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Anytime anyone in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community does something specifically for women we take notice. When it happens in our back yard we get super excited because it gives us an opportunity to not only contribute, but show up and mix and mingle with some of our closest friends. Tara Arrington is one of those friends.

When we heard that Tara was gearing up to start a women’s only class at her home academy, we reached out to her to learn about the program and decided to give her the mic. A virtual mic…

Hi Tara. Tell the world about yourself.

Hello, my name is Tara. I started training on June 29th 2006, the day after my 30th birthday. I train at Mohler BJJ and MMA in Coppell, TX. I was promoted to purple belt on November 10th 2010.

What do you do besides train BJJ?

I am a part-time graduate student at TWU beginning this fall; I received my B.S. degree in Chemistry in Spring 2011 from TWU. I have been a part-time college student, full-time employee of one job and at least a part-time employee of a second job during my time in jiu-jitsu. I am also currently training to be a yoga teacher.

Do you do any other sports?

I was never athletic growing up, I didn’t start that part of my life until around 2004. When I started jiu-jitsu, I was into body building and trying to train for an 8 mile run which by my standards is a long way; I moved toward power lifting but after I dislocated my elbow, I just couldn’t do the dead lift anymore, so I decided to commit myself to jiu-jitsu. Now, all the training I do, outside of jiu-jitsu, is just to make me a more efficient grappler, such as yoga, cycle and sports conditioning classes. I am really into yoga, but I don’t think we can call that a sport.

Why did you decide to start women’s only class at your school? What do you hope to achieve and what are the benefits of women only class?

I started the class for a couple of reasons; I wanted a place for all the women to be able to get together and train and also I just wanted to see if I could rise to the challenge of teaching my own class. I think being a good teacher is an important part of my journey as a jiu-jitsu practitioner; I learn so much from the questions and input I receive from the other ladies.

As far as what I hope to achieve, I want to foster the idea that we don’t have to be in competition with each other every time we get on the mat, we can have a place that is a serious training environment but is also fun to be a part of. I think that it is really important to show the women coming up in the sport that we can have a mutual respect for one another but still potentially compete in the local tournaments against one another. I don’t believe you will last in jiu-jitsu without a respect for yourself, your grappling partner and your opponent.

I hope through having a supportive environment that we can keep more women in the sport. I think that sometimes women are discouraged because they have very few training partners or they get man-handled quite a bit when they are rolling with some of the guys. Nothing against the guys here, it is just different when you aren’t as strong or you are smaller than everyone at your gym except for the 12 to 14 yr olds.

We also checked in with Tara’s coach and BJJ black-belt, Jon Bjorksten for his thoughts on Tara and the program.

I have the fortunate opportunity to have gotten to know Tara very well over the last 4 years. I know Tara to be a wonderful person. She is passionately dedicated to her self-improvement in every form evidenced by her very disciplined diet, training regiment and work ethic. She is extremely well organized, planning her time meticulously in order to dedicate time to all of her interests; which include: Graduate school as a Chemistry Major, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt, Full time assistant manager of a community college science learning center and now Chemistry lab assistant, Yoga teacher in training and the occasional weekend as a Respiratory Therapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a large hospital in Dallas.

Tara is a true student of the martial arts. She is constantly applying herself in and out of class attending many seminars and travels all over the state to regularly train with women outside her school including being an active member of the Girls-in-Gis. Tara has attended many referee courses and has refereed a few tournaments with aspirations to referee many more. Tara is an integral fixture in our Jiu-Jitsu school, always bringing her helpful and friendly demeanor to class. She helps teach the kid’s classes as well as regularly helping teach the beginner classes. Tara has demonstrated a great deal of personal toughness and resilience; as she has returned from injuries far worse than many; which have resulted in other students leaving the art forever. Tara has demonstrated her fighting character competing several times so far, including traveling all the way to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to fight in the Master Senior tournament in 2009.  It has been my honor to train with Tara. She is constantly improving her game and is surely a force to recon with on the mats.

You’re awesome Tara!

Women’s Class Information:

Where: Mohler BJJ in Coppell, Texas

When: Sunday mornings (times may vary)

For  more information, send us an email at info@fenomkimonos.com. We’ll make sure you’re hooked up!