This weekend was a bit emotional for me. Two things I felt were out of my grasp came to me. I won a match at a tournament due to my own actions, and I was promoted to purple!

I'm a purple belt now!

I’m a purple belt now! Diego Bispo on the left, and my brown belt coach Brandon on the right.


I was at Naga this weekend in Virginia. I signed up for one category: older female blue belts between 139.9 – 159.8 lbs.

I had prepared so hard for this tournament. Last year, I was a fairly lazy grappler. I’d MAYBE show up to two classes per week, I’d pick easy or new partners, and I’d just have fun. After I decided to sign up, I set goals. I developed a game plan. I started getting very selfish in choosing my partners. I put in the time and effort.

That last number should be 11, not 10.

That last number should be 11, not 10.

I did my best to go to every class at my gym, and in June, I made it a point to drive all the way to Virginia Beach to train. My regular gym – only 15 minutes away. VB – between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on traffic. The two weeks leading up to the tournament – I trained in VB 5 times. I was a teeeeeensy bit exhausted, but I was determined.

My official weight was 154. I had one match. I was a few years older and about 15 lbs heavier. Our match was 4 minutes. (I’m the one in black)

I felt myself get put in the cross collar choke. I’ve tapped to that before in a tournament, and I had a horrible flashback, but I decided NO! I held on and she let go. I won! Then I cried like my cat died.

A very long wait, and an emotional end - I won!

A very long wait, and an emotional end – I won! That “stunned grief” look is my victory face.

It was the first time I’d literally had someone in my corner. No one had really pushed me in this way before – to sign up for a competition, to work for it, and then sit in my corner and watch me and help me. It was the first time I won of my own accord. It was the first time I was emotionally wrapped up in the outcome. It was a huge emotional relief afterward.


Our team promotions were the following day. I wondered if I was getting promoted. I didn’t want to want it too hard in case it didn’t happen, and I also knew that if it didn’t happen that day, it would be another 2 years until it did happen, so I was hoping.

“This person has been training for like 12 years, and she didn’t care about competing, she just wanted to make friends.” My instructor introduced me that way. I knew it was me. He said how proud he was of me – he said he got me to sign up, and he didn’t care how I did – win or lose, but I won and he was so proud. Then he pulled out the purple belt.

My purple belt promotion! July 2, 2017.

My purple belt promotion! July 2, 2017.

I started doing jiu jitsu in June 2010. I was a white belt one year, and a blue belt for 6 years. I feel like I’ve clawed and scratched my way to where I am through really hard work, not innate ability. I’m really proud to have my purple belt be connected with Diego – he is such a caring and wonderful coach, and exactly what I needed when I needed it. Heck, I’m tearing up writing this.


This is my last month in Virginia. We are moving to Colorado Springs. I’m going to go back to school to become a respiratory therapist. This means that right now it’s uncertain where I’ll train and how often. I’ve never walked into a new gym as a purple belt, so I’m also excited and nervous about that.

This has been a very emotional month so far. Thank you for sharing my journey!

Jiu Jiu’s Question: What is something exciting and emotional that’s happened to you recently? Please share an accomplishment of your own as well! Let’s all celebrate together! Bonus question: if you are in Colorado (Colorado Springs or Denver), let me know where you train!