TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

How BJJ Training Saves One Woman’s Life

By Felix Rodriguez, TXMMA Staff | Photo provided by Mariana Fletcher


Former Texas Resident Survives Motorcycle Accident in Brazil Using BJJ Technique, Featured on National TV with Kyra Gracie


Mariana Fletcher (Top Row, Third from Left)

Mariana Fletcher (Top Row, Fourth from Left)

Mariana Fletcher is a native of Brazil who trained under Rilion Gracie and Roy Cantu while living in Houston, TX. Her training in BJJ recently saved her life during a motorcycle accident in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mariana, who is a three-stripe blue belt in BJJ, was wearing a scarf while riding her motorcycle and both of its ends got entangled in the bike’s chain. The scarf became a threat to Mariana because when it got stuck in the chain her head was pulled “fiercely” and “straight to the ground.” The scene that quickly developed was straight out of an action movie. Her face was extremely close to the tire, unable to move as her scarf slowly restricted her oxygen intake, in the same manner a Rear Naked Choke does.

When discussing how she cheated death Mariana explained, “I tucked my chin on my chest, controlled my breathing and curled my body to release the pressure of the choke caused by my scarf behind my neck. Soon someone cut the scarf and I was able to breath normally again.” Mariana is a woman of deep religious faith and credits divine intervention and having the training to know what to do in this type of situation for surviving. The scarf created a vice-like grip around her neck that could have killed or maimed her. The responding paramedic unit explained that the torque created by the scarf could have easily left her quadriplegic. Fortunately for Mariana the whole episode amounted to nothing more than a scare and an anecdote. “In the hospital the x-ray revealed my neck bones perfectly aligned. I’m doing very well thanks to my merciful God who granted me a miracle and that’s why I’m sharing this life changing experience,” said Fletcher. Thanks to Mariana’s ability to stay calm under pressure and her experience in similar type of choking situations she survived what could have been a tragedy for her family.

The scarf may have gotten the takedown, but Mariana defended well and avoided the fatal submission. Her ability to use BJJ to survive was featured in Brazilian news outlets. Recently she was invited as a guest, along with Kyra Gracie, to the popular talk show Encontro com Fatima Bernardes on the Globo Network to explain her remarkable escape. You can watch the video, which, is in Portuguese, below. Mariana is a great representative of BJJ, mother and friend. We are glad that she walked away from this experience relatively unscathed and that she can now claim with all certainty that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu saved her life both literally and figuratively.