In our first Gal Behind the GI post, 10-year old and 5 year Bay Jiu-Jitsu member, Treya Desai, explains the motivation behind her jiu-jitsu career, her interest in Ninjitsu (the study of how to be a ninja), and how Yoda is involved in her training.

How long have you been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
I have been doing BJJ since the end of kindergarten. I was 5 years old. I have been doing it for almost exactly half my life.

What got you started in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
I was told that when I was still a baby, my mom did this thing were she rolled me around the room with her head (like a ram would) and I would laugh and laugh and laugh. Then, shortly after, my mom and I began to wrestle all the time. Then, when she got pregnant with Tyagin, my baby brother, she couldn’t wrestle anymore but I kept jumping on her anyway. She would get so annoyed! Even after Tyagin was born, she was never in the mood to wrestle anymore. That was right around the time where we found out that my friend Gabby took jiu-jitsu with Coach Stephan. My dad got super excited because he loved the idea of me taking jiu-jitsu and my parents signed me up. That was the beginning of my jiu-jitsu career.

Do you participate in other sports/ athletic activities? If so, how do they relate to your training/ mentality with Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
I do dance, soccer, and some gymnastics. At school, I am really good at the bars and I guess that counts, too. I also love PE. Dance, gymnastics, and the bars all relate to BJJ because those are the ones where you really get in the most craziest positions.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
My biggest accomplishment was my first real tournament (not in-house) and I still remember how I felt. It was my biggest accomplishment because my feelings were very confusing to me and I ended up loving it. My feelings were anxiety, nervousness, and excitement. And afterwards, it was still excitement but also successfulness and happiness. And I didn’t even win. I felt great that I got through it. And then I looked forward to all the next tournaments.

How do you set your Brazilian jiu-jitsu goals?
I set my short-term BJJ goals by looking at the purple list (because I am a kid’s purple belt) of moves that Coach Stephan gave me and thinking of what I still need to get in my head. My ultimate goal in jiu-jitsu is to keep on training until I am a grown up black belt. After I achieve that, I want to start Ninjitsu.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Everything. Basically, everything I do in BJJ are keys to my success. An example is learning new moves. I love to learn stuff and learning new moves is one of my favorite things. Another thing is sparring, for instance. Everytime I spar, I get better and getting better is always another key- no matter what- to success.

What is your biggest challenge with bjj, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge is also sparring. It’s a challenge because I am not as good as Lucas and the other higher belt kids. I manage it by just going along with the situation and if I lose, a lesson is learned. And if I win, a lesson is still learned.

Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
No, but I have read a fictional book series about martial arts that is called Sisters of the Sword that I loved so much that my parents bought it for me. Also, a book series called The Five Ancestors is highly recommended by me.

What was the best advice you were ever given regarding sports?
I don’t know. There is a lot of really good advice that I have been given. One example was when I was given tips on how to drop-kick the ball in soccer. My coach told me to kick it like I am juggling but way more fiercely and stronger so it goes longer. Another example was that in MMA class, Coach Pablo told me that when you punch, you want to give it the power from your legs. You get all your power from the Earth. Coach Stephan has given me great advice about the front head-lock position. He said to put all your weight into it when you are pushing the other person down.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Do… Or do not…. There is no try. –Yoda (Star Wars)

Anything else you’d like to share?
BTW, I am not a big fan of seminars in general because there are a lot of people I do not know there and I am really shy in that environment but the last (and only) one I have been to was pretty good because I learned new moves. I forgot the last name but it was taught by Coach Rico.

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