Name, Do you have a nickname, name you prefer to be known by? Jodi Schwartz, nickname – The Joker
Affiliation, Gym / Organization you represent: Gracie Bradenton BJJ
Personal Story: I grew up a swimmer, making US Nationals and eventually swimming in college for the University of Massachusetts. After college, I struggled with losing my identity as a swimmer and found other activities to fill my time, adult soccer and softball, eventually becoming the best smoker and drinker I could be become. I gained 200lbs and was in and out of the hospital for the next 7 years, until I suffered a minor heart attack. While I sustained no lasting damage, it was a wake-up call, I was slowly killing myself. I turned back to the place that gave me so much joy growing up, swimming, and began an entirely new journey, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I started barely able to walk a lap around my gym, but stuck with it, and after a year and a half, I was awarded my blue belt. Now 4 years after starting my journey, I was just awarded my purple belt. As an almost 50 year old woman, I am proud of my accomplishments and look forward to continuing my journey.
For the past 2 years, I competed at the World Masters BJJ Competition, placing second in my age and weight and 2nd last year and 3rd this year in the open division. I compete locally many times against women or girls young enough to be my children or even my grandchildren. I hope to show these young women, and all girls that age is a number, and if you believe in yourself and work hard, you can accomplish most anything.
I wish I knew / hints and tips: I wish I found BJJ years ago, but I am working on being the best me I can be