girls in gis


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. […]


A Jiujiteira Survival Guide

photo by Joe Vasquez PhotographyAs a BJJ practitioner, I always try to convince all my girlfriends to try out jiu-jitsu. Aside from being a great form of exercise, I think it is an incredibly beneficial skill set for all women to have. However, my attempts are often met with a […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]