Strength, Dignity, & Perseverance: Sophia McDermott Drysdale an Empowering Female Voice in the BJJ Community
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin
We grow and we change, and hopefully for the better. The game of BJJ is constantly evolving and the first female Austrailian Black Belt, Sophia McDermott Drysdale shares her thoughts on how she has grown and evolved. Multiple injuries plagued her throuhout her career however, it did not hinder her success. We hear her thoughts on everything from BJJ and the olympics, rule changes, branching out into fitness competitions, to her charity work. If you haven't had the opportunity to shadow Sophia's career, there is no time like the present, she has grown up in more ways than one in this game and her growth is evident when she she competes.
BJJL: Why BJJ?
SMD: I started my training as a gymnast. I trained with my identical twin sister for about 10 years in the elite squad at my gym. I was searching for something that was as mentally and physically challenging as gymnastics and with my very first BJJ training session, I knew that it is what I had been looking for.
BJJL: What were your hobbies growing up?
SMD: I was very artistic and musical. I originally studied fashion design at the Melbourne Institute of Fashion. I loved to draw and paint and sculpt and play the drums. I was in a band that focused on blues and jazz for about 10 years. I grew up doing all this in addition to gymnastics which I also practiced for about 10 years.
As time went on I specialized more and more in BJJ and building a career as a personal trainer focusing on functional strength training and nutrition. I qualified for my Cert 4 in personal training and nutrition back in 2002.
BJJL: Who were your influences as an up and coming practitioner?
SMD: I never really idolized anyone moving up the ranks during my journey. However, I remember watching Hannette Staack and Kyra Gracie during their black belt final match at the World Championships in Brazil while I was still a purple belt, which was very inspiring. That year unfortunately I took home a silver medal and not the gold. :(
BJJL: Why did you decide to leave Australia and settle in the U.S.?
SMD: I really wanted to pursue my dreams in BJJ. I was a big fish in a small pond back in Australia and the only real way to challenge myself was to compete overseas. I was traveling so much for competition and it was getting very expensive for me. By the time I had moved to the USA I had already won 3 Pan Am Championships and placed 2nd at the World Championships in Brazil.
BJJL: Are you linked to any charities?
SMD: My website (that I am rebuilding) is linked to FINCA (Fighting Poverty with Finacial Inclusion http://www.finca.org/) which is an organization that provides loans to help single mothers and widows with children etc in 3rd world countries to start their own businesses and become financially self-sufficient. This organization’s goal is to give back the pride and dignity of these hard working women and enable them to be able to pay for an education for their children.
BJJL: What is your biggest pet peeve as an instructor (students late for class, belt not tied properly….)?
SMD: My pet peeve are instructors who have a sense of entitlement. An instructor is a role model, someone that people look up to. It is essential that the instructor gives the students 100% of their time and energy. Instructors who don’t pay attention to the students or they spend time on their phone or chatting to friends don’t gel with me too well.
BJJL: What do you consider a well-rounded practitioner to be?
SMD: A well rounded practitioner is someone who has a good understanding of both the guard position and top/passing position. Also they have experience as a competitor and as a teacher. Competitors have a great game, focused minds, and knowledge about all the preparation for tournaments but those who teach have a better overall understanding of a lot of the positions in BJJ. I think both aspects are necessary.
BJJL: When you see a student struggling, that is ready to quit, how do you help them adapt and overcome?
SMD: If a student is struggling I find out why they want to quit and usually it is because they aren’t getting the results they want, i.e., they are getting beaten up all the time. For the more petite women especially who spend the most time on the bottom getting squashed, I encourage them to shift their perspective and look at all the other bonuses of training such as having a good work out, building strength and stamina, and making new friends etc. I also make sure that that these student have supportive training partners around them so that they are not paired up with the big dudes who make them feel like they aren't achieving anything.
BJJL: What rank was the most challenging for you?
SMD: Brown belt was my most challenging belt. I had a series of very severe injuries including, torn costal cartilage in my rib, a complete shoulder separation (competing with Hannette Staack at the semifinals of the World Championships, and herniated neck which paralyzed my left arm. All these injuries lead me to the hospital. It was a difficult and lonely time especially with my family over in Australia.
BJJL: How do you think BJJ has evolved since you received your black belt?
SMD: I received my black belt in 2010. Since then I think the sport has grown so much. Both the women and the men are earning their belts at a younger age and winning world Championship much earlier. The pace of learning just like any sport is becoming much faster. There is definitely many more women training and competing and I think this is due to all the women's groups and the leading ladies of the sport teaching seminars who help motivate, support and inspire other women to keep training and to achieve their own dreams.
BJJL: What goals were you working towards in 2014, and did you accomplish them?
SMD: My goals in 2014 were to put myself back on the BJJ map after taking time off to have 2 babies. I felt like I disappeared. I competed in all the major tournaments and took Gold at the Pan Ams, Bronze and the Worlds, Gold at the No Gi Worlds and Gold at the Masters World Championships. I also focused on teaching seminars and building up my women's class at Drysdale JJ where I train.
BJJL: What are your thoughts about BJJ being a part of the Olympics?
SMD: I would love for BJJ to be part of the Olympics!!!! But I do not believe it will be. The sport is not really a spectator sport. Even for those who practice it and love it, there is a lot that goes on that you can’t really see, unlike Judo for e.g. where the big throws are obvious wins and big crowd pleasers.
BJJL: As of now, each Federation or independently run BJJ organization has its own set of rules; would a more unified approach from all organizations help with the integrity of the sport?
SMD: Yes definitely. I think that by having the same rules across the board would make things more cohesive and easier for the judges and the competitors alike. Some of the rules need to be revised, however. There are too many positions that are open to the referee's interpretation.
BJJL: You have won multiple World Titles in BJJ, do you see yourself venturing into MMA?
SMD: No!!!!! I hate competing. If I had to deal with being punched in the face I would probably freeze like a deer in headlights!
BJJL: Gi or No Gi do you have a preference, if so why?
SMD: Gi definitely. It is more technical. But I do appreciate the athleticism of no gi. The ex-gymnast in me comes out when I train no gi.
BJJL: Over the last year you began body-building and competed in your first competition, what led you to that decision?
SMD: I started competing in Ms. Figure shows. I have always been curious and I always knew that one day I would get up on that stage. I was ready to try something different and challenging. This requires so much discipline. I am preparing right now for my second show. I want to make my mark on the stage to reach out to the general fitness industry to promote my new business dedicated towards training women who are pregnant or who have just had a baby.
BJJL: I see you as an empowering individual, what empowers you?
SMD: Over the years I have done a lot of soul searching and self-reflection. I have figured out who I am and what drives me and I try to remain as true to myself as possible. If I am in a situation that doesn't honor me I try to change it. You have to honor yourself first because if you don't honor yourself, then no one else will.
BJJL: Your gym has been consulted by some prestigious MMA fighters (Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey) what role do you play in facilitating their training?
SMD: I personally have not trained with either Ronda or Miesha although Miesha does come to the gym quite often. Our gym has a lot of MMA fighters both men and women. I think the role I play is getting women through the door and helping them stay. Even though I may not train with the MMA girls, the culture that I have built for the females who train is one that is supportive, open and uplifting.
BJJL:http://sophiadrysdale.com/ is an amazing website. There are tips on fitness, nutrition, even pregnancy information listing vitamins and workouts (and blogging about your own pregnancy). You are covering a variety of things that appeal to both women and men, what prompted you to develop the site this way?
SMD: For a long time I have wanted to do a full blown website dedicated to health and fitness and focusing on training during pregnancy and postpartum. I don’t think there is enough out there for women who want to train throughout their pregnancies. The culture is that women should stop what they are doing to have a baby and I strongly disagree with this. Having a baby is a part of being a women. It is not what defines a woman. I have not had the time to dedicate to the website however, I am currently in the process of building a new site that will be launched in a couple of months. I will be dedicating all of my time to this and to teaching BJJ.
BJJL: What are your gym’s policies on sexual harassment?
SMD: The ideals trickle from the top down. Basically if the head instructor allows or encourages this behavior in any way then others are going to do it. Robert Drysdale does not treat any one different on the mat and this is the culture that has been cultivated at our school. There is no difference between the black belt, the white belt, the kid, man or woman. There is no discrimination or different treatment. We are all here to train and to learn and to be a part of something.
BJJL: You hear horror stories here and there about blatant sexual abuse in gyms. Any thoughts on the way that the abuses have been addressed or haven’t been addressed in the BJJ realm?
SMD: I think in a lot of the cases the head instructor turns a blind eye to the situation. Although he may not agree with what has taken place, he is also not proactive about preventing it and changing the culture in the gym. As far as I am concerned turning away from the problem is just as bad.
BJJL: The Better Business Bureau holds businesses accountable for consumer complaints, do you think the same should be done in the BJJ world regarding sexual abuse?
SMD: I think all the pieces of the puzzle create the whole, so it is every academy's obligation to the art of BJJ to create a safe and accepting place for all who want to train.
BJJL: I can see you producing your own fitness videos in the future, would it be too presumptuous of me to say something like that?
SMD: I am in the process of filming these fitness videos as we speak. lol!
BJJL: You have 2 children are they leaning towards BJJ or your former sport of gymnastics?
SMD: Both children are more interested in being fairies and princesses. I do however think that the oldest daughter has all the athletic attributes to be the most outstanding athlete in whatever sports she chooses.
BJJL: What are your plans for the future? What goals do you still have left?
SMD: My goals are to launch my new fitness website business and to continue to travel and teach seminars around the world. I hope to inspire and empower more women though BJJ and fitness. I do plan on competing in more Ms. Figure shows also. I am enjoying this new challenge and this new world.
BJJL: If you could go back and change any moment in your prestigious career, what would it be?
SMD: I have had a lot of bad luck competing actually. Everything from having my opponent's foot caught in my top and having my boobs hanging out and losing the fight because I was speaking to the referee to try to alert him, to completely separating my shoulder, to having the score board changed on me 20 minutes after winning the semifinals of the Pan Ams due to politics.... I would go back and change those very unfortunate moments that cost me additional titles.
BJJL: Is there anyone you would like to thank that you have never had the opportunity to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
SMD: I would like to thank my Mum and my sister. They have always been there for me even though they may not have agreed with some of the decisions I have made. My sister is always on the next plane to the States (she lives in Australia) when I need her the most.
Sophia, the greek translation means wisdom. That wisdom over the years has helped mold her into who she has become today. One could say that from the moment she was born this Aussie had uncanny abilities, unrelenting determination and know-how. All of those qualites in turn she utilizes to empower those around her, to uplift those that seek her advice, and to push those she mentors to the next level. Her talents have served her well in her distinguished career. As McDermott-Drysdale branches out and does more we just hope she sets a pace the rest of us can keep up with.
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” -C. JoyBell C
Hannette Staack talks about sub-only, stalling, cash prizes, BJJ in the Olympics, women's Jiu-Jitsu and the prospect of building a family.
Words of Wisdom from BJJ Legend Hannette Staack
“I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.” -- Princess Diana, Princess of Wales
When you think of female BJJ Pioneers the names Magalhaes Duarte, Vieira, Ribeiro, Kwok, and Staack should roll off your tongue like honey. If you do not know who 3rd Degree Black Belt Hannette Staack is, and you are a woman that seriously trains in BJJ today, you are WRONG. Her 2007 flying armbar in the ADCC Championships is an unforgettable moment in BJJ history. When she hits the mat, she is a competitor that fights with all her heart and puts everything on the line. It makes her a DYNAMIC fighter. Eight years has passed since that match vs. Rosangela Conceião. BJJ Legends is sitting down with Professor Staack to see how she has progressed and what the future holds for such a charismatic individual that shows no signs of slowing down.
BJJL: Tell me about 2014, what opportunities did it bring to and your husband (4th Degree Black Belt Andre “Negão” Terencio)?
Staack: 2014 was a very good year. Lots of things going on in our business. New people coming to the association, expanding the Brazil-021 Family. It was busy for our association, in a good way, but in another hands I had to focus very much on the business and start leaving the competition scene. But I think this is the normal transition.
BJJL: What goals were you working towards in 2014, and did you accomplish them?
Staack: Getting all the schools on the same standards. No egos... Our mission for 2014 was United we stand divided we fall... We grew together as a family. I also competed at the Worlds 2014 and got second place, which of course was not the result I expect, but I lost on the final just by one advantage, which is not much at all. For a 36 years old, business woman like me, who has to take care of most of the things in the Brazil-021 association, I think it was a good tournament. We always want to win, but it was a close match, so, all worth it! It was also a great year for me as a coach, and so was 2013 as well. I am working on getting my students to the next level. In 2013 I had 2 of my girls competing and one of them Kristin Mikkelson got 1st place on the blue belt light weight division and 3rd place on the open class. My other student Kristen Martin got 2nd on the blue belt light feather. In 2014 Kristen Martin got 1st in her division Purple Belt light feather and Mikkelson, lost by decision on the quarter finals for the champion of her division. So it was a great year, for Brazil-021 in general.
BJJL: BJJ is not what it once was intended to be, would you like to see a return to submission only matches?
Staack: I definitely want to see that. I think now-a-days a lot of people “play by the rules” which is not wrong. I think you have to have a strategy, but the problem is when you have points, people will be afraid to open their games and that is when the stalling comes. If we had more of these tournaments, especially with cash prizes, we definitely would see way more interesting matches.
BJJL: What are your thoughts about BJJ being a part of the Olympics?
Staack: I think it will be a while to see our sport in the Olympics. I still think we have a long way to go, with rules, federations and organizations. But I would love to see the sport one day as a part of the Olympics. As long as we are still evolving. As of now, each Federation or independently run BJJ organization has its own set of rules; would a more unified approach from all organizations help with the integrity of the sport? Of course. I think what is happening but every organization wants to set their own rules. They want to be different from each other but the problem is, in the end, they are not helping the sport to evolve. If we had unified rules, we would have less misunderstandings and less people complaining when they are in an official IBJJF tournament. We also would have less injuries and better referees.
BJJL: How much do you think BJJ has changed in the last 5 years for women?
Staack: I think it has changed a lot. More and more women practicing and competing. Which is great... Now we have more respect, more sponsors and more attention. It’s great to look back when I first started and see women getting their space in the competitions, getting prizes, getting attention from the media. Before it was much harder for women to make a living only with BJJ, but now I can see other women like me, Jiu-Jitsu business women which is great! It is progress, still improving, but way better than before.
BJJL: What are your plans for 2015?
Staack: Become the BEST Hannette Staack I can be to my students. I have been dedicating my entire life to competitions to be the best in the sport and as much as the competitions are a big part of my life, I think it is time for me to focus on other things, to help my students to get their way in this sport. It’s been hard to let go, but I think it is time to build my legacy and to become now the best coach, the best mom (future plans ... Lol), the best business woman I can be to build the other side of my career. But who knows if I get a good proposal to compete, I might as well go... Haha... A Heart of a fighter will always be this way!
BJJL: What do you think the future holds for BJJ?
Staack: Improvement with the rules, a more professional BJJ scene like the World Pro, but with better referees. It will keep evolving, but the basics will be always there and it will always be effective. If you think about some of the positions we have today, like the 50/50 for example, they are not very good for your body in many ways, so I would say in the future, the rules will help to avoid those positions. And for the practitioners, they will be more aware of the damages that those techniques could cause to your body over time.
BJJL: As one of the PREMIERE role models and athletes for up and coming female BJJrs, what advice can you offer?
Staack: Many... 1. The way is always harder than for anyone else, but it is worth the try and the sacrifices. Don’t give up, believe in your dreams, work hard and even if takes longer than you thought, keep on going. 2. Always value the person who is helping you in your journey, your teacher, and your teammates. If they are helping you to get to your goals, that is what matters. Listen to your coach/professor. But remember, there is no such thing like Black belt in life, use common sense, if you feel something is wrong talk to other people, give your thoughts about what is happening and get help. There is always a lot of people willing to help, including me :-) 3. Stay humble; 4. Don’t let your EGO blind you; 5. Remember the purpose of why you joined a BJJ School, to learn Jiu-Jitsu, so, don’t let anything interfere in your goal. Stay FOCUSED. Jiu-Jitsu is your number one priority when you are on the mats. Keep rolling!
BJJL: Some of the ladies that have taken your seminar rave about a specific conditioning drill that you have…It takes 15 minutes and is multiple BJJ movements chained together. Can you talk to me about it?
Staack: It is a method that helped me a lot in my career, so I want to pass it on to other people. It is for me, the best way to create muscle memory. Then, when it is time to roll it is easier to remember and put in practice the technique. It is also a great way to get you tired... LOL and when it is time to train you have to use your technique more than your strength.
BJJL: Your “under stress approach” seminars are also a huge hit. Will you elaborate on your thought process behind that?
Staack: I don’t like to be in a class where everyone is just sitting or taking their time to do everything. I like to be doing something all the time. I think that is the reason why I always do the seminars this way. Nobody is resting... We are always doing something, practicing, drilling, rolling, etc. It is the best way to learn in my opinion.
BJJL: I know you are a fantastic humanitarian. Talk to me more about your non-profit organization Brazil-021 Project.
Staack: It was a way to give something back to the community. I think Jiu-Jitsu is a great tool to help people to get more self-control, self-confidence, discipline, while playing, while having fun. So they learn all this and still have fun doing it. When we decided to start this project, we didn’t know it would grow that much. We have more than 80 kids training in Brazil and the idea is to bring the same project to the North America, because we know that here we have kids with the same problems as the kids in Brazil. We want to provide good examples, the ones they don’t have in their own community. We have talked to the parents and we have great feedback from them about their kids.
BJJL: Was there any point where you hit a wall and wanted to give up BJJ and do something else? If so why?
Staack: Yes. My life in BJJ was mostly based on competitions, and this year 2015 right before the worlds I felt like I needed to compete again. I had to prove to myself that I could do it again. It was really hard to let it go. I had a serious conversation with my coach, who is also my husband and he convinced me to not compete. But I wasn’t completely convinced yet, so I kept training hard, like I was going to compete. I had a little hope that I could go there and participate. When it was getting closer to the event I finally realized that I was not going I got really depressed. I was having terrible nightmares and sometimes I thought about giving up everything. I didn’t want to go to the event, because I didn’t want to see the competition. Finally after talking to other people, that went through the same problems I realized it was best not to compete. Focus on my students, doing something bigger to the community, contributing in a different way to the BJJ World. After going to the Worlds and seeing so many people winning by one advantage, stalling, a lot of referees mistakes, I am glad I did not compete and I have now extra motivation to continue on this journey, contributing as a teacher and mentor to my students and to all the people who wishes to learn Jiu-Jitsu.
BJJL: Have you ever thought of yourself as a female hero to women in BJJ?
Staack: LOL... No never. But I know my responsibility in the Jiu-Jitsu community, so I try to set a good examples to my students, to the kids from the Project. I want to be the best I can be.
BJJL: Do you think that women are taken advantage of if they do not educate themselves about BJJ and what is and is not acceptable in their training environment?
Staack: I am sure. I always say that for women is always harder to be in this community. The first biggest barrier is finding a place that we can be treated as equal. We have to face this every day in our lives... In Jiu-Jitsu is not different, especially for a sport that is mostly male predominant. Some schools do not even have female changing rooms or bathrooms. We have different prizes, sometimes we don’t even have prizes. I had to face in the beginning of my career, situations that women would come to the school to find a date and once they were training or drilling with me they would get upset. It is hard! I found my way to the top because I always focused on my Jiu-Jitsu improvement more than everything else. I earned my respect, through my dedication. I think this is the key for the success and that is what I try to pass on to my students. I always ask them “what your goals are?” so focus on the result, the result you want for you. My school, because of me, is a very female oriented place. Our students are always respectful, and they feel comfortable in bringing their wives, moms, sisters, grandmas, girlfriends to train with us.
BJJL: What is your policy on sexual harassment towards men or women in your gym?
Staack: We have a set of rules, our DOJO ETIQUETTE, to make sure the schools and everyone is on the same page. It is unacceptable to have someone hitting or with a disrespectful posture in the school towards anyone, men or women. With our annual summits we always have a chance to talk to all our affiliates to be careful about who they pick to be their instructors. We know how big the influence of an instructor or Professor towards the students is and how many people and schools end up getting a bad reputation because of this. Also we always pay close attention in class on people’s behavior. This way we can sense people’s intentions and prevent or at least minimize the risk of having something like this happening.
BJJL: What do you hope the next generation of women will bring to the table competition wise?
Staack: I was a little disappointed after this IBJJF Worlds, I saw too many women playing to win... Don’t take me wrong when I say that, but I think sometimes people play only to win by an advantage. You don’t see many people going for submissions, playing with all their heart. I hope to see more women playing the real Jiu-Jitsu, trying to submit all the time, taking risks. Because BJJ is all about taking risks, it is all about submission. I know it is hard sometimes to win by a submission, but I also know by my own experience, that sometimes, people don’t want to move just because they are afraid of getting submitted. So I hope this generation brings back the real BJJ, bring their hearts to those mats and be fearless.
BJJL: Babies, when do you think babies will come into the picture?
Staack: Hahahahaha.... The best question! We are definitely planning... I would say, sooner than later. But for sure starting this year :-)
Hannette Staack has done some phenomenal things as a competitor. She started out in BJJ at the age of 18 and now with 18 years of experience she has built a legacy to be absolutely proud of. As she transitions, she can build upon that legacy as a mentor, a coach, and so much more.
“Life-fulfilling work is never about the money -- when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.” --Eileen Fisher
If you are a female BJJ practitioner looking for a camp in which you will receive some excellent training from the top not black belts you need look no further than the Grapplin’ Gals camps Sonia Sillan and her Partner Jamel (Jei) Kennedy put together. Champions such as Mackenzie Dern & Hannette Staack can teach are just a few you to name that teach ladies who really want to get their roll on the most unintimidating environment. Sillan personally believes that “although women can get fantastic training from rolling with guys, it's a completely different experience to be able to roll at the same intensity as other females. As a new jiu-jitsu player, instead of spending an eternity focusing on survival, you can actually play and evolve your game; you can really figure out what works and you have a technique down when you are matched equally with an opponent of your size and build.”
Sonia and Jei
Sonia Sillan started training BJJ in June of 2009 one year after having reconstructive hip surgery. She was diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia (shallow hip sockets) at 20 but continues in her BJJ pursuits and on a very definite path. When Sillan started BJJ, she was hooked, but her body did not move the way she needed it to. She was one of two girls that trained consistently at her gym. Drilling caused no discomfort, the sparring did. She was constantly smashed or because people were aware of the surgery they didn’t give her a real challenge on the mats. Eventually Sillan entered her first official tournament, as a blue belt, with only an in-house tournament under her belt in 2011. She experienced what most girls experienced their first time competing, she lost. Sillan’s loss came at the hands of her now teammate Amanda Loewen, and one of Oregon's first female black belts. The loss brought the realization to Sillan that women don't get enough realistic training experiences and thus the concept for the first Grapplin' Gals Open Mat was born.
The first GGs happened in 2012 when Sillan and partner Jamel (Jei) Kennedy were starting their own gym Straight Blast Gym of Seattle. They brought GGs along in order to mold it into exactly what they envisioned it to be. GGs moved from small open mats to full blown training camps. The goal has always been the same. On the website the following statement still holds true http://ggbjj.com/: "Our focus is on increasing the standard of jiu-jitsu techniques for women training in the Pacific Northwest. Although BJJ isn't as popular here in the PNW [it's definitely growing], it is still home to some of the toughest and most hardworking women in the sport. We aim to support the growth and progress in women's BJJ locally and nationally." After experiencing difficulties in training, and in competition, Sillan wanted to provide an environment for women to be able to come together and just train – learn, roll, laugh, have fun, figure out how to keep hair in line.
The candidness of Sillan endears one to the struggles of the BJJ woman seeking to create her ideal training environment. “To be completely honest, running our gym has put some road blocks in GGs because I haven't been able to put as much time and effort into it as I would like to, but the camps make everything work. It's amazing seeing all these ladies come together to train, to build connections, to see incredible camaraderie. Being an unaffiliated organization has been absolutely incredible as well; although the camps are being held at SBG Seattle, I feel like the BJJ community has grown.” The 2012 opening of SBG Seattle came with a surprising lack of support for Sillan and Kennedy. Initially they had some hiccups, because departing from their previous gym to start anew involved a great deal of turmoil and underlying politics. Some colleagues have remained since the change and some have not however, just like anything in life everything has a reason and a season. Now that people are recognizing SBG Seattle as a legitimate venture with knowledgeable owners/coaches instead of medal chasers or scam artists things have gotten easier. Sillan’s current successes have not come without some MAJOR sacrifices, “we were almost one Safeway stop away from the baby aisle, stocking up on baby wipes and doing our field baths the way the military does. It’s been an interesting ordeal, but as we grow as a gym, Grapplin’ Gals grows.”
Editor's Note: Thank you to the nearly 700 participants in our online steroids study. The data collected was interesting but even more so was the information provided by the black belts and bloggers who answered our more lengthy questionnaire. If the numbers are too much of a bore move on to the Discussion section, read and formulate your own opinion. This topic is so faceted I am looking forward to the discussions still to come.
Some numbers to note: 143 of 690 people said they had used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past. That is 20%. Demographically, white belts and black belts were the least likely to have used PEDs.
My heartfelt thanks to Matthew Corley for the countless hours and tireless research to produce this paper.
Title: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and the Culture of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs): A Review of Online Survey Data
Author: Matthew Corley,RPh
Abstract: There is a persistent perception in high-level BJJ competitions that many medal winners are using steroids and other PEDs to succeed. This article collates the opinions of nearly 700 BJJ practitioners and provides a detailed breakdown of the opinions of those participants based on their demographics.
Insight from current and former world champions was also solicited for a first-hand perspective on PED usage at the highest level. The bios of the subject matter experts are available by hyperlink at the end of the article under the acknowledgements section.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Hannette's all Women seminar in San Jose CA. The six techniques that we learned I never want to forget because I never want to have to learn them again! Her seminar is a balance of technique drill and spar. You work the positions you've learned. All the techniques chain together. It is so logical, Hannette could have a second career in computers if she wanted.
As for Andre, well I've never trained with him but if he's her coach...
Please attend tomorrow. Send me a Seminar review.
Hannette Staak & Andre Terencio
Hannette Staack Seminar 2012 at Caio Terra's school
Saturday, June 9, 2012 at Institue of Martial Arts 855 Park Ave, San Jose, CA 95126 12:00pm until 3:00pm in Gi Price $60 Until June 7th or $75 at the door
Hannette Staack is an 8 time world jiu-jitsu champion, 3 time ADCC champion, and one of the most accomplished women in BJJ history. Moreover, she has developed a great style of teaching and relaying her knowledge to others. She will be coming to San Jose, CA to teach a, one of a kind, women's only seminar. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and train with one of the world's best practitioner and teacher!
Brailizna Jiu-Jitsu Magazine BJJ Legends has the answer - Attend the Brazil 21 Camp. You will be chauffeured around Rio de Janero like a rock star. You will train, you will eat and you will live the culture.
Brazil-021 Camp will be held in Rio De Janeiro on July 24th through Aug 2nd, 2012.
Train at the main Brazil-021 Academy in Tijuca where classes will be taught by the top black belts of Brazil 021. Train with ten plus BJJ black belts and brown belts in every class.
Compete at the Rio International Jiu-Jitsu Open. Camp coincides with the Rio International Open.
Go Sightseeing. See the Christ Redemption, Sugar Loaf, and the Tijuca Rain Forest, all while staying right next to the beautiful, historic Leblon Beach.
Buy a Portuguese pocket dictionary and get your big duffle out of the garage. Lets go to Brazil!