Hey guys, what’s up? In Athlete of the Week today we received Emilia Tuukkanen, brown belt of Roger Gracie in Lilius Barnat Academy, from Spain. Today we’ve talked about Emilia’s career on the sport, her training routine and also spoke about her experiences while fighting with brazilians competitors. Check it!
BGM: How long have you been practicing Jiu Jitsu? Why did you start?
Emilia: I have trained 6,5 years and I started because so many of my friends trained jiujitsu. I never thought I would ever compete though!
BGM: What’s the name of you team and where is it located?
Emília: I am part of Roger Gracie team, and I train in Torremolinos, Spain at Lilius Barnatt Martial Arts gym.
BGM: How is you training routine and you physical preparation? How has that changed in time?
Emilia: When I started, I trained maybe twice a week, but now I try to do jiujitsu 6 times a week. I also do paddle surfing almost everyday, which has really helped with my balance. I do strength training with kettle bells twice a week.
BGM: Have you fought against any Brazilian? If you have, how was it?
Emilia: Yes, I have! I lost to Ana Talita Alencar in Europeans and to her GF team mate Thamires Aquino at Mundials. There is a reason it is called Brazilian jiujitsu I guess! They were very tough and technical and I definitely wish to fight them again one day.
BGM: What are your thoughts regarding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Emilia: In my opinion it is the best sport in the world of course. I hope to become the World Champion one day and I have dedicated my life to it pretty much. Jiujitsu is also so much ore than just a sport, it makes traveling new experiences and new friendships possible.
BGM: What are your eating habits? What changes have you had to make in your diet as you’ve evolved in Jiu Jitsu?
Emília: I am a vegan, so I don’t eat anything from animals. Goin vegan has helped me with my weight and made also weight cut easier. I feel lighter, faster, and my cardio and strength have never been better.
BGM: What are your main titles? Share with us the most special memory you have of a title.
Emilia: I am 2x BJJ European Champion (blue & purple belt)and 1x Nogi European Champion (brown belt). I have multiple other IBJJF medals too from Europeans and International Opens. But my most memorable moment was when I got my purple belt European Championships gold medal, it is still one of the best moments of my life. I also had to fight very hard for it so that made it even more special.
BGM: What do you think about female jiu jitsu? Do you think it is a trend that will pass or that is here to stay?
Emilia: Definitely here to stay! There is already so many girls more than when I started, and all the time new girls get in to the sport. Technicality and speed make girls very good at jiujitsu, and that helps them get hookedonce they have started.
BGM: What do you think are the main challenges we face as women practitioners and how can we overcome them?
Emilia: Not getting the respect they deserve and having to train with only big guys can be very intimitading. I suggest everyone to go to as many open mats and different gyms as possible to train with other girls and new people. I am very open minded and no-politics, and don’t like the idea not being allowed to train at many places. Especially for girls it is important to get to roll with many girls, and in Finland this already works so well. There nobody cares what team you represent, and almost every gym welcomes every visitor anytime.
BGM: Please leave a message for those who just started practicing and find in you inspiration to continue their way in Jiu Jitsu.
Emilia: Like any sport, jiujitsu is sometimes hard, and you will feel like quitting. But if you keep pushing through, keep training and learning, one day you will realize it was all worth it. If it was always easy, everyone would do it! Train hard and have some fun while doing it!
To see this interview in portuguese, click here.