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We bring you a story about two best friends, Joy and Lyzz, who go by the name of HoesNKimonos on Instagram. Lyzz is a brown belt* and Joy is a purple belt and they have a pretty unique relationship. These two ladies are a ton of fun, so we decided to do a joint interview and also individual stories on both of them. Here we go with Part 1.

Tell us a bit about HoesNKimonos. Where did the name come from?

We were driving to the Worlds in 2015 and discussing Ralek Gracie’s comments about women in jiu-jitsu and his music video “G in a Gi”. It is a very long car ride from Sacramento to Long Beach and somewhere along the road we decided we should make a rebuttal song “Hoes N Kimonos”. We had a lot of fun coming up with our own rap lyrics (neither of us rap, just to be clear) and even though the song remains unfinished, the spirit of the idea remains and we have been the HoesNKimonos ever since.

Do you train together?

Joy: Yes, as much as possible. We met each other on my first day of BJJ class. Lyzz was super friendly and asked if I would be back to train. Lyzz was elated to have another female in class (especially one the same weight class) and always made a point to partner up with me, make me feel welcome, and help me along with the techniques. Lyzz had been training for about 6 months before I started and had a lot of other previous martial arts experience so she was always a step ahead and able to help me along, and make me feel less dumb when I didn’t understand something. Today we continue to partner up in class, drill outside of class, help each other prepare for tournaments, travel, and compete together. Lyzz has always been my main Hoe!

Lyzz: Oh Joy! You’re MY main Hoe! Hoes that train together, stick together! Through thick and thin, sweat and chokes, giggles and guillotines.

How would you describe your personal relationship? Tell us something great about each other.

Joy: Lyzz and I are pretty much doppelgänger, grapple twins, etc. We are so much alike in so many ways it’s very surprising. Lots of people assume we are sisters and even people we know will still call us by the wrong name sometimes or get us mixed up. One of my favorite things about Lyzz is that she is a really bad texter like me so I never have to feel bad if I forget to text her back. We are both pretty scatter-brained and cut each other a lot of slack in that area. It is great to have someone who understands. She is also a really reliable secret-keeper and I can tell her all my dirt. Lyzz, your turn!

Lyzz: Thanks Girl! To echo Joy, we both love grappling and we are both trained in working with insects. Sisters from another mister. One of Joy’s greatest attributes is how friendly she is to everyone at the gym. She believes in the best of people and is the gym’s supplier of honey. Sweet both inside and out!

Who is a better cook of the two of you?

That is really tough because we are both pretty good cooks. We have our own specialty dishes. Lyzz makes amazing sushi and Joy makes some bomb carrot cake. Since Lyzz has a rad husband from Croatia who makes really cool Croatian food, we think Lyzz takes this one.

Would you participate in a beauty pageant if someone asked you to?

Of course! We both love to dress up and show it off. Participating in a beauty pageant would be super fun and now we really hope we get asked (hint hint)!

You both have great hair. Jiu-jitsu women complain about hair loss and breakage during training. How do you keep your hair so fabulous?

Thank you! We both keep it pretty simple for training hair-styles. We do ponytails, simple braids, buns, etc. I think lots of conditioner is key along with a healthy diet that includes lots of collagen. We both rarely use a hairdryer because we think letting it air dry after class is a bit gentler.

Who would make a great President? Lyzz or Joy? Vice President?

Joy may be the slightly more organizer/decision-maker type so Joy will take the President role and Lyzz will be there to back her up when people get sick of her bossiness and impeach her.

If you could choose two black belts to be your parents temporarily, who would you choose?

We think King Gordon Ryan would be the world’s most fun dad so we will go with him as our pops. Hopefully he would dress us up as his royal princesses and we would follow him all over NY trolling other black belts and eating tons of pizza.

To balance it out, we would need a really solid, responsible mom like Bia Mesquita to keep us grounded and make sure we are not missing too much training. She would make sure we get signed up for all the big tournaments plus Leticia Ribeiro would now be our BJJ grandma!

Being tall ladies, you are perfect A2Tall models for Fenom sizing. What do you want gi companies to improve in tall sizes? What is the most important thing in a gi?

Fenom has always been one of our favorite gi brands. In fact, almost every gi we have ever bought has been Fenom gi. Other companies could take a page from your book and realize that not all tall ladies are thick ladies. The A2Tall Fenom makes is suited for the tall and slender type but is cut roomy enough for some hips and butt. It is important that the gi keeps its shape and doesn’t shrink too much over time especially when we are crunched for time and throw it in the dryer. We think the most important thing in a gi overall is the fit. If it is not comfortable, you will avoid wearing it. We want a gi we can look forward to throwing on.

Do you think people who quit BJJ are losers?

Joy: No, not at all. BJJ is a special hobby and it is not meant for everyone. If jiu-jitsu does not fit with your lifestyle and you do not enjoy it, there is no point in continuing other than to know some basic self-defense. There are many other martial arts to try or other active hobbies in general that are good for your health and well-being.

Lyzz: Hardly! Don’t call it quitting; call it taking a break. I have heard great success stories of those who have taken breaks for 8-25 years and eventually made it back to the mats! I believe there is hope in everyone to start or come back to BJJ. They just need the right people and the will to learn #OneOfUs, #WeArentACultYouAre.

What is something you are really bad at?

Joy: I am really bad at the jump rope. We jump rope to warm up for boxing class and no matter how much I practice, I trip and fall like I have never done it before.

Lyzz: Despite being one with water on the mats, I do not know how to survive with water surrounding me. I am like a sad wet cat trying to paw paddle my way back to safety.

In a tandem bike, who would be in the front and why?

Joy: Lyzz would be in the front because I am afraid of cars and would be terrified to bike through Sacramento. My eyes would be firmly shut in the back the whole time and I would be only good for peddling. Lyzz knows all the good spots around Sacramento so she would navigate us to a nice place to eat or a quiet park, so I could open my eyes.

Lyzz: Most days I think I would be in front so Joy can navigate without having to look at the road. Joy has difficulties multitasking with electronics and I fear we may crash at the helm of Joy.

Cats, dogs or babies? Who would you watch if asked?

Cats, especially really fluffy cats who purr a lot. Babies are too loud and dogs need too much attention. Cats are nice and chill and would not mind when we are gone training for a while.

What makes you really happy?

Jiu-jitsu of course! We both do this sport for the love of it and the friends we make. There is no better way to decompress at the end of a long day and reconnect with people. Other than that, we like to be fed, dress up, go dancing, or just laze around and talk. Sometimes the simple things are the best things!

*15 days after the interview was published, Lyzz was awarded her black belt in BJJ. Congratulations!!