For some who were raised in a family business, the last thing you want to do when you grow up is continue the legacy. For the Ramsden family that is furthest from the truth. Suzanne Ramsden’s daughter Julia Ramsden and son Evan Ramsden started off as assistant instructors a few years ago and are eager to take on more at the Maverick Training Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The name of her academy comes from Richard Bustillo, her JKD Instructor, who gave Suzanne the nickname Maverick.
Suzanne began training martial arts at the age of 40 and her children quickly went along for the ride. She says she started with JKD, than moved on to Muay Thai and than began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2004. It wasn’t long before Martial Arts became her full time time job.
I was exposed to grappling through JKD training, which I started about 40 years old. I never considered my age. I don’t understand “I can’t”. If I’m physically unable to do something that’s one thing. But to not even try is foreign to me.
When did you open your own academy? What led you to that decision?
As a female running a Jiu Jitsu academy do you think it is more difficult? If so, why?
Being a female who is an Academy owner has been challenging. I was a novelty for a long time. I had a small group of guys. I trained hard and often with Soneca. After doing well at tournaments, I was taken more seriously. Yes, it is harder for a woman, unless you have a female only academy. I don’t make an issue about being female. If I’m a good instructor and coach, then being female is irrelevant. I have over 100 students and the majority is male. In a male dominated sport, the way to be taken seriously is to take it seriously yourself. Atos does not make an issue about being female owned academy.
How long have your children been training Martial arts? What else do they train?
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.