Tag Archives: BJJ

Brief Update

Sorry everyone for my lack of blogging. It’s been a crazy few months. Since I last blogged in October, I have completed all of my residency interviews in general surgery! Interview season was exciting, terrifying, exhausting, and expensive. I will find out on March 20 where I will spend the next 5 or 6 years! Actually, I find out IF I matched on March 16, and if I did, WHERE on March 20. Until then, I wait patiently. Residency interviews are interesting and very different than medical school interviews – a lot of the time they were either telling me the best parts of their program, or asking me about who I was, and everyone always asked about jiu jitsu!! It’s a good feeling to know that they think you’re qualified since you made it to the interview, and at that point they just want to make sure you’re the kind of person who would fit into their program.  Life during fourth year has been pretty great, and I can say with 100% confidence I have not worked for a full day since the end of October. Storing up sleep for those 80+ hours I start in July!

As for jiu jitsu, my shoulder started acting up in November from an AC separation I had back on the mats in March, so I had to cut way back on training. Plus, I was gone so often for interviews. In December I got a steroid shot into the shoulder, and it was incredible the pain relief I got! So I’m officially back on the mats. Our academy is growing, especially in terms of how many women there are! A few months back four of my jiu jitsu sisters got promoted to blue belt, so there are officially 6 blue belt females at our academy and a white belt! That’s quite a change from the days when I first started and was the only girl in the adult class. It’s great that more women are getting into the sport! And especially because I usually have at least 3 great training partners close to my size when I train.

The Ribeiro Toledo female blue belts

The Ribeiro Toledo female blue belts

Just figured I’d give a brief update. Next week I’ll talk about the promotion ceremony we had a while ago, and introduce you to the new Ribeiro black belts! Stay tuned.

Oh, and I learned to shoot! Not bad, I’d say for my first time, my favorite part is the unintentionally, but perfectly placed shot to the right carotid artery in the right neck!  shooting


Fourth Year Interim Summary

Wow. It’s been a really long time since I’ve written. What’s happened in the interim? I finished my 3rd year of medical school. I took and passed step 2 CK and CS of my licensing boards. I started fourth year, and have finished 3 full months of surgery electives. And finally, I applied to residency programs!

My second surgery month was an away rotation on a surgical oncology elective. I couldn’t wait to wake up at 4am every day because I loved the hospital, I loved the surgeries, and even more I loved my patients. They kept me coming back each and every day because they were the most hopeful, motivated, and some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. I worked hard, but I also got to enjoy some days off to see the city.

Two of my days off I had the privilege of training jiu jitsu at the Relson Gracie academy with Robin Gieseler. The guys and girls there were extremely welcoming and I had some really tough matches! It was great to be back on the mats, even if only for two days, after being away for so long. Visiting a new academy is always a fun and challenging experience, at least from what I’ve found. Everyone has a different game they like to play, and it’s always good to have your game challenged by a completely new partner.  I found a surgical specialty that I quickly fell in love with, because as you’ll recall I loved my oncology rotation during my medicine rotation as a third year medical student. Surgical oncology combined the best of my love of surgery with a love I have for helping cancer patients once again find hope.

Right now, I’m writing this from my couch in KY where I am currently on a trauma surgery elective. I can honestly say I have never been so busy in my life. We consistently have a patient census of greater than 60 patients who we round on and take care of every day. It has taught me great management skills and organization. It’s quite the change from to the fast paced world of trauma surgery, but I have learned so much! Trauma surgery is high paced, intense, and so much fun! 

 Tomorrow  I’ll be heading home to Toledo for the rest of the year. I’m excited to get home to my family, my friends, and my jiu jitsu family. I’ll start going on interviews for residency as well. It’s a year of firsts and lasts and it’s already flying by! Every day I am so incredibly grateful to be on this journey, sometimes I can’t even believe how lucky I am.

My (In)Glorious Return to BJJ

Since the start of third year of med school I have been extremely inconsistent with my BJJ training. In part because of long hours with studying piled on top of that and also in part because I have awful time management skills. Add to that the months I’ve been away for rotations, the times I was sick, and the times I really did work until 10pm and you’ve got quite a disjointed training schedule.

I just came back from a 3 week break while I was on a rotation in Michigan. And when you return to BJJ, here are the top things you notice:

The first thing you notice when you get back is how much you’ve missed your BJJ family. You walk through the door and are immediately met with mixed greetings such as the sarcastic “oh, first day? Here, I’ll show you around” or “you guys remember Meghan, she used to train here forever ago” to the genuine “welcome back! We’ve missed you” or the “Meghan’s back!”.  And you appreciate each and every one of those, because you know you’re truly part of their family if they’ve got enough sense to mess with you.

What’s the second thing you notice? You inevitably forgot something because you’re bad at packing your bag. Belt- check. Gi-check. Sports bra-check. Fight shorts-check. Rash guard-dang it! Luckily you always keep an extra set of gym clothes in the car. Hair tie-shoot! Good thing many girls train, you snag an extra from one of them. You’ll get better again with practice.

The third thing? You really didn’t “forget” much. You still remember how to move and while you’re drilling you’re breaking free some of that rust in your brain. But DANG are you out of shape! It doesn’t matter that while you were gone you were running 4-5 times a week. BJJ in-shape is an entirely different animal. And you, my friend, have not tamed it (kind of like your hair at that moment, you’ve gotta remember how to keep it from looking like a wild monkey attack).

The fourth thing? This is my favorite. Sure, you’ve been gone for a while, and sure you’ve been inconsistent with your training, but when you start that first match during open mat it doesn’t matter because muscle memory kicks in. And yeah, you’re a little ‘white belt spazzy’ all over again, but hey – you’re pulling guard and sweeping and getting out of mount like you haven’t missed a beat (until the guys pull out their new tricks and you find yourself in an uncomfortable submission and remember the humility in tapping).

So overall, a return to the mat is never without its flaws, and it may not be the glamorous return like a movie star to the silver screen after a break, but hey – if you can keep coming back you’re well on your way to black belt. Because if you’re crazy enough to ENJOY getting beat up on a daily basis and actually WANT to go back after a break, your mind is set on the path.

Like my coach says, you’re either one day closer to quitting or one day closer to black belt! (Spazzy inglorious blue belt return and all!)

Thanks to all my favorite teammates for welcoming me back then showing me my game needs a lot of work 🙂

sign 1

First Blue Stripe


There are a lot of ways to measure progress. In medical school we measure progress with tests and skills exams. In jiu jitsu, you measure progress with belt color and little tape stripes on the end of a belt.

Here’s what I think – I think progress is measured by the immeasurable. I think I become a better future doctor when I connect with a patient and earn their trust. When I learn to go beyond asking questions and doing a physical and get to know that patient as a person. I know I’m progressing when I can put everything together and come up with the next step.

In jiu jitsu, I think each stripe and each belt represent so much more than that. So how have I progressed? I’ve survived 1.5 years in a sport my coach says is designed to make you quit. I’ve learned not to give up. I’ve made some amazing friends who I know will always have my back. And I’ve become a part of something bigger than myself. I’ve learned to never let the everyday losses drag you down, because a win is right around the corner. I’ve learned that you probably will get your butt kicked from time to time, but that makes you stronger, not weaker. I know I’ve progressed because I can now step onto the mat and know it’s where I belong, not somewhere I feel out of place. And I know I’ve progressed because I’ve become a part of the Ribeiro family.



You never notice progress in the day to day routine of life. You have to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Just a couple of weeks ago I delivered a baby – that’s absolutely incredible progress from the days during second year where I memorized pelvic floor anatomy. Each day in the hospital I progress more and more, and at the end of a rotation it always amazes me how much I’ve learned. And in jiu jitsu, you never fully appreciate how much your body learns every time you’re there. Then one day, after you’ve taken over a month off, you come back and your timing is off, and you can’t seem to do anything right. Then it starts clicking again. It always amazes me.

So, while you may feel like you’re not going anywhere, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I’m sure you’re much farther along than you think. And if you’re working toward your dreams, you will make it as long as you never give up.

So thanks to everyone who helps me in my daily progress – my family, my best friends, and my Ribeiro family. I love you all! 

My Weekend Off

I know you’re all wondering what it is med students do on their free weekends, which I had this past weekend. So, here it is!

1. Sleep. A lot. Naps and probably 10 hours of sleep per night. Yes, naps was plural.

2. See friends. Especially non-med school friends who you may inadvertently ignore during a
imagetough rotation. It doesn’t matter what you do – you could go to dinner, go to a movie, go ice skating, or go see a bunch of girls you’ve known since grade school and just hang out. Whatever you do is bound to be fun, because it’s social and it’s out of the hospital!


Back to RJJ Toledo!!!!

3. Work out. Which in my case meant I got to return to RJJ Toledo!! It was so great to be back training with my team. Saturdays are the toughest day at our academy, and it was full of high level guys pushing each other. I wish you could all experience how much fun it is to have a great training session with a BJJ family! Everyone’s training for the tournament this Saturday (which, sadly I can’t make it to because I’m working).

4. Shop. For new clothes (though nowadays this means less casual clothes and more work-appropriate clothes), winter boots, a winter coat, and heck we can throw a new purse into the bunch! I’m a binge shopper which means I *may* or may not have spent a LOT of money this weekend. Oops.

5. Stock up on your favorite caffeine source. For me, that’s currently Diet Coke. Meijer had aphenomenal sale where I got 36 bottles for $12. I think I’m stocked for a little while….

So that’s how I spent my free weekend. And today I started my OB/Gyn rotation! We had an orientation. I officially start on the labor&delivery floor on Thursday morning. I have 5 shifts in a row, two day shifts and three night shifts. We have to see at least 2 deliveries (and participate in one) and two c-sections in those 5 fourteen hour shifts. So that should be…interesting!

How’s everyone else spend free weekends? I like to think probably quite similarly.

(And for fun, this is apparently what ice-leaves look like when leaves freeze to your car).


Life In Akron

I’ve been in Akron now for 2 weeks, and I’ve gotta say, it’s definitely growing on me. Before I left my parents and brothers thought I was crazy for choosing Akron over other options such as Columbus or Ann Arbor. I think it’s definitely been a good fit for me, in terms of life in the city. Unfortunately, the general surgery has been oddly slow (I’ve only seen 3 surgeries in 2 weeks) but I’ve still learned a lot! AND I even got to sneak in a morning clinic in ORTHO! Which was really fun, especially after a full day of hernias and hemorrhoids.  Finished the surgery oral exam, the OSCE, all that’s left is the shelf exam this coming Friday.

So, here’s life in Akron: (plus I got to visit my brother at JCU!)


The first impression of the house they put med students in in Akron. It’s bad, I know. But don’t let it fool you.


A view of my window from the outside.


While I was here in Akron, I was lucky enough to get to train once at Top Level Martial Arts (http://www.toplevelmartialarts.com/) with Bill Jones. The class was really great – we worked omoplata from closed guard and variations of omoplata plus he tweaked my bread cutter choke a bit!


Head instructor and owner of Top Level Martial Arts, Bill Jones. It was great to meet him and train with his guys. It’s really cool that no matter where you go, there will always be a BJJ family to take the edge off after a long day at the hospital.
If you’re ever in Akron, definitely check out his academy!


Akron General is a really nice hospital! View on a beautiful fall day


When I was on call at Akron, they gave me two pagers – one is a trauma pager. It was a lot like being an intern when they would both go off at once.


A patient of mine in clinic told me about Ninni’s – an authentic Italian bakery where everything is made fresh every morning! So of course my housemate and I made a trip out there. It’s absolutely phenomenal.


But I’ve got to say – the best part about coming to Akron was getting to catch up with my best college friends again who I hadn’t seen in over two years!!! 🙂


More of my favorite Carroll friends! Both bio majors only, but I won’t hold that against them.

I will see you all back in Toledo this weekend! And then starts… OB/GYN!