Girls in Gis Staff


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Shama Ko

Program Director

Shama is the program director for Girls in Gis.  She began her martial arts training in 2000 first training in Muay Thai for three years and in 2003 she started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She is a Brown belt. She spent close to a decade as a full time competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competing throughout the Mainland US, Hawaii and Brazil. Jiu Jitsu has changed her life in so many positive ways and has largely contributed to who she is today.

Although her competition career came to an abrupt end when she was injured in 2010, a new door opened for Shama with Girls in Gis. Shama has dedicated her life to the Girls in Gis movement and structuring the organization. She describes it as her purpose and has provided an opportunity for Shama to blossom. She has found an outlet to utilize all of her skills which include photography, video editing, marketing, writing, advertising, networking, event planning and public relations. She considers herself lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

Although her competition career came to an abrupt end when she was injured in 2010, a new door opened for Shama with Girls in Gis. Shama has dedicated her life to the Girls in Gis movement and structuring the organization. She describes it as her purpose and has provided an opportunity for Shama to blossom. She has found an outlet to utilize all of her skills which include photography, video editing, marketing, writing, advertising, networking, event planning and public relations. She considers herself lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. She is solely responsible for building Girls in Gis into the largest internationally recognized women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu organization. She still currently oversees all areas of the organization.

“If not for the support of some ladies that started a women’s only class in 2003, I wouldn’t be on the path I am now. That is why I am so passionate about the work that Girls in Gis does. Some girls like me just need that little extra push and a strong support system to help them find their strength.”


Suay Alaziz 

Inventory & Distribution Manager

Suay has had the pleasure of wearing many hats so far in life:  a military veteran / wife, a mom (now a grandma), Jiu Jitsu nerd and now a BJJ academy owner. Suay is the 2nd female black belt under Master Luiz Palhares. She is also a level 3 certified Ginástica Natural instructor under Professor Alvaro Romano. She is one of only two instructors in San Antonio.  She is also a nikyu in Judo. She is very active in charity work with Girls in Gis, We Defy and a few other causes. She loves to teach self-defense seminars. It is something she feels very strongly about and believes it is a vital step towards empowerment, self-esteem and awareness.

Suay oversees the Girls in Gis ambassador program which is a leadership program that currently has 50 ambassadors nationwide. The Girls in Gis ambassador program is designed to provide leadership roles and well as training for women and girls in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community. Leadership skills learned though the program not only empower strong women by provide transferable skills that can be applied to women’s careers and day to day life.

“It’s never too late to prevent being / stop being a victim. And of course, never too late to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! I started in 2009 and it has been one of the best things I have done! I was a middle aged, out of shape mom that found a great network of mentors that helped propel me to a better lifestyle. It’s why I love the networking sisterhood of Girls in Gis. We support each other and help one another navigate through tough times on and off the mats. It’s a connection you just can’t describe!”