By: Shama Ko, Contributing Writer
Women’s Camp with Leticia Ribeiro is set to kick off June 29th at Alvarez BJJ in Arlington, Texas.
Leticia Ribeiro is among one of the most influential and accomplished women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She is not only known for her seven World Championship titles and her place in the IBJJF Hall of Fame, but also for being the head coach of one of the most successful women’s team ever known in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: the Gracie Humaita Women’s Team.
As a team the Gracie Humaita women’s team has earned multiple first place wins at World Championships and is comprised of several top level world champions, including Penny Thomas, Bia Mesquita, and Carol Vidal.
Last year Ribeiro, Thomas, and Mesquita traveled to Northern California and then to Southern California for their first series of open door women’s camps in the United States. Both of which were a huge success. A record number of sixty women attended the San Francisco women’s camp. They traveled from as far away as Hawaii, Canada, Michigan, Texas and Arizona. The camp was soon followed earlier this year by Ribeiro’s Los Angeles Women’s Camp which included seventy participants.
Having previously instructed seminars in Texas, Ribeiro has taken note of the fast growing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community in Texas’s. Ribeiro will return on June 29th to Texas for her first camp in the Lone Star state.
The Leticia Ribiero Women’s Camp with Ribeiro will be held at Alvarez BJJ in Arlington, Texas from June 29to July 1. Texas has a fast-growing community and a rising number of talented female athletes. And the anticipated turnout at the Leticia Ribeiro Women’s Camp will likely prove that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is most certainly gettin’ bigger in Texas.
Interview – Leticia Ribiero (Gracie Humaita)
This was your seventh time winning the Worlds; did you do anything different this time to prepare for the Worlds?
We (Ribeiro and her students) always do something different each year. I especially like to make changes to my conditioning training. This time we also trained Aqualogix with Jon Edge at Fit Athletic club in San Diego. Aqualogix is good endurance training, but our base is the Bulgarian bag and a lot of other specific training.
What do you attribute your success to? What motivates you to keep winning these World Championship titles?
A lot of training. We train hard and serious every day, all day. We breathe Jiu Jitsu.
My motivation comes from my students. I love to train hard for tournaments and they push me every day. They help me to feel ready and build my confidence. I am so lucky to have some of the best girls in the sport to train with.
I get pleasure from competing. I love to be there. I love the feeling before each fight and it’s the best feeling after the finals when you become a champion. It’s an incredible feeling and I love it!
You are the head coach of the Gracie Humaitá women’s team, a team which includes several other multiple time world champions such as Penny Thomas, Bia Mesquita, Ana Carolina Vidal and Margaret Aase. Though all of your hard work individually and as a team, the Gracie Humaitá Female team that has become one of the most recognized women’s team in BJJ. What makes your team so strong?
I am so lucky to have these talented girls on my team. What makes us a great team is we train together. It makes a big difference. Each of us has a different games and different ways to see each position. We exchange a lot of information during training and we study each other’s games. They are champions become they love to train hard and they love it when I push them hard. Each training is a battle, but in a good way.
Since your start as the head coach, what sort of growth have you seen in women training BJJ?
A lot has changed. I never imagine we’d be where we are right now or that we’d have this level of fighters, not just on my team, but all big teams. It’s an incredible evolution. It was so cool to watch the all the women’s division this year at the Worlds, especially during the brown and black belt divisions. I have to say congrats to all fighters. Great job everyone! Let’s keep up the hard work. Let’s show the world that we can do it…even better!
Why do you think it is important for women to train together? What benefits can women get from training together?
Two years ago, before the 2010 Worlds Bia, Penny and I were talking about how much better it was to train with women. It was then that we decided to do our first women’s only camp for the Worlds. It was a success.
In my opinion it is good to train with guys. Especially light guys because they usually play the same kind of game as us, but training with other women is different. It’s real and nothing compares to having the same type of body, strength and everything else. It’s perfect!
You recently had a camp in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both of which had a phenomenal response from women around USA. Did you anticipate such a large turnout at these previous camps?
My first women’s camp was in Sweden and then I brought the idea to the USA. To be honest I didn’t expect that we could put over seventy women on the mats together. I was surprised at the first one, but now I expect more and more because each day the sport is getting bigger. I just want to open the doors for everybody that wants to live for the sport. Women can teach and teach well.
What sort of feedback did you get from the girls? Is there anything that you would do differently?
At each camp I learn something new and try to make it better the next time. I like that. The camps are getting bigger and it’s good that I can bring my students with me to enjoy the training and to learn.
The Leticia Ribeiro Women’s Camp will be coming to Texas June 29th-July 1st at Alvarez BJJ. This will be your first Camp in Texas. Do you feel that your camp is a good introduction for women with little to know experience in BJJ?
Training and learning from black belts, especially World Champions is always a good experience for everyone. It doesn’t matter what belt or level you are.
I’ve already done a lot of seminars in Texas, but this is my first camp. Texas will for sure be a part of my annual camp calendar. It is a state that has big potential in the sport. The women’s community is so big and the girls love to train and learn. I love to teach in Texas. I already know the camp will be great.
What do the girls in Texas have in store for them at your camp? What can they expect?
This time I’m bringing my two black belts Beatriz Mesquita and Carol Vidal, two great athletes and teachers. As I said, it will be a great experience for everyone to share the mats with us and learn not just techniques but from our experiences as competitors too. Don’t miss it! Hope to see you all there! Big Hug and good training!
For more information on Leticia Ribeiro Women’s Grappling Camp, visit www.leticiaribeiro.com.
About the Author
Shama Ko has actively been a part of and contributed to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas for close to a decade. She is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu purple belt at Gracie Humaitá Austin, a champion competitor, a photographer/owner of Mean Streak Photography, a community/event organizer for Girls in Gis and Austin Women’s Open Mat, and most recently a contributing writer to TXMMA. Follow Shama’s endeavors online through any of the links above or through any of these sites: Twitter, Facebook, The Adventures of Shama Ko, ShamaKo.com, and SKOphoto.com.