If you do BJJ and have been on social media over the past day or so, you know that theres a new viral video out and about: a young, highly technical jiu jitsu practitioner took on multiple opponents in an extracurricular, off the mat grappling contest. Heres the clincher: the practitioner is a 16 year old girl, and the opponents were boys. Oh and she delivered a pretty epic walloping
The girl in the now viral video is Riley Breedlove, a blue belt at Ryan BJJ under Todd Ryan in Tulsa Oklahoma. I had an opportunity to chat briefly with Riley and learn a bit about her jiu jitsu journey, the circumstances surrounding the video and some of her thoughts on BJJ.
For starters, Riley may only be a blue belt, but shes been training for a while I got into BJJ when I was about 7 or 8 because of my brother. He was being bullied on the (football) field about his size, so my parents thought Jiu Jitsu would help with the bullying and make him more athletic. The instructor dragged me on to the mats for me to try it. Naturally I just fell in love with it! Thats 8-9 years of experience!
Riley is an active BJJ competitor whose tournament wins include Battle 4 the Ages, NABJJF Lone Star Championships and the AGF qualifier that qualified her to go to the invitational. Shes also an avid fan of Mackenzie Dern, Michele Nicolini and Gabi Garcia.
Many people are touting Rileys video as an example of a girl defending herself, while it certainly is a strong example of Jiu Jitsu technique overcoming physical size and strength, it wasnt a hostile situation These boys that have seen my Jiu Jitsu videos came up to me and started asking some questions about it. Then they wanted to see if their wrestling could beat Jiu Jitsu so we rolled, and I honestly didn’t even know it was being recorded until after it all happened. She definitely made a strong case for Jiu Jitsu!
Fortunately Riley hasnt been forced to test her BJJ in an actual self defense situation I’ve never had to use it. I try to stay clear of fights and what not. This was just a friendly roll so they could see what Jiu Jitsu does against a wrestler.
Many people, me included, were concerned for the safety of Riley, given that these boys were getting beaten and might choose to resort to dirty tactics (slamming striking etc.) Also, someone who doesnt necessarily know they are being submitted might be injured by a trained grappler Fortunately the situation was a bit safer than it appears in the video One of them tried to (slam,) but I had a friend who also trains “refereeing” the roll so that nobody got hurt. This is certainly one of those dont try this at home types of videos but at least there was someone else there who knew what they were doing
Riley never expected the video to go viral. It has already been shared by many big names in the BJJ and MMA community Im super shocked. I didn’t think it was going to get this popular. As for her family and friends Everyone thought it was pretty cool, they’ve all been so supportive
Given her willingness to throw down with boys, and ability to beat them one after the other, I thought it would be interesting to get Rileys opinions about mixed gender competition Mixed gender competition is great for kids and teenagers. I’ve competed against boys all throughout my journey, but since I started competing at the adult level Ive only competed against other women. As an adult, women are more likely to get injured competing against a man in competition. But if you feel confident enough in your technique then I say go for it. So I guess you could say I’m on the fence when it comes to adults.
In closing Riley had a few thank yous and shout outs I’d like to thank my sponsors Ckfightlife for all the support. It’s truly an honor to be able to represent the art. And I’d like to think my team at Ryan BJJ for always pushing me to be the best I can be, also everyone in the Tulsa, Oklahoma community.
Riley is a great example of the positive side of BJJ. We at Jiu Jitsu Times wish her the very best in her Jiu Jitsu Journey. If you are interested in seeing competition footage and following her jiu jitsu career, check out her fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Riley-Breedlove-Ryan-BJJ-Jiu-Jitsu.
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj