Let’s start out with some quick facts about you…
Profession: Business Owner and Stay at Home Mama
How many years in BJJ: Almost 2
Other martial arts: None
Where do you live: Riverside, CA
Where are you originally from: Riverside, CA USA
Other fun or curious information you'd like to share:
Aside from loving Jiu Jitsu, I am a Yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and musician. I homeschool our 3 children and love getting to hang out with them everyday. My husband Alex, and our kids really keep my gypsy soul grounded.
Tell us what inspired you to train?
I have always loved Jiu Jitsu, and I wanted to find a sport that would push my limits. I needed something exciting and rewarding to counter my sedentary office job at the time.
What are the things you enjoy about BJJ?
I love the idea that Jiu Jitsu offers continuous self improvement. It forces you to listen to your body, push your mind, and build confidence. BJJ literally forces a person to be more proactive, think harder, do better, and let go of any ego or selfishness.
Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth training?
I think one of the biggest challenges and rewards in BJJ is vulnerability. There have been times on the mat that you have these really selfless choices to make. Your partner is having a bad day, she or he is not on their A-game; do you take advantage of that and get every win you can, or do you selflessly allow your partner the training they need that day?
I had a night on the mats over 6 months ago, that changed me. Every time I was partnered with this specific person, there was some kind of excuse or complaint, so each time, I offered to “roll light.” Yet every time the clock went off and we bumped fists, this partner would go 110% full force. I let my emotion get the best of me and by the end of the night I was more frustrated than you could even imagine.
I ranted about it the whole drive home. I was really upset and annoyed both at my partner and myself. My husband asked me a good question: When would I stop taking my partners actions personally?
I began to consider that person’s intentions. Their lifestyle, the things they may have been thinking or going through. Without going too deep into it all, that was the moment that I not only changed my game in BJJ, but changed how I allowed things to affect me in my life. Not everything a person does is personal. My partner NEEDED to win that night, even if it was just practice, and even if they weren’t feeling well.
So many emotions naturally come out as a result of the intensity and heart we give to jiu jitsu, and I think that allowing oneself to train in the face of adversity, fear, anxiety, etc., and growing through that process makes training EVERY BIT WORTH IT.
Can you describe the emotion of winning the 2019 IBJJF PANS, being your first competition?
Oh my gosh! I was so nervous and excited! I was so nervous that when I was on the mat and the ref asked me my name, I told him the name my opponent had just given, not my own. I had to correct myself and laughed as I did it. He wanted to laugh, but diligently kept a straight face.
How did it feel to win? I’ll give the same answer that everyone else got: It set amazing, between winning and getting my blue belt on the podium, I can’t imagine a better outcome. But, just pushing myself to go and do it, and train harder than I ever have for anything in my life leading up to it; made me feel like I had already won. If I had lost my tournament, I would have still felt like I won. I proved some things to my self in the months leading up to the 2019 IBJJF PANS, and that for me was the best part of it all. No Gold medal or belt rank could ever make me feel the way my hard work did. But both of those things are tangible reminders that I earned every bit of them both.
If you were to pass on training advice to your fellow training partners, what would it be?
Fear is a liar. The number of stripes, or the color on your belt means nothing if you are not willing to work hard to earn them. Don’t give up, we all have seasons that will be more difficult, or we don’t feel like we are learning, or retaining. Just remember, feelings are deceptive, so on the bad days, I’m not telling you that you have to put a smile on your face when you walk into the academy, nor am I saying that you have to be friends with everyone there. But, be a good training partner, be grateful you have the opportunity to train, and remind yourself why you’re there. Usually that seems to turn the day around. Lastly, don’t take things personally.