Body Shape Athletes
Starting Taekwondo lessons at the age of 5, now 10 years old, Ava has already amassed an impressive record as a 13x Regional and National Gold Medalist competing with and demonstrating her martial arts talents un sparring, poomsae, weapons and board breaking across the US.
Ava has represented us at several Martial Arts tournaments, each time not only sweeping the Gold medals, but also actively promoting our messages of body acceptance and positivity. As an accomplished swordsman under the instruction of WTF World Champion Master Robert Joshua Danao, Ava has been invited around the country to perform and demonstrate her katana skills.
Ava enjoys crossfit and core strength training with her favorites being the deadlift and weighted Turkish get-ups. Ava is also an accomplished pianist with a love of playing classical music, performing at recitals and concerts throughout the Northeastern US. Ava aspires to earn a spot on the USA Youth National Taekwondo team and eventually on the USA Jr Olympic and Olympic Taekwondo Teams.
Brionii “killer B” is our teen #nextgen jiu jitsu athlete out of Melbourne Australia, She began training at the end of 2012 and has proven herself to be one of the best in the world winning on some of the biggest stages bjj has to offer.
Brionii’s accolades include multiple state, national and pan pacific titles as well as 2017 Abu Dhabi world youth champion. Her attitude on and off the mats is a tremendous testament to the young woman who is fierce in battle yet humble in spirit, keep a close eye on this young gun as the future is looking very bright…
CASSIE NICOLE VALENTINE (AKA THE LITTLE BRUTE)
When she was younger, Cassie was in every sport her grandparents could possibly get her into.
“I started with gymnastics because that’s what my grandma wanted, but then moved into soccer a couple years later. A few years after that, I got into softball and basketball. I stayed in both of those sports for awhile, but when I was 10 my grandfather finally convinced my grandma to let me try martial arts. As soon as I found myself in a gi and on those mats, it was all over for everything else!”
Cassie has been training in Kempo Jujitsu for nearly twelve years, as well as training and competing in Judo for just over three years. She is a first degree black belt (shodan) in Kempo, and a blue belt (yonkyu) in Judo. Cassie has just started out on her MMA journey.
“All throughout my time in martial arts, I’ve been an avid competitor. About a month into Kempo, I went to my first competition and placed first in all of my divisions. Since then, I’ve competed in numerous Gold Cup events, Moko Moko tournaments, and many other local/semi local events in Kata, Sparring, Pankration, and Grappling.”.
There hasn’t been a single division where Cassie didn’t at least finish in the top three. In 2006 she was nominated to join Team USA to fly to London, England and compete at the European Open. Here she placed 1st in Kata, 2nd in Pankration Sparring, and 3rd in Point Sparring.
Aside from training, Cassie loves simply being outdoors.
“My Papa used to take me everywhere with him, so hiking, fishing, biking, camping, or anything that allows me to be out and about in nature just makes me really happy. I’m a big fan of anime, maybe because a lot of them have some kind of martial arts involved in them, but I also enjoy some of the ones that don’t. I’m also not ashamed to admit I am a huge World of Warcraft fan. I’ve been playing (when I can around work, school, and training) for about six years now. It’s something that gets me out of my head for awhile, and is just a really fun outlet. My highest level character is a Lvl. 100 Night Elf Death Knight.”
Need we say more?!
Kandyce (Kande) Williams is a lightweight boxer, fighting out of San Bernadino California. Ranked 7th in the US and 34th in the world, Kandyce has 4 pro fights to her name, and is recognised globally as one of the rising stars in her division.
Her reputation is growing to such an extent that she is having issues finding higher ranked fighters to face.
“I’ve grown to have a better understanding that these things happen a lot in boxing. Injuries….fights falling through. I used to get upset and want to give up, but I’ve matured. I’ve actually become a better, well-rounded fighter because I put all of those frustrations and energy towards training camp. I have good expectations for next year. I’m hoping to fight more than I did this year with the intention of no opponents falling out. I’m hoping to get more positive recognition next year because I currently feel like the female fighter that can’t get a fight to stick.”
Kortney “KO” Olson
Kortney Olson is a visionary powerhouse who is making her mark to create a world where women are free from all forms of self-harm. Kortney is the Originator of the not-for-profit organisation, Kamp Konfidence, which is a prevention-based wellness experience for teenage girls aged 14-17 that has taken the country of Australia by storm. The Kamp Konfidence team are on a mission to teach the habits, principles and lessons that aid the development of self love, all in a non-judgemental, fun and friendly environment.
Kortney is the first and reigning Australian Women’s arm wrestling champion, Queensland state Brazilian jiu jitsu champion, 4 time international bodybuilding competitor, author, TV personality, certified personal trainer, and Olympic lifting and cross fit coach. Kortney is here to raise the bar-bell in gender equality.
Kortney’s proudest accomplishment is being crowned as “The woman with the world’s deadliest thighs” by Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics, after she appeared on an episode of Superhumans where she demonstrated her leg strength by smashing watermelons between her thighs, exerting 3 times the crush force of a reticulated python, and knocking out a professional MMA fighter.
“I have this unshakeable belief that if the female energy isn’t united, lifted up and emancipated globally, our chances of survival as a human race are slim to none. How can we focus on be our best when we’re busy fearing we look our worst?”
Kortney loves dogs, plays golf, and likes to leave the toilet seat up after using the men’s restroom. She’s also certified as a Laughter Yoga instructor and a Psych-K Facilitator, with the aim to empower and inspire people to seek natural wellness.
Monique is an MLB for the American football team – Los Angeles Temptation and carries the distinction of being a hall of fame inductee whilst also still being a current rostered player. Monique is making her come back this season following a serious knee injury that curtailed her involvement last year.
Monique also has a sporting pedigree that pre-dates her involvement in American Football having represented Mexico at soccer through the U19 level.
Ali is a rising star for the USA Weightlifting’s national team, and is the current and first ever USA 90kg national champ. 24 years old, half Korean, half German, 5’9″ Ali is an Olympic weightlifter.
Growing up she dabbled in a variety of sports, all the way from tennis and water polo, to gymnastics and figure skating. Her most cherished sport however, would have to be volleyball, which she played all throughout High School, both for the varsity team, as well as a club team.
Ali crossfitted for about a year after graduation, before deciding to switch over to Olympic weightlifting, where she fell in love with the notion of “lift heavy shit”. Since then, it’s been game over for Ali, and she hasn’t stopped lifting full-time for a over a year and a half now.
“I love love LOVE anything and everything to do with the beach, music (ALL types), FOOD, babies, as well as people who evoke passion and inspire. Things I dislike are alarm clocks, poor spelling, people who don’t squat below parallel (other than those who physically can’t), and close mindedness”.
Amenah is a strength athlete and current IPL world record holding powerlifter. She started with the sport of strongman, and is currently competing in raw powerlifting meets. Growing up, her family would only identify endurance athletes as “athletes”. However, while she knew she was physically strong, there was no outlet for her strength. So it wasn’t until a bit later in life that she discovered her passion.
“I’ve always been an active person. From hiking and gardening, I’ve always generally been an outdoorsy person, but I never had a sport, or a focus. As I finished up nursing school, I found the barbell…and I fell in love with it! I loved how lifting made me feel. I love doing things I never believed possible, helping others achieve their goals, and the shared excitement and camaraderie with my fellow competitors. I feel stronger minded, stronger hearted, and stronger bodied every day.”
Amenah has won three strongman competitions, a powerlifting competition, competed at America’s Strongest Woman twice, and the Arnold International Strongman Championships. Most recently she deadlifted 451 pounds at The Reebok Record Breakers powerlifting meet.
“I compete as a super heavy weight in both sports. By supporting others in the gym, at competitions, and sharing a bit of myself on social media, I have found a strong connection with tons of other women. I feel I am blossoming at the age of 37, and feel more empowered and confident than ever before. I am so fortunate and excited to be on the GRRRL Team. I hope to inspire and encourage others to find what makes them feel stronger and more joyful than they ever dreamed possible!”
Heidi is a pro, world champion armwrestler in the WAL, the largest pro armwrestling league in the USA. She is just an inspiration to us on so many levels, teaching by day and being 10000% badass by night.
Heids went to her first tournament in 2002, but started training more seriously in 2013. She trains with her team, the Toronto Arm Crushers.
“My dad and two younger brothers arm-wrestled with me growing up from a young age. In high school, I played basketball, volleyball and was on the swim team. In college, I remember arm-wrestling a lot, but never knew I could compete in it. Now, I’m obsessed!
My competitive nature keeps me wanting to get better and better. Although I was very shy as a teenager, becoming a teacher put me in a position where I had to face my fears of being in front of a crowd. That was also something I had to overcome when I started competing. I feel very fortunate to live in Southern Ontario, where there is a very high caliber of experienced and accomplished pullers. The team I train with, the Toronto Arm Crushers, is very dedicated and hard-working. They keep pushing me to reach higher goals. And there isn’t enough to be said about the “Armwrestling Family” around North America and the World!”
Sam is a world record breaking, world champion powerlifter. Sam is one of only a handful of few women who have hit the 600+ lb club. The deadlift was pulled strongman style, where hitching and and straps are allowed; but, just for added badassery Sam didn’t use straps on the lift.
“My desire to be strong started when I was in highschool (way back before the internet in the mid-1990’s). I was lucky to have a lot of encouraging coaches, but no one to really emulate. The first time I ever saw a strong female was in track and field books my father would send me. But I always had a natural strength that also made me a target for childhood taunting (along with of course my size). Moving forward to my first marriage, my spouse at that time was not supportive of me gaining strength. In fact, he felt very threatened by it.
The taunting I experienced in my youth coupled with the discouragement from my ex-spouse only reinforced my need to hide my strength from the world, but I never lost the desire to be strong; I just learned to hide it better. It wasn’t until after years of reckless behavior, drug addiction, and wanting to end my life did I surface from the fog to realize the time to do this was now! When I started dating again, I found my husband who offered to coach me and of course asked me on a date. I remember the first thing I told my husband then was that I was pretty strong for a girl. Little did I know how much work it would take to prove that statement right!”
Rose, Mish and Pat have been part of the grrrl family since the very beginning. If you don’t know her already, she is an American mixed martial artist who is currently competing in the Women’s Strawweight division of the UFC. She’s #3 in the official UFC Strawweight rankings, and we think a future world champion. Although, we – like many many many people – know she’s already a champion in so many ways.
Our THUG GRRRL started practicing Taekwondo in Milwaukee at the age of 5. She earned her poom belt (junior black belt) at age 9. After that, she went on doing both karate and jiu-jitsu at the age of 16. In high school, she started training kickboxing and mixed martial arts with Duke Roufus at Roufusport and she was also a senior-year wrestler at Milwaukee High School of the Arts.
“It’s really nice to know hard work does pay off. Just keep a positive attitude and no matter what comes your way, challenges or roadblocks, just don’t let it phase you, you can overcome anything.”
Our aussie GRRRL Megz has been with us since the start. She’s an MMA pro, currently based in the USA and is the Invicta FC world champ.
“I was born and raised on the beautiful Gold Coast and I began training mixed martial arts when I was 23. Funnily enough, I actually always wanted to do boxing and would go and watch a lot of boxing fights. I went to pick up tickets once for a local MMA fight night and the promoter convinced me to come in and have a trial and after the first night I was hooked! I was bullied throughout my schooling so I’ve dealt with a lot of confidence and self-esteem issues, so I’m a very big advocate for anti-bullying. I’m not hard to miss and I’m definitely one Aussie fighter to remember.”
Tecia joined the GRRRL team this year, she’s an amazing MMA Fighter currently 5th in the Strawweight division of the UFC.
Our GRRRL Tecia is a mainstay of American Top Team’s vaunted women’s fight team, has just graduated her Masters in Criminology at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton.
“I just really enjoy having the opportunity to help people one day,” stated Torres. “And I think doing something within the federal government is a good secure job, so I just want to have a good job to feed a family one day.” Since the beginning of her MMA career Torres was certain she would one day call upon at least her undergrad qualifications. Now deep into her post-grad Torres is beginning to formulate a more concrete exit strategy from the sport.