Train Until Your Idols Become Your Competition

Coming up the ranks we all have a few black belts that stick out in our mind that we dream of becoming like. But when that day comes that a black belt is tied around your waist you are faced with the reality that you are now among the ranks of legends. That is where Laurah Hallock finds herself. Hallock began training ten years ago. She says the started  by going to a Self Defense/Rape Prevention seminar at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) academy. She was drawn to the confidence and techniques of the art. After collecting many medals and belts along the way on July 30th, 2014 Hallock was awarded her black belt.

Hallock currently trains at Ronin Training Center/GFTeam under Vitor Oliveira in Columbus Ohio where she is also the Director of Operations. She says that finding balance when you work at the same place you train can be very difficult. However she has learned that when she doesn’t train that  she mentally suffers, so she has made it a priority to find time to herself everyday. Sometimes that is weight lifting and sometimes it’s BJJ, but she says that getting that personal time is crucial.

Hallock is undoubtedly one of the up and coming black belts in the sport.  She has big dreams of becoming a world champion, but ultimately she says she wants to be the best she can be in BJJ. Which is something that she knows she can accomplish by training hard, listening to her coach, and giving heart when she trains.

What is the greatest challenge you have faced on the mats? How did you overcome it?

There are SO many challenges in Jiu Jitsu for girls it’s hard to narrow it down. Aside from the most common challenges of sexism I feel like my biggest challenge is my own mind. In any sport, as an athlete you have good days and bad days. To overcome the bad days can be very challenging. Sometimes you want to give up and question why you are even doing the sport…this negativity can be like poison. I have to remind myself that one roll, one tap and one bad day is not a judgement of all my years of training. I  try to stay positive and remind myself why I love Jiu Jitsu, why I train, why show up everyday ready to work. This is a challenge that I face everyday and have overcome over and over again.

Who is your BJJ idol? 

There’s a famous quote out there that goes something like “train until your idols become your competition”. This is so true! Since I’ve become black belt I cannot idolize the black belts like I used to. I need to beat them! I admire all the black belt females accomplishments and hard work but I no longer see them as “idols” but as my realistic competition.

 Has your view of Jiu Jitsu changed since getting your black belt? If so how?

Yes my view has changed and will continue to change in this evolving sport. At first I viewed BJJ for self defense and a way to gain confidence. Now I view BJJ as a sport and a game that I enjoy. I still see the self defense in BJJ, but I am more focused on the sport aspect of it right now which includes knowing the rules, practicing strategies, improving timing, etc.

What is the biggest difference between a black belt and a white belt for you? 

The biggest difference (and only) between black and white belt is the COLOR! Aside from physical difference I guess the other differences include experience and mind set.

For all those white, blue, purple, brown belts that look up to you as an idol how do you want to be seen? 

I would like to be seen as an inspiration to never give up. I’ve failed. I’ve lost. I’ve wanted to quit. But I pushed through these experiences to experience the amazing feeling that comes from winning. And it’s well worth it! Also, in a Brazilian dominant sport I would like to be seen as a proud representation of an American athlete in this sport.



 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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