started a contest asking her fans to go to the site and play as part of a group. The previous group (RondaMMA) and the current one RondaUFC have raised a total of almost 85 MILLION grains of rice. That's a lot of hungry people. The top ten people in the group will win a prize - actually, it is the top 13 as of now because we said anyone who donated over a million grains would get a prize no matter what.

BUT you are not out of luck because we are also pulling 10 names at random. For every grain of rice you donated you get a chance to win, so the person who donated 600,000 grains gets 600,000 "tickets" but even if you donated 50, you do have a chance to win. You need to

1. Go to the free rice site.
2. Register (it's free)
3. When you play, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PICKED RondaUFC as the group.

That's it. On my blog, I had said we would pick five people at random but Ronda told me that she had told people ten random winners, so ten it is.

Prizes - some people will get Ronda Knows t-shirts and Keep Calm and Break Arms t-shirts, all signed by Ronda and donated by the really nice people at Fight Chix.

Other people will get judo towels (they're nice) and t-shirts donated by the even nicer people at Judo Unlimited, also autographed.

I am not sure what the top two people get. Last time, she gave them limited edition Topps cards. There were a few that were a kind of misprint and Ronda owns all of them except for the two she gave away. She's kind of busy with the fight this weekend but I'll find out next week. I THINK I know what one of the prizes is but I don't want to say the wrong thing and then have someone disappointed.

Ninja gamers - All of you who said you supported our game but did not actually pledge, you have six days left  to go to the Kickstarter site and get a license for the game, a signed photo of Ronda posing for a fight scene in it , a poster and other cool stuff.
Answers to three questions about that:
1. What the heck did Ronda have to do with this? We wanted to make a FUN adventure game to teach math. Since Ronda plays games a lot (used to be a game forum moderator), we had her test everything before we released it and she contributed a lot of ideas for improvement. After the fight, she is posing as a model for some of the fight scenes.
2. Why are we doing the Kickstarter? My company received $100,000 to develop a beta version. HALF of the companies in that group will get a $450,000 grant to create a full-blown product. A big part of the selection process is "commercial potential" . So, if we can get a few hundred people to each pledge $15 to get a beta version of the game or $50 to get a full version, plus a photo of Ronda plus we'll sponsor a student in a reservation school, that shows a lot of commercial viability.
3. Where does the money go? How much is attorney fees, CEO salary, etc. ? Of the money we are raising, half will go to art work. Our company is good with programming but we need to pay people for the graphic design and animation because all of us but Ronda suck at art and she is busy punching people. Another 30% will go to documentation - writing up a user's manual, a wiki for tech support so if something doesn't work we can fix it right away or tell you what to do on your computer to get it to work (don't block pop-ups) and how, an FAQ for users to find answers to their own questions. The final 20% goes to game expenses. This includes mostly software used for game design and a few smaller expenses like a 3-D mouse. The CEO (that is me) is paid from other contracts. We aren't asking people in the public to back this project without a lot of skin in the game ourselves. We're not jerks.

Since this blog is getting really long and I have more to do before I head out to the weigh-ins in Anaheim ... just a little bit on the

Don't Throw Up, Throw Down  - Ronda has been pretty busy with this fight. As soon as it is over, we'll have more details on this. What I can tell you now:

Clinic with Ronda Rousey - March 9th at Glendale Fight Club
There will only be 30 or 40 tickets sold.
No spectators allowed except for parents of minors - if you have a 13-year-old you bring we're not going to ask you to leave!
100% of the money will go the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Clinic. In fact, checks will be made out to them.
No, Ronda has no other clinics planned. She is only doing this to raise money for the fund to fight eating disorders.

  Shameless plugs section

The book from me and Jim Pedro, Sr. WINNING ON THE GROUND is now out as an ebook.

for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too.

And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here We expect that our book will be available in paperback by the clinic, and if so, we are donating copies that Ronda and I can sign. All money from that will go to Didi Hirsch as well

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Winning on the Ground: Part 1

On twitter, I promised that if our Kickstarter campaign hit $4,000 I would write about the behind the scenes of Winning on the Ground. Then I got busy and now our Kickstarter campaign is at over $10,000.

You can read all about the Kickstarter campaign for an adventure game here. Go to the posts section to read what it has to do with Ronda.

Behind the scenes

1. When we shot that cover photo, Travis (the guy on the bottom) kept almost passing out. It's a really tight choke. The photographers, as you can tell from the photos in the book, were real professionals and kept wanting to take multiple shots. Every few seconds, he would start to turn red (you can even see it in his face on the cover) and then blue. Finally, Ronda said, "Just tap when you feel yourself about to go unconscious and I'll let you up and we'll re-set after you get to breathe." That's why his hand is on her leg, so he could wait until the last minute so they could get as many shots as possible in without us having to revive him.

2. There is really no need for the striking in the photo. She already has him in an arm bar and a really tight choke. Ronda, the photographers and I had been arguing a lot that day and she was so mad she wanted to punch somebody, so in several of the pictures, with both Travis and Crystal she threw in some gratuitous punches.

3. We had to shoot the escape sequences over. Ronda HATES to lose at anything, so much so that when we did the escape sequences, she kept grabbing Crystal when she got half-way out and dragging her back. See photo of Crystal below NOT escaping as evidence. We finally had to switch positions and have Ronda do most of the escapes.
4. One of the escapes in the book is missing the last picture because we didn't notice until we were ready to go to press that Ronda had grabbed Crystal again at the last second to prevent the escape. She did it so fast and at the very end of the sequence. So, we just said something in the text about how you would keep turning out, since we couldn't really end the escape with a photo of Crystal being practically nailed to the ground in a pin.

5. Crystal actually did escape one of the pins and Ronda had the most perfect WTF?!! look on her face. Both Crystal and I were sorely disappointed that shot did not make it into the book. We still suspect Ronda threatened the photographer afterward.

6. Yes, the arguments. The photographers from Black Belt were amazingly good, as you can see from the book. The flip side is they wanted to do every shot from three different angles (at least!) and both Ronda and Crystal were losing patience. They kept asking me why I didn't tell the photographers what to do, since it was my book. The answer is that I am mature enough to realize that other professionals know their field better than me so I was not going to argue with them on that score.

7. The other arguments. It is no secret that Jim and I argued over just about everything in the book. Several people said to me, "You don't have to listen to him, it's your book." I am sure his people on the east coast said the exact same thing to him, in reverse. The truth is, it's OUR book and if he wasn't happy with a section, then I worked on it until he was because there is no way I would have finished it without him. I just have too many other irons in the fire. He also rewrote several sections because they weren't clear to me. As I told him, if I know you and I know a fair bit of mat work and I don't get what you're saying here then odds are great that the average person won't either.

What I really think about Cyborg?
Who I think Ronda should fight next?
Judo versus wrestling versus BJJ?
Corruption in Olympic politics?
Untold Ronda stories (I'd have to clear these with Ronda first).

Vote in the comments below and when our Kickstarter hits $20,000 I will tell all.

 Shameless plugs section
 - you can find more cool stuff like this in the book from me and Jim Pedro, Sr. WINNING ON THE GROUND

for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here 

CHECK OUT THE GAME BELOW FROM MY COMPANY. IT'S AWESOME. Click on the picture to go to the Kickstarter site and get a license for the game, a signed photo of Ronda posing for a fight scene in it , a poster and other cool stuff.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Simple little anti-groundhog drill

One reason I think a lot of people who are initially excited about judo eventually quit is that it gets to be like Groundhog Day - remember that movie where he woke up every day and had the same day over and over? So, the first time you learn a shoulder throw or even how to fall it might seem cool but after having had essentially the same lesson twelve times during the year, it gets old.

Here, pulled out of my bag of tricks is a really simple thing. Instead of practicing back breakfalls or side falls, have your partner grab both lapels and lower you down close to the mat, then, without warning, let go. You practice turning out of pins.

When Erin and Bradley are doing it in this video, I am telling him to let go but that's just for a demonstration. You really just let go whenever you feel like it.

Some older instructors are opposed to turning out of throws because they are worried people will get injured. My answer to that is:

  1. People are probably going to try to turn out in competition anyway they're less likely to get injured if they practice it.
  2. I'd rather get injured than lose (says the woman with a total knee replacement). Still, most the people I know who won far less than me got injured at some point, too, including people who just did kata, so I don't think it's fair to blame my competitive streak.

Yes, this is just a simple little drill that if you practice it a few times each takes about a minute.  Here's the thing, though - I have a very large bag of tricks, so I can pull out five new ideas every practice.

Shameless plugs - you can find more cool stuff like this in the book from me and Jim Pedro, Sr. WINNING ON THE GROUND

for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here 

CHECK OUT THE GAME BELOW FROM MY COMPANY. IT'S AWESOME. Click on the picture to go to the Kickstarter site and get a license for the game, a signed photo of Ronda posing for a fight scene in it , a poster and other cool stuff.

Tomoe Nage Arm Bar- Hey, I didn't touch your leg

With the new rules in judo pretty much saying if you go near the person's leg while standing, we spent some time at practice today trying to figure out what is still legal. We went through several moves that Crystal, Erin and I happen to like and Oscar (Bradley's dad) took a video of all of the ones that we concluded were still legal.

Here is my favorite. You go into tomoe nage and when the opponent blocks you, throw your leg over and go into the arm bar.

Shameless plugs - you can find more cool stuff like this in the book from me & Jim Pedro, Sr. winning on the ground.

for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Teaching by the Book

I was thinking about what to teach today and then it occurred to me, hey, I wrote a book. I could use something from that!

One of the things Jim and I argued about (besides everything) when writing our book - Winning on the Ground  - was whether or not it should have techniques and drills for beginners, and if so, how much.

As with everything, it was kind of a compromise, but unlike some compromises, it came out for the better. There's nothing on how to tie your belt, bow or fall. There are, however, plenty of techniques and drills (mostly written by me) that are for people who are beginning - as in, had at most a few months of lessons - and plenty of techniques and drills (mostly written by Jim) which are much more advanced.

We finally agreed that
a.) Even extremely experienced players sometimes make basic mistakes and get caught,
b.) Everyone needs to drill the basics. I ask my kids class "Don't you think Michael Jordan does free throws?" but now I am getting so old and out of touch, most of them don't know who he is and I will have to come up with a new analogy.
c.) Many of those more advanced moves stem from the basics.  So, you learn steps 1 to 6 when you are in judo for a year or two and then when you move into more advanced competition, you learn steps 7 to 12 to add on to it.

For a) we are doing the help 'em up drill at practice today.
For b) we are going to be drilling your favorite throw, whatever it happens to be, straight into a pin, and
For c) we are doing the Collect the Arm drill into a pin, into an arm bar. It is a little bit advanced but these kids have been doing judo since September, so I think they will get it okay. Yes, they'll look a little raw, but hey, they're new at it.

The collect the arm drill we're doing is going to go from pin to arm bar. You can also go from the collect the arm to pin to punching. That had nothing to do with anything, I just like to tease Crystal about that picture. That move IS in our book, by the way.

A client of mine, who has nothing to do with judo, saw that picture on my screen and said,

"It looks like a judo race riot."

I told her,

Oh, no, those are our friends. We've known Crystal and her family since our youngest kids were babies.

She just shook her head and said,

"Holy shit, I'd hate to see what you people do to anyone you DON'T like!"

Since I know you are dying to know .... you can buy our book
for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March, those of you into dead tree media can order it in paper back from Black Belt here 


The Meaning of Life

I write another blog on statistics, programming and small business. About three times as many people read it as read this one and there usually isn't much overlap in topics. I am randomly posting there a list of 55 things I've learned, hoping to finish by the time I turn 55 in August. This overlaps a lot what I posted on that blog today, but since it also answers questions a number of judo people have asked here you go.

Someone who follows my judo twitter commented on all of the different activities I had mentioned lately.

  The free rice group - Ronda,runs leading up to a fight. You go to the site, join her group and for every answer you get correct the sponsor donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. To date, her fans have donated 83 MILLION grains of rice. The RondaUFC group for this fight alone is over 52,000,000. Mostly I just tweet and blog about that, ask companies that sell MMA and judo apparel to donate the prizes and send them out.

  Kickstarter campaign - we are making a game to teach math, with a MAJOR focus on students on American Indian reservations. We received $100,000 from USDA to develop a prototype under its Small Business Innovation Research program. With that, and a good chunk of our funds, we built and tested six levels, that had very promising results in raising mathematics scores. Now we are applying for an additional $450,000. A significant part of that evaluation criteria (20%) is your commercial potential. Which is why the Kickstarter campaign is important. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to tell USDA - see, it does have commercial potential. Go to Kickstarter. Pledge $35 - we'll send you a license and give one to a student as well. If you pledge $50 we'll throw in a signed photo of Ronda.

Our book - Winning on the Ground  - I thought I knew a bit about matwork that might help some people and Jim Pedro, Sr. knows a lot that is worth preserving. It's selfish to just keep your knowledge to yourself. You can buy our book
for the Kindle, here
the Nook, here or
Sony or other ereaders, here

You can get it in the iTunes store, too. And it comes out on paperback in March.

Not only will it, I hope, teach some people matwork, but I told Julia to research charities for her Christian service credit hours and pick one to donate the royalties because it's not as if she needs ten more of the same shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch. She picked a program for homeless youth.

I also teach judo at Gompers Middle School in south Los Angeles. I'm the evaluator for a project on the Spirit Lake Nation. I teach a doctoral course in statistics once a year.

  I'm helping, a little, with the organizing of the Don't Throw Up, Throw Down fund. Ronda is matching donations to the Didi Hirsch Clinic for outreach mental health up to $5,000 and to be sure they GET $5,000 she is doing a seminar at Glendale Fight Club in March. When I run through all of this, usually there will be  at least one person who posts in the comments,

"Yeah, we get it, you're great. You brag too much and .... "

and my response is always to think, although I never respond because feeding trolls is definitely NOT useful,

"What the fuck is WRONG with you?"

First of all, to quote Ronda from the UFC Primetime show tonight, who are you to say I shouldn't have a good opinion of myself?

But no, my point is not I am great. My point is all of these activities I just mentioned have something in common - to be useful. To help feed people. To help teach people. To support programs that are doing good in the community. That's how the world gets better, you know. Why on earth should I not tell people about them? Most people are pretty good, I think, and if you tell them about something they can do to help, a lot of people will.

 Each of those things I mentioned is not a major deal. It's not the Gates Foundation. But it's something. Too many people, because they can't do something huge, don't do anything. What most of the things I mentioned have in common is that ANYONE can help. If you are completely broke, you can go on over to the free rice site and answer some questions. If you are super-busy, you can go to the Kickstarter campaign and pledge $10 or $100, whatever. You can give to Didi Hirsch. Just put Ronda Rousey fund in one of the boxes on the form. Or don't do any of those things, but do SOMETHING. Yes, I am busy all of the time, but I am busy doing things that are interesting and are useful. Otherwise, you may end up someone who has nothing better to do than write spiteful things to people they don't know on the Internet.

The really sad thing (for them) about the haters is they will say, "We get it, you're happy with yourself" as if that's a BAD thing.

As a matter of fact, I am happy with myself. There is never a day that goes by that I don't say to my husband or one of my daughters,
"Don't we have a great life?"
I think the secret to the meaning of life is this - If you're useful, you'll BE happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wrestling: Politics Ruining Olympic Sports - again!

When I heard wrestling was out of the Olympics, I was initially shocked - and then I wasn't. I was shocked because, come on - wrestling? It's one of the original sports, it's practiced all over the world, it has much higher TV viewership than modern pentathlon. Quick, without resorting to Google, tell me exactly what modern pentathlon IS? Exactly. You don't know and you don't care either.

While ostensibly decisions were made based on TV viewership, global participation and anti-doping, wrestling had more viewers and participation than modern pentathlon and only one doping violation.

It's no surprise to me that the decision was made on political grounds.

When we were writing, Winning on the Ground, Jim Pedro and I argued about a lot of things in addition to mat work. One point he would never give up on was,
I can't believe you never wanted  to go to the Olympics. 

He was convinced that I must somehow have felt cheated because women's judo didn't become an Olympic sport until 1988. I  had Ronda in 1987 and her sister, Jenn, in 1986, so going to the Olympics was not on my to-do list. Also, I was in the middle of my doctoral program by then. As I have explained about a hundred times - and I don't know if this will make anyone in wrestling feel better, but it might ....

You forget what was going on with the Olympics. In 1980, no one from the U.S. went to the Olympics. We boycotted it. I had friends who made the men's team and they didn't get to go either. For the athletes who did go, in a lot of sports, without the U.S. and some of its allies there, it was an Olympics with an asterisk. You didn't really beat the whole world. In 1984, with the eastern block countries boycotting, again, you didn't really know that you were best in the world. You were the best of the people who were not prevented from competing due to political reasons. It continues to this day, remember the Iranian player who forfeited his match in the Olympics. He was coincidentally matched against an Israeli player? 
I wanted to be best on the planet. I didn't care about opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, Olympic gear from Ralph Lauren or running around telling people I was an Olympian. I wanted to beat everyone in the world. If that's what you want and you are a wrestler, you can still be best in the world and that is an unbelievable feeling. I am very sorry you got screwed by politics. If it is any consolation - and I know it isn't - it's just the latest in a sad trend.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Some days, the world is just good

Years ago, I commented that I thought I had more true friends than I deserved and Jacob Flores, Jr. (I think it was maybe at his birthday party) said he thought people got exactly the friends they deserved. I sincerely hope he is correct because if so, I am much more often than I have previously believed.

We have a Kickstarter campaign going on. If you don't know what that is, in brief, you put up a project and if people want to see it happen, they can pledge say, "If you make this, I'll pay $15 to get a license for the beta version of the game."

So .... short version of long story - we received $100,000 to cover the cost of building and testing a pilot version of an adventure game that teaches kids math. HALF of the companies that got those grants will EACH get a $450,000 grant to fully develop their product. A big part of that decision is who commercially viable your project is. SO ..... we put it up on Kickstarter and tried to get $20,000 - on the average, getting 400 people to give us $50 - some will give more or less but the point is to demonstrate this is something people would support and fund, and that we can get some attention to it. In fact, getting $25 from 800 people would actually help us more.

Looking at the dashboard, I can see who pledged money, where the links came from, who tweeted it, who posted it on Facebook and - wow, just wow.

First of all, I am really, really touched because there are some people from the reservations who pledged money who I know really don't have a lot. So, that person pledging $15 out of their social security check to see that this game gets made to help kids learn math - it sort of renewed my faith in humanity.

Then there are the people who really went out of their way to help and get the word out. My sister, Dr. Joy Harris, emailed everyone she knew, and then she suggested that I contact her daughter, Jessica Bueler, who is president of the Loop Business Association in St. Louis. Jessica got right on it, pledged, posted it on Facebook and got her friends to do the same. Jessica's younger sister, Samantha, is still in college and doesn't have the business connections but she is a Facebook fiend, so she has posted and shared the link to our Kickstarter site on Facebook many times. My friend and long-time business partner, Dr. Erich Longie has also been active on Facebook and promoting our project.

Then there are the people I don't even know who went out of their way  - a person I only know as @customNinja on twitter pledged over $500.

I don't know what I did to deserve so much help from so many people - but THANK YOU.
If you'd like to see what Spirit Lake: The Game is and would like to shoot wolves, escape from bears and learn math without the homework, please click here and watch our video.

Judo Gene - Can't Beat Math

Met up with Judo Gene Lebell today at the Glendale Fight Club where we did this ad for our adventure  game, Spirit Lake, that both is a lot of fun and teaches kids math.

He did several takes. I'm going to put them up one at a time. Please let me know what you like best. Any suggestions for ads are greatly appreciated.

By the way, speaking of ads, if you don't know, our book, Winning on the Ground is available as an ebook now and in paper book in March.

It will be out in print in March. If people want an actual paper book  they can pre-order here. 

Yes, I will be honest and tell you that I only put in two escapes from arm bars because  - well, I think it's obvious, no?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reasons to Buy a Character in a Video Game

Okay, maybe you don't have $2,500 to pay to be a character in Spirit Lake: The Game.

We're not talking about you, then, but asking who would be interested? Here is my list:
  1. Someone who really wants to get their son or daughter a present no other kid has but doesn't want to be that asshole parent that bought their kid a $55,000 mini-sized Hummer.
  2. A guy trying to make an impression on a woman with a soft heart - "Look, Honey, I had you written into a computer game. And I also sponsored a whole school full of kids on an American Indian reservation."We presume you want her to be a good character in the game, like a very attractive older sister who gives the kids directions when they're lost, teaches them how to paddle the canoe - we're open to suggestions.
  3. Someone who wants to get back at their ex. You have an ex named Frank? Sure, we'll create an evil character named Frank with a leer and a mustache. You can even give us the hair, eye color and a description. No, we won't do a complete photo match in this case because we don't want to be sued.
  4. You are dating some guy who is crazy for gaming and you want to show you "get him" but you don't want to spend 512 hours playing Call of Duty.
  5. Your son or daughter has been having a hard time with you working a lot and you want to give them something special, but without spoiling them or missing how privileged their life is. With our Kickstarter campaign the $2,500 sponsorship not only gets your child to be a character in the game but also sponsors licenses for an entire school. We'll send you a card from the principal and signed by the students.
  6. You promised, "I got you something really special for Valentine's Day", but actually you had no idea it was Valentine's Day on Thursday, you haven't gotten anything, you have no idea what your significant other wants and you are going to be SO SCREWED when February 14th rolls around. 
If any of those fits you, wander over to our Kickstarter site and pledge. If none of those fits you, or all of them do but you don't have $2,500 take a look anyway. For $10 you can get a thanks on our website, for $35 you can get a game license for you AND we'll give one to a kid in a low-income school also. 

Any more reasons you can imagine? Please add below.

Teaching Escapes from Pins

To escape from kesa gatame - called a scarf hold in judo, and a head and arm hold by some other people - one way is to turn in toward your opponent, on to your stomach. Hopefully, you follow that with backing up on to your knees and then attacking your opponent.

A really, really key point that Sergio and Marcello here are demonstrating is that you want to start the escape BEFORE your opponent completely has you in the pin.

I was discussing this with Jim Pedro, Sr. one day and he said,

I'd really like to see, when I was in my prime, if I was squeezing your head, how you would get out of there. 

And he's right. If your opponent has you pinned, the truth is NONE of that stuff you see in all of the Kodokan Illustrated and other judo books really works. {I said that and God did not strike me dead. See, I'm still here. Typing.}

Like a lot of things Jim argues with me about, his answer is right, but to a different question. You want to escape BEFORE you get into the pin. Look at the picture below. 

Even though Marcello threw, he doesn't have the pin perfectly locked in yet,  and Sergio is on his side. THIS is the time to try to get out. Four things I want students to know when learning an escape from kesa gatame:
  1. Never be lying flat on the mat with your shoulder blades touching the mat unless you happen to be dead. In that case, it's okay, because, well, you're dead.
  2. Have your hands UP. Whether you are standing or on the mat, you should always have your hands up ready to defend yourself. While this seems a pretty basic fact, I want it to be an absolute habit, that you would no more lay there without your hands up in front of you than you would take off your pants and lay on the mat in your underwear. (And if you would, I don't want to know about it.)
  3. Do an INSIDE turn. Turn the right way, that is, into your opponent, as shown in the two pictures above that are not of God.
  4. React BEFORE you get pinned. The second you feel yourself in danger, do that inside turn, or, as Jim says, you will be too late and he will squeeze your head off.
Isn't this like escaping from being mostly pinned? Yeah, maybe, like in Princess Bride where he was mostly dead.

Not coincidentally, the first three of those things I want students to learn can be learned from a shrimp crawl, also called ebi in some judo classes (because that is the Japanese word for shrimp - you really want me on your team in Trivial Pursuit), and a hip escape by some people. See shrimp crawl video below.

There is a lot more in our book,  -
Winning on the Ground, which is now out as an ebook for
Kindle here 
and Also available for the Nook here
and for other e-readers at Kobobooks

It will be out in paperback in March.

Completely unrelated to this post ... my company is doing a Kickstarter campaign for a game that will replace math. If you have no idea what that means, go here to find out.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Punching the bitch card

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, no this is not due to any specific thing Ronda or anyone else did. It just happened to be what I was thinking about today. In fact, I was really thinking about what great people my three friends, Dawn Beers, Becky Scott and Laura Brown were for putting up with all of my shit all of those years.

When someone is getting ready to compete in the Olympics, for a world title or other super-fight type of event, you need to cut them a little slack. Let me give you my own perspective:

I have been training all of my life for this moment. Yes, there have been other events, national championships, other international events, but those are in the past. As my coach always said, you're only as good as your last match. At that moment, that's how I feel. The world as we know it is going to end - at least for me - if I don't win. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and run sprints up that God damn hill, combine two of the things I hate most, getting up early and running sprints. It's the last thing I think about before my head hits the pillow after three workouts - God, I'm sore and tired and I have to win. All one thought without a breath. And I'm hungry. It's been so long since I had ice cream, I've forgotten what it tastes like. To hell with ice cream, I'd like to be able to just sit down and eat a meal without worrying about how much weight I'll have to run off at the last minute. I've got it all planned out in my head, what I need to weigh when, how much I can sweat off in the sauna. I've watched videos of my competition until I know her game plan better than she does. One more workout for the day and then I'm going to drink some water and go to bed ...

And then some cheery voice says .. .

Hey, do you want to go the mall and get frozen yogurt with me?

And I reply
What are you crazy? Fuck, no, I don't want to go to the mall and get frozen yogurt with you!


Hey, are these your nasty, sweaty shirt and sports bra on the floor?
And I yell back,
Who the fuck do you think they belong to? Do you see anybody else sweating their ass off in here?

The fact is that super-competitive elite athletes, as a general rule, are at the absolute heightened edge of anxiety in the few weeks before they compete. Coaches or parents who point to that one person who is calm as can be before their match are not helpful. That person is no more normal than someone who eats all they want, never exercises and is skinny as a rail. Good for them but don't plan your training by their experience.

No, I say that you have to give athletes a bitch card to punch, like those things you get when you buy lots of yogurt. After the tenth you get a free one. Except this is the opposite. You get so many punches on your bitch pass. When the match is over, you have used them all up.

To people who say this is treating athletes by special rules, I say, not so much. Look at it this way, if your spouse or child was about to go into an interview for a terrific job, is that the point when you would ask him or her to stop and pick up the milk on the way? No, you'd give them a pass. If your child has the SAT tomorrow, do you make them clean their room? No. You're not spoiling them. You are recognizing that doing well on the SAT is probably more important than giving them a life lesson in responsibility at that precise moment.

If you understand this, you and the athlete in your life will both be a lot less stressed. You will also understand why, when 17-year-old Ronda walked in the door, back from the Olympics in Athens, her sister, Jenn didn't even get  up off the couch and instead said, 

"I don't care where you've been or what you've done. It is SO-O your turn to change the cat litter."

Her bitch card was full. 
---------------------------- READ THIS DOWN HERE --/

It's awesome. Seriously, even if you can only pledge a $1, it matters. I know you have Internet access because you are reading my blog, so get over to Kickstarter and pledge.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Crowd-sourcing and Ronda Rousey Logo

Crowd-sourcing: It sounds so much better and more professional than "Asking random people on the Internet"

We're into crowd-sourcing these days. First, there was the computer game to teach math we are doing that raised $1,500 on Kickstarter the first day. (Go check it out, it's awesome, we've got 19 days and $18,500 to go).

Since that was doing well, we decided to try crowd-sourcing the new Ronda Rousey logo. You might have heard that Ronda has a title fight coming up so she is kind of having her life consist of train-train-train-eat-train-sleep.

You might also remember Justin Flores, who was on a couple of world teams for judo, won the U.S. Open, stuff like that. After Justin retired from competition, he finished his degree in art and co-founded a design company.

Here is his first crack at five different possible choices for the Ronda Rousey logo. Please give your opinion on which you like best or whether you think a different direction would be better. Be honest! I know Justin and he has a lot more art in him.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

When it rains it pours- good or bad?

Okay, so this week has been INSANE

Our Kickstarter campaign kicked off -

In 25 words or less - we have a game that teaches kids math. And it's awesome. And we are crowd-sourcing money to go the next level. Seriously, check out the video, it's awesome. We've been working on it for a year and the Kickstarter campaign kicked off this afternoon. Didn't I just tell you to follow this link and look at our awesome video? Don't make me come over there.

Within the same 24 hours, the book on matwork Jim Pedro, Sr. and I have been working on for over a year got published. It's called Winning on the Ground. AND WE'RE #2 IN THE KINDLE STORE IN THE MARTIAL ARTS CATEGORY AND THE BOOK WAS RELEASED YESTERDAY!

On top of all of that, I am teaching judo tomorrow at Gompers and the wonderful people from American Horror at FilmOn are coming out to do a commercial for our Kickstarter project and another bit on conquering fear using our middle school kids at Gompers.

I have two grants due this month (one submitted already) and Ronda has a world title fight.

SO ... my question to you all is --- do you think it is better to have all of the craziness at once and get it over with so the next few months can be mellow, or do you think it would have been better spread out over more than say, a day?

My crazy life

It has been CRAZY around here. First of all, there is the whole Ronda having a UFC title fight thing which has had journalists, photographers and film crews descending on us like locusts on a corn field. Often, I will come downstairs to find someone with a camera from HBO or New York Times or Fuel TV or who knows where. I usually say,
This is the point where I would put on make-up but I don't own any, so come on in and set up your lights while I make some coffee.

Saturday was particularly interesting as I heard Ronda downstairs talking to Julia, so I stumble into the living room wearing nothing but my husband's shirt and there is a photographer who politely asks,

Do you mind if I take your picture?

To which I responded,

"Well, I'm not wearing pants, but sure, whatever."

Fortunately, he is much bigger than me and the shirt goes half-way to my knees, so all of the interesting bits are covered up, which by the time you are my age no one is interested in anyway. Then there are all of the crazy questions like,

"Are you training harder for this fight since it's a UFC title fight?"

to which Ronda invariably responds,

"Did I not look like I trained hard for the last fights? I won them all in the first round. What more do you want?"

And it goes on and on and on. If that is not enough, our book, Winning on the Ground is now out as an ebook and you can buy it on Amazon! 

It should be available on Barnes & Noble and in the Apple store for iBooks within a few days. The paper version comes out in March.

GO HERE & SUPPORT AN AWESOME PROJECT  ---> And, more craziness, the math adventure game my company has developed a computer game to teach kids math and our Kickstarter campaign went live today !!

AND we will be doing a demo of our game at the 106 Miles Women in Tech event in Santa Monica on February 20th

AND we have two grant proposals due this month that add up to $600,000. One I already submitted and the other I'm working on now. Thanks very much to the ever-lovely and helpful Crystal Butts and the not-as-lovely but equally helpful Blinky Elizalde for covering judo classes for me while I worked on these.

Anyway, so, yeah, I guess you understand now why I have to finish this blog post and get back to work.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Matwork prevention is better than treatment

How does alcoholism relate to the rear naked choke ?

In my copious spare time, of which I have none, I run a consulting company and several of our major contracts have been with substance abuse programs, for both treatment and prevention. One of the major principles among professionals in substance abuse is that prevention is always cheaper than treatment. If you have limited resources, invest them in prevention.

Ronda was over the other day and we were discussing escapes in matwork. I said that chokes aren't that hard to defend, you just grab the person's hand and it is pretty darn hard to choke someone if they have your hand. Yeah, it doesn't look all macho and cool to grab your opponent's hand but you know what else doesn't look all cool and macho - losing! She said, yes, but once the person has their arm locked in under your neck, it's pretty hard to grab their hand.

That's my point though - in everything, whether it is the rear-naked choke in mixed martial arts, a pin in judo or an arm bar in anything - after they've locked it in as a hell of a time to be thinking of escaping. It's not impossible - just like treatment for alcoholism isn't impossible - it's just a hell of a lot more difficult and painful than not getting stuck in the first place.

How do you not get stuck? You need to be AWARE, be READY. When that hand is sliding in for the choke, you need to catch it. When the opponent is trying to lock your arm tight to his or her body, you need to get the hell of there NOW! When your opponent ALMOST has you pinned is the time to fight like hell and shrimp out.

To detect when you are about to be in a very bad position, when prevention is in order, you need to have a feel for the mat, what I have called in a previous post, "your spidey sense". I really don't think there is any substitute for doing lots of matwork to develop your "spidey sense".

Here is the part I don't understand, and please anyone who has any ideas chime in.

Why is it that some people will do lots and lots of matwork and still get caught? They just don't seem to develop that sense?

Part of the answer is no doubt coaching. If you get caught during practice and your coach puts you back in the position and tells you,

"Look, when you were on your back here, when you felt the opponent leaning this way you should have known the arm bar was coming...."

Some of it is also willingness to learn. I have told the same thing to many, many young athletes. Almost all of them argue with me or whisper to their friends how old and boring I am. Yet, some of them later really think about what I've said and practice it. Others never think about it again the second I've stopped talking.

Maybe some people are just too dumb to learn. Maybe.

Since you are smart enough to read this blog, I'm going to assume that you are not one of them and give you this piece of advice. Whenever you get caught on the mat in practice, think back to what happened BEFORE you were choked, pinned or armbarred. Then try to end up in that position again and prevent it.