In just four years of training at Easton BJJ, Elizabeth Tran has already accomplished what takes some jiu jitsu players a lifetime: she has gone from being the greenest beginner to become a high-level purple belt and winning multiple world championships. Always seeking new learning experiences and the toughest competitors, she has traveled from her home base of Denver, Colorado to competitions all over the map – Grappler’s Quest in Las Vegas, the PanAms in Connecticut, the Caxcudo Absolutes in Massachusetts, to name but a few. At 23, she is now a world champion, having taken her division at Worlds at every belt level and in both gi and no-gi categories.
The ultimate dream for any jiu jitsu player, however, is to make the pilgrimage to Brazil to train in the sport’s birthplace. Tran took the opportunity to do so this past summer. She spent a month in Brazil and divided her time between Grappling Fight Team (GFT) in Meier, ProCombat in Campo Grande and GFT in Recreio. Before leaving, Tran noted, “My biggest thing is always learning and just challenging myself. We’re just going to go out there and train, have a good time, and hopefully compete.”
While in Brazil she trained with other Easton BJJ teammates Phil Joo, Mary Hatcliff and Devin Rourke, people whom, in addition to the Easton professors, she views as instrumental to her success as a grappler. During the past four years she has trained at every Easton school, has gone to as many seminars as possible, and makes it a point to learn from training partners and coaches alike. It is the combination of her own dedication and hard work, coupled with the expertise of her peers in the Easton community, that have made her such a successful athlete.
“We’re such a big family, [and] anybody I talk to I learn so much from – advice, technique, everything. Honestly, I could name every single person and how they’ve affected me. Any opportunity that I have through Easton I’ve taken advantage of, and it’s made such a difference in my training.”
Tran has not been victorious in every match, but she takes the few losses she has had in stride, chalking it up to just another opportunity to grow in the sport; “I like those matches because you can prepare yourself every day, you can train all the time and prep yourself for everything, and your match can only last 10 seconds! Then you wake up, and you learn from it.”
On the last day of Tran’s time in Brazil, only hours before having to catch a plane to return home, she competed in the X-Combat tournament in Rio de Janiero. She finished all of her matches with a bow-and-arrow choke, once again dominating the competition in her division. For any Easton BJJ students interested in testing their skills through competition. Her dedication and enthusiasm for personal growth are inspiring and worthy of emulation by all.