The gentle art of Jiu Jitsu takes more than a physical toll on its practitioners. The mental aspect of training, and competing is one that athletes are constantly trying to overcome. One such practitioner is Australian- Tina West of Fortitude Wellbeing. She is a blue belt under David Marinakis and Lee Ting at Immersion MMA in Glen Waverley Victoria.
She is a lifelong martial art enthusiast. From wanting to be WWE superstar, and dominating her brothers when they were kids- to doing karate- these were all steps that lead her to discovering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Once she was hooked on BJJ, she began competing every two to three months. Well, except when she was planning her wedding this past year.
Physical preparedness and mental improvement go hand in hand. Tina began her holistic journey when her own life was not a high point. Through a modality called Vibrational Sound Therapy, and working with her teacher and facilitator Sheila Kennedy, Tina “began truly feeling like all aspects of [her] life were improving.” Being physically prepared isn’t the only type of preparation that goes into competing. She incorporates many techniques when preparing mentally for a competition. “Visualization has to be the most powerful tool I use to prepare myself for competition. I sit and visualize how my matches will go. Just feeling and seeing myself on the mat in that moment and getting comfortable being there with the nerves, the butterflies and the environment-It is a great way to understand that you are in control of your nerves and to utilize them to prepare you to fight well.”
Tina also stays in tune with her body. When she can feel the burnout that accompanies mental exhaust begin, Tina likes to meditate. “I just lie down and slow my mind and take my mind and body away from Jiu-Jitsu for a while. I concentrate on breathing and relaxing every part of my body to help center myself and give me a moment to be silent.”
But what works for one of us girls in gis, may not work for others. Tina recommends finding what works for you and stick to it. But she does have one good piece of advice for every one, “Take time away from Jiu-Jitsu. Even if it’s a walk, hanging out with friends, watching a movie. It allows you to bring balance in your life so that you don’t pressure yourself thinking about competition 24/7.”
Girls in Gis staff writer
“Ariana is an teacher out of Austin, Texas. She loves coffee, wearing skirts, and trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out of Gracie Humaita- Austin”