Happy New Year: 2022 in review

Hi guys! Maybe the reason I haven’t been writing as much is because I haven’t had as much time alone with my thoughts. When I sit down to relax, I spend time with Chris.

The year 2022 has brought excitement and changes that I have not adapted to even still. I finished up my last fight camp for MMA and fought Casey O’Neill in February.

Ever since I started getting minor concussion symptoms in training, a certain element of stress was added to training. I became fearful of sparring hard because it hurt me! Brain cells don’t grow back. I was so glad when I fought my last fight and went out well. I think it was a good fight. I thought I won, but rewatching the fight, I could see how it went either way. We both hit each other a ton. I got a takedown. Judges gave her more significant strikes. How can you tell that? Whatever. I know I improved due to my efforts and hard work. I was ready for the next stage of my life.

Chris, me, Jonny Parsons, Kirik Jenness

Thank you to my team.

While trying to find a new job, I learned how to shoot – properly. Chris started out teaching me how to hold it and not aim it at anyone. (Shout out to Serena as my first guide a few years ago once at a range). I hired a professional to give me lessons on 1) how to pick it up 2) how to load it and unload it. I practiced that for an hour every day for a week before we continued. Slow. Fast. With my eyes closed. 3) How to grab it in a panicked situation from a table with someone (instructor) coming at me, stop him from grabbing it, etc 4) run from cover to cover shooting 5) how to clear a house (find cover in a house, be aware of exits, which door we should stand in depending on if you’re lefthanded or right handed, the fact you can shoot through wooden doors, etc). I can’t brag about being very good, but at least I have information and I’ve literally trained myself and done repetitions on various scenarios.

That being said, I hate guns and I hope I never have to use one. I don’t even like practicing, but I feel the need to gain skill. I’m good at making myself do things I don’t like. I know people feel certain ways about firearms. Hey, I do, too. I’m the kind of person who wants to do everything properly by the book. *shrug*

That was a big deal in my life.

I thought I had a job lined up, but it didn’t work out. I pursued that option for months.

Casey Milliken, my old jiujitsu instructor and mentor, offered me a teaching position at his small, family-oriented gym “Tribe Fitness and Martial Arts.” Since I wasn’t doing MMA at Syndicate anymore and lost my teaching position, I accepted. I’m glad I did. I love training with Casey, and I love the kids. I also got to teach adult classes for the first time regularly! If you are in Vegas and I want to do martial arts or crossfit, check us out! www.tribevegas.com

I did a seminar in Colorado springs at Cies MMA, where I got to be hosted by Barb and her husband Mike (Ciesnolevicz). I met awesome people and had great experiences.

I did a seminar at Unicorn Jiujitsu up in Portland and Bellingham BJJ in Washington! I loved doing those!
I also participated in the UFC expo in the summer!

I really enjoyed planning our wedding! Brandi, my new sister-in-law, and also my mother, flew out to join Serena and I to go dress shopping. Here are some secret pics I can post now that I’m married.

Serena, me, Mom, Brandi

In March or was it April? I got a professional camera to see if I wanted to get into interviewing. Well, I’ve always wanted to take action shots. I visited Syndicate and took photos of my teammates. I also loved shooting Chris sparring. He is airborne often. 🙂

Chris flying kicking Brandon

Turns out I am not a natural at interviewing. I’m good at photography but not great at remembering what I want to say when speaking. So I practiced. Tried to build my youtube channel. But not making money at it so I kind of petered out after an effort.

I started writing for Theallstar.io and “Dear Roxy” columns for Bloodyelbow.com. I also started teaching teenagers jiujitsu once a week at Nomad Krav Maga. I never get to teach the ages 13-15 so I’m so excited, and love it.

I found a school in Vegas that offers classes of English as a Second language! I applied, interviewed, and got offered the job! Circumstances were such that I hesitated to take a full time position, so I got signed on as a substitute teacher. :/ Months later, like around August, I finally gave up the job I wanted and applied to be a substitute teacher for public schools. I’d been getting Indeed.com and Zip recruiter emails daily.

I really wanted to dace at our wedding so I looked into taking dancing lessons. How do I find a decent place? My friend Jeslen is into dancing of many kinds so I asked her. She recommended Martin at Fred Astaire dance studio. He’s a jiijitsu blue belt, as well as a dance instructor. We took private lessons every week for months and finally learned how to waltz! That was a huge deal for me! I had no clue how to dance and always felt self conscious. Chris felt the same way and didn’t enjoy the lessons like I did. Thank you, Chris, for putting up with them! I loved the lessons so much and I think we did great at our actual wedding. It made me so so happy! 🙂

Intentional photo bomb with Martin

Ah yes, our marriage! It went splendidly! Basically…. we are now husband and wife! I’m so in love with this man! I’m so happy living life with him. This is great! LOL I’m not single-mindedly training every second I can actually do other things.

I got nose surgery to fix my deviated septum in October and it sucked. Hopefully it’s almost healed. I can roll hard again finally. This thing took as long as my meniscus knee surgery to heal. Did not expect that.

I had a seminar at Combat Fitness in North Carolina! Thank you Graeme for having me! I got to stay with Katie Perez and we made friends.

I got hired with Scoot Education, an organization that supplies substitute teachers across Vegas Charter schools. I started doing that and figured out with my current set up of writing and teaching gigs, I can pay my bills if I sub ten days a month. Good thing I have fight money in my savings account… my degree in Japanese Language isn’t helping me at the moment, but at least I have a Bachelors so I can apply to teach. I had hoped I wouldn’t be in this situation and I could get some position in the MMA world, but can’t figure it out. Anyone with contacts feel free to contact me. But yeah.

I’ve been enjoying training leg-locks with my jiujitsu mentor Guns at Syndicate once a week. I’m proud to say that I’ve started knee-barring upper level people and I caught someone good with a heel hook for the first time today. Also Casey is my other leg-lock mentor. I’ve been working on them a lot.

I’m enjoying jiujitsu and not hitting people anymore. I’ve been watching anime with Chris (Dragon Ball Z, Naruto), Marvel movies until they started sucking with She-Hulk twerking (please make more Moonknight, guys!), and playing Skyrim and Hollowknight.

I haven’t been writing as much or taking as many pictures. I haven’t been practicing Japanese as much as I should.

Anyway, I’ve learned A LOT this year. I’ve tried doing lots of things I’ve never done before. It’s hard because one usually fails or does a poor job the first time. It makes me feel bad about myself until I realized the above, that I just wrote, so I’m trying to look at it as a lot of personal growth. I miss training with Serena a lot. :/ She’s my best friend and I have to make more of an effort to see her now that we aren’t training together at the same gym anymore. But I’m trying!

I feel like I’ve lost touch with a lot of people.
I’ve learned that maybe people I thought were my “friends” were just “friendly acquaintances.” It hurts. But Chris said, “Lots of people won’t like you.” I guess I got so used to people being polite to me I forgot that. I used to have hardly any friends when I was a kid. I guess adults are better at hiding things. I’m pretty oblivious, too. I hope that people who think of me as friends reach out more. I’ve been feeling a little lonely since I stopped training at Syndicate every day – or I would if I didn’t have Chris and Serena.

I’m kind of naive I guess! I guess ignorance IS bliss because I’ve been gosh darn blissful for years and it was freaking great. Hahaha!

2022 was a great year and I’m excited to see what 2023 brings! 🙂 I can’t believe I’m married now! w00t w00t…