1. How did you get started in BJJ?
Shortly after I joined Knoxx Martial Arts and Fitness I was encouraged by Coach Josh Thomson to try BJJ. I started in January 2015 and I have been hooked ever since.
2. What is your current rank and who gave it to you? Where do you currently train at now?
Presently I am a three stripe white belt which was given to me by my coaches Josh Thomson and Mark Heinzer this past April. I continue to train exclusively at Knoxx MAF for BJJ.
3. Is there a person you would like to roll with if you were given the opportunity?
I am new to BJJ and to be honest, I am not that familiar with who is who in the BJJ world, but I am slowly learning what’s what. There is not a specific person that I want to roll with, but rather, a group of people I like to rolling with….my teammates, there is nothing I enjoy more than learning and rolling with my coaches and teammates. They are the reason why I have fallen in love with BJJ.
4. Do you compete in BJJ?
I competed in BJJ for the first time at the American Cup which was held this past April 11-12, 2015 in San Jose, California.
5. How did you do in all your tournaments? Accomplishments?
I have only competed once so far. With regard to the American Cup, I personally had no expectations as to my performance for the tournament and registered because I was encouraged by my coaches and teammates to do so. My personal reasons to register was because I love the sport, thought doing a competition would help me learn BJJ faster, that it would inspire me to lose some weight, and also help me measure my progress so far in BJJ. I did not think anything about medaling; my focus was purely on having fun, gaining some experience, and learning. Much to my surprise, I ended up medaling Gold for my class, Female, Heavy, Master 2. I was very proud to contribute to my team and happy that was I able to apply everything my Coaches had taught me over the previous three months to get the win!
6. What do you do for a living? Work? School?
I am self-employed and have a small law firm, Manassau Law Offices, P.C. I practice family, probate, small business, and bankruptcy law. I am on the Santa Clara County Superior Court panel for Minor’s Counsel for family and probate court. I also teach undergraduate and graduate business law part-time at the University of Phoenix, Bay Area Campus.
7. What do you enjoy doing other than BJJ? Hobbies?
Outside of BJJ, I like to take the Cardio Airdyne Bike Class and Kickboxing classes at Knoxx MAF. I like cooking, movies, reading, and will enjoy a very good glass of wine every now and again.
8. How has BJJ changed your life?
BJJ has changed my life, but not just the sport itself, more specifically; training BJJ at Knoxx MAF has changed my life. I love BJJ because I love the coaches and teammates I train with. At Knoxx MAF, we are a family; it is a warm, safe, and inclusive environment. We have men, women, and children of all ages, levels, and backgrounds training, learning, and growing together. I was and am particularly impressed at how women are strongly encouraged to participate in BJJ at Knoxx MAF. It never previously occurred to me to train BJJ until Josh specifically told me to give it a shot, I am so glad I did because now I cannot imagine my life without it.
9. Any advice to the new white belts that recently started BJJ?
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, I always think I ask too many, but that doesn’t stop me from incessantly asking and my questions are always warmly received by my coaches. Also, giving feedback to your coaches is important too, show some love, your coach needs to know if you are learning from their instructions. Finally and most importantly (which is a mantra constantly reaffirmed by Josh and Mark): “If you want to get better at BJJ, show up to practice!” TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN! One day, you will stop getting completely smashed and start doing a little smashing yourself!
10. What do you like most and least about BJJ?
What I like most about BJJ is the learning how to combine athleticism with strategy. It’s not enough to simply drill and learn a technique; you also have to learn how to “think” the technique as well, like putting pieces of a puzzle together. What I like least about BJJ, is how much I miss it when I’m not training; it is a very addicting sport.
11. Do you train any other martial arts or exercise other than BJJ?
I wrestled in high school my sophomore and junior year at Milpitas High School. I trained in boxing and kickboxing at AKA for a year. I still drop in for the boxing and kickboxing every now and again at Knoxx MAF.
12. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview?
Try BJJ, you’ll be glad you did! It will be the most painful, liberating, and amazing experience of your life.
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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