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Spotlight on Maria Ignatova

Maria has been a student at Gracie Barra O’Fallon since 2015 and is currently a 10th Grader @ Fort Zumwalt West High School.

She has dedicated herself to competition in bjj since the age of 10. She holds many Bjj Championships including: IBJJF American National Kids Champion, AGF National Kids Gi Champion and No Gi Champion.

In 2020 she started a new journey competing in High School wrestling for Fort Zumwalt West. 

Let’s learn a little more about her.

At what age did you start Bjj? 9 years old

How old are you now? 15 years old

What rank do you hold in bjj? Solid Yellow

What do you enjoy most about Bjj? I enjoy the people, and the thrill of competing. It’s a very fun sport with many great people that are always helping you to improve. 

What are some fun facts about high school wrestling? It’s a no-cut sport, you get to meet new people and make new friends, you learn new things everyday.

How has Bjj helped you in H.S. wrestling? Bjj has helped me with takedowns, as well as throws, sweeps, trips. Bjj has also helped me with knowing how to use my weight and when to shoot for a takedown. 

Why should other High School wrestlers consider bjj? Other high school wrestlers should consider Bjj because it can definitely help with their takedown game, and trips. Not many wrestlers expect to be thrown or tripped because it’s not taught in practice all that much. They would have a step up in many of their opponents.

How has Bjj & Wrestling impacted your life? Bjj and wrestling have given me families and friends. They also give me a sense of protection because I know I can defend myself.

It’s been a pleasure having you as a student and watching you grow up Maria. You truly show amazing work ethic, dedication and passion for bjj and wrestling. We couldn’t be more proud of you!