Our awkward teenage years can be some of the most challenging times of our lives. While battling sometimes out-of-control hormones and peer pressure, our teen years are spent trying to find our place in the world. For Taylor Danielle Segovia, now 21, jiu-jitsu became an essential tool to help her navigate those tough teen years.
Segovia, who began training at 10, says she was initially reluctant to do jiu-jitsu when in 2007 her dad dragged her to a class. She got her start in the adult classes because at the time there weren’t programs available for kids. However once Segovia learned how to holde her own and gained an understanding of the intricacies of jiu jitus she was hooked.
“I thought my parents wanted to punish me by staying in jiu jitsu,” Segovia said, who is a purple belt and trains at Pablo Silva Jiu-Jitsu in Houston Texas. “Little did I know they were giving me everything.”
By 2011, Segovia was competing predominantly against the boys since there weren’t many females in the sport at the time. Segovia struggled mostly to learn self-reliance. Growing up she always played team sports and leaned on her teammates when things got tough. But in jiu-jitsu, Segovia was rolling solo and had to learn to trust in herself.
“Jiu-jitsu has taught me, not only how to defend myself, but how to be a better person off the mats. Motivated and driven, I won’t give up a fight no matter where it be,” she said.
At first Segovia admittedly resented having to train jiu-jitsu, but now she attributes jiu-jitsu to helping her combat her teen angst. Her jiu-jitsu family also helped to keep her in line — most of the time. Still to this day, Segovia says, her jiu-jitsu family looks out for her like big brothers.
Now Segovia has aspirations of being a world champion and hopes to inspire other women. Segovia says her greatest accomplishment was watching the children gain an understanding of the art when she taught a kids program at Genesis Jiu-Jitsu. By being a good influence and working hard, Segovia wants to prove to other women and girls that they can kick butt in a male-dominated sport.
Segovia wants teens to learn how to protect themselves and how to be in control, which is especially important for victims of bullying. Every year more than 3.2 million students are bullied, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
Jiu-jitsu is more than learning to defend yourself, Segovia says. Jiu-jitsu has given Segovia life-long friendships, self-confidence, and a healthier lifestyle. In short: jiu jitsu will set you up for success in every aspect of your life.
Girls in Gis staff writer
Shama Ko is a brown belt with Gracie Humaita out of Austin, TX. She has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since November of 2003. She is a photographer, writer, community organizer and activist. She heads the Girls in Gis organization or as she calls it the “movement”. She describes herself as both a lover and a fighter. She loves to laugh and not take life too seriously.