Louisiana Ambassadors

carolinevanek-222x332Caroline Vanek

Caroline Vanek, a New Orleans native and Louisiana’s first female black belt, began her BJJ journey in 1998.  She has not only witnessed the evolution of the sport, she’s been an integral part of it.  When she was 17, her kickboxing instructor suggested trying a Brazilian jiu jitsu class.  She had no idea what it was, but was hooked after one class.  As the only female for years, she toughed it out with the guys in the gym and in competition. NOLA BJJ is her home, and her teammates are family. After Katrina, she and her teammates trained in someone’s garage whle New Orleans was being rebuilt and NOLA BJJ searched for a new home.  On June 15, 2013, she earned her black belt, and In April of 2016, she participated in her first Girls in Gis event as a guest instructor.

“When I first started training, I was the only female for years and couldn’t imagine that I’d ever be on the mats with over 100 girls.  I’m incredibly grateful to have discovered this sport, for the relationships I’ve developed on the mats,  for the BJJ community, and especially for the Girls in Gis organization.”