New IBJJWF organization created with a mandate on improving BJJ for all women
March 5, 2014 – Since first becoming popular through the efforts of the Gracie family in America, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s popularity has grown exponentially. As the sport gets bigger it is also becoming better organized for the benefit of all those who have fallen in love with the gentle art. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Women’s Federation (IBJJWF) is an organization that was recently formed to help improve the female side of BJJ.
The IBJJWF is an international organization with offices in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Miami that have the simple mission of making female BJJ bigger and better for all to enjoy. We caught up with Luciana Bassoli, one of the organization’s founders, to find out more about the IBJJWF.
Bassoli, who is a 4th degree black belt in BJJ under Joe Moreira and a 2nd degree black belt in Judo has a vision to take women’s BJJ to the next level, and has enlisted the help of people throughout the country, and globe, including Texas’s own Georgette Oden to get the IBJJWF there. Here is what she had to say to us.
TXMMA Interview – Luciana Bassoli (IBJJWF)
TXMMA: What is the IBBJJWF?
LB: IBJJWF stands for International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Women’s Federation. It’s an Organization created based on the need of an organized representation for women in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
TXMMA: What is the principal aim of this organization?
LB: Our main goal is to provide a platform for women to thrive in the sport. We understand that maybe we would never be equal in number, although, we can definitely raise the quality of services that have already been provided to women, as well as create unique services that will meet our needs to grow in the sport.
TXMMA: What motivated you guys to create this organization?
LB: I’ve been in the sport of BJJ for over 21 years and learned my 1st cross choke over 29 years ago. I came from an already established 127-year-old organization which the same way as BJJ it took a while for women to started to be accepted as practitioners and teachers. I was lucky enough to see it starting from the beginning, and since the beginning, we girls had to fight hard to have our space in the bjj sun. Having experienced all that and being able to see how far women could get in Judo definitely was my biggest motivation.
TXMMA: Who are the people behind it?
LB: I have invited Holli Noel to be co-founder of the federations. Holli is founder of the charity, Project Three Kings (Projeto Tres Reis), who has been involved in BJJ for 5 years, and is a blue belt under Gracie Barra, Naples, Florida. She has a degree in Marketing, and has experience in international expansion for BJJ teams from Brazil, into Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, England and the Middle-East. She and I have been sharing our positive and negative experiences in BJJ. Her energy is contagious and she has proven she can get stuff done! I thought about opening a group on Facebook but watching the Ski Jump US women’s team overcoming their struggle made me have this wonderful idea of opening an International Federation. Not to be the “queen of anything”, I decided to make it a collaborative effort, anyone can add their input, any help and suggestions are very much appreciated. I bought the web domain names and we created the Facebook page this week, and in less than 48 hours 2000 + likes! Here we are… the rest is history!
TXMMA: Does the IBJJWF hold any relationship with the IBJJF?
LB: Not yet. Just want to make sure people understand that we are here NOT to go against IBJJF or any other BJJ Organization. We do not hold anyone’s school’s flag. We are here to serve the common good of BJJ. We are here to work together to help expand BJJ around the world in the most unbiased way as possible, not forgetting that our main cause is WBJJ.
TXMMA: Is the IBJJWF a non-profit or a for profit model like other jiu-jitsu organizations?
LB: We want the government to be less involved as possible. I believe we can survive independently whether the government gives us grant/loans or not. Transforming it into a NPO… It’s not an option that I will eliminate, but for now we are a For-Profit because after all, even Non-profit Organizations need to make a profit. Our goals are very non-profit oriented, we do plan to have a lot of charity events but we are a business and we are going to operate as a business that wants to be very successful.
TXMMA: What goals do you guys have for your first year in existence?
LB: Structure, Restructure, Sponsors, 1st Tournament, Expand, Expand.
TXMMA: What are the principal long term goals for the IBJJWF
LB: Oh my, we’d like to take over the world! lol No serious…we do! Spreading the movement as much as we can without losing quality and control.
TXMMA: How can people get involved and help grow this project?
LB: We are fairly new and still in the process of structuring ourselves but anyone can help, either taking leadership in an area, or writing us a a proposed suggestion. Also donating money or any material we could give or sell to generate an income to cover our expenses and support the athletes and people involved that don’t have means to stay active in the sport.
TXMMA: Is there anything else you would like to add?
LB: We are overwhelmed and grateful with the amount of people who wants to get involved and help. Thank you! Let’s keep moving forward to a better place for all of us!