The second-ever female Brazilian JiuJitsu black belt in Norway is only twenty-four years old. With short blonde hair, a striking face, and eyes that are steeled in determination, it is almost hard to believe that this lethal weapon is simply from a farm in the small town of Stavanger. Ida Fløisvik is good at surprising people, and even better at submitting them.
An amplifying aspect of Brazilian JiuJitsu is the emergence of female athletes making headlines, such as Mackenzie Dern, Karen Antunes, Raquel Pa'aluhi Canuto, and Claudia Gadelha. But what about the women who have been there all along? Cindy "The Sleeper" Hales is one such woman.
A car accident in 2008 left Samantha Twining a Complete T-9 Paraplegic. Faced with the possibility that she may never walk again, Samantha had two options: either accept that she was in a wheelchair and would be limited in what she could achieve, or give a big middle finger to that notion and do whatever the hell she wanted. She chose the latter.
As a business owner, instructor, wife, and mother, Leeann Morris had originally begun her martial arts journey more than twenty years ago. A 4th degree black belt in the Korean martial art Tang Soo Do, she originally didn't want to be involved in Brazilian JiuJitsu. She had been content with doing Tang Soo Do and didn't want to interfere with that training. It was only within the last six years, at the urging of her husband, that she began practicing and quickly fell in love with the sport.
Kristin Doeblin is one such artist you will come across in Brooklyn. Charismatic, friendly, and easy-going, she also trains Brazilian JiuJitsu at Renzo Gracie Academy in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. During the week, she is commissioned to paint for various individuals and businesses, and on the weekends shows her canvassed work at pop up galleries. Her life is pretty busy between training and painting, but that's okay—it's just how she likes it.