• Black Belt ranking in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as of May 2009

  • 1st Canadian women to achieve a Black Belt in Canada

  • FILA Grappling World Champion in 2008, 2009 & 2010

  • 2010 World Combat Games Champion in No-Gi 132 lb

  • Trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1998

  • Co-owner of Champions Creed Martial Arts

  • Certified Associate Instructor as of November 2003 under Harris International

  • 107 competition wins

  • Extensive Competitive Experience (Gold medalist at NAGA Arnold's classic, Grappler's Quest, FILA World Championships, ADCC Pro North American Trials & World Combat Games)

  • MMA record 2-0 Professional, 1-0 Amateur 135 lb

  • Head instructor for Children's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program

 

How did I get into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Husband and Coach Brian Bird at the Abu Dbabi Pro North America Trial 2010 when I won the Gold medal
This is a commonly asked question people ask me so I thought I would get it out of the way. For years before I ever started training in Jiu-Jitsu it was something that Brian Bird (my husband) was getting into. We met in high school and both of us were always actively into various sports. I have always been involved in sports my whole life. I am especially happy when I keep active. When I was in school, I wanted to become a physical education teacher. When Brian started learning Jiu-Jitsu he would always want to use me at home to practice the techniques he learned. I would go watch his practices and was always supportive of his Jiu-Jitsu. After years of being his training dummy at home I finally hopped into a class one day and the story ends there, I never stopped training. As a white belt I trained 3 sessions per week, now its 2-3 sessions per day 5-6 days per week but I'll explain that more in my training section. It has been great to have Brian as my coach and constant motivator. He is the reason I have gotten where I am today. Brian and I became a part of Harris International in the year 2001 and Roy Harris will be the guy to take me from White to Black Belt.

Who inspires me to achieve excellence?

Team Mate Nick Ring at the Fila World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland 2008
Before I walk onto the mat to compete I take a moment to reflect on the people that brought me to where I am at? It is not just me on the mat fighting but I take with me everyone that brought me there. My coach Brian and all the techniques he has taught me, my wrestling coach Ron and Clive who if I succeed in a takedown or sprawl, it belongs to them. My family is also with me giving me their support. You would think with all those people in my head, I would be putting pressure on myself. Well, that is not the way I think, they give me strength and confidence in my abilities. The last person in my head is Nick Ring. Nick is a warrior, he is relentless and he exudes confidence. Nick pushes every training session or fight to the end and never shows if he is frustrated or tired, perfectly composed killer. Nick is an unbelievable fighter and instructor who leads by example and I respect him for that. Before I walk on the match, I say to myself,"I am Nick Ring" and to me, that is a guaranteed win.

My Younger Years

My sister Marlene and I going skiing
I think in my younger years I tackled activities the same as I do today. I'll tell you about my softer girlie side in a bit but for now I am sticking with the rough and tough version of me. I think I had very strong roll models growing up as a kid, a very competitive sister as a sibling. In many ways more so than me, if you can believe that, for most of you that know me, that's saying something. I remember in physical education class for most of my elementary and junior high my teacher expected excellence out of his athletes and teams he coached. His name was Mr. Miller and to me he modeled everything I thought a physical educational teach should be. I grew up always pushing myself and always trying to do, as much or more than anyone else, well that has never changed. I believe that I had a spark in me and thanks to the right influential people and coaches in my life, like Mr. Miller, my sister and my husband Brian Bird, they knew how to light the spark and teach me to be a competitor and coach to others.

Jiu-Jitsu as an outlet

I know just like many people, it is nice to have something in my life like Jiu-Jitsu to forget everything outside. When I am on the mat training all I am thinking about is my next move and not getting myself choked out in the process. Day to day stress, bills to pay, laundry to clean, errands to run, what ever, Jiu-Jitsu takes me away. Of course all that stuff is still there when I leave the gym, but while I am training, I can focus on something else, relieve some energy, laugh with my friends and feel great. I think everyone needs something like Jiu-Jitsu in their life.

My Softer Girlie Side

Most of the people at the gym don't see the softer side of me often and when they do, I get either strange looks or compliments. I love dressing pretty, doing my make up, wearing high heels and not always talking about you know, what guys talk about at the gym? I love gardening, dancing, traveling, crafts, singing, playing the flute (don't make fun of me about being a band geek or I'll kick your butt), cooking, reading a science fiction/fantasy novel, going to movies, cuddling with my two cats and girl talk with my best friends. It is always great to have my Jiu-Jitsu friends who understand all my aches and pains and like to chat about our training sessions but most of my girl friends have babies and lead full lives, I love not talking about training and having some close female friends to go and get spa treatments with. AMEN sisters.

My Family

I am truly lucky to have the most supportive family. They may not totally understand Jiu-Jitsu and fighting but they are behind me 100 percent. My mom recently traveled all the way to Switzerland to watch me compete at the 2008 FILA World Grappling Competition. I think she was more nervous than me. Obviously my husband/coach Brian is so proud and happy for me. Almost my whole family lives in Calgary, including my Grandma and Dad who I am close with. It makes a big difference to me knowing that I have the love and support of my family in my Martial Arts career that I chose.

My mom Verleen and I celebrating at a pub in Switzerland where she travelled to watch me compete My Grandma Eileen hosted a party for me when I won the world championships in 2008 My dad Frank took me to Mexico for a relaxing week in the sun after my Florida tournament 2009
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