Featured Fighter- Vanessa English ( Faixa Roxa )
Over the past while, Grapplers planet has had the honour of talking to Vanessa English, Vanessa English is a purple belt under professor Victor Estima and professor Gareth Neale.
GP: Who are you? where do you train ? who is your professor? Introduce yourself to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community.
English: My name is Vanessa English, I am a purple belt training at Gracie Barra Nottingham under professor Victor Estima and professor Gareth Neale. I compete regularly at international competitions and currently ranked first in my division according to IBJJF Rankings. I also represent the UK and also my sponsor ‘Tatami Fightwear’ while competing.
GP: Why and when did you chose to Grapple?
English: There was no real reason why I began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it was something I had discovered through other martial arts, of which I started training for self defense. I had trained a bit of Capoeira and traditional Jiu Jitsu before I was introduced to BJJ. I wasn’t so serious about training then, but when I stepped into my first BJJ class I had no idea that I was going to become so dedicated and obsessed as I am now! It shaped the next three and a half years of my life…and for sure the rest!
GP: what are the things that attract you the most about being on the ground?
English: I love to crush people with all I’ve got…that’s 50kgs (110 lbs) of crush haha!
GP: What is your favorite submission? Sweep? Takedown? and Why?
English: I love a certain choke from side control, going to a triangle-type position, I submitted two of my opponents with this choke at the world championships- I like things that work! I like a number of sweeps from De la Riva guard, I love De la Riva. As for take downs, I like single leg take downs, but to be honest I’d rather pull guard!
5)what are your goals in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Why do you do it?
English: Firstly I would like to have more success in absolute divisions, I’ve been very inspired by the recent successes of the Miyao Brothers- there is hope for us smaller people yet! I would also like to be a world champion at brown belt and eventually balck belt. But besides competition goals, I am currently in the process of setting up my own online shop. Why I do it??…Because its the best thing in the world!
GP: The most important and valuable thing you have learned while doing this sport?
English: The importance of surrounding yourself with positive people, and people with drive to succeed.
GP: Jiu Jitsu in 3 words?
English: Effective, universal, astounding!
GP: how is the sport evolving in England? how do you see it in the next 5-10 years?
English: I have a good feeling about the progression of Jiu Jitsu in the UK. This year, three adults from the UK took home gold at the IBJJF World Championships, me being one of them. This is the first year any UK adult has won gold in this competition, and definitely wont be the last! I’ve heard of some great plans in the making that will bring our competitors together and stronger than ever. I have no doubt that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is going to be the next big thing in the UK.
GP: What kind of music do you like to listen to before competition? or training?
English: I do have a ‘pump’ playlist on my Iphone haha! I listen to it before I compete, so anything that makes me feel awesome will be added to it!
GP: what do you tell new girls that come in and try BJJ, but then feel as if this sport might not be for them? how do you convince them?
English: They just have to take a look at the Gracie Barra slogan- ‘Jiu Jitsu for everyone’, and it couldn’t be more true. I will explain to them that everybody, any shape or size can benefit from training Jiu Jitsu, we all develop our own game that suits us as individuals.
GP: Do you prefer the Gi or NoGi better?
English: At the moment probably Gi, but I’m sure my preference will change when I’m training more NoGi.
GP: JIU JITSU a lifestyle for you or just a sport?
English:Well I train Jiu Jitsu, I wear Jiu Jitsu clothing, I eat Acai, I dream about Jiu Jitsu, the majority of my friends I have choked and I’m (still) trying to learn Portuguese…I think you could safely say that it’s a lifestyle for me.
GP: How do you feel being a female in the sport of BJJ?
English: I’ve always been lucky to have female training partners, so I guess I don’t have particularly strong feelings about training in a male dominated sport, I also grew up with two older brothers so I have always been used to having guys around. However, I do feel as if the female BJJ community is really flourishing in the UK. We have regular open mats for girls up north and down south, and also training sessions for those who are serious about competition. I feel this will make a big impact on the popularity of the sport for females- the more females train, the more females will be attracted to the sport.