Our featured Jujitera is Katie Ericson, a 4 stripe purple belt at Northwest Martial Arts, located in Eugene, one hundred miles south of Portland. Katie has trained for nine years, first starting with no-gi before putting on the gi. She’s had multiple breaks in between — doing everything from kickboxing to Muay Thai to marathon running — but she always comes back to the gentle art.
Like many of the other women interviewed, Katie started Jiu Jitsu in college, in this case a University of Oregon women’s self-defense class. Although Katie signed up, and became completely hooked, this was not a given. At the time, Katie was heavily overweight and depressed, and struggled mightily with body image and self-worth. Jiu Jitsu was brand new territory in helping Katie to discover her power.
Katie believes that Jiu Jitsu can help women decide their lives are worth defending. In her words, “you don’t fight for your life unless you believe your life is worth something”. Through Jiu Jitsu, Katie began making small changes in her eating habits, lost 60 pounds, and gained a lot of confidence.
Her success has made her want to reach out to other women facing similar challenges. Although she fought last October at Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground event in Portland, Katie’s highest achievement in the last year has been to create and teach a free monthly women’s-only seminar at her gym, and, more recently, a weekly women’s Jiu Jitsu/self-defense class. “Realizing my dream to teach other women to reach their full potential is definitely the top of the list…Jiu Jitsu gives you a level of self that is true; you can’t fake your way through it. If you want something real, this is the sport for you”. For those who are feeling discouraged, there is a saying, “Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons. Find those new challenges and take them head on. You won’t regret it”. More can be found on Facebook under Northwest Martial Arts.