Oklahoma Ambassadors


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Jennifer Gray

Jennifer is a brown belt under her husband, Gracie Black Belt, Professor Ty Gay in Edmond, Oklahoma. 

Jennifer started her jiu-jitsu journey in 2009. Sparked by the influence of Girls in Gis, grew her greatest passion to want to be an instructor of the art to bring more women to the mat. As a blue belt, Jennifer started her journey as a jiu-jitsu instructor and started studying at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, CA. In 2012, she completed the Gracie Jiu-jitsu Instructors Program as the only female in her graduating class. That following year, in 2013, she was also one of the first women to complete the Gracie Women Empowered Instructors Program. Today, she teaches Co-ed group classes and private lessons for women at The Redline Jiu-jitsu Academy in Edmond, Oklahoma; Owned by her and her Husband, Ty. 

Jennifer is also very passionate about raising awareness for Mental Health. Her Clothing Company, She-Jitsu, is a platform in which she advocates for trauma survivors, those suffering from mental illness, & eating disorders; at the same time encouraging everyone to “Get to the Mat.”

“I started going to Girls in Gis as a white belt. I would travel all the way to Texas  to have the opportunity to train with women. To this day, it is the only place I can sit with such a great amount of women on the mat. I would love to have as many different females to train with as the men have training partners. Don’t get me wrong, training with men is great. The majority of my journey has been with many great men training partners. I just think it’s important for women to train together. Not just for the techniques, but also for the friendships they create. Jiu-jitsu brings people together and that to me is why I love being a part of such an amazing organization that brings women to the mat. It wasn’t until I attended a girls in gis event in Texas that I realized how important these events are. Since we started the Girls in Gis Division in Oklahoma in 2013, the female community has grown bigger than it’s ever been, and I’m beyond grateful to be a part of that.” 


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Shannon Newhouse 

Shannon Newhouse is a 45 year old mother of two and a wife. She was born in San Jose, California and grew up in the small town of Gridley, California. Her Marital Arts experience started when she enrolled her daughter in a self defense program at a local YMCA when her daughter was 4 1/2 years old.  The program had a grappling portion that her daughter enjoyed and the instructor recommended us to check out the Jiu Jitsu program at Redline.  Instead of becoming a soccer mom Shannon became a Martial Arts mom.  After six months of BJJ training, her daughter convinced her husband to start. Shannon watched them train two times a week and then the instructor invited her to train.  It wasn’t long before her son jumped on board and they haven’t looked back since. She says her only regret is that she wishes she had started when she was kid.

She started training in Sept 2009 and was promoted to Purple belt in July 2016.  She says it’s been a long road to plow and has not been easy.  She sees herself as just an average middle-aged mom with no athletic bone in my body, but found that learning to defend herself and her family became an important part of her life.  Training Jiu Jitsu has given her the confidence to do just that.  She hopes that in training she can provide encouragement to all those out there, especially those who do not think that they are good at sports or too old or not athletic, that they can.

“My introduction to Girls in Gis came in December of 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  My family drove me the three hours from our home to attend my first event. I immediately fell in love with Girls in Gis and what it meant to the women in the BJJ community . . . the camaraderie, the friendships, the knowledge. To date, I have now been to fifteen Girls in Gis events and counting.  I couldn’t be more grateful to Shama for organizing these events and grateful to be a part of helping with what I can.”

 


kimblakeKim Blake

Twelve years ago Kim started training Martial arts at the age of 42. Her interest in Martial Arts began at the age of 13 when an after school martial arts class was offered at her Jr. High School. Unfortunately her father wouldn’t give his consent because “girls did not participate in combative sports”.  This was a very hard for Kim, but at least she still had her love for Bruce Lee and Martial Arts films.

 It wasn’t until Kim was 42  when she was posed with the question, “What is stopping you from achieving this dream now?”  With the realization Kim enrolled in Karate class at Apollo’s Martial Arts. She is now a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 4th Degree Black Belt in Karate, Kickboxing, and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. She is also a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Ketsugo (under the linage of Herald Brosious). Kiim is also a Board Member for the Oklahoma Karate Association and was recently presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Whirlwind Tournament Classic.

At age 44 Kim began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to round out her self defense training. However it wasn’t until age 46 when Kim attended a seminar given by Master Carlos Machado where Kim can say she finally understood ground fighting. It was there that Kim learned techniques that activated muscle (brain) memory allowing her brain and body to work together. Ten years later Kim is now a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the RCJ Machado affiliation.


20161005_150737Alexis Kekiwi

Alexis is a 1 stripped Blue Belt under Gracie Black Belt, Professor Ty Gay, in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Alexis started her jiu-jitsu journey in 2013.  After participating in half marathons, boxing and weightlifting, she found that she still did not have the feeling of safety when out and about, especially at night.  When asked by a friend if she wanted to join in on a women’s self-defense class at Redline BJJ, she agreed. Once she found a way to get over having someone in her “bubble”, the rest is history.

Alexis has competed in several local Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in Oklahoma.  She enjoys the skill testing and getting to roll with other females she normal would not be able to roll with, but the main reason she likes to compete is to gain friendships with competitors.  The bond created is indescribable.  She can always count on these girls to have her back no matter what.  It’s like an unspoken sisterhood.


14957974_1351982228145881_1264393457_oJanie Meadows

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt, owner and instructor of Oklahoma Martial Arts Academy located in Edmond, OK

Janie got started in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2009 and started Oklahoma Martial Arts Academy as a white belt with her husband Seth Norman in late 2010.  She says that anyone that knew her growing up was shocked to find out that she is a jiu-jitsu fighter/ instructor and owns her own gym.  She says it’s a far cry from the shy girl they all knew. She says when she started she never imagined the impact that training would have on her.  It literally changed everything for Janie. She says she is healthier, more confident and now able to defend herself. She describes her self as small-town girl, who in a sense had feared everything who blossomed into a confident and capable woman.

“I never knew how vulnerable I was until I wasn’t anymore.”

According to Janie, Jiu-Jitsu is something that never leaves you.  You can take it anywhere.  Knowing this leaves a woman feeling more secure.  She says her biggest regret was not starting sooner. She says this sport is for everyone.  It has helped her deal with anxiety and taught her to appreciate what her body is capable of.  Jiu-Jitsu has also introduced her to some of the most important people in her life, her“family” the people who she grows with.  The one’s who lift her up when she needs it and keeps her grounded.

She considers herself to be blessed to live the life she lives training daily with her husband and their 12-year-old son, Tysen.  She says together they are living the dream.  She also works with different women’s groups in the area to provide self-defense seminars, teaches classes daily, runs the business, and she also the co-owner of Hindsight Jiu-Jitsu a Lifestyle Brand. She says one of her favorite things about coaching is seeing new people have that “ah ha” moment and watching them find what they are made of.  She also loves to compete because she always learns from it.  She says win or lose she always leaves the mats grateful for the opportunity and with an understanding of what she needs to work on.

Janie started going to Girls-In-Gis events as a new blue belt.  She says it was a way for her to meet other women in the area who trained.  According to Janie Girls in Gis is a great organization and she is so honored to be an ambassador for GIG.