self defense


Not Your Competition

  It all began with the new girl. She showed up a few months into my BJJ journey, slightly bigger than me and somehow already wearing a matching set of colorful rashguard and spats. I pictured myself patiently teaching her the one move I had learned, giggling at how awkward […]


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 […]


Out of The Comfort Zone 1

  Has someone ever told you that you could never do something? Did it make you back down, or did it ignite a will to succeed? Meet Megan Hutchings. This 33-year-old martial artist from Allentown, Pennsylvania is making goals and crushing them and letting Hemiplegia stand in her way.  I had […]


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 […]


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 […]


We Are All In This Together

  The sisterhood.  The brotherhood.  Our mat family.  Any way you put it, jiu jitsu is all about community.  Sure, we talk about armbars and triangles and that sick takedown that our professor taught us last week.  But when you ask your average jiu jitsu athlete what keeps her coming […]


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 […]


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?  […]


Learning the Language of Guard 1

  As a smaller BJJ player, I always thought of myself as a passer.  Playing guard always felt restrictive, a completely different world from the mobile passing game I preferred. Although I knew some techniques playing guard, I looked at guard as just a way to plug a hole in […]


Remembering to Breathe 1

  You know that soul-crushing moment when your opponent passes your guard to secure side control…then they settle in heart to heart and you just feel the weight suddenly crushing your very existence? Of course it feels great when you’re the one doing the soul-crushing (and bonus points when you […]