In the intricate quilt that is the Brazilian JiuJitsu community, you will find that we have all been part of something that is bigger than we are, come from something that makes us unique, or experienced something that makes those around us ask, “how did you accomplish all of that?” The stories are numerous in our community. This one highlights Wendy Jarva. She is a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and martial artist whose life passions incorporate multiple art forms.
Wendy’s foray into martial arts began with learning KravMaga for self-defense. Today, she trains both Brazilian JiuJitsu and KravMaga with her husband and two sons. Wendy, currently a blue belt at Monster MMA & BJJ located in Smithtown NY, was roped into Brazilian JiuJitsu at the behest of her sister who is currently a purple belt. Wendy’s passion for Brazilian JiuJitsu is nested in the fitness and social benefits that the community provides. When pressed about competing, she says that it depends on what one is looking to get out of their journey. Wendy also offered that when she is able to train more she would consider setting a competition goal.
Wendy appreciates how Brazilian JiuJitsu has the ability to create the cool kids. The coolness factor in Brazilian JiuJitsu does not rest in the latest brand names or cool hairstyles; it rests in one’s commitment to the art. Without the diversity of Brazilian JiuJitsu, it is reasonable to believe that a majority of us would not cross one another’s paths.
As was previously mentioned, we all come from something. Wendy, no doubt, is a fighter. She is a cancer survivor. She is not only a breast cancer survivor; she is a “thriver”. Wendy coming to find out about her diagnosis is a story in and of itself. During a KravMaga training session, her sister socked her a good one in and around the breast tissue (sisterly love at its best). Wendy figured the pain would dissipate. It did not. Wendy’s doctor indicated that he was not worried and believed it would heal. Wendy was worried and she became her own advocate. She, in fact, had a cancerous tumor. The impact of the blow to the chest caused the blood to clot around the mass, creating a hematoma. This is what triggered the persistent discomfort in the area and probably what saved her life.
What do you do when faced with a devastating health diagnosis? Well, if you are Wendy Jarva, you build a mixed martial arts clothing line from the ground up. Through emotional breakdowns, breakthroughs, chemotherapy and fatigue, a company was born. Wendy owns SicChic Fitness &Fightwear (pronounced /Sik SHēk/). Her passions, and most likely the things that keep her focused, are her desire for charity and making women and girls feel good about themselves. She says that staying active throughout treatment lent itself to her recovery. She credits the amazing people around her with her success. Many of the women on her SicChic team are involved in mixed martial arts. When she is not marketing her company, Wendy is just another JiuJitsuka. She does not come in waving a banner that says, “I own an apparel company”. One day on the mat, one of her teammates was admiring her gi and told her that she really liked the brand and follows them on Instagram. She pronounced the brand “Sic Chick”. Wendy offered that she believed the brand was pronounced “Sic Sheek”. They agreed to disagree and continued with their roll. Two weeks later, her teammate saw her on the mat with the realization that Wendy probably knew what she was talking about. She takes it all in stride and does not take the mispronunciation to heart. She is living every bit of life, knowing exactly how fragile it can be.
Many of us would understand if Wendy stood by and let life run circles around her during such a tough period. Instead, she ran circles around life. She has been going non-stop ever since. With a clean bill of health, Wendy urges women to pay attention to your bodies. Cancer is a non-discriminating thief. She ate well, exercised and did not have any precursors for the disease. For those going through it, use Wendy as your motivation and keep fighting like a girl!!!
About the Author:
Girls in Gis staff writer
Sharicka Long-O’Neill, is a blue belt with the Kompound Training Center out of Littleton, CO. She has been a jiu jitsu practitioner since July of 2012. She is a mom and a ten-year veteran of the United States Navy. Her hobbies include fitness, cooking, and traveling with her husband of five years.