The Women of Easton: Shalane
Shalane Pescevic found Easton Training Center at the end of 2012, and her husband and son began training in 2013. Despite feeling a bit like a “scaredy cat” who generally resists trying new things, especially things involving people on top of her, she reluctantly joined them and started training in the women’s class.
Today, Shalane helps run Easton Centennial as its Academy Operations Director, holds a four-stripe purple belt, and both her coworkers and students alike (yep, she also now teaches a women’s class herself!) say that she’s the heartbeat of the academy.
In a place like Easton where we see so many women on the mats, it’s easy to take for granted that this isn’t always the case in martial arts. We tend to assume the staples in our community have always been there, forgetting that they too started somewhere.
The third episode of our docu-series, The Women in Easton, highlights the perspective and journey of Shalane Pescevic.
The Academy’s Heartbeat
“[BJJ] never seemed like something I’d be interested in,” Shalane says, “but as a smaller lady, I knew I needed some self defense.”
What began as a commitment to learning to protect herself soon became one of the biggest passions in Shalane’s life. She calls herself the ultimate hobbyist, training between five and 10 times a week.
In her early days at the academy, she began with front desk work: checking people into class, auditing class lists and promotions, doing sales. This became more than simply a part-time gig, Shalane actively cared about the academy; it felt like her home so she wanted to take care of it like her home. It’s the little things that make a difference — picking up a stray piece of trash from the ground or straightening the merchandise.
A culture of community and comradery can ingrain itself so deeply in a school that it becomes more of a feeling — we can’t tell why we like a space, we just feel it. Unless we’ve trained at another school with a different culture, sometimes we may not even know differently.
Jiu Jitsu has given Shalane a sense of empowerment on a whole new spectrum as she continues to set and crush new goals on the mat — from overcoming self-doubt to knowing that she’s actively creating a safer place for herself and her family.
“It’s something I’ve never had in my life before,” Shalane says. “There’s something special about BJJ and this community that makes me want to keep learning.”
We believe that one of the reasons Easton Training Center has this special feeling is that not only are the voices of its women heard, but the company has intentionally placed women in roles where they steer the ship — from coaching on the mats to helping develop internal systems for the entire company.
Check out The Women of Easton Episode 2: Sachi!