The Road to Success is Under Construction

The Road to Success is Under Construction
- February 26, 2014
It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get up.
— Vince Lombardi
I am going to be a little cliche here for a bit, and start spitting out a bunch of MOTIVATIONAL quotes and sayings. Believe it or not, quotes like this, give me inspiration and sometimes help me to get out of bed in the morning, or do that extra round of randori when I can't feel my arms or legs anymore. I've found that quotes have helped me stay positive through rough patches, through losses and defeat.
In an individual sport, there is nobody else to rely on but YOU. Most of the time, I feel like I am fighting myself. A lot of times I have to stop and say, "Hannah!! Stop being so stubborn! Stop being so scared!! Just do it! You are thinking too much!" So this is one of the reasons I am such a believer in motivational quotes and being positive and creating an environment where everybody around you feels good about themselves. 
When I am not kicking ass on the mat, I am a waitress, and I come across a lot of miserable people. The best thing to do when you are approaching a miserable person situation is to just, Smile. Sometimes having a good attitude changes the whole scenario around, and usually ends up making both parties happy! 
So I am coming back home from Europe empty handed (again) this year. I had high hopes for me for the 2014 European Tour. Not going to lie, I shed a few tears, had a lot of self-doubt, and ALMOST starting feeling sorry for myself... but I had to stop myself. I have to remember that what I am doing, is already an AMAZING opportunity that most people can only dream about. This past month I got to go to Paris, compete in one of the most prestigious tournaments that our sport has to offer, train with the best judokas in the world, and then go to Dusseldorf, Germany the following week to compete again! There is no Failure in putting myself out there and at least trying. Winning is WAY more fun, but losing teaches you valuable lessons about who you really are as a person. It tests your limits, mentally and emotionally.
So what am I doing now?? Trying to make myself better everyday. I have not let losing tear me down, I have been in the dojo twice a day, working on my weakness, and perfecting my strong techniques. I have to think Big Picture, and that is to take a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio in a few years. I've also made sure that I spend time at the gym, strength and conditioning is also a very important part of training, and I absolutely love to lift. 
Whats Next??
This weekend I am going to be competing in the NY Open/NYAC team tournament, it usually is an ALL- Men's tournament and I go there every year to watch and play cheerleader, but this year, there is going to be a Japanese women's team there and so we are going to have a women's team. USA v Japan match up! Should be fun, after the tournament we get to dress up and go to the banquet and at the end of the day, we get to hang out in NYC and be at one of the best Athletic Clubs in the country! NYAC! 
After the NYAC team tournament, I will be flying out to Hawaii on the following Wednesday for a week long adventure. I will be doing clinics with Travis Stevens, who is the current #1 ranked 81kg in the country. I am pretty excited about Hawaii, it is going to be a great opportunity for me and I get to spend some time by the beach, and doing one of my favorite things, tanning !!!
And last but not least, after Hawaii, I will be traveling to Tbilisi, Georgia to compete in their first ever Grand Prix event and than a week after I will be competing in Samsun, Turkey at another Grand Prix! 
Lots of exciting things happening! And I just want to say I am so grateful for all the support!! 
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Tashkent and Morris Cup

It has been awhile since I have written a blog and I figure since I am stranded at my house with no car, and my only other option is to do laundry. I figure I'd rather write a blog entry.

My latest judo adventures brought me to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I was there in the beginning of the month for the Tashkent Grand Prix. This wasn't my first time in Tashkent though, I was there in 2011 when I first moved up to the 63kg weight category. I placed 7th, only winning one match against UZB. This trip two years later, was a little bit different. There were more American athletes at this tournament so I wasn't all by my lonesome and it was a Grand Prix which means the stakes are a little higher in regards to International World Ranking Points and you even win prize money for medaling.

I also got to travel with one of my Jason Morris Judo Center (JMJC) teammates Tony Sangimino, so that made the trip even better especially because we had a 10 hour layover in Moscow on the way there. It is way better to have someone with you in those moments or else you go out of your mind in pure boredom. We found a café and sat on the couches probably for a good 6 hours. It was comfortable and nobody bothered us, plus I even got to sleep a little.

Our hotel was really nice and the tournament was run very well. The thing that made my Uzbekistan Experience even better was making it to the Finals. My first Grand Prix Final! I beat Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with ne-waza, which most recently has become one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take home my first Grand Prix Gold Medal, I was caught in the first minute in a half by Mariana Barros from Brazil. Who I just have beaten recently in the semi-finals in Argentina. So silver it is, not to mention I took home $2,000 USD in prize money. My silver in Tashkent also jumped me up in the World Rankings to my career high #11. I almost broke into the top 10 and if I WON this tournament I would have been there.

My goal this year that I set for myself was to break into the top 15- and I did it. But I know I can climb even higher!

Team USA also brought home some hardware from this trip, we took home one Gold and three Silvers. Not too shabby!

So after returning home, our dojo had to start preparing for our annual Morris Cup. Which includes a lot of physical labor. We basically have to set up the whole entire tournament, which requires us to carry all the tatamis and set up all the tatamis and then after the tournament is over we have to load the tatamis back on the truck and then put them all away. It is a lot of work! But so worth it, it's very cool to have a quality tournament literally in my back yard. I live 4 minutes away! Nothing beats that!

I also competed at this tournament and won the 63kg category, my family and some friends even came to watch me since they usually aren't able to see me live because I am thousands and thousands of miles away!

I have been home for a little over two weeks now, and it is nice! It's nice to be back on schedule with my strength and conditioning routine and being able to have a full week of judo training at my dojo! There is nothing better than that. It's nice to take the time to work on the things that I am not able to focus on when I am on the road.

Next up, I am competing in the Quebec Open in Montreal next weekend. I love competing, and it only will help me in the grand scheme of things. My next and last international tournament of 2013 will be the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Tokyo Grand Slam. I have never been to Japan, so I am really looking forward to this trip and also looking to end the year on a high note!

This trip is going to be a little expensive so I am also looking for donations to help pay for my airfare and hotel expenses.

If you would like to donate, please hit the "PayPal" donate button. Every little bit counts and will be used towards my trip.

Thank You for all the Support!


Rijeka Grand Prix Recap

RiejekaGPCan't Start off a trip to Europe without a little bit of thunderstorm action right?? Before leaving New York on Wednesday evening, Albany, New York felt like we were in the middle of the African Savannah! We were at record high temperatures of 92 degrees and of course with crazy hot weather a tropical thunderstorm must roll in right before we are about to leave for Croatia. So after hanging out at the Albany Airport for 4 hours, we embark to Chicago to catch our 10:15pm flight to Frankfurt, Germany. We literally landed in Chicago at 10pm, and I looked over at my teammate Brad Bolen and was like, "If we are lucky we are going to make this flight, But I highly doubt it." He laughed and was like "You ready to sprint Banana?" In my head I already believed that we missed this flight, and I was already thinking about what we had to do to get onto the next flight to Europe. So we RAN out of the airplane and sprinted a whole different section, I was too slow for Brad so he grabbed all my bags and booked it! I remember watching him take off, I was laughing and crying at the same time- because we probably looked ridiculous. As we got closer to our gate we noticed a huge cluster of people waiting around, out of breath and sweating we went up to the lady at the counter and threw our boarding tickets at her. She looked at us and was like "You are lucky we are running 30 minutes behind schedule" Ahhhh such a relief!

So we made it to Rijeka, Croatia! The place was phenomenal! So beautiful! Competition wise... mehhh not very happy with the outcome. I went 1-2 placing 7th overall. I had a great opportunity to come home with a medal and just didn't have a good day at all. I probably have re-played all my matches in my head a thousand of times and it is driving me crazy! But that is sports right? Some days you just can't start your engine and make it work.

So now I am back home, and I started off my first day back with a morning judo session working on some things that I struggled doing during the competition. I had a very productive practice, and I am going to keep working on my weaknesses and brushing up on my other techniques. My next journey will be to Uzbekistan for another Grand Prix and I plan on taking home a medal from this event!

So I better get back to training! (wink!)




Rio 2013: World Championships

I had the opportunity to come to Rio De Janiero, Brazil for my first World Championships! Not only was It my first time but it was probably one of the best competition experiences that I have had. Being able to compete at this level is so much fun. I belong here. My goal was to be in the medal rounds and unfortunately right before the Quarter-Final I had an epic battle with 2x World Champion Emane from France, with literally 37 seconds to go the ref gave me a shido and I ended up losing the match!! I went 2-1 in my first World Championships, which puts me at 9th place.

Brazil is amazing! Our hotel is literally across the street from the beach, the sun is out every day. I have been working on my "tan" and I am really just loving life. It is an amazing feeling to represent the USA at THEE tournament of the year. I am looking forward to being able to compete at the World Championships next year in Russia, and I plan on taking a medal home with me.

Tomorrow I head back home to New York. I am really looking forward to training back in my home dojo. I know what I really have to work for and I have to get ready for the Grand Prix in Croatia in one week.


Update: Training for my First World Championships

Everyone keeps asking me, are you nervous? This is going to be your first World Championships. And I feel MORE than ready to compete at the biggest competition of the year. 2013 has been a year of firsts for me, I competed at my first Pan American Championships. I qualified to compete at the World Masters (Top 16 in each weight class) and I also got my first Grand Prix medal this year! And in a few more weeks I will be competing in my first World Championships. And I am more than excited.

Training has been great. I spent a week in Montreal training twice a day, and now I am back home training. Less than 20 days until I am Brazil bound and I can't wait.

This weekend I am going to Maryland attending a fundraiser- to help raise money for the World Championships and other competitions to follow. We also will be selling shirts at this fundraiser. If you would like a shirt please contact me via facebook or email. We will be selling the shirts for $20.00



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