Which sport(s) do you compete in?
BJJ and MMA
What is your belt rank?
When and how did you start BJJ/MMA?
I first started doing muay thai/boxing/eskrima casually and for fun/to get in shape around 2012. It wasn't until the start of 2014 that I got into BJJ, when I left for Thailand on my own on a little sabbatical (after a turbulent 2013 from travelling through South America, two break ups, turning 21 and too much drinking, partying and eating crap food- oh what it is to be young!). I decided on Thailand because I wanted to get better at Muay Thai, get healthy and get my fitness back up- and of course a bit of sun and beach; but I also had been gifted a gi for my birthday, and BJJ was always on the peripheral- I had never tried it before, but was willing to give it a go. So I chose a MMA gym in Phuket- Phuket Top Team. It was there where I got introduced to a whole new level of training, people from around the world, and of course BJJ and MMA. But it was really BJJ that got me hooked, and I exclusively trained in BJJ for the next 2 years after that, while I forgot about striking for a bit. Its all well and good hitting pads over and over, but who could resist choking and and limb locking people in so many different ways?? After doing a fair few BJJ comps, both nationally and internationally, that I turned my eyes towards MMA again- I always like to challenge myself, and I've never looked back.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very much about pressure and controlled aggression. I especially like to go for the take downs, and I have my signature outside trip that I go for a lot. But agility is just as important, so I make a point of rolling with the bigger guys to test both of these things- its really satisfying when a big guy is trying to squish me but I manage to slip out and scramble and reverse the situation- I've been told a couple of times, despite my smaller frame, that I can sometimes feel like an 80-90kg weight. I guess I can attribute that a lot to my husband and constant rolling partner Tim for that, because he's that size!
Who are your BJJ/MMA heroes and why?
My everyday training partners who are not only my team mates but also my teachers and friends. I seriously would not have the skills that I do without the people that I train with, who continuously smash me, challenge me and push me to my limits, who give me tips and help me troubleshoot whatever problems I might have whilst training. They give me pep talks, and also the inspiration to work hard. They are the ones in my corner supporting me, and cheering me on. Big names don't really mean much to me.
What is your most memorable BJJ/MMA moment?
One of my most memorable BJJ moments was winning gold in my first competition as a blue belt. I was only 3 months into being a blue belt, and for the last 6 months I had been working 9 to 5, 7 days a week, doing two jobs, my mum had cancer and I was trying to fit training in whenever I could, before and after work. It was definitely a high stress period and high volume of work that I had on my plate, with little down time for myself. So for 10 days my now husband, Tim, and I, flew out to Bali, and we did nothing else except for eating (a favourite past time!) and relaxed, on top of training at Bali MMA (the guys who run that place we had met back 2014 at Phuket Top Team, when I first started BJJ). The very weekend we got back from Bali, a BJJ round robin tournament was on, that we had signed up for, but they had to bump me up one weight division up for my Gi division, and TWO weight divisions up for No-gi, because there was no one in my weight division. The night before, I had a little cry to Tim, and got so worked up over my fears and doubts about my skills and level- what if I was a one hit wonder as a white belt and now only a second rate blue belt? Its very much a first world problem and probably what a lot of people go through when they do their first competition in their new rank, but at the time I felt like little kid who had been so used to winning and feared losing above all else. Tim cheered me up, and told me that if I can roll with him, a 90+kg guy, all the time, then what difference does it make? He put things in perspective for me and the next day I went in and did my thing. I completely dominated and won both in Gi and No-gi. It was so satisfying, and I was amazed about how much the training we did at Bali MMA showed up in my game at the competition. It made me think- man, if I could train full time, doing what I love, with nothing else on my plate- then who knows what I can achieve??
Of course bills gotta be paid, and life gets in the way, but I still manage to replicate that sort of feeling from time to time, and in the meantime its just all about the grind. You reap what you sow, and I'm all about that sowing.
What are your goals and motivation to compete?
I guess what motivates me is my desire to always be challenged. I don't want to sit in one place, I don't want to stagnate. I can be told that I'm good, but how good am I really until I it see for myself? Its a test, and a way in which I can validate myself and my skills. That's what motivates me to train and compete.
What does your weekly training schedule look like (including S&C)?
Monday is No-gi and MMA, Tuesday is Conditioning, No-gi and Muay thai, Wednesday is Strength, MMA or Muay Thai, and Wrestling, Thursday is Conditioning, BJJ (Gi) and Muay Thai, Friday is Strength and MMA, and Saturday is Muay thai and MMA. Sunday is my rest and food prep day!
In your opinion, what do you think most BJJ/MMA practitioners lack in their training?
I'm going to assume that most BJJ/MMA practitioners love what they do and have a strong team and are pretty well educated in their training and that they are pretty awesome at what they do, and I don't feel like I'm in a position to say so and so is lacking something in their training.
All I can say for myself is that the most important thing for me, with my training, is perspective and the need to take each day as it comes. Its basically when you get caught up in shit things that might happen when you train or compete, like maybe you got caught with a sub, or you weren't doing what you usually do, or you were gassing too soon and too hard- basically when you feel like you suck. Everybody has moments like these but what's most important is that we put it into perspective- is it the end of the world? No. Did you die? Maybe you felt like it, but not in the literal sense, no. Have your tantrum, mope and whinge a little bit, that's perfectly normal and human nature- but move on. Its easy to get caught up in the outcome, rather than the process, and the process is just simply turning up each day.
What are your highest values in your BJJ/MMA and training life?
That I help others as much as they've helped me, and that at the end of the day, I enjoy what I do and have fun with it.
What do you do for fun or to relax outside of your training/competition schedule?
Crazily, training is my form of relaxing?!? Outside of competition, if I had no other obligation in life, you would still find me on the mats. But if I really had to training out of the equation, I like to be outdoors, be it hiking out in the bush, or swimming in the ocean. That, and eating and cooking for ourselves and our friends. Tim and I hold some pretty damn good social gatherings at ours, and there's always a lot of laughs and unbuckled pants from all the eating.
How has Strength & Conditioning impacted your BJJ/MMA?
S&C has had a huge impact, giving me more gas and more power to my game. I find myself being able to last longer and feel stronger during rounds, and it