purple belt Rachel Wheatley talks to Carl Fisher, March 8th 2003, Birmingham,
Congratulations on your new
belt promotion; when did this occur?
got my Purple belt during a joint training session at Stevie Bs Gym and
Martial Arts Academy.
Who gave you
The main man himself Mauricao
How did you feel?
was really shocked I had no idea that I was getting it, Mauricao asked me go with
him and I thought he was going to beat me up, he then said Id been training
really hard and deserved this and pulled out the belt, I then received my whipping
Would it be true to
say that youre the only female purple belt in Europe?
think so, Ive not heard of any other female purple belts in Europe. I know
Im the only one in the U.K.
did the guys at the academy react to the good news?
was really pleased for me.
Barry has to watch himself on the mats now?
always has to watch himself on the mats, only joking. Barry is a great fighter
and he has helped me get where I am now.
long have you been training with Gracie Barra?
have been training with Gracie Barra about three years six months now.
you feel that training in a predominantly male environment has helped you improve
at a faster rate?
Yes, when I first
started I had to learn how to defend in order to stop the strong and heavier guys
submitting me. So it helped make to develop my technique as I could never out
strength the guys, it also gives you an advantage when you fight females because
they feel so much lighter.
help do the guys offer to you in training?
are fantastic, they are all really supportive and help me all the time by beating
You are the one to beat in
female competition throughout the UK; does this give you added pressure?
little, but I just try and stay relaxed because anything can happen when your
on the mats.
The majority of your
fights end fast; do you feel youve been tested enough in the UK?
isnt many females that fight in Brazilian Jujitsu and I tend to keep meeting
the same fighters at competitions which is why I sometimes enter the mens
division just to get a bit more experience. I would now like to travel and fight
perhaps in the bigger championships.
you any plans to fight in Europe or the US?
at some stage, its just difficult as working in a School I cant always have
Any plans to fight in the
cage or are you purely BJJ?
love to have a go at fighting in a cage but at the moment it would just have to
be submission wrestling, as I havent done much standing up work.
was your training background prior to BJJ?
is the first martial art I have really studied I did a tiny bit of wing chun before.
Who or what attracted you to BJJ?
wanted to give up playing Rugby and was looking for another sporting hobby and
Barry took me along one day to a BJJ class and I was hooked after the first lesson.
you prefer to train with the men or would you be happy to find a female partner?
are some good technical guys who train with us and they give me a good challenge,
so Im quite happy training with the guys. Although sometimes I do wonder
how my technique would hold up against a good technical female fighter.
is a distinct lack of female BJJ players both in the UK and Europe; why do you
feel this is so?
I dont know
because I think its such a great sport, it may the close contact of rolling on
the mats, I know when new women have started at our club they dont seem
to last long. I think with the large number of men on the mats and feel a little
uncomfortable. To be honest I probably would have felt the same if I hadnt
known any one when I started.
do you think could be done to improve this situation?
clubs should introductory lessons to just women, but myself I think its good to
train with the guys it makes you stronger and improves your technique.
are your favourite techniques?
Are you having any
joy with securing any sponsorship?
now have sponsorship through Stevie Bs Gym and Martial Arts Academy with
Chemical Nutrition and Future Physique Fighters.
do you feel you have improved since the arrival of Braulio to the academy?
feel like I have learnt loads just cant remember everything hes given me
the motivation to train harder and I am definitely a lot more physically conditioned.
I also have Sarah and Steve as my strength coaches and Jim Bolton from CNP who
gives my nutritional advice.
fighting in the Submission League in Manchester tomorrow; any idea wholl
be there in your division?
no idea who will be there, I just hope the division is bigger than usual.
you fight in the male division, like you did in the KSBO and Gracie Invitational?
dont know yet I like to see how I feel on the day and how many female fighters
How do the guys take defeat
from a female player; have you had any bad losers?
of them take it well after the fight and are respectful towards me, although during
the fight some do use a lot of strength against me.
are your plans for the rest of the year?
to train really hard and perhaps get a fight in a big event and then perhaps next
year go to fight in the Pan
Americans, who knows!
best of luck for tomorrow and for the future
Interview and photo Carl Fisher
links: Interview with Mauricio Gomes