Belt Rank: Blue
Time training: 1 year
Coach/Academy: Marcio Silva (out of Xcel Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in New Bedford, MA), an affiliate of the BestWay association under Andre Dedeco Almeida
My name is Jen Hartley, I am a new blue belt, and I have been training for 1 yr. I have 3 daughters ages 6, 10, and 11, who also train . My husband just started training as well . I first became interested in Jiu-jitsu by watching the UFC with my husband back when Tito was fighting Ken Shamrock... we found a gym and my oldest, then 7 yr old, daughter started training. I wanted to try it, but considered myself too "out of shape" ....I am 5'0 and weighed about 148lbs. two years ago I began a crossfit program and last December, at 41 yrs of age, decided to finally try Jiu-jitsu for myself. I was immediately hooked and competed in my first tournament after just 3 months of training, taking silver in nogi and bronze in gi. I earned my blue belt in 10 months after competing in the NY nogi Pans as a white belt in the blue/intermediate divisions, and taking silver in both gi and nogi in the blue belt division at the following NAGA tournament. Having my blue belt presented to me on the mats at that tournament has been the highlight so far in my short jiu-jitsu career. I was honoured recently with a sponsorship from Da Firma Kimono Company, another highlight of my career. I recently quit my job as an adolescent counsellor to work at home with my husband as a writer/editor of proposals. This has allowed me to focus full time on training. I am at the gym every night for 2+ hours a night training under Marcio Silva (out of Xcel Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in New Bedford, MA), an affiliate of the BestWay association under Andre Dedeco Almeida. Like Lana, I also struggle daily with training with larger, heavier men. I am one of only two women who train at my gym, and at 5'0, 118lbs, am constantly being challenged with training technique while preserving my body. I also need to think about age differences, as I am definitely one of the older grappler’s on the mat as well. There have been many times where I have spent two hours getting smashed and dominated by the guys on the mats and have left in tears... but I love the sport, and I have others who look out for me and care enough to get me back out there . I truly love the camaraderie that comes with this atmosphere, The trust and bonds between jiu-jitsu practitioners is very strong and I believe unique to other sports. I have trained at other gyms while out of town, or in open mat situations, and everyone has welcomed me as if we'd known each other forever. This is what keeps me coming back. I have also recently found Yoga, which has helped me not only with my flexibility, but also with bringing calm, peace and balance back to my life. I am very much looking forward to competing and representing DFKC this year, regardless of the outcomes.