girls in gi


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 […]


Supporting Survivors on the Mats

If you participate in any of female grappling groups on social media, you’ve no doubt seen the stories about coaches or teammates who have been accused of inappropriate behavior, domestic violence and/or sexual assault.  While many of these posts have to be labeled with the word alleged, it’s no secret […]


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. […]


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 […]


Living In The Now

  Do you ever get stuck thinking too far down the road? If only this would happen then I could move forward. Or, Once I reach this goal, then everything will fall into place and I’ll be happy. It can be easy to think our outside circumstances hold the keys […]


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 […]


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 […]