Multiple time Jiu Jitsu World Champion
South African's Jiu Jitsu sensation, Penny Thomas, has been competitively involved in sports since she started Gymnastics at age 5. She was part of the SA Junior Olympic Team at 12 years old when she stopped training to undergo spinal surgery. Penny went on to compete in a variety of sports, including swimming, sprinting and life-guarding. She started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in South Africa for the Self Defense aspects, but after her first class, Jiu Jitsu became a big part of Penny’s life. She started traveling to Brazil each year to train and compete, eventually resigning from her full time career as a software developer, to go on tour and become South Africa’s first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion!
Penny believes that having a balanced life is the key to being healthy and she has always worked to maintain the academic and artistic aspects of her life. She has won awards for artworks, won an Advanced Mathematics tournament and worked a successful 8 year career as a Software Developer.
As a sportswoman, Penny strives to maintain a positive and feminine image. She practices yoga regularly to maintain her flexibility and posture and is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher. She is also conscious about how she fuels her body and has been a vegetarian for over 15 years. Penny cross trains regularly throughout the season, incorporating ideas from Kettlebells, Bulgarian Bags, Crossfit and Ginastica Natural. She also loves being in the ocean and enjoys Stand-Up Paddling for endurance training.
As a teacher, Penny is extremely well rounded and offers a variety of classes & workshops, including Jiu Jitsu, Self-Defense, Yoga, Gymnastics and Strength Training. She is a NASM certified personal trainer, specializing in leading kids classes and is CPR/AED certified.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. BJJ was formed from Kodokan Judo ground fighting fundamentals and eventually came to be its own art through the experiments, practices, and adaptation of judo through Carlos and Hélio Gracie.
BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint-locks and choke holds to defeat the opponent. Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of Judo was separated from older systems of Japanese Jujutsu by an important difference that was passed on to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: it is not solely a martial art, it is also a sport; a method for promoting physical fitness and building character in young people; and, ultimately, a way of life.
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