The World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship 2017 will be taking place in Long Beach, California from May 31st to June 4th.
As always, there will be a good contingent of UKBJJA athletes heading out to win some medals for the UK. In the run up to the competition, we will be profiling some of these athletes. Wish them luck!
Athlete Profile: Samantha Cook
Tell us your name & nickname, if you have one?
What's your belt rank & division?
Brown Belt Adult Middleweight
Where do you train & what team do you represent?
Checkmat under Marco Canha at Fightzone London
What have been your main achievements so far?
World No Gi Champion
4 x European Champion Gi
2 x European Champion No Gi
4 x British National Champion
London Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Champion
What got you into jiu jitsu? What do you get out of it?
I actually started dating a guy who did MMA about 9 years ago, started to learn with him then went to classes. He and I split up and I ended up pursuing a full time athletic career competing internationally all over the world.
Jiu jitsu for me is a huge part of my identity now. It has given me confidence to handle situations in everyday life I would normally struggle with. Jiu jitsu is a place where I can set my mind free of all the social conformities and stereotypes and just move and feel the position- treated as equal regardless of background gender or occupation.
Is this your first time at the Worlds? Do you know who else is in your division? What have you been doing to prepare?
No I competed last year and lost the final to a strong competitor who since has been killing it on the black belt scene. I know some of the girls in the division- doesn't really matter, anything can happen on the day.
I don't really change a lot from my normal routine to prepare. I train consistently and pay attention to techniques that are applicable to my game- jiu jitsu is an intelligent persons sport and if you can tap into your own body and mind and fully understand yourself - you've figured out the secret.
What is your favourite position/technique? Be as (dis)honest as you like!
I am a particular fan of the 50/50 guard. I hated it for a long time as I always found myself stuck in this position which drove me to capitalise and learn how to use this position to my advantage. Now I feel quietly confident I can make 50/50 work for me from any angle.
What are your plans for after the worlds?
After worlds I have the Checkmat summer camp, British Nationals and potentially the ADCC finals (if all goes well this weekend) to prepare for. I have also been invited to fight on the main card of Polaris this year which I am extremely excited about! So yeah, the work never stops.
What advice would you give to somebody just starting to compete in BJJ?
Relax and have faith that your body will back you up when you need it to. Belief is what we lack the most when competing and self belief can take you a very long way!
The UKBJJA is committed to helping British athletes compete internationally at the highest levels, but we need your help! If you are a brand or company looking for excellent exposure and want to be involved in the growth of UK Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, please download our sponsorship brochure and get in touch!