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This past weekend, black belt and International Jiu Jitsu Education Fund Vice-President Ishmael Bentley held a fundraising seminar at his Minneapolis-based academy, M-Theory Martial Arts. We’re so proud and excited to see the amazing turnout from jiu jitsu practitioners across the Twin Cities area. We were able to raise over $2000 for IJEF, which will provide months of support and supplies for our instructors and  Thank you to everyone who came to support and who donated to our cause!

We’d like to give a special thanks to Black Arrow Martial Arts, Minnesota Top Team, Southside BJJ, The Academy and its founder Greg Nelson, Spartan Martial Arts, and the Grappling Central Podcast! Hopefully you’ll hear Professor Ishmael soon on Grappling Central — we’ll be sure to share!

Until then, keep Rolling Toward a Better World!

Linsey “Wonder Woman” Williams mixes martial arts, business, and charity to spread jiu jitsu across the globe

For most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, the beginning of their BJJ journey is to put on a uniform and tie up their belt for the first time. But for professional fighter grappler, and purple belt Linsey Williams, the first steps on her path into jiu-jitsu was a little unconventional.

“I wanted to grapple as a kid but I wasn’t allowed to – until I joined the Army,” she said in an interview. “While I was overseas at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, a bunch of folks got together to do no-gi jiu jitsu twice a week.”

“It was really austere – a few tumbling mats, all of us wearing T-shirts and basketball shorts.”

That was in 2011. Since then, Linsey – who goes by the name “Wonder Woman Williams” – has continued training jiu jitsu. When she returned to the States, she began training in the lineage of the great Pedro Sauer, including some training with IJEF Vice-President Ishmael Bentley.

“Linsey is a great competitor,” said Professor Ishmael. “She blends toughness with compassion and character. That’s a powerful combination.”

While competition has always been important to Linsey and a big part of her training, she recently decided to turn her years of formal training into a professional fighting career.

“I love watching kids grapple because they don’t have the bad habits that adults do. It’s just so pure and pristine. I thought, ‘Yeah, supporting this is something I could really get behind.’ IJEF is something I can stick with.” – Linsey Williams, sponsored fighter for IJEF

In some ways, it wasn’t a big change. After all, she had been training and competing with trademark intensity throughout her time studying for a bachelor’s degree and in the years following. But the transition to making money off fighting still brought new challenges.

“You’re not going out there just to test yourself or just to see how you do and just to win … There’s a professional reputation that goes with it. There’s a record that gets kept and there’s money on the line. It really is a professional career in every sense of the word.”

One element that has taken some getting used to the business side of things. With years of military and technical grappling training under her belt, a higher level of fighting was challenging but not fundamentally new. But managing her career certainly is.

“I’ve taken it upon myself to have the managerial role and the fighter’s role which takes a lot of dedication. You have to do all of the administrative work, create the marketing plan, and do the legwork of reaching out to people and trying to build contacts.”

Linsey “Wonder Woman” Williams executes an arm bar on her competition.

Despite the difficulties, Linsey has also committed herself to using her platform for good. She began her charitable work by donating some of her fight proceeds to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria.

Then she connected to the International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund through Professor Ishmael. Immediately, Linsey saw the good IJEF could do for kids around the world.

“You have to give kids things to do and things to learn and opportunities to try stuff,” she said of IJEF’s mission to give free BJJ to as many children as possible. “I love watching kids grapple because they don’t have the bad habits that adults do.”

“It’s just so pure and pristine. I thought, ‘Yeah, supporting this is something I could really get behind.’ IJEF is something I can stick with.”

Since being introduced to our program, Linsey has raised over $1000 for our cause by donating a percentage of her fight proceeds to IJEF.

Her next opportunity to support will be at the June 30th Fight to Win 78 competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she is based. The money from all the tickets sold in her name go back to her, and in turn, 30% of that goes to bringing free jiu jitsu to kids.

We wish Linsey the best of luck in her Fight to Win grapple against Michelle Donovan and we can’t wait to see where her career will take her – and IJEF. If you’re in the Minneapolis area, check out http://www.f2wbjj.com/ for tickets and support us today!

 

The International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund One Year Anniversary

Join us for the one year anniversary of IJEF!

The International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund is celebrating one year of providing free jiu-jitsu to children around the world. What a year it has been. In 12 months, we’ve founded 5 projects — Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Los Angeles. In each of these locations, dedicated Roll Models are guiding children in the ways of jiu-jitsu, teaching focus, discipline, confidence, and respect. Across all 5 sites, more than 200 children are learning jiu-jitsu absolutely FREE! We think that’s something to be proud of!

We’re marking our the one year anniversary of IJEF with a big celebration on Saturday September 9th. The day will feature a great class for the kids along with some special fun and games. Then the adults will hit the mat for a super rolling and open mat. Afterwards, we’ll finish up with a potluck party. All of this is happening at Level Up West Los Angeles on Saturday September 9th… Can’t wait to see you there!

M Theory Martial Arts Fundraiser in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks to M-Theory Martial Arts and The Academy!

Saturday June 10th marked the first fundraiser with IJEF-affiliated academies M-Theory Martial Arts and The Academy. These two schools helped The International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund raise over $1900 for the IJEF mission!!! As our staff is works on an entirely volunteer basis, 100% of these funds will go to helping spread jiu-jitsu practice to underprivileged communities in Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, Los Angeles, and elsewhere around the world!

According the fundraiser’s organizer, Professor Ishmael Bentley, over 60 students attended the two-part seminar, which began at The Academy in the morning and finished at M-Theory in the afternoon. Among the attendees were a total of NINE black belts — amazing to have so much jiu-jitsu knowledge concentrated in one place!

The morning began with accomplished martial artist Renan Vital showing some judo moves and guard passes. Then Professor Ishmael showed some guard passes, followed by Professor Greg demonstrating some escapes from side control.

Then in the afternoon, Professor Greg showed a number of further guard passes and Professor Ishmael instructing the group in some attacks from the closed guard.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to this event and donated to the IJEF mission! We absolutely could not do what we do without the generous support of so many dedicated jiu-jitsu practitioners helping us Roll Toward a Better World!

M Theory Martial Arts IJEF Fundraiser June 2017

Calling all BJJers in the Minneapolis area!

Here at The International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund, we’re honored to have the support of martial artists and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies across the world. One of our most committed supporting academies — M-Theory Martial Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota — is showing their support for IJEF this weekend with an amazing black belt seminar and fundraiser THIS SATURDAY June 10 starting at 10 AM! M-Theory’s head instructor, 3rd degree black belt Professor Ishmael Bentley will be joined by Professors Jared Feierabend and Greg Nelson, who are generously donating their time for a two-part seminar! Three black belts, two separate seminars — what more could a jiu-jitsu lover ask for?

The day will kick off at Professor Nelson’s school, The Academy, from 10 AM to 12 PM. After a quick lunch and buzz over to Professor Bentley’s academy, the jiu-jitsu will continue! We hope to see a big turnout to benefit our efforts to bring free jiu-jitsu to children across the world.

And best of all, the ultra-talented black belts Renan and Rubens Vital will be on the mat taking on any and all challengers — hope to see you there!

IJEF: The International Jiu-Jitsu Education Fund