Site Is Moving

My web site is moving.  However, it’s still not completely operational yet…  I’ll still be running this site until the new one is fully operational.  The new site is:

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A Matter of Perspective

Below is a recent Facebook post from Tim Credeur, that reminded me of a topic that circles around my mind occasionally.

“A Cat looked at the mirror and what he saw was a Lion. Secret of success depends on how you see yourself.” Arishekola Ishaq — Nigeria

I have a friend who lost a lot of weight last year.  She’s proud of her accomplishment.  However, she told me that she still sees herself as a “big girl”.  We’ve had a few conversations about it.  We’ve talked about things she could do to change her self-perspective.  In the process, I examined how I view myself.

Even though I’m a tiny person, I see myself as a much bigger person.  Not over-weight, just bigger.  I’m often shocked when I see a reflection of myself standing beside normal people.  I look really tiny compared to normal people.  There have even been others that stand beside me for the first time and say, “Jodi, I thought you were much taller.”  Apparently, the way we see ourselves influences how others view us too.

I was wondering, how do you see yourself?  If you’ve changed your self-perspective, how did you do it?

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Role Reverals

I was having coffee at my friend Kathy’s house.  Her grandkids were running around laughing, playing and picking on each other.  They finally got bored doing that and decided to torment us.  Suddenly the six-year-old says, “Clomiphene is a drug given to women who need help getting pregnant.  It is usually the first drug a Doctor will give you.  You take it once a day and then when it’s all gone you could get pregnant.”  Now, I’m thinking, “Note to self – stay far away from that drug.”

The conversation made me think about some things that I had learned from children.  The week previous, I was helping to monitor the kids rolling.  I watch this one girl cross collar choke three boys.  I was thinking how I never did get the cross collar choke.  I studied her movements and made lots of mental notes.  The next day while rolling I pulled out a cross collar choke.  Of course the instructor was allowing me time and room to work.  Afterward he showed me how to tweak it and make it more effective.  The next night, Jeff covered a new variation on the cross collar choke.  I feel really good about that submission now and have decided to add it to my tournament game plan.

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Judo Surprise?

I was sitting at the Katy school waiting for BJJ class, watching the kids class and surfing the net.  (Revolution in Katy has free wi-fi)  A message alert from Facebook popped up.  So I clicked over to Revolution Dojo’s Facebook page to check it out.  Earlier, I had left a message to one of the Jits instructors thanking him for teaching me a new technique.  The Judo instructor, Jaime had left a comment for me.

Jaime said, “Well you will need some throws for the arsenal.”

(Feeling safe waiting for my BJJ class, sarcasm raised it’s ugly head) My brat reply, ” Jaime, I’m here at the Katy school.  Where are you?”

About thirty minutes later I’m on the mat stretching before class, when I hear a soft deep voice say, “Hey Jodi.”  I turned to see Jaime, the six-foot four-inch Judoka black belt standing over me.  oops…

Judo Surprise!  Apparently Jeff, the BJJ instructor and Jaime, one of the Judo instructors had plotted a switch.  Jaime was teaching class.  He had us do some basic Judo drills first.  Then he taught us how to capitalize on…  Well, that would be top-secret information.  Let’s just say our team has some game changing techniques for tournaments this year.

So, I have decided that Jaime and Jeff are right and I need to spend more time in the Judo classes that are included in our school program.  After all, we start standing up in BJJ tournaments.  It seems like the person that gets the first throw has the advantage.  I’m reworking my training schedule, in order to attend more Judo classes.  It’s offered on Tuesday nights in Katy with Jaime and Thursday nights on Pinemont Street with Bryan.  I work one of those nights each week, so I can only make it to one Judo class a week.  By the time my shoulder completely heals and I can compete again, I’ll have my own Judo Suprise…

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I Cried Today

I cried today when I was playing catchup on Christian Graugart’s blog BJJ Globetrotter.  Here is an exert from his post “Visiting Drive In’s, where kids who attend school, train for free”.

“It is a competition team, training seriously to win competitions and give the kids the chance to create a better future for themselves through sport. Drive In is not charging anything for the training. In return, the kids must every week show their attendance sheet from school. If they have attended school, they can train. If not, they get kicked off from the team. “

Christian is not only a talented martial artist;  he is also an accomplished photographer and writer.  It’s an unique experience to view the world through his photographs and words.  I promise that your life will be changed for the better, if you just take a moment to visit his website.  Thank you Christian for sharing your adventures.

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Why Would You Do That?

Conversations with a guy in a bar was posted by BJJGrrl on the 25th of June.  On the 26th of June I found myself in a similiar situation.  I was having dinner with my non-jits friends and of course I’m talking about jits.  This new guy (he’s a really nice kid, he just doesn’t know how jits is) in the group looked at me and screwed his face up into a WTH expression.  Total confusion and disbelief on his face.  Then he asked in what appeared to be disgust, “Why would you do that?”  My dear friend interjected and explained things to him in a very nice politically correct way.  This happens ALL of the time and anoys the wiz out of me.  I’m always polite, because they just don’t know.  I will always answer in a polite politically correct way.  So, I don’t want to actually tell somebody this but these things do run through my head.  So, here and now, I gotta let the sarcastic smartass out!  I want to express the crazy thoughts that run through my head everytime someone asks me that question!

  1. Why don’t you do jits?
  2. Because I want to live my life, not watch it pass by me.
  3. It’s a Helluva lot more fun than being a couch potato.
  4. Because I don’t want to be “FLUFFY” like you.
  5. Why do you sit on your bum all day and do nothing?
  6. Did you pack your mind in your lunchbox and your lunch in your head… MEATHEAD?
  7. Because Jits is fun.
  8. Because Jits challenges me.
  9. Because I don’t suck like you.
  10. Because Jits is never boring, unlike you…
  11. Because Jits requires advanced problem solving skills, but you wouldn’t know about those…
  12. Because Jits is the ultimate game of Chess.
  13. Because Jits is the ultimate game of Twister.
  14. Because Jits is the ultimate roller coaster ride.
  15. Because Jits makes me strong and beautiful.
  16. Because bones make the coolest sound when they break!  Wanna see?   😉
  17. Because I train with some of the best people in the world.
  18. So I don’t have to talk to stupid people (like you).
  19. Jits teaches some sweet body mechanics.
  20. Jits develops reflexes that will save my life one day.
  21. Uh… yeah… NO!  you are sooo not getting laid today.
  22. No, I’m not gay, and even if I was, there is nothing wrong with that.
  23. It’s what all the “cool” kids are doing these days.
  24. Jits breeds confidence, but you don’t know what that is either…
  25. Because I have a life.
  26. Because I can.
  27. Because people like you don’t do Jits.
  28. Because I’m not a coward hiding in a box.
  29. Because I like to choke people.  Let me show you! 😉
  30. Because I am the puzzle master, and Jits is the ultimate puzzle.
  31. Because Jits is who I am.
  32. Because I am Jits.
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Inspiration July 2011

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Hans Ulrich Baughman

On today, the 4th of July, my country’s Independence Day, I would like to thank the following people:

  1. James Allen Baughman, my father and son of
  2. James Carl Baughman, son of
  3. Needham Nathan Baughman, son of
  4. Martin Luther Baughman, son of
  5. Joel Baughman, son of
  6. John Baughman, son of
  7. (Ulrich) Baughman, son of
  8. Hans Ulrich Baughman,  a young Prussian man who started farming the land of this country before it was a country.

Thank you for a country, where I can live a safe and peaceful life.  A country where I won’t go hungry or live in fear.  Thank you for the strength of character that you demanded of each subsequent generation and of me.  Thank you for that stubborn hard-headed streak that seems to have been passed down from one generation to the next.  Thank you for teaching the generation after you, the history of the generations before you.  And a special thanks to Hans Ulrich Baughman for hoeing that damn field in Saxe Gothe, South Carolina.  If you had not worked so hard in that field, I wouldn’t be able to say, “I am an American.”  And I truly am proud to be an American.

Happy Independence Day!!!

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I’m Declaring A Holiday

I’m declaring a holiday!  Tomorrow is now offically “Be Sexy Day”!  Ladies, put on something that makes you feel beautiful and sexy.  Guys, tell all the women they are beautiful.  And we’ll all smile and be sexy!


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Familial Loose Joint Syndrome

I have a genetic anomaly known as Familial Loose Joint Syndrome.  Recently someone was lead to my blog with the search “loose joint syndrome”.  In an effort to provide people with the information they are looking for, I decided to write about it.  There is not a lot of research on the topic, because research is mostly funded by pharmaceutical companies.  Pharmaceuticals won’t make my body normal so there is no “money” in it for the pharmaceutical companies.  This article is not based in science.  This is more from the perspective of personal experience.

Familial Loose Joint Syndrome is in most cases a genetic anomaly characterised by unstable joints.  The instability is caused by a defect in the production of collagen.  Collagen is the primary component of connective tissue.  Connective tissue, as the name reflects, holds the body together.  Therefore, Familial Loose Joint Syndrome can affect the entire body and not just the joints.

It’s an emotional topic for me.  As a small child I had to wear leg braces to keep my legs and hips in alignment.  I’m talking Forrest Gump leg braces.  Every morning I would have to put on that evil contraption.  Every morning I would cry, because I thought I was a freak.  I refused to wear anything that would show my legs.  I wouldn’t wear dresses or shorts. It was a daily battle for my entire family.  To this day, when I think about it, my eye tear up.  My oldest brother Scott, also had to wear leg braces, but he was an infant and I don’t know if he really remembers.

Joint dislocations are Common.  There are four kids in my family, and all of us have loose joints.  Dislocations and breaks of the fingers and toes seemed like an everyday occurrence in our family.  I can remember coming home and showing my Mom a dislocated finger.  She promptly drug me to my oldest brother’s room.  The conversation went something like this:

Mom, “Show your brother.”

Me, “No.”

Mom, ” Why not?”

Me, “Because he will pull on it.”

Mom, “No he won’t.  Will you Scott?”

Scott, “Let me see.”

Me, “No.”

Scott, “Why not?”

Me, “Because you’ll pull on it.”

Scott, “I won’t pull on it.”

Me, “You promise?”

Scott, “I promise.”

Me, “OK.”  I slowly and cautiously moved my hand toward Scott.  He slowly reached for my hand and very carefully felt the swollen joint.

He said, “Yeah, it looks like you dislocated it.”  Then he proceeded to quickly pull my finger back into place.

Me, “Ow! You promised!”

Scott, “I lied.  But doesn’t it feel better now?”  Needless to say, I started resetting my own dislocated and broken fingers after that.  My brother Scott, is now a Physical Therapy Assistant.  He loves his work and is very good at it.  His patients love him very much, as evidenced by all the food that they bring him.  Yes, I’m jealous.  Those southern ladies can cook!

Hormones are a bitch for any woman.  However, a woman who has a collagen defect, lives a silent Hell.  I’ll list some of the effects of hormones on the female body and then tell you how it affects my life.  Estrogen reduces vascular tone and some people with loose joints already have a less than normal vascular tone.  This can lead to a sudden drop in one’s blood pressure under certain circumstances.  When this happens, I will suddenly become weak and foggy brained.  I feel like I’m about to pass out.  Well, actually, I have passed out a couple of times.  Relaxin is a protein hormone that increases laxity of the connective tissues.  In women, it peaks within fourteen days of ovulation.  If you are like me and already have lax connective tissue, this increase makes your body even more lax and susceptible to injury in the days before your monthly cycle.  Relaxin also increases and “prepares” a woman’s body for child-birth.  In my case, it can lead to miscarriage (common in my family), premature rupture of membranes (been there), detachment of the placenta, and least pleasant, a sudden spontaneous delivery.  With both my children my labor itself was long but actually delivery…  I went from being five cm dialated to childbirth in fifteen minutes.  (This one really freaks out the hospital staff!)  Because the uterus and blood vessels are made of connective tissue themselves, there is an increase in bleeding, both during child-birth, postpartum, and during the monthly cycle.  Due to this, I’m often anemic and weak.  Gynecologic hemorrhage is a common occurrence when hormones get even slightly out of balance.  My mother had to have a hysterectomy, due to this.

It affects the muscles too.  My mother, youngest brother, and oldest son all had to have speech therapy.  Anatomically and mentally, they were capable of normal speech.  I feel that the laxity of the muscles made it difficult for them to form words.  Lax muscles in an unborn fetus can make it impossible for them to turn in the right direction.  This can lead to what is known as a breach birth.  My second brother was a Butt first baby.  (That might explain his personality)  My Orthopedic doctors, explained to me that it was important to maintain strong muscles.  Because my ligaments and tendons don’t “hold” my joints in place, I have to depend on my muscles to do it.  As a child they recommended dance or gymnastics to increase muscle tone.  As an adult, I choose martial arts.  I have been fortunate to have some very good instructors.  They were able to notice the little things that were wrong with my body.  They would then structure my training to “fix” those problems.  A big problem with hyper-lax people is the lack of proprioception.  It means that one doesn’t naturally “know” where all of their body parts are in relation to each other.  Another is Trendelenburg’s Sign, it is the inability to keep the pelvis horizontal while standing on one foot.  My Karate instructor spent six months working on this anomaly and I no longer exhibit the Trendeleburg’s Sign.  I also have excellent proprioception now.  I lead a very normal life because of the hard work of my martial arts instructors.  I still have problems.  The main one is fatigue.  My muscles have to work twice as hard as normal people’s, so they take longer to recover from physical exertion.  When I sleep at night, my muscles relax and my joints slip out-of-place.  My sleep is often disrupted by pain from this.  There are days, when I can barely walk.  I believe this is due to periodic episodes of excessively loose joints, misalignment, and/or pain.

Yes, skin is a connective tissue and is affected.  Simple little things like tape will tear my skin.  My sons, my brothers, my mother and I all have problems with stitches and scaring.  When a doctor has to use sutures, they almost always “fall out” before the wound or incision has healed.  Wounds and sores take longer to heal which increases the risk of infection.  My second brother Dale broke his right arm in two places.  One break was above the elbow and the other was below it.  It was also an open fracture that severed an artery and became infected.  To get the wound and bone to heal,  he had to have numerous surgeries.  His right arm is currently comprised of a vein from his leg, skin from his thigh, muscle and nerves from his back and bone from his hip.  I have to go off topic and say, Navy Docs Rock!  They saved my brother’s life and arm and he has since regained full use of of that arm.

Pain medication doesn’t work.  Morphine, Demerol, and Codeine are useless to me.  They don’t help the pain, they only make me dopey and confused and much more likely to injure myself.  The same goes for spinal blocks.  They leave me paralyzed from the waist down, however I still feel the pain.  Non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications help with some of the pain caused by inflammation.  Ice or heat works better than medication.

Nerve impingement is common.  It is not unusual for my joints to slip and pinch nerves.  Once, I started losing the function of my right arm and had to have shoulder reconstructive surgery.  My second brother Dale, also had to have reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder.  Recently, I had problems with a pinched nerve in my neck.  I was loosing my grip in my right hand and my right leg was not doing what I was telling it to do.  During that period, I dropped a lot of things, and tripped on things that weren’t even there.  It was also very, very painful.

And contrary to what I’ve been told by some Doctor’s  It does get worse with age.  One doesn’t “grow out of it”.  Because my joints are so loose, there is much more wear and tear on them.  As a result degenerative changes have occurred.  There appears to also be some nerve damage.  I don’t feel pain like I used to.  My joints have become more loose and stiff at the same time.  I know that sounds weird.  I have lost some of the resilience in my connective tissue.  That causes even more wear and tear, which results in more frequent swelling of the joints.  The swelling causes the joints to be stiff.  My brother Scott, frequently complains about the stiffness in his hands.  When I was four, I remember the doctor explaining my prognosis to my mother.  There was a chance that I would have to have surgery on my left hip (the ball and socket joint is not formed correctly).  The constant excessive wear and tear on my joints would lead to an early onset of Osteoarthritis.  I think I’m there.  I’ve also been told that I should be evaluated for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (leads to osteoarthritis) and Sjogrens Syndrome (similar to rheumatoid arthritis).  Those two are scary to me and I’m not ready for scary right now.

Living the life – some part of my body hurts everyday.  I’ve been in pain my whole life, so unless it hurts really bad, no one notices.  It hurts less when I’m able to exercise and keep my muscles strong.  Despite all of the discomforts and complications, I’m a happy and active person.  Fatigue pisses me off, but it happens and I use that time to read, write, and catch up on tv shows and movies.  My cycle is so bad that it leaves me feeling weak and drained.  It happens.  I still have three “good” weeks a month.  I chose an unlikely sport for a person with Familial Loose Joint Syndrome.  But it makes me happy and it has helped me to over come a lot of my physical deficits.  If you watch me walk, you would never know that I have a deformed hip-joint and wore leg braces as a child.  Martial arts give me a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.  It keeps my body strong.  Yes, I do get injured more often than other people.  But look at it this way, over all I have fewer injuries and complications because of my martial arts training.  Because of my martial arts training, my body is strong.  I am coordinated which allows me to avoid potential injuries.  I learned break falls which also prevents a lot of injuries.  It’s more about living a balanced life.  We all have “things” in our life that threaten our happiness and or physical well-being.  We have to look deep and find that bright spot that makes all the badness pale in comparison.  My bright spot is martial arts, even on the days that it is difficult to drag myself down to the gym and try to function.  My happiness and health are worth it.  There are some benefits to this whole loose joint thing.  I’m super flexible, which makes martial arts easier.  My muscles have a “relaxed” qualitity to them which makes me really fast.  A definite edge for a fighter or most any other athlete.  Loose skin = no stretch marks after two pregnancies!  Yes, I have the stomach of an 18 year old!

Most Doctor’s aren’t familiar with Familial Loose Joint Syndrome or they may know it by a different name.  It has many names.  If a Doctor is familiar with it, they usually only know how it affects their area of medicine.  No advice for you there.  Sorry.

List of complications experienced by myself or a family member:

  1. Daily pain
  2. Joint stiffness
  3. Frequent joint subluxations and dislocations
  4. Nerve impingement
  5. Poor wound healing
  6. Miscarraige
  7. Premature rupture of membranes in pregnancy
  8. Detachment of placenta
  9. Breach birth
  10. Sudden spontaneous child-birth
  11. Shoulder reconstructive surgery
  12. Leg braces
  13. TMJ
  14. Extreme fatigue
  15. Excessive monthly cycles with anemia
  16. Gynecologic hemorrhage
  17. Sudden fluctuations in blood pressure
  18. Sleepless nights
  19. Vision problems
  20. Eyes can be fragile and easily damaged
  21. Speech impairment
  22. Transient disruptions in physical ability
  23. hernias
  24. Aneurysms
  25. Heart murmurs and Mitral Valve Prolapse
  26. Early onset of osteoarthritis
  27. odd scaring patterns
  28. Most of us seem to suffer episodes of foggy brain and metal confusion ( I think this is associated with episodes of low blood pressure)  On I.Q. tests, we are all considered to be above average intelligence or in the superior intelligence range.  However, over half of us are also considered to have a learning disability.  Sometimes they call it dyslexia other times it is called attention deficit.  I don’t know if this is related to the loose joint syndrome or not.  It does seem odd that it corresponds to the degree of our loose joints.  The more lax one’s joints, the more difficulty that individual seems to have in traditional learning environments.
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