How did you get into Jiu Jitsu?

Even though Jiu Jitsu is growing in popularity worldwide, it still isn't a common martial art to practice, especially for women. Jiu Jitsu isn't exactly your typical after school activity in the United States. I meet people all the time who don't even know what Jiu Jitsu is. They get it confused with Karate, Kick boxing and Judo. One thing I've enjoyed most is hearing other people's stories of how they got introduced to Jiu Jitsu.

As for me, I've known what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was since about 1996. My friend ,and now instructor, Phil Cardella started his training at the Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy in Aiea, Hawaii. I remember dropping Phil and our friends off at the academy a few times. I had no interest in Jiu Jitsu then and thought of it as "their thing" and not mine.

When I came back home to Hawaii after my first year in college, Phil was a blue belt by then. I remember he was excited to show me the new Jiu Jitsu moves he had learned. He was so nuts about it, that he kept a spare room in his house with nothing but a salt water aquarium and practice mats. I think he showed me some triangle from the guard and arm bar variation, but I don't really remember. I've always loved to roughhouse with my guy friends, but at this point in time, I could still take it or leave it when it came to Jiu Jitsu. Perhaps, I just wasn't ready at the time to to fall in love with Jiu Jitsu and have it take over my life, like it has now.

Despite being aware of Jiu Jitsu, it wasn't until 2003 and over 3,753 miles away in Austin Texas, that I finally began my martial arts training. To be honest, my initial reasons were purely superficial. I just wanted to get in shape and lose some weight. Phil had also moved to Austin by then and he suggested I get into Muay Thai. For 3 years I trained in Muay Thai. I absolutely loved it, but hated the chances of hurting another person or myself when sparring. One of the major reasons I crossed over to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Muay Thai was because I liked the fact that Jiu Jitsu was a much more controlled sport/martial art.

At first I was apprehensive about Jiu Jitsu because it is such a close contact sport. I had to get over the whole personal space issue. But it didn't take long for me to crave more! My first instructor wasn't Phil, it was the co-owner Christy Thomas. Christy Thomas and Nancy Rodriguez taught an all women's class once a week at the Hills Fitness Center. I loved Jiu Jitsu so much soon I was also going to the co-ed classes taught by Phil a few times a week with my boyfriend.

Then I found myself going to classes more and more and more and more. It didn't take long for me to be hooked...and here I am now! So, how did you find out about Ju Jitsu and what made you start?


  1. Love your photos...what a great eye you have!

    Now to answer your question on how I got started.

    First of all - I'm very new to this sport(not quite a month) but I LOVE it.

    I find I'm drawn to technical sports & activities and this definitely fits the bill. I love it when technique & brain power can overpower plain brute strength.

    I've always found martial arts very interesting but didn't like the idea of getting hit in the head and having my brains sloshed around.

    About a month ago my boyfriend had me watch "Ultimate Gracie" about Royce Gracie and the first UFC fights. Oh man! i was hooked - i signed and went to my first class the following week.

    I've been training 3 times a week since then.

    Due to the intensity of my other sports(ATC, xc skiing, mtn biking, speedskating) - a 1.5 - 2 hour session of jiu jitsu feels like a "rest day" for me - so I'm hoping my body can take the *addition* of jiu jitsu.

    I can definitely see jiu jitsu being a part of my life for a long time...I'll just have to see where it falls in the scope of my MAIN love - mtn biking.

  2. Well, I found my way down this road because of work. I needed to learn solid offense and self defense skills for messy fights that wind up on the ground. (I work in LE). I remember thinking, I don't care about belt ranking, or competing, or any of that nonsense, I just need some good basic skills.

    Fast forward to my current purple belt, occasionally competing, status. What a journey! I have been sucked into the BJJ vortex and am willingly swimming farther in.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts