Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is mostly male dominated. However, this martial art is starting to see more and more female Jiu-Jitsu stars from Kyra Gracie to Mackenzie Dern. Also, more local Jiu-Jitsu Academies are starting to have more women in the classes than ever before. What was once thought to be an intimidating setting, has become a very comfortable setting. As this great Jiu-Jitsu education is starting to occur everywhere, people are starting to see that everyone from young to old, weak to strong, skinny to fat and male to female are participating in Jiu-Jitsu.
This post began as a list of 5 female celebrities, but since starting this post, more and more female celebrities have found just how great Jiu-Jitsu is – not only for self defense, but also as an amazing workout. So we are continuing to add to this list. If you are trying to get your female friends or significant other’s onto the mat, then share this post with them. Hey… if Naomi Watts is doing Jiu-Jitsu, then why aren’t you!
Check Out 5 Female Celebrities That do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Milla Jovovich – 1
Model turned actress Milla Jovovich, who is probably best known for the Resident Evil franchise spends her time between Los Angeles and New York. This woman does it all, aside from being a model and and actress she also sings. She’s fluent in English, French and speaks Russian.
And how does she stay in shape? She meditates and does Yoga. She has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for some time, although it is unknown who her brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor is. But she probably takes privates. Another interesting note is that she is an advocate for the legalization of weed. I wonder if she’s trained with Eddie Bravo high?
Credit: Red Features
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Naomi Watts – 2
Naomi Watts, who scared us all in THE RING franchise, can probably scare a lot of people on the mats. Naomi got started early in the world of martial arts. She competed in amateur Judo championships from 1989 to 1992, which lead for a great base for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (just ask Ronda Rousey!).
She currently trains regularly in Jiu-Jitsu. She also does yoga, meditates and does a special type of fusion group class to stay in shape. She’s married to Liev Schriber and we wonder if she uses him as her sparring partner? Unfortunately, Naomi and Liev tapped out in 2016 and ended their relationship.
Teri Reeves – 3
Teri Reeves who has been on several TV shows but is probably most widely known on the the TV show Chicago Fire, trains regularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She has mentioned in the past that she trains four times a week at the Gracie Barra in Encino California, where she currently holds a Purple Belt.
Adrianna Palicki – 4
Adrianna Palicki who was a regular on the hit show Friday Night Lights got a taste for BJJ. So this may be a little bit of a stretch, as Adrianna had to learn some Jiu-Jitsu moves for her role in the Keanu Reeve’s movie John Wick. In fact they all had to learn a bit of Jiu-Jitsu. Adrianna has a very athletic background since she ran track and played basketball in high school. Hopefully, we will be seeing more of her on the mats.
Check out the video below where Adrianna is talking about her use of Jiu Jitsu in the film.
Eve Torres – 5
This may not come as a surprise to many of you Jiu Jitsu fans. But if you have been living under a rock, then we will introduce you to our 5th female Jiu-Jitsu Celebrity – Eve Torres. She’s a former WWE Divas Champion and in Scorpion King 4. She has the benefits of daily and private instructions as she is married to Rener Gracie.
You can also find Eve teaching the Women Empowerment Program at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California.
DEMI LOVATO – 6
Demi is a singer with many popular songs. She started on the Disney Channel and quickly rose to fame with a string of top 10 hits. We began to get a glimpse of her fiery personality when she was a judge, alongside Simon Cowell, on the short lived X Factor.
She can be seen at many UFC events, so it’s no surprise that she is training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Demi’s workout ethic can be seen in the way she has gotten in shape within the last few years, and we are almost positive that a lot of this can be attributed to her training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
She has been seen training under Orlando Sanchez, who owns both Gracie Barra Pasadena and Gracia Barra La Canada-Flintridge. And her training doesn’t seem to be a one time fluke, as she has also been spotted visiting Renzo Gracie’s academy in New York. It seems she has caught the Jiu-Jitsu bug!
Rebel Wilson got her big breakthrough in the hit movie Bridesmaids. Since then, she’s made plenty of us laugh. She’s funny and has a great attitude. In fact she was seen with her friend going into a Jiu-Jitsu Academy on Saturday morning. We were able to identify this academy as none other than the Gracie Academy in Beverly Hills.
And this is what we love about Jiu-jitsu. It doesn’t matter what the shape or size you are. Wether you are male or female, everyone is welcomed into this martial art with open arms. We guarantee that she had a positive experience. Especially since the instruction level at the Gracie Academy in Beverly Hills is top notch as it is lead by Ryron Gracie.
Sometimes preparing for movie roles isn’t just learning your lines. In fact, bombshell Margot Robby took it all the way preparing for her role as Harley Quinn in the movie Suicide Squad. Margot, another Aussie, is used to hard work. Don’t let her amazing good looks fool you. At the age of 16, she worked 3 jobs to make ends meet for her family.
And her hard work translated to later in life. She says she spent 3 times a week training Jiu Jitsu to prepare her. In fact, she did all the stunts herself.
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Many of us know her as Eleven from the hit Netflix original series Stranger Things. Born in Marbella, Spain, Milli grew up in England and currently lives in England and Los Angeles. She loves sports, in fact is a big soccer fan with Liverpool FC being her favorite team.
Millie trains at Phoenix BJJ in England under black belt Trevor Chamberlain. Last we heard, she was a blue belt and can’t wait to see her progress throughout her Jiu Jitsu career as she is very athletic and technical. Maybe she can teach us how to use the super powers she uses on Stranger Things to submit people.
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Model and actress Ashiko Westguard trained with AJ Agazarm over at Gracie Barra Pasadena. Ashiko is from Canada and is of Czech and Norwegian descent. We are not sure if she is still consistent in her training, but we sure are happy that she hit the mats.
Also, looking at her BJJ attire, we aren’t sure many people would be able to focus during sparring matches.
Are we missing any other female celebrities who practice Jiu-Jitsu?
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They say it’s important to date someone who has the same interests as you. And for those of us who train Jiu-Jitsu and have a significant other who doesn’t, you know the challenges that arise when you tell him or her that you are leaving to go train. And then coming back and displaying your new cauliflower ear and completely drenched rashguard doesn’t make it any easier.
And then there are those who date girls/guys who also train in Jiu-Jitsu. For many, Jiu-Jitsu is a way of life. You don’t just leave Jiu-jitsu on the mats. It comes home with you and it affects the way you eat, think and breathe. It really does become a lifestyle. So when your significant other also trains, you advance faster in this martial art.
And the added benefit of couples who train in Jiu Jitsu is that they get to spar with each… and are typically in great shape. But not all couples who train in Jiu-Jitsu are iron clad. As we began to write this article, we learned that many of our past favorite couples were no longer together including: Mackenzie Dern & Augusto Tanquinho Mendes ; Maciej Kozak & Irena Preiss and Robert & Sophia Drysdale.
But as in Jiu-Jitsu, if you get submitted – you tap, you learn and move on.
Here are our favorite and hottest Jiu Jitsu couples in 2017:
Eve also made our previous list of celebrities who train in Jiu-Jitsu, because as many of you know she is well known for her work in the WWE. This couple is growing strong as they recently had a baby. Eve teaches the women Empowered Self Defense Program at the Gracie Academy in Torrence.
Rener Gracie is a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu since he was in diapers. But apparently is also a black belt in having some GAME for being able to lock in Eve Torres into a marriage submission! Rener is extremely likable and you can’t get enough of him explaining his Renergy Sandwich or special Acai Bowl which he has down to a science.
Andre is a highly decorated Jiu-Jitsu competitor with ADCC and World Championships medals under his belt. He has submitted some really high level Jiu-Jitsu players including Roberto Abreu at the 2015 ADCC Superfight. He now heads the ATOS Team in San Diego California.
Angelica first started training back in 2003. She was a blue belt at the time and was winning a couple of small tournaments. In 2004, she met Andre and a year later they found out they were expecting a baby. Angelica took a break from BJJ and tried to come back to the sport but couldn’t give 100% so ended up taking a longer break.
In 2010, they all moved the the United States and opened up a small school. Angelica returned to Jiu-Jitsu with an emphasis on bringing more girls to the mat. She quickly rose to the top and became a black belt. Not only is she an inspiration in the Jiu-Jitsu community, but she also a great example of how it’s possible to juggle being a mom and a champion.
A photo posted by Monique Ricardo Carvalho (@moniquericardobjj) on
Eddie had an early start in the world of martial arts. He started when he was only 6 years old and practiced Karate, Capoeira. When he was 15 he moved the United States, where Carlos Machado took him under his wing and began to train him. After 10 years, he was awarded his black belt. He was then given his 1st degree black belt by Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. He now teaches at Cobra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Plano, Texas.
Monique started as a fitness model and earned a lot of recognition in that field. She won a lot of competitions and was even named one of top 10 hottest fitness girls of all times by Flex Magazine.
After meeting her husband, it didn’t take long for her to want to get involved with the martial art. She received her purple belt after two years and became a World Champion in 2010. She is currently a Black Belt.
Unless you are walking out of your house with your jiu-jitsu gi on, you need some sort of bag to carry your gi and all of your equipment and gear in. Luckily, there are bags made especially for jiu-jitsu. Lets discuss the best BJJ bags of 2015 2017. (We updated this review in 2017 to reflect new bags.)
If you train in the gi, you know the routine. Take out your gi, your belt, your rash guard, your mouth guard, strengthening tools, your protective cup… maybe you have some athletic tape and a drink. Then you have to put away your clothes, your keys, your wallet and anything else you brought before getting on the mats. Even if you train no-gi, you still have a lot of gear to worry about.
Then you train. Build up a nice sweat the size of a pool. You have to then put all your sweaty gear back into your bag and off you go.
There are bags… and then there are jiu-jitsu bags. Jiu-jitsu bags are made to take care of the hassle of organizing all your gear. They have cool separate compartments to divide your sweaty gear from your dry clothes. Maybe some jiu-jitsu books. Some even keep your food, snacks and drinks cool!
When shopping for a jiu-jitsu bag or MMA bag, you want one that has several compartments and one that is built to last. You can always find cheap bags, but why not make the investment on one that looks great and will last you a lifetime?
Below are the best BJJ Gi Bags of 2017:
Venum Trainer Lite
This bag has several available colors, from a subtle black on black look if you don’t like to call out too much attention, to bright yellow that will let everyone know you have arrived. This bag features a large compartment that will store all your gear including your Gi and even sparring gloves and more. This bag also has a mesh panel that will allow breathability and won’t have you stink up the room. There are also side panels and a separate compartment for you to store your mouthguard or any tape.
Huge Main Compartment
Since there is one huge main compartment, the separate compartment could be a tight squeeze to store your Gi after use.
Sanabul HYBRID MMA BJJ Gym Duffel Backpack Bag
Material: High Grade Ballistic 1200D Cordura
This jiu-jitsu bag can be worn as both a backpack or carried around like a duffle bag. Although from some customer reviews, in order to really wear this as a backpack, you have to carry lighter weight and since you also have the duffle bag handles, it can look funny walking around with the loose handles.
The Sanabul comes with a lot of different pockets to store everything from keys, wallet and of course, all your bjj gear. The size is great and also has a separate compartment to storey your dirty clothes or to keep your shoes separate from the rest of your gear. This side compartment is ventilated to not stink up your entire bag.
The bag was made to be durable. It is made from a high grade military type of nylon called 1200D Cordura.
A lot of compartments
Can be used a backpack or a duffle bag
Some customers report the logo begins to fade the longer you have it
VENUM CHALLENGER PRO BACKPACK
Material: Polyester Fabric
Dimensions:19.7 x 13.8 x 2.4
This backpack looks great. As expected, this backpack is very comfortable to wear. It’s padded in the right places. The shoulder pads are padded to make carrying all your BJJ gear as comfortable as possible. The back of the backpack is also padded and has an air mesh fabric.
There is a main compartment that features a velcro closure. The company claims this special closure can hold a 17 inch laptop, but several users are saying that it won’t even hold a 15 inch laptop. So if you are carrying a mac air or a 13 inch computer or tablet, then this would be perfect. There is also a cool mp3 player pocket with a head jack opening so you can listen to music to get your pumped up right before class starts.
There is a second compartment that is also large enough to store equipment. It’s smaller than the main compartment and it may not fit too much extra gear. You can use this to carry your Venum Knee Pads if you own them.
Overall, people who purchased this bag like it and like all the several compartments, but also have stated that there isn’t too much room. However, this can be a plus if you don’t want a super bulky bag.
Foam filled shoulder straps
Smaller than expected, so make sure you double check the dimensions
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Female Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are the minority in this martial art and sport. It can definitely be intimidating for a woman to train with a bunch of guys. But the truth of the matter is, whenever female students attend classes where it’s mainly male dominated – they are treated with respect. However, there are academies that have designated classes just for female students, which is great, because this gives them the opportunity to train with opponents their own weight and strength.
And in walk the female Strela team out of Russia. These girls are so into Jiu-Jitsu, that they have put together a beautiful Russian calendar. And it’s creating a lot of controversy in the social media Jiu-Jitsu community.
Are these girls just models or do they actually practice Jiu-Jitsu? The answer is they actually practice and compete in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.
The Strela team was founded by Dimitry Selivakhin and they are one of the top competition teams in Russia. As of now, it looks like not only are they making a name for themselves on the mat, but also online.
So what do you think, is this calendar too sexy and controversial? Is a step back or a step forward for female BJJ?
More photos and information on how to order can be found on their Facebook page. Order a copy if you would like to support them.
Jiu-Jitsu tournament events such as Metamoris and the Eddie Bravo Invitational are fantastic. We love how they don’t focus on the point system and the matches are geared towards the submission. Even though there have been some great matches, we here at Jiu Jitsu Central would like to propose what our dream line-up would be for our first Jiu-Jitsu Central Invitational.
Of course, it wouldn’t be easy getting the names below, so if Ralek Gracie and/or Eddie Bravo want to take our ideas below – go for it. We would be thrilled!
Below is the 5 match line-up for our dream Jiu-Jitsu Central Invitational tournament:
MATCH 1 – ANTHONY BOURDAIN VS ED O’NEILL
Credit: fightland.vice.com / bjpenn.com
To open up our tournament, we want to start with a playful match up. Anthony Bourdain has gotten very serious with his Jiu-Jitsu training. Officially, he’s a blue belt under Igor Gracie. He’s hooked on Jiu-Jitsu, thanks to his his wife, Ottavia Bourdain, who also trains.
Many of you know that Ed O’Neill (or as many people still remember him, Al Bundy) is a black belt under Rorion Gracie. He’s been training with Rorion for over 18 years.
So why do we like this match-up? Even though Bourdain is a blue belt, he’s about 10 years younger than Ed. Anthony has the advantage that his wife also trains Jiu Jitsu, so he gets to practice at home. Anthony regularly visits Jiu Jitsu schools while he is traveling, whereas Ed continues to take privates. There is something to be said about training with different opponents and body types.
Even though we believe Ed would submit Anthony Bourdain, we do think it would be a very interesting match up to see how a more experienced older belt, takes on a slightly younger opponent.
Despite having loss to Holly Holm, Ronda is an amazing athlete and ferocious competitor. She is outspoken, which turns many people off. But that has also lead to her success, because it gives her confidence. In typical Ronda Rousey fashion, at one point she said she could beat any female Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in gi or no-gi. It didn’t take long for the female Jiu Jitsu champs to respond. One of them being Michelle Nicolini.
Michelle is a decorated Jiu Jitsu fighter. She’s a black belt under Robert Drysdale and has won several major tournaments including ADCC. She’s no joke.
Ronda is a black belt in Judo and trains regularly with Rener and Ryron Gracie. We know she can hold her own, because we have seen her spar with BJ Penn where she holds more than her own in that sparring match.
MATCH 3) EDDIE BRAVO vs. ROYCE GRACIE
Eddie Bravo, the bad boy of Jiu-Jitsu, is someone we believe has actually done more good than bad. Sure he smokes a lot of weed. But who cares? Well… Royce Gracie does.
Eddie is renowned for beating Royler Gracie in Abu Dhabi in 2003. This was big. It was the first time an American Jiu Jitsu practioner had beaten Royler. Not only that, but Eddie was a brown belt. Eddie knew this was big, and he milked it for everything it was worth. Rightfully so. Eddie’s specialty is no-gi, and he is very outspoken about this.
Royce went to the locker room, where Eddie Bravo was throwing up, and starts arguing with him. Royce told Eddie he didn’t like what he said about his family throughout the years. And Eddie starts yelling back at Royce until Jean Jacques Machado intervenes.
Spencer Pratt, most known for being on MTV’s The Hills, and Heidi Montague’s husband, trained at Rickson Gracie Academy. Even though he has that bad boy persona, he did show a softer side to him in Marriage Boot Camp, where he actually took one of the other Marriage Boot Camp guests on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu date. He’s been training for years and there is even footage of him competing in a tournament.
The reason we like this match up is because Spencer Pratt actually called Ashton Kutcher out. In fact, he wanted to be placed on a Metamoris card. Check out the tweet below:
This would be a great match, because Ashton Kutcher has been training for several years and is a purple belt under Rigan Machado. He also has a wrestling background so he could probably get Spencer to the mat.
MATCH 5) MAIN EVENT – RENATO LARANJA vs. NATE DIAZ
And for our main event. We have two very entertaining characters. On one hand, we have Renato Laranja, who at one time was an undefeated 27x champion. He probably has more titles under his belt by now. He got his black belt in 4 years and there is footage of him easily defeating Eddie Bravo. Renato has a huge Brazilian Jiu Jitsu following, and that’s because he tells it as it is. There is no filter to this man.
As many fans as Renato has, Nate Diaz isn’t one of them. There was a very awkward confrontation between the two of them at a conference.
Nate as we all know is an impressive UFC fighter. However, his Jiu-Jitsu is also top notch, being a black belt under Cesar Gracie.
This would be one of the most entertaining fights of our Dream Jiu-Jitsu Central Invitational. Security guards would have to be placed at a close distance to this match in case Nate decides to throw a punch.
If you like our new tournament idea, let the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community know!