Written By: Natalie Whitson
Oregon has a proud wrestling tradition, and the Rose City (Portland’s nickname) abounds with grapplers. Across town, Louisa Bruschi is a purple belt out of Five Rings Jiu Jitsu. A practitioner of the gentle art for seven years, Louisa took up Jiu Jitsu when she needed the credit of a gym class to graduate from college. She signed up, competed in her first tournament six weeks later, and became — in her own words — a terminal case pretty quickly.
Louisa’s appreciation of Jiu Jitsu is similar to Amanda’s. Says Louisa, “it’s honed my competitiveness and given me a community. I’m very stubborn and finding something so difficult and evolving is incredibly satisfying. I moved around a lot growing up, so I’ve always made a ‘home’ through things I did. I can’t imagine centering my life around anything better”. Louisa recommends Jiu Jitsu to people who like a constant challenge and who take pride in being sweaty; she admits it is a tough sport, and not for everyone. Despite her competitive success, Louisa considers her highest Jiu Jitsu achievement to be coaching, and being useful in the thing that she loves. Louisa’s advice for other women is to train hard, to train every day if you can. “Find something you like in Jiu Jitsu and learn everything there is to know about it. Don’t be afraid to be obsessed with this — it’s really that awesome!”