I was dating my husband for 6 years and then got married and after 3 years of marriage I finally started Jiu Jitsu. Years and years I watched him train and I went to tournaments and supported him. Why didn’t I ever start? My confidence! "Its not for woman" is what I always thought. I loved grappling; I was the High School wrestling manager for 4 years. My dad would not let his 90lb daughter wrestle even though I begged him.
When I started dating my husband in 1999 I went to the very first cage fight in AZ and watched him win. It was awesome I was hooked on MMA even though I didn’t know what it was. Did I want to fight? Yes, but would I dare try it out, NO way! When I first started dating Jay he was a blue belt and I always supported him and pushed him to fight and do Jiu Jitsu. If I couldn’t stand up for myself my boyfriend sure as hell was going to be able to protect me.
Years went by tournament after tournament, training after training sessions. Finally a friend of mine started doing Muay Thai at the gym were Jay trained BJJ and she forced me to try. I was scared out of my mind but I fell in love. The instructor even told me he thought when I started I looked like a fragile Barbie doll and I was going to punch and kick like one too. Oh was he wrong, and he admitted to being wrong. I loved that I was under estimated. It was actually a good feeling. I continued to do Muay Thai for a while. I always stared at the Jiu Jitsu class while I was doing Muay Thai. Something was drawing me in but I was still scared to try it. There were no women. "Must be just for the guys" I would think in my head. Well in 2008 I went with my husband to Pan Ams in California, he was competing in the tournament and I was there to support and be my usual nervous self. I kept seeing all of these women competing. There wasn’t a lot of women, but at the time it seemed like a lot. I was motivated! If they could do it why can’t I? We went to eat after and I told my husband and his coach and team mates that I was going to start training and that Pan Ams 2009 was going to be my first competition in BJJ. They laughed and said ya right. I guess they didn’t believe me. All that meant was more motivation to prove them wrong. That Monday I took my first BJJ class. I loved it.
That first class was scary and even though I have been watching for years it is way different when you step on the mat. I had no clue what I was doing and I am a slow learner so I didn’t know what I was doing for a good 6 months. But I kept it up and competed in my first BJJ tournament at the Pan Ams 2009 just like I said I would! I lost my first match but I did it!!! I was so proud of myself and the best part was my husband was too. I still compete today and I am, like I said before a slow learner and not the toughest kid on the block. I lose way more than I win but it doesn’t matter, the feeling is still amazing.
In 2009 there were 8 women in my division at Pans, this past year only 3 years later there was over 30 in that division. What an amazing accomplishment for women in the sport of BJJ. I feel so proud to have been part of that kind of growth. Because of the growth they even added an age division this year for women and I was proud to say that I was able to compete in the first women masters division at pan ams that had 29 woman in my division alone!!! Amazing! BJJ changed my life, it has brought me closer to my husband and I have met and became friends with so many amazing people. I love BJJ and I will roll till the day I die.