My name is Andrea and I’m a mom, project manager, blogger, equestrian, jiu-jitsu practitioner, and aspiring badass.

Sooo…  About me!…

Self-defense is super important to me because of this one time….

My scary situation

My sister and I, just a couple of teenagers, were headed to a high school football game one night when we stopped to put gas in my POS Bronco II. It had a busted radio, blown shocks from too many years on a dirt road, and more paint on the inside than the outside. I loved that crappy little SUV. It never let you down.

So we pull into the rundown local gas station in the middle of nowhere and I see this creepy looking Winnebago (the ones you see in the movies when they kidnap someone) parked in the shadows of the building. In our town, you know everyone, and everyone’s vehicles; I didn’t know this one. Self-preservation kicked in and I pulled into the pump at the far end, under the lights. This is where it gets weird.

I start to fill up while talking to my sister through the open driver’s side door when I noticed a guy walking towards us from the Winnebago. He kept looking over his should at another guy standing next to their creepy vehicle. I stopped the gas immediately and returned the pump nozzle to it’s resting place. I was just tightening the gas cap when he reached us.

He asked if I needed “assistance” while shutting the door I’d left open. I recall my sister’s terrified face looking at me through the back window. Before he could close the distance I said, “nope, I’m good”. Then violently yanked the door open and jumped in quickly, locking the door behind me. He stared at us for a moment then wandered off into the store.

My sister begged me to drive off but I said, “Fuck that! We’re reporting them. Memorize these numbers!”, then proceeded to rattle off their license’s plate number.

I drove to the local feed store 1,000 yards down the street to use their phone. For you millennials this was the age where we didn’t have cell service everywhere, so you had to use a landline. If you’re too young to know what that is, Google it.

Anyway, I argue with the clerk about using their phone for an emergency until I tell him what happened. He then pulls out the biggest freaken revolver I’ve ever seen and hands me the phone. Forty-five minutes pass before the cops to show. They believed these men were suspects in a series of rapes and kidnappings and wanted by the state of California!

Let that sink in for a second.

That night changed everything for me. The feeling of being vulnerable and not knowing what to do. I never wanted to feel like that again.

Life, a beautiful daughter and career

Despite this frightening situation, I moved on with my life. I made the poor decisions to marry young, it didn’t last, but, it did give me my beautiful daughter.

I found myself a single parent who can’t keep a job due to downsizing all over our tiny retirement community town. I was over it, so I tossed everything out and headed to Colorado for a change of scenery. Enter….The Boyfriend (we’ll call him Todd).

Before I get too far, let me preface this by saying, I don’t have anything against guns or gun ownership.

I met Todd through a mutual friend while I was visiting Colorado. He is what you would call, a gun nut (read definition 2 on Urban Dictionary). Now Todd believed that everyone needed to carry a firearm, it is our civic duty to protect ourselves and those around us. He had a bug out bag in both the house and the car and believed that the SWAT team was going to kick in our door to take away his firearms. He even had a plan for going down in a hail of gunfire.

Time to jump ship!

I have always been fascinated by martial arts…

What Todd did do, was make me realize I needed more than just a gun for protection. So I began my search. Jiu-jitsu was on the list but I knew I wanted something that I could ease into, dip my toes in the water to see if I’d even like it, sort of thing. Taekwondo fit the bill.

My experience was amazing. I met a lot of great people, learned a lot and competed often. Some of the black belts had a background in other martial arts so I was exposed to styles like Hapkido, Muay Thai, and Aikido. What I found most interesting was that Taekwondo wasn’t a “complete” art, at least not by my definition.

Unfortunately, they ended up being a “black belt” factory and after earning my black belt in two years, I walked away. I wanted something all-encompassing. Something with stand up AND groundwork.

Jiu-jitsu – I fell in love with the sport and the art

I spent the next year embracing my nerd side to the fullest and just loving life. One year, at a Comic Con speed dating event, I meet my (now) husband. The next thing I know, I’m on the mat with the UFC flunky with a chip on his shoulder this size of a mountain and ZERO compassion for anyone. That day really sucked and if it weren’t for my husband, I never would have gone back, but I did… and it was SO worth it!

I found Jiu-jitsu to be fun, honest, empowering, rewarding and you have an entire community for support! Most importantly, you get to be 100%, unapologetically you. We giggle, laugh, cry and share our struggles (ones only women understand). It strips away the secret identity you present to the world then builds you up in the most subtle way. Before you know it, you don’t even use your secret identity because now you’re a badass.

Let’s face it, ladies, we’re the weaker sex. We just don’t have the hormones to build muscle like our male counterparts. With jiu-jitsu, you use technique to leverage our strengths against someone who’s larger and stronger. We fight smarter, not harder. Can you lift a car? Nope! Need to take out a guy the SIZE of a car? We got you!

The best part of jiu-jitsu? You don’t have to be scared anymore. You’re a walking self-defense weapon!

Why I write about it

Jiu-Jitsu Kisses if for the average woman, written by an average woman (didn’t you know being average is a superpower?). If you’re intimidated to enter a male-dominated sport, don’t be. There are plenty of everyday women stepping on the mats. Jiu-jitsu is for everyone, and you don’t have to look like Cris Cyborg to do it.