Where do you begin with exercise when there’s so many types out there? Do you go for yoga, Pilates, running, brisk walks, rock climbing, kickboxing, dance? I’m inspired by people who have passion for any forms of getting their sweat on.
Today, I’m excited to present to you an interview with Biti Nguyen about her experience with Jiu Jitsu over the past few years. [Biti and I met in Accounting class in the South Bay, where we became good friends through working on a project involving balance sheets and income statements]
She started kickboxing for fitness, and dabbled in a class that incorporated grappling. To her surprise, she found that she was able to pick it up quickly. Biti is currently a Blue Belt with her first stripe.
Ally: What started your interest with Jiu Jitsu?
Biti: I’ve been interested in sports since I was a kid, especially martial arts. The adrenaline rush in Chinese movies looked amazing.
Ally: That’s awesome. How and when did you find the gyms you currently train at now?
Biti: I found both my gyms through Yelp, when I was 18.
Ally: Got to love the internet. How’s the cost, for people who may be interested in starting?
Biti: Martial arts gyms tend to run anywhere between $100-200. Usually, there’s a sign-up fee of $100 as well.
Ally: Yikes, it seems mildly expensive. But I’m sure it’s worth it for people who love the sport.
Ally: What’s a typical day of Jiu Jitsu at the gym?
Biti: BJJ follows the rules or traditional Judo. You sign in as you would with any gym, then you put on your gi (the uniform) and bow to the mat before you step on it out of respect. You then line up by rank in front of the instructor, and both the students and the instructor bow to each other before the warm ups. Warm ups can consist of anything depending on the gym. We run and drill some moves like hip escapes or roll down the mat. Then we proceed to drill for about 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes, we would use what we learn when we go live or “spar.” There’s classes back to back, so I tend to do this for two hours.
Ally: It sounds like a fantastic form of exercise!
Biti: For some people, absolutely. I don’t do Jiu Jitsu for fitness. I have to train for it: I run, lift, and work on anaerobic cardio with boxing. Some people lost a lot of weight through Jiu Jitsu, but [I find that I] need something more intense for a workout.
Ally: What made you stay at your two gyms? Was it the energy and the people?
Biti: My manager at USH, Jane Estioko has become like my second mother. It’s a very, very tight knit place there. And at Guerrilla, they had a very professional website that intrigued me to join. The owner, Matt Darcy, has been very helpful in my journey. They have a huge kids program, and it’s great training there. In fact, Mark Heinzer is responsible for my entire Jiu Jitsu development.
Ally: Is there a lot of competition between the gyms?
Biti: Actually, the great thing is that members from USH and Guerrilla train with each other all the time. The MMA community is small, so we all know each other.
Ally: Communities are important, that’s for sure. And last but not least…what’s your favorite part about the Wonderland Organics blog?
Biti: I like the layout. In terms of content, it’s very easy to relate to. Basically, for the same reason that Youtube became a movement: it’s easier to trust words from real people.
Readers, there will be more fun interviews coming up: stay tuned to the blog! What’s your favorite form of exercise? Has anyone tried Jiu Jitsu?