Five365 had a chance to catch up with Paragon Jiu Jitsu Crystal Cooper.
I’m 30 years old living in beautiful Santa Barbara with my boyfriend, Gilbert of 7 years and our blended family of five.
I had my son, Joseph when I was 15 years old. I train Jiu Jitsu every chance I get, I’m an entrepreneur, own a salon called CHARM, I’m a dog mom and a crazy cat lady. I like long walks on the beach and taking pictures of my animals doing dumb XXXX!
How long have you been training and where do you currently train?
Been training 10 years since September of 2008. I train out of Paragon BJJ in Santa Barbara under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller.
What led you to start training Jiu Jitsu?
Long story short, I was in abusive relationship and Ive had enough. My brother, Bill and Jeff were training and so I knew what Jiu jitsu was. Franjinha one day told me to step on the mat, I hesitated but once I did, I haven’t stopped since.
Tell us about your women’s only Jiu Jitsu boot camp?
I decided on a women only class because I stand behind a chair as a hairstylist and listen to my clients stories. They tell me the fear that they have just walking to their car. I also listen to the stories that some of my clients have gone thru. Its mind-blowing how often attacks occur!! One of my clients in particular stood out to me the most. She’s only 16, and it was against her own uncle in her own home. This member is in jail now but it pissed me off. I knew I can teach her a set of skills that would allow her to not be afraid in her own home ever again!
Its a 6-week introduction to Jiu Jitsu. I will be throwing in some self defense with my teaching. Class will meet 3 times a week starting February 18th. Looking forward to growing our women Jiu Jitsu community!
What did it mean to you to receive your black belt from your brother Bill Cooper?
I actually received my Black Belt from Ricardo Franjinha Miller. I feel honored to receive it from this legend and from the same professor that my brother received his!
What do you think of the progression of Womens Jiu Jitsu?
I love the progress! I think the feeling of comradery between us women is like no other.
I love it!
How do you balance your time being a mother a business owner and a Jiu Jitsu Black Belt?
How do I balance? I do just that…balance. I know what keeps my cup full. I keep a schedule. Every single day I follow a schedule. I like that structure, it works for me. Setting aside time for my family is a MUST.
What are your thoughts about women training with only women?
I’m all for it. Everyone is quick to judge, but no one knows what these women have to go through.
The anxiety is real. Whatever makes a person feel comfortable, great! Once they know what Jiu Jitsu is about I’m sure they’ll join a co-ed class. If they don’t, that’s cool too!
What advice do you give to someone who is thinking about doing Jiu Jitsu for the first time?
DO IT! Try it. You deserve to at least give it a try. Who knows, you might be the next poster child for “Jiu Jitsu changed my life!”
Who are some of your favorite competitive BJJ girls and guys you like to watch compete and why?
I have so many! MY favorite are some OG’s in the game. Bill and Jeff always put on a show. Made jiu jitsu entertaining.
Leticia Ribiero always looks so confident out there! Her technique is smooth! Nicole Nicolini was super entertaining as well. She does some quick sweeps and attacks. Even ’til this day when I watch her videos.
I always had to rewind to watch again. and PennyThomas. I remember Penny was the first that I saw Live at Grapplers Quest and was blown away. She was so smooth and really made it looks easy.
Today. Bia..shes a beast. I love watching her! Craig Jones super entertaining as well. He makes these movements look easy!! And King Ryan. This dude is my entertainment! He has the ability to get into these fighters heads. I love it!
Tell us about your Solid Foundation Program podcast?
Well my boyfriend, Gilbert, is starting a program that instills confidence in teens thru work ethic, martial arts and fitness. They wanted to interview me to have teens, particularly female teens that can relate to my experiences and help prevent the same occurring with them or at least not be engaged in that behavior. I got to share how Jiu Jitsu helped me love and physically protect myself! I feel like letting people hear my story allows others that have gone thru similar relationships start or help the healing process.
Do you have any family or friends you would like to thank?
I would like to thank ALL of my family and friends, clients and training partners. Especially thanks to my son, Joseph! My ride or dies, my rocks, my man Gilbert and my sister Viviana!