PNW Ambassadors

Rebecca Pheasant-Reis

Rebecca “Faisão” was introduced to jiu jitsu in 2012 by her husband. She started her training and earned her blue belt under Paulo “Coelho” Brandao at Gracie Humaita Austin. In Texas she attended several incredible Girls in Gis events and saw the power of bringing women together to improve each other and jiu jitsu. After making the move to Seattle, she and her husband found a new home and family at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where she earned her purple belt under James “300” Foster. Outside of jiu jitsu, Rebecca is an Architect and preservation specialist in Seattle with a focus on restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings.

“As a lifelong athlete and competitor I immediately loved the mental challenge and physicality of jiu-jitsu. When I started at the age of 30, I had no expectations. It wasn’t long before I was hooked. The community and competition is unique to anything I’ve ever been a part of. Through jiu jitsu I have found confidence and comfort with who I am. I feel honored to have met so many incredible men and women who share the same passion for jiu jitsu. The community of women in the Pacific Northwest is incredible and growing fast. I am excited to be a part of it.” 



Lauren Tinklepaugh

Lauren began her jiu jitsu journey during her sophomore year of college in 2010. She started at the Catamount BJJ Club through The University of Vermont after the 1-millionth request from her now-husband, Jeff. She agreed to give it a solid 2 week try before she could admit ‘this wasn’t for her’ and quit without guilt…

 In January 2015, Lauren moved to Seattle, Washington as a 4-stripe blue belt under Vince Guy of Catamount BJJ/Combat Fitness and Roberto Maia of Boston BJJ. She soon began training, alongside Jeff, with Marcelo Alonso at his Seattle academy where she was awarded her black belt in December 2022. 

She has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a background in operations, she currently works part time as the Front Desk Manager and Youth Program Coordinator at Marcelo Alonso BJJ. Her other hobbies include hiking, backpacking, watercolor painting and crochet.




Sara Vasquez

Sara is currently a brown belt. She started her jiu-jitsu journey in 2013 when she sought out the “next challenge” in her life…and oh wow, did she find it! Not only was jiu-jitsu the most challenging thing she had done in years but the most rewarding too. It challenged her physically (it’s a serious workout), mentally (so much to learn and retain) and, unexpectedly, emotionally (it’s a combat sport and the flight or fight is a real thing). As with most females, growing up she was taught to be polite, quiet, not to get dirty, not to be overly pushy, etc., however, jiu-jitsu allowed to her challenge that status quo. It taught her how to not only survive under pressure but to thrive in those moments as well. Most important, it provide and still provides her a daily activity where she can learn to be the best version of herself, push boundaries, and breakdown stereotypes. She has never looked back. Sara attended her first Girls In Gis event a few years ago, was truly inspired by what the organization stood for, and wanted to be a part of pushing the movement forward. She believes we can all reap the benefits of learning how to harness and unleash the power within us on and off the mat.  When she is not training or coaching, you can find her working with some of the largest brands and companies in the world, helping them to better express their stories to their audiences. She also sits on her city’s newly formed Equity Steering Committee where it is her hope to shed more light on the need for greater diversity, equality and inclusiveness in the world.

Cynthia Bleckert

Cynthia was introduced to jiu jitsu around 2014 after trying a women’s training course in Tacoma. She startender Marcelo Alonso and continues to train under his name in Tacoma, WA at Vital Jiu Jitsu. She went to her first Girls in Gis in Seattle at Gracia Barra and was amazed by the number of women participating, and all the higher belts she was able to meet and train with. Currently she assists a higher belt at her gym with a women’s only class, and hopes to encourage more women to try out the sport. Although not a frequent competitor, she has competed at NAGA, Revolution, and Submission Only in Auburn. She also trains muai thai frequently. Outside of jiu jitsu, she teaches middle school in Tacoma and lives with her husband, son, cat, and beagle.