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The Road Back to Competition

  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the “gentle art,” you say? Ask anyone who has trained for a bit and they probably have an injury story to tell you.  What happens after that injury? How do you get back in the saddle after getting sidelined? While I’m no expert, I’ve learned […]


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 […]


Brains & Brawns

  If you’re in the Miami-Dade area of Florida, you just may have already heard of Olivia Shand. Residing in South Florida, Olivia Shand is a mathematics professor, judo orange belt,  BJJ black belt, competitor, IBJJF and NAGA referee, fitness enthusiast, and head of Jiu Jitsu Gypsies (a women’s BJJ […]


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 […]


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 […]


A Healthy Approach to Increasing Your BJJ Training

  In my early years as a blue belt, I was content with training just twice a week.  Further in, however, I started to feel a prick of jealousy seeing other folks progressing faster than me.  I tried not to compare myself, but I couldn’t help but notice that one […]


Four Tips for Achieving Your Goals

  If you’re a fan of self-help books, you may be familiar with popular goal-setting strategies like starting small, having accountability, and setting up rewards.  However, even with these things in place, after a couple months, you may find yourself frustratingly off-track and no closer to your goals than when […]


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 […]


Tips To Improve Women’s Expriences In Your Gym 1

  I believe most coaches and gym owners want women (and all students) to feel comfortable and safe when training. It’s important to set a tone in your gym. How do you know if your gym is both safe for and accepting of women? How can you retain female students?  […]


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, […]