woman


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 […]


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 […]


Back to Training, But…

  There is comfort in the return to routine: the rash guard in my bag, the braids in my hair. There is joy in the dull ache in my arms and in the sweat dripping off of my face. There is joy in all of it, from fist bump to […]


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, […]


Got The Post Competition Blues? 4

All those hours of training, preparing and all the sacrifices you made lead up to just a few minutes when your feet hit the mat, you slap hands and your match begins.  You walk into your match with uncertainty of the outcome. The buildup, the anticipation and then you lose. […]