As Brazilian jiu-jitsu grows, so does the number of female athletes competing in the sport. For aspiring girls and women who train BJJ looking for role models, Gracie Humaita’s female team is a good place to start. This group of BJJ competitors has won the womens’ team trophy at the BJJ World Championships (aka Mundials) in 2007 and 2008.
Tracing a lineage back to Helio Gracie’s own jiu-jitsu academy, Gracie Humaita’s female competition squad is today anchored by veteran jiu-jitsu competitor Leticia Ribeiro, shown in the photo above in the blue gi in the top right of the group. Leticia (no relation to Saulo or Xande) began winning trophies as a blue belt in 1996 and has not stopped since.
Another top gun in the Gracie Humaita womens squad would be Penny Thomas. Thomas, South Africa’s first Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, earned her black belt from Luis “Limao” Heredia and won the gold at the 2007 ADCC in the over 67 kg division.
And who can forget Luka Dias? Dias, the wife of fellow Humaita black belt Wellington “Megaton” Dias has delivered some of the most emotional of victories in recent female BJJ competition and no shortage of medals either.
Who can oppose this squad in 2009? Gracie Barra’s Ana Laura Cordeiro is the closest thing to the Terminator in womens jiu-jitsu and has not lost a match in years. Cordeiro was recently awarded her own black belt and would no doubt pose the biggest threat to any opponent she faces. However Cordeiro injured her back within the last month and was forced to withdraw from the 2009 Mundials.
Don’t forget – we’re getting together for coffee on Sunday morning at the World Championship!