The World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship 2017 will be taking place in Long Beach, California from May 31st to June 4th.
As always, there will be a good contingent of UKBJJA athletes heading out to win some medals for the UK. In the run up to the competition, we will be profiling some of these athletes. Wish them luck!
Athlete Profile: Fiona Middleton
Tell us your name & nickname, if you have one?
My Name is Fiona Middleton but most people just call me Fi.
What’s your belt rank & division?
I was given my blue belt just under a year ago by my Dad Rodger Middleton who’s an RGA black belt. I fight in the light feather weight adult division, -53.5kg.
Where do you train & what team do you represent?
I train with my Dad at his school Hillingdon BJJ and at Roger Gracie Academy HQ in London.
What have been your main achievements/results/medals so far?
So far at Blue belt my main achievements have been:
IBJJF European Nogi Gold 2017
IBJJF Rome Open Silver 2017
IBJJF London Winter Gold 2017
IBJJF Paris Open Gold 2017
English Open Nogi Gold 2017
IIBJJF London Fall Gold 2016
What got you into jiu jitsu? What do you get out of it?
My first experience of Jiu Jitsu was watching my younger sister Eve winning the English Open at orange belt in 2013. After that I started taking her to her classes at RGA HQ, but I just used to sit and watch her train. I really used to enjoy watching the classes but I didn’t even consider joining in. It was my Dad who eventually persuaded me to give it a go. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I haven’t looked back since.
I really feel that Jiu Jitsu has given me a second family in the form of my teammates, as well new sense of focus. I train pretty much every day and also help my Dad teach the kids classes at Hillingdon BJJ. Being on the mat helps me de-stress and forget about any problems I have. It just really makes me a happier person.
Is this your first time at the Worlds? Do you know who else is in your division? What have you been doing to prepare?
This is my first time at competing at the Worlds and I’m really excited. I don’t know who’s in my division, I’m expecting there to be a lot of tough opponents. I know the standard will be exceptionally high, but I’m part of a strong team who have been helping me prepare. I’m looking forward to testing myself against the best blue belts in the world.
At RGA I’m lucky enough to have a lot of female training partners that all have very varied styles. We have a really strong ladies team headed by Yas Wilson, with a lot of girls competing regularly. We’ve been doing a lot of specific sparring and plenty of hard rolls to make sure that cardio won’t be a problem.
What is your favourite position/technique? Be as (dis)honest as you like!
In training I like to mix it up, I get bored of playing just the bottom or just the top position all the time. I’m comfortable playing guard but I’m also confident in my passing abilities so it just depend on how I’m feeling that day.
What are your plans for after the worlds?
June will be quite a busy month for me. After the Worlds, I’m planning on competing in Madrid at the IBJJF Spanish Nationals as well as the IBJJF British Nationals in Crystal Palace. Outside of that I just want to train as much as I can, keep improving and keep competing.
What advice would you give to somebody just starting to compete in BJJ?
As a blue belt, I still have a lot to learn about competing myself. But one of the things I have learnt, is that you have to enjoy it. Soak up the atmosphere, support your teammates and enjoy the experience. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping onto the mats and giving everything you have, or hearing your teammates cheering for you win or lose. It’s the best feeling ever so just enjoy every second.
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