empower


Mindset is Not Just Changing Thoughts 1

As a clinical psychologist, I support the work people do to improve self-esteem, to better themselves, and to take responsibility for their mental health and life circumstances. However, there is a general flavor to the self-help industry—especially those that include martial arts and sports—that ignores the impact of systemic racism […]


Shoulders Of Giants

  With so much bad news going on these days, it’s hard to find something to celebrate.   One thing we can all be happy about is that it is a great time to be a woman in jiu jitsu. When you step on the mats, or scroll through social […]


Your Journey Is Valid 2

  It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Someone at your academy receives a stripe faster than you did. You go to a tournament and your competitor from last year is a completely new rank. It’s easy to put a time period to a […]


Nerves: A Gift Or Curse?

  The only thing I remember from my first competition is the referee saying, “Combate” (fight) and everything in my mind freezing – with everything I’d learned trapped within that ice. Nearly every competition since then has featured a struggle with that nervousness-induced ice.  It wasn’t until I started to […]


We Are All In This Together

  The sisterhood.  The brotherhood.  Our mat family.  Any way you put it, jiu jitsu is all about community.  Sure, we talk about armbars and triangles and that sick takedown that our professor taught us last week.  But when you ask your average jiu jitsu athlete what keeps her coming […]


Step by Step: The Only Way to Get to the Top 2

  When I heard the name Laurence Cousin Fouillat, the first image that popped into my mind was of her, standing at the top of a podium with a gold medal around her neck. While I wanted to know more about her life as a world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor, I […]


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 […]


Top 10: Women to Watch at Pans 2020

With so many competitions canceled and postponed this year, there is much excitement for the 2020 IBJJF Pan American Championships beginning next week. It was no surprise registration reached capacity quickly, and while there are many amazing athletes competing this year, there are a number of stand-out stars on this […]


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.  […]


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 […]