There is no losing in Jiu Jitsu. You either win or you learn.- Carlson Gracie
When did you start practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The first and only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school I’ve attended was the Toledo Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Center in Toledo, Ohio. I first started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at around 10 years old, and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. As a child, I had issues with self-confidence and making friends, so in response to those troubles, my father discovered the place I now call home.
What instructors have most influenced you?
My first professor was Kris Magers. He was a very welcoming and friendly person, which was very inviting for someone as shy as I was. Eventually, Kris moved to Michigan, and Chris Blanke became my coach. Chris Blanke is a very challenging coach. His entire life revolves around Jiu-Jitsu and his students, which I admire about him. He will push you to be the best athlete you can, and if you dedicate enough time and effort, he will make you a World Champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Personally, I have grown to love Chris as if he were a second dad. He will shape you into an athlete both physically and mentally.
What are some things that have influenced your BJJ training?
My motives for training BJJ have changed over time. I began in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu not looking towards any goal, except to meet people. Since meeting many of the fantastic people within the BJJ community, I challenged myself to win competitions. I had good days and bad, like anybody. The past couple of years, I have slowed down in my training, mainly due to jobs and my last years of schooling in Ohio, but I come back from time to time. I know I can always come back to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it is home, and every time I come back I am welcomed with open arms. Jiu-Jitsu is not just a martial art or sport, but it is a lifestyle.
What is your favorite brand of BJJ gear?
The brands I favor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gear are Da Firma Kimono Company, Shoyoroll, and Origin. I have been training with DFKC for a few years now, and I was sponsored by them during the time I competed a lot. I think all of these brands truly put lots of care in when it comes to designing and manufacturing their gear. Their items are very durable, and that is what’s most important when it comes to such a rough sport like Jiu-Jitsu.
What do you believe is the most important aspect of being a BJJ athlete?
I feel the most important key to being a true Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete is to dedicate time to train. Training is where you apply the techniques you’ve learned in class, and learn how to apply them in various situations. This is vital to becoming a great athlete. My coach has told me since I was younger that “Jiu-Jitsu is a chess game.” For a while I did not understand what he had meant, but it is true. Jiu-Jitsu is indeed a chess game. You have to expect the unexpected, and pay attention to everything going on in a match.
I got the chance to train with World Champion, Marcelo Garcia, at his gym in New York City! I would have to say that he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and that training at his gym was an amazing learning experience.
What advice would you give to parents who are encouraging their kids to stick with BJJ?
My parents love watching my brother and I do BJJ. They love the fact that we are capable of knowing how to defend ourselves in specific situations, and they love to keep us busy. Since I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I have seen many students come and go. In fact, I even left for quite some time. Kids’ interests change as they grow. I feel as though it is best to not push your children to stick with BJJ. They must want it. I have seen many kids grow to hate Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, solely because of the fact that their parents are making them do it. They must find the desire within them to train, and to love the sport.
For the child who is just getting into BJJ, what advise would you offer?
My advice to any kid doing BJJ is to train as much as possible. When you’re young, you’re capable of doing any hobby and having as much time as you desire to do so. Most prodigies and champions I know in BJJ started when they were young.
With World Champion, Xande Ribeiro
Can you give us a glimpse of your current training schedule?
When I had more time, my training schedule was crazy. I trained nearly five days a week for 3-4 hours a day. Within each day, I would help train and coach the kids’ BJJ class, then attend the adult Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes and have an hour or two left for training. I’ll admit, I eventually became drained and tired, but the results certainly proved that effort was worth it. I found myself winning several different competitions. As of now, it is difficult to make time as I am in college. I am trying to come at least once a week now, and hopefully that will gradually increase.
What was your most memorable tournament?
My most memorable tournament was my first one. My first tournament was at the Buckeye State Championship in, I believe it was 2013. I had been matched with Amber Ignatowski, a brilliant fighter I had the honor of competing against. Although I lost, I had been told by her coach that I gave her a tough fight. That alone inspired me to compete more and work harder in my jiu-jitsu career.
What are some of your interests outside of BJJ?
Outside of BJJ, I am pursuing singing, modeling and acting.
Do you have any other advice to share to someone who hopes to follow the path you have in BJJ?
One piece of advice I’d give to anyone trying to become a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete is to find the right gym. There are many bad gyms, with coaches claiming to be actual black-belts or branches of certain associations. If you are looking to join the sport, I highly recommend putting in a lot of research.
There are several fantastic gyms I have trained with and visited during travels as well. If there are no gyms near your home, I believe traveling to train is worth it, and I know many people who do so. To name a few that I would personally recommend, I have trained at Marcelo Garcia Academy in Manhattan, Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association in Plymouth in Michigan, Renzo Gracie Academy in Hatfield, PA and BJJ Club of Michigan in Southfield, MI.
Thank you Chloey! We wish you well and continuing success!
List major accomplishments:
- 2x Arnold’s Grappling Championship Gold Medalist Boy’s 14-16 Gi Division (2013-2014)
- 1st place Anthony Wayne Wrestling Duals – first female wrestling for Perrysburg High School (2014)
- Arnold’s Grappling Championship Silver Medalist Boy’s 14-16 No-Gi Division (2013)
- 2x Buckeye State Grappling Championship Gold Medalist (2012-2013)
- 2x RJJA Midwest In-house Gold Medalist Boys & Girl’s Divisions (2013)
- Detroit BJJ Open Gold Medalist (2013)
- Michigan Open Gold Medalist (2012)
- Toledo BJJ Open Silver Medalist (2012)
- NAGA Michigan Bronze Medalist (2014)
- American Grappling Challenge Bronze Medalist (2014)
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We’d love to recommend a book:
Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro, six-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion. Ribeiro shares his system of grappling, mapping out more than 200 techniques that carry you from white to black belt.