Devi was the first female black belt in Scandinavia, awarded her black belt in August 2010 by her professor and significant other, Eduardo ‘Teta’ Rios. Today’s self-defense course was arranged over 4 times with the purpose to introduce girls to martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Devi explains that she believes that there are a lot of girls that would like to try martial arts, but the barrier is often too high to just go and try it out. This course becomes an opportunity where they can try out, train with girls only and have no pressure that they need to perform or be afraid of the need to roll around with a 90-kilo guy dripping of sweat.

During this Saturday, a total amount of 18 girls of different ages are gathered inside Frontline Academy at Majorstuen, Oslo. Only a few had some previous experience with martial arts. Devi starts the warm up with some animal movements which make the whole group loosen up a bit.

After the warm up it doesn’t take long after introducing the drills from stand-up position with breaking grips and use of own bodyweight to make the whole room filled with laughter and excitement over their new knowledge. ‘This is a perfect opportunity to see what your body can do, no matter if you are long or short, how much you weigh or your body type,’ Devi says. ‘Self-defense is important because it shows that you can defend yourself against a heavier opponent by using your bodyweight.’

After having some time standing up, Devi shows an armbar from guard and escape from mount, she explains that the other two sessions mostly will focus on positions from the ground and some submissions. Hopefully this will generate an interest for BJJ and maybe some new female members to the academy. 

The two-hour session flies by and you can see the girls struggling about having their brain filled with a lot of new information and at the same time excitement about wanting to learn more. Everyone seems eager to come back the next Saturday and me and Devi sit down for a quick chat.

We talk a bit about the importance of having other girls to train with and Devi tells me about when she started her career training at Frontline, she was alone for a couple of years. She tells me about how much she appreciated to have more girls coming in and training partners of her own size. ‘I do believe that it is a huge difference training with girls. When you have girls to train with you can go 100%, the strength and explosiveness become more equal. Training with boys makes you expect and let them be stronger but with another girl you have competition, in a good way. And for those that want to compete: you need to train with girls, since you are going to compete against other girls.’

Devi has been training for quite some time now, she was awarded her second degree on her black belt last year. She is also considered one of the pioneers within female Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Scandinavia. ‘I was pretty much alone for a lot of years. The sport has grown so much over the years and it is so cool to see how many girls are coming in to this sport and the level keeps increasing all the time.’ Frontline Academy has many girls both training and competing. Devi says that she thinks it is good for the environment to have both genders training and it creates a good balance within the academy.

After participating with Devi it strikes me again what a beautiful sport jiu jitsu is. It helps people gaining confidence, defending themselves and find the joy with physical exercise. It was a pleasure sharing the mat with Devi and to see her sharing her knowledge and point of view about jiu jitsu, and who knows maybe we had a future black belt getting introduced to jiu jitsu by this self-defense course today?

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Johanna Tavares is a purple belt under Renato Tavares de Moraes. She trains under Renato and Eduardo "Teta" Rios, representing Frontline Academy in Oslo. Besides jiu jitsu, Johanna is also a club manager, fitness instructor and CrossFit level 1 trainer. She contributes to the Ladies Only BJJ blog and website also teaching women only jiu jitsu classes at Novus Academy and organizing open mat for all them jiu jitsu ladies in Norway.


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