Interview with Shama Ko, BJJ purple belt, champion competitor, blogger, photographer and all around really cool gal - second part

There are lots of BJJ blogs around and I must admit I'm very picky with which one I read. What I look for is honesty and an interesting story. Shama's blog has these qualities aplenty.

The adventure I've been following (Shama's recently been changing academy and has therefore been around to many Austin academies) has been very intriguing to say the least and it got me interested in interviewing the girl behind the words and I was NOT disappointed. Shama was honest and very generous in her replies and I thank her for that. I give you here part two of two:

The Part Time Grappler Interviews Shama Ko:

Do you compete in your sport(s)? Have you won any competitions?

I've been competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2004. I've placed in twenty-seven competitions. The most rewarding accomplishments were winning the 2009 Pan Ams and placing 2nd at the 2009 World championships. I've been out of and on for over six months with a reoccurring injury that has put competing on hold, but I'm looking forward to making a comeback at the 2012 World Championships.

What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?

Overall it has been the discovery of realizing what I am capable of by pushing my limits. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has provided me with the tools and opportunity to explore who I am, gain a deeper appreciation for myself and helped shape me into the strong and confident woman I consider myself to be now. I am a huge believer in positive visualization and affirmations. We don't have control of a lot of things in life, but we can achieve anything with the right attitude, believing in ourselves, hard work and a willingness to never give up or settle.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)

Time management is a constant battle for me with all I have going on. I tend to prioritize what's most important or time sensitive and find a balance with everything else. I live by my organizer. It's my daily bible. Being organized is crucial when managing a juggling act.

Although I am more of a creative type, I need to have a structured routine and with that comes the prioritizing of my life. It is good to have a plan of execution. Lastly, although I am a self-starter and tend to work better alone, I am learning to never be afraid to ask for help when I need it.

Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.

My day-to-day life isn't structured or dictated by having a "job" and a boss telling me what to do. I am my own boss and having discipline and structure is a must. The five worst thieves for me are: Procrastination, taking on too much, not checking my schedule daily, being too rigid with my planning and "farting around" as my mother would say.

There is a delicate balance between being flexible and having a structured game plan. I’ve learned with time and experience, that life is always throwing us curve balls. The inability to go with the flow is perhaps most damaging to time management. But I know I need to stay focused and remember to check my organizer on a daily basis. Procrastination or finding excuses to put things off can throw my whole week off if I'm not careful. I also sometimes tend to take on more than I'm capable of realistically accomplishing. Learning to say no and being honest with myself has helped me be more productive. “Farting around” on social media sites like Facebook and surfing the web is another time stealer.

Do you have any regrets?

We all have some regrets in life. I think that is a common human quality. Of course, I sometimes find myself thinking about what I could of, should of or would have done differently, especially after a competition. However, my philosophy is to keep moving forward and learn from my past. After all, it is our experiences, good and bad that make us who we are. Living in the moment and learning from our mistakes instead of harping on them is what brings growth and helps us in finding our weaknesses which in turn builds on our strengths. Having faith in yourself whatever your beliefs may be and always being grateful for the blessings you have, is a much healthier and happier way to go about life than worrying about things we can't control or things that have already happened.

Finally, why do you train? What drives you?

Having goals are great and they kept moving forward, but primarily I truly love what I do. I am genuinely passionate about everything I do whether it is photography, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, building the community, empowering women, or competing. Everyone loves something and whatever that love is, a person, a place or an activity, it is being honest with yourself and letting it develop organically that will fulfill your life most. Having that genuine fulfillment and never giving up no matter what life throws at you, leads to opportunities that can make your wildest dreams come to life.

I really thank Shama for taking the time to write this interview and wish her all the best in her adventures. Make sure you read her blog regularly.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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