Last year when we brought women’s black-belt world champion Leticia Ribeiro to Dallas, she had 5 gold medals to her name. So coming into Austin on June 11th fresh off her 6th world championship win had us all excited and anxious to get the weekend’s festivities started. As soon as Leticia Bia, Margaret and Maxine landed on Saturday, June 11th, we were at a break-neck speed going from one private lesson to the next. First stop – South Austin Gym.


Tessa Simpson of South Austin Gym and two of her blue-belt students after a semi-private lesson with Leticia and Bia.

Next stop -we headed to Trainer’s Elite MMA  where the next batch of students were patiently waiting. One being a dedicated mother from Brownsville, TX who made the 6 hour drive with her family to get a private and semi-private as her birthday gift. A huge thank you to Mr. Sean Cooper (owner of Trainer’s Elite MMA and 2nd degree black-belt under Cleber Luciano) for keeping the gym open late. The private lessons were wrapping up at around 9 PM! By the time we got back to the hotel it was 9:30 and it was time to get a dinner at Texas Land and Cattle.


Leticia at Trainer’s Elite MMA.

We should be equally happy when submitting or being submitted! Smile Leticia at Trainer’s Elite MMA in Austin.

Sunday morning we arrived at Relson Gracie Austin early so that Leticia and Bia could squeeze in a few more private lessons before the seminar. The seminar started at noon, with girls from as far as Oklahoma, Laredo, Houston and Brownsville in attendance. Leticia started out by sharing her thoughts on training, life and what keeps her going. She stressed the importance of training with other women as much as possible to help encourage new women to stick with it and to prepare for competition.

Words of wisdom from the champion.

For starters, Leticia and Bia showed grip fighting technique and take downs. Followed by reversals from de la Riva guard, spider guard and X-guard (now available on Leticia’s new X-Guard iPhone App!) After about 4 hours of drilling (that’s right. 4 hours!) it was time for some live rolling. The energy level was amazing – even after 4 hours of drills, the women were able to muster up enough strength to roll for another hour.

Leticia and Bia teaching spider guard nuances.

Transition from the X-guard.

Texas girls also had a chance to roll with the best light-weight blue-belt in the world, Margaret Aase and a light-weight purple-belt Pan Champion Maxine Thylin who joined Leticia and Bia on the trip to Austin.

2011 light-weight blue-belt champion Margaret Aase (bottom) drilling with Tara Talanco (top)

Light-weight purple-belt Pan Champion Maxine Thylin (bottom) drilling with Ari Burkhart (top)

Over 30 women and girls made the seminar a success. Thank you everyone!

Before leaving the seminar, everyone received a complimentary bar of soap from Fight-Soap!


After a long and training intensive two-days, we ended the weekend with a group dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse and the first annual Fenom Project musical chairs championship. Yes, you read right… musical chairs! This year’s prize was a copy of Leticia’s X-Guard iPhone App. Congratulations to Shamo Ko and Maxine Thylin!

Dinner time!

Grueling match of musical chairs.

And there you have it. An account of a great weekend of friends and Jiu-Jitsu. A special thanks to Christy Thomas of Relson Gracie Austin for hosting the seminar at her school.

See you all soon!

Photo credits: Shama Ko and Mitch Sengson