Fight like a girl: Donna Scott, Infinity Martial Art purple belt talks about her passion for Jits, family and those armbars
I met Donna a year ago when i joined my very first BJJ class. That's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 'the gentle art', ground fighting that changed the horizon of the fight game all over the world, as we know it created by grandmasters Carlos & Helio Gracie, in the late 1920.
Donna trains at Infinity Martial Arts, first under the tutelage of Paul Chapman & Neil Owen, now along side Black belt James Boyle, owner of the academy in Chesterfield.
I have had the pleasure to train with both and fell in love with the art, thanks to the passion and dedication Donna has shown me. If a woman defines 'kicks ass', Donna is definitely the embodiment of that definition. She does it so elegantly, you can't help but want to know more about the 'Armbar Queen'.
KC: So Donna, how did you get into BJJ n the first place?
DS: Before BJJ I tried kick boxing got to my 4th belt and did traditional jujitsu in which I got all the way to brown-black. But It was during a seminar in ground fighting that I realised I loved the ground game and, as luck would have it, Paul Chapman moved in to the top room of the pub I worked at. So i started to train under his tutelage.
KC: What made you fall in love with BJJ?
DS: I think to start with I loved BJJ because it was a sport i could do without getting out of breath. Having asthma, I couldn't run or play many team games without needing my inhaler.
Then the more I did, the more i trained, the better I got and the more i fell in love with it.
I have also always loved how the gym treat everyone like family.
KC: You are now at an important part of your journey, Congratulations on your Purple belt!
How are you finding competing at this new level, with new opponents.
DS: So far purple is my favourite belt (not just because its my favourite colour)!
I feel much freer to play with new techniques. I've also now had 2 competitions with ladies that are very talented and, even when I lose, I feel i'm learning from them unlike at blue belt level, where some, but not all competitor, still prefer to use strength.
KC: As well as competing, training at the academy, you also teach the children classes and, as a matter of fact, your daughter too. How do you manage to be Mom as well as coach?
DS: Erin is such a happy go lucky child and it's easy to teach the whole class without leaving anyone out, when sparring I help the child that's in the less dominated potion. Now she 15, we can start sparring together which is so much fun!
KC: I bet! She has a great teacher & sparring partner. For the parents out there thinking of enrolling their children in to a martial arts academy, Why do you think 'jitz' is great for kids?
DS: BJJ is great for kids as it builds confidence, fitness level and, of course, it's a great form of self defence. All of our kids at the academy are friends and support each other, on each others journey. We have started taking them to compete, and they couldn't be more supportive of one another!
KC: We touched upon it earlier, you teach the children classes at the academy, as well as adults. What do you enjoy most about coaching?
DS: With the kids, it's just awesome! It's so nice see the little ones grow and learn but, its also very nerve wracking watching them compete!
I teach women's classes too and have some lovely ladies in the class! They have a 'have-a-go attitude' and always make me laugh!
KC: When it comes to people that inspire you in the game, who do you like?
DS: I enjoy watching Mackenzie Dern because she has a really good attitude but its the people that I've competed with like Jackie Harper, we've come up in belts together and always have a good time when we meet for bouts. You can learn so much from your opponent.
KC: You have a nickname as i mentioned earlier, that symbolises your preferred technique and finishing move. So why do you love Armbars, 'Armbar Queen'? (And by the way, as i have trained with this one, i know it's almost impossible, escaping Donna's armbar traps and finishes *sigh)
DS: Having done traditional Jujitsu, I knew how to do armbars before I started BJJ but the reason i love them is that you can feel when its on. You can hold on to a choke and not know if it's coming on sometimes but you can always feel the crack in the arm.
KC: What would be your advise to anyone wanting to start their jiujitsu journey?
DS: The hardest part is walking though the door and only you know when your ready. BUT when you do find a place you can call home, with people that will support you, weather you just want to train to get fit, for self defence or compete, having the right people around you can take anywhere never be afraid to follow your dreams.
Trust me you won't regret it. You will feel empowered and learn so much about yourself in the process. Brazilian jiu jitsu is earned and is a game of patience and perseverance, but once you let it guide you, you will never love anything quite as much.