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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 […]


How Do I Even Train After Having A Baby?

  I decided to start training BJJ again after a four-year-long hiatus, at ten weeks postpartum. I was seven months pregnant when I started teaching yoga at the gym where I used to train, so staying after class for BJJ wasn’t really an option.  However, I found myself longing for […]


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 […]


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?  […]


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.  […]


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, […]


Fighting The Battle of Her Life

Sometimes the day to day grind can wear us out and get us down. Our daily fight with traffic, a boss we don’t get along with, endless homework, peer pressure, strict teachers, annoying coworkers, not having enough money, mounting bills and the list goes on. Now imagine you are eleven […]