Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

Japanese culture through language: “training vs practice,” “shugyo vs renshu”

Posted in cultural on August 28th, 2015 by roxyfighter

In the book “Servant of the Bones” by Anne Rice, a genie who is immortal told a main character that he learned a hundred languages, and loved speaking and thinking in English.

Having achieved a high fluency in Japanese, I finally understand what he meant. I love talking about martial arts, fighting, and MMA in Japanese. I write weekly blog entries on my Japanese and English blog about the same thing, and I always feel like I can communicate better in Japanese about fighting.

For example, there are many words to describe “do” martial arts. There’s “shu-gyo,” 修行, “renshu” 練習 and even “keiko.” The word renshu means “practice,” like to do something repetitively until mastered. Often used in team sports. I did a poll on my facebook for what people say, “train” or “practice.” Anna De Mars (Ronda’s Mom) said on my Facebook poll that she uses “practice” for Judo. I’m mentioning her because she lived in Japan, and Judo is a sport-martial art. 練 means repetitively, and 習 means “to learn.” Shugyo, as far as I understand it, is more like an esoteric practice. 修 means to mentally strengthen oneself. 行 means “to go.” Martial Artists go into the woods and do forms and “train” their minds and spirits. The dictionary says, “training. Ascetic practices, like religious.” But an example the dictionary gave was cooking shugyou. Goku in Dragon Ball Z anime and Naruto in Naruto refer to their fight training as “shugyou.” But they are old school.
goku gohan training
They sit under waterfalls in addition to duking it out with their trainers.
naruto shugyou

I’ve always used because everybody else used it renshu …until the day I got to the AACC and a teammate said “keiko.” I was like “huh?” and he said it’s basically the same as practice. But I knew there was something else to it. I looked up the kanji and got the nuance. 稽古 I’m not sure about the first kanji but the second one means “old.” I think Keiko is the far end of the “shugyou” spectrum in that you train yourself. The dictionary only used examples of karate, tea ceremony, and other ceremonies. I’ve only heard that guy and one other guy ever use Keiko, so I think that to them, they’re not in the jiu-jitsu class to compete, but rather, to better themselves as people and learn new knowledge. Therefore to them, it’s Keiko. If I go practice Kendo or sword fighting, I might use “Keiko” because I’m not ever going to compete in that.

If you are bilingual Japanese-English and think I have this TOTALLY wrong, let me know. lol

I always say renshu because I don’t want to sound weird since all my MMA training partners say it. But we are “practicing” techniques to use in a fight….

Related but seemingly unrelated, I found out that my request to be a translator for UFC Japan got turned down, due to…… who really knows? They gave me a reason. :/ But anyway, I was disappointed because I had started studying specialized MMA language to prepare. I mean, I was studying a few hours every day and getting my friend to correct me work. Nobody had told me to do that, but I wanted to level up my Japanese. Of course I felt like it was all wasted effort after I got denied, but my Japanese friend, uncle, mentor Goto-san said that it was shugyo.

He went on to explain and this is what I took from it: shugyou isn’t always something you like to do for fun. It’s the benefit and growth that you get out of making an effort. If you don’t want to go to the gym but you make yourself go to better yourself simply BY GOING, that’s shugyou. If you start a project and find you don’t have to finish it but you finish it simply out of principle, that’s shugyou. If you study something just to enlighten yourself and nobody else will ever know the difference, that’s shugyou.

That’s why I like to use “training,” like “I’m going to training” now in English because I feel it’s closest. But there is no perfect word in English to describe what shugyo means to me. That’s one reason that I love talking about martial arts in Japanese.

My bestie Hannah won! My training, TV, DBZ, Herbal Papaya

Posted in every day, fight, friends, training on August 21st, 2015 by roxyfighter

I haven’t written a blog in over two full weeks? Wow.

Training has been fantastic. My cardio is going up, game planning is going well, no serious injuries, I got a few sponsors for my fight! 😀 Thanks Dragon Do, Remove it Restoration, Top Notch Fighter, The Void, Aardvark painting, and Lemon Badger for supporting me again!

face before invicta 12

I still have room for more on my clothes, so if anybody has any leads or wants more info, email me at

I’m fighting Invicta 14 on September 12th!

Hannah won her fight August 15th, last weekend! It was a big deal for me….Hannah is one of my best friends. I helped her cut train and weight and get ready. She cut a LOT of weight and I was the tyrant who ordered her in and out of the hot tub.
hannah in bath

hana laying down
Then her opponent missed weight by 7 pounds and said she had a fever…. I was so torn and upset. . Was she sick before or is she lying? I never want to think people are lying. And the opponent is friends with my other friends, so everyone is upset. 🙁 Hannah sucked it up, stayed positive, fought, and had an outstanding performance.
hannah in mount

That’s the most important thing. She did all the stuff we practiced in practice and also won by arm bar.
hannah raising arms in victory
I’m so proud of her. And now I’m ready to put all that drama behind us and move on.
us in the locker room after hannah's fighrt

Weight cutting is so important. You want to be able to cut enough weight that you can comfortably fight in the target weight class, but not so much that you feel like crap, your kidneys shut down or worse. If you are going to cut a lot of weight, learn the sodium cut method and diet to a reasonable starting point. If I ask you “How do you cut weight?” I’m expecting to get a 5 minute description. “I just do it” means you’re doing something potentially dangerous.

In Japan, I didn’t know how to cut weight. I did it wrong my whole career. Only when I got on the Ultimate Fighter in the US did I learn the proper way. If you want to know, ASK ME:


I’ve been watching DBZ, the Majin Buu Saga.
vegeta and beerus
I’m also watching the new DBZ Super and it’s great. XD I love Beerus…and Vegeta trying to kiss his @$$ so he doesn’t blow up the planet? XD It’s so out of character and hilarious. If you wanna know where to watch it, email me.

I’ve been watching a ton of The Flash and Arrow. I’m on ep 15 of Flash and 17 of Arrow Season 3.

Training this week has been awesome. Monday I did mitts with coach John. Mike Hanks helped be the second guy who I had to take down on command and wrestle within the round to make the practice more cardio and MMA-like. Thanks! Love that training method.

mike and john mitts

In team practice, I pulled my shoulder and two muscles in each leg and sprained my right wrist. -_- I struggled but made it through practice Tuesday very well, but Wednesday I just could barely function. John canceled my lesson last minute… but I was okay with that. ^_^; I did some of Vinny’s jiu-jitsu class, sparred Jamie for two rounds, got a little beat up, started hating myself, went home, collapsed, and canceled my kid’s lesson -_-. urg My brain was like “done.” Usually I go home and turn on anime or Arrow, but I closed my eyes and passed out. LOL The Best Chiropractor ever Jake Steckel worked on my shoulder and it feels better now! wow

Thursday (Yesterday) morning I did stairs and found my cardio is still on point. 😀 Then I sparred with the ladies. Thanks a lot to Coach John for coaching me during that. I keep feeling the need to “thank you to John” all the time, but you guys don’t understand….when I lived in Japan, NOBODY EVER coached me while I trained. Various sometimes gave me advice after we sparred, but that was it. No coaching. So somebody actually telling me what to do in practice is amazing to me. -_-

Being smaller than me has no effect on what awesome training partners both Liz and Jamie are. So super talented and tough! Liz hits like lightening, living up to her nick name “Lightening Liz” McCarthy! And I can’t get a clinch on Jamie’s neck to save my life. XD But I’m taller! LOL dang it. It’ll be so cool to fight on the same card.

Then I did drills with the team, and then had to go to some appointments. For some reason my elbow is swollen and is killing me. whyyyy But that’s okay! Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow.

liz roxy jamie after sparring

I wanna watch SummerSlam this weekend cuz Stephen Amell is on it! I hope he’s healthy. I know he injured himself somehow.

I just wanna say something nice about Herbal Papaya, the company that sponsors me. I haven’t caught a cold since I started taking their products, which are supposed to strengthen the immune system and be good for digestion. I haven’t been having a ton of digestive problems recently, either, and I have a form of IBS. I’m so happy. The products make good gifts for friends and family who are health-conscious. Check out their website! 😀 I want people to experience the products I love, and also want to support my sponsor. 😉 I especially like the teas, the Seed Powder, and the Leaf Extract.

herbal papaya dr crusher

WSOF Palhares issue

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5th, 2015 by roxyfighter

I try to be conservative and not make judgmental statements that might piss anybody off, right?

However, I feel strongly about the sport of MMA and the spirit of martial arts.

Soa “The Hulk” Palelei said this on Twitter after his fight with BigFoot in the UFC and I’m going to keep quoting it. “Athletes, not enemies.”

When you are in a street fight or in a war, you try to injure, hurt, or kill the other person. When you’re in a ring or cage doing a sport, it’s an athletic competition. Your goal is to WIN, not injure. Your goal is to make the other person GIVE UP, not cripple him or her. If you knock the guy into unconsciousness, fine. If you yank really hard on the armbar to break through his or her defense and their elbow gets broken by accident, well, bad things happen. But to hold onto a submission when you are in complete control and continue to crank it even when the person taps and the ref tells you to stop, is unacceptable, dishonorable, and shameful. I feel very strongly so I’m going to say that very bluntly.

Joe Lauzon did a video where he counted miliseconds and watched video on how long it took for Palhares to let go of submissions. Check it out here. Very interesting!

Not only did he just extra crank the sub, but Rousimar Palhares fouled Jake Shields with eye gouges! That’s illegal. And kind of horrible. Imagine you’re an athlete trying to do your sport and someone is jabbing you in the eyes with their finger nails. You could, uh, go blind? Have your cornea cut up? Not be able to fight ever again? Or maybe you’re walking down the street and some random dude sticks a finger dagger in your eye and grabs your wallet and runs. and you go blind in that eye. You’d wanna catch that guy and sue him, right?

I believe that a true master has the ability to control his or her technique so that he or she can bring them to the point of injury WITHOUT injury. Anyone can snap someone’s arm if shown how on the first day! It takes years to develop skill and grace to do submission grappling or and jiu-jitsu. If I armbared someone and I ripped out their elbow ligaments, I’d feel like I failed myself.

Well, that’s me. The other person also has to tap, and the attacker should be fully aware that the guy is about to break. SO let’s say you attack, the other guy taps, you let go, the ref comes over, and the attackee is like, “Oh I didn’t tap!” and the ref says, “Fight!” wtf, right?

Okay, so fighters are supposed to continue until the ref stops them. So here’s a concept: HOLD the submission where it is . You don’t have to crank it MORE. It’s not like they’re wiggling around. Usually when a submission is put on, people are still and frozen because they are done trying to wiggle.

First Palhares said he wasn’t a dirty fighter, but in the past, his manager (who has to speak for him now?) says that he zones out and doesn’t know what he’s doing and doesn’t realize what he’s doing. Wtf is that? Then get the hell out of the competition area if you can’t control your body.

A black belt should be the safest person to roll with since they should have the most ability to control bodies and submission manipulation.

I’m glad WSOF stripped his title and banned him.

/end rant