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5 Quirks of Jiu Jitsu A Female Grappler Will Encounter

  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is growing in popularity, and for good reason. The self-defense, health benefits, and friendships formed on the mats— the list of benefits could go on and on! While this sport has been male-dominated for quite some time, women are finding their ways to the mats in […]


The Power of Self Talk

  I was just halfway through the tournament from hell. Earlier that morning I was pumping myself up for victory, knowing this tournament would prepare me for my first super fight the following month. Yet, here I was, losing match after match in my division with my gas tank at […]


The Sisterhood

Long before starting BJJ, I did karate in a small dojo on the upper west side of Manhattan. My instructor at the time was well known (in karate, anyway) and our Friday night sparring class was where all the champions were- big black belt men with dark eyes, quietly taping […]


So Fresh 1

Jaidyn Mueller is fresh. She is a fresh-faced 19 year-old purple belt whose grappling game is loaded with fresh jiu jitsu moves. I met Jaidyn on the mats at Katharo Training Center in her hometown of Littleton, Colorado when she was a 12-year-old girl. Back then she sported an awesome […]


The Power of Compassion & Understanding 1

  Inclusivity and valuing human diversity is a growing movement. There are many examples of people who are working hard to ensure that anyone–of any religious practice, personal value, gender identity, sexual preference, or political view–is truly included in jiu-jitsu and beyond. However, there are still times that people are […]


A Recovering BJJ Addict

  To stick with BJJ for years, or a lifetime, you need to really love it in a way that often crosses the line into all-consuming obsession. Many of the people I’ve met in the BJJ community shape their entire lives around the sport. Their schedules are built around class. […]


Yoga and BJJ: The Perfect Training Partners

  Ironically, I didn’t fully comprehend how amazing yoga is for BJJ practitioners until I was no longer training BJJ. When I started my yoga teacher training, I hadn’t trained BJJ regularly for about four years. However, as I continued to learn about the kinesthetics of yoga and how the […]


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 […]