UWK World Karate Championships ITKF...
Sophia was born in Melbourne, Australia and currently lives in Las Vegas Nevada, USA. In 2002 she began Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and since 2009 she has been training at Drysdale Jiu Jitsu academy in Las Vegas NV, USA where she was awarded her black belt by 6x World Champion, professor Robert Drysdale in 2010.
Sophia is the first female Australian Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, she is Australia’s first and only Black Belt Pan Am Champion, Black Belt World Champion, & Black Belt No Gi World Champion.
As a summary for the main titles:
4x Australian National Champion
4x Pan Pacific Champion
4x Pan American Champion
2x World No Gi Champion, and a World Champion
Sophia is the leader of self defense and Jiu Jitsu seminars for women all around the world.
Can you tell us more about your Programme Girls in Gis and what is its main purpose?
I am the Las Vegas NV ambassador for the organisation called Girls IN Gi that was founded about 10 years ago by Shama Ko. This organisation provides free camps and seminars to women all over the United States. It started because back when Brazilan JIu Jitsu (BJJ) was growing there were not many women training and if there were there was no support for them.
Women needed to prove themselves to the men on the mat and it was very uncomfortable and confronting. For this reason many women left the sport even though they loved it because of the general lack of acceptance from their male counterparts. In addition I am the head instructor for the Australian Girls in Gis (AGIG) which is a similar organisation founded by Jess Fraser for women in Australia and I am also the head instructor along with another black belt Worlds Champion Mackenzie Dern for the Ma'at all female BJJ organisation in Mexico founded by Itzel Bazua.
I am very honored to be teaching these camps around the world and they are growing and growing. So far the Australian Girls in Gi camps are the largest all women BJJ camps in the world. I personally strive to make the journey for all women who train, a better one. I hope that I can provide guidance and motivation, and be that role model for women to aspire to. I want to show women that it can be done - that you can be a women and be a black belt, and be a World Champion and be a mother in this heavily male dominated sport .
My whole philosophy is about bringing each other up rather than tearing each other down. We as women need to support each other on this journey. When I teach my women's class and travel the world to teach seminars I encourage all the women to train together and to 'exchange information' rather than trying to tear each other's limbs off and get competitive with each other. I have seen some beautiful long lasting friendships come out of these camps and seminars that I teach including some life long friendships that I have built of my own.
You provide jiu-jitsu seminars just for women. Which advantages do you see at these special seminars?
The advantages of teaching women is that I am available to answer their questions both technical and emotional/circumstantial that these women would not be asking a male professor. The issues that come up for women in training are different to the issues that a man might face. For a start BJJ for women is quite different. Women need to constant adjust or modify the technique for it to work for them They have far less upper body strength but much more mobility and flexibility especially in the hips.
I have spend years refining my BJJ so that it works better for women and I happily share this information to make their journey's easier. Additionally other issues arise that affect women that may be about harassment, or feeling left out or being bullied etc that they feel much more comfortable discussing with me as a woman. I am happy that I can provide this support to the ladies who train.
What are your other sport activities?
I have started to compete ins Ms Figure shows. I wanted to try something different and challenging and I want to get into the generalised fitness industry so that I can reach out to more ladies to share my fitness programs to women are pregnant and to women who want to get back in shape after a baby. I am preparing for my 2nd show. For my first show which was in April I took 1st place in the Novice Division and 3rd place in the Masters division.
I am due to teach a Girls In Gi event on September 27 right after the Master Worlds Championships. Gi will be huge with ladies from all over the country attending. :)
Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you all the best in the future.
Sophia’s Competition Profile
PDF file (213.89 KB)
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