Teri Stewart has been an integral part of Girls in Gis Colorado and cultivating the community. We are honored to have her hosting for the second time and sharing her passion with us. Teri is a purple belt at Colorado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Stapleton, a family business run by her and her husband. Teri has been training for close to six years and was motivated to begin her Jiu-Jitsu journey because her husband and daughter train. However after six years she says “Now I train because I feel incomplete without it.” We caught up with Teri to see what she has in store for us this weekend, talk to her about running a business and retaining women on the mats.
As a BJJ academy owner challenges to you see in getting women to begin and retaining women on the mats? How can we change that? How have you changed that?
My husband asked me to train with him long before I started. I would watch his tournaments and see big, strong people aggressively seeking submissions and think, “That is not for me.” When I finally started it was because I watched many beginners classes and thought, “I can do that.” I think many women, like me, are not seeking an aggressive outlet. However, the fundamentals classes are all about technique and self defense. I think the keys to getting more women in BJJ involve changing the perception that it is an aggressive or violent sport as well as giving women an easy entry into the sport. Girls in Gis is great at promoting BJJ for everyone, which is why I have loved the organization from the start. I have also started my own ladies BJJ class to appeal to those who are interested in trying BJJ but not quite ready to jump into the full coed class. We have a lot of girlfriends and wives of BJJ practitioners try ladies class when they otherwise might not ever try BJJ.
What benefits do you think BJJ brings to females?
There are so many benefits! BJJ was designed so that technique can overcome athleticism. As a 43 year old woman, I am never the biggest, strongest, or fastest person on the mat, but my technique can allow me to overcome my deficiencies. In a self defense situation, the attacker is almost always bigger, but good BJJ technique can mean survival and escape. But perhaps the biggest benefit from BJJ comes from the training process. During live rolling, I have to defend myself against all sorts of attacks and attackers and have been in some uncomfortable places. However, I have learned to breathe and survive and to be patient for my escape. This is a life skill off the mats as well. Life is full of unexpected obstacles and often involves uncomfortable situations (whether physical or mental), but BJJ provides the training and confidence to be able to work through those situations.
You’ve been a part of Girls in Gis since it’s start two years ago in Colorado. What have you seen in the past year as far as how the organization has impacted the community? How do you wish it will continue to?
I have loved watching the female BJJ community grow! Having more women to train with and share with and laugh with has been a huge part of my love of BJJ. Girls in Gis helps create and strengthen the bonds of female BJJ practitioners outside of competition, and has helped me develop some lasting friendships.
You will be our host for the 2nd time, what will do you have in store for us?
We will have a fun warm up with some intense core work and maybe some fun partner work as well. Then our technique will focus on the basics of self defense and using levers to overcome bigger/stronger opponents. It should be lots of fun! I can’t wait to see everyone again!
Join the fun this weekend: