Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

Results of my kids and my BJJ tournament! Belt promotions!

Posted in fight, fun, training on May 2nd, 2018 by roxyfighter

I feel very relieved and accomplished for completing one of my goals of fighting in a jiujitsu tournament this year as a brown belt. I was promoted last year by Captain in Feb 2017 after winning a tournament in California. It was one of the happiest days of my life! Since then, I had back-to-back MMA training camps, during which I put gi training on the back burner. Then I got involved with the Ultimate Fighter from June through August, and then had to train for a finale fight in December. Also, Captain left Syndicate, and Casey got knee surgery. I know how poorly I would do in a gi tournament if I didn’t train gi.

I know I have so many holes in my jiujitsu game. It’s a never-ending journey. I am strong in some areas and have holes in other areas. It’s also been on my mind to promote a bunch of my kids but I wanted to wait until they competed a few times as white belts before they moved up in competition. On the other hand, I didn’t want to hold them back TOO long because it’s good for kids’ motivation to get new belts, and also show their levels in class. It’s just that at tournaments, people sandbag. There are kids who’ve been training for like 3+ years and are still white belts, or put a white belt on just to compete. That’s wrong!

Anyway, I decided April 29th would be the day! The day of the tournament, the day my students competed, and the day after that I would promote them no matter how well they did.

I had to cut weight. I dieted down to basically my MMA fight weight, and cut a few points of water the morning of. Then I weighed in with my gi on and ate breakfast, while Serena warmed up the kids. The Jiujitsu World League organization is INCREDIBLY well-organized and emailed us all our division times a few days before. THANK YOU. So thanks to that, I knew I was going at 2 PM and the kids were going at 9 AM. I would have plenty of time to recover from the stress and tiredness associated with that.

The only thing was they ALL went at 9 AM. Ky and Ayden were on Mat 1, Artem was Mat 2, and Illia (pronounced “Eli” -he’s Russian) was on Mat 3. Illia is eight years old and his little brother Artem is five, almost six, I think.

So Serena went and sat with the first two boys, who are her little proteges, I sat with Artem, and glanced over at Mat 3 every minute or so, occasionally walking over there to make sure Illia (pronounced “Eli”) wasn’t up yet.

I was giving Artem my prefight speech (John’s prefight speech) about how not to be nervous because this is the same jiujitsu that he loves and does every day but the only difference is the environment, when some parent cried out to me, “Roxanne! Illia is going on Mat 3!!!”

WHAT? I jumped up. He was literally engaging with his opponent. WTF I just looked over there two seconds ago!! I didn’t have a chance to give him “the speech” yet! damn it!

I leaped out and made a mad dash down the tiny aisle between the bleachers and the judges table. I slammed into like three or four along the way, people making them grunt, stepped on somebody, knocked something out of somebody’s hand which clattered to the floor behind me…. SORRY! I was a madwoman. Get out of my way. My student is fighting.

I think I only missed the first twenty seconds. This kid was good! Strong! There was a messy takedown engagement, scramble, Illia (pronounced Eli) ended up on his back. I screamed, “Get your guard back!” He got his guard! Then ensued the struggle to pass guard. I was telling Illia to break his posture, pull his arms up, etc. Stuff happened. There was a scramble. Illia got mounted and the kid went for an armbar. The ref stopped it without a tap, but that’s usually with super little kids! These kids were older! WTH! Refs often stop kids matches too quickly without giving them time to tap. DAMNIT. Illia got up, like ‘wth I didn’t tap!’ I was so pissed. 🙁 Poor kid. He cried… I told him he fought really hard and let his parents hug him as I ran back to be with Artem.

Artem lost his first match on points, and then won his second by points!


Then he had to face his teammate Ayden in the third round. I think Ayden was the same? I didn’t see the matches because Serena was coaching. I think lost the first, won the second, and faced Artem in the third.

Artem won by armbar. :/ That was SUPER HARD TO WATCH. I was so proud of Artem but I hated coaching against Ayden. Serena was in his corner. Well, at Syndicate they take turns winning. Ayden has triangled Artem, and Artem has armbared Ayden, so it’s a good healthy rivalry. :/ Artem went on to lose his 4th match, which would have gotten him third place. I thought he must have placed somehow since he won two times. Oh well, there were a bunch of kids in his division.

Ky won his first match by rear naked choke, and lost his second, giving him second place. CHOKES! 😀 Yay go Ky!

I kept looking over at Illia, who was standing right next to the table with his father. I even asked Coach Adam if he could hang out over there in case he had to fight while I was cornering Artem. It seemed like an awfully long time to wait. Every time I went over there and glanced at the table and papers, I saw Illia’s name on the one underneath, so I knew he wasn’t up yet. Finally after Artem was done and Illia wasn’t, I knew something was wrong. Suddenly they turned the TV screen on the table off!

“Hey, excuse me!!” I said to the staff guy. “What happened to Illia’s second match?!” He said, “What?” WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘WHAT?’ “He only fought once!” “Oh, we couldn’t find him so we disqualified him just now. We called his name.”
“HE HAS BEEN STANDING RIGHT HERE FOR AN HOUR,” I said. “Please go bring them back! Give him his second match!”
“Illia, right?” (said “ill-ia” like familia) “NO,” I said, “It’s pronounced “Eli.” Damnit they were saying his name wrong so he didn’t answer to it! They claimed that they asked around if anybody was Illia and nobody answered. Bullcrap! They found him the first time, didn’t they?!?

We power walked towards the podium but they refused to do anything for him. They said it was too late. I was so upset! Not only did he have a had experience with a quick stoppage, they gypped him of his second try! They gave the family a credit for the next tournament, but who knows when that will be. Grrrr! It’s the coach’s responsibility to make sure there are no mistakes, so I feel guilty. I should have verbally harassed them, “HEY when is my kid’s next match?!” but I was looking over his shoulder every five minutes, sent Adam over, his dad was there, there wasn’t much more I could do! I had a feeling his name pronunciation was going to be a problem. I should have said something. ;_;


I’m so proud of their performances and their bravery! It’s hard to go out and do this as an adult, much less a six or seven year old! haha or maybe it’s easier. I dunno. I love them all so much. Thanks, parents, for your support, and for letting me teach your precious children! Thanks, Serena, for helping me teach, and also supporting me with preparation, being here, emotional support, and many other things.

I was pretty stressed after that. Everybody was going out to eat and I really didn’t want to go. I just wanted to be alone. But on second thought, maybe it would be good to get out of the stressful tournament environment. We went to a Hawaiian place and I had a snack, plus the food I cooked for myself later. It was nice to spend some time chatting with the families of Ky and Ayden! Such good people!

We went back around noon and I chilled in a corner by myself for a while. I was so tired, but felt my energy and motivation come back by 1 PM. I told myself, I only had two or three rounds with one girl! I can do it! I’m in great shape and ready! I started getting really excited. I warmed up from 1:00-1:30. Then Coach Casey came and stood by my side for the rest of the time. Some other Syndicate teammates came just to cheer me on. Thanks, guys! That was really nice of you guys.

Her name was Talia and she was pretty good. I felt we were similar in skill but she fought better than I did. She used the gi better. She continually attacked and kept me off balance. She got better positions. A few times she did a nice move, and I thought, “Oh that was nice…ROXY STOP MENTALLY PRAISING YOUR OPPONENT.” lol I was a little too conservative with my techniques. The first round was 0-0 points but she got the ref’s decision on aggression, I guess, which was correct. For our second match, I managed to sweep her and get points. I admit I stalled in her guard for the last minute of the round. She kept reaching over my neck…. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was doing but I sensed danger!

I won the second match and wasn’t thrilled with my performance in it.

The ref kept restarting the match and not telling us when to go. Like, I expected, “ready GO!” but instead she just stepped back and Talia started attacking me. I totally wasn’t ready two out of three times, and almost got choked out once. I mean, Talia still would have won regardless. It wasn’t her fault I’m blind and couldn’t see the ref. I was super annoyed at the ref. It’s considered taboo to blame the ref for stuff, so I’m not “blaming her for anything.” Just saying this action was annoying. I learned my lesson! In the third round I was determined to take Talia down, but struggled. I did a full-committal uchimata….! But I missed her body. HAH. My leg went straight up in the air. I unconsciously didn’t want my back taken so I didn’t get under her enough. Gah! I have a lot of training to do still! Talia was really good at defending and grip fighting. I have to get better at that, too. The flow of the match was similar to the first two except I started taking risks, like going for a choke from bottom instead of defending the mount. She mounted finally, and went for a choke.

I started to black out but managed to escape! I couldn’t recover the points and lost on points.

I’m really glad we fought! Thanks so much, Talia. She was pretty nice, too.

I’m gonna train hard and get better. Monday and Tuesday (yesterday) I’ve already started training and fixing stuff I did wrong. I’m really excited to get better. Maybe we’ll fight again later after my MMA fight in July! I’ll still be a brown belt.
Like I told my kids, it’s okay to feel sad and frustrated because it shows you care, and you’ll put the energy towards improving.


Thanks, Casey, for your instruction, coaching, and emotional support. Thanks to my other jiujitsu coaches, Captain, Rick, and recently Rene Lopez at Dunham’s for helping make my jiujitsu better!
I went out to eat at Fuzzy’s with Syndicate people afterwards! (sorry I cut somebody out by accident!) I was so happy you guys came! <3

I went home and had a big piece of this! 😀 I got it FREE with a coupon! It’s been living in my freezer.

I normally can’t have food like this around…so this is not an encouragement to send me stuff. haha Just post-fight treats!

Mentally, it wasn’t over for me. It wouldn’t be over until I promoted my kids. I couldn’t rest. I lay down that evening and tried to relax but knew I had to make a poster for the gym that night because I wouldn’t have any other time on the weekday, so I got up and went back out, printed pics, and put it together. ~_~;

I wish I could have had a day off, but I went back to my busy training schedule on Monday. After my mitt session with John and my jiujitsu private with Casey, I realized I wasn’t going to make it…. My shoulder and neck were in such pain I could barely use it. No injury, just overuse and a strain. My mind was tired and I was frustrated. I wasn’t sure what my mistakes were exactly and was upset. John was calling for people to get on the mat for MMA class while I was crying in the locker room for like ten minutes. Monday was my favorite day – grappling focus! Exciting!

I decided I would compromise with myself by doing the drilling technique but not live rolling at the end. I did one round that tweaked my neck more, but I really wanted to try the moves of the day.

I collapsed but only for like 20 minutes, and then I had to go back and teach kids.

KIDS! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DAY FOR MONTHS!
Then I found out like 30 minutes before class Serena wasn’t coming because she was sick…..

I really wanted to promote the kids! So I asked the parents if I could wait until Wednesday, but that didn’t work out for everybody else’s schedules. I ended up promoting them on Monday like I had originally wanted to.


Mentally, I really really REALLY needed that. I felt such a weight off my chest, such a sense of pride as I tied their new belts around their waists!

They worked so hard! They improved so much! They were so happy! I told them all to keep working hard, and praised their efforts. Also in the big kids class we promoted Bailee, Chris, and Illia! I told Illia that I didn’t care that he lost his tournament match. He’s at a good level and strong, so he should keep training hard! 🙂

Okay, so at least I did my one BJJ tournament of the year, I can refocus on strength and conditioning (which I slacked on and replaced with BJJ leading up to this tourney), and fight prep training, to prepare for July 6th!

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