Women Self-Defense Workshop

At K2 Martial Arts and Fitness in Barrhaven, we did our first women self-defense workshop. It was a fantastic turnout.  We had women of all ages and all walks of life come out.   Self-defense for women is not about creating fear, but instead it’s about building your confidence to deal with any type of situation that may or may not come your way.  Violence against women is all around us and we should all be prepared on how to deal with these types of situations.


Self-defense courses and workshops a great tool to help women understand different types of dangers and how to react to them.  It is important to keep in mind, that you need to practice self-defense and build that muscle memory.  This is why martial arts training is so important, you can build your confidence, strength, endurance and fitness all at the same time you learn to defend yourself.


K2 Martial Arts Women's Self Defence workshop with Delphie Dugal-Tessier copy

Never give up

Never give up

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is literally a physical and emotional rollercoaster.  One minute you feel invincible and the next you feel like you have never grappled a day in your life.  And all of this can happen in only one class!  As a new white belt, black belt can seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb.  But, always remember, every black belt started as a white belt, and they never gave up.

Every time you step on those mats, you are one step closer to achieving your goals: the only thing you need to do is not to give up.  You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.  The harder you work, the more rewarding it will be.  When you do achieve your goals, do yourself a favour and set a new one right away. The journey is never over: It is always the start of a new beginning.

Never give up

Never give up

It’s not about being cute, it’s about training hard!

I have heard so many times after training someone says: ‘‘that was really easy, I didn’t even break a sweat’’.  There are some aspect of Martial Arts that are very technical and you should and can take it slow and easy.  In most part, Martial Art is as physically demanding as you want it to be, especially during fitness challenges and classes.  It is impossible not to break a sweat or to be physically exhausted after a class like CageFitness.  If you are not huffing and puffing, guess what……..you didn’t train hard enough.  It doesn’t matter if you are the best in the class or just starting, your personal physical outcome should be the same.  Remember, it is always a competition against yourself and not others.

Fitness classes should not become easier; you should only become better. If it is easy, you owe it to yourself to turn up the intensity and/or the difficulty.  It is all about the right attitude and motivation, train as hard as you can and you will see how incredible you will feel about yourself.

Ottawa BJJ Women train hard

Cutting weight, the good, the bad and the ugly

Cutting weight, the good, the bad and the ugly

In fighting sports, where fighters are separated per weight categories, everyone is looking for the bigger edge on their opponent.  People are looking to be at the top of their weight category and be physically stronger then their opponents.  In a sport as technical as bjj, strength isn’t everything, there are many factors contributing to the success of a fighter; technique, health, cardio, hydration, psychology and physical.

Picking your weight category as a white belt can be very hard.  Should I drop weight? Should I bulk up? Will losing my water weight give me an advantage against my opponents?   The more you compete, the more you will identify yourself with the appropriate weight category for you.

For women, this decision is even harder, it is harder for us to lose weight fast and I DO NOT recommend this tactic at all.  If you Google weight loss, you will have pages and pages of different ways to lose weight.  Most of these searches are unhealthy, dangerous and are NOT beneficial.  There is NO fast healthy way to lose a lot of weight.  There is absolutely no reason why you should wear a garbage bag to lose that extra 5-10lb of water weight the day before the competition.  You will fight tired, dehydrated and weak (the contrary effect of what you want to be).  If you do things right, you should be at your strongest the day of.

Our bodies are different then men, our hormones fluctuate during monthly cycles and there is always a time during the month where we retain more water (we all know what I am talking about…..the bloating sensation).  We have to respect our body and if you are planning on cutting weight, be sure to have a very long slow cut (I am talking months).  You have to let your body adjust; you need to keep your muscles and strength strong.

What people don’t understand, competition isn’t just about the weight cut.  You will naturally get stronger, leaner, faster, better cardio and naturally lose the weight while you train BJJ.  BJJ in itself will help you lose weight.  If you are a competitor, you are the first one to show up, and the last one to leave.  You drill as hard as you can and roll as much as people let you (or until they turn off the lights on you ;)).

As a white belt, I competed in the light division (under 141.5lbs), and as I got fitter I naturally fell in the feather weight division (under 129 lbs).  As I took competition more seriously as a blue belt, I started training specifically for BJJ competitions and eating right (never a diet), it takes me 2 month to gradually lose 5lbs to be comfortable and strong in the light feather division (under 118 lbs).  This means, no alcohol, no fast food, no cookies, cakes, candy and I am very careful not to eat too much potatoes and bread.  At times, this can be hard I absolutely LOVE cookies .

Carbs are good, your body needs carbs, have it before and after training, your muscles need this. Don’t have a carb over load at night.  Eat very green, salad and vegetables are good for you at any time during the day.  Chicken, fish and meat are good source of protein. Beware of salt content, salt is absolutely everywhere and we get a overload of salt.  Salt is what will make you retain water and get that bloated sensation.  I have some eating tips in my post eat well, stay strong.

The important message here is you do not need to cut weight to win and if you are cutting, do it right, talk to your instructor if they have experience in this domain, I am lucky enough that my instructors are very good at this.  Most of the time, you should NOT go on a diet or water diet to cut weight.   You just need to be careful of what you put in your body and train as hard as you can.

Here is a terrific post about the pressure of competition and fitness and what harm you can do to yourself if you push to hard the fitness life style, by Shelsea Montes, IFBB bikini pro (Click Here).  It is different then competitive BJJ but the outcome can be the same.

BJJ is about being healthy, strong and confident. There is no million dollar bonus attached to any of the gold medals, don’t ever compromise your health for it :) Competition is the perfect place to learn and become a better jiu jitsu practitioner and show off your skills. Also it is a great place to identify all the holes in your game, it is an awesome learning tool.

A girls’ best friends

A girls’ best friends

The Martial Arts is more then just a traditional combat sport, unlike diamonds, it teaches self-defense, discipline, hard work, respect, honor and focuses on physical and mental health and fitness.  I don’t know about you but that sounds like a pretty good best friend to me.  Martial Arts is a best friend that will always be by your side as long as you dedicate yourself to it.  Best friends are all around us, in non-material art forms from Yoga, dance, sport, music, to painting.  Embrace these arts and they will never let you down.

I searched most of my life for the place where I belonged and in Martial Arts I found it.  From the moment I stepped foot on those mats, I promised myself to become the best Martial Artist I can be.

Find your non-diamond best friend :)

Ottawa BJJ Women A girls’ best friend

Breaking all barriers

Breaking all barriers

As some/most of you have heard or witnessed, there was history in the making this weekend by having the first UFC fight featuring women.  Even more groundbreaking, it was featured as the main event! Coming in as the favorite, Ronda Rousey did not disappoint with a first round finish with her signature move; arm bar from the mount.  No one will dispute it: Rousey is one mean fighting machine.  She has all the qualities, and heart and soul to be a fighting legend, both genders combined.  Also, let’s not forget Liz Carmouche, who was absolutely amazing.  She is relentless and fearless, a fighter who went for the kill (which she almost succeeded).  Both these fighters represented women’s MMA on the centre stage, they went in for the fight, and showed the world that women can and DO belong in the ring.

Barriers are broken every day; just look at Danica Patrick, the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500.  Don’t ever let someone tell you it isn’t possible.  UFC president Dana White said there would NEVER be any women fighting in the UFC and now? 10 Bantamweight women have signed contracts with the UFC.

UFC is ultimately an entertainment business, and Rousey and Carmouche’s fight showed that women’s MMA is as entertaining as men’s.  One thing: I hope that women’s UFC doesn’t live and die with Rousey’s career.  Carmouche proved that there is talent beyond Rousey and I am very excited to see her fight again and hopefully these two fighters will go at it again: Rousey vs Carmouche II.

Ladies, always follow your dreams. Barriers are meant to be broken: Let’s break them and show every girl with a dream that anything is possible.

Ronda Rousey, you looked super cute with your sports bra, but Lululemon makes more supportive and appropriate sports bras for our sport, aka fighting. Instead of a breathe-easy bra, why not go with an energy or all sports bra. You can still double them up and that way, you won’t have to keep pulling it up.

Ottawa BJJ Women Breaking barriers Ronda Rousey


Everyone will lack or has lacked motivation at some point during their training; this is completely natural.  What you have to watch out for is that inner voice rationalizing why the lack of motivation is a good thing.   Losing your motivation can lead to guilt (guilt of missing training), which can then lead into even less motivation, creating a dangerous downward spiral.  The secret is to break that spiral by showing up to class.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will attend ‘‘X’’ amount of classes in a given week. I can promise you, you might not want to train on a given day but when you do arrive to class, you will forget all the negative thoughts that you had related to training.  The repercussions of doing this are staggering: You will feel better and forget all the reasons and excuses that you had to avoid training, creating an uphill spiral (wanting to train more). I am strictly speaking of a motivational aspect and not other legitimate reasons preventing someone from training :). If you can make it, train as hard as you can :)

Looking forward to see everyone in class this week.


First stripe

First stripe

There are many milestones throughout your martial arts training.  The beauty of it, as long as you keep training, these things never stop.  There is always more to learn, to accomplish and to achieve.  One milestone that sticks out most of all is that first stripe on that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu white belt.  I still remember the feeling, it downed on me that I actually knew something and I was ready to try it out in open rolling.

This pass month, RCJ Machado Ottawa BJJ got not just one, but two women with their first stripe.  I have trained with both these ladies and I have to tell you, they are absolutely amazing.  They come in and leave with a smile and train hard and smart (the best combo ever).   The K2 Martial Arts & Fitness team is so proud of these two ladies.

Here are their feelings on getting their first stripe

‘‘Getting my first stripe was so exciting.  Being such a beginner, its hard to gauge whether I’m improving or not but thanks to my amazing trainers and now this stripe, I’m feeling a lot more confident on the mat!’’

  • RCJ Machado student Emera

‘‘I have been promoted!  It was a Saturday morning at the main dojo in Ottawa we lined up at the end of class to do a courtesy bow and shake each other’s hands. To my surprise my Renshi called out my name to award me my very first stripe in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I was so excited, stepping forward to shake my Renshi’s hand he place a white piece of electrical tape on the black part on my belt. This little piece of tape gave me a huge feeling of accomplishment, I felt like I wanted to jump up and down and do a little happy dance. This stripe was so much more than a piece of tape!

Since I have first started BJJ, five months ago I have started developing more techniques and understanding the concept of the sport.  I definitely need to give credit to my teachers and partners for having patience with me and showing me new tricks. I used to be very nervous rolling with the guys since I am a girl and was new at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but now I look forward to trying these new moves on them.

I already have a love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I enjoy every minute I spend on the mats learning new things. It’s been a great learning environment at K2 martial arts and I wouldn’t want to change it for the world.’’

– RCJ Machado student Natacha

If you want to join these wonderful ladies, and myself come and try out a class at K2 Martial Arts and fitness, there is always room for more ladies at RCJ Machado.

Ottawa BJJ Women First Stripe

Women Can Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

Can Women Really Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?…… REALLY? This is the title of a absurd sexist post to why women  don’t seem to fit or handle BJJ.  I get it, this post is trying to encourage women to ‘’Stick with it’’ but unfortunately this post is an epic fail on that matter!

Let me address some of the concerns of this post.  The problem why women are not fit for BJJ is because they don’t stick to it and this is after they ‘‘DEMAND to try it (BJJ) out’’.   DEMAND is a very strong word, its insinuating they forced their way into a class against all warning signs of ‘‘danger’’.  It happens to EVERYONE, they think they will like it and they don’t, it’s a human nature not a women thing.  Your discouraging women to try BJJ just in case they don’t like it.  If you lived your life like that, you would never try any new things.   Second, they always stay for a short time, women do get pregnant, life change, job changes, that’s a fact of life.  Men go through the  same experiences, however there is (I admit) more men in the sport so it is less noticeable.

A women practicing the sport of BJJ who don’t get their black belt should not be seen as a waste of time.  A blue belt is accomplishment all in itself and a woman or a man with a blue belt in BJJ has a great deal of knowledge in self-defence and you should be proud that these women and men are walking the streets with a blue belt they earned from you.  Ideally, you want the best for all your students and receiving a black belt in BJJ is an incredible accomplishment men or women but unfortunately priorities in life can change this.

The most insulting part of this post is the fact that male student puts their marriage and relationship at risk because they might roll with a women during class.  This is a completely ridiculous concern.  This is blaming women for potential relationship problems just because they roll with men.  If a wife or girlfriend has a problem with this, then the men are in their rights not to roll with women but that’s definitely their lost. Women make awesome partners.

Women who don’t stick to BJJ are not weak and need to be tougher.  We are not dolls who need to be protected and need to understand that someone will be between are legs, we get THAT sense in the first couple of months (enhance the trying out period).  Some women just hate it and find another sport more fitted for them.  The reason why women don’t stick to it is not because of awkward human contact, especially senior white belts and up (we know all about it).  There are probably other underlying problems of why women are leaving.  Like any other sports, people will come and go, new students should never be seen as a potential waste of time.

BJJ is a male dominated sport but women are starting to understand how beneficial and amazing BJJ is.  Just look around you at all the women bjj groups and all the enthusiasm there is for it.  We don’t ask for special  all women classes, we make our own. You should check out women Open Mat all around North America and all the women giving seminars around the world.

Women CAN handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and there is many qualified black belt BJJ instructors out there for women to get their black belt from.

Here is the link to the post I am referring to:


Why women make awesome BJJ partners

Why women make awesome BJJ partners

Open rolling can often feel like you are at a high school dance. Feeling too shy to ask a partner to roll, in fear of being rejected.  The feeling is intensified when you’re a handful of girls (if not the only one) in a massive sea of guys.  We sometimes only stick to our usual rolling partners or only roll with other women.  Guys, don’t be shy, ask a girl to roll with you, she will likely say yes (unless she has had a bad experience with you).  Take this opportunity to shape your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game for the better.  Women have a lot of skills to offer that you can take advantage of.   You can work on your technique and speed, instead of focusing on strength and muscles.   If there are no women that want to roll with you, it’s most likely because you use too much strength and muscles.  If that’s the case, you’re not learning anything and she probably feels overwhelmed and frustrated.

Here are a few reasons as to why women make awesome BJJ partners:

  1. We are super technical; we have to be to survive against bigger and stronger opponents.
  2. We listen to suggestions when we roll
  3. When dealing with bigger opponents, we use a lot of movement; we don’t try and pin people down.  As a bigger opponent, use this moment to work on your own movement and speed. No one learns anything if you use all your might and weight to pin us down.
  4. We definitely smell a lot nicer 😉
  5. We (most of us!) also sweat less and are less likely to drip sweat into your face when we have a top position.
  6. We are also lots of fun; there could even be occasional giggling.

You need to train smartly and respect your partner, whether man or woman.  Leave your ego at the door.  There is no shame in trying new techniques and getting caught. That’s how you learn. There is no shame in tapping.

Thinking of trying out BJJ? There’s a place for you at RCJ Machado Ottawa BJJ, where men and women come together to train for the sport and the self-defense aspects of martial arts.

Ottawa BJJ Why women make awesome bjj partners