Rank: Blue Belt
Trained: 8 years
Instructors: Paulo Brandao and Donald Park – past two years
You are not reading that wrong, I’ve trained 8 years and am a blue belt but I have to admit I never truly felt I earned my belt until recently.
My jiu-jitsu story started 10 years ago when I saw an advertisement for self-defence classes as I just bought my first home and live alone, I thought knowing self-defence would be useful. It turned out the self-defence aspect was limited but I carried on. About a year into training we started “rolling” and I struggled until someone recommended I try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because it was designed for smaller people. I had no idea what that was and I although felt some loyalty to my Judo instructor I decided to try it anyway. I took one class and was hooked.
For the first two years I only trained twice a week but once I received my blue belt I increase my training to 5 times I week. I enjoy jiu-jitsu but I felt my training lacked something. Once again I struggled and the harder I worked to correct my mistakes the worse it got. There were many factors at play but the biggest was being only one of three girls who trained and the environment was not favorable for women, actually it was close to hostile. It was at this time I realized it needed a change but I didn’t know where to go or what to do so I stayed.
Jiu-Jitsu meant so much more to me than anything and I was ready and have given up everything to study and prefect it. After losing my job, I decided to pick up my life, move to Austin, TX and train with a black belt, Phil Cardella. It was great exposure for me as it open up jiu-jitsu; principles, philosophy and people I never knew about. It was at this time, I met Donald Park a black belt under Royler Gracie and it was like all the pieces I’ve been missing finally fell into my lap and I’ve spent the last two years rebuilding and relearning jiu-jitsu. I’ve now include strength conditioning which incorporates mental fitness into my game which has led to an explosion in my jiu-jitsu.
If I’ve learned anything in the last two years it is that I might never be a world champion but I’m sure going to do my best and have a lot of fun trying.