Here at Mala Mujer Fightwear, we have a thing for strong BJJ women, and when we came across Alchemy BJJ we knew we had to learn about their story. Alchemy BJJ is a women owned Jiu Jitsu gym in Tehachapi, CA. We had the opportunity to pick the brains of Rachel and Yin Chi, the owners of the gym. Here’s the inside scoop.
Q: What is the story behind Alchemy Jiu Jitsu? What got you interested in opening a gym?
A: (Rachel) For me, I never planned on owning a gym, especially being so new to Jiu Jitsu! But, when our old gym closed down there was a massive collective sadness for the children and adults. We were all crying (kids and adults). Felt like our community was being stripped away from us. I knew I had to do something and this couldn’t be the end. I started looking at mat space at karate gyms, but Yin Chi dreamt bigger (and I’m so glad she did)! Professor Daniel Camarillo, Lovey Camarillo, and our Coach Elisabeth Bravo encouraged us and supported us throughout the process.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling part about owning a Jiu Jitsu Gym?
A: (Yin Chi) The most fulfilling part is to be able to provide a place for people to keep training. Also to show some people (who have doubts) that as two women, we can make it a reality in this male dominant industry to own a Jiu Jitsu gym.
Q: What first got you into Jiu Jitsu?
A: (Rachel) Elisabeth Bravo‘s women’s class at warrior Jiu jitsu. There I met Yin Chi and she was so welcoming and kind, I built up the courage to do co-Ed classes.
Q: Beside being the gym owner, what keeps you coming back?
A: (Yin Chi) How Jiu Jitsu relieves stress and how physical it is to keep me in good shape.
Q: What benefits have you gained from Jiu Jitsu in other aspects of your life?
A: (Rachel) I have severe anxiety and being able to be immersed in the present, in a way only Jiu jitsu can do!, is an amazing retreat from worry and stress. It has definitely helped my anxiety.
Q: How do you balance work/training/motherhood/etc?
A: (Yin Chi) Schedule. Also, I see training as my hobby and not a stress and it makes it easier to do it after work. My kids are teens now so it's definitely easier. But if they have events that need my attention, my family is priority.
Q: Who is your own BJJ role model?
A: (Rachel) Elisabeth Bravo, Ffion Davies, AJ Clingerman, and my boyfriend Daniel Neis.
(Yin Chi) Elisabeth Bravo. She is our women's class coach and also under Dan Camarillo. She explains techniques extremely clearly.
Q: Do you have a role model off the mats? What about this person empowers you?
A: (Rachel) Kathy Hughes, call sign FOG, a now retired female fighter pilot AND doctor. She showed me anything is possible and that you don’t have to shrink/ dim your light for others.
(Yin Chi) My father. He has always been so proud of me and he believes in me. He is why I have great confidence in myself.
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for beginners in Jiu Jitsu?
A: (Yin Chi) Be humble and learn with an open heart and attitude.
Q: Where can people find you on the gram?
(Yin Chi) @a_gi_in_space
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