Interview with No-Gi Pan Am Champion Joyce Zartuche

Learning martial arts can give you so many benefits, but one of the best things you get from training is the peace of mind knowing that you can defend yourself in a variety of situations. This can be especially true for women since they are the most common target for robberies, muggings, and other crimes. Hopefully no one will get into these situations, but not having to fear them can really change your life.

To get a women’s perspective on this, I spoke with Pan American No-Gi Champion, Joyce Zartuche to see what motivates her to train, and why CMA is a special place for her and her family. Joyce started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo at Corral’s Martial Arts when she was 42 years old, and currently has her black belt in Taekwondo and purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. She is a mother of 4 lovely children and 2 beautiful granddaughters, and is the first women’s Pan American No-Gi Champion that CMA has had.

What are some of the benefits you receive from training martial arts on a regular basis?

Joyce: The major benefits I get from training regularly are being able to stay healthy and in shape. Also, it gives myself a sense of empowerment. As a mother of three daughters and two granddaughters, as well as a son. I feel it’s important for females, no matter what age, to learn to defend themselves. 1 out of 6 females are victims of an attempted or completed assault. This means that there is a good chance that someone in my family can be a victim. In today’s society, it’s imperative as a parent to arm your daughters with the skills to defend themselves.

What are some of your favorite things about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Joyce: My favorite things about BJJ are to be able to watch my family learn, grow and retain the knowledge that they have gained in order to be part of the Corrals Competition Team; and watching my husband instruct. He is such a gifted instructor.

What motivates you to stay consistent with your training?

Joyce: I stay motivated because I surround myself with positive role models. I want to be a positive role model for my family, as they are to me. There are very few women my age that train, compete, and stick with BJJ. A healthy lifestyle can make a difference in your life, and I am very proud that I am able to continue to do this.

Why is Corral’s Martial Arts a special place to train?

Joyce: CMA is a special place because it is a family orientated BJJ school. They offer classes for everyone in your family. This allows families to spend quality time with each other away from home as well as at home. Also, the students are friends outside of the school, so it provides a great atmosphere to train.

CMA is known in the region for its technical approach to martial arts and their competition team. There are currently 8 black belts at this academy that have helped me throughout my martial arts journey, and all of them started as white belts under the head instructor, Braulio Corral. That, in itself, speaks volumes to what type of academy and environment you are walking into.

I couldn’t do this without the help of my husband, and all the instructors and teammates at CMA that took special time to help prepare the No-Gi Pan-Am Team.  I am grateful to be part of a team where everyone helps and encourages one another to accomplish their goals. Being in this type of environment has motivated me to be the best I can be!