- Name - Ximena
- Age - 24
- Occupation: ME student/ Civil Engineer
- Rank – White (3 stripes)
Hi Ximena, Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
What is your background in Martial Arts and how did you start training Jiu Jitsu?
In 1999 I started Taekwondo in a little town in Colombia, I earned my blue belt in 2004. In 2005 my professor moved from away from my hometown and that was when I stopped taekwondo. I moved to Australia over 5 years ago and decided to start boxing. I have a really talented boxing coach, Faris Chevalier - Australian Super middle weight champion. The boxing gym has MMA mats and that’s where some guys started doing jiu jitsu. It looked fun, so I decided to give it a go. I loved it, we were all using noGi, but this sparked the fire for me. I decided to go out and find a BJJ gym that I could train at where I could also learn Gi. That’s when I came to Garra in February 2016. After a few months of training I went on to compete in my 51kg Gi and noGi division where I won 3 golds and a bronze. I wanted to test myself in a heavier weight class, so I entered into the 58kg Gi and noGi where I won a gold and a bronze.
I understand you have competed in Boxing as well, How does that compare to Jiu Jitsu competitions?
I trained boxing for a few years. The last couple of my scheduled fights were cancelled on me with only a few weeks notice. Training to compete in boxing required a lot of arm and footwork repetition to learn combos and improve endurance. Jiu jitsu allows me to use endurance like boxing, but it also uses the whole body in a completely different way, fighting on the ground. Jiu jitsu forces my brain to constantly adapt to learn new moves and techniques and do them with the least effort required to submit my opponent regardless of the time of the fight, or the size and strength of my opponent.
Last year you competed a fair bit and did really well. Do you feel that competing has improved your Jiu Jitsu and if so, how?
Yes, I am certain that it has improved my Jiu jitsu. When it comes to competing, it opens up my eyes to the techniques and positions that I am comfortable and confident with, and those that I need to practice a lot more. When I compete, I don’t know how my opponent fights, this allows me to trust in the basics that we drill in training and gives me the confidence to try new strategies.
Do you have a favourite position/technique and submission?
I really enjoy half guard. I feel confident in my ability to work for a better position and eventually the submissions, my favourite being the arm bar, which was the first submission that I achieved in competing.
Do you feel that Jiu Jitsu gives you more confidence and ability to defend yourself in a physical confrontation?
Absolutely! Jiu jitsu builds a lot of values and perseverance. Every time I do something wrong in jiu jitsu or get submitted, it is an opportunity for me to learn, to better myself and thus, improve my confidence on and off the matts in any situation, which will help me to choose the best and safest solution to any physical confrontation.
Do you think this confidence transfer to other aspects of your life (In a non-physical form), perhaps dealing with adverse situations in your work life?
Certainly. I strongly feel that the Jiu jitsu is carried with me wherever I go which includes when I am in public, at home or at work. Every day is different, this creates many different environments which allow for adverse situations in my life. BJJ reminds me to always look for a better position and not dwell on something for too long when you can always change it up.
You have been with the team for a while now, what do you like about training at Garra BJJ/ Roger Gracie Brisbane Academy.
I really enjoy all the different people that I get to train with. There are so many different people with different professions and back grounds that all come together to train, teach and learn from each other. Every time I step onto the mats, I am surrounded by a wide range of experience and I admire how humble everyone is. The environment alone is amazing plus I get to learn from some of the best training partners in the scene.
As a small framed women you demonstrate a lot of courage, determination and perseverance when you train and never seem intimated by the size of your training partners. What advice would you give other women that would like to try Jiu Jitsu but perhaps are scared or don’t think they can do it?
I would strongly recommend it to all the women that would like to give it a go. Do not be scared. When you rock up to training for the very first time, you will be greeted by everyone and there is no bad judgment put on you. In this controlled environment, you will become more mentally and physically fit, you will build your confidence, learn to defend yourself and you will make friends and have a blast while doing so.
Well thank you again for taking the time it was great to get your perspetive on training and competing and I hope that it inspires other to try Jiu Jitsu too. It is great having you part of the team.
Lets go train!!!