FIVE365 had a chance to talk to BJJ Black Belt and all around bad ass Nyjah Rollins.
1. What does Jiu Jitsu mean to you?
Jiu Jitsu has served as a lifestyle and means to express myself in a way that is both mental and physical. Jiu Jitsu has served as a way of life that has taught me discipline, focus and true passion. For over 10 years I have been blessed to learn how to control my mind and body to do things I once thought was impossible. Jiu Jitsu has given me a level of confidence and a “risk taking” attitude that has translated on both the mats and life. As I embark on new and unfamiliar territory I often use my sense of Jiu Jitsu to prepare even when I am unaware of the battle ahead of me. My mental toughness has allowed me to reach personal goals and to find joy in both winning and in defeat.
2. How has Jiu Jitsu changed your life?
3. How do you balance being a wife, mother to twins and a full time teacher?
4. What do your students think of your accomplishments in Jiu Jitsu?
5. What led you to Jiu Jitsu?
6. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about trying Jiu Jitsu for the first time?
7. Who wins a 5 minute round, sub only, you or your husband?
Ugh. As hard as it is for me to admit it….he wins most of the time. We do spur of the moment “carpet matches ” at home all the time and often he will outscore me and use his wrestling skills to take me down and dominate. We have some amazing rolls filled with lots of laughter though. I am highly competitive and things can easily go from fun and giggle to me hunting for submissions even when we aren’t both willingly rolling. He’s a phenomenal wrestler and has supported me when I was training for major competitions before having my girls and was my main training partner and coach for my last Submersiv event this past September. I am grateful to have a spouse who not only supports me but has background knowledge on grappling and can be a training partner as well.
8. What do you think of the progression of women’s Jiu Jitsu?
Women BJJ has come a very long way. I am so proud of the women who train and compete in a professional manner and continue to fight for the equality of women’s sports. Some of the most talented and technical Jiu Jitsu practitioners are women. As scientifically smaller and weaker counterparts to men, I am in awe of the might and strength women continue to show. Sports like Jiu Jitsu are heavily populated by men and can deter women from practicing, let alone competing at a high level. It takes a true warrior to withstand the daily physical and emotional challenges that come along with being a female Jiu Jitsu practitioner. I love that the women’s brown and black belt divisions continue to grow and the level of technicality improves as the years go by. More and more women around the world are training and competing in Jiu Jitsu and its a beautiful site to see, pun intended 🙂
9. How has competition changed from brown Belt to black belt?
I remember when I was awarded my purple belt, the butterflies I felt knowing that my competition went from blue belts to now facing purple, brown and black. My very first competition as a brown belt, I was paired with Michele Nicoloi first round. I only knew she was a bad ass before the match; I finished the match knowing she had a toe hold that could put you out of training for 4 weeks after and that guarding your feet was just one of the many lessons I needed to learn over the next few years. Although brown and black belts are just a level apart, there is a mindset and level of confidence one needs to succeed. Once you have made it to black belt, there are so many different levels and experiences amongst competitors. As a brown belt I won Abu Dhabi pro, Europeans, Pan American, and took silver at Worlds, to only be tossed in a sea of black belts who’s experience ranged from 1 month to 10 plus years. Its literally the best of the best and now the journey has truly begun. I honestly felt my training really started and my true understanding of Jiu Jitsu began after I achieved the rank of black belt.
10. What does being a part of Team Lloyd Irvin mean to you?
11. Will we see you back on the competition circuit in 2019?
Yes, that is the plan! I am currently training and in the gym getting in competition shape. I am hopeful to do a 5 grappling event this spring and to continue to do something I love some much.
12. Who are some of your favorite competitive girls or guys you like to watch?
13. Can you tell us about sensual grappling 11 for couples?
Sensual Grappling 101 is one of my newest projects. My husband and I created this program after my parents started taking Jiu Jitsu and found the more sensual side of the art. My dad is a big advocate for couples connecting and finding new ways to interact and encouraged us to create a curriculum and class people could take, especially those who have never taken Jiu Jitsu before. I was initially very nervous about how the Jiu Jitsu community might respond as we tend to be critical of new things that are not “competitive or self defense related”, but we decided to give it a try and have gotten amazing feedback from both Jiu Jitsu practitioners and hobbyist alike. The Sensual Grappling 101 curriculum takes some of the more intimate Jiu Jitsu techniques and transitions them in ways to promote an intimate connection and fun activity for couples to do together. Follow our page TheCouplesXperience on social media for upcoming events and weekly techniques.