all you need is jiujitsu*

*or the ramblings of a white belt who has (just) returned to the mats

details. it’s all in the details, he (my coach) says.

while i listen, i’m thinking i’m doomed. but, what the heck, let me give this another try. there is a reason i came back after all (i almost quit before my seventh session; this is my ninth, after a six-month break). and why even if the terms and the movements confuse me to this day, even if my body feels like it has been stretched in three different places at the same time the next day, and even if my wild curly hair goes even wilder with every drill and roll, i have stayed.

because today, much like most days the past few weeks, i needed something stronger than my usual caffeine fix.

key points of control. reverse dela riva. x-guard. foot lock.

in my head i automatically break it down into skills┬áthat are more familiar to me – body scheme, motor planning, speed, endurance, grip strength, core stability – when i know i should be analyzing movement instead (as luck would have it, kinesiology was not my best subject in college). relying on engrams in the meantime.

humming to the song “bilanggo” (about your heart being jailed to somebody’s) while doing reps. which seems to be apt at this point (in my case, to this thing called BJJ).

he tells me something along the lines of having a strong core, much to his surprise and mine (this moment almost made it to my one-of-the-best-things-that-has-ever-happened-to-me list). the hubby allows me to try an arm bar on him (another one that almost made it to the previous list. however, had i known that on the way back home he’d tell me he has high expectations from me in this sport, i would have tried to choke him instead). i practice a sweep and marvel how leverage (technique not strength) works. every. single. time.

and so, yes, i have to agree. it’s all in the little details ­čśë


37 little things about me

In celebration of the 7th anniversary of my 30th birthday. I beg for your indulgence on this one ­čśë

1. My favorite color is yellow. But I like many different colorful things and so it’s the last color on people’s minds when they think of me (I don’t even have a yellow shirt).

2. Sometimes, I so badly want not to care. But it’s hard not to.

3. I grew up insecure mainly about how I looked which has followed me even when I became a professional. I think I’m ok now.

4. Although I seem a bit cynical at times, I am actually an optimist.

5. I have classic middle child issues. But I have learned to shrug it off through the years.

6. I like making people laugh. My mother thinks I could have been a comedian, this coming from somebody who rarely smiles, much less laughs.

7. I don’t like drinking medicines unless absolutely necessary (I don’t even take vitamins). And my husband is a doctor so you can just imagine the conflict, er, I mean the irony.

8. I never really thought of travelling when I was younger, that is, it wasn’t something like “when I grow up I will go to…” But I ended up doing exactly that and have always been grateful for that little twist of fate.

9. I love rainy days.

10. I am OC about my (squished) handwriting. That is the only OC behavior I will readily admit.

11. I am not a morning person. People who call or text me before 9 am are usually ignored. Unless I like you for whatever reason.

12. It took a while for me to realize that my sense of humor is largely based on sarcasm (and self-depreciation).

13. I love my job. It’s been 17 years and I am still at it. No dull moment, really.

14. I am addicted to FB.

15. When I was younger, I wanted to have around five to seven children. I have one child now and I think two is enough.

16. I am passionate about learning. I like being a student and discovering new things.

17. I like birthdays. I don’t mind becoming a year older. I like it that I have an excuse to (think of different ways to) celebrate.

18. No matter how I try, I cannot deny the fact that jiujitsu has gotten under my skin, even if the hubby is (so) into it that sometimes he takes the fun out of it for me. Hah.

19. When I started drinking coffee, I’d have headaches from time to time. But I didn’t mind because I loved the company I was with. Right now, I drink coffee out of habit. And maybe because it brings back memories of good times.

20. I actually prefer tea over coffee.

21. Small talk is hard for me.

22. Motherhood is challenging and wonderful at the same time.

23. I easily forgive but rarely forget.

24. I used to hate being by myself. But now I enjoy my (precious) me time.

25. Although I am not a fashionista, I make sure that I don’t wear the same clothes on the same day within the same month (I actually note it in my planner). Or at least I try not to.

26. My life (or a large part of it) is the stuff out of which telenovelas are made of. But I don’t think it ever weighed me down.

27. Like many crafters, I hoard – notebooks, scrapbook paper, gift wrappers, stationery, even post-its!!!

28. I also collect pencils, key chains, foreign currency, anything Van Gogh (jigsaw puzzles mostly), art materials, chunky or interesting accessories, and, of late, Eco bags (not really sure why).

29. I don’t need drugs because I generate my own highs (and lows, sometimes).

30. Traveling has made me appreciate how beautiful my country is.

31. I am a geographic idiot (not even sure if this is a real term). But give me a map and I’ll find my way (I also have a thing for maps).

32. I’ve broken a lot of tumblers along the way because I’ve always thought they were meant to “tumble”. Seriously.

33. I get by with a little help from my friends, even if we are miles apart.

34. I will try new things at least once.

35. I have kept letters of most people who have snail mailed me through the years. I also tend to keep gift tags and small notes I’ve gotten for whatever occasion.

36. I am in a good place, where I need to be.

37. I am not religious but I have faith. And with that, I know, come what may, I will be alright.

that thing called BJJ*

*or what happens when a crafter goes (way) out of her comfort zone


i have always had issues with commitment. the kind that makes me start a project and not finish it. like a painting. or a scrapbook. or a paper craft.

i find this a Gemini trait (well, i have to blame this on something, right?).

so when my jiujitsu coach expects some form of solidarity with the team (that this is a brotherhood is sinking in) or some semblance of regularity and dedication to this martial art, i find my chest tightening a bit, like a momentary choke hold (pun intended).

because i know that if i continue to do this along with all my fears (injury is top of mind) and insecurities (me sucking at it big time) – all of which i have been trying to deal with – i will not be able to make it through the finish line, whatever that may be.

but i enjoy jiujitsu. and although i have yet to find a reason to do this for more than a few months (this is a sport, after all, and a very challenging one at that), i will try to keep at it and give it everything I’ve got (which is not┬áreally much for now). because Zumba is not an option (just so we’re clear).

i am keeping my legs in closed guard position, er, i mean crossed.

(a little voice in my head is telling me that perhaps i should spend my time catching up on PL projects instead of rolling. ignoring this in the mean time.)

one little word 2015


(the word got stuck and played over and over in my head on the plane back to my new home. “lose weight” was another option. but that would have been two words. hehe.)

to meet kindred souls; form a new clique or two. to know my way around, on my own. to understand and speak the local dialect more.

to find my place in this part of the archipelago.

a week in the life: saturday

Saturdays are for work longer than one hour (hooray for that). Four hours to be exact.


Saturdays are for an unexpected discovery. That the yellow Duplo piece that has been missing from this particular stack has been in another building block container all along. This has confirmed what I have always believed: that sorting is not a very common skill among many. Seriously.


Saturdays are for mulling things over.

Where I am now, there are only a handful of us who do the kind of work that I do (maybe less than 10) to answer the needs of the whole of Northern Mindanao.

I have yet to learn the dialect and can only understand basic words and phrases. But nuances of human behavior that suggest denial, fear, anxiety, hope, acceptance, and faith are universal. In my practice, recognizing these is as essential as a clinical impression, delay in development, or limitation in function.

Ah, but all this thinking has left me tired (aside from a three-hour break before my last hour of work). And so Saturday is for a cozy nap on the couch. Hehe.


Saturdays are for more hands on time with the little guy. This means making him eat dinner, giving him a half bath, and putting him to sleep. Of the three, it is the last that is the hardest as he would try anything and everything to keep himself from falling asleep (I would have to agree that he did not get that from me).

And Saturday ends as quietly as it started.



a week in the life: friday

Friday started with news that bitch slapped me hard. Perhaps this is the reason I kept myself busy today (and was only able to take pictures by midday).

Fridays are for trying out new things. Lunch (and dinner) was a chicken-potato-carrot-mushroom mix I made for the first time. It tasted fine although the hubby said it was bland (oh yes, he did). This is why I have all these domestic issues.


Friday is for work that started at 4 pm and ended at 5 pm (no typo error there). But, hey, don’t I look happy in that selfie? Work does that. It keeps the craziness at bay.


The little one comes to visit me at exactly 5 pm.


This is what I find on my clothes when we get home.


Fridays are for chilling out.


For a little bit of work and for chores.

And for time out a few minutes later. Hah.


And that is how we roll on a Friday.