What took almost 2 years, a lot of work, dragging my butt to gym when I didn’t want to..

is me getting my Blue Belt. Yeah, that’s right, on September 1, 2015, I obtained my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had no clue, that was going to be the day that I got my blue belt and quite a lot has changed for me since I got it. I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life and still getting better every day. When I first started, I was a month out from having finishing my masters so I wanted to find something to do with my newly found free time.  I had remembered Nashville MMA from when I was younger and they used to be in 100 Oaks mall. I didn’t have the time or money then, but always said one day I will go do it. I started on September 10, 2013 with the intro to MMA class, because I didn’t have a gi at the time and I felt like death after that first class was over.

Now after 10 competitions and almost 2 full years of training, I have obtained the rank of blue belt, which is a huge step, most people who start never get here, but I have stayed with it for 2 years and it something that I plan on continuing to do as long as I can. The end goal for me is always black belt.  I have learned so much about myself over these last 2 years. I am able to do so many things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. I have learned that my weight and height can be advantage where in a lot of other places they are not.  I have learned how to be more social and have made a lot of friends that I trust to release when I tap. I have learned so much about they call the gentle art.

I survived my belt test with probably close to 30 people including 7 black belts on the mat the night I got my blue belt. This isn’t something that I plan on stopping anytime soon. I may take a week of to let my body recover so I can come back stronger, but I am fully committed to continuing to do jiu-jitsu.

I do want to say thank you to my professors and teammates, who have all taught me something a long the way. That you understand that I can’t see without my glasses on so you come grab when we are rolling. It has been a great two years and this is something I will continue doing. I have learned to fight to the death and to never give up.


This is a picture of me after my belt test with all of the black belts. I survived and they are holding me up after the aftermath with my shinny new blue belt.


Leprechaun Out,

white to blue



IBJJF Summer Atlanta Open 2015

Another day another competition down,  I competed again this summer in the IBJJF Atlanta Summer Open.  This is the first time it was a two day tournament in Atlanta so I competed in Sunday morning, instead of late in the afternoon. So I got to venue around 9:30 as my division was scheduled  to go at 10:50. So got there got changed and then started to listen to my music before going into the bullpen. I had a division of 5 this time and I didn’t get the bye so I had 3 matches to get to gold, while everyone else would only have 2. So I was like bring it on.  I got ready and the ring coordinator for ring 3 called us over and got us all together. I was going to have the first match because I didn’t get the bye.

Match 1- Before the match, Rachel is like get your throw and so I go on the mats, get my grips and throw her. She catches me with a lasso grip, while I’m on top and she holds it. She asks her coach and then she finally lets it go, I stay on top and up by points to with the match. The Link to the match is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx_5zvFzGOg

Match 2 – Going up against a taller female this time, we go back and forth, she is up by points, but I get my second wind and come back throw her twice, then go to back mount then to full mount to come back from behind to beat her. I am still trying to figure out what she was trying to do when she was jumping. The link to the second mach is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cybFdzszPiw

Match 3 – Had another good opponent, we stood up, battled for a while, tried to throw her, got her in half guard and then just battled for the entire round. This was my finals match, she came out victious, but i still felt like a winner. Has gone what I had set my mind to and won 2 out of 3. The link to the finals match is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJUrRVd7-lE

It was a good day, had some good battles and already planning my next competitions out. Here is the my podium picture.


You can’t teach heart and fight until the death,

Leprechaun a.k.a ninja

Frustration at Local Competitions

So I am a bit frustrated I realize that I am not a small girl, I have never really been one. I also understand that I am not tall and at times can be quite intimidating. Something that I have noticed at these smaller competitions is that I only seem to get one match and that is all.  Usually this match is in the gi as well. Girls in the lighter divisions may be able to get multiple matches because they are closer in size. It appears that once you are in the big girl division, it seems like you only get one match as there is not willingness to match up big girls with others as there are not as many at tournaments. I have been to tournaments where I have only received one division for the same price I have seen other do three because they need someone a fight.

So my frustration is at where a division is let’s say 150 and up, but then they give the girls the option to fight someone if they may outweigh them by 50 to 100 pounds.  You knew coming into this competition that that many be a possibility you could fight a 250 pound girl. I have been to competitions where they have split the division at 200 so I am left with one while the 150 to 200 has like four girls competing in it.

There has been this movement to equalize women’s pay compared to the men which is true in jiu jitsu. But we also need to talk about the issue of women only wanting to fight women who are there size. Now maybe this more of a local thing around here, but at the last competition I was, I was not able to do my no-gi division because the girl that I was supposed to fight had her coach decide not to fight me but fight someone else. The only way I was able to get a gi match was having a blue belt fight me as the other two white belts were scared and/or the organizers decided to cut the divisions due to my weight.

Now I realize my weight is my issue and its something that I struggle with everyday. Trust me, if I could weigh less I would, but it just isn’t something that is going to happen overnight.  But it also doesn’t make sense why people are allowed to turn down fights because they don’t want to fight with someone who weighs more than them. What are they going to do when they compete in an absolute, say I can’t fight that person cause they outweigh me by X amount.  That is just like me saying, I don’t want to fight someone just because they are taller than me, which is basically everyone who I come across in competition. I train and pay my money  to compete just like everyone else, so I don’t see why they are allowed to choose who they fight and I get stuck getting a refund because they don’t want to fight.  I want to fight, I train to fight and for these girls to just get a pass is just frustrating and annoying.  I will fight whoever they put in front of me, I don’t look at size or height, just the challenge that lays ahead.

I don’t just bulldoze through people either, in 9 competitions I have only won one match and that was just a few weeks ago. I guess I am intimidating for my size. I realize everyday that I am 5 ft and about 240 pounds and built more like a line backer than figure skater. I can’t grow any taller and my goal weight one day won’t even been that low, like these girls are at now. One day I would like to fight MMA, but if I can’t even get a no-gi match right now at these competitions, I will probably be hard pressed to find a mma fight at over 200. I’m just going to continue to do me, and if girls are going to be scared, then be scared, your missing an opportunity to better yourself by not competing with me.

Leprechaun out


Fuji Bjj Nashville Jiu-Jitsu Championship

This past weekend, I competed in the Fuji Bjj Nashville Jiu- Jitsu Championship in Clarksville. I will say that the last two tournaments that I have competed in have been  very well ran and I have been done competing before two in the afternoon. Yes, these tournaments have been been smaller but I have enjoyed how they run the adults and the kids at the same time. It means that i don’t have to wait around all day for the kids to go before I can compete.

I was at the venue pretty early for a tournament to get weighed in and situated that morning. I was just hoping that i would have someone to compete against. The only thing about smaller events is that divisions are usually broken out a lot more and I usually end up with just one match, while the lighter girls have more. So I waited through the rules meeting to find my mat assignment. I was assigned to mat 6 for all of the adult females.

My first and only match in the gi was with a blue belt as that was the only person that was similar enough to me for them to match me up with. I am willing to fight who ever they put in front of me. So we fought, she ended up winning by points and the link to the fight is here:

I thought I held my own with her, my own real big issue is with my gi. When I received it over a year ago, it fit much better than it does now. My legs and body have shrank in inches so it is much to big for me to continue to compete in. I had so many issue with both the top and the bottom that I am now going to be looking for a new competition gi, that doesn’t as easily get pulled over and is a bit more fitted than the one I have now. It has held up well for me over the last year, but its time to retire it as it gives up to much of an advantage to others.

It was a good match, and I was trying to beat a 50 year old woman, while she is trying to be a white belt. So it was a great match up. She also competed against my teammate in the blue belt divisions as well.

Here is my podium picture from my gi match: IMG_2701

So then I watch my other teammates compete as I wait for No-Gi competition to start later that afternoon. They start doing adult females and I find out that I have no opponent for no-gi.  They asked some others if they had wanted to compete against me, but them or their coaches had said no. I will write more about this later as this is something that frequently happens to me. So I got an refund for that division and then watched a few matches before I left because i was getting hungry.

All in all, it was a good day of competing, even though I didn’t win I learned something. I also now am in search for a better fitting gi, so if anyone has any recommendations I would definitely appreciate it.



Copa America Nashville

So yesterday I competed for the first time since the Atlanta Open back in January.  I spent most of the spring preparing for the half marathon so I backed down on the competitions that I did this spring. So this was my first one back and my first once since I had really been able to see a leap in my movement and jiu-jitsu.

This competition wasn’t far from home, it was just about 45 minutes away in Gallatin at the Gallatin Civic Center so I was like I would go compete. The nerves started like Friday night and by Saturday I woke up before 7 and could feel them like no others. So I get up there and just chill out for a while. The venue only had 6 mats and I figured it would be a small tournament.

The tournament was really well run and to have the adults go at the same time as the kids was awesome for me because I was able to be done before noon. Most tornunanet I have to wait around all day to have my first match but it was good to be done early so it didn’t feel as if my whole day was going to be consumed by the tournament.

I had one match yesterday and it was a good match. I got my first win in a competition which was awesome with as many times I have competed. It was the first medal that I had truly earned. I have medaled before but this medal is special and to win so close to home was awesome. My competitor was taller than me, but I outweighed her so it all works out.

Here is a video of my match: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p9vcPcYP9s

I am excited to be back competing and look forward to competing as much as possible the  rest of the year. 🙂

Still need to find a gi top that doesn’t come over my head and is not huge, so if you know of any companies, let me know.

Leprechaun out

I did it…the Country Music Half Marathon

So yesterday was the day of the Country Music Half Marathon and I was running as a St. Jude Hero for the race. I was in corral 38 which was about 5 blocks back from the start line. So about an hour after corral 1, I was let go to start the race. Then 3 hours and 53 minutes later I finished the race. I am very happy that I completed the race and did not give up. There were many points along the course I was like why am I doing this, and then someone who was cheering would tell me to keep it up and that I was doing good. They would tell me how much longer I had left which was awesome because at times I had no clue where I was at.


I want to say Thank you to everything who was out cheering all of the runners on until the very end. I wasn’t fast, so a lot of the crowds had left by the time I had come around but for the people who were still out there. You made my race great. I didn’t realize how many people would party in their front yards for this and so it was very awesome to see. Next year, I plan on doing something for the runners because they deserve it. I may have not been fast, but I was faster than anyone still staying on the couch.  Some of the signs that I saw while running were very funny as well. The one that gave the laugh when I really needed it was If running was easy it would be your MOM. I saw that about mile 7 and it made me truly laugh.

Here is how i felt per mile:

Mile 1: I got this, feeling good.

Mile 2: Okay, I got this hill

Mile 3: I should come eat Sushi here soon

Mile 4: I didn’t know all of these businesses were over here

Mile 5: I’m getting hungry and I smell BBQ

Mile 6: Okay, I am starting to feel my feet

Mile 7: Why am I out here doing this

Mile 8: Seriously, I have like 5 more miles

Mile 9: Okay, I could stop now and save my legs

Mile 10: Okay, this isn’t so bad, but my fingers look like little sausgae

Mile 11: I need water and food

Mile 12: Okay, this is the last hill thanks sweet baby jesus

Mile 13: Who Hoo

Mile 13.1: I am done 🙂

I had a lot of feeling throughout the entire race, and there were plenty of times that I wanted to quit and give up. But i dug down super deep and I got the 1/2 marathon under the course limit of 4 hours by like 7 minutes. But I have finished a half marathon and how many people out there can say that. I have already told Eva if I get this ideal again please slap the crap out of me because I am hurting today. I’m getting a massage in a few hours so that should work some of it out. But I accomplished one of my resolutions I said I was at the beginning of the year and I couldn’t be happier even through the pain.

This was my reward for finishing the race 🙂


Just an update

Well now I am a month out from the Country Music Half Marathon and my training has been going great. My new shoes have helped so I am really excited about the last few weeks of training. I am still fundraising for the race and I have a little over a month to finish fundraising. The link to my St. Jude fundraising page is : http://heroes.stjude.org/rachelleh

In Jiu-Jitsu related news, people are now starting to be able to tightly lock their guard around me as I am loosing weight. Yay for me while also, now I’m going to have to work harder to break their guard. Everyday I am seeing small improvements so that pretty cool to see how far I have come over the last 18 months. I know I still have so much to learn but I am definitely still enjoying it. We recently moved locations, which actually makes it a bit easier for me to go during the day so I am definitely going to enjoy that once my half marathon training is over with.

In food related news, I can no longer stomach pork, it seems that i now have an intolerance to pork, which sucks, but i rather not eat it then deal with the side effects. This combined with my lactose intolerance makes it definitely fun to go out to eat with me.

In weight loss related news, other people tell me that I am slimming down, but I don’t quite see it yet. I know that my clothes are fitting a lot looser these days, but the number of the scale isn’t moving much. I have been doing so much of this on my own so I am going to be looking to some professional help in the next few weeks to see where I can improve.

I’m going to keep on moving 🙂

Don’t forget to Donate 🙂

So I went running shoe shopping today

and yeah I didn’t know how much running shoes can cost. I went to the running shoe store in bentwood today to get fitted for some shoes because I have started to have some issue with the Nike’s I bought back in January. So I had been told that this store would really be able to fit me which they did. I knew going on a Saturday I would have to wait for a while which I was fine with because I didn’t have really any plans for today. So I waited. Then my name was finally my name was called and I got to work with this guy named Alex. So he tells me what they do here to make sure that I get right pair of shoes for my feet. So first he measures my feet and so he tells me I have wide feet. I’m like yeah I have feet like a duck. So he continues to do what I have watched so many of the different people since I have been waiting.

So he tells me he has got what he needs and is going to bring out some shoes for me to try and see how they fit. So i wait and then he shows me the first pair and the first thing that my eyes see are the pink on the shoes. And I’m like really dude pink , so they were nice but where kind of too hard. So I go on to the next pair, they are purple and sea foam green but  these shoes actually fit well. Now I realize that I have wide feet and it is going to be harder to find shoes in my size since I do have smaller fit. But I just can’t get down with wearing purple or pink on my shoes, so I ask him if these shoes come in any other colors and he is like no, we would have to order some in a different color if they would have them in a different color.

I then ask if they have any men’s shoes that would fit me. I can tell dude is a bit reluctant to show me some, but at this point I’m like on my principle I won’t by women’s shoes. So he brings out just one other pair of the only ones he say will fit my feet. I’m at the point of like really. I have been in the store for over an hour now and he has only brought me out 3 pairs of shoes. I do find it hard to believe that in a specialty running shoe store that there would only be 3 pairs shoes in the entire store that my feet would fit.

I know I have a wide foot but seriously only have 2 shoes and then only have 1 mens pair that I would fit, I find very odd. Maybe that is how it is, but still weird. So I say I will get men’s shoes because they do make me pick my feet and they did work for me. So I go up to register and they are like the shoes are like 160 and I’m like huh. I have never spent that much on a pair of shoes and I wasn’t about to start now.  So I tell them, I will think about it and come back. I come home and look online and found the same exact shoes for half the cost online. So I bought them online and save 80 dollars.

My bigger issue is why do running shoes have to be gendered towards men or women. All of the women’s shoes had more feminine color pallets and men’s had much more masculine color pallets. The dude helping me thought it was weird I carried about if the were men’s or women”s shoes. Maybe I should care more about the feel, but for me it is more about my identity. I don’t wear anything feminine so why would I compromise and buy a shoe that is of a feminine pallet. That is probably another rant for another day but now I will just wait for my new shoes to come in the mail and continue to run in my nikes tomorrow.

Spring is almost here?

So in true Tennessee weather we went from a 50 degree day to being under a winter storm warning all in the same day. The weather people have really be on point this year with their predictions this year. But I am ready for the weather to just be warm because my allergies and sinus are going to be the death of me.

In other news, I’m half way through training for my half marathon next months. It is crazy over how just a short period time my body had adapted to running. My pace is still a little slow, but I’m getting out there and doing it which is most important. After the first mile, I don’t feel much pain in my knee or ankles anymore. I have also figured out I run faster when I am running on city streets than on the greenways. I think i just have more interesting things to pass while running, than on the greenway.

I have also seen with my diet change and running that my jiu-jitsu skills are getting a lot better. I am moving better than I was even just a few months ago. I can tell that I am getting stronger and that I am doing better so I am just keep moving forward. That is all I can ask for. Between jiu-jitsu and running it is pretty much keeping me busy this day. Most days when I leave out of the house, I have my work backpack, lunchbox, running bag and jiu-jitsu stuff. I have a lot things that I am carrying out most morning and a lot of laundry to go each week.

Paleo is going really good, I like what changes that I have made. I don’t really feel like I have lost anything that I  really wanted to eat, I can still can eat meat so it is all alright with me.  I am trying to watch my sugar intake with fruits since that seems to contribute to my insulin resistance.

I’m really ready for spring to be here though. I am over the snow and ice and just want some normal weather for a while now.

I am still taking donations for being a St. Jude Hero for the Country Music Half Marathon.  Please consider donating  to St. jude and sponsring me on this run.  You can donate here:   http://heroes.stjude.org/rachelleh

Leprechaun out

Team Training and The Ice is melting

So the ice is finally melting in most places so I am free to roam about the streets again. I think this has to be the coldest birthday weekend of record for me. I finally have gotten out and driven around town.  I didn’t get much running this week done, but I did snowboard down my street and backyard.

On Saturday, I went to Shawn Hammond’s Annual Team Training which was awesome. Over 130 people braved the ice, snow and rain to make it to gym. I bet if it hadn’t been such a bad weather week we would have anymore. But it was a good training day. First things first, I saw quite a few of my friend and teammates promoted to higher ranks. These guys have been working at it for years and we were all happy to see them promoted. By the time all of the promotions were done we had went from 13 to 20 Black Belts on the mat.

After promotions, we had 3 – 20 minutes drilling sessions from 3 different black belts. Thanks Ray, Jordan and Dave.   Some of the things we trained, I can definitely see putting into my game plan, but other not so much just do to I am   leprechaun height and they work with  people of regular stature. After the hour of drilling, we had 2 hours to roll, but with 130 people on the mats it could be a challenge. So different belts would switch each round at first then by then end it was who every wanted to roll left on the mats. I got to roll with my friend Kassidy so that was awesome. By the end of team training I was worn out but I still felt good.

I am ready to get back to the pace of every day life this week with the ice gone.  I am ready to start running again this week, I realized that I was missing running, but I was still keeping active with all my stunts in the snow and ice.  I will just keep moving forward and keep progression. I am getting better everyday so that is all I can hope for.

This leprechaun is going to keep moving, shaking and getting stronger. So world watch out.


Bonus Points if you can find me in the picture.

A Short Person Take on the world. I may not be tall, but I will fight to the death. Learning something new every day.