Belt Rank: Blue
Age: 38 years young
Academy: Bakersfield Brazilian Jiujitu (Machado affiliate)
Instructor: Matt Baker & Jill Baker-Riveters
1. What do you do for a living? I am a 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts Teacher, which means I am a little bit of everything!
2. Are you a mom? A wife? A girlfriend? A sister? A daughter to awesome parents that let you do Jiu-Jitsu? I am a wife and a mother! Been married to the love of my life, Kevin, for 16 years, and we have 2 beautiful Children Andrew, 19 (who is a college wrestler) and Jaden , 12.
3. Were you a tomboy or a girly-girl growing up? I was always a tomboy growing up! I lived in the country and had mostly boys to play with, and that made me tough!
4. Did you grow up doing other sports? I have always been active in sports; I was born into a very active family. My parents believed that keeping us all active in sports would keep us out of trouble, so I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and ran track.
5. How did you find BJJ? My husband worked with a guy that trained, and knew a Black belt that was opening a new school, so when they opened he and my son joined the school. I stayed away for a while, but my daughter started going to kids’ class, and I had to go watch. One day, my husband asked if I wanted to try it, so I did a nogi class (because I didn’t have gi) I liked it. I saw that they had pink gis (being the pink queen) I really wanted one, so I joined class just to get a pink gi! Irony was that I didn’t buy the pink gi; I ended up buying a Marine Green gi because it was on sale!
6. How often do you train? It depends on the season. Right now we are are training 4-5 times a week, we try for a miniumin of 3 days a week. We also start our days at the gym at 4:40 am with cardio and strenght training 5 days a week.
7. What is the one thing that keeps you from training some days? Our children have been very active in different sports, so depending on the season we will miss days. Wrestling season consumed our attention for 3 months, other than that not much.
8. Have you ever wanted to quit? Yes!!! As a matter of fact as recently as December I was quitting. Then Jill Baker saved me with her female Riveters Class!
9. What drives you or inspires you to keep training? Knowing that I can train, and it helps that my entire family trains. We all band together to learn and keep each other motivated.
10. Do you compete? Why or why not? I competed as a white belt quite often, however I just competed as Blue for the first time, and now I am motivated!!!!
11. Where do you think the drive inside you to fight comes from? (whether you compete or not) I was born into a competitive family, and the more work I put in the more I want to reap the benefits of it!
12. What are some of your biggest upsets either in training or competition? I don’t like being injured!!!
13. What are some of your best accomplishments either in training or competition, on or off the mats? On the mat, it would be getting out there everyday that I can and training, it takes a lot of dedication and self dicipline to go regulary. Off the mat, would be being married for 16 years!!! We were young and managed to make it thus far and I am assuming much further!
14. What are some of your fears with BJJ? The day I have to hang up my belt and close this chapter of my life!
15. What do you love about BJJ the most? What do you dislike? I love how it makes the mind work and knowing that I can roll with someone bigger than me and still have the ability come out on top. What I dislike is having someone sweat in your mouth!!!!—this has happened!!! Vomit!
16. What are your future goals with BJJ? To train as long as possible!!
17. Did BJJ change your life? How? It brought our family even closer together. We are close to begin with, but it added a dynamic to our relatioship. It also helped with stress relief!
18. Do you have a BJJ practitioner you look up to whether it be male or female? I look up to anyone that dedicates their time to the sport. Specifically, there is a female class at the school where I train called the Riveters. It was started by Jill Baker who has done great things for female jiujitsu in California. She is a mom, teacher, instructor, an amazing brown belt and a great person all together!
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? Come in with me and you’ll be ok, I promise! I was ok, and now I am better thank ok!
20. Any last thoughts? As a school teacher and a 110 pound woman, I often get asked why I choose to train Jiujitsu (after being Karate chopped at), or questioned about my bruises (which I then have to explain them). The only good answer I can give is that I like it. No one truly understands the love of this sport until they become involved in. It becomes a part of your life that you love.