A Desire to Inspire 4

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.

“On a daily basis I wish to inspire others to train. I will continue to train as much as I can, continue competing, and lead by example on and off the mats. I have these continued goals but must tell you that just being able to practice and teach BJJ and make a difference in people’s lives is so full-filling!”



 Shama Ko

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.

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4 thoughts on “A Desire to Inspire

  • Kitty Morlock

    The Love for Jiujitsu and her students was evident the very first time I watched my grandson train. She took this 7 yr old boy that had never had any MMA training to competing with her competition team in six months. She taught him confidence and respect, and he will always be a part of Warrior Defense no matter where life takes him. I, as his grandmother, will always be grateful for her dedication and love. Ginger Marks is the best!

  • Lori Rush

    I too am a jiu Jitsu lover, almost 59 year old, female, 14 year Breast cancer survivor. I found Jiu Jitsu 7 years ago after weight training for 15 years. Nothing empowers, humbles, challenges, humiliates and makes you the strongest person you can be. both inside and out.

    In the words of Helio Gracie – “you don’t stop training Jiu Jitsu when you are old, you get old when you stop training jiu jitsu”