Meet the Host GIGAZ: Sarah Black


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 On August 30th, 2015 Girls in Gis returns to Arizona with a mission; to open the Girls in Gis Arizona Chapter. What does that mean? It means Girls in Gis is here to stay and we will be hosting regular events though out the state of Arizona. T0 kick off the grand opening of the Girls in Gis Arizona chapter we have an amazing celebration planned. Gracie Arizona has graciously opened their doors to us to host this celebration. We have tons of giveaways from our sponsors Phalanx, Detales, Neocell Ground Fighter and Jiu-Jitsu Saved My Life. We are so very lucky to have black belt Sarah Black as our host for this event. We had a chance to chat with Sarah before the event and get to know what makes her tick.

sarah 1Tell us a little about yourself. Who is Sarah Black? What do you do for work? For fun? 

I live in Chandler AZ and work full time as a software developer.  I am fortunate to have flexible work hours that accommodate my demanding Jiu-Jitsu training schedule.  When I’m not at the Jiu-Jitsu academy I enjoy slacklining in the park with my friends.

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How long have you been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Where do you train?

I started training Judo about 10 years ago. I did a little bit of Jiu-Jitsu while I was competing in Judo, but made the switch to Jiu-Jitsu about 4 years ago. I train with Gustavo Dantas in Tempe AZ where I am also the coach for the women’s team.

What interested you most about BJJ when you started? Competing, fitness, self defense? Did that focus ever change?

I have alway been one to try new hobbies and sports my entire life.  However, when I find one I love, I get obsessed.  In my 20’s I spent most my time doing outdoor sports like rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, motocross and snow boarding.  I was the jack of all trades and master of none.  Once I caught the judo and Jiu-Jitsu bug I had to make a few sacrifices with my other sports.   I started out just curious about martial arts after watching a few MMA fights. I had no idea what to expect when I showed up at my first Judo class.  Eventually one Judo tournament lead to another and before I knew it I was fully committed to be the best I possibly could.

How has BJJ impacted life? Has it changed who you are?

When I decided to make Jiu-Jitsu a centerpiece of my life I had to begin to make sacrifices.   I began to decline invites to events in order to prepare or travel for tournaments.   I moved away from my friends in California to train in Arizona.  I also put on hold any ambition for advancement in my job in order to allow myself the work schedule that perfectly suited my training schedule.

All these sacrifices are tiny compared the incredible journey I have been on.  I have traveled the world.  I have met the most incredible people.  I have experienced generosity like I could never have imagined.   Jiu-Jitsu has been the greatest teacher of dedication, perseverance and most of all, humility.  I am forever changed.

sarah2Looking back when you first started as a brand new white belt, what advice would the black belt of today offer to yourself?  

Don’t skip the mental preparation. Of course the hard physical work is necessary, but it will only partially contribute to your success. Analyze each performance and find out what is going right and what is going wrong. You may be surprised to realize some of your issues are mental. Fixing a technical or strategic mistake can take minutes; fixing a conditioning mistake can take weeks, but fixing a mental issue can take months or even years. The work is hard, but the payoff can be the difference in performing at your best and falling short.

We hope that you can join us. For more information about this upcoming event visit us at: www.girls-in-gis.com/blog/girls-in-gis-arizona-phoenix

We think that Arizona will be an amazing addition to our flourishing chapters in the USA. Please contact us if you are interested in hosting an event or getting involved. See you there!

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