SEDA College English Teacher Wins Gold at 2023 IBJJF Master International Europe

SEDA College English Teacher and JSBJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Esther Reilly competed in the IBJJF Master International Europe on 30 April 2023 in Barcelona, Spain and won gold. Esther fought two competitors and won both fights by points in her category. Not only was this her first big competition, but it was also her first gold medal win.   

Here are some words from Esther:

I never really thought about competing in a large-scale competition, let alone in a European championship. I competed several times in local and internal competitions and always came in 2nd and 3rd place. There were two competitions in which I didn’t make it through to the semi-finals and didn’t place for a medal, and because of this, I never thought of myself as a great competitor. The losses gave me a negative mindset even though my teammates told me it was not a loss, it was a learning experience, and ultimately, they were right. Whether winning or losing, I gained something far more important: the experience of competing and the drive to train more. 

I came into this championship with a different mindset. I decided to focus more on my training and techniques, and less on the result. Of course, the nerves and anxiety were there, but I listened to some podcasts to set my mind up for success, thought about my strategy for the fights, and most importantly, decided to believe in myself. 2nd and 3rd place before didn’t matter. For this championship, I believed in my jiu-jitsu. And the results came. I want to thank everyone at SEDA College and JSBJJ for their support.

Whether I win gold, silver, or bronze in the future, I am a better jiu-jitsu fighter today than I was yesterday because I believe in myself and my jiu-jitsu. And that’s what matters to me. I have so much to learn and work on, but I am improving every single day and I will keep moving forward. 

For my English students: 

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Learning anything, whether it’s English or jiu-jitsu or whatever interests you, is a never-ending grind. It’s a lifetime of practising, learning, and improving. There are two things I remind myself of every day: 1) have confidence but don’t be afraid to make mistakes and 2) never give up. I talk to my students about having the confidence to speak, read, and write in English, but also accepting that they will mistakes while developing these skills. Making mistakes is part of the learning process that we need to trust, and over time, things will start to make more sense. This is how I approach learning jiu-jitsu. I make mistakes all the time. I forget techniques and I get smashed a lot on the mat because I train with highly talented and hardworking fighters, but I always get back up and keep trying and coming to class. And that part is about never giving up. No matter how many times I get knocked down or feel frustrated, I will keep trying. That work ethic and dedication, combined with finally believing in myself led me to a gold medal in the 2023 IBJJF Master International Europe. Keep working on your English every day and never give up. Be humble. Be teachable. Always have a good attitude. Your gold medal is coming. 

Believe in yourself.