TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

TWSS: Texans Azhley Guardiola and Rebekah Duron place third in 2012 IBJJF Novice World Championship





By: Shama Ko, Contributing Writer

 

Two first-timers competed at the IBJJF World Championship and won bronze medals after showcasing their fierce skills against the best in the world.

 

June 8, 2012 – Hundreds of women from around the world set out on the weekend of May 31st-June 3rd to compete in the 2012 IBJJF World Championship (Mundials) in Long Beach, Calif. Among the many talented Texas women that competed, Azhley Guardiola, a recently promoted blue-belt of Gracie Barra Corpus Christi and Rebekah Duron, a three striped white belt of Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Texas, both placed third in their divisions.

Guardiola competed as a four striped white-belt in the pluma divisions at the 2012 Novice Mundials. Upon her return, she was promoted to a blue belt. Since her start in June of last year Guardiola has not wasted any time building her collection of medals. In her stockpile of medals are two gold medals, three silver medals, and four bronze medals from Results Grappling Challenge, Europa, American Nationals, IBJJF Miami open, IBJJF Dallas open, IBJJF Phoenix open, Texas State Championships, MatShark, and most recently at the Mundials. Guardiola has previously competed in IBJJF sanctioned events, but this was her first time at the Mundials, the largest tournament of the year.

Duron began her jiu-jitsu journey only six months ago. She has competed in four tournaments and placed in three of them. At the battle of H-Town and Grapplers Quest, Duron placed second and she placed third at the IBJJF Houston Open and World Championships.

Both never competed in the IBJJF Mundials. They shared their experiences and thoughts on competing at the 2012 Novice Mundials.

 

Interview with Azhley Guardiola

 

This past weekend you placed 3rd in the 2012 IBJJF World Championships in the White belt Pluma division.  How long did you prepare for this tournament and how did you prepare for this tournament? How often did you train BJJ? Did you do any cross training? If so, what else did you do to prepare?

I started preparing for the 2012 Mundials after the 2012 Pan Ams; since I wasn’t able to make it to the Pan Ams I set my mind on getting ready for the Mundials. My BJJ home is Gracie Barra Corpus Christi but I did cross train for a month before the Mundials at Brazilian Top Team in San Antonio. I did visit other schools during that time as well to train with others my size.  I trained BJJ at least twice a day. My training partner and I always made sure to get at least one hour of training and one hour of drilling in each day along with lots of cardio endurance training and circuit training specific to jiu-jitsu. Also, I competed as much as I could. I used those competitions to find errors and weaknesses I had on the mats and between those tournaments drilled to fix them in the gym. I couldn’t have done it without BTT’s rooster Cruz Ybarra Jr, he really pushed me to improve and I’m so grateful for him having so much patience and believing in me so much.

Did you train with any girls to get ready for this tournament? Do you think it is important to train with other women to prepare for tournaments?

Yes I tried to train with as many girls as possible as I prepared for this tournament. I think it is extremely important to train with women when getting ready for a tournament because you get a feel for what you can expect at the time of competition. The guys I trained with at GB and BTT were awesome partners but women’s bodies are different, they move different, and that can make a big difference in your technique and overall game when you have some idea of what you could possibly be facing with people your size.

How did you feel going into your matches? Were you nervous? If so, how did you overcome the nerves?

For my first match I was extremely nervous, I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I think it was more from the excitement of everything going on around me, but once I went for that first grip all the nerves were gone. I just focused on my friends coaching me, my technique, and my game plan. Since I had competed so many times before I kind of already knew what to expect when it came to facing new people in competition, and I think that is very important, training and competing with new people really does help calm the nerves of the unexpected when it comes to a major tournament like the Mundials.

You had 18 girls in your division. How many matches did you have and how did you win your matches to place 3rd (sub or pts.)?

In total I had 4 matches. I had a bye for the first round so went on to fight in three of them. I won the first by referee decision after being tied in points and advantages. The second I won by points but not sure by how much, I was just excited to keep advancing. My third match I lost to submission, key lock at 4:58, I didn’t know the points but I should have just held on.

What was your favorite part of your experience at the Mundials? Other than a shiny new medal, what else did you walk away with from the Mundials?

My favorite part was standing on the podium receiving my medal, it was an awesome feeling. I did walk away with a black eye from one of my matches but its ok, battle scars my friends call it, are just a reminder that I got it competing and medaling at the 2012 Mundials.  Overall I left with great experiences and awesome memories of the tournament itself and being surrounded by some of BJJs top competitors was amazing.

What is in store for you next? Are you training for any upcoming tournaments?

I recently got promoted to my blue-belt, but for the next six months there may not be any tournaments in store for me. I will be away with the U.S. Navy, but I do hope to still train so that when I return I can get back into competition as a blue belt and continue to represent my team and females everywhere who love the sport just as much as I do.

 

Interview – Rebekah Duron 

 

This past weekend you placed 3rd in the 2012 IBJJF World Championships in the White belt division.  How long did you prepare for this tournament and how did you prepare for this tournament? How often did you train BJJ? Did you do any cross training? If so, what else did you do to prepare?

I had been contemplating competing in this tourney for the last month but didn’t really decide until the day I signed up which was the deadline day.  I trained with Lana Hunter, one of our purple belts, twice a day for about three weeks.  Before this I train at least four times a week.  I use to do circuit training, but when I started two times a days I stopped and just focused on BJJ.  But the circuit training helps tremendously with the cardio aspect.

Did you train with any girls to get ready for this tournament? Do you think it is important to train with other women to prepare for tournaments?

I think it’s incredibly important to train with women because of the strength issue.  Sometimes what you can pull off with women, you can’t with men because of strength.  A major part of my BJJ is the relationship with my teammates.  It is incredibly helpful to have people that want to help you win.

How did you feel going into your matches? Were you nervous? If so, how did you overcome the nerves?

I wasn’t nervous going into my matches.  But everything goes so fast during the fights.

You had seven girls in your division. How many matches did you have and how did you win your matches to place 3rd (sub or pts.)?

I had two rounds, but the first round I received the bye.  So I went directly to the semis.  I lost to the girl who took second.

What was your favorite part of your experience at the Mundials? Other than a shiny new medal, what else did you walk away with from the Mundials?

My favorite experience was seeing all the great BJJ out there.  It opens your eyes to a whole other world of BJJ and you always come back knowing what you want to work on next.

What is in store for you next? Are you training for any upcoming tournaments?

I plan to be ready for Nationals and win there!

 

About the Author

 

Shama Ko has actively been a part of and contributed to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas for close to a decade. She is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu purple belt at Gracie Humaitá Austin, a champion competitor, a photographer/owner of Mean Streak Photography, a community/event organizer for Girls in Gis and Austin Women’s Open Mat, and most recently a contributing writer to TXMMA. Follow Shama’s endeavors online through any of the links above or through any of these sites: Twitter, FacebookThe Adventures of Shama KoShamaKo.com, and SKOphoto.com.






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