A Warrior On And Off The Mats

  Francis Garcia, a blue belt under Carlson Gracie, is a strong woman who uses jiu jitsu with a purpose. This blue belt is a 38-year-old single mother and nurse. Her 12-year-old daughter (who is a black and grey belt with 4 stripes) is the proud center of her life.  […]


Learning the Language of Guard 1

  As a smaller BJJ player, I always thought of myself as a passer.  Playing guard always felt restrictive, a completely different world from the mobile passing game I preferred. Although I knew some techniques playing guard, I looked at guard as just a way to plug a hole in […]


On Her Own Merit

  I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Professor Carlan Gracie, a third-degree black belt training at Brasa/Kazulu Jiu Jitsu out of Rio De Janeiro (Rocinha), Brazil.  A Gracie, you ask? Yes, but not that Gracie family.  Carlan just happens to have the last name of arguably the most famous family […]


Remembering to Breathe 1

  You know that soul-crushing moment when your opponent passes your guard to secure side control…then they settle in heart to heart and you just feel the weight suddenly crushing your very existence? Of course it feels great when you’re the one doing the soul-crushing (and bonus points when you […]


Strength in Surrendering 1

  Confident. Driven. Passionate. These are the words that lingered in my mind as I got off my call with Jill, a purple belt who trains out of Performance Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New Jersey under Professor Vintaloro. While we covered many topics during our hour-long chat, what intrigued me the […]


Navigating unspoken rules in BJJ

  Recently, a teammate and I spoke about one of her first BJJ classes where she felt that she’d done something wrong, but didn’t know what.  After hearing her story and then giving my take, her jaw dropped.  “I wish I’d known that when I first started!” she exclaimed. So […]


It’s Our Journey

  “A black belt only covers two inches of your a$$– you have to cover the rest,” said best by Royce Gracie. And it is true. A black belt is that, just a belt. It is what that belt represents that matters: the countless hours of training, the blood, sweat, […]


She’s Pretty Dangerous 2

  You’d be hard-pressed to find many like Melissa Lohsen in women’s jiu jitsu today. Being a wife,  a mother, and a gym owner since 2002 are all important to Melissa’s story (not to mention, she’s a black belt under Cesar Gracie). However, her story doesn’t stop there. After her […]


Is It All About Me?

  I sit resting in my favorite recliner with my foot  up and a knee bandaged and covered in ice packs. I had knee surgery today because of an injury I acquired while practicing take downs for my first competition. My husband diligently helps me with the rotating of ice […]


What is Essential?

    ESSENTIAL [ uh–sen-shuhl ]adj of the utmost importance;  necessary;  basic; indispensable, necessary. This word is undeniably a key buzzword associated with the current pandemic. What exactly is essential?  Supermarkets? Gyms? Liquor stores? In New York State, several gyms,such as  fitness centers and martial arts studios, have recently joined […]