I actually joined Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by chance in January of 2014. I walked into my first gym, Paragon of Dallas, after seeing an ad on Groupon for a month long kickboxing class. This started by chance on the Monday after I watched my first UFC fight, UFC 168, Silva versus Weidman. That fight was one hell of a way to become an MMA and UFC fan. Throughout the prelims and the fights leading up to the Silva/Weidman fight, one of my best friends explained the sport to me, and more specifically shared his passion for jiu jitsu. I already knew it was something I wanted to learn more about. Before and during my kickboxing class I saw the ongoing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and I knew I had to try it.
The next day, I tried jiu jitsu for the first time. They actually didn’t have a gi that fit me, so I used a way too large gi top and sweat pants I had worn to the gym to my first class. As ridiculous as I felt I was still excited to try it. I learned my first sweep (one I still use to this day), and from that moment on I was completely hooked; I never went to another kickboxing class. I then started going to jiu jitsu classes every evening, and for a while multiple times a day. I would drive over on my lunch from work, get 5 rolls in, and then head back to work. I had the BJJ bug, and could not possibly get enough of jiu jitsu.
Then came a few injuries. I have torn my rotator cuff, my MCL, a few concussions and more minor injures but it hasn’t deterred me, just made me want it that much more. I now am unbelievably careful of who I roll with, and how I train. You will never catch me getting on the mats without warming up and stretching.
I now train at Alex Martins Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Dallas, TX at Oakfit. I followed my main coach, Alex Martins do Nascimento from Paragon of Dallas when he started his own gym in February of 2015. I currently train under Alex Martins, Vin Abadie, and Lucas Pinhiero. I am unbelievably honored to have three world class champion black belts to learn from. I currently train every day, sometimes twice a day with 6 am classes and night classes in addition to weekly privates, and supplementing with weight training, swimming, running, and yoga.
For more information about my gym, see the My Gym page.
The Next Step on my Journey
I was promoted to blue belt by Alex Martins on December 12th, 2015. I was and still am unbelievably humbled and honored to achieve this next step along my lifelong journey. I currently compete in the IBJJF light feather division, 118.0 pounds and under in gi, and 114.0 pounds and under in nogi.
I try to compete about once a month to truly assess my progression. For me, I find tournaments give the motivation I need to progress with my short-term goals while maintaining realistic long term goals. I believe that having short term goals and long term goals in Jiu Jitsu (or anything) can help maintain positivity and direction in achieving your dreams.
Throughout all of my life I have been very active, growing up a sort of a tomboy and starting both team and individual sports at a very young age. With this, I have always had an ultra competitive side, which I like to think as a positive characteristic. Growing up, I tried numerous sports from gymnastics, swimming and diving, basketball, tae kwon do, softball, competitive figure skating, tennis and anything and everything in between. During high school I was on the swim and dive team and softball team, along with snowboarding in the winters and wakeboarding in the summers. During college I was on the University of Wisconsin Waterski and Wakeboarding team along with intramural court and sand volleyball teams. Each year I still find time to snowboard in Colorado; some passions you never let go. Looking back, it’s not wonder I felt so drawn to jiu jitsu, it holds a lot of aspects of the sports I had grown to love so many years ago.
Jiu jitsu has become an integral part of my life. When I’m not training, I’m writing about it, journaling what I learned in class or looking at youtube videos about it. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it, and even dreaming about it at night. But it has not only become important to me, but also my family. I am a proud mother of a 4 year old toddler, who is just starting to love jiu jitsu. She comes with me to class, and as soon as class is over, she’s bowing to go on the mats, running around like she’s doing warm-ups, and always beaming. Coach Alex is one of her favorite people, and she is constantly asking to go to the gym and to see Coach Alex. In fact there’s a few times she keeps me honest and will tell me I have to go train. I know it’ll become a family sport in a few years and I cannot wait to watch jiu jitsu help her grow as a person as it’s helped me. She is an integral part of why jiu jitsu means so much to me. The changes I saw in myself both physical and emotional are indescribable. If she has a chance to experience even a fraction of that, I know it will help her grow and succeed in life.
Why Women Who Roll
The very first time I rolled with a girl, was during my first tournament after three months of training. For the majority of my training, I have been the only adult female who trained. Even now, there are days where I am the only woman in attendance. I was lucky enough to find an incredible coach and gym, that encouraged me and pushed me to stay in Jiu Jitsu and helped protect me from those who don’t have my best interest at heart, but I know everyone does not have that. Through Women Who Roll I want to help promote and encourage more women to step on the mats, and stay on the mats. By fostering friendships and creating a forum just for jiu jitsu women, I am hopeful that we can continue to see an increase in female practitioners and competitors. One of my long term goals, is to have a sponsorship program, to try to help women be able to afford to train and compete.
Contact us at: WomenWhoRollBJJ@gmail.com