Belt Rank: Purple
Academy: Revolution Dojo
Instructor: Jeff Messina
1. What do you do for a living? I help my husband run our Jiu Jitsu school in Katy Texas and I train the students there.
2. Are you a mom? A wife? A girlfriend? A sister? A daughter to awesome parents that let you do Jiu-Jitsu? Lol.. I am a mom and a wife. The only sisters I have are the ones I have accrued in my Jiu Jitsu journey.
3.Where you a tomboy or a girly-girl growing up? For sure I was a huge tomboy. Always asked for footballs instead of dolls, always in a tree somewhere or saving some bug from being squashed by the boys.
4. Did you grow up doing other sports? Anything I could do that involved athleticism, I was there. Volleyball, Basketball, Swim Team and so on.
5. How did you find BJJ? A friend took me to a free trial class.
6. How often do you train? Train up to 2x a day at least 6 days a week.
7. What is the one thing that keeps you from training some days? Being physically incapacitated or my children are the only things keeping me from training. Two things. lol
8. Have you ever wanted to quit? Yes, I used to get really bummed out when I thought my performance during training was inadequate or if someone got something on me I felt they shouldn't have. Putting too much pressure on myself.
9. What drives you or inspires you to keep training? Seeing my Jiu Jitsu grow and transform. Watching the girls I train do well in tournaments keeps motivated. The respect my peers or others who practice this sport give. Seeing myself overcome my internal demons. Winning the battle within myself.
10. Do you compete? Why or why not? I do compete. I want to rep my team. I want to show people my style. I’m proud of my Jiu Jitsu. I want other women or fighters to look up to me and admire my technique. I like to win.
11. Where do you think the drive inside you to fight comes from? (whether you compete or not)
I have had to fight for a long time. I had my son at 18 and since then have been a single mom with no college degree. I moved to different states in hopes of making a good life for the both of us. My mom was a fighter. She worked hard and stayed strong through heart ache, injury and even breast cancer.
12. What are some of your biggest upsets either in training or competition? The Pan Ams last year. I was so nervous and anxious for months leading up to it. I lost so many hours of sleep. By the time I stepped out on the mat, I felt completely drained and exhausted. I was two fights away from Gold and I lost. I lost to a no name school and a girl that wasn't or that is not better than me. I felt myself giving up during the match and I was ashamed of myself. It took me a while to get over it. I would cry a lot and beat myself up a lot.
13. What are some of your best accomplishments either in training or competition, on or off the mats? I always place in tournaments IBJJF or local. I've beaten another girl in my state that usually gets a lot more recognition than I. I also feel that I help everyone who trains at my gym. The students call me “gym mom.” I try to take care of everyone and to be a good example unto the Lord. Far from perfect but focus on Him every day to try and make good decisions.
14. What are some of your fears with BJJ? That I’m not training as hard as my opponents. It’s silly, because I train so much, but still I worry. I worry that it will be so commercial that maybe it won’t be as special.
15. What do you love about BJJ the most? What do you dislike? I love the journey! I love to conquer my fears, feel spiritually balanced, satisfaction of being good at my favorite activity, the people I have met through Jiu Jitsu. (hello, my beautiful husband Jeff Messina)
16. What are your future goals with BJJ? I want to be a World Champion. I want to create world champions. I want to have a jiu jitsu legacy of women who have my fighting style. (cuz you know the guys wont admit when they’re coppin your style). Lol
17. Did BJJ change your life? How? Yes BJJ changed my life. Put me around people with the same positive goals as me. Introduced me to my amazing husband. It gave me a vital tool to help me with my inner conflicts such as my anxiety and my feelings of inadequacy.
18. Do you have a BJJ practitioner you look up to whether it be male or female?of coarse I do. Mackenzie Dern, Nicolini, Kyra, Leticia Ribiero, Jacare, Cobrinha, Julio Fernandez, Rodrigo Medeiros, Jeff Messina.
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? Hey! Come in and try it! It’s gonna be the best thing in your life. I’ll be there training with you. I’m gonna show you things you’ve never seen before. I’m gonna give you confidence you didn’t know you had. I’m gonna teach you how to protect yourself. I’m gonna make you my family.
20. Any last thoughts? Jiu Jitsu is so fulfilling. I don’t think I’d be the person I am today with out it. In fact, I know I wouldn’t be the same. I met my husband through Jiu Jitsu and he showed me this art as I had never seen it before. He helped me develop a passion for this sport that I can no longer live without. He gave me a style of fighting that I could build upon and claim for my own. Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle and a culture. It’s an International language. I can go anywhere in the world and have common ground with another Jiu Jitsu practitioner. I can go to the ends of the earth and be treated like family by a stranger just because we both practice this gentle art. Jiu Jitsu gives me peace. It is my sanctuary. It is my pride. It is part of me. It sets me apart from the world. Train, train, train.