No matter if we realize it or not each of us inspire each other in ways we never imagined. For some it is unintentional for others it is a burning desire within to change the lives of others. Ginger Mark may seem like your ordinary mother of three or is she? Don’t be fooled, there is more than meets the eye. Ginger is a female instructor, school owner and a breast cancer survivor, She is on a mission to inspire all women and girls to start Brazilian jiu jitsu (jiu jitsu) and see for themselves how much it can change their lives.
Ginger began training JoDokDo for ten years and achieved 5th black belt. However she says she wanted to find an art that was more practical for self defense. So ten years ago Ginger began her jiu jitsu training. She says it was love at first choke when it came to jiu jitsu and it wasn’t long after that she opened up her own Dojo. For Ginger jiu jitsu intrigued her because it was so different and seemed more practical. Even though she got her butt kicked by the guys in her academy she took it as a challenge to get better and learn jiu jitsu.
Ginger is a huge advocate of women training as she has personally seen the benefits of how jiu jitsu has helped her in so many aspects of her life. She says jiu jitsu has helped her become more humble and has made her even stronger.
“I no longer feel helpless if I found myself on the ground from an attack. I love my BJJ family and the comradeship that I have with other brothers and sisters in the art. Family, self confidence, fitness, stress release, mental and physical strength, are just a very few of the benefits people would gain from practicing BJJ!”
Four years ago after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, going through the chemo and reconstructive surgery Ginger faced the challenge of returning back to the mats. She says she made a promise to herself to come back even stronger than before and after kicking Cancer’s butt she did just that. She says it was the hardest thing to overcome but with the support of those around her and her love for jiu jitsu she was able to do it.
Moving forward Ginger’s goal is to be best she can be, continue to train forever and to achieve her black belt one day. She hopes to inspire those around her in leading by example while offering the same support she received when she needed it.
Girls in Gis staff writer
Shama Ko is a brown belt with Gracie Humaita out of Austin, TX. She has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since November of 2003. She is a photographer, writer, community organizer and activist. She heads the Girls in Gis organization or as she calls it the “movement”. She describes herself as both a lover and a fighter. She loves to laugh and not take life too seriously.