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February issue of Jiujiteira Magazine

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Published by jiujiteiramagazine, 2022-02-18 14:41:39

Jiujiteira Magazine February 2022

February issue of Jiujiteira Magazine

Keywords: brazilian jiujitsu,jiu jitsu,womens jiu jitsu,bjj,martial arts,mma,ufc


issue TWELVE | FEBRUARY 2022

Taking Jiujiteiras to

New Heights

Our special correspondent, Charlotte McKinley
discovers the adventure of a lifetime at

Hips & Grips Jiu-Jitsu & Climbing Camps for Women


FEBRUARY 2022 cover story 22

Hips & Grips Camp

sections: 16
Training while Pregnant 38

What are we looking for in Jiu-Jitsu? 6

Be a Good Training Partner


Shifting Your Perspective


Toe Hold


THIS issue:
Stay Hungry

Black Force MMA hosts ChickJitsu




Even with limited Jiu-Jitsu events last

month, Blanca still got to hang out
with Nate Diaz at RVCA in California,
attend High Rollerz latest and catch

Neiman Gracie preparing for his
Bellator fight at Kings MMA



EVELYN SUTTON is on a mission FEBRUARY 2022
to uncover and promote the universe
of women in one of the deadliest ISSUE № 12
martial arts in the world.

PUBLISHER’s corner &

Stay Hungry. king's table

How bad do you want it? There are no on, have leveled up and are now beating Creative Director & CEO
shortcuts to greatness. Only blood, sweat you on the mats. Be graceful and under- Evelyn Sutton
and years of deliberate practice and de- stand this is part of the journey. Be hum-
layed gratification pave the way to success. ble, keep training, step it up, get hungrier, writers
do your best and you'll get your groove Chris Fletcher
If you only train once or twice a week and back on - if you want it bad enough. Charlotte McKinley
you expect to be at the same level or better David Sutton
than someone who trains more often, you To help feed your appetite, you will find in Evelyn Sutton
are setting yourself up for disappointment. this issue plenty of juicy content you can
sink your teeth into, satisfy your cravings Girls in Gis
There's nothing wrong with training only and hunger for more. First course, we open Samantha Seff
once or twice a week if that is all your with an insider look into Black Force MMA, Sophia McDermott
schedule allows, but check your mindset the gym hosting this year's women's only Vanessa Waltz
before you step on the mats. When you grappling event ChickJitsu. One of the Yvone Duarte
show up after a hiatus, come humble and largest gyms in Charleston, SC, you'll be in-
leave your ego at the door. Yes, there will spired by their formidable team of twenty proofreading
be new people. And yes if they are training Jiujiteiras competing at the tournament. Edgard Esperança
hard and consistent, they may beat you.
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few places in life Next, if you are currently expecting or plan sales managers
where life is being lived in the moment, the on starting a family during your Jiu-Jitsu Caitlyn White
truth of who you are in that moment and journey, Professora Vanessa Waltz, first de- (Central Florida)
where you are in your journey is revealed gree black-belt and owner of Gracie Barra
and exposed whether you like it or not. Colorado Springs has the scoop on how to Sierra Minchaca
train and keep your growing baby safe on (Northern California)
Don't be upset when you get tapped by a the mats during your pregnancy.
lower belt who might be younger, faster photography
and hungrier than you. Then comes the main course, our complete Blanca Marisa Garcia
first-person experiential coverage of Hips Charlotte McKinley (cover photo)
Don't be upset if you can't execute a & Grips Jiu-Jitsu & Climbing Camps by our
technique you used to be so good at three correspondent Charlotte McKingley. Evelyn Sutton
months ago. Michelle Chopp
And the rest, is desert. Sweet as pie.
Don't be upset if you come back after a What are you waiting for? Dig in. Oss. HEADQUARTERS/FLORIDA OFFICE:
while and realize your old teammates, 880 Mc Clendon Street, Melbourne, FL 32935
some of who you used to have an advantage U (321) 917-1599
let’s keep rolling... Follow us online and keep the conversation going! Subscribe online at JIUJITEIRAMAGAZINE.COM. Please allow
8-12 weeks for subscription to start. Jiujiteira Magazine, LLC is
jiujiteirausa jiujiteirausa [email protected] published in partnership between LuxDei Studio in Florida and
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shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions in the content.
©2021 All rights reserved. Any reproduction, in whole or in part, is
prohibited without written permission from the publishers.



Coming up



3 days of instruction


ZELLE / 312-671-1104
carlson gracie jiu-jitsu team melbourne, fl
880 mc clendon street, melbourne, fl 32935 M
EL BaOvUi dR NSEu, o I




"Mat Monsters"

Blackforce MMA

one of the largest gyms in SC is the host of 2022 chickjitsu.
Meet the 20 jiujiteiras from BFMMA who are competing

rofessor Dwight Located in a comfortable The Professor brings his and Okinawan Kempo, White
Decker is a 10,000 sq ft facility in the experience in the military, Crane Kempo and Sei Roku
man on mis- heart of Summerville, a short law enforcement, three de- Zen Yo combat Karate. Mr.
sion to protect drive from the beautiful and cades of martial arts training Cullen also received his
and empower historical city of Charleston, and three black-belts to his Bachelor Degree in Japanese
others to be able the gym offers a wide array teaching. That certainly gives Language and Culture and
to protect themselves. of classes including Brazilian him an advantage. Decker is trained, worked and lived in
And he's got some big Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, well versed to train and in- Japan. Decker flourished un-
dreams. Decker has Muay Thai, Cardio Kickbox- struct on very real-life situa- der Cullen’s instruction, who
been working hard all of his ing from dedicated coaches tions such as in a self-defense was also his seventh grade
life—as a police officer, in who are passionate about scenario, for instance, from wrestling coach.
the military, a family man teaching and encouraging a martial arts standpoint,
and in martial arts—to fulfill students to reach their goals. military tactical strategy and “Not having a lot of mon-
his mission and make his a law enforcement perspec- ey and getting picked on,
dreams come to fruition. In a family-oriented environ- tive. Who benefits the most bullied to an extreme, coach
Not just for himself, but for ment with kids, women’s- from his wealth of knowledge Cullen, a master of so many
his family, his students and only classes and programs and life experiences? His forms of martial arts took me
his community. tailored for those who would students, of course. under his wing and started
like to take their training to training me. I was hooked!
Decker is the owner and the next level and become MMA Mentors I always wanted to be able
head coach of Black Force professional fighters, BFMMA to protect people around
MMA, or BFMMA as the locals is the epicenter for all who Martial arts became a huge me and myself. Soon after, I
affectionately call it. Black love martial arts. The acade- part of Decker’s life early on. was introduced to another
Force is home to one of the my has recently joined Team He started training in 1992 martial arts mentor, Da-
country’s leading MMA man- Chitwood as an affiliate (team- under Grandmaster Kevin vid Young, who is a second
agement teams. Decker has The Chitwood Cullen. Cullen has dedicated degree black-belt in Aikido.
almost 30 years of martial brothers, Shawn, Neil and his life to the study and in- I started training with him
arts experience and before Craig are all Brazilian Jiu-Jit- struction of traditional Jap- and he then introduced me
opening BFMMA, served as a su black-belts under Grand- anese fighting arts achieving to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Pro-
police officer and in the navy. master Relson Gracie. black-belts in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, fessor Sean Chitwood.”




From Wrestling to Karate to During childhood, a strong teach you wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu black-belt division and I
Jiu-Jitsu, Decker excelled in work ethic was instilled in and striking if you let me brought my championship
all. By 1997, he was training Dwight by his father and that beat you around for a couple belt to the hospital. He saw
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under is something the Professor of rounds. That’s how things me come in and said, ‘what’s
Professor Shawn Chitwood still values to this day. got started.” up champ?’ Regardless of
who is still currently his what he was going through,
Professor. Shawn achieved “From a young age I learned After Professor Decker and he would always encourage
six different black-belts in that everything you want, his family moved to a new me. I looked at him in that
his martial arts career, three you have to earn. I get up house, the training sessions hospital bed and I said, “hey
national titles, and one world early every day and I’m at started taking place in their brother, I got this one for
championship title. In BJJ, my gym putting in the work small single-car garage. you.” I laid the championship
Shawn trained directly under when no one is around, you And it quickly grew from a belt on his hospital bed and
Relson Gracie and is one of know, always trying to make handful of security guards that gave me a purpose. That
the very first Americans to Black Force the best it can be to more and more people was one of the last times I
receive a black-belt from the and my teaching the best it coming over. “My wife would saw him and I’m so grateful
Brazilian Grandmaster. can be. Constantly growing be walking the dog and our that I was able to spend time
and moving forward." neighbors would stop her with him. Two weeks later,
In 2006, a week before and ask ‘aren’t you the wife Steve ended up passing away.
joining the military. Decker “The greatest reward for of the guy that puts the big It’s amazing all he did for me
received his black-belts. He me is seeing a kid come into truck tire down the road?” in my life.”
joined the US Navy as part of the gym who has been going
the Anti-Terrorism and Force through a hard time maybe With cars parked all over BFMMA Women
Protection unit. Before the with bullying, someone who their road of students attend-
military, Decker who served has low self-confidence, low ing Decker’s garage classes, Black Force has a large
as a police officer was also self-esteem and in just a few it was just a matter of time female presence at their
part of the SWAT team. months of training you see before the HOA got involved. gym. Being the father of a
the transformation. They Decker’s wife, Alicia was the daughter, himself, Professor
“I see myself as the protector grow mentally and you see one who suggested he should Decker takes the self-defense
of people around me. It’s in him or her start picking their open up a gym. training of his ladies very
my blood. Growing up, I had head up, walking tall, mak- seriously. He wants to make
a brother who was adopted, ing eye contact with people. Once Black Force was offi- sure they are ready to face
and his biological grandpar- They’re talking rather than cially a business, they expe- any opponent on the mats
ents actually tried to kidnap just staring at the floor. I love rienced phenomenal growth but also in real-life and can
him. I was in second grade at seeing that growth. That is starting first in a 1300 sq ft effectively protect them-
the time and I had to grow the reward for me. Truly.” location, from there expand- selves in any situation.
up really quick. That’s a ing to 4,000 sq ft and now
pretty young age to already the beginning enjoying a 10,000 sq ft gym “Some of our young ladies
have to be “street smart”. which makes them one of the compete in wrestling. Many
My brother was faster than Once Decker was stationed in largest and fastest growing of them end up going all the
me, and I knew I could take Charleston, South Caroli- martial arts schools in SC. way to State. I call them “Mat
a beating so most times, if na, he immediately began Monsters”, because they look
there was trouble, I would searching for a gym to train Decker gives credit to his sweet and innocent until
tell him to run and go get my at but couldn’t find anything business partner Scott they put their hands on you
dad to come pick us up, call that would accommodate his Bartkus for helping him get and the beast comes out.”
the cops, get away from the demanding military sched- started. The two have been
situation. We would run in ule. Work shifts would last in business together for 11 Understanding that Jiu-Jitsu
different directions and we anywhere from 12 to 16 hours years. When it comes to busi- is a close contact form of
would have a place where guarding nukes. A very high- ness mentors Decker is grate- martial art, one of the main
we would meet up and from speed, high-stress job. ful for his Professor Shawn goals of the gym is to assure
there go home together. It Chitwood’s guidance and the ladies have a safe place
was pretty crazy.” “During shifts, we had a lot also speaks highly of Steve to train where they feel com-
of time. I still worked out Hindman's advice, friendship fortable with their coaches
Fast-forward to 2019. Profes- regularly, even did a few and encouragement. and teammates, as well as
sor Dwight Decker is induct- power lifting events in the empowered and motivated to
ed into the prestigious Mar- Navy but I was really missing “Steve never let me lose sight learn and reach their goals.
tial Arts Hall of Fame for the my martial arts training. I of the main goal and the
first time. He’s invited back started asking some of the se- main goal is to be successful For the women who aren’t
the following year, 2020, and curity guys who got off work at running the gym. To do quite ready yet to roll and
more recently again in 2022, the same time I did, if they that, you have to stick to the drill with men, Black Force
making him a 3 times Martial wanted to roll. They were blueprint. In 2014, Steve had offers women’s only classes
Arts Hall of Famer. That’s an like, ‘what are you talking 70% of his liver compromised to help these new students
impressive accolade. about?’ I would tell them, I’ll due to cancer. That year, I get acclimated with Jiu-Jitsu,
won the NAGA men’s expert


build up their confidence and give them Q &A with
a chance to train with other women,
before deciding to attend co-ed classes. Dwight Decker

Hosting ChickJitsu JM: What are some of the most useful
BJJ submissions women should master?
The first installment of ChickJitsu DD: Cross Collar: it’s close contact and it’s
took place last year in Tampa, Florida. a very effective choke when done correctly.
Professor Decker took a small portion of Most guys wear a hoodie, a jacket or
his women’s competition team to attend a t-shirt, considering in a self-defense
and they ended up placing second situation the attacker is most likely a
overall, outperforming almost all of the man. The same technique used to apply
other schools who brought larger teams. the choke on the gi, you use to apply the
choke to what they are wearing. Armbars:
Decker was contacted by the event If a choke isn't available, go for an arm.
organizers, who were asking if he Train yourself to see armbars everywhere.
knew anywhere in South Carolina They are available from most positions if
where they could host the second you know how to look. RNC: A classic. If
installment of ChickJitsu. you can get to it, a good old rear naked
choke gets the job done. Get away from the
Black Force’s 10,000 sq ft location came P RO FESSO R DW IG HT DECKER HA S RECEN T LY situation: In my women self-defense class
to mind and once the event organizers RECEIVED HIS 3RD INDUCTION INTO THE I teach them first and foremost, if they can,
stopped by for a visit, they were certain MARTIAL ARTS HALL OF FAME ACCOMPAINED BY get away from a dangerous situation as
Black Force was the perfect choice. A HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE, ALICIA DECKER. fast as possible. Hit a hip escape and get
great supporter of women’s Jiu-Jitsu, out of there instead of re-engaging and
Professor Decker hopes to give Chick- An equal-opportunity Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu risking taking a punch to the face from a
Jitsu a permanent home in BFMMA for school, most BFMMA ladies cross train with stronger attacker and being knocked out.
their competitions in South Carolina. the men, especially those in their compe- If you stay, you might be winning the fight
tition team. “If you train with somebody but at any moment, things can turn, you
Ready, Set, Go bigger, heavier, stronger or better than you, might get tired, your cardio might give out
you’re going to perform at a much higher level or the attacker might overpower you. You
When getting his team ready for than you normally would if you only train don’t really know how your body will react
competitions, Decker emphasizes that with people who match you in weight, size, to the adrenaline dump. In a self-defense
mindset is everything. From his mili- strength and skill. You really have to push situation, your goal is not to win the fight
tary background, he has developed a the envelope and get out of your comfort but to get away from the danger as quickly
training strategy focused on building up zone. The uncomfortable realm of Jiu-Jitsu is as possible. The best defense is to escape.
mental toughness. where you experience the most growth.”
JM: What if you can’t escape?
“If you beat yourself up mentally and DD: If you can’t escape or get away from
you doubt yourself, you’re never going to the attacker, keep attacking. Chokes are
achieve your goals. Fear has killed more your best friends. Choke them unconscious
dreams than anything else. My priority and call the police. When you talk to the
is to first prepare them mentally to police, the first thing you want to say,
compete and then move on to technique because it’s on a recorded line is “I was
and game plan.” in fear for my life”. All the calls that come
through 911 are recorded and will be
With the mental strategy in place, solid Self-defense focus replayed over and over again. Many times,
technique is next on the list. Drilling, the calls decide if someone gets charged
repetition, and taking an hour class to Decker’s law enforcement perspective and or walks away. It’s usually the first thing
focus on one position or one submission military background provides him with the jury will hear. Regardless of what
is part of the process. insight that significantly impact the level of happened, “I was in fear for my life”, is the
self-defense instruction his students receive. number one thing you want to establish
“We prepare for everything. Military in a self-defense case. An attacker is not
style mind and body conditioning. We “When it comes to self-defense training, we going to tap out there on the streets. They
work on defense, attacks and count- need to prepare for reality, not some fantasy. are there for one purpose and one purpose
er-attacks. We work until we can’t work The truth is that you don’t get to pick who only. If you can’t escape the situation,
anymore. All the ladies show up ready attacks you out on the street. I think it’s im- violence will quickly escalate and if you
to put in the work. We go through every portant particularly for women to train with don’t establish self-defense from the
possible scenario, get everything out in as many different people as possible at the beginning, there’s a very real possibility
the open. As a team, we over prepare, gym. Learn how to apply Jiu-Jitsu techniques that the jury might no longer see you as a
and over deliver. Our opponents never to different body types. Y victim but as the aggressor. I was in law
see us coming once we hit the mats.” enforcement for a very long time and I
understand the ins-and-outs of law. There’s
a fine line between attacked and attacker.
The police has to be able to clearly
differentiate between the two. You don’t
want to go from victim to attacker.


Blackforce MMA

Abbie Gates, 7 years old    |    Rank: Gray Belt

Abbie has been training since summer of 2020
What BJJ means to her: Power strength and honor.
How has BJJ impacted her life: Life is just more fun with jujitsu
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: I’m most
excited about trying to beat all the other girls, hopefully I get lots of medals!

Favorite Position:  Back Control Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Harlei & Andreanna Obraza, 4 and 6 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

Harlei: "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helped me be tough! I learned how to protect myself
against bad guys and help others if they need help."
Andreanna: "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has helped me learn how to protect myself and
to protect and help others. It also helped me feel confident."

Harlei Andreanna

Favorite Position:  Knee on Belly Favorite Position:  Full Mount

Favorite Submission: Arm Bar Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Briana Destefanis, 17 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: Jiu-Jitsu means everything to me, and has forever
changed my life. It has taught me confidence, strength, motivation and self worth. I
am a new person with new morals and a new found passion for this sport.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: I'm most
excited to be surrounded with support from my teammates! Along with
experiencing the true definition of girl power with my fellow competitors.

Favorite Position:  Mount Favorite Submission: Triangle

Caroline Huggins, 7 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: I love Jiu-Jitsu! It is so much fun. I love playing
"Zombies" and the back to back matches with my teammates.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: I’m excited for
the experience and to possibly win and "kick some butt"!

Favorite Position:  Back Control Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Clara Lima, 13 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: I love a challenge! Every day training BJJ is a new
day to learn. Even if that means not getting a good roll, I'm still learning what I
did wrong and how I can fix it.
How has BJJ impacted her life: It’s great for safety reasons and helps me
with self-discipline.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: I love to meet
new competitors, and having the support of my team boosts my confidence.

Favorite Position:  Mount Favorite Submission: Guillotine


2022 Ladies Competition Team

Cruz Costilla, 14 years old    |    Rank: Orange Belt

What BJJ means to her: Security. I love that I get to learn self-defense.
How has BJJ impacted her life: It has opened the doors for me to wrestle. It's
a source of confidence and skill, it's also a great way to exercise and get fit!
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m excited to be part of it with all my teammates.

Favorite Position:  Mount Favorite Submission: RNC

Daniella Caroline Abungan Taylor, 11 years old  |    Rank: Yellow Belt

Daniella has been training since January of 2020
What BJJ means to her: BJJ means the world to me. I would rather trade in
all of my money than quit training. It has made me physically stronger, and
has given me self-discipline.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m excited for the thrill and adrenaline of competing against someone new.

Favorite Position:  Full Guard Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Hailey Spangler, 12 years old    |    Rank: Yellow Belt

Hailey has been training for 5 years
What BJJ means to her: It means that I can protect myself, have fun
and make new friends that also enjoy Jiu-Jitsu.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: Since I'm an
Ambassador for Chick-Jitsu I'm excited to be competing and seeing all the
women and young ladies come represent womens Jiu-Jitsu, and have fun!

Favorite Position:  Side Control Favorite Submission: Key Lock

Jacqueline Reagor Wilson, 26 years old    |    Rank: Blue Belt

What BJJ means to her: BJJ has enriched my life with increased confidence,
strength, and self-defense capabilities. Not to mention a place the husband and I can
‘fight’ things out in a healthy way! I've met such inspiring people, including my coach/
higher belts and some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We’re a team and a family.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: Witnessing
the future of the sport for females and actively contributing to its momentum.

Favorite Position:  Back Control Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Jorie Sidoti, 12 years old    |    Rank: Yellow/Black Belt

Jorie has been training for two and a half years
How has BJJ impacted her life: I used to look like a potato but I don’t now
and it has given me confidence so I’m not shy anymore.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m excited that I might get a super fight!

Favorite Position:  Side Control Favorite Submission: Arm Bar


Blackforce MMA

Karliah Leonard, 9 years old    |    Rank: Gray Belt

What BJJ means to her: It means strength to me. It has made me stronger
mentally and gave me courage. I used to be nervous about getting out on the
mats for class or competitions. But my coach has taught me I have the skills
and confidence to compete.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m most excited to roll with other strong confident girls like me!

Favorite Position:  Guard Favorite Submission: Arm Triangle

Kimberley (Kimmie) Collins, 38 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: To me BJJ means being healthy and having my
family doing an activity together to keep us closer. It has helped me let go of
inactivity and unhealthy habits and get my body, mind and spirit healthier.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m most excited about my daughter and I competing together at Chick Jitsu!

Favorite Position:  Technical Mount Favorite Submission: Omoplata

Layla Decker, 7 years old    |    Rank: Gray/White Belt

What BJJ means to her: Jiu-Jitsu is fun to me. I like it because
it teaches me self defense. I have many friends at the gym.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I like challenges and this competition will be a fun challenge to me!

Favorite Position:  Knee on Belly Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Lillie Costilla, 16 years old    |    Rank: Orange Belt

What BJJ means to her: Confidence. Every time I roll, I feel confident!
How has BJJ impacted her life: It has given me lots of opportunities
and a journey that I am excited to be in, every turn and step of the way.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m excited to meet all the other women who will be at the competition.

Favorite Position:  Mount Favorite Submission: Arm Bar

Maria Fernandez, 11 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: Self-defense. I feel good knowing
that I can protect myself in any situation.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu: I am excited
about meeting new people and making new friends who also love BJJ!

Favorite Position:  Full Guard Favorite Submission: Triangle

2022 Ladies Competition Team

Megan McDowell, 33 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

How has BJJ impacted her life: As a business owner and someone who
has been working in the same industry for fifteen years, I was at the point
where I felt restless and stuck in a rut. Starting BJJ was a humbling experience
because I was no longer “one of the best” at something - in fact, I was terrible
and it took a long time for everything to start clicking. I never imagined that at
33 I’d find myself doing a martial art, but I’m so happy I did! I feel empowered!

Favorite Position:  Side Control Favorite Submission: one I can hit

Ronni Szeszko, 37 years old  |    Rank: Blue Belt

What BJJ means to her: To me, BJJ means both community and personal
accountability. It has been the healthiest outlet I’ve found for managing my
social, physical, and mental well-being, especially through this pandemic, while
simultaneously keeping my ego hilariously in check (JiuJitsu doesn’t lie). As a
mother, wife, and property accountant, I often run on fumes and don’t prioritize my
own needs. BJJ has created the space my life needed for me to show up for myself.

Favorite Position:  Back Control Favorite Submission: Ankle Lock

Sydney Palma, 16 years old    |    Rank: Blue Belt

What BJJ means to her: I love BJJ, it has made me a stronger, more confident. 
I love my Blackforce family and all the people I get the chance to meet.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I can't wait for the competition.  I'm looking forward to competing against
some great female opponents and getting to do it at my gym.

Favorite Position:  Back Control Favorite Submission: Von Flue

Viviana Martinez, 15 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

What BJJ means to her: Jiu-Jitsu has made a big impact on my life by
showing me different ways to protect myself, it’s my get away place when
times are hard.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I am most excited to use the BJJ moves I’ve been working hard on and
practicing. I want to showcase how far I’ve gone with my Jiu-Jitsu.

Favorite Position:  Mount Favorite Submission: Guillotine

Michelle Kemp, 12 years old    |    Rank: White Belt

How has BJJ impacted her life: It’s a fun hands on sport with interesting
moves. It has made me stronger physically and mentally. Jiu-Jitsu has really
built up my confidence.
What are you most excited about competing at ChickJitsu:
I’m excited to grapple with other competitors. I enjoy competing and look
forward to what my opponents will bring to the mats!

Favorite Position:  Guard Favorite Submission: Kimura




the most exciting girls only grappling event of the year!

MARCH 5TH 2022


NoGi Women’s Absolute Kids, Teens, & Adults

$500+ PRIZE





Can I still...




Pregnancy & Jiu-Jitsu

Keeping things in Perspective

Let’s cut right to the question I get asked most often:
Can I still train while pregnant?

Keep in mind, I am not a doctor and am in no way issuing medical advice.
Always ask your doctor for advice pertaining to your personal health.  These are simply
observations from personal experience.  Now that that is out of the way, my answer is simply:

it depends on how experienced you are.  The longer you have been training jiu-jitsu,
the longer you can safely navigate the waters of studying while pregnant. 

say this for two reasons.  ment, over-exertion, and come back when it feels
One, if you’re more ex- there is a lack of knowledge right for you! I am currently
perienced (purple &  above) that can lead to abdominal expecting kiddo number two
you're likely to feel more trauma. Frankly it’s not and have been on the mats
comfortable setting healthy worth the risk.  That sucks for just about 20 years. There
boundaries with your to hear because jiu-jitsu is are a lot of resources available
training partners and know so fun and it’s hard to pause to you for your own research
who is safe to work with. progress especially when and not to mention all of the
Two, you have the capacity to our peers get to continue. unsolicited advice, but here
modify techniques and Remember this:  jiu-jitsu are some things I've observed
hold a much higher body isn’t going anywhere!  No and learned through each
and movement aware- matter what rank you are, if trimester and training.  I
ness to keep yourself and baby you feel safer stepping back was a brown belt the first
safe.  If you’re a white belt, I to focus on being that wholly time I was blessed with this
recommend taking a break.  badass goddess growing life experience so keep that rank
This phase of BJJ is dedicated in a different way, I applaud recommendation in mind.
so much to defensive move- you and encourage you to

1 First Trimester 2 Second Trimester

Oooooooh the fatigue!  Boy oh boy both of my Ahhhhhhhhh this one is commonly most fa-

pregnancies this has been the hardest trimester. vorite.  My first pregnancy I was so disappointed
Hormones are wild, building the powerhouse that I was still hurling every day, several times
for little one, and you may feel like not getting a day (which actually lasted until the moment I
out of bed for days. Honor your body.  Grab rest delivered!) This time around, I see what the hub-
when you can, but try your best to get 30 minutes bub is about and am enjoying this phase very
of exercise daily.  OVERHEATING is the main much!  A bounce back of energy, less nausea,
concern for pregnancy and exercise, especially and midnight hard boiled eggs ( just me? lol).  
the first trimester.”Overheating
in the 1st trimester may harm baby development.  Jiu-Jitsu:
Babies whose moms had an elevated temperature
during the first few weeks of pregnancy have an Just because we get a reprieve from fatigue and
increased risk for heart problems and neural motion sickness does not mean we can go balls
tube defects. (Neural tube defects such as spina to the wall on the mats!  Be very selfish with
bifida affect brain and spinal cord.)” your priority for safe training.  Best not to be
going for takedowns at this time in live train-
TIPS TO HELP AVOID OVERHEATING: ing, although you can absolutely practice and
• Stay hydrated! Keep a bottle of drill technique if it feels good to you.  Be under-
standing of those who might feel uncomfortable
water with you at all times. working/training with you!  Put yourself in their
• Avoid training in closed, hot rooms. position:  they feel responsible for your safety
• Splash cold water on face & body to refresh and more importantly your baby.  That’s a lot of
• Soreness: warm epsom salt bath (not too long), pressure!  Some feel better to not be put in that
position and keep in mind that it has nothing to
keep a cool towel nearby.  Opt for a massage do with you.  Thank them for thinking of your
instead of using a heating pad on sore muscles  safety and find someone else.  If you ever find
you’re without a partner, stay and take notes. 
Jiu-Jitsu: Talk to your friends, and go for a walk.  Some
days require flexibility, remember this is a small
Don’t push too hard.  Now is really the blip in your life and before you know it, you’ll
time to make BJJ the gentle art.  With be rolling and sweating with your team again! 
elevated heart rate and change in blood STAY HYDRATED and bring a snack for after
pressure, really tune in to how you're class to avoid low blood sugar.
feeling.  If you get dizzy, faint, or nau-
seous, take a break!  Lower the intensity
and take a moment to talk to yourself. 
Remind yourself that you are not lacking.
That this is a very special time and each
course is unique.  Your journey and YOU
are beautiful and your first priority is to
be healthy, happy, and hopeful!


3 Third Trimester Keep your pregnancy in perspective: 
it is yours to experience how you
Oooooooooof things get a bit uncomfort- see fit and that’s perfect!  Don’t let
“missing out” on Jiu-Jitsu stop you if
able.  But amazing things are happening and it’s you’re ready to grow your family.  BJJ
the final stretch!  By now you can feel wiggles should always compliment your life
and kicks, maybe have a name picked out, and rather than complicate it. Celebrate
nesting for the next phase of a growing family the choices that you make for
(not to mention belly!)  In my readings, there your health, safety, and continued
have been no link to exercise and miscarriage badassness-even if that means not
with the exception of overheating in the first training for a year!  Jiu-Jitsu will be
trimester and abdominal trauma.  Even though there when you’re ready.  You got this!
we start to see the biggest physical changes in
this trimester, exercise is still great for you and
baby as long as it feels good.  


By now, you might feel better putting BJJ on
pause to focus on different exercises, and that’s
awesome!  A lot of women find yoga, pilates,
barre, and water exercises to be a great compli-
ment to pregnancy.  Watching technique and
comp videos is a great option and will keep your
mind excited for Jiu-Jitsu.  If you’re still on the
mats, it’s flow rolling, modified techniques, and
purposeful movements.  Competitors:  I person-
ally know that it can be difficult to slow down,
especially if you have invested a significant
amount of time/energy into your career.  Let me
tell you:  RELAX.  Try to savor and indulge in
every single moment of being a woman expect-
ing.  Your career will be there after.  As women
we are tenacious, fierce, and unstoppable!  You
CAN enjoy this time AND become champion! 
Allow your focus to shift and this will be so
much more beautiful, enjoyable and memora-
ble.  Eat right, get your 30 minutes of moderate
daily exercise, rest, and you will be better pre-
pared for the baby and all the ass kicking you
can stand after the arrival!! 

VA NES SA WA LT Z is a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and
owner of Gracie Barra Colorado Springs. Professora Waltz is
an active competitor with multiple world titles and a social
media inffluencer who loves to share her enthusiasm and
passion for life and Jiu-Jitsu. IG: @infinitydestro


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SM: I think it's a double-edged become a passion for them and even
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to be respected for our skills and could literally save someone's life. Y
what we bring to the sport, what we
bring to the arena and not by the
way we look or how we dress. On
the other hand, I absolutely believe
that women have a right to do what
they want with their bodies. And
if it's empowering to somebody to
pose in a sexy way, be glamorous
and wear heels, then I really think
that is entirely her right. It's all
about autonomy. The fact is that in
male-dominated sports, historically,
women have always been kind of
sexualized. So it can be a difficult
thing to navigate because there is
a double standard in our culture.
Women can't show off their bodies
without running the risk of being
judged, but it's perfectly ok for a
guy to take off his gi top in class and
walk around shirtless. Nobody lifts
an eyebrow.



Hips & Grips JiuJitsu & Climbing Camps For Women

ATHE dventure

ver since interviewing Almine Barton for her
Hips & Grips Camp, I was enthralled by the idea of a
Jiu Jitsu and climbing camp for women. What an amazing
experience that must be! I was starting to be a little
jealous of the ladies who got to go on the trip.
Imagine my delight when Evelyn Sutton sent me to
report on the camp for Jiujiteira Magazine.
January 15, 2022 could not come soon enough!

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL Mountains, I realized that Prior to arriving in Mon-
I was going to be in for a trose, I had coordinated
I stepped onto the airport treat. The mountain peaks with 10th Planet white belt
grounds of Orange County’s were capped with snow and Kelly Hurst on renting a
John Wayne airport at 7:30 the skies were graced by shuttle. After tossing my
Saturday morning. In a few wispy white clouds. bags in the back of the van,
short hours I would go from our driver took us to the
sunny California to sunny When I landed in the gorgeous town of Ouray,
Colorado. The trip was Montrose airport, there was Colorado. He regaled us with
uneventful other than the decidedly less snow than I stories of Ouray, Telluride
realization that the Denver was expecting. Despite that, and the surrounding area.
airport was massive. the wilderness of Colorado
drew me in. There would be When we finally arrived
I got a little taste of what an adventure to be had—I at the designated meeting
Colorado would look like just had to get off the plane, place, I finally met Almine
from pictures Almine sent, meet Kelly and ride our for the first time in person.
but as I flew over the Rocky shuttle 45 minutes to Ouray. Even from down the street,



her enthusiasm was con- would be an understate-
tagious. She was ecstatic ment. The better word
that all of the ladies were would be “mansion.” De-
coming in for the camp. spite its size and the fact
She was enthusiastic, up- that I kept getting lost
beat and filled with good trying to find the pantry,
energy. I knew right away the house soon became
that this was going to be a cozy. I bunked downstairs
phenomenal experience. with Jen, Lola, Kelly, and
blue belt Amy Barry.
After meeting up with
Easton Training Center The end of the night was
blue belt Jen Ritzke, Hips marked by climbing leg-
and Grips Jiu Jitsu blue end Kitty Calhoun coming
belt Yesenia Carpenter, with a colleague to help
Mexico’s Alliance Jiu Jitsu us get our ice climbing
Monterrey purple belt gear fitted. This included
Lola Carsi and Colorado making sure our boots fit
Springs Gracie Barra first right, our crampons fit the
degree black belt Vanessa boots, we had the appro-
Waltz, we all walked down priate helmets, everyone
to the local grocery store had signed the waivers
to pick up sustenance for and so on. After this,
the following five days. Almine sat us down in a
The store also sold bottled circle to explain how the
oxygen. I remember camp was going to work,
thinking “Who would buy introduce ourselves, intro-
that? It seems like it’s for duce 10th Planet second
schmucks!” Little did I degree black belt Amanda
know how useful that can Loewen and also Colorado
of oxygen would be. Springs Gracie Barra first
degree black belt Vanessa
When we all arrived at Waltz as the instructors.
the house, we were awed Then it was off to bed so
by the enormity. To call we could wake up early to
the residence a “house” get to the climbing park.

The mountain peaks were capped with snow
and the skies were graced by wispy white clouds.


cover story hips & grips


DAY 2 - ICE CLIMBING When we made our way into the Despite the differences, there
WITH THE GREATS gorge where our ice routes were, were many similarities ice
my first thought was of how climbing had with my other
Sunday morning we woke up before similar the ice wall looked to the climbing experiences. I still
the sun had crested the mountain frozen waterfall in The Chronicles had to make sure I had a good
peaks. We were out the door and at of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and base, my hips were into the wall
the gates of the climbing park with the Wardrobe. My second thought and I had good posture. For ice
the intent to get in line before the was how breathtaking the entire climbing in particular, it was
onslaught of ice climbers. We were view was. There was ice in front of really important to have a good
mostly successful. me, snow below me and bare rock base, posture and make sure you
behind me. knew where you were headed.
Sound familiar?
We split into two groups: beginners Since I had more experience
and those with some experience. top-roping than most of the other After our half-day of climbing,
Those that had less experience girls, I did a good portion of be- Jen, Vanessa, Kelly and I went to
climbed on the “kid wall” with one laying climbers as the other girls the Mexican restaurant in town
of the guides. My group went with learned how to belay. I really like before we met up with the rest
Heidi “Almighty” Wirtz and Kitty belaying, so that was not a prob- of the ladies in the vapor caves.
Calhoun—two legends in rock lem for me at all! However, when I
climbing. Despite being legends, actually got to climb, that experi- Personally, I do not like small,
they were both very self-effacing, ence was far better than belaying. confined, hot, steamy spaces.
though it was clear they knew what Despite my anathema to what
they were talking about. Ice climbing was unlike any other is essentially most vapor caves,
climbing I have ever done. I have I went in with the rest of the
On the trek to our specific route, Yes- top-roped, I have bouldered, I have ladies. We had to be quiet, so I
enia and I fell behind the pack, huff- lead-climbed, and I would be re- did not last very long in the cave
ing and puffing. Despite our huffs miss to forget to mention the trees myself. Thankfully, there was
and puffs, the heaves intended to I have shimmied up! Ice climbing another pool outside that we all
pull more air into our oxygen-starved was a whole other experience. I congregated in where we could
bodies did not do anything. I thought was working with ice tools which laugh, be loud and talk about
longingly of the bottled oxygen back meant I was not grabbing anything, how our day went.
at the store. In the end, I was the and I had to kick my feet into the
“shmuck” who needed oxygen. wall instead of stepping on a ledge. At the end of the day, I fixed
myself a peanut butter and jelly
sandwich, headed down to the
theater room with the other
ladies and ended the night
watching Journey 2: The
Forbidden Island featuring
Dwayne Johnson.

Then, it was off to bed to get
rested up for a day filled to the
brim with Jiu Jitsu.



Monday morning we woke up, ready
and raring to go. We loaded up in
the cars and were off to learn from
professoras Amanda Loewen and
Vanessa Waltz. Amanda taught in
the morning, and Vanessa taught in
the afternoon after our lunch break.

Learning from Amanda was a really recently, the mule deer that hung “sandpaper” in Spanish. Essential-
neat experience—especially since around his mother’s house and the ly, I completed the techniques as
she taught in the gi and is usually turkeys that paraded up the streets. smooth as sandpaper (ie: not at all).
thought of predominantly for her
no-gi. For someone who has won We hit a slight delay in our plans af- After Vanessa was finished teach-
multiple FloGrappling matches and ter our lunch break was finished. All ing, we packed up and split up.
is currently undefeated in her pro- the ladies left the community center, Some of the ladies went to various
MMA career, she was extremely laid but little did we know that it had hot springs around Ouray, others
back. She very obviously knew what locked behind us. When we went to like myself went to the house to nab
she was talking about and was can- get in, we could not! After calling the a shower. After we were all show-
did with what she did or did not like. various members of our group to see ered and clean, Jen, Lola, Kelly, and
if anyone had the key, we determined myself all made supper. No, I did not
One thing that I really remember that it was locked inside the build- eat a PBJ this time.
from her lesson was that even ing. Thankfully, the chief of police
though I might not use XYZ in my came and let us back in so we could We brought our meals down to the
own game, it is still very important resume our time of Jiu Jitsu. theater room and watched Jungle
to know how to perform it. For Cruise, another movie featuring
instance, in my personal game, I For me, the highlight of the trip was Dwayne Johnson. When the movie
do not use the “trap an arm, trap a learning from Vanessa. She has been ended, we all went to our shared
leg” mount escape. I prefer to get to one of my Jiu Jitsu idols for quite a room, got ready for bed, and went
half guard then guard. However, it few years, so getting to know her and to sleep in preparation for the next
is important for me to know it for learn from her was a dream come day’s adventures.
two reasons: what if I need to use it true! Her entire vibe and energy was
because my current method is not very infectious. I did not stop grin-
working and what if I need to teach ning the entire time I was training.
it to someone else because their
game would benefit from it? We worked on a takedown that Va-
nessa dubbed the “Panda” where we
After two hours of Amanda impart- put our hooks behind our partner’s
ing her wisdom on us, we broke for knees, jumped on the back, let our
lunch. I ate yet another PBJ sand- weight drag them down and sleigh-
wich and walked around Ouray a bit ride them into backpack position.
more to take photos of the quaint This was my favorite technique of
town. I met an older gentleman who the day. Even though I did not end
had lived in Ouray his entire life. He up nailing the technique, I had a
showed me photos of the bighorn lot of fun with it. Jen, my partner,
sheep that had come into town nicknamed me “lija” which means


I woke up on Tuesday not feeling Thankfully, I woke up Wednesday
well. I had woken up every hour on morning with a minor headache,
the hour the night before, I had a no sore throat, and a full night of
migraine and I had a sore throat. The sleep. I was ready and raring to get
altitude sickness had officially gotten to learn from Amanda yet again. At
me. Due to my ailment, I was unable the same time, I was extremely sad
to go climbing for the second day. that my time with the camp was up.
I felt as if I had been with the ladies
I spent most of the morning in bed, for several weeks instead of several
trying to stay away from the light days. To see my suitcases packed up
and chugging water as much as I and ready to leave was depressing.
could. By around 10:30 a.m., I was
feeling well enough to go into town Once I got to the community center
with Jen. where we had our mats set up, it
was much less depressing once Jiu
The town of Ouray was gorgeous. It Jitsu started. Jen had to teach a
is called “America’s Switzerland” and class at her gym the following day,
they are correct with their thoughts. so I was her uke as she practiced the
The town was definitely modeled techniques she was going to teach.
after a quaint, European town. This
made it seem even more like a “fairy Once the lessons actually started,
tale” getaway. We went inside almost we worked on review from the past
every shop in Ouray looking for couple days and then worked on
postcards and other accouterments. some berimbolo-style techniques.
There were several places selling For me, this was really fascinating
handmade pottery, one shop dedi- because at my home gym in Post
cated exclusively to socks and four Falls, Idaho, there are a pair of
different t-shirt places. brothers whose main desire in life
is to literally roll into the backpack
After lunch, when we had gotten position. Fingers crossed, with
back to the house, I reorganized Amanda’s lessons, I will be able to do
my suitcase and took a nap. When that to them now!
I woke up, my migraine had come
back, so I unfortunately had to miss Due to my flight being at 3:00 p.m.,
out on going to the open mat where I had to leave before I could learn
the girls got to roll with each other from Vanessa again. Though that
and the professoras. was sad, I enjoyed riding to the
small airport with two other camp-
Despite not being the day I anticipat- ers. We got to the airport, dropped
ed, I still had a good time. The ladies off our bags, and waited in one of
were all extremely caring and help- the four gates for our plane to leave.
ful, empathizing with my ailments. One hour plane ride, a three hour
That in itself made me feel better layover and a two hour flight later, I
because I did not have to go through was on my way back to my universi-
altitude sickness on my own. ty in sleepless L.A.


For me, the highlight of the trip was
learning from Vanessa. She has been
one of my Jiu Jitsu idols for quite a few
years, so getting to know her and learn

from her was a dream come true.



REFLECTION C HA RLOT T E MC KIN L E Y is a purple belt affiliated under
Jean Jacques Machado. She enjoys armbars, books, and people.
When The Lab MMA purple belt Diane Ditko Charlotte has a passion for blending her writing and love of Jiu-Jitsu
explained in my last article about how amazing together. She is a full time student, works with the youth classes
the ladies were and that the community and at Alpha Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness and is a social media guru. You can
relationships were worth the trip, I did not en- contact her by DM via Instagram at @bjj_charlotte
tirely believe her at first. However, after experi-
encing it myself, I definitely concur.

How many times is one jiujiteira met with the
opportunity to meet people from all over the
continent? There were people from the East
Coast, Oregon, Colorado, and even Mexico that
attended the camp! You would not necessarily
get that at a tournament. Furthermore, we were
not competing with one another: we were there
as iron sharpening iron.

The unique thing about Almine’s camps is that
each camp is going to be vastly different from the
last. For the last camp, there were predominately
white belts that attended. This camp, there were
quite a few higher belts, blue belts, and a few
white belts. The energy and dynamic is going to
change from camp to camp as well based on the
ladies that join and the location of the camp.

My recommendation? Listen to what Almine
says before camp starts. If she tells you to get
your cardio up because it will help with altitude
sickness, do it. You will thank her later. Second,
if there is oxygen being sold somewhere and
you are from a place that does not sell oxygen,
get the oxygen. You will thank yourself later.
Also, water is a cure-all, so make sure you drink
plenty of water before, during and after the trip.
It would also be wise to stock up on EmergenC,
Airborne, Advil, and Ibuprofen. Trust me.

Finally, make sure you take the time to get to
know the ladies around you. There is so much
you can learn from them whether it be Jiu Jitsu
or life experiences. Get out and do things you
might not normally do—who knows when you
will be back in that particular area again? Each
camp experience is what you make of it, so

make sure you make it the best for you. Y



The next camp is located
in Las Vegas, Nevada in
October. The ladies that
attend this camp will be
learning from Australia’s
first female black belt,
Sophia McDermott,
and another yet to be
announced female black
belt. Instead of layering up
for the frigid ice climbing,
this camp will feature an
insanely gorgeous climb of
Red Rocks.

I highly recommend
going to Almine’s camps.
She puts so much heart
and soul into making
sure each camp is worth
each camper’s time.
Furthermore, she is very
intent on making sure that
women in both the Jiu Jitsu
and climbing industries
are recognized for the
exceptional work they do.

If you are interested
in having the best
Halloween of your life with
phenomenal ladies, you
can contact Almine through
Facebook at “Hips & Grips
Jiu-Jitsu & Climbing
Camps For Women” or
on Instagram:


GIRLS IN GIS Even though Jiu Jitsu has made its way around
the globe and we are watching as it flourishes
among women and girls worldwide, that isn’t
the case everywhere. In pockets around the
world you can still find gyms that lack a female
presence or have one lone woman holding
on for dear life. If not for the brave women
that stepped out on the mats among the sea
of sweaty men we wouldn’t see the growth
in women’s jiu jitsu we see today. It all starts
with one brave soul that steps on the mats
and they have the power to bring many. A
responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Is your team a good fit?

Being the only woman in assault, abuse, or pedophelia al- them if they do background
our gym can often make legations or cases? Who is your checks on instructors and stu-
us wonder if we are in the instructor? Who is the owner? dents. If they don’t,could they?
right place. When asking your- Who are the coaches? Do any of
self if you are at the right gym them have a criminal record? In order to know if your gym is
you have to take a closer look at the best fit you have to expose
what you want and what your The internet is your friend. yourself to all types of gym
gym has to offer. Is your gym Doing your homework and edu- cultures and styles. Get active
women friendly? Are they open cating yourself on those around in the community and you will
to making it that way? you could be detrimental to gain additional perspective.
your life. Sadly not all Jiu Jitsu Going to women’s open mats
Evaluating people are good people and there and events are a great way to
Your Gym are dangerous predators in the make friends. By stepping out-
Jiu JItsu community that many side your gym you will broad-
Let’s start from the beginning. protect. They are not lurking in en your horizon and gain an
Regardless of if you were re- the alleys, they are oftentimes at understanding of different gym
ferred to your gym by a trusted the front of the room. cultures. Learn what is accept-
person or not you should always able and what is not. If your
do your homework when choos- Another thing to consider is team won’t let you cross train
ing a gym. Does the team have how invested is your gym in the you have to wonder if it is an
any history of sexual assault, safety of their students? To find indication of a bigger problem
this out you can start by asking in the culture of the gym.


Your feelings can tell you Where are all What do you want Openness to
things you need to hear. the women at? out of a gym? Diversity and
Have you ever felt uncom- Inclusion
fortable at your gym or with Not having any women in As you train more and more
your team? Maybe someone an academy isn’t necessari- you will start to understand Actions speak louder than
just gave you a creepy vibe. ly a “red flag”, but it can be. more about what you want words. Does your academy
Have you ever felt objecti- The best way to find out if it out of a gym. But let’s say show a vested interest in
fied? Do the guys try to hit is to just ask. Ask if the gym you are relatively new to BJJ, making their gym more
on you or talk inappropri- has ever had any females easier said than done right? inclusive? In building a
ately in front of you? These train there before. Why did This is a hard question to ask women’s presence? What
are some clear signs that they leave? Do the instruc- because as a newbie you steps are they taking to do
the culture of the gym may tor or coaches have a histo- might be asking yourself, “I this? An academy should
not be conducive to your ry of dating students? The don’t even know what I am have a vested interest in
personal growth or safety. answer to these questions looking for.” Keep in mind keeping women on the
will help guide you. that what you want and need mats. The best way to get
Always always changes throughout your more women on the mats
always trust Do your teammates and journey. But look at what you is for that lone woman to
your gut. instructor treat you with want now? Who do you want just simply keep showing
respect and as an equal? to surround yourself with? Is up. By being on the mats
The culture of a gym being able to to cross train she inspires more wom-
determines its ability to This should absolutely be important to you? Do you feel en to follow. The moms,
survive and thrive. Under- the most important thing that having the support of wives and girlfriends
standing the culture of a when looking at how you fit your instructor and coaches sitting on the sidelines see
gym is crucial to under- into the culture of the gym. is important? Do you get that it can be done when
standing your role in it. Respect is a two way street. that support? What are your they watch her. Offering
Do women fit into the gym You should always feel heard, goals? Can the gym offer you women’s only classes and
culture? Do you fit into it? valued and respected. If you what you need to achieve self defense workshops
feel that your instructor, gym them? Make a list of what taught by women are a
Who are you owners or teammates don’t you want and honestly ask great way to encourage
training with? value or respect you then it yourself if your team can help new women to start
probably isn’t the healthiest you get there. training. Not to mention it
Stop and look around. Who environment for your personal opens up teaching oppor-
are you training with? How growth. There are greener Actions tunities for women.
well do you know these pastures and no reason to stay speak
guys, your instructor or the where you are not appreciated. louder The key to thrive as the
owner? Would you describe than only female in the gym is
the gym as a family friendly Do you feel that your words. to train at a gym where in-
gym? Do you see diversity values align with your structors and teammates
on the mats? Would you team’s core values? respect and treat you as
define the gym as inclu- equals. A place where they
sive? These are all things The great thing about BJJ value inclusion and diver-
to consider. Who you see is that it attracts all kinds. sity. A place that maximiz-
training there dictates the The fact that we are all so es our personal growth.
culture of the gym. Birds very different and BJJ is that Because it is our journey
of a feather do tend to common ground we meet on and there is no reason
flock together. is perhaps the most amazing to settle for a gym when
part of it. However, if you there are more options
ever feel uncomfortable with
the actions, lack of actions than ever before. Y
or rhetoric of the affiliation or
association then maybe it is
time to do a check in and see
if you are on the same page.


from mestra YVONE

After all, what are we
looking for in Jiu-Jitsu?

Born out of the need for inclusion, women's Jiu-Jitsu
is now undergoing a process of transformation

When we think
about learning
anything new,
especially in schools, in
traditional education, we
come across an interesting
phenomenon that is often
static, and feels completely
alien to our lives. The con-
tents of the subjects we are
studying seem distant and
disconnected from reality,
above all, from the every-
day reality of women.

In this traditional educa- WO ME N ' S D I VS IO N B L ACK- B ELT CO M P ET ITO R S AT IB JJF PA N 2 0 2 1. P H OTO BY EV ELY N S U T TON
tional universe, we often
perceive knowledge as On the other hand, we Bell Hoods paraphrasing and respect. But we didn't
something in the realm of have the impression that Paulo Freire, warns us come to Jiu-Jitsu only to ad-
control and oppression. As we go to school merely to that "students cannot be just ourselves to traditional
if in order to be educated, fill in gaps, that the role of mere passive consumers". male-oriented training.
one must isolate and dis- the educator is to deposit Jiu-Jitsu is much broader,
connect themselves from knowledge into us while But what does this have to more diverse, and capable
the world, ultimately being we store the information do with women who train of including everyone who
removed from their own in an attempt to memo- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Every- wants it. As women, we are
reality and injected into rize the content narrated thing! not simply passive consum-
another. by the educator. Little is ers, we fully engage and in-
done by teachers to in- Women's Jiu-Jitsu is troject Jiu-Jitsu, because it
Whether in the examples clude the perspective and currently undergoing a is something that we want
offered in class or in the diverse realities of stu- process of transformation. and need. And for many of
pondering and discus- dents through different Originally, it was born as us it becomes essential!
sions that take place, teaching methods. a demand out of the need
often the subjects of study for participation, inclusion
are far removed from
women's daily lives.

Jiu-Jitsu gyms must be spaces of liberation from
punitive and oppressive practices.

“We cannot enter the trying to control how we participation of women. that foster exclusion, devic-
fight as an object behave and think. Enough In this new era, Jiu-Jitsu es that impede rather than
to become a person of trying to repress our ex- academies must strength- promote the presence and
later”, no! The practice of pressions of affection, and en their commitment to participation of women.
Jiu-Jitsu is liberating for ignoring our questions. train women so that our
women. It is a powerful Patriarchy continues to at- presence in martial arts In conclusion, we go back
and emancipatory tool. tempt to impose limits for can become as natural to the original question,
women, dictating that we and of equal opportunity after all, as women, what
There is something must be kind, laugh with as that of the men. are we looking for in
special about the discretion, be respect- Jiu-Jitsu?
desire to learn able and, so many other I always suggest that men
Jiu-Jitsu, and to actively outdated rules of restric- should try and make an We don't want much of
receive knowledge that tive behavior, which are effort to see the city they Jiu-Jitsu, other than it's
can propel us to reach our typical devices of machis- live in through the eyes of very essence, no more,
full potential, however we mo. In most social spaces, a woman, experience the no less. We want to use
don't want to feel discon- we live every day trapped worries we often feel in Jiu-Jitsu tools to protect
nected, as if the mat is an by male normative stan- the simple act of trying to and enhance our own
inappropriate place for dards. Enough. walk around the city, walk existence. We want to
women or that training is to our car or go to gyms reach our full potential as
a privilege and not a right. Jiu-Jitsu gyms must be and the BJJ mats. The individuals so that we can
spaces of liberation from modern architecture of lead healthy lives, have
No longer are we willing to punitive and oppressive today's cities was not de- freedom of choice, such
participate in classes just practices. As a place of signed to create safe spac- as the choice of training
to help increase the num- education, knowledge, es for women, schools, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and
ber of students; one more and learning gyms cannot institutions, or martial for that choice to be seen
guy, one more girl, we are reinforce domination, nor arts academies. The cities as normal and ordinary as
no longer only numbers, serve as an instrument of were designed to obstruct the choice of riding a bike
no! We demand classes oppression, or abuse. the movement of certain on a Sunday afternoon.
that are focused on a prac- segments, including wom-
tice which considers the Teaching establishes and en. Even the architecture We want to feel free and
presence of women on the transforms possibilities, of cities follow outdated safe, with complete au-
mats as something natu- promotes the ability to male normative codes. tonomy to make our own
ral and common. We want think and to know oneself decisions about our bodies,
gyms that acknowledge in all dimensions, without Once we really start paying our needs and our desires.
women, where the lesson prejudice. The learning attention, we soon realize
plan includes our abilities, process is a constant there is so much about our Are we asking too
our performances and our challenge for teachers and daily routine, our habits, much? Y
feminine needs. students. It is necessary and the places we frequent,
to build a pedagogy that
The time has come to legitimizes us, it is neces- ME ST R A YVON E DUARTE M AGAL HÃES is the first
say: enough! Enough of sary to make the climate woman to earn a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the first
the attempts to silence of possibility pleasant and currently only to be awarded the legendary coral-belt in
our voices and constantly and to promote the active BJJ by IBJJF. A living legend in the sport, Yvone resides in Brasil,
where she is currently finishing her studies in Psychology
and is an advocate for women empowerment. Send her
comments/questions to: [email protected]

out of the cage

How to be a Good There’s a difference We always joke
between hard, that there
Training competition-like are no gold
Partner rolls and an all-out death medals on the mat, and
brawl on the mats. Also, yet, there are still people
We all have certain people in the gym that we there is a reason white who find it a personal
prefer to pair up with when we drill and belts are often demon- affront to their ego
roll, and we all also have certain people we ized with “spazzy” mon- should anyone with a
vehemently avoid. One of my coaches always used to ikers and often blamed lower rank get the upper
say that you don’t want to be that person that nobody for any flailing elbows hand. I hate to say this,
wants to roll with, so what are some crucial faux pas we and jerking knees. We but blue belts are often
can avoid so we don’t fall into that category? And how were all white belts the main perpetuators
do we make sure that we are a good training partner? once; it can be incredi- of this problem, because
Let’s discuss. bly overwhelming. My they are just starting to
professor often likens it learn the fundamentals
There are a multitude of reasons why people will to trying to drink from a of what works in Jiu
avoid someone on the mats. Perhaps they are fire hydrant instead of a Jitsu, but have yet to
overly aggressive with their rolls and some are water fountain and you master the fine-tuned
trying to be a little more cautious with their safety. begin to drown under technique and skillsets
Maybe someone is getting ready for a competition and the force of taking in all to a well-established
require a partner to push the pace and not just lay of that water. It’s our nat- game. There really isn’t
there. Perhaps there is someone else known for medi- ural human instinct to much difference be-
ocre hygiene and they are now being avoided like the panic when threatened tween white and blue
plague. Don’t be these people. under bodily harm, and belt, and even at brown,
ensuing chaos forms, I can still be caught
3 8 | J I U J I T E I R A MAGAZINE | JIUJITEIRAMAGAZINE.COM and injuries occur. by a white belt on top
of their game. What
It takes lots of time helped me most was
on the mat to de- seeing my professors
velop the patience have zero ego, and never
and understanding that matching the energy of
comes with learning at the more inexperienced
every belt level. I still roller, but instead, flow-
remember my first day ing and controlling
ever on the mats and the movements.
I thought shrimping
was impossible. I am
sure I did my fair share
of unhelpful training
contribution to others,
but I learned to adapt
and become the type of
training partner others
would flock to knowing I
would be both a safe and
equally efficient roll.

There’s a difference between hard, competition-like
rolls and an all-out death brawl on the mats.

On the opposite side of the coin as the overly aggressive grappler, there are the “dead
fish” grapplers who provide such little resistance while drilling or rolling, that
neither party will benefit from the experience. It can be a delicate balance between
knowing when to turn it up and not making strong, jerky movements where an injury is im-
minent, but providing zero resistance isn’t conducive to anyone. It teaches lazy movements
and will have each party feeling unprepared for competition or real-life scenarios.

When drilling or practicing a move, it is unnecessary to go 100% balls to the
wall; each person is still trying to learn the proper movement to master their
technique. It is also completely asinine to just lay there as your partner works
around you. While both of these examples will take time and practice to get comfortable
with rolling with the flow and overcoming bad habits, there is one reason you may be a
bad training partner that can be rectified immediately.

Do not be the ‘stinky gi’ person at the gym. The one who has long fingernails or
toenails, someone who is unkempt and odorous, forcing themselves to train while
sick, or someone who wears a face full of makeup and drowns themselves in per-
fume. All of the aforementioned examples can present a biohazard on the mat, whether
it is lacerations from long nails leading to infection, spreading an illness to their gym, or
allergic reaction to products used.

Even if no danger is present, do you really want to make someone uncomfortable
with a strong odor or permanently stain their gi or apparel? People use blood as
an example all the time, and true, accidents happen, but no one is actively rolling
knowing they have a seeping wound bleeding on their partners; same concept should
apply to heavy face makeup. I don’t mind a little bit here and there, but a risk of a full
contoured silhouette on my white gi will have me choosing a different partner to roll with.
Also, do not roll knowing you are under the weather. It’s called basic respect for your train-
ing partners, and exposing others to sickness isn’t cool. I can’t stress this enough, don’t be
that person.

To our favorite and loyal training partners, we salute you. There is nothing like walk-
ing into your gym with the comfort that you are rolling with the best possible per-
son to help prepare you for whatever it is you need. Look out for one another and do
all within your power to be the type of partner everyone clamors to work with. I would be
nothing without the wonderful people I grapple with daily and I hope they all know how

much I truly appreciate them. Y

SA MA NT HA S EFF, "The Wolf Queen" is a BJJ brown belt under Team HUNGRY4MORE?
Rubao Carioca at Schell Shock BJJ in Fuquay Varina, NC. She's a professional
atomweight MMA fighter and writes a weekly blog: Follow this column online:
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking & baking and besides her
title belts, her color-coded self-written cookbook is her most prized category/out-of-the-cage
possession. You can reach her via DM on Instagram @wolfqueenmma


Shifting your


to bring joy to your training sessions

“Why am I
even doing
this sport?
Or “I am
so crap
I should
just quit."

Being a martial artist in the sport of BJJ is a won- So with the acknowledgement of the intensity,
derful and challenging journey. The rawness of the realness of training this sport of BJJ, can we
the training brings up so many other feelings expect to show up and be that furious warrior at
and issues that may be lurking deep inside us, hidden every single session? As women, by default of biology
away in our normal day to day lives. Being pinned on we can be different from one week to the next.
the bottom of some big sweaty dude, his arms around Our cycles bring very different moods and energy
our neck, or being punched in the face is so confront- levels so the only way to get through this challenging
ing and if not performed in a ‘safe’ environment with journey of BJJ for the long haul and feel positive
the concept of ‘tapping out’ we’d be facing possibly a and accomplished is to tune in and listen to our
life or death situation. Amazing that we voluntarily put bodies and make adjustments accordingly.
ourselves in this environment for our own enjoyment.

SOPHIA MCDERMOTT (DRYSDALE) is Australia's first female BJJ black
belt, multiple time Pan Am and World Champion. Certified with
National Academy of Sports Medicine - NASM CPT, FNS as a trainer and
a nutrition specialist, founder of Girls On Top an interactive BJJ platform
for women. IG: @sophiamcdermottbjj,


Ithink we all know there’s Secondly, here are some Sometimes we don't realise that
nothing worse than ways to shift your perspective we are having a bad day on the mat
ending a training session on these low days: until we start rolling, so that's when
and feeling so disheartened adaptability is especially important
that we just want to cry. • Just have a fun workout and because we may even have to change
Our heads often filled with break a sweat. our mindset during the class.
thoughts of, “Why am I even
doing this sport? Or “I am • Try new things, be open and Another important factor is
so crap I should just quit,” experimental with the mindset speaking up and verbalising
and the list goes on… It all that if you don’t pull it off, it's no how you are feeling. Shar-
started with walking into big deal. ing with your training partner that
the gym at the start of that you’d just like to flow roll or drill
session with expectations to • Maintain guard rather than something specific will allow your
win, succeed or at the very pushing for sweeps. partner to work with you at the pace
least, not spend the whole that feels right for you.
time pasted to the mat like • Focus on breaking grips and
cookie dough, but ironically backing away to avoid dealing One of the amazing abilities of
it's these times that deter- with your opponent's weight. being a woman is our adapt-
mine what we are really ability, so let’s make our
made of. Are we going to • If you are being submitted, rather mindset or perspective match our
let crappy sessions beat us than fighting it for dear life, tap, and feelings, mood and energy levels. We
down and stop us from par- get right back to a better position need to be mindful of our cycles as
ticipating in this sport that that might not be so crushing. well as the stress of daily life. Some
we love or are we going to days we can have a very stressful day
dust ourselves off and pick • Adopt a playful mindset. with work, or with family. Some-
ourselves up and get back on times we are ‘going through stuff.’ In
the mat for another day? • Use the session as a social place my experience, blocking it out and
to connect with like minded friends just trying to push through it is not
It's important to tune and training partners. the answer. You are better off tuning
in to yourself and in and adjusting your mindset if
‘read’ what's going • Adopt a mindset of gratitude, necessary if you are feeling stressed
on inside you. In order that you have the ability, mobility or having a low day. Always adopt
to maintain that overall and health to be able to train in the an attitude of gratitude regardless
feeling of positivity in your first place. in order to have a positive experi-
BJJ journey, It’s crucial ence on the mats with every single
to make the necessary session, so that overall your journey
adjustments pertaining to in BJJ is one that brings joy and a
your mindset. When you are
having a low day, shifting feeling of accomplishment. Y
your perspective is key to
avoid feeling completely There are loads of different Adopt a mindset
disheartened after a ways we can shift our mind- of gratitude,
rough session. set so that each and every
session we can feel accomplished that you are able
Firstly, give yourself regardless of how we are feeling to train in the
a pat on the back that day. Being adaptable makes first place.
for showing up. things much easier to deal with.
That right there needs
to be acknowledged.



with Blanca Marisa Garcia


ven though there were
limited JIU JITSU events
in the month of January,
that doesn't mean that I had
nothing to do.

I went back to High
Rollerz and photo-
graphed some of the
top-ranked women.
Included in the Big vs Mighty
High Rollerz event was the special
match between Gillian Robertson and
Valerie Wong. In Fullerton CA, the first
of the year NABJJF (North American
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) tourna-
ments took place and it offered me more
photography opportunities.

I also had the privilege of attending a
private workout at RVCA ( pronounced
REW-KA) with Nate Diaz. RVCA is an
international California-based clothing
line with target audience of surfers,
skaters, MMA and Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
They are high-quality clothing line. If
you want to see more of their products
go to While I was there I got
a chance to photograph UFC fighter
Marlon "Chiro" Vera. It was the first time
meeting owner Pat Tenore.

The last thing I did this month was visit
the Kings MMA gym, owned by Rafael
Cordeiro, where I was able to photograph
Neiman Gracie preparing for his Bellator
Fight. Kings MMA gym is widely known
to produce some of the top UFC Cham-
pions such as Fabricio Werdum, Kelvin
Gastelun, Mauricio Rua, Wanderlie Silva,

Lyoto Machida and Rafael Does Santos. Y

BLANCA MARISA GARCIA is an award-winning professional photographer
with over 30 years of experience. A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Blanca is
a prominent member of the BJJ community, working closely with athletes
and promotions such as EBI, Medusa, High Rollerz, and media Jiujiteira
Magazine and Gracie Magazine. Contact her: casabgar[email protected]

ask the doc QUESTIONS?

Toe Hold: Please send them to
[email protected]
To Hold or Not to Hold
Your question could be chosen
and answered in this article.

hen you are put in a toe ILLUSTRATION BY DUSTIN SCOTT
hold it feels like someone
is trying to snap the outside
of your foot in half, and it can
actually damage several struc-
tures both in the foot and occa-
sionally to outside of the knee.

The ankle and foot have 22 bones, 33
joints and 112 ligaments. The bones
that are of interest during a toe
hold are the fibula, talus, calcaneus,
cuboid, third cuneiform and fifth

The ligaments are the anterior
talofibular ligament (ATFL), the
calcaneocuboid ligament, the
cuneocuboid ligament and the fifth
tarsometatarsal ligament.

The two most common injuries The content in this article is for
from a toe hold are a lateral ankle informational purposes only - it is not
sprain and cuboid syndrome.
intended to delay or substitute for
Lateral ankle sprains are fairly com- Early conservative management of a professional medical advice, diagnosis,
mon in most sports, accounting for lateral ankle sprain includes rest for
14% of all orthopedic injuries that 72 hours and use of PRICE (protec- and/or treatment. The content is not
result in an emergency room visit. tion, rest, ice, compression and ele- intended to promote understanding of
Lateral ankle sprains from a toe vation). A lace-up ankle support can various musculoskeletal injuries. Content
hold often involve the ATFL, which help with both stability and light may not apply to your specific condition
is the weakest ligament on the compression. Early pain-free range or symptoms. Always seek the advice of
outside of the ankle and, in 70% of of motion, then gentle strengthen- your physician or other qualified medical
ankle sprains, it is the only ligament ing and then balance exercises are professional for any question you have for
that is injured. (1) beneficial for a full recovery.
a medical condition.



ONLINE 2016 MAR 2.

DEC; 5(4): 597–606.

HEALTH. 2011 NOV; 3(6): 514–519.

C HRIS F L E TC HE R has her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the
University of Iowa and owns Combat Arts Physical Therapy in Spokane,
Washington. She is a purple belt under Newborn Cascao Jiu Jitsu, and is
happy to answer your questions regarding musculoskeletal injuries.
Email those to [email protected]


Signs and symptoms of a lateral Signs and symptoms of Cuboid MISSED AN ISSUE?
ankle sprain are: Syndrome are:
• Swelling on outside of ankle • Pain along the outside of the foot CATCH THEM ALL ONLINE
• Loss of ankle range of motion
• Bruising over the outside of the ankle • Pain with ankle range of motion
• Pain and resisted testing
• Potential pop heard at injury
• Pain with walking or hopping
on the outside of the ankle
• Difficulty walking

Mild and moderate ankle sprains Cuboid syndrome responds well to
typically recover in 7-15 days. (1). If conservative treatment and does
conservative treatment fails and the not require surgical intervention. A
athlete has continued pain and in- physical therapist or chiropractor
stability, surgery may be necessary. can mobilize the cuboid within one
Research has indicated that no one or two sessions, and the pain and
surgical technique is superior to difficulty walking will be resolved. (3)
others and will be dependent on the
surgeon's training. Two common re- The next time someone gets a toe
pairs are the Chrisman-Snook pro- hold and you are late to tap, go see
cedure and the modified Brostrom your physical therapist; they can get
procedure. Return to sport after you back to the mats sooner with
surgery is typically 3-6 months. (1) these two injuries.

Cuboid syndrome is a minor sub- The ankle and foot have
luxation of the calcaneocuboid joint
in the midfoot that pinches the 22 bones, 33 joints
labrum which can cause irritation and 112 ligaments.
and pain to the surrounding joints,
ligaments and tendons. JIUJITEIRAMAGAZINE.COM

Roughly four percent of all foot in-

5juries are cuboid syndrome and six

percent of all lateral ankle sprains
will also have cuboid syndrome. (2)

around the world 1


April Parks and Katie Hooven from Grappling

Getaways had such an amazing time training in
Orlando with UFC Flyweight professional fighter
Hannah Goldy, they didn't want to go back home.

MEDUSA is back!!! The ladies are getting ready to
return to paradise to fight for the title of Queen of

Medusa on March 12th. Stay tuned for complete
coverage of the women-only event in our next
issue. Follow the action on IG: medusafojj

The trio of fierce Jiujiteiras, Ashley Medders, Madison

Keeling and Velvet Gunnstaks, had a chance to
showcase their cage fighting skills at Roll in the Cage
in Oklahoma City on February 11th. Gunnstaks won

her match with a killer triangle. Congratulations
ladies for your outstanding performances!

At women's class, Jiujiteira Kathleen Ryan Johnson

and her friends worked on some vicious chokes!

To be featured in this section, e-mail a photo (high res images with
300dpi print better) of yourself and your BJJ sisters training, include
names and gym location to: [email protected]




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