It goes without saying that behind the Mala Mujer Fightwear brand is one mala mujer. And she is finally sharing her story.
By the way, did y'all know she is a rocket engineer? This jefa not only managed to kick start her fightwear brand, but she did so while building rockets!
Meet the Mala Mujer behind Mala Mujer Fightwear
Question: Share your background. What were you doing before creating Mala Mujer Fightwear?
Answer: Before launching Mala Mujer FIghtwear, I was a rocket engineer. I was working on reusable sub-orbital launch vehicles.
Question: Why did you create Mala Mujer Fightwear?
Answer: I created Mala Mujer Fightwear because I noticed a lack of designs for women, especially designs that I could relate to. Many times I'd find really cool designs that were only available for men's sizes. I decided to create a brand that put women first in regards to fightwear and apparel. I wanted to create a brand that made women like me feel seen. I wanted to create designs that had a sense of nostalgia and pride of my roots.
Question: What challenges did you come across?
Answer: A huge challenge for me was lack of time. In the beginning of creating this brand, I was working full-time as an engineer building rockets, and putting 20+ hours on Mala Mujer fightwear on the side. When I wasn't training or working, you'd find me drawing preliminary designs and working on the beginnings of Mala Mujer Fightwear in my little home office.
Question: What is your current favorite/go-to technique?
Answer: Call me basic but my favorite technique is the Rear Naked Choke. I also really like playing with De La Riva guard.
Question: What's life like for you off the mats?
Answer: You can catch me taking my puppy on walks at the dog park or hiking with my fiancé. I really enjoy being outdoors, so in the summer we are usually out backpacking, camping or hiking somewhere in the Pacific North West. I also love traveling and trying new food.
Question: What gym do you train at?
Answer: Foster's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Question: What first got you into Jiu Jitsu?
Answer: Honestly, I got into Jiu Jitsu because I wanted to learn how to defend myself. I had a coworker who trained MMA and I asked him to teach me some basic self-defense. He took me to his gym's open mat and as he was explaining a move, I remember seeing two men rolling. Watching their bodies move in such strategic chaos caught my attention. I didn't start training until I was abroad on a 3 month backpacking trip through south east Asia. My first formal Jiu Jitsu lesson was in Hanoi, Vietnam in a small gym. We were the only foreigners. Even though we didn't speak the language, it was fun to learn through watching the technique, making hand gestures and exchanging smiles. I was hooked at that point.
Question: What keeps you coming back?
Answer: The people. I've met some incredible people while training. The friendships I've build on the mats are really important to me. I can't wait to get back into going to seminars and meeting other dope people. I'm very thankful for the people who have invested in my growth by pushing my limits and challenging me on the mats.
Question: What benefits have you gained from Jiu Jitsu in other aspects of your life?
Answer: I think the biggest thing I've earned from training is confidence. When you know how to defend yourself, you walk around a little taller. I've also gained more confidence at work. Working as a woman in a male dominated industry, like engineering, hasn't always been easy. I have been able to transfer and translate that confidence from the mats into my career.
Question: What has been your biggest challenge in BJJ or competing?
Answer: My biggest challenge when competing has been my mindset. I had always been involved in team sports or individual sports like running, but competing in Jiu Jitsu was very different to me. I got in my own head my first competition. My coach recommended some great mental training books that I read during the pandemic. I'm excited to implement my mental training in my next competitions.
Question: Do you practice any mental training for competition? If so, what does that look like/ what routine works for you?
Answer: My mental training involves positive performance statements, meditation, visualization and being impeccable with my thoughts. I am a huge believer that your thoughts dictate your reality. If your mind is consumed with negative thoughts about yourself, you won't be able to perform well.
Question: How do you balance work/school/training/motherhood (if applicable)/etc?
Answer: I didn't really have a balance before. Now I've developed a morning routine that helps set my intention and purpose for the day. It helps me move through the day with more direction.
Question: Who is your BJJ role model?
Answer: Michelle Wagner and Letícia Ribeiro
Question: Do you have a role model off the mats? What about this person empowers you?
Answer: Jannese Torres-Rodriguez is my role model off the mats. Her story is very similar to mine. She's a first generation Latina engineer who started building generational wealth and left her engineering career to pursue her entrepreneurship goals. Seeing other women go after their dreams makes me feel like, "hey, maybe my dreams are worth chasing".
Question: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for beginners in Jiu Jitsu?
Answer: I consider myself a beginner. So from one beginner to another, we are going to suck until we don't. The beauty of being a beginner is that we are at the beginning. We are not supposed to be good or know what we're doing in the beginning. It will feel that way for a while. This is your journey. Enjoy it!
Question: Favorite post meal/snack after training?
Answer: I love having a protein smoothie after training.
Question: What has been your favorite walk out song for your competition?
Answer: I haven't had a walkout song played yet but if I did, it would be Latinoamérica by Calle 13
Question: Gi, No Gi, or both?
Question: What competitions do you have coming up and where can people watch them?
Answer: Unfortunately, I sustained a ligament injury in May so I am off the mats for a couple more months. I am hoping to compete by the end of the year or early 2022. I am excited to watch my teammates and everyone else compete though!
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