Athlete name: Elizabeth L. Kirchmeier
Athlete School / Affiliation: Legacy MAF/ Choke U Competition Team
Athlete current rank: Two stripe purple belt
Athlete’s Professor: Professor Patrick Robinson
How did you get started training Jiu-Jitsu and how long ago was that?
I started Jiu-Jitsu in August 2009 in Valparaiso IN. I have always been very athletic and loved playing sports. After school it is hard to keep finding different teams and leagues to play volleyball, softball, etc. One night I was over at my friend’s house and we were discussing this and her husband, Ray, and her son proceeded to describe this Jiu-Jitsu that they were into. At first, I was very hesitant and was like no thanks, that sounds strange. Eventually they talked me into trying a class. So I did, and I LOVED it. Instant addiction.
What drives you in your Jiu-Jitsu life? What makes you want to get up in the morning and go train?
I love everything there is about Jiu-Jitsu, the more I learn about it and develop the lifestyle, the more I want it. I feel sometimes like a JJ activist, fighting to keep it pure and rooted in the Gracie fundamentals; not just in technique but in the personal characteristics that Helio described as being fit for Jiu-Jitsu. Another big driver for me was when I moved to Michigan and started volunteering for the AWARE shelter in Jackson. I began to see the real benefits Jiu-Jitsu would have on women in our community. I started providing free self-defense seminars to local organizations, churches, schools and the like. The thought of women in our community being more empowered really hit home for me and continues to drive me to be better and get into my community as much as possible, to fight for these women and survivors of terrible crimes.
If there was one thing you would change about your Jiu-Jitsu, what would it be?
The only thing I would change about my Jiu-Jitsu is I wish I could travel to train more. I think that learning from different perspectives and styles is essential for growth in Jiu-Jitsu especially, as an active competitor.
If there was one thing you would change about your life, or the world in general, what would it be?
Geeze, I don’t think I would want to change a thing about my life. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are all here to serve a purpose in the world. Although I have not always made the best choices, given too much, or have hit rock bottom once or twice, all of that has made me see the world the way I do now and it has made the person I am today…and I love me. The world…well I take that one day at a time. I wish the world was not so cold, money motivated and hurtful to each other. My hope is that in my purpose here on earth I can share peace and hope for those you have little in life. That I can bring many people happiness and hope to a brighter future.
Do you have a favorite memory about Jiu-jitsu you would like to share? Perhaps a couple?
The first time I “rolled”. Oh boy, I got stuck under a very large man and did not know what to do so I panicked and bit him. I know that is NOT cool, but I freaked out. I assure you that this is not a technique I continue to use now. The first time I competed I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest! My legs barely held me up because I was so scared and I won my match in 30 seconds by Americana. I still get very nervous before every tournament and sweat like crazy through my hands and feet. If you notice in some of my Jiu-Jitsu competition videos you can see me wipe my feet on myself multiple times. (Editor’s note – Use code: “Ninja10” to get 10% off in our store at www.yolobjj.com )
What thing about Jiu-Jitsu brings you the most joy? What sets it apart from other things you enjoy?
Every time a student gets excited about something I just taught them, these are my favorite times in Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is different than any other thing I do now or have ever done. Those memes that they have suggesting that one can only understand the feeling of it once they step on the mat, those are true. It is so hard to describe to others what it is, how it changes your life.
How would you categorize your BJJ Style?
My Jiu-Jitsu style is playful, open and ever evolving.
If you could spend 6 months training with anyone in the world who would it be?
I would like to just take 6 straight months with my instructor. I have been to many seminars and learned from many different JJ black belts, and they are all brilliant in their own ways and have much to offer. That being said, I would still just like to obtain all of my instructors knowledge. He knows so much including different styles and teaches techniques from different perspectives. However, if I have to choose a Jiu-Jitsu celebrity I would choose Mackenzie Dern. She is not only amazing at Jiu-Jitsu but because she is such a beautiful person, not just physically but inside. She has such a positive attitude and is always smiling. When you see her it is hard not to smile. I can only hope that I can display that kind of aura to people.
What are your goals in Jiu-jitsu? In Life? Are the two connected?
My goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to keep learning! I never want this journey to end and I want to share it with as many people as possible. My goal in life is to wake up every day and be able to say that I am showing up fully in this world as myself. I want to be able to say that in every second and in every possible way I am living and breathing and becoming that person who I am meant to become.