Keep Calm and Jiu Jitsu On-Aimee Olds

Do you avoid social interaction, live in your head and worry uncontrollably? Have you ever had a panic attack? Well you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older which is just about  18% of the population. But you don’t have to live your life isolated and in fear. There are many options like medication and counseling. But perhaps these didn’t work for you. What if you were told one small step could change the rest of your life? Would you take it?

Aimee Olds is among the 40 million living with an anxiety disorder. She tried many different treatments, but found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu three years ago and since then her life has never been the same.  She is a blue belt at Gladiators Academy of Lafayette under Professor Tim Credeur. Aimee says after she had her children her anxiety got worse. She lived in her head worrying about the what ifs and was uncomfortable around large groups of people.  She says starting in the women’s Jiu Jitsu classes helped her make the transition to larger classes and helped with her fear of large groups.

“Rolling is the only time my crazy thoughts stop. I have to focus on the now when rolling. I have come to realize that if I can handle myself in this sport, life just comes easy. Jiu Jitsu has helped me realize if I stay clam in uncomfortable situations everything works out. It has taught me to stay calm and breathe through the tough times. That they will pass or I will figure it out. Believe it or not it has also helped me communicate with others in my day to day work. I have become more confident and calm thanks to Jiu Jitsu!”

Much like Aimee felt uncomfortable at first working when men, Aimee feels that some men struggle with this same uncomfortable feeling about training with women. She also feels that men struggle with ego a lot more than women do.  Where as until women experience Jiu Jitsu first hand and have an understanding it is kind of intimidating. Especially if they walk into a gym and see two grown men rolling. However according to Aimee by offering more free seminars she believes we can get more women training.

“I started in an all women’s class so when it came time to for me to expand my knowledge it was hard for me to get comfortable training with men. I was uncomfortable with them that close to me and was nervous they would be rough. For a while in those classes I trained with my husband or another female. Once I got to know my team mates (which didn’t take long) I realized it was nothing like I feared.”

Having seen the benefits for herself Aimee’s main goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to learn as much as she can and share the knowledge she has learned. She also wants to help others with their struggles on and off the mat.



 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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