Joanne Gansert

How long have you been training?

4 years

Why did you begin training?

I have been involved in the martial arts for many years with a focus on stand-up and Krav Maga (self-defense). I was participating at a Krav Maga camp with an instructor from Germany and I recognized very quickly that I was having difficulty performing on the ground. Every time my back hit the floor, I found myself struggling. I was encouraged by my peers to try jiu jitsu. I started by taking private lessons before making the switch to group classes.

What encourages you the most about your practice?

I am excited to find a sport that I can continue to participate in as an adult. Being in my mid-forties it’s difficult to find an activity that can allow someone the opportunity to train in the martial arts and maintain a competitive career. jiu jitsu is a rare sport offering a Masters division for people like me who still desire to test themselves athletically over the age of 30 … well in this case over the age of 40.

What challenges you the most?

BJJ provides a complexity that I find intriguing. Numerous positions, outcomes and possibilities. It’s almost impossible to be bored. There is always something to learn and expand upon. It’s challenging yet rewarding.

How have you evolved as a result of it?

I have faced fears, doubts, and insecurities in a positive manner through my jiu jitsu experiences. I find the mental benefits of training to be incredibly beneficial. I feel physically and mentally sharper on and off the mats as a direct result of my jiu jitsu participation. I have met some amazing and inspiring people in the process.

What is something that you learned about BJJ that was unexpected?

BJJ is art. I believe all jiu jitsu practitioners are artists expressing themselves through the movement of their body. It takes years to master. The goal is to find your passion within this sport and hone your craft.

Any notable accomplishments, interests or facts you’d like to share?

Fun Fact: I travel over an hour back and forth to train at Princeton Brazilian jiu jitsu. People ask me all the time ‘why’? The answer is simple. I believe in the culture and leadership of this school. I have trained in the martial arts since I was 10 years old. I am a sixth-degree black belt in karate and had a successful competitive career. I operated my own martial arts studio and worked in the martial arts industry for over 20 years. I can say with confidence that the culture found at this academy special. I am grateful to be a part of this amazing team.