Sixteen-year-old Elisabeth Clay upset the bracket and won gold at the 2017 ADCC West Coast Trials to qualify for the prestigious ADCC Championships to be held in Helsinki, Finland.
Lis is a blue belt from Anchorage, Alaska and the Jiu-Jitsu Times caught up with Lis after her victory to talk.
Jiu-Jitsu Times : Elisabeth let’s start off by learning a little about your background.
Where is your home academy? How long have you been training, and who are your main instructors?
Clay: Legacy Jiu Jitsu (an Ares Affiliate) is where I have been training for about a year and I love it so much. I started training jiu-jitsu in mid 2012, almost 5 years ago. Jordan Kontra is my main instructor/ professor at Legacy Jiu Jitsu.
Jiu-jitsu Times : Have you been competing a lot in the last year? Any notable wins and / or titles?
Clay: I have been. Just competed at Pan Ams: won silver in my weight class and bronze in the absolute. I have a tournament or invitational every three to four weeks for the next few months, an Onnit superfight, Worlds, to mention a few. Last year, I won double gold at the Pan Ams and gold in my weight, and silver in the absolute at Worlds, as well as double gold (gi and nogi) at Gracie Worlds (2016)
Jiu-jitsu Times : How did the West Coast trials go for you? How many matches did you have? How do you feel about winning the gold in your division?
Clay: The West Coast trials went amazingly well for me. I was definitely not expecting to do as well as I did being only a blue belt and barely having it for a year at that. I had 4 matches to gold, with two subs, one heelhook and one pressure tap. Honestly, it still feels surreal to me.
Jiu-jitsu Times : Which positions in your game worked successfully for you?
What is your primary strategy in competition?
Clay: I’ve been working on my wrestling more. It definitely seemed to help, so I just play top pressure and try to pass and take their back. Or if can’t, I fall back for a leg. It seemed to work really well. Most of all just be methodical and listen to my professor and play my game.
Jiu-jitsu Times : So what is next? How are you going to prepare for Helsinski? What is it going to take to be ready for ADCC 2017?
Clay: I have an Onnit super fight May 6th and then IBJJF Worlds after that in June. And I’m just going to train hard and listen to my Professor and what he tells me to do. He’s an awesome professor and I trust his judgement along with my core training partners. They are key to my success.
Jiu-jitsu Times : Lastly, would you like to shout out to any sponsors, coaches or friends who were behind you for your ADCC Trials gold?
Clay: Well of course my family: my blood family and my Legacy family #thefamilywechoose but especially the guys that went down and competed with me and helped me cut weight for the first time and took care of me when I was competing, my Professor Jordan Kontra, Kalei Talamoni, Grant Birmingham, and Dennis Grogan. Thank you Alaska Fight Shop for my sweet shorts and Onnit for their sponsorship!