I started training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in 2004 when I was 24 years old. I was a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and was thinking about getting into another martial art. I met Braulio, who later became my husband, and he introduced me to jiu-jitsu. I didn’t really know what it was at the time, but I soon fell in love with the sport.
When I was a white belt, there weren’t many local tournaments around. Since there weren’t many opportunities to compete, I only trained a couple days a week having fun learning the basics. Things didn’t start getting serious for me until some of the guys on the team started showing interest in competing, and more competitions started to pop up, like the Hoosier Open by Caique, EGO by James Clingerman and the Extreme Challenge by Henry Matamoros.
I’m not sure what year I started competing, but I know I did four tournaments as a white belt. I started to increase my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training to three days a week (which was all that was offered at the time), along with strength and conditioning, to prepare for competitions. I never had to worry about cutting weight since I was always the smallest one in the bracket. Plus, back then there weren’t many women competing, so they put us all in the same division together, which was basically an absolute bracket. There was no age or weight division and I would be lucky to have four women in my division
As a white belt I took 3 gold and 1 silver. Then, in 2007, I got married. By that time, Braulio had been promoted to black belt, and he wanted to promote me to blue. I said I wanted to wait since I wanted to compete one more time as a white belt. I remember training for the next tournament, but I was gaining weight. We were super busy at the time promoting the Corral’s Combat Classic full contact fights, and it was the biggest one to date at the Horseshoe casino. Turns out that weight gain wasn’t from stress; it was because I was pregnant.
As you may guess, I didn’t get to compete, and I didn’t receive my blue belt. I was a 4 year white belt by the time I became pregnant. My first born, Braulio the 3rd, was born on September 16th, 2009. It took me about 3 years to get back on the mat and start training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu consistently. After 8 years as a white belt, I was promoted to blue belt on November 3rd 2012.
There were more tournaments coming around, so there were more opportunities to compete, and I felt like I was in a better spot to put in the time to train. I never got a gold medal as a blue belt; it was always second or third. I was training more consistently, but still only three days a week on the mats, along with my strength and conditioning 5 days a week. By then there were actual weight divisions for women, so this made it more competitive.
I competed around six times as a blue belt, and then I got promoted to purple belt on November 14, 2015. Shortly after, I became pregnant with my second son, Bronsen, which was born on July 7th, 2016. I was determined to get back on the mat as soon as possible after this pregnancy.
I was now training BJJ 4 days a week consistently, along with strength and conditioning 5 days a week. As a result of the increased training and time I was dedicating, I won gold at my first tournament as a purple belt at IBJJF Chicago in 2017. This was very motivating, and it drove me to train more and harder.
In 2018, I competed 5 times (Gold at the New York Open, Silver Chicago Spring Open, Bronze Nationals in Las Vegas, Gold at the Chicago Summer Open, and lost my first match at Master Worlds in Las Vegas). I was proud of my accomplishments, but it was devastating to end the season with a loss. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated” Maya Angelou.
I learned a lot in that year, but felt I had more to accomplish as a purple belt. In 2019, I competed 6 times. I trained just as hard and worked on the mistakes I made the prior year. I took silver at the IBJJF Pan Americans, Gold at the IBJJF Chicago Spring Open, Silver at the IBJJF American National, Gold at Grappling Games, and Gold at the IBJJF Chicago Summer Open. To close the year, I made a dream come true becoming a 2019 IBJJF World Master Champion in the Women’s Masters 2 Featherweight Purple Belt division.
After winning, I was promoted to brown belt on the podium by my husband Braulio Corral and Professor Marcello C. Montiero on August 24th 2019. When I was a white belt, I never dreamed I would become a brown belt, let alone a world champion. This accomplishment has made my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu journey better than I even imagined possible.
In my early days of training, I told my husband that I would never be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He told me yes you will, and now that I’m a brown belt, I can admit he was right that I will be a black belt someday. I still have a ways to go, and a lot more to accomplish as a brown belt, so I am in no hurry, especially since I have enjoyed every moment of my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu journey.
My competition training starts 6 weeks out from a tournament. During this time, I eat very clean and train almost 7 days a week. Here is the usual training schedule I follow: Monday I go to morning spin then BJJ in the evening, Tuesday includes morning spin and in the evening kickboxing and strength and conditioning with a focus on legs. Wednesday is spin in the morning and BJJ in the evening. Thursday’s training is morning spin along with kickboxing and strength and conditioning with a focus on arms and shoulders, On Fridays I spin in the morning and then I go to BJJ open mat/curriculum class, along with strength and conditioning with a focus on arms. Saturday is a rest day, or if I feel good enough, I will spin or do BJJ class in the evening. Sunday is dedicated to BJJ competition class.