Team Texas: Casidy Welch


Name: Casidy Welch

Rank: Blue Belt

Hometown:  Moved a lot as a child, currently live in League City, Tx  (Houston, Tx)

Where you train: Gracie Barra Texas in Webster, Tx under Professor Draculino

How long have you been training? 3 years

Favorite Gi?Adidas

What’s in your gym bag?
Gi, belt, rashguard, spats, sports bras, baby wipes, face wipes, deodorant, mouthwash,
Mouth guard, brush, ponytail holders, fingernail clippers and files, eye drops, breath mints, tape, chapstick and hand towel. I’m sure there’s more! Haha

Favorite submission? Triangles

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?
I love that our Texas competitors extremely supportive and competitive.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
I would encourage more females that train to actually compete.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I have two amazing kids (teenagers), who are really awesome humans. They are my greatest accomplishments.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
My hair!!! I can’t keep it up and out of the way….and healthy!

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?
Train in the Gi, I spent my entire white belt career training Nogi only and if I could go back I would have put the Gi on from the start. Also don’t take ANY breaks. Stay on the mats year round.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
I don’t rely on motivation. Motivation is fleeting. It will come and go. I just have Discipline. I have been a high level competitive and Pro athlete most of my life, so I just have discipline.  If it’s training day. It’s training day. It doesn’t matter how I feel, I’m training. I’ve never regretted training, and always feel better afterward. Always.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Why?
John Danaher. He has a beautiful mind and an amazing ability to break down and decipher Jiujitsu.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch?
So hard to pick only one since it takes two competitors to create a really exciting match. Then we get into Gi vs Nogi….styles….I’m a nerd, I sit at home on the weekends watching Jiujitsu and Judo and Wrestling and MMA  I’m going to go with Gilbert Durinho Burns. He’s exciting well rounded and He has been a mentor and one of my favorites since I started. My first seminar was with him in Dallas actually.

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)
So hard to pick just one as we have such amazing Jiujitsu here. I’m a big fan of the Tackett boys and Mona Bailey. They are young and it’s just amazing the skill they have at their age!

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?
I listen to pretty high energy heavy stuff, or violin orchestra instrumental stuff. Kinda two ends of the spectrum.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?
I honestly don’t really remember my first day.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
I had been training for about 3-4 weeks and went to a Dallas Naga Tournament, Double gold Gi & Nogi, I believe. I went back to bodybuilding shortly after that for several years.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant?
I don’t cut weight, so I don’t really crave crazy stuff post-competition. I like steak and potatoes.

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you?
Working, Relaxing, or lifting weights

2020 is quickly approaching, What changes did you make this year and what are your goals for the new year?
I really found my rhythm in training and a schedule that works great for me. I hope to travel a bit to compete this year but plan to return to Masters Worlds in Vegas as well.


Anything else exciting coming up?
Yes, I’m competing at Third Coast Grappling Championships December 7th, 2019 and then I’m headed to NoGi Worlds in California the following weekend!

Team Texas: Mona Bailey


Name: Mona Maree Bailey

Rank: Green Belt

Hometown: Houston,TX

Where you train: Carlson Gracie Houston, is my main Academy.

How long have you been training? 6 Years

Favorite Gi? Black Shoyoroll

What’s in your gym bag? 2 Gis, 2 Belts, 2 RashGuards, 2 spats/tudos, Hoodie, MonkeyTape, Water Bottles, Headphones, and Lots of Candy. My bag has been referred to as the "Vending machine" a time or two..

Favorite submission? Triangle

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas? First Class Bjj, So many great Athletes, and awesome Open mats.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
I would like just a little less politics.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Going undefeated in IBJJF, as a youth competitor.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
Finding more Teen Girls on the Competition scene.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?
Keep it Friendly 😊 Don't let the small things bother you.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
Honestly,  I love to train...so there are not many days I'm not motivated..

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Why?
Right now as of today...Nathiely De Jesus and Claudia Do Val. Why, because they are awesome and represent well for Female Grapplers... I have many more on my list, that I  have been fortunate to have had privates with.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch?
Ooh...so many..but if I had to pick one, Nathiely De Jesus


Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch?
Mariana Scott Azevedo (outside of your current affiliation)

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist? Country,  or 90's Rap.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu? Training with my brother.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
I tapped my opponent with Grapevines..that's all I really had.


What is your post-competition meal/restaurant? Steak, Fries, Macaroni and cheese

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you? In Bed.

2020 is quickly approaching,  What changes did you make this year and what are your goals for the new year? Training more top game this year.. new goals, I would like to take Gold at the 2020 IBJJF PanAms. Competing Overseas next Year.



Anything else exciting coming up? I'm excited to enter the Juvenile ranks and finally receive my Blue Belt.

Team Texas: Jordan Burton, III


Name:  Jordan Burton, III "JB3"

Rank:   Black Belt

Hometown: (North) Beaumont, Texas.

Association: Soul Fighters Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Where you train: www.highlandparkjiujitsu.com & @greaterthanperformancerehab (IG)

How long have you been training?  13 years

Favorite Gi?  Gameness Pearl Gi.

What’s in your gym bag?  Deodorant, Bottled Water & Propel Packs, Massage Ball, Big Towel, Gi and Belt or Nogi Gear, a Snack

Favorite submission?  Collar strangles from.the back/side and the Botinha.

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?  I like most our depth at Black across the entire state. We have some of the best professors in the world here.  For seminars and great training, you don't have to leave Texas!

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?  I love us. So instead of change, this is what I'd add - particularly for the DFW scene.  I would for 12-24 of like-minded, competitive, DFW Black Belts get together a competition training session every now and then at an agreed location.  We got to see it at "DFW versus The World!"

What is your greatest accomplishment?  The greatest thing that has happened to me is my maturation through BJJ.  I found BJJ when I was 21 years old and I have grown with and through this martial art.  My core principles remain the same, but I have become a better person because of consistent training and competing.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?  Struggle: it can be defined as a concerted effort under distress.  My greatest struggle is quieting my mind before competition. Each year, I get better with having the ideal mindset for having a self-satisfying or outstanding performance.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?  Hmmm ... I was a good white belt. I didn't have a problem tapping. I enjoyed the camaraderie, workout, and the 2 tournaments I did.  BJJ was new and exciting! I would give advice to my "blue belt self". That advice would be to remain humble and continue to strengthen my fundamentals.  This and learn how to use the gi.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?  When I do not feel it, the motivation is low generally due to the volume of training I do blended with normal stress of life and inadequate recovery.  This is where routine and my discipline takes charge. Also, my training partners need me. After completing a training session under these conditions, I feel satisfied.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Why?  It would be with my coach Bruno "Tanque" Mendes. Bruno is an exemplary teacher who can teach techniques and games outside of his own game.  Training in his classes daily he has helped me refine some of my best positions and techniques. For a private lesson though, the topic would be half and deep half guard.

Who are your favorite competitors to watch?  Tanquinho, Marcus Antelante, Nicholas Meregali, Alexander Ribeiro.  There are many more because I am a fan of Jiu-Jitsu - a real nerd.

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)  I really like to watch and study Lucas Valente (Gracie Barra). His guard is defensively responsible and submission-oriented.  At this year's Mundials we got to see some of his top game as well which showed he is complete on the ground. He's a good combination of traditional and modern Jiu-Jitsu with attitude.

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?  For training , I like most Alternative Rock/Metal from 1990s until present.  Music is energy. Before training I want a song that matches the vibe. I could be happy/playful, tranquil, melancholic, aggressive.  For competing, I like enough music to raise my vibrations then turn it off and be present.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?  I texted with a friend on Myspace who was already training.  She told me to have some fun. I drove to a school in Port Neches, Texas and remember my 1st technique was opening the closed guard, making half guard  and passing tightly.

What do you remember about your first tournament?  It was the 2008 Machado Winter Wars. Rafael Lovato, Jr. had a super fight that I did not see - sadly.  Justin Rader was a brown belt and killed it. Both of those guys had won The Mundials in 2007 (Black and Purple respectively).  I had five matches that day and went 3 wins & 2 losses resulting I'm a silver medal.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant?  After weeks of dieting well and making lightfeather, I like to go to In-N-Out.  I moved to Dallas on July 03, 2019; In-N-Out is growing on me. The Biscuit Bar in Plano is legit too!

When you’re not training, where can we most likely find you?  At home, especially on the weekend after the long week of teaching and training.  I try to take 1 day off (generally Sunday), but Jarrod Trotter teaches a wrestling class I like to attend.  Also, I like to relax at a movie theater, a night club, or a lounge with good company. 

2020 is quickly approaching, What changes did you make this year and what are your goals for the new year?  The biggest change for me was moving to Dallas, Texas and joining Soul Fighters BJJ Association. I have been friends with people on this team since 2013.  They welcomed me here and Bruno Mendes has positioned me to be successful with this team with a couple roles. Also, most importantly, there is room for growth as a teacher, athlete, and owner of a school in the future.

I am still an active in competition, so next year I want to win a major IBJJF tournament (4-star or 7-star), compete in F2W Pro outside of Texas.  I am 4-0 at F2W Pro, so after a couple or more Fights a shot at a Masters F2W Pro Title would be an awesome challenge. Next year I will put myself out their for workshops at schools.  I love sharing and learning Jiu-Jitsu.


Anything else exciting coming up?  I'll be competing November 16 at the 2019 Fulton Brew-Jitsu in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  My opponent is Kelly Johnson, a Minnesota native and accomplished Black belt in the Masters divisions.  Interestingly enough, he DM'd me the application and requested a super fight with me! That is old school respect.


Team Texas: Priscilla Eckhardt


Name: Pri Eckhardt

Rank: Purple Belt

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Where you train: Pablo Silva BJJ Team

How long have you been training? 
It’s been 5 years since I started, but I took off about 6-7 months this year when I found out I was pregnant with twins!

Favorite Gi?
My Albino & Preto is my favorite gi! It fits like a glove and the roughness of the weave makes it tough for others to grab.

What’s in your gym bag?
I love being prepared for anything so, I always have extra chongos and scrunchies, tampons, an extra pair of Nike Pro shorts, tape, socks, and deodorant!

Favorite submission?
My favorite submission since I started training has always been a triangle,I just see them everywhere!

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?
My favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community here in Texas is how fast our city’s athletes are catching up to athletes around the country and around the world. Every time someone from our team goes out of town to compete my teammates always say, “It’s not PSBJJ vs. The World, it’s TEXAS vs. The World”.🤠 I love the fact that I have friends from almost every single team in Houston.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
I wish the Texas Jiu Jitsu community was a little more tight-knit, I’m not one for cliques or drama, I could care less. I make friends with everyone and anyone!


You’ve recently had twins! Congratulations! How has life/training changed since then?
Thank you so much! So, Addison is currently still in the NICU, but since  Ayla got home not much has changed except for the amount of sleep I get!😂 Some days, if me and Ben are tired we take turns training and taking care of her to get some naps in but, for most classes she comes with us and chills mat-side! I am blessed though, because of what we do it makes it really easy for both of us to be able to stay home with the girls and fit in training/gym time wherever we can!

Did you train throughout your pregnancy?  If so, what was the hardest part of training?
I did at first until I was 20 weeks because that’s when I found out I was having twins. I was automatically labeled a high-risk pregnancy and was told I couldn’t necessarily train much or work out as much anymore. up until that point though the toughest thing was dealing with how bad my cardio had gotten from not rolling as much or as hard as I was used to and not working out as much either.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Honestly, my daughters. I recently had twin daughters prematurely at 28 weeks pregnant. They were tiny at 2lbs 6 ounces and 2lbs 12 ounces. I can’t even begin to explain how it’s changed me. Having kids was always something I wanted but, did I ever expect it to happen so soon? No. And did I ever expect it to happen like it did? Definitely not. I always imagined it up in my head to be picture-perfect, unfortunately for me, things never happen that way. I am so proud of myself physically for what my body has gone through and endured. However, most of all I’m super proud of myself for what I’ve toughed out mentally. After I had my girls and found out they both had a set of complications different from each other, I was broken. When I found out they’d have to both be in the NICU for months, it tore me apart. These little creatures, that I created and that resided in my belly for 6 months, were hurting. They were in pain. And they wouldn’t be able to come home with me just yet. Fast forward to almost two months later, and they’re now 6 pounds each and getting healthier and better by the day.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
My biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu has been my anxiety. I don’t talk about it often because I don’t want to give it that power or let it control me. I don’t want it to become this bigger issue when I’ve found my own ways to manage it.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?
If I could give my white belt self advice it would be to find a gym that more suited my needs in Jiu Jitsu faster. I would’ve like to be told that there are more gyms out there than just the one I came from. I wish I would’ve known faster that there were gyms specializing in all kinds of different things. I’m so happy I ended up where I’m at now but I wish it would have happened faster. My goals in Jiu Jitsu are very competition-oriented, and that’s not every coach, gym, or teammates goal so I’m glad I’m at a competition based gym!

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
I always have a tournament coming up so that definitely helps me get off the couch when I don’t feel like it. I simply think of all the things my opponent must be doing right now to beat me. It doesn’t take a lot to get me motivated, I naturally strive for more all the time and know that to make it happen it takes hard work.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Why?
If I could take a private from anyone it would either be Nathi de Jesus or Rafa Mendes! They are both amazing competitors and I love watching them.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch?
I’ve always loved watching the Miyao brothers, and I always wanted to have a guard like theirs since I’m more of a top player.

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)
Currently, I really enjoy watching Patricia Machado, she has a very explosive passing game and a very technical guard.

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?
Mine changes all the time but my current top favorites that I HAVE to listen to before Jiu Jitsu are:
1. Eazy Duz It - Eazy E
2. Quicksand - SZA
3. Ocean Drive - Duke Dumont
4. Isis - Joyner Lucas
5. Ambitionz Az A Ridah - Tupac
It’s definitely all over the place but these are my current favorites.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?
I remember wearing a gi that was a little too awkward on me, a belt that was too long, and rolling with Lucy Martinez! I remember recognizing a few things from when I had done Judo when I was 8 or 9 years old.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
I competed just 3 weeks after I started Jiu Jitsu and my very first white belt tournament I fought a girl and was stuck in her closed guard the WHOLE match. Then, I had to fight a boy in no gi and I, surprisingly, won the match.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant?
Saltgrass simply because of my favorite dessert! Brownie skillet with extra caramel 🤠 OR, Thai Gourmet which is one of my top favorite restaurants of all time. My family has been taking me there since I was 3 or 4 years old.

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you?
Currently, either at the hospital visiting the NICU, at home taking care of one of our twins, at clinicals, or at the gym! Busy schedule!

Anything exciting coming up?
I’m competing at the San Antonio Open on December 8th. I also just started my nursing classes this month. I’m so excited about this because I’ve always wanted to go into the medical field! Most importantly, however, my second twin should be coming home soon. Things keep popping up but she’ll be strong enough to come home in November for sure.❤️


2020 is quickly approaching, What changes did you make this year and what are your goals for the new year? A major change I’ve made recently is the way I eat. I loooove my snacks and tasty foods but am definitely trying to be more disciplined! Also my goals for the new year include becoming a World Champion and a Pan Am Champion, being the best mommy I can be, and get accepted into the RN program!

Team Texas: Luzimery Garcia


Name: Luzimery Garcia 

Rank: Purple Belt- Ranked #3 at Flograppling and #7 IBJJF

Hometown: Luanda, Angola 

Where you train:  Paradigm Training Center, GF Team- Houston 

How long have you been training? 6 years so far 

Favorite Gi? Soltinho Kimonos Angola black and purple 

What’s in your gym bag?  
In my gym bag, I carry my Gi, sneakers, and Airpods.

Favorite submission?
Americana and arm-bars 

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?
I am not too knowledgeable about the Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas, but I have great teammates here.   

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
From the mild experience I have of the Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas, I would say that supporting and giving advice to each other more in seminars would be helpful and appreciated.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
One of my biggest achievements was being a Purple Belt World Champion this year.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?  
So far, I have not had any struggles in Jiu-Jitsu, therefore I am grateful and trust God's timing.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?
Practice more drills, don’t give up and learn from yourself!

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
I remind myself that giving at least 1 % is better than giving nothing at all.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be?
Mahamed Aly. I consider him to be the best of all time, I really admire his technique and he has been someone who I’ve looked up too since the early stages of my career and life. 

Who is your favorite competitor to watch?
 My coaches Marcus Bello and Wancler Oliveira, and of course, Mahamed Aly. 

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch?
Nathiely de Jesus, Joao Gabriel, and Rafael Formiga 

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?
I like to shuffle my songs, but I don’t have a specific one per se. 

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?
Around 6 years ago a friend gave me a pink Gi and the feeling was amazing.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
I remember how hard I had trained for it and defeating my opponent made me so excited
and proud of myself, I couldn’t wait for my next match.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant?
Mod pizza- I learned about it from my coach Marcus Bello. 

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you?
At the gym doing hit with Brelion and Cameron or home. 

Anything exciting coming up?
The challenges I’ll have in Houston and everything I am anxiously waiting to learn and grow as a fighter and personally.








The BJJ Struggle is Real: Pregnancy Edition


When someone tells me "you shouldn't be training at all if you're pregnant"

Trying to do the warm-ups like............... 

White belts when you tell them to flow roll with you.....

When I convince a male training partner to roll with me......

When I pass an upper belts guard because they're being super nice to me.....

When someone asks why I'm doing another round after I said I was done....

When I'm tired, but someone asks why I'm not rolling.....

When I'm hormonal and Mike is carefully trying to explain why he can't roll every round with me....

When someone tells me horror stories about not being able to train after the baby....

When a mac and cheese craving hits during a round.......

When I mention competing at Master Worlds next year and someone says I can't.....



Ask Maggie Moo: "What if the Black Belt Doesn't Like Me?"

It's been a while since I've responded to one of these, but this week's question comes from J.C about dealing with a difficult situation in the gym.

Question: I train at a gym with about 5 black belts. The main black belt is wonderful and treats us all well. One of the black belts really doesn’t like me and it bothers me. I feel like I am really well-liked at my gym and I am so kind to everyone. I know it’s stupid because we've never had a falling out, or exchanged mean words and I’ve always attended his classes and thought they were great. He isn’t flat out rude or unkind but he just sort of treats me like I don’t exist. If I ask a question during class he laughs it off, rolls his eyes and moves on to the next person. I haven’t done anything to him, so I’m confused and obviously a little sensitive. It makes me not want to attend his classes and it’s very uncomfortable in social situations. He is cold, short and distant with me but warm and friendly to other students. To the point of literally being the only one who doesn’t clap or say congratulations when my main black belt mentions my tournament successes. Yet, he will be the first to congratulate every other student. I  go out of my way to say hello and to make sure I’m always very respectful. What should I do? Sometimes it’s so uncomfortable I want to quit just to avoid the drama. Do I leave it alone and just deal with the awkwardness? Do I bring it up to the main black belt? - J.C.


First of all, if you have done nothing to harm him you are not responsible for the way he feels about you. Have you ever heard the saying “what people think about me is none of my business?” I get it; it is definitely uncomfortable, especially when one of the best parts of Jiu Jitsu is the team bond and family atmosphere. I’m certain there are people I train with/have trained with who don’t like me probably through no fault of my own, but as long as I treat them with respect and kindness- I'm staying true to my nature. And if they don’t like me? That is on them. Seriously. Their loss. People go through all sorts of things in their outside life- death, job loss, break ups, depression, etc. that can affect the way they feel about themselves and others. Maybe he is envious of your easy nature. If you are well liked there, focus on the people who like you. Support the people who support you. Black belts, of course, are looked to as leaders and mentors but in the end, they are people too, flawed, imperfect and also guilty of allowing emotion/pettiness, etc. to get the best of them. No one is obligated to like you, but they must respect you. For a black belt who literally deals with “customers” or practitioners all day long, he should be much better at his poker face and at the very least able to treat you with decency. His flaw is just that- his!

If you have gotten to a point where you are so uncomfortable you do not want to train, perhaps pull him aside and ask him “have I done something to offend you?” I am a big believer in the direct approach. If you are not comfortable with that, bring it up to your black belt. Maybe he has some perspective you are not considering or would be comfortable mediating the situation. Most people just want to train in a drama-free environment and the sooner you have that, the better you will feel. Most importantly, do not obsess over it. His damage is not your job to fix. You have stated that you love your gym, your main black belt and all of your training partners. Put your energy into those people. And whatever you do, do not quit. You are going to be a black belt someday and you will know how to treat your students- with kindness and respect.