Belt Rank: Blue
Academy: Ribeiro Jiujitsu
Instructor: EJ Ledesma
Darian lives in Canada and trains in Plymouth, MI 2-3 times a week including teaching her own women's class. In 2012, Darian won the Blue belt Juvenile division. She is continuing to train and has a huge passion for the sport.
1. What do you do for a living?
Im a student at the University of Windsor.
2. Are you a mom? A wife? A girlfriend? A sister? A daughter to awesome parents that let you do Jiu-Jitsu?
Im a sister to an awesome brother and cool parents that help me out with traveling for training and competing.
3.Where you a tomboy or a girly-girl growing up?
Growing up I was definitely a tomboy. I always hung out with the guys and played a variety of sports.
4. Did you grow up doing other sports?
I grew up playing other sports but have always had a form of martial arts in my life. I played on as many teams as I could throughout elementary and high school including wrestling, soccer, cross country and badminton.
5. How did you find BJJ?
When i was younger my dad put me in karate as a form of self-defense and confidence building. The karate school eventually turned into a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu academy which led me into falling in love with the sport at a young age.
6. How often do you train?
I try to train as much as I can whether it’s going to workout or going to Jiu-jitsu. If I am getting ready for a tournament I try to train everyday even if it is just a few rounds in the morning, other than that i train about 5 days a week.
7. What is the one thing that keeps you from training some days?
As I’m getting older, I realize that I have other things that get in the way of my training. Work and school are a major commitment and sometimes get in the way of my training.
8. Have you ever wanted to quit?
unfortunately, yes I have but I am so glad I stuck with it. When I was about 12, I was getting bored with the sport just because it was the same thing over and over again; I felt like I wasn’t being challenged and lost interest. My parents pushed me to stay in the sport until I was 16 and I did, it was one of the best decisions that could have been made.
9. What drives you or inspires you to keep training?
The sense of belonging/accomplishment is what drives me to keep training. The jiujitsu community is like a huge family, there is always that feeling that no matter what happens you have someone there for you. Everyday you push yourself to be the best that you can be, you are constantly improving and it all pays off.
10. Do you compete? Why or why not?
yes. I love to compete, it is the reason I love the sport so much. The feeling of adrenaline that you get before, during and after your fight(s) is just great. Tournaments are really fun, you get to meet a lot of new people and test your skills against someone equal to your level. The intensity level is much higher in tournaments than in training.
11. Where do you think the drive inside you to fight comes from? (whether you compete or not)
the drive inside me to fight comes from the passion for the sport I have. Everyone can love something and I love Jiu-jitsu.
12. What are some of your biggest upsets either in training or competition?
For me, my biggest upset is when I don’t have a good training day. Sometimes I have off days where I am not at my full potential, but that just pushes me even harder to train the next day.
13. What are some of your best accomplishments either in training or competition, on or off the mats?
My greatest accomplishment was taking gold at the Pan Ams in 2012. It was by far my favorite win but not because I won; more because I had everyone there for me. It was my second time competing at an IBBJF tournament so I was pretty new to the big tournaments. The greatest feeling is when you win and look out and see your coach, role model and family standing right there; that’s what makes it all worth it.
14. What are some of your fears with BJJ?
My biggest fear with Jiu-jitsu is not being able to make it to training or not being able to train for a long period of time.
15. What do you love about BJJ the most? What do you dislike?
What I love most about Jiu-jitsu is the stress reliever that it gives you. No matter what happens throughout the day, you step on the mat at night and enjoy your time there. By the time I leave the gym at night, my whole attitude changes. There isn’t anything that I dislike about jiujitsu, its my favorite.
16. What are your future goals with BJJ?
my future goals with jiujitsu are to continue to train and compete as much as I can. I hope to someday have my own gym so that I can train full time.
17. Did BJJ change your life? How?
Jiu-jitsu definitely shaped my life. Ive been in jiujitsu since I was a kid and I couldn’t imagine how my life would be without it. I would be a totally different person
18. Do you have a BJJ practitioner you look up to whether it be male or female?
The jiujitsu practitioner that I look up to is Emily Kwok. I met Emily when i was 14, I knew that I wanted to become the best in Jiujitsu but never had a female mentor in my life with common goals. My parents took me to Marcelo Garcia’s gym to meet Emily and train with her. We train 2-3 times a day for a week with classes and privates. Me and Emily still connect on a regular basis and I look up to her for the success level that she has had with her Jiu-jitsu career.
19. If a girl was standing outside of your academy scared to come in and try BJJ, what words of encouragement would you give her?
the best words of encouragement that I could give her would be to just try it because you don’t know how fast you could fall in love with the sport and you don’t know until you try.