Huh, well that’s something: according to White Belt BJJ, (and then I checked on the IBJJF website- not due to lack of trust, I just wanted to see where this was mentioned) purple belts will need to register with the IBJJF in order to compete in tournaments, starting in January of 2018. I imagine as […]
Every one of us started from the bottom. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in a basketball or a football team, or we practice wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we all go through the similar white belt phase. This is the frustrating part where we learn the ropes, so to speak, and absorb the basic concepts and fundamental movement patterns of our chosen sport. In a way, it can also be said that this is where we paint a somewhat indistinct picture on a blank canvas. Our objective, of course, is to establish a solid foundation for all the things we’ll learn in the future, and everything starts with our mental toughness.
Former UFC veteran and BJJ black belt Vagner Rocha shares that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu regularly entails supreme mental concentration, especially when foreseeing your opponent’s next move and devising your own game plan. Rocha adds how this natural focus helps us not just on the mats, but also in other facets of life. So for us to take things a step further in terms of improving our white belt game, it’s imperative to understand BJJ’s core principles of anticipation and what they actually mean.
In their article on the outline of permutations and combinations, Pocketfruity points out the value of knowing when and how to quickly measure the different outcomes we should be concerned with. According to the piece, as much as our instincts play a huge role in this scenario, we still have to process and assess the number of options for every situation. Applying this idea to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu means it’s like facing a math problem in an orderly fashion, in which the solution leads to a submission or an escape. This notion doesn’t necessarily require us to become a math wiz, but rather it simply suggests the significant role of proper and logical judgment.
The white belt is basically the cognitive stage of our BJJ learning curve, based on a blog post by Infighting. This point is also where we exert most of our attention and energy on the execution of techniques. It still doesn’t come natural, as every movement is linked with our thoughts and each sequence is articulated by our limited grappling knowledge. To put things further in perspective, this phase is where we are like sponges and absorb as much information as we can from everyone and apply it on the mats.
Essentially, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and all the other forms of martial arts, involves assessment, logic, and application. There should always be definitive reasons for every movement, whether we’re shrimping or bridging, or applying or escaping a submission. Throughout this whole process of learning and practicing these basics, we’ll comprehend the importance of effort. Moreover, by knowing how to deal with different scenarios and measure possible outcomes, we’ll slowly but surely feel a more natural sense of flow and sweep our way into the next level.
A run down of the current top Female BJJ players in the world inspired by Attack the Back.
Whether the following amazing women and BJJ competitors where motivated by family; fitness; exercise; self-defense; stress relief; or as a transition from more traditional forms of martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enrolment for women has increased every year despite it being a traditionally male-dominated sport.
Below is a list of who’s who in the world of female BJJ.
Leticia Ribeiro N. Dos Santos is a 4th degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and multiple time world champion in the sport. She is associated with the Gracie Humaita jiu-jitsu school. Wikipedia
Born: February 24, 1979 (age 37), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Residence: San Diego, California, United States
Team: Gracie Humaitá
Kyra Gracie Guimarães is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and grappling world champion and a member of the Gracie family. Wikipedia
Born: May 29, 1985 (age 31), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height: 1.7 m
Weight: 53 kg
Michelle Zonato Nicolini or Michelle Nicolini is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and mixed martial artist. She holds a black belt under Robert Drysdale and is an ADCC and 8x BJJ World Champion. Wikipedia Michelle is an instructor at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
Gabrielle “Gabi” Lemos Garcia is a Brazilian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, grappling world champion, and member of the IBJJF Hall of Fame. Wikipedia
Born: November 17, 1985 (age 30), Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Height: 1.87 m
Weight: 111 kg
Team: Alliance Jiu Jitsu
Mackenzie Lynne Dern is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and mixed martial artist. IBJJF ranks Mackenzie as the number one female black belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu. Wikipedia
Born: March 24, 1993 (age 23), Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Height: 1.6 m
- Pan American Champion (2014)
- World No Gi Champion (2013, 2015)
- World Championship Silver Medal (2014)
- Pan American Silver Medal (2016)
Weight Division: Peso Pena (58kg/129lbs)
Team/Association: Atos/ATT – www.bjjheroes.com
Is a BJJ Coach based in the United States, New Jersey, at Princeton. Valerie teaches BJJ and Sports Psychology and is an all round inspiration. In the video clip below Valerie explains how she fought depression and found happiness in her life.
Hometown: Curitiba, Parana, Brazil (resides Coconut Creek, Florida)
School/Training Camp: American Top Team (Coconut Creek, Florida)
Discipline(s): Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Black Belt; 4-time World Champion)
Height: 162 cm (5’3″) Weight: 53.3 kg (118lbs)
In the video below you see Matuda pull of an unmissable and incredible submission in her fight against Michelle Nicolini from Polaris Pro 12th Sept 2015.
World Champion (2015 weight & absolute black, 2014 & 2013 brown, 2011 absolute purple, 2010 blue)
Pan American Champion (2016/2015 black, 2014 brown, 2013 absolute purple)
European Open Champion (2015 black, 2012 purple)
New York Spring International Open Champion (2015 weight & absolute)
Pan American Championship 2nd Place (2014 absolute brown, 2013 purple, 2010 blue)
World No Gi Championship 3rd Place (2010 blue/purple)
European Open 3rd Place (2015 absolute)
Favorite Position/Technique: Open Guard, Pressure guard passing
Weight Division: Peso Pesado (79kg/175lbs)
Team/Association: Alliance Jiu Jitsu – www.bjjheroes.com
Yvone Duarte, the first female black belt in BJJ. There had been some debate and somewhat of a quest to figure out who the first was, so it’s good to see that they have figured it out.
Duarte was a fierce competitor, winning both her weight class and absolute several times in the late eighties and early nineties. This is particularly impressive since she fought at 52kg, just under 115 pounds. She received her black belt from Osvaldo Alves, who is, to put it lightly, a true legend and founder of the art of BJJ. She went on to become the head of the BJJ federation in the state of Brasilia, and has reached the 5th degree black belt.