Full Name: Hasti Kashfia
Belt Colour: White (4 stripes)
Professor: Santos Caban & Stan Beck
Short Term Goals: To work on my speed and defence. Also trying to find a way to work around flare-ups and pain cycles as they hit. Even if I can't train I will attend and take notes and make videos so I can train at home.
It's very inspiring and empowering to see practitioners speaking out about their health problems and still seeking what they enjoy regardless of what's trying to hold them back. Hasti Kashfia explains how she managed to find a way to gain the strength to continue living her passions despite what her doctor told her. It's always important to take care of your health but sometimes the best way to do that is by doing something you love. Learn more about her amazing story and become inspired to pursue your passions!
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
Since Jan 2018
Where do you train out of?
Do you prefer gi or no-gi?
Gi--hands down lol
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
I've only been at this school for about 3 months but they've been so supportive of my health issues. They push me when I need to be pushed but they're very encouraging when I get down on myself and feel like I'm not learning anything. The encouragement goes a long way when you're already hard on yourself.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that applies to everyday life?
I've always pushed through everything that has come my way in regards to my health. My doctors told me to get on disability about 12 years ago but that was my call to rise and fight. Jiujitsu embodies everything I've tried to apply to every area of my life and it's only made that part of me stronger. The biggest change has been the shift to let people in. I've usually kept people at an arm's length away but I've found a new family on the mats and that's been huge.
How often do you train?
4-5 days a week
What made you want to start training?
I had a parathyroid tumour removed in June 2017. Right before my surgery the tumour was pumping so much calcium into my system that I had lost the ability to move my limbs correctly, my legs would give out from under me, my eyesight was slowly slipping away, it altered my cognitive function, I had severe bone pain and started to develop osteoporosis at only 37. The bone pain was the most severe pain I had experienced in my life. 6 months after the tumour was removed I wanted to do something that scared me just as much the tumour did but that I had control over. So when my youngest son wanted to start BJJ I decided to start with him and push myself in all the areas of my life that I was struggling with after the tumour had come out.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
Without a doubt! It's like I found a missing part of myself on the mats.
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
For me, it's the constant ability to grow, to fail and try again. It's the community that rises up around you and it's a race against yourself every day. I also love the fact that now my husband and boys also train so it's a family thing.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
I've lost about 40 lbs (Bjj + Fasting) I've put on a ton of muscle and the past 2 months I've been a little bit more agile. My legs are starting to move again and my mind has gotten so much sharper.
Taken almost exactly one year apart. I’m determined AF to crush my goals this year. Progress seems slow but I’m also working out to put on some muscle and practicing jiujitsu 4-5 times a week. I think between these pics there’s at about a 40 lbs difference. Stick around because I’m going to crush 2019!
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
My faith in God is what has carried me the most when things get hard to push through but the mats are always a great place for me to sweat it out and feel light when I get stressed. It is the best way for me to work out my stress.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
No, it's been a beautiful journey so far.
This thing called jiujitsu can really screw with your head. I have one good day every few weeks then I feel stuck. I struggle with sequencing, transitions, and not getting caught. Some days I can see my next move somewhere in my head so I’m hoping in the next year I can sequence at some point. In the meantime can I please stay a white belt forever? On days like this, I wish I could give my stripes back— because it feels like day one.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
I would tell them it's scary, and it's hard, but it's also more rewarding than I can ever put into words. It hurts and nothing about it is easy but it feeds the body, mind and soul. I would say commit to going for at least 3 months before deciding if it's for you or not.
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
Of course, at some point in my life, I'd love to work my way towards my black belt--I'll probably be 70 when I get it LOL but I want to inspire more girls to get involved early in life. I've never liked the Princess persona and BJJ can really empower girls throughout their life.
What’s your favourite move?
I don't have a favourite move but I like to use pressure (especially shoulder pressure) and if I can make it to the back that's my favourite place to be.
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
I would love to see that! I'd also love to see it in the Olympics one day.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
I have the best training partners. The women I've trained with have been so supportive since day one. I've trained at two different gyms and all of them have been nothing short of amazing. I've only recently started training with men and it's been humbling and amazing. I get tossed around and swept left and right but I love that no one babies me. They push me to work on my technique since I can't muscle my way through anything but still keep me safe. I love seeing them every day and love training with all of them.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
Using my weight to my advantage my hard for me. I think as women we want nothing more than be "light and dainty" and to suddenly want to "feel heavy" and use pressure felt foreign and uncomfortable but now I don't think twice about it. I've learned to look at my body in a completely different way.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
I've been very open about all my health issues.
hashimotos, Adenomyosis, hypothyroidism, I had a parathyroid tumour removed and that's something I monitor, I had a partial bowel recession 14 years ago, and I deal with a good amount of chronic pain.
But I get up and fight and show up every day. I want people to know that our bodies will always have ups and downs but we can push our minds beyond. I want anyone with any injury or health issue to know that life goes on and you can do anything you set your mind to. It might be at a different pace than other people, or you might have more bad days than good days for a season but you keep going because you deserve to love and live your passions out.
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
I joke that the gym is my "bar" (because who drinks when you train) and no matter what is going on in my life I can and work it out on the mats and have my training partners help me work it out of my system. I can get anxious at times and that's been the biggest help is resetting my body and calming down.
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What was your first thought when you learned you had tumours in your body? Were they cancerous?
You described your reasoning for wanting to try jiu-jitsu was because you wanted to do something terrifying? Why terrifying and not comfortable and fun?
What's it about jiu-jitsu that scared you at first?
Learning how to defend yourself is an important lesson for anyone. You never know when you will need to use those tools to potentially save your life or the life of a loved one. Having the confidence and peace of mind of knowing you can be safe on your own is a tremendous perk to have. Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts have empowered millions of people to live a life without fear. Click the image above and learn about someone that preserved through a terrible experience and proved that past victims can find their form of happiness once again.
What is Kashfia Media? and where can people learn more about it?
What is enneagram? and how can it help people?
Do you have any advice for someone that wants to start living a healthier life but doesn't know where to start?
When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?
"We are all broken, that's how the light gets in" -Ernest Hemingway