1 Jan 2000

Interview with Dominique Vitry


Dominique Vitry

10th March 2009

1. How/when did you get into BJJ? Where and who do you train under now.
2. What is your belt rank and competition record?
3. Do you find it hard to train in a club where majority are blokes?
4a. What is your view on the competition scene where currently so few other women compete? Or is the scene changing?
4b. What things have you had to do just to get a match? eg move up or down a weight/rank/travel far etc
5. What do you think the sport needs to do to attract more women? What things would you like to see change/ happen within the BJJ scene.
6. Some BJJ is marketed to women as a self defence program - I'm thinking of the RAPESAFE
program in the US. What do you think of this strategy and do you think BJJ is a good self defence (specifically for women) generally?
7. Who do you admire in the BJJ world?
8. What is it about BJJ that you specifically enjoy?
9. Do you adapt your game depending on whether you spar against a male or a female?
10. How do you respond to male-banter that goes on sometimes, which may or may not include sexist remarks?
11. How do you combine serious training together with all your other
roles - particularly if you have kids - but if not then finding time for job, partner, other stuff etc.

1. I got into BJJ 2 ½ years ago, starting at Roger Gracie Academy in Ladbroke Grove. I trained regularly, taught by Roger, Jude, Felipe, Nick Brooks and Nick G. Although I still train at Roger’s, most of my training is now at RGA Mill Hill with Nick Brooks.

2. I am a blue belt /1 stripe, and have competed at Seni in 2007 and 2008 (Bronze); Bristol in 2007 (Silver) and 2009; and Kent (Silver) in 2008.

3. I have no problem with who I train with – I can still give them a run for their money! Well, sometimes…

4a. It is annoying when women are grouped together as one big weight category, or combined with a
higher or lower category due to numbers. It’s not fair on lighter fighters I have had to fight, and I know
how tiring it can be when fighting someone much heavier than me. It also means that sometimes, we
are put to fight at the end of the day – not good when you’re dying to have something to eat! The
scene appears to be changing with lots more white belts competing, but sometimes they don’t continue
training to blue belt and above.

4b. I have had to cut weight for competition, but not too far below my natural weight. I have travelled to
Bristol from London, which is the furthest I’ve travelled for a comp. However, this was not just to get a

5. Perhaps women-only classes would attract more women, but I prefer to have a mixed class as many of
the women I’ve fought are quite flexible, so you sometimes have to use a different game for them
compared to men.

6. I think BJJ is very useful for defending yourself; I definitely feel I can handle myself more now, than before I started. If I had to use it on the street on someone who didn’t know BJJ, because of the nature of what we do, I’d probably hurt them before they realise what is happening (I hope!). BJJ is good because the size of the person isn’t so important when defending yourself – although I am small, I am quite quick and defensive. I know some really light girls and guys who are brilliant technically, and can submit much heavier people.

7. Roger Gracie, he’s number one! He’s shown me some really useful BJJ techniques and relies on the basics when submitting opponents. Then there’s Nick G, who did my induction and has coached and encouraged me all the way – especially at competitions. Jude has also taught me lots...it just clicked one day and my game improved. I love the way Nick Brooks teaches – he has personalised my training and hopefully in time I’ll be submitting him! He shows me things that work for me, especially as he is light too, and has told me when to let things go…Daniel Strauss is just on another level – he is so good for someone so young, as is Michael Russell. Felipe is also great; he taught my kids BJJ. Did you mean famous names?

8. The family atmosphere, especially at competitions – we all have a laugh and are like one big team. You coach and cheer for other RGA members despite never having seen them before, so it’s a good way to get to know people from your academy. Generally, you learn something new with each lesson, and can’t wait to try it out when sparring.

9. When fighting, I tend to play it by ear as to how I’m going to react. I usually have to be more defensive when fighting men, unless I’m using spider guard…the main issue is how technical the person is; if they’re good, it makes no difference if they’re a man or woman (though I’ll mind where I put my knees). If I’m fighting anyone heavier than me, I’ll do my best not to end up with them in side control.

10. I don’t mind banter – it makes the classes fun and we all have a laugh.

11. Sometimes it’s hard fitting time in for training, I have had to have a month or so off in the past due to work commitments. If I’m tired I may not feel like training, but I’m always glad afterwards when I have gone in. I can’t imagine not doing BJJ anymore…

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


slideyfoot said...

Cool - nice to see an interview with Dom. She's the first person I ever rolled with in BJJ, and also the first person (now one of many...) to put me in a collar choke. :)

Meerkatsu said...

I regularly partner up with Dom at Mill Hill RGA. She's about my size and she is super fast and very technical. Oh and a really lovely person.


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