The effects of bullying is not something that can be outgrown.The abuse and torment can cause deep rooted issues leaving scars that carry over to adulthood. Learning to build confidence and self esteem are two of the biggest bully deterrents. But easier said than done, right? The trick to learning these skills are finding a tool that fosters the growth of these skills. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of those tools that has helped so many young and old take back their lives and no longer be victims.
Anna Snyder, a purple belt at Epic Fight and Fitness is one of those people. She first heard about BJJ through her brother who has been wrestling since he was six years old. She has also had several friends go into MMA. Growing up Anna says she was bullied a lot in school. She was always desperately trying to fit in. After getting fed up with being a victim she decided to do something about it and began training BJJ four years ago. She says she has always had a fascination with martial arts and once she began training she was instantly hooked.
Through Jiu Jitsu Anna has learned to believe in herself,feel strong and capable of anything. She has also learned to identify those people who are not genuine and don’t have her best interests in mind. Her new self image has brought some very wonderful people into her life.
Getting to where she is now has not been easy. There were several times were she would get so frustrated cause she wasn’t picking things up at the rate she wanted. However she says that her stubbornness wouldn’t allow her to give in.
“Jiu Jitsu has become my place where I finally fit in, they are my second family and my release when I’m having a bad day. Since I started my self esteem and confidence in myself has grown to where I finally see my own worth and accept who I am.”
Being able to share her love for this sport, what it has helped her overcome her challenges. She says inspiring others to do the same is what motivates her. Anna believes it is important to increase awareness among girls on how much Jiu Jitsu could change their lives and make them better able to defend themselves in case of an attack. She also adds that Jiu Jitsu is a way to build confidence, character and increase the physical awareness of your body.
Anna believes Jiu Jiitsu is very effective self-defense since most fights end up going to the ground where the smaller and weaker person is at a disadvantage. Typically the other person usually knows this which is why they take it there to gain the upper hand. However according to Ann, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu levels the playing field to where that smaller person has the opportunity to use their attackers size against them and come out on top.
Anna took back her power using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and urges others to do the same. She says that through BJJ kids can build their self-image so when they are faced with those situations they come out stronger. She couldn’t have done this alone. She says everyone she has met through the Jiu Jitsu community has always been very accepting and supportive, encouraging her to have the confidence in herself.
“Ultimately those that are bullied allow it to happen because they lack the confidence and self esteem to believe in themselves. I allowed it because I desperately wanted to fit in and make others like me, so in turn I could like myself. Brazilian Jujitsu is an environment that encourages you to find yourself and believe that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and work hard for it.”
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.