Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

NAGA tournament, students, friends, fighting

First, remember these Japanese words, they will come up later: Sempai (a senior, older team-member, upper-ranked belt); kohai (a junior, newcomer, lower-ranked belt) . In the Japanese culture, the sempai have a moral responsibility to look after the kohai.

Next, wanna say thank you to my fans who became my friends, Jack and Jan, for the lovely dinner last week at the Orleans! They play KENO in the Orleans and I first met them when I walked by them on the way to run stairs and they recognized me as a fighter. 😀 We’ve been meeting up every time they come to Vegas. My grandparents all passed away when I was a kid, so I never got to talk to them as adults. I imagine Jack and Jan would be what nice grandparents would be like. <3 It's so cool to meet new people and make friends and connections with people from all walks of life. That's really the best thing about being a fighter (besides enjoying sport fighting). Thanks for the gift cards! Gas, groceries, and Tacos are exactly...EXACTLY what I need.


You guys are geniuses. They also bought me a Keno card, which is so cool because I don’t know how to play and I’ve been interested in learning gambling, but haven’t for two reasons: I don’t wanna lose big money, and my grandfather liked gambling too much so my dad freaks out if I mention gambling.

I was fighting a sore throat all week, and after collapsing after jiujitsu on Thursday, decided not to do MMA. I went home and rested, but did Yoga that evening. I woke up Friday feeling great and went to my conditioning session with Lorenzo and smashed all the exercises! He told me it was my best effort and I did great. I told him it was probably because I took it easy yesterday and wasn’t all yoga-hung over from coming straight from hot yoga, which was draining. hah He tried to convince me that I should skip certain classes and do more conditioning. HAH as if that’d ever happen…. “Until I drop!” is my motto!
I’m in such good shape. If only I had a fight…. I could fight next week! (if I lose a few pounds)

This past Saturday, I coached at the NAGA jiujitsu tournament! It’s so cool because I got all my grappling competition experience from NAGAs 15 years ago. And Kipp Kollar is still doing it! It was so cool to see him again and be involved! I mainly looked after the Garcia family kids, since I’m their main teacher.


It was easy to coach them since I taught them everything they know! (some credit goes to Enzo and Jessy, who’s awesome wrestling classes they’ve been taking ). Rick came to coach Hazel and the other teenagers, and I haven’t memorized their abilities yet, despite assisting in Rick’s class, so it wasn’t as easy. I was running around trying to listen for their names being called. At one point, I was in the middle of coaching Hazel and I saw Michael be called out on the mat ACROSS FROM ME! x_x It was like 3:30 PM and Rick had had to leave, so only Michael’s dad was there to coach him…. sorry Michael!

Phew! Just-turned-5 year old Jason lost all three of his no-gi matches on points, but won his gi match by points! He didn’t do a single thing I said. x_x
“Get your leg out of half guard or you can’t get points!” *grabs head* “Let go of his head!” *readjusts grip on head and holds*

But later he said he couldn’t hear me. I was trying to yell as loud as I could without screaming, because I don’t want my voice to crack and sound panicked and crazy….. if my coach was screaming at me, I would panic. LOL It was so loud in there, though. But Six-year-old Jose seemed to either hear me, or just naturally do what I would have said. Jose choked his no-gi opponent out with a rear-naked choke/ spine back bend move. LOL Poor kid tapped and started crying.


Then he lost his gi match on points.

Jason and Jose got swords for getting first!

It’s really hard because Jose and Jason are the best, toughest, strongest kids in class, so it’s really hard to challenge them. They always escape from bad positions even if their technique isn’t perfect because the other kids just can’t hold them there so it’s hard to teach them correctly sometimes. If I have them be partners with each other, they fight because they’re brothers. -_- Then when Gavin comes into class, Jose doesn ‘t wanna go with him. I don’t want them to get used to always winning….Big Preston did that and now doesn’t wanna train anymore when he gets tossed around in the big kids’ class. Little Preston is starting to become a challenge for them. I gotta figure something out. Maybe private lesson with a smaller older kid from the big kid’s class? hmm But I’m really glad that they lost one and won one, so they get that life experience. Hazel did, as well. Competition always makes people grow.

I told the big kid’s class this but I didn’t have the chance to tell Jose and Jason and Hazel…

It’s okay to feel upset and sad when you lose. It’s okay to take it hard. It shows that you care so much about jiujitsu. It’s okay to cry. Never tell your kids “don’t cry” at first…let them get it out, and then a few minutes later, say encouraging things. Competitors need to learn how to deal with those feelings…. feel the pain and overcome. Candy said that to me, actually, after I was devastated after my loss in November. I thought, yeah, she’s right. If you were just like “oh whatever I lost I don’t care, next time,” I think, man, does this person really want to win? If you want to win SO BADLY, you train hard and gain the skills and get better. Become stronger! I felt so ashamed and so low after my loss in November, that’s why I improved so much over these past few months because it made me put the work in.

Anyway.
Adults started at 4-ish and I was so tired already. lol
Our head professor Capitao was in Brazil, and Casey-sempai couldn’t make it. After my kids were all done, I ran around trying to locate my kohai and coached whoever I could find, like Tyler, and Kyle. Kyle was already kicking butt way before I found him! He got gold in both no-gi and gi divisions! WOW

Serena fought a girl who decided she didn’t want any of Serena’s wrestling and pulled guard. x_x


Now, Serena and I train MMA together every day, and we all know that the best way to get someone to open their guard is to smash them in the FACE. Which Serena is really good at. However, that is not allowed in jiujitsu tournaments. LOL So Serena spent like 3 and a half minutes out of 5 trying to break open this girl’s guard, and the girl kept trying to submit Serena, but Serena is very hard to submit. Dude, I can’t remember the last time I got Serena from guard. Then the ref warns Serena for stalling? what the heck? She was obviously trying to pass while defending all the sub attempts, just as the other girl was obviously trying to sub her. If the ref is getting bored, warn them both or stand them up. So Serena felt pressure and took some more chances to try a stand up pass, or something, I forget how it happened, and got triangled. x_x

Soooooo are jiujitsu tournaments useful to MMA fighters? Yes and no. I think there are some elements that are and some that aren’t. Back when I first started fighting, jiujitsu was used in MMA and that was it. Now, it’s evolved so there’s “sport jiujitsu” and “jiujitsu for MMA.” Like, I would never jump guard or do deep half guard sweeps from underneath, or give up mount to go for an arm-bar in MMA. I would, however, do side control, or mount, or armbars and triangles from guard, and butterfly sweeps, etc in MMA. Since I’ve been doing tons of Capitao’s classes, my sweeps have improved so much. So in jiujitsu tournaments you have to deal with points, guard-pullers, etc, in order to get the benefit of live combat dealing with the MMA-realm stuff. I still think it’s worth it.

When I did my tournament in Cali, it was a weird feeling and I almost didn’t feel like I did enough to win because I won by the points I got from passing guard and side control. That wouldn’t get me a win in an MMA fight, but it did in BJJ. Naldo won a NAGA belt on ONE advantage point he got, I forget out. I think a reversal of position or something like that.

So yeah, that was frustrating, but as long as you use any kind of experience as a stepping stone to go to the next level, it’s not a waste of time. That goes for good things and bad things.

I made sure I was there to support Naldo, Capitao’s friend who I made friends with, who is substitute teaching Syndicate jiujitsu classes while Capitao is away. His friend Derrik who speaks Portuguese was there, too. First he coached Naldo, but then Naldo joked later, “I don’t know what’s worse, Derrik who can speak Portuguese but doesn’t know jiujitsu, or Roxanne, who is a brown belt but can barely speak Portuguese.”

hahahahaha! I tried! Then this guy got worm guard on Naldo. I was like “OH! I know what that is! Because Casey-sempai showed me one day! BUT I have no idea how to do it myself or how to defend it!”


Naldo still won! He was so cool.


He got Gold in two gi divisions and bronze in no-gi.

This opponent, Bendi, is an MMA fighter and REALLY good at knee bars. Like, if you go with him, he WILL knee-bar you. Naldo won by one advantage point!

thanks, Eric and Beth at Remove it Restoration for sponsoring us! www.removeitrestoration.com

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