Growing up I (Brittney Martin) have always played a lot of sports. I started team sports when I was probably 6 or 7 with softball, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. I got pretty competitive in team sports in junior high when I got into soccer and played that all the way through to college. Jiu Jitsu is the first sport that I have gotten into that when it comes time to compete, it’s individual.
One of my most memorable moments in Jiu Jitsu is the first time I took gold at an IBJJF open. Like I said, competing in Jiu Jitsu is the first time in my life that I’ve had to get out there on my own. I had my Elite MMA team with me all the way though training and prepping for the tournament, even getting to the tournament I had a team mate with me, but when it came time for my first match it was just me and my opponent. I jumped into the tournament not long after getting my blue belt, probably a year or so into Jiu Jitsu. I had 3 people in my division and had going to cut weight to make that division. My coach, Robert Yamashita, had my back through all of the prep work. We trained day in and day out on the mats to get ready for this tournament. I don’t think I’ve ever drilled so much in my life and that was after all the rounds of training. Robert also stayed with me hand in hand when it came to dieting and cutting weight, which for me was rough. I cried probably more than I can even remember prepping for this. I spent the weeks before the actual tournament feeling like I was just getting beat up constantly.
When it came time for the actual tournament, I had never felt so prepared for a match since I started Jiu Jitsu. All of the sweat, tears, and probably blood had come in handy when it was time to compete. I knew exactly what I needed to do and had worked it with my teammates and coaches so many times prior, I didn’t even second guess what I was there for. My game plan was solid and I dominated my two matches to the gold medal. It was one of the first times I’ve had to be put to the test on my own rather than with a team like soccer and I took gold. Although Jiu Jitsu feels like individual sport when you’re out there competing, really and truly I had an amazing team alongside me the entire way. I just had to show what our team could do. It felt awesome to get out there and pull out gold for me and my team! I remember being so excited and running to my teammate, Leslie, who had come with me and also won gold. We wore our medals in the hotel and the car ride home. I also got to call Robert from out of town and tell him all of the work we had put in had paid off! It was definitely one of my most memorable first gold medals in Jiu Jitsu.