covid19


Back to Training, But…

  There is comfort in the return to routine: the rash guard in my bag, the braids in my hair. There is joy in the dull ache in my arms and in the sweat dripping off of my face. There is joy in all of it, from fist bump to […]


Owning it

  Female black belts are still a rarity in our sport, and it is even more extraordinary to find a woman who is the owner and head instructor of her own BJJ academy. Juliana Fontoura gave me a peek into the rewards of instructing and gym ownership, as well as […]


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.  […]


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 […]


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 […]


Staying Sane When You Can’t Train

To train or not to train….that seems to be the question these days. Just when it seemed like things might be getting back to normal, another wave of COVID19 numbers spike – and while many of us may have differing views on whether to return to training or continue avoiding […]


The Spirit of Resilience

As soon as I got off my call with Mary Aldana, the only thing I wanted to do was put on my gi and get on the mat. If it had not been 6:00 am, I just might have! Mary’s enthusiasm about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and her resilient spirit echoed in […]


I Promise, Your BJJ Game Won’t Disappear During Quarantine 1

It’s a tough time to be a BJJ addict, amirite ladies? Many of us have been out of the gym since late March or early April. Some of us, like me, are still out because our life circumstances prevent us from going back safely, even if everyone is just doing […]


Lessons in Lockdown

  To say that lockdown hasn’t been easy would be a severe understatement.  Even as some communities have begun to reopen, one of the hardest parts continues to be the isolation, particularly from the practice and community of BJJ. For me, not having BJJ as an outlet and as an […]