Keeping it Raw and Honest-Mel Wong Fausto

Each day is an opportunity to better yourself, learn and grow. We learn though experiences, people and through using tools that guide us. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a powerful tool. One that can teach you how to be more confident, self reliant and have body awareness. The benefits are endless.  It is all a matter of how you use this tool that determines the outcome.

Mel Wong Fausto, a brown belt under Leandro Nyza of Nova Uniao, started training almost nine years ago. She says when she first moved to Hawaii she told herself that she would start training Jiu Jitsu and so she did even though her ex-boyfriend didn’t want her to.  She had previously trained in boxing but this was her first experience in the ground arts.

She says that throughout her Jiu Jitsu journey ups and downs she wouldn’t change a thing. Along the way if she mad mistakes she learned from them and moved on.  She says the biggest challenge she has faced was when she started to doubt her abilities and felt like she wasn’t getting better because she was doing the same thing every time she trained. So instead of getting mad and stuck Mel said she had to change the way she thought.

“Jiu Jitsu is an art, some styles might not work for certain people and might work for someone else.”

For the most part Mel trains with men, but she says that it is important to roll with women too. According to Mel, women tend to not give each other as much of a chance and are more competitive with each other. Which she says is a good thing.

“When we roll with men, sometimes you think what if they are just taking it easy on you because you’re a girl, it sucks but  it happens.. With women you know it’s raw and honest.”

Jiu Jitsu has tremendously changed Mel’s life and she knows it can do the same for others. She says that not only is Jiu Jitsu a good self defense and a good workout, it’s deeper than that. For Mel Jiu Jistu has taught her to be confident, to have body awareness and the most important thing is that she learned how to deal with her everyday life.

“When you are rolling and you are in a bad position, it teaches you to be patient and think of what’s the next move you can do without getting submitted. It’s the same thing in life when you are struggling with a problem you learn how to solve them properly.”



 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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