Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts Tatiana Garcia and Emily Kwok.
Last week on our show we highlighted elite female grapplers Leticia Ribeiro and Beatriz Mesquita, of Gracie Humaita. This week on our show we continue our coverage of the women’s jiu-jitsu scene with Tatiana Garcia and Emily Kwok. In a contribution from our east coast correspondent Christian Simamora, we learn more about what it takes to overcome obstacles to achieve the difficult dream of becoming a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Consider this excerpt from the conversation:
The FightWorks Podcast: Did you find that in your circle of family of friends that there was opposition to you doing jiu-jitsu?
Tatiana Garcia: My parents never watched any of my matches. I don’t think they even know what [jiu-jitsu] is. I had to train two years without telling them. And when they found out they took my car so I couldn’t drive. I had to take the bus. It was a challenge. Now, they accept it because they have no other choice. But it was hard. I used to do classical ballet before I got into jiu-jitsu so for them it was like a shock. I was in college in the U.S. as a freshman. I came to the U.S. to study and then I went back to Brazil for a couple of months for vacation and I started jiu-jitsu. So I quit school. I didn’t want to come back, and I wanted to do jiu-jitsu. So that was even worse. But you know what? Today I can say I’m so happy with what I do. I do what I love to do. No matter what other choice I could wdo with my life, I did what I wanted and I’m so happy about it.
Lots of good lessons for all jiu-jitsu practitioners about fighting hard on the mats and in life. For more on Tatiana check out MGinAction.com (yes, she is Marcelo Garcia‘s wife) and Emily would be mad if we didn’t send you to WomensGrappling.org: jiu-jitsu camps just for the ladies.
We will also speak with Antonio “Nino” Schembri, who has been away from jiu-jitsu for a while but is now back in action. Schembri was the 1996 absolute black belt champion at the Brazilian National Championship, and now has a school in Manhattan Beach. We were able to speak with him at the Fabio Santos Open in San Diego last week (check him out in this video from the event if you haven’t seen it yet).
Finally we will speak with Rener Gracie about a very promising opportunity for jiu-jitsu! With enough votes, the Gracies of Torrance (Rorion, Ryron, Rener, Ralek, Reylan, and others!) will be bringing jiu-jitsu into homes across the nation on a reality show based on making kids safer from bullying by showing them jiu-jitsu techniques. Rener will bring us up to speed on that, but in the meantime, make sure you go vote! Multiple votes are allowed.