I started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) 3.5 years ago when Elements opened the first women’s only BJJ class in Vancouver. It was a new and very different pursuit for me but I wanted to try it so I could talk to existing and potential members from a place of personal experience. It wasn’t necessarily love at first roll but rather a deepening appreciation that continues to grow every year.
What I value most about BJJ is the added confidence it has given me in myself. I feel far more equipped to defend myself now that I practice BJJ. At first I only felt comfortable training with other women but now I enjoy the challenge of rolling with men who are physically bigger and weigh more than I do.
I found a great quote a while back to describe this Martial Art:
“Jiu Jitsu is stress relieving, ego crushing, physically challenging, and emotionally demanding. Jiu Jitsu is very much a spiritual journey. It will certainly be unlike any other “sport” that you’ve ever done before.”
It is not always easy but BJJ can teach you a great lesson about finding your inner calm – if you’re willing to learn it. Now when I think about self-defence I visualize the perfect blend of confidence, ferocity and calmness. Combined with my developing technical skills I walk taller and more assured that I can take care of myself if a bad situation finds me.
In addition to training at Elements with Todd Smith and Emma Hamilton I have had the honour of learning from Royce Gracie, Ryron Gracie and Rener Gracie. Most recently I attended Rener Gracie’s first BC seminar at the Steveston Martial Arts Center with a few of our members. Rener was in Vancouver to coach Brendan Schaub against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 174 but he took a day out of his packed schedule to do what he loves best, teach BJJ.
If you have ever learned something from a true expert you will understand what kind of experience it was to attend this seminar. Rener’s “Mount Submission Mastery” and “Triple Threat Mastery” seminars lasted 5 hours. While he lightened the mood regularly with quips and illustrative metaphors, the air was still heavy with the layers of technique he drilled with us. At one point, shortly after the start of the second half, my brain actually shut down for a couple of minutes and I lost track of what was going on but I quickly pulled myself back to attention. Throughout the day I made sure to heed Rener’s advice to share everything with my training partner although together we could still only come up with about 80% of the material.
I was truly grateful for the opportunity to attend this seminar and once again be in front of Rener Gracie. I can’t wait to register for future seminars with Rener and revisit this content. Every time a little bit more will stick! Until then, back to my regular classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at Elements.