I am fortunate to train at the Marcelo Garcia Academy, where I was promoted to brown belt and continue to learn and take beatings from some of the best and brightest in jiu jitsu. I have an incredible team with a full complement of female champions, male champions and really decent people who push and support me every day.
I am incredibly lucky to be a part of Groundswell Grappling Concepts, and it is a privilege to work with Emily, Val, and Hannette. It has been my honor to help make the camps a possibility for women. I started as a camper, and I remember seeing Emily and calling her and the other black belt instructors “unicorns,” because I had never see a black belt woman. I had never trained with a woman above a blue belt at that point. I had such a profound experience at that first camp I asked, “Please let me know what if anything I can do to be helpful.” The idea that I can help to provide what, for me, was a life changing experience to others makes me feel like now my dream is bigger and I get to be awesome at life. My partners are my mentors and my friends, encouraging me to grow personally and to put it out on the line on the mats.
A friend introduced me to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1997, and I fell in love with the sport after trying it just once. I got the opportunity to start training regularly in Brazil from the man who became my first teacher, Fernando Cruz. I was basically the only woman in my school when I started. I took this as a challenge rather than a deterrent, and I strongly believe the reason I continue training BJJ to this day is that I wanted more women to be inspired and empowered by BJJ as I have been. When I changed schools, I got to know my husband, partner, friend, and mentor, Andre “Negão” Terencio. He is also my inspiration to stay strong and to believe. I feel fortunate to live the BJJ lifestyle. As the co-founder with Andre of the Brazil-021 School of Jiu-Jitsu/Brazil-021 Project, as well as a competitor and a teacher, I am able to do what I love on a daily basis surrounded by wonderful people
As an ambassador of the art, I use the principles of BJJ to help disadvantaged women and children who have suffered abuse or who feel weak and incapable of accomplishing anything to recover their self-confidence. BJJ changed my life forever. Thanks to it, I have traveled all over the world and met many great people. Today, BJJ continues to help me evolve as a person.
I love Brazilian jiu jitsu. It has changed my life, mostly for the better. I say “mostly,” because some aspects of BJJ, like ringworm and the need to do more laundry than normal people have to aren’t necessarily life improvements, but they are things I gladly endure so I can reap the myriad benefits of a grappling lifestyle.
The requirements of BJJ—regular training, preparing for and engaging in competition, self-care so that I can perform at my best—tap into my natural tendencies for introspection and self-deprecating humor. BJJ has prompted me to explore who I am mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, as well as physically. It has given me opportunities to help others as I learn more about my own self-actualization. Through BJJ, I have met amazing people, traveled to far-flung locations, and enjoyed post-training meals, showers, and naps more than I thought it was possible to enjoy such things. While I have been training for well over a decade, I know my journey has just begun
About 13 years ago, sometime between studying art and dreaming of impossibly big things, Brazilian jiu jitsu made its way into my life and never left. Rolling around on the floor multiple times a week for fun and fitness is the last thing I ever thought I would have made into a professional career (one that I can actually live off of), but somehow this rather “unladylike” activity has helped me become the best version of myself.
Studying BJJ has never been easy for me. My family thought it was totally barbaric and couldn’t fathom why I would choose to practice such a masculine and physically demanding sport. I spent many years merely surviving on the mats, but I always had a lovely community of friends and training partners around me to keep me inspired. Gradually, the lessons I learned on the mats began to translate into larger life lessons I was applying off the mats, and BJJ became much more to me than a hobby. Challenging myself through the sport taught me how to believe in my potential and achieve anything I set my mind to. This is the biggest gift training has given me, and it’s something I hope to help other people discover for themselves.