Our guest for the twelfth installment of White Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Private Sessions is none other than Black Belt BJJ competitor: Tammi Musumeci! It brings us great pleasure to sit down with her and we hope you enjoy her story!
WBBJJ: What brought you to BJJ?
Tammi: I started training at Fatjo’s martial arts in Marlboro, New Jersey. I loved it instantly! Through the years, I tried many different sports and activities, all while still training BJJ, but my true love remained jiujitsu and still remains jiujitsu today!
WBBJJ: In your experience what should lower belts do more of/less of?
Tammi: I believe beginners should start with learning more self defense jiujitsu! This helps with getting comfortable with the different positions in jiujitsu. Then, they showed start learning basic closed guard and submissions such as scissor sweep and kimura! Very basic and effective! They should perfect those moves until moving on to spider guard an delariva. I feel experience and time is everything in the jiujitsu process and this process is unique to every person. Everyone learns at different speeds and this should be considered when learning jiujitsu.
WBBJJ: If you could go back in time and give the White Belt YOU guidance, what advice would you give?
Tammi: I am really happy with my white belt experience because I only focused on the basics! It Is way harder today to avoid the temptation of learning berimbolo and other advanced techniques, so I am grateful I started when those temptations were non-existent!
WBBJJ: For you what’s been the hardest part of the journey?
Tammi: For me the mental journey has been the hardest part as well! It is sometimes hard to give yourself credit or feel confident and I have found a lot of people also share these same feelings!
WBBJJ: In tough times what has helped you get through and allowed you to persevere?
Tammi: When going through a rough time it’s good to do things that give you confidence and make you feel good about yourself! I also love to workout an go to the beach and I feel both are relaxing and help a great deal! It’s good to do something that promotes happiness or relaxation so I always look for that thing!
WBBJJ: If you weren’t doing BJJ what would you be doing?
Tammi: I have been doing jiujitsu since I was 6 years old and in kindergarten so I really can’t picture life without it!!! I can’t remember before it!
WBBJJ: What do you tell someone who says they want to do BJJ, and then gives the standard excuses; time, money, etc?
Tammi: I would tell them to prioritize! If they really want to train, but the gym doesn’t offer a class that fits their schedule, I would tell them to find another gym to fit their schedule or find someone or even a group of people who share a similar schedule to get some training in! You don’t realize how many people share the same problems and situations as you do until you start looking!
WBBJJ: What is your favorite activity besides BJJ?
Tammi: I have trained Muay Thai since I am 4 years old so, it also has played a huge part in my life and at times, I enjoyed it more than jiujitsu! I love weightlifting too much to the point where it is dangerous! I have to constantly make sure I don’t gain weight! But, I find so much joy in lifting heavy weights!
WBBJJ: What’s on your iPod?
Tammi: I love the intense music that gets me pumped to workout and train! I need music that matches my intensity!
WBBJJ: What was the last movie that you watched?
Tammi: I love comedies, but zoolander is just too funny an had so many quotable lines haha!! I watch a lot of entourage and Saturday night live as well!
WBBJJ: If you could train with someone living or dead, who would that be?
Tammi: My brother Mikey. He knows how to push me and all of my weaknesses so it is always such a great train every time I get to train with him! I am also honored to get to train with the mendes bros! They are so amazing and inspirational and I learn so much from them.
Interview by Todd Shaffer WBBJJ.com