BJJ: Women Who Paved the Way Top 8

Every sport has its history; its legends and backstory. I personally enjoy 30 for 30 and E60, the documentaries and interviews. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is still a baby, gaining momentum and progressing; gaining its legs so to speak. It has been an uphill battle and I’m excited to see where the climb peak. I’m especially excited to see where it will take the women, and how the participants as well as the sport, will develop. However, we as female Brazilian jiu-jitsu participants & competitors, wouldn’t be where we are today without these women who paved the way!
(1st part of a three-part series)

  1. Leika Viera: 1st woman to award a black belt (in partnership w/ Rigan Machado)
  2. Leticia Ribeiro: 5x World Champion. has successfully transitioned between competitor to coach and runs an extremely successful women’s training camp
  3. Hannette Stack: 7x World Champion. dedication & hard work to give back to community.
  4. Yvonne Duarte: 1st female black belt. 1st woman to open a BJJ academy. Her persistence led to the first female division & completion, which she went on to win.
  5. Gabi Garcia: 6x World Champion. Broke the mold and paved the way for women’s open weight divisions.
  6. Rosangela Conceicao: 1st female BJJ World champion; Cross trained to improve her Judo ground game; Judo Olympic competitor & Wrestling Olympic competitor
  7. Michelle Nicolini: 8x World Champion. epitome of creativity on the mats
  8. Emily Kwok: 1st female Canadian to receive her black belt and win a World Championship. Collaborated with Stephan Kesting in How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent instructional DVD set.

Next: BJJ: Women Forging a Fierce Fiery Path

Thank you Armor Kimonos and Get Diesel Nutrition for supporting my Brazilian jiu jitsu journey!

BLACKBELTS FOR BUTTERFLIES Make a difference. Be the difference.

MISSION 22 #Ijoinedthefight


  1. Leka Vieira was also a 3x World Champion and 33x World Champion and 3x Pan American Champion. She is also an amazing instructor at her school, Checkmat in Valencia, CA.


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