Meet Jui Jitsu leader Dawna Gonzales!

Meet Jui Jitsu leader Dawna Gonzales!

As we near the release of GoSOLO, the most informative safety app available, we wanted to introduce you to some of the collaborators that are bringing you safety content in form of video that will inspire, prepare and educate you.  

We sat down with one of our leaders and self-defense coaches, Dawna Gonzales, as she prepares her content for you to be more mindful, aware and prepared. We are really excited for you to meet and learn from her. You can find her videos under SOLO Education within the GoSOLO App out next month!

SOLO: Give us your elevator pitch? 

Dawna: I am a black belt in 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, a women's self defense coach and a certified Life Coach. I have a two part mission. First, to help women feel stronger, safer and more confident in their bodies and in their ability to defend themselves. Second, to help them discover, define and express the most powerful badass version of themselves. 

SOLO: How did you get into Jiu Jitsu? 

Dawna: I started off just taking boxing and muay thai classes for fun and exercise. One day after muay thai class, a friend asked the coach of the jiu jitsu class if we could join in and he said yes. I had no idea what jiu jitsu was, or what I was getting into, but all of the other classes were so much fun, so why not?! Even though I didn’t understand what was going on and it would actually be a while before I did, because it’s like learning a language, I really liked the people in the class and the teacher and how it felt like a community. So I just kept coming back simply because I liked being there. As it turned out, that coach was Eddie Bravo and those classes were basically the beginning of what is now a world wide nogi jiu jitsu system. Simply put, I accidently fell in love with the sport because I liked hanging out there. Then I kept showing up for 12 more years and became one of the first few women to earn a black belt in 10P and now I am lucky enough to travel around the country teaching self defense based on that system.

SOLO: You talk about Empowerment, what does that mean to you? 

Dawna: I love the word empowerment, because I think it manifests differently for everyone. Personally, I’m empowered by doing the sport of jiu jitsu and learning to own the fact that I don’t fit inside many conventional boxes as far as career and my personality goes. But someone else’s version of empowerment is going to look completely different from mine. That’s what’s so great about it. Empowerment is whatever you need it to be. 

SOLO: What is the connection between the mind and physical body that enables your practice to be empowering? 

Dawna: I think anytime that you push yourself outside of your comfort zone in either category, you’re going to grow. So when you can combine the two the rewards are multiplied. A phrase you’ll hear a lot among people who train jiu jitsu is that “you learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”  Once you master that concept and then learn to be strategic while in that uncomfortable state, then you can apply it to anything whether it is a person physically fighting you or a problem you have to solve. That’s an empowering feeling.

SOLO: What kind of change can one expect to see in their life once they start to incorporate this kind of training in their life? 

Dawna: The list is endless but a few things are definitely more confidence, better dexterity, strength, stress reduction, flexibility and cardio.

SOLO: What is the best advice you can give to a beginner wanting to learn self-defense? 

Dawna: Just keep showing up. Learning any martial art, but especially jiu jitsu is like learning a new language. You wouldn’t go to a Japanese class and expect to be able to write a book in that language within a month, right? Same thing with jiu jitsu. Keep showing up and learning one thing at a time. Eventually you’ll have a full vocabulary. 

SOLO: How can we find out more about you? 

Dawna: All of my social media is @dawnagonzales10p

SOLO: What should I know that I didn’t ask? 

Dawna: You’ll never be “done” learning self defense or martial arts skills. In order to ever use the techniques effectively they will have to be an ongoing practice in your life. Just like a spoken language, you have to use it or lose it.

Dawna is hosting a woman's self defense seminar in San Diego on Feb 27th! SOLO Secure is giving away 5 spots, check out @solo_secure to learn more.
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