Jen Locke is sweetness and light and maybe just a tad goofy off of the mat, but get her on the mat and she transforms into a killer. Jen Locke trains at the Ralph Gracie Academy, a place which has a long tradition students who are aggressive and submission hungry.Jen Locke is sweetness and light and maybe just a tad goofy off of the mat, but get her on the mat and she transforms into a killer. Jen Locke trains at the Ralph Gracie Academy, a place which has a long tradition students who are aggressive and submission hungry. Even though Jen has a stellar competition record and a very high percentage of submission victories (she loves the armbar), she seems content to quietly train and compete. Now after having won the purple/brown/black division of the Pan American of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Jennifer is stepping up along side her high profile teammates and forcing the world to recognize her as a top athlete in the emerging and growing Women`s Grappling Scene.
OntheMat: How long have you been Jiu-Jitsu training for?
Jennifer Locke: I’ve been getting my ass kicked at Ralph Gracie’s for a little over 5 years now.
OTM: Did you train in anything else prior to training jiu-jitsu?
JL: I had been training (very informally) at submission wrestling for about 4 years before I started at Ralph’s.
OTM: What made you start training?
JL: Grappling is in my genes; my father was the New England wrestling champ back in his day and he used to throw me and my sister around when we were little. I loved it!
So, when a friend of mine told me about this group of people she knew who would get together and wrestle, I had to check it out. Thus began my long, sado-masochistic relationship with grappling.
OTM: What’s your training regiment like?
JL: It really varies. Anywhere from 2-5days a week.
OTM: Do you prefer training with the guys or the girls?
JL: I genuinely do not have a gender preference; my favorite is training with people who are better than me and very technical.
OTM: How do the guys in the academy react to training with you?
JL: Most of them are great. We’ll get the occasional guy who DOES NOT like the idea of losing to a woman and will do anything to avoid it. At this point, I am over having to prove myself, so I just refuse to train with spazzy ego-cases. I got my rib broken doing that once and it was not worth it, let me tell you!
OTM: You have a rare opportunity among women to have a sparring female sparring partner of your level in Kelly Paul (most of the outstanding women out there are solo acts). What’s it like training with Kelly, and how doyou push each other?
JL: Thank God for Kelly!! I love this woman with all my heart and am very grateful to have her as my training partner. She is tough as nails, very strong and technical. We know each other so well that it forces us to work on any weaknesses we may have in our games. It can get pretty frustrating, but we go back and forth with who dominates so it seems to even out in the end. By the way, she also took first place at the Pan Ams in the weight division above me. Go Kelly!
OTM: You’ve competed a lot in your career. Tell us about your competition history.
JL: Jeez. I have done an ass-load of tournaments. I generally do quite well in tournament and have placed in almost every one.
OTM: How do you prepare for competition?
JL: I train a lot, do a ton of cardio, and work on my head-space. Each time I’ve lost in competition, it’s been mainly because I went out on the mat with the wrong attitude.
OTM: What is your most significant accomplishment in jiu-jitsu?
JL: I am thrilled that I won first place at the Pan Ams this year in the Purple/Brown/Black Belt category. Can I retire now, please?
OTM: Take us through your gold medal performance at the Pan Ams!
JL: I can barely remember my fights, to tell you the truth. I arm-locked the first and third women I fought. I guess the most exciting moment for me was when I swept the black belt lady. She had a great base so I didn’t think I was going to get it. Luckily, the sweep I did took me right to mount, so that was a big 6 points! I attempted a spin choke at one point and an arm-lock at another, but to be honest, I was mainly trying to hold on to my points. I’m not usually a staller, but I really wanted to win this year. Oh well.
OTM: What goals do you feel you want to accomplish?
JL: I’d like to get my black belt before I’m 40, for Christ’s sake!
OTM: What do you enjoy doing besides jiu-jitsu?
JL: I enjoy eating treats, singing in my band, sophomoric humor, acting like a jerk, going incognito, and showing off.
OTM: What do you think of cauliflower ears on guys?
OTM: What do you think of cauliflower ears on girls?
OTM: Who are your favorite Jiu Jitsu or MMA fighters?
JL: I never pay attention to that crap. For instance, when we watch the UFC, I usually root for whoever I think is sexiest.
OTM: Who would win in a fight between WonderWoman and Supergirl?
JL: Wonder Woman, honey, because she’s a WOMAN.
OTM: Any advice for the women out there?
JL: Hang in there, girls, and stick together! Some day we’ll have our moment in the sun.
OTM: Anyone you want to give a shout out to (friends, training partners, sponsors etc?
JL: A big love smooch to: the most dedicated teacher ever, Kurt Osiander, my personal coach and other boyfriend, Mikyo Riggs, my eternally patient sweetheart, St. Luke Stewart, my bitch and poop phone, Kelly Paul, and finally, all the tough broads out there that have the balls to keep training in the face of constant ass-kicking, sexism, marginalization, and tiny numbers-ROCK ON, LADIES!!
OTM: Thanks for your time and congrats
JL: Thanks, Gumby, you’re a peach!