Full Name: Yasmin Morup
Belt Colour: Blue
Professor: Will Grundhauser
Short Term Goals: Win my upcoming amateur MMA fight as well as get more involved in the BJJ scene in Toronto when I move back there at the end of May.
Yasmin's story is filled with ups and downs and it's truly inspiring how she manages to maintain a positive attitude despite all that she has gone through. From eating disorders, sexual/violent assault, toxic relationships, anxiety and depression, her story is something many people can learn from. She is a great example of how anyone can pick themselves back up and build others up as well.
In this article we discuss varies topics and important issues like how important it is to remove yourself from negative people, the difference between sport jiu-jitsu and combat self-defence, lessons from being physically attacked and much more. Read the full article and learn more about this positive, creative and inspiring Martial Artist.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
3 years in May!
Where do you train out of?
The Grindhouse when I'm in the states, Primal MMA and other B
ody of Four affiliate schools when I'm in Toronto.
Do you prefer gi or no-gi?
No gi, but I do still love my gi days!
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
For sure. Professor Grundhauser has been an amazing mentor for me and has really taught me the importance of believing in yourself and just going for whatever it is you want to achieve. Throughout my three years of training, I have been so lucky to be coached under a number of incredible instructors, some being in different martial arts other than just jiu-jitsu, that I am incredibly grateful for who have provided me with some of the best advice and inspire me so much.
After two years of consistent training, I was given the honour of receiving my blue belt from Will Grundhauser at The Grindhouse on Tuesday night. The amount of growth and change bjj/martial arts has given me is unmeasurable and I can’t even begin to express my gratefulness for the new outlook in life it has given me. I can’t wait for what this next journey has in store for me. OSS 💙 vibes
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that applies to everyday life?
Learning to adapt to the situation at hand, regardless if it is stressful as well as being able to make decisions under that stress. It also has helped me shake the worry of looking like a goof when I go and try something new even outside the martial arts realm. It's a lot easier to laugh off making common mistakes when you aren't so wrapped up about looking suave all the time!
How often do you train?
I typically train 6 days a week, 3 of the days I do Crossfit before jits, practice striking probably the same amount of time as jits, do MMA classes twice a week, and just cardio/bag work on Saturday's and Sundays.
What made you want to start training?
Getting involved in martial arts was something I was interested in but I was never sure where to start. My dad had started training at a different school and fell in love with it pretty much immediately, which piqued my interest to try jiu-jitsu specifically. It wasn't till after I had gotten back from a music festival where I had been violently assaulted that I knew I needed some way to defend myself. It wasn't long after that I walked into The Grindhouse and never looked back.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
It's just so fun and such a positive outlet for stress relief. It's like solving as a never-ending puzzle, and the satisfaction in finally learning a submission/position/series is like no other. I've always loved being a student, so I think that also adds to why I've become so addicted.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
Oh man, so much. Like I said previously when I first started no athletic ability, never played sports growing up, and being on the taller side, overall coordination was a little hard for me to grasp! So it's really helped me with that, as well as gotten me and kept me in shape.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
So, so much. When I was first starting, I was also struggling with an eating disorder, as well as I just always have been super anxious. Jiu-jitsu made me realize that I needed to start taking care of my body by fueling it properly, helping me kick the unhealthy eating habits, as well as a way to release a lot of that anxious energy I carry around with me. I am so much happier since I found jiu-jitsu and martial arts.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
I always say I'd like to have started earlier, but I feel like I appreciate it a lot more being where I was in my life when I did. So, I guess not!
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Just go for it! Don't let the fear of not knowing what you're doing right off the bat steer you away from giving it a try!
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
My husband and I have dreams of opening up our own school one day! With that, I would love to create a welcoming, all-inclusive environment for people to learn in. I want to inspire people, women especially, in hopes to show that it isn't just a "boy's club" and spread the empowerment.
Aside from that, I really would like to compete for more as well as travel and go to schools all over the world. I've also always been interested in film making and have a lot of ideas around creating jits documentaries/content in general, so it'd be really rad to dip into the realm as well.
What’s your favourite move?
That's hard! I love working from the crucifix and all of the arm attacks.
Rolling (surviving) with Professor @grundhauserwill two seconds after the first picture was taken he magically got to my back and choked me out 😂 Again, so grateful for Professor, my gym, my teammates, and every day I get to spend on the mats.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
Probably would never have left my home town, surrounding myself with non-motivated people, and for sure wouldn't have ever met my husband. So not in the best way!
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
For sure! Jiu-jitsu makes the world a better place!
Noon rolls have been freakin’ stellar ✨ I’m seriously so happy I made myself get out of bed and put some work in. Feeling very thankful today for being physically able to participate in this sport and be a part of such a wonderful community 💕Oss
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
It's hard to pick just one because everyone I have the pleasure of training with is so inspiring and motivating. Everyone at my gym is like family, so it always feels like we build each other up and hold each other accountable.
My husband, Connor, is amazing at always making sure I'm on my grind and is a huge driving force for me to achieve my goals in and out of the sport. Because he also is so dedicated to Jiu-jitsu/martial arts I am always inspired to keep up and do my absolute best.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
Slow down and every detail matters! That and not to be such a spaz.
If you could roll with any practitioner, dead or alive, who would it be?
That's so hard! I'd say either Catherine Fuhro Perret or Gianni Gripo!
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
My love for the sport and how much it's improved my life!
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
I'd say it really helped me in two very transitional points in my life. I was in a toxic relationship and was struggling with depression before I finally decided to walk into The Grindhouse. Jiu-jitsu provided me with a sense of escapism that cleared the fog that had settled in my mind that made me think that the way I was living was the only way I could. Because I was feeling physically stronger, that made me feel like I could be mentally strong too. Like I stated earlier, it helped me get over an eating disorder which was very much linked to feeling like I wasn't in control of what was happening around me, so I could at least control that - as con-deluded as that now sounds.
The people I trained with believed in me and encouraged my aspirations while the "friends" outside of the gym laughed at me and tried to discourage me, making it very clear that I needed to weed out the negativity. After a few months of training, I decided to take a step in chasing my childhood dream of going to school to become a makeup artist and I applied to a school in Toronto. Soon after getting accepted into the program, I ended that relationship - ready to turn over a new leaf in a city where no one knew me.
It wasn't long after I got to Toronto that I found Primal MMA. Being that I moved there alone and had no friends, I would go there immediately after school and spend the entire evenings there training. This made the move away a smoother transition. It helped me make friends way faster and gave me the chance to meet my now husband who had also recently started training there. I can't say enough how thankful I am for jiu-jitsu.
Do you believe jiu-jitsu is a good form of self-defence?
Yes, with some modifications in street settings. I think people need to be aware that there is for sure a difference between a street situation and sport jiu-jitsu, so I think it is important to train with that in mind. I like to train combat jiu-jitsu to help more with the self-defence aspect cause it forces you to change your thinking and keep your defence sharp!
I agree with you! Sport Jiu-Jitsu is amazing is many ways and can be very useful for sure! But knowing how to defend yourselves from strikes is crucial as attackers will often use any means necessary to impose their will. I hope more people will train combat jiu-jitsu as a form of self-defence and I also hope attackers will realize the negative impact of their actions and stop themselves from acting out on them.
What happened at that music festival that caused you to begin training and are you more confident in your abilities to defend yourself now that you have experience in BJJ?
*This might be triggering*
Three years ago I was at a punk rock/deathgrass/metal music festival that was taking place in the backwoods somewhere in Wisconsin. I was in the mosh pit dancing around with everyone while one of my favourite bands was playing when this guy who was more than twice my size grabbed my shirt and punched me in the back and side really hard. I had been in many mosh pits in my day and could feel the difference between someone bumping into you and someone trying to purposefully hurt you, but I did my best to ignore it and continued around the pit.
Next time I went around in the circle, he punched me directly in the face. Again, trying to have a good time and not think it was intentional, I kept dancing, now trying to avoid where he was, but he now began to almost pursue me and come after me, and proceeded to punch me in the face around 5 times. It wasn't until he violently ripped and groped at the front of my shirt/chest that someone ripped me out of the pit. That was the extent of help I had gotten, for there was no real security at the event - another reason my boyfriend at the time wanted to avoid further conflict with the guy.
I had never felt so scared and helpless in my life, but the one thing that that experience taught me was that despite the fact that I had been hit, HARD, that many times, I was still alive and standing and it made me wonder how differently that situation would have panned out if I did know how to defend myself. Jiu-jitsu has made me more confident and the other thing that this experience taught me is sometimes you're the only person that can help you, even in a crowd of people, you can only rely on yourself to keep you safe - and I'm so happy that I have jiu-jitsu as a tool to help if a situation ever arises.
Thank you for sharing this experience. I understand that it might not always be easy to do relive these memories but I'm sure it will help others that may have gone through a similar situation. Sometimes you really are the only person that can help yourself out of a bad situation. This goes beyond a music concert as well and into everyday life. This doesn't mean don't ask for help or feel weak for doing so but it's important to also have that inner strength and perseverance. Being able to bring the fighter out of you is needed sometimes.
Do you have any advice for those that's been a victim of violent incidents and is struggling with (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) PTSD?
Don't hesitate to reach out and talk to someone. Therapy doesn't make you weak and your past doesn't have to define you!
What would you like to say to all the violent attackers out there?
Send me location.
Do you train any other forms of martial arts? If so, which ones?
Yes! I train Muay Thai, boxing, and compete in amateur MMA.
What got you interested in becoming a makeup artist and is there any way for people to see more of your work?
I'd say up was a mixture of growing up doing theatre as well as a love for horror movies! It was always another outlet for self-expression for me! You can follow my makeup Instagram account: @yasminmorup
What would you like to say to everyone that's supported you along your journey?
Thank you and I love you! Words cannot express how much the support means to me.
When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?
Someone that contributed creatively, inspired and built up others, as well as someone that spread positivity.