Thursday, April 21, 2011

IBJJF: New York Open

Last Saturday I competed in my first New York Open along with two of my other teammates, Kevin Callen and Arturo Ayala.  This was Kevin's first ever tournament and he took gold after mowing through his opponent.  It was Arturo's first international level tournament and he took bronze.  I placed 3rd in my division, losing to the champion, and I took 2nd in the open weight class.  I only lost two matches all day...both to the same girl, Jessica Eve Richer.

Below are my videos from the open division.  Unfortunately my camera died (I really need to get a wall charger for that thing!) and I couldn't get the finals recorded. :-(




Thanks to our coach, Dave Trader, and to those that came out to cheer us on!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grapplers Quest: Beast of the East VI

Last weekend Andrew Babeu and I traveled to Asbury Park, New Jersey to participate in Grappler's Quest Beast of the East VI.  We had quite an adventure....

It started off at 3:00pm Friday afternoon.  Our estimated drive time to the weigh-ins was 4.5 hours without traffic and 5.5 hours with traffic.  Okay, so weigh-ins end at 8:00pm, we are supposed to leave between 2:30pm and 3:00pm, so if we drive fast we should be able to make it no problem.   Well, Andrew gets to the gym around 3:15pm so we are already behind schedule...hopefully there won't be much traffic.... (its 3:15pm on a rainy traffic?  yeah right!)  It takes us 2.25 hours to get from the gym, Manassas Mixed Martial Arts, to I-95!  36 miles in 2 hours!  At this point we know we aren't going to make it to the night before weight-ins; in fact, we probably won't even make it up there in time to go out to dinner :-(  The drive was long, it was dark and raining the entire time, and for a while I didn't even have anyone to talk to because Andrew decided to sleep...thanks man.

We end up getting there around 10:00pm, we checked into our hotel, and went out for food.  Pretty much the only places left to eat were fast food we went to Taco Bell.  I was a little nervous about getting any food since we had missed the weigh-ins.  I didn't bring my scale and I wasn't sure what eating out would do to my weight.  I ate a quesadilla and a taco and drank some diet Pepsi.  Not too bad....  I finished way before Andrew, who was eating multiple burritos and tacos!  They looked and smelled so good!


After Taco Bell we proceeded to the 24 hour grocery store to get snacks and drinks for Saturday.  Of course the have and Easter section and Andrew just couldn't resist buying the $10 giant chocolate Easter bunny!  which I have to admit was pretty good : )  We got our snacks - Nature Valley granola bars along with some G2 for me, and a bunch of random stuff for Andrew.  After this we went back to the hotel and went to bed.  ..But only after eating a little bit of the chocolate bunny...I just couldn't resist!

Since I was so nervous about my weight I decided to wake up early to go to the weigh-ins.  That way if I was over I would have time to cut a little if I had to.  Weigh-ins opened at 7:00am, I got there around 8:00am, stood in line to register, and then proceeded to the stage to weigh-in.  I weighed in at 157 lbs.  I could have eaten more of that bunny!!!  I drove back to the hotel to get Andrew.  We went to IHOP for breakfast.  I got the Simple & Fit Two X Two X Two (2 eggs, 2 strips of turkey bacon, and 2 pancakes - 400 calories!)  Andrew got something enormous, as usual...I think it was an omelet, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and sausages.  Service was horrible.  It took forever for them to take our order and forever for our food to come out.  Once our food finally came out, it was barely warm.  I would've complained but I didn't want to risk them doing something gross to my food if they took it back.  Andrew's food wasn't very hot either.  He didn't even finish.  For the the first time in my life I have only 10% tip....   I love IHOP but I was very disappointed with this visit.

Anyways, back to the tournament.  We got to the venue, Andrew registered and weighed in while I found a place to sit.  The place was awesome.  As soon as you walked through the doors you could hear the music playing and see competitor warming up.  There was such a good vibe traveling through the room, it really got you excited to compete!

The tournament started an hour late, which is not unusual.  Before starting Brian Cimins made an announcement welcoming everyone, wishing everyone luck, and informing all of us that this was the biggest turn-out of competitors Grappler's Quest has ever had!  Kids divisions started at 11:15am and went till about 2:00 or 3:00pm, when finally the adult divisions started going.  I think a lot of competitors dropped out of their gi divisions since the no-gi was taking so long.  The gi divisions didn't even start until about 6:30 or 7:00pm and the last match of the night took place around 11:00pm!

I went into this tournament with a new confidence.  After losing in the first round at Pan-Ams I decided I needed to reevaluate my jiu-jitsu game and mentality.  My jiu-jitsu was good but my mind wasn't right.  I talked a lot with my coach and one of my teammates about it.  They both gave me some great advice, which I followed, and it worked.  
My first division was the Women's Advanced No-Gi 140-159.9 lbs division.  I won my both of my matches by triangle chokes!  Watch the videos for all the details.


Michelle Welti takes 1st in the Women's Advanced No-Gi 140-159.9 lbs division.

My next division was the Women's Advanced No-Gi Absolute.  My first match was stopped.  During a takedown my opponent landed on her knee wrong and was unable to continue.  My second match went all 6 minutes, ending 15-2, allowing me to take home the gold in this division as well.  Despite winning the match, I was thrown off a bit by all the leg locks my opponent was getting my in.  I managed to escape every time but it definitely threw me off a bit and made me want to learn some leg locks myself.


Sorry the video cuts out early.  My video camera battery died :-(

Michelle Welti places 1st in the Women's Advanced No-Gi Absolute.

I placed first and took home the prize of a championship belt, $250 cash, and compete free for life!

During the finals match my name was called over the loud speaker, so after my match I went to the customer service table to see what was up.  It turned out there weren't any other blue belts registered in my weight class or the weight class above me.  Soooooooo disappointing!  I am getting ready to compete in the New York Open this coming weekend and that will be gi only so I was really looking forward to competing in the gi.

Around 7:00pm Andrew division finally started.  He was competing in the Men's Beginner No-Gi Absolute for a shot at $150 cash and compete free for life!  The division consisted of 26 men!  Andrew fought 5 matches, finishing 2 by points, 2 by submissions, and losing just one to the eventual winner.  Andrew placed third overall.  He also competed in the Judo Throwdown Challenge and the Wrestling Takedown Challenge placing 3rd in both of those as well.  Make sure to check out Andrew's blog for all the details of his matchs!

Andrew Babeu places 3rd in the Men's Beginner No-Gi Absolute.

We finally left New Jersey around 11:30pm.  There weren't any restaurants open anymore so we just started heading home.  We were both pretty tired so we stopped at a gas station for some energy pills and soda.  Andrew wanted to go to Pat's King of Steaks in Philadelphia for their world famous Phili Cheese Steak.  I wasn't opposed to the idea since I was hungry and they were open 24 hours.  Once we got there I was a little annoyed though.  It was in a bad part of town and there was absolutely nowhere to park.  I dropped Andrew off to get the food and circled the block.  Totally sketchy..weird people were standing on the corners.....  I come back around and there is Andrew, standing on the sidewalk with NO FOOD.  Apparently they only accept cash.  So I had to park, find and ATM, and then wait in line for my food.  We were surrounded by drunk people at 1:45am in the middle of  I was so grouchy because I was tired and hungry.  I kept telling Andrew that this cheese steak better be worth it!  It was :-)

We finally got back to the gym at 5:15am.  I got 2.5 hours of sleep and then it was time to teach my kid's team.

Overall, I had a very fun, satisfying trip.  Congrats again to Andrew on his medals and for getting over some mental fears he had about competing in the adult division.


Be sure to check out for articles and more pics from the tournament!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Feeling Good

So things seem to be coming together a bit.  I have started focusing more on myself and less on what is going on with everyone around me.  I am focusing on my own personal weaknesses and correcting them when I catch myself doing these things.  I have been pushing past my mental blocks and taking more risks when sparring.  It feels good.  By not putting so much pressure on myself during class it is allowing me to enjoy rolling more and I am actually preforming better!

In Judo class Tuesday I land and ippon drop seoi nage against James!  And I tried for many other throws against him, Andrew, and Victor (black belt Judo instructor).  Even though I knew there was no way I was going to be able to throw Victor I still tried, and if I got thrown in the process (which I did...a few times) that was okay because I was being offensive and aggressive.

Last night I actually surprised myself -- I did things that I thought I couldn't do.  I swept a bigger, stronger opponent from my half guard, I swept a bigger, stronger guy from deep half, I used the technique we learned in class during the guard rotation, I landed submissions.  I felt like the mental blocks were gone and I was in the zone.  I didn't want to stop training, but class had already run overtime and we were preventing the muay thai class from starting.

My confidence is starting to reach the level it should already be at.  I am feeling really good about going into these upcoming tournaments.  Grappler's Quest Beast of the East this Saturday in New Jersey, and the IBJJF New York Open next Saturday. :-D

Check these items out on Amazon -- These are some great books, and the Gameness Platinum Weave Gi is the one I use for competition : )

Monday, April 4, 2011


Dave Sweeping Me
I just want to say thanks to my coach and boyfriend, Dave Trader, and to my teammate, Bill Nagle, for helping me to get past this mental hump I've hit.  I haven't fully passed over this hill but I am on my way over it.  Your words of wisdom and hours of rolling have definitely changed my mindset these past few days.

Bill and I - Half Guard Action
There are some fundamental flaws in my game that have been hurting me and there are definitely mental blocks that I have too.  Dave gave me a great book to read called The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter.  I have only read a few pages so far, but I believe it is already starting to help.  

Thanks again Dave and Bill.