We are all unique and special in our own ways. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. However, sometimes these differences can create challenges for us if we don’t fit the mold of society. Learning to love and accept ourselves for who we are is a life long struggle for many. It takes real strength to learn how to do this.
Jessica Guedry has had many challenges in her life, but instead of being crippled by defeat she is driving by challenges. Jessica js a purple belt on the BJJ Revolution team, a full time Accounting student at Louisiana State University, works part time at UFC Gym and teach a BJJ class once a week. When she is not hitting the books or the mats you will find Jessica doing yoga, connecting with people, cooking, eating, drinking coffee, and of course just lounging while enjoying doing nothing. She says she also enjoys traveling, fitness and trying new things.
Jessica found Jiu-Jitsu five years ago when she was working on a weight loss program. At the time she was training boxing and kickboxing at a local gym when she made friends with the guys who trained BJJ. It wasn’t long before she had to try it out. At the time, Cat Davidson, who trained under Leka Viera, was the brown belt instructor for a women’s class once a week at the gym. All of the guys Jessica trained with would mention how awesome Cat was and talk about her success with competing. Jessica says she was inspired and motivated by Cat and the other women in the class.
Jessica says she grew up overweight. By age sixteen she weighed 250 pounds. Although she was not bullied or ostracized at school much for being overweight she was highly insecure about her weight. It has taken her time to build confidence. According to Jessica training BJJ has played a large part in helping her build confidence. She has lost nearly 80 lbs by learning to eat healthy, training boxing, kickboxing and lots of hard work. Training BJJ has helped her maintain her new, healthier lifestyle.
Jessica considers herself fortunate to get the opportunity train with women of different skills and ages often. She says she will roll with anyone, and she always jumps at the chance to roll with other high level females. This past summer she also had a great opportunity to train with Marcus Antelante and his wife Victoria, at their school in Dallas, TX. She was able to train with a variety of women and it really took her training to the next level.
“Women use their weight a little differently than men and can be more flexible. I love training with other women who push me and train hard. I met two of my best friends through Jiu-Jitsu. Diana and Meg are purple belts now and awesome to roll with.”
Since her start in 2010 Jessica has seen a lot of growth in the BJJ community in Louisiana. She says many schools are open now and more continue to open.
“It may be surprising to some that Louisiana has such a large and talented Jiu-Jitsu community. This holds true in other states as well, like Texas and California. I think the growth is great and hope it continues. It gets more people training and competing.”
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.