“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare
A quote some of you may have heard a handful of times. It is a quote that first came to my mind when thinking about how to write an article on Ashley Webb. A woman who went from being a mother watching her husband and children training from the parent’s room at Team Rivas BJJ; to the 2019 IBJJF blue belt No-Gi World Champion in right around 3 years. A feat many would view as impossible.
“I stepped on the mats telling myself I was going to win.” – Ashley Webb
The recipe for victory is complex and varies for everyone, trial and error will help you discover your own recipe. But there is a constant in all recipes. Self-belief—it is the key ingredient. If you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, then you might want to re-evaluate your “Why”. And if you haven’t found your “why” yet then keep searching and keep grinding until you find it; and you will find it.
“I want to prove to my kids and to myself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.” – Ashley Webb
The “Why” is something that some people don’t even realize exists until they are faced with a major obstacle along their path. I say path because before you find a “why” you first must have a goal. Goals determine the path you follow. The larger the obstacle is, the more powerful the “why” must be to overcome that obstacle.
In the past I have heard people say they are too old to start Jiu-Jitsu. That is in no reality a legitimate reason to not train, especially when the person saying this isn’t even out of their twenties. Ashley made the leap from parent’s room to the training floor at the age of 36 and became a World Champion. Now, I don’t know about your personal beliefs, but I have always told myself if a human being can do it, then so can I.
People will find almost any excuse not to do something challenging. I think it is part of human nature to take the easy road. During this COVID-19 fiasco, Ashley suffered an affliction from a Pulmonary Embolism. If you unaware of what this is, it is a blood clot that lodges itself within an artery of the lung. This is a life-threatening issue; her incident was quite serious. The Doctors put her on blood thinners and told her absolutely no training for 6-9 months. I have witnessed people quit entirely when confronted with an obstacle much less intimidating than this. Ashley however, is on the mat every day possible, watches the instruction, takes avid notes, and continues to learn from the sidelines. That is the drive and dedication of a Champion, it takes that level of discipline to accomplish seemingly impossible goals.
As a man it is hard for me to fathom the challenges women face in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. I feel like I ask women all the time if it poses any particular challenges that I am unaware of. A commonality that I find in responses is the lack of competitors and the feeling that male teammates are “taking it easy”. Both are understandable challenges. I’ll clear one of them up right now. With Ashley, if I remotely take it easy for a second, I will be submitted. She is just as lethal as anyone on the mats.
As for the issue of competitors, all I can say is COMPETE! Put it out there, have fun! Test your Jiu-Jitsu!
I may be completely biased because Ashley is one of my teammates. But she is one of the most inspiring people I’ve had the honor of training with at Team Rivas BJJ. She truly exemplifies a never quit mentality, and that is hard to find today. If you ever get the opportunity to train with or converse with Ashley, you will not regret it! Or any of the Webb family for that matter, they are all amazing people. I have some questions planned for her husband Dustin Webb as well, so stay tuned for that!
Until next time! See you on the mats!