Champion Sophia McDermott Fitness Tips and Advice for Women in BJJ

Champion Sophia McDermott Fitness Tips and Advice for Women in BJJ

Sophia McDermott, owner of SophiaFit, Australia’s first female black belt, multiple time world champion, nutrition expert, and a jiu-jitsu mom, took the time out of her busy day to be interviewed by Girl-Jitsu.  She gave some amazing tips on each person’s individual jiu-jitsu, and how their personality manifests into their style.  Here are the highlights of her great tips.   McDermott is an inspiring, experienced practitioner that truly cares about women feeling like they belong in the sport, and the interview felt more like advice from an old friend than a cut-and-dry question and response.  She holds seminars all over, and anyone can request one on her website.  She also sells an ebook on fitness and nutrition, so there are plenty of links for more information and all the Sophia you could want by clicking here or visiting her Facebook fan page here! Article by K. Arms   Fitness Fitness and nutrition were already a large part of Sophia McDermott’s life before she began her jiu-jitsu journey.  She was passionate about gymnastics when she was young, which led to her jiu-jitsu being so technical and detail-oriented.  To really understand a move, she looked at each small aspect of it.  In her personal training, she looks at muscles the same way, trying to add functionality to the muscles as opposed to just building them up individually. “A lot of people go to the gym to do ‘strength training’ for their sports,” McDermott said.  “But they’re actually doing bodybuilding training because that’s what’s being taught.  It’s muscle growth and shaping your muscles to look good so there’s more of an individual...
EXCLUSIVE – Advice from IBJJF Hall of Famer, 3x ADCC Champion Hannette Staack

EXCLUSIVE – Advice from IBJJF Hall of Famer, 3x ADCC Champion Hannette Staack

I had the pleasure of chatting with the exceptionally successful world competitor, Brazil 021 gym owner and champion Hannette Staack about her experience with jiu-jitsu and competition.  She gave some advice for women in the sport and how she believes it has changed through the years.   About Hannette At 18 years old, Hannette Staack was a young girl who rock climbed and loved sports.  One day, Staack was invited by a friend to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, and she fell in love with the sport.  She transferred her strong rock climbing grips to strong gi grips and transformed her passion into a career.  When she started out, Staack said she had no intention of turning this pastime into her lifelong ambition.   “Even though at the time I did not know where it would take me, I always felt I had a special type of relationship with the sport,” Staack reflected.  “This relationship kind of evolved into a profession, but I will always see it as something that fulfilled my life… I always felt like it was my place and I could be myself and forget about everything else.” After training a while, she saw that to further her passion, the United States was the place to go.  She left everything behind – one of her proudest accomplishments. “I think, being able to leave my country and leave everything, my family, my roots, and come to the United States and start a new life,” she said.  “I think that’s my biggest achievement.  To get there, in jiu-jitsu, my tipping point of my career was when I won ADCC [Abu Dhabi...
Cutest Female-Fit Rashguards for Training

Cutest Female-Fit Rashguards for Training

While a standard rashguard can work and fit just fine, the longer torso and nice cut of a female style makes for a more comfortable fit.  I used to never wear long sleeves to no gi training, then bought a FUJI long sleeve and ended up really liking it.  Here are some rash guards from around the internet with good reviews and cute designs so you don’t have to look around forever.  So, in no particular order:   CLEARLY the best: Girl-Jitsu Short Sleeve Rashguard We pride ourselves on quality, fit and comfort.  Represent a great brand and company putting effort into supporting women and look great doing it!   Hypnotik Boo Ya Women’s Rashguard Hypnotik is a recognized and dependable BJJ brand with many different no gi options at good quality.   Fuji Women’s Kimono I have one of these in black and can attest to its comfort and quality.  Not only that, I get the most compliments when I wear this rashguard in particular, so it must look good too! Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Womens Long Sleeve Ranked Rashguard Ranked rashguards are pretty cool, and more importantly, some tournaments require them for no-gi competitors. Fuji Haiku Women’s Blue Rashguard 93 Brand “Donuts” I want this one SO badly.  I know a few people that have it and it looks great in person too, so if I ever see it on BJJHQ again I’m definitely going to purchase it.     Pro tip: Sometimes www.bjjhq.com has some really nice items and deals that switch every 24 hours and might have a women’s fit!  Check in there...
Tips for Safely Training BJJ

Tips for Safely Training BJJ

    Grappling does not need to be a dangerous activity.  There are dangerous aspects of it, as in any contact sport, but a safe gym environment combined with knowing when to tap – especially against certain people – makes injury much less likely. 1. Know Who You’re Up Against The strongest guy in the gym is not always the most dangerous while grappling.  White belts are occasionally unintentionally spazzy because they don’t know how to control their own specific movements, so they make up for lack of technique with muscling and moving quickly.  Almost everyone has this phase. If someone is being too violent while grappling, or is known for hurting people and you have to roll with them (Pro tip: you really don’t), ask them to flow instead to work on techniques.  If they still can’t stop using strength even when it’s the point of the exercise, play safely and tap early or just go get water for the remainder of the roll.  You can always stop, too.  The difference between a broken arm and a happy arm is about an inch. 2. Don’t Go 100% All the Time What I tell a lot of people at my club starting out is, “If you have to use strength, you’re doing it wrong.”  Jiu-Jitsu is called the Gentle Way for a reason; it was made for a smaller person to beat a bigger, stronger opponent.  Sometimes bigger, stronger opponents need to be reminded of this when they’re going 100% and they clearly don’t need to.  Try to take it as a bit of a compliment that they feel they need...
Troubleshooting Beginning Jiu-Jitsu as a Female

Troubleshooting Beginning Jiu-Jitsu as a Female

Lessons taken from my own experience starting out in jiu-jitsu. I walked into jiu-jitsu class at my local park district as a shy 15 year-old girl with no prior martial arts experience, or any knowledge whatsoever about what jiu-jitsu was – I may or may not have thought punching was allowed and hit my instructor the first day when he was demonstrating mount.  This class, newly offered in my town, had one student: me.  I got a pretty nice transition into the sport compared to other people because of this, and soon began attending the actual gym the teacher was from.  Going into my first real class after eight once-a-week private lessons was still a wake up call; all of the people attending were middle-aged men (Older and wiser now, I realize they ranged from about 20 to 65, but anyone past 19 was pretty old to me back then). Lesson: Be prepared to be the minority demographic (though that’s not always the case) and don’t be scared off by it.  There’s always someone who will help you.  If there isn’t, find another gym.  A couple bullies here and there is normal, but there needs to be a silver lining.  You don’t need that negativity for wanting to learn.   Armed with merely the knowledge of how to hip escape and forward roll, I felt I made a decent first impression on the class that night.  A higher belt walked me through the basic techniques and, though I felt a little bad for holding him back, I know now that everyone pays their dues at some point.  I try...

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