Competitor of the Month – Brittany Rice, Lotus Club
By Joshua Rozenboom
Lotus Club athlete Brittany Rice is no stranger to competition. Growing up in Oregon and being the first of triplets, she developed a competitive side at an early age, playing sports such as soccer, swimming and wrestling. Now, as a working mother of four children, Brittany has found an outlet for competition in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
“I walked into a gym determined to lose weight after my last child was born,” says Rice. “Roxanne, my fitness instructor, said I should try a BJJ class because I like to be competitive and love challenges.” Brittany had already lost 60 lbs. training with Roxanne, and having a desire to get back into wrestling, she gave Jiu Jitsu a try. That was in 2016, and she has been training at Lotus Club Fight and Fitness ever since. “Once I stepped onto the mat I fell in love with BJJ to the point of being addicted. It’s like fuel for my body and my mind so I can function everyday.”
After just two weeks of training, Brittany attended a tournament to support her team and “knew the competitive side wanted in.” Her coach asked what she thought, and Brittany clearly remembers her response. “I told him, I’m excited for the next one, but right now I feel like I’m at Disneyland and I can’t even ride the ride.” Three months later she got to “ride the ride” in her first competition. “I was nervous because I’m a planner,” she says, “but when competing there are two people with their own plans, and both want control. I had to remind myself who was hungrier for that control.”
Training and competing is a huge commitment for anyone, but add to that a full-time career and parenting, and it becomes chaotic. “I train mostly for competition, but also for the insanity of being a working mom of four. It’s my therapy, where I can leave all my problems at the door and just focus on what’s in front of me.” Brittany is grateful for her team and coaches at Lotus Club, where the schedule accommodates all walks of life. She also credits her job for never failing to accommodate her family and training commitments. “I have never worked for a company that totally supports my passion, they send me good luck text messages.” She acknowledges that a lot of sacrifices are made by her family and work, but admits that it makes her a better person: “Totally worth it in the end.”
Having travelled extensively for tournaments, including the New York Open, Brittany still enjoys competing in her home state. “I’ve already signed up for the Master’s Cup and I’m super excited to represent Lotus Club.” Noting that the percentage of male competitors is higher, she says the number of female competitors continues to grow, and even meets opponents from California and New Mexico who drive out just for AZBJJF events. After all of the preparation and hard work, Brittany loves “stepping on the mat mentally prepared. I have total trust in my coach and the training I have received.”
Brittany Rice has extensive experience in sports, beginning at a young age and continuing as a working parent. Even with a competitive nature and athletic background, she still has advice for anyone new to BJJ: “Advice I would have given myself as a white belt is to relax and don’t overthink things. When they teach you a move like how to do a clock choke don’t sit there watching and thinking to yourself how do you defend it; just first learn the move.”
She then goes a little deeper with a personal note about the importance of Jiu Jitsu in her life: “BJJ will change your life in many ways that will open doors, and revive so many things throughout your journey. All I have to say is I need BJJ more then it needs me. I can’t explain it, but it has saved my true self.”
Brittany will be competing this Sunday at the AZ Master’s Cup. Which competitors are you most looking forward to watching? Let us know in the comments!