Monique Ricardo is a BJJ Black Belt and a Model to boot. She’s quite passionate about maintaining her body through a healthy lifestyle. She started her fitness career back in 2007 – since then she has been featured in many fitness magazines, spreads and covers.
But what makes her unique is her bjj skill. She has a huge passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which she was introduced to via her husband (her friend at the time) Eddie Ricardo Bjj Black belt of Cobra Jiu-Jitsu.
She talked to Muscle And Fitness September Edition and here’s what she had to say on BJJ.
What got you into training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
My now-husband Eddie—he was my friend at the time—teaches BJJ and wanted me to take classes
How long did you train in BJJ before you entered tournaments?
After three weeks I won my first tournament with a guillotine choke.
Was it difficult when you were starting out being a female in a male-dominated sport?
I’m not very athletic, and this was really the first sport that I played, so that was really weird. In BJJ, you have to keep your weight right on top of the person and you need to close the space so you become one with the person. It took me a long time to get that down because I did not want to get so close [laughs]. Now I have to be careful when I train with the men because no guys want a girl to beat them.
It’s looked down upon in martial arts to focus on just size. Is there any truth to that?
To an extent, because you’ll see really big guys come in, and it delays the learning process. They try to put their strength into everything, which can work against you in BJJ. At first you may be able to rely on strength, but as you move up in rank the technique will trump muscle. Jiu-jitsu is designed for the smaller guy to beat the bigger one.
What’s more difficult: prepping for a bikini show or getting ready for a BJJ tournament?
Definitely getting ready for a jiu-jitsu tournament. I’m a routine-oriented person, so the bikini-show diet is easy for me, and I like stepping onstage. BJJ is different; there’s anxiety, the pressure of the tournament, and the self-doubt. You have to conquer your mind. It’s a game of human chess, and even when you get your black belt, the learning never stops. You learn a lot about yourself because you have to conquer yourself and overcome your fears.