1. How did you get started in BJJ?
My younger sister who is 5 years younger than me was training for a few months and was always trying to convince me to try a class. I always made an excuse: “I’m not ready yet…”, “Let me build up my cardio and strength first…” I watched her compete in her first tournament and I remember screaming my head off even though I had no idea what was going on. I signed up the next day and have been training ever since!
2. What is your current rank and who gave it to you? Where do you currently train at now?
I am currently a blue belt under Ralph Gracie and I’ve been at the Dublin Ralph Gracie academy for almost 4 years.
3. Is there a person you would like to roll with if you were given the opportunity?
It’s hard to pick just one because there are so many people I would like to roll with…but if I had to choose it would be either McKenzie Dern or Michelle Nicollini. Both of these ladies are beasts on the mat but also great role models for women and girls off the mat.
4. Do you compete in BJJ?
Yes I love to compete! There’s nothing like the rush when stepping on the mat for your first match.
5. How did you do in all your tournaments? Accomplishments?
I do pretty well in the local tournaments but at the big level like Pan Ams and Worlds it is always a huge battle to make it to the podium. My biggest accomplishment so far is winning Worlds as a white belt and at this past Worlds I got 3rd at blue belt.
6. What do you do for a living? Work? School?
I work as a data analyst for a software company. So interesting…I know, but that’s why I need BJJ in my life to spice things up!
7. What do you enjoy doing other than BJJ? Hobbies?
I love to eat…a lot. I also enjoy cooking and traveling; my goal is to visit a new country every year.
8. How has BJJ changed your life?
Up until last year my entire life had been by the books; I graduated from college, got a job, bought a house and got engaged to my boyfriend of 6 years. My fiancé wasn’t exactly thrilled when I started training jiu jitsu, his main complaints were about the amount of time it took and my body: “your arms are too big”, “you’re starting to look manly”; one night he actually took a tape measure to compare our biceps. When my sister left for college he told me to quit because I wouldn’t have a female training partner. I remember going to the academy that night in tears because I came in with the intention of quitting. Ralph pulled me off to the side and said: “what the fuck are you quitting for? For that asshole? Break up with him! I’ve got plenty of friends I can introduce you to.” In my mind I was thinking: “who would actually break up with their significant other over jiu jitsu?” It wasn’t until more than a year after that conversation that I finally broke things off with him. It took so long for me to break things off because I felt obligated to marry this guy; we had been together for so long, on top of that we bought a house together and had three dogs. Jiu Jitsu helped me realize that I am in control of my happiness! I’ve been training six days a week and competing like a mad woman ever since…and no one is there is give me a hard time about it!
9. Any advice to the new white belts that recently started BJJ?
Train as much as you can and remember you’ll get your ass handed to you for about a year but don’t quit! It’s hard to see your progression because everyone is progressing together, but once a new white belt comes along you’ll see how much you have improved.
10. What do you like most and least about BJJ?
The thing I like most about BJJ is the physical and mental challenge it provides, and that technique can beat out strength. There’s nothing I don’t like about BJJ!
11. Do you train any other martial arts or exercise other than BJJ?
To prepare for Worlds this year I started a crossfit program. It really helped with my strength and cardio but I don’t think it’s something I would do all year round, probably just to prepare for big tournaments.
12. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview? For those that aren’t currently training BJJ I highly encourage you give it a try! It’s changed my life and I can’t imagine my life without it.
Jiu-Jitsu Spotlight is to allow one’s personal opinions, advices and journey into their Jiu Jitsu training and lifestyle.
If you train Jiu-Jitsu, and would like to be featured on our website and share your love and passion for BJJ, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All belt ranking are accepted as long as you love BJJ and you feel that it as impacted your life for the positive in any way. Osss!
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