One could say more often than not a strong team starts with a strong leader. A leader who truly cares for each member of the team. A leader who supports each individual’s growth regardless of circumstance or competitive prowess. A leader who wholeheartedly believes in the overarching goal and progression of the team.

Consistency of this type of leadership fosters the hard workers, the dream-chasers, the impassioned. It creates an environment where each member is just as focused on lifting up those around them as they are on their own development. It’s this mindset that moves the team forward. It’s this mindset that sustains the collective effort towards the greatness of the team.

Of course, this depiction doesn’t necessarily speak to all great teams as each team’s story is their own. However, on a beautiful November morning in Atlanta, Georgia, an example of this evolution was put on display at the very first women’s affiliate training at Team Roberto Traven BJJ Headquarters.

The excitement was overwhelming as over 40 women from gyms all over the southeast gathered to learn and train. Roberto Traven himself, a 6th degree black belt, was there to teach and oversee the event as well as female leaders and students from each gym. It was amazing to see so many women fill the room as it wasn’t that many years ago when there were just a few women on the team. What was once a unilateral love and support from one coach to a few students was now a formidable system of love and support barely contained by the surrounding four walls. From someone that was there when we were just a few, the feeling was indescribable.

Being a woman in a male-dominated sport can feel like an uphill battle, but having a coach, team, and environment that supports growth equally can make the ground feel much more level. If this notion feels distant from your reality, start small; invite a friend to class or reach out to a new woman in your gym. When we as women support one another wholeheartedly, our individual and collective potential for growth increases in many amazing, immeasurable ways. Together we train, together we grow, together we Elevate.