Deportes de Combate

Laredo woman reaches highest belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Laredo Morning Times

At the age of 8, a young Victoria Venegas was annoyed by her dad. Annoyed because he was trying to encourage her to try Brazilain jiu-jitsu for the first time.

Her dad, Edgardo Venegas, is the owner of Deo Jiu Jitsu Laredo/Gallo Prieto Jiu Jitsu, on the Southside of Laredo. The plaza right next door was a dance studio when Victoria was younger. She took classes there with some of her friends for an hour each day. Once dance class was over, she would walk over to her dad’s studio and would put on her GI, also known as kimono, and practice. 

It took awhile for Venegas to fully commit to the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but once she did there was no looking back. 

“I didn’t like it at first. I wanted to dance and I continued to go back and forth from dance to jiu-jitsu until I was around 13 years old,” Venegas said. “The flexibility of dance kind of helped when I made the full transition to jiu-jitsu, I use it to my advantage.”

Ever since Venegas committed to jiu-jitsu, she took the time to not only learn but to appreciate the art itself. She was following in the footsteps of her father and her older brother. Both have won a decent amount of medals and belts, they both have black belts.

With the proper training Venegas received from her father, she prepared for tournaments all around the country. The studio is full of all the gold medals and belts Venegas has won. But all those medals and belts don’t matter anymore because Venegas has now completed the highest goal she has ever set herself: to become a black belt. 

After being in the competitive sport for almost 10 years, she can’t truly fathom how much the belt means to her. It will take a while for it to sink in, but for the time being, she is going to enjoy the moment. 

“There have been so many moments where my dad has pushed me for more. One time I won four gold medals at a tournament but I lost the fifth and my dad said it wasn’t good enough. So we got back into the gym and I wasn’t satisfied. My dad didn’t give me this black belt because I am his daughter, but because I have won and have proven to so many people that I am trained to the highest level,” Venegas said.

Mestre Decolecio Paulo is considered a high instructor of the art, teaching throughout many areas of Brazil. He is the founder of Deo Jiu Jitsu, with the headquarters in Brazil. But within all of his owned academy’s, Venegas is the third woman to complete the task of black belt. 

Venegas can now say that she is the only woman in Laredo to have a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The years of hard work has finally paid off and it is something she will cherish for the rest of her life. 

Now that the biggest item on her Jiu-Jitsu list is crossed off, she can look back and reflect on everything she has accomplished and why being a woman in the sport just means more. 

“I do think people have underestimated me because I am a woman. Some people come in here and say, ‘I don’t want to hurt her’ and that makes me mad. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean that I can’t push you down and beat you up,” Venegas said. “Because there aren’t many women in the sport, I had to compete against men and women. And not going to lie, I would win against the men, they don’t bother me at all.”

Venegas has now adapted to more of a teaching role, just like her dad. Their studio has a decent amount of students that come on a weekly basis. Students range in all different ages and belts from purple to white. 

A typical practice includes a soft warm up with stretches, lunges, burpee’s and jumping jacks. Then a transition into a tournament style where students duel each other. Jiu-jistu is a mixed martial art that contains the moves of grappling, ground fighting and submission holds. The focus is to take the opponent down to the ground and using specific techniques to force the opponent to give in to submission. A lot of current UFC fighters have a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. One of the greatest women UFC fighters of all time, Amanda Nunez has a black belt in this art. 

Venegas actively coaches by following her student and giving them advice along the way. She tells her student when they need to take a dominant stance and how they can grapple to get a submission. 

“My coaching style is just like dad. He would always tell us to be tough. Never be sorry, we use this art as self defense. If someone is going to attack you out in the everyday life, are you going to say ‘sorry’ or are you going to fight back and stick up for yourself?” Venegas said. 

Not only has her teaching style gotten her a long way but she is now encouraging women to join in on all the fun. 

Venegas wants all women to think of the times when they were vulnerable. If you are out with your friends, what if something happens? Are you willing to give up your belongings to a robber, or are you going to stick up for yourself and fight back? 

“I want women to have the self-defense. I hope they have the courage to at least try Jiu-Jitsu because it goes a long way. I can confidently say that I can defend myself in any situation and I want others to feel the exact same way. Theres never enough women that walk in our doors but I never want someone to be afraid. Jiu-Jitsu is the closest display of what can happen in any fight in the real world,” Venegas said. 

Not everyone will get a black belt in this art, but the constant motivation to move up in rankings is what drives people to continue the sport. Venegas has seen people come and go at the studio, some just aren’t cut out for the tall task of staying disciplined and putting in the long hours to get better. Venegas is thanking her father for the constant pursuit of flipping her from the dance world to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world. 

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Miguel Romero

Sumergido en el río de palabras y pasión, soy Miguel Romero, un Virtuoso de la Escritura Digital que transforma letras en melodías de conocimiento. Mi paso por la Universidad Pablo de Olavide sintonizó mi pluma con la sinfonía del aprendizaje. Como un maestro de las letras, mis escritos se deslizan desde las pistas atléticas hasta los encordados de los deportes de combate, desde las aulas de educación hasta los ecosistemas del medio ambiente y desde los senderos del turismo hasta las maravillas del viaje. Cada palabra es una nota que resuena con autenticidad, tejida con el hilo de la transparencia. Únete a mí en este viaje donde las páginas se convierten en escenarios de emoción, donde la velocidad de los deportes se fusiona con la pasión de la lucha, donde el saber florece en el entorno educativo y donde la naturaleza nos llama a explorar, empaparnos y preservar.

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