Name: Leanna Dittrich
Rank & Organization: Black Belt, Fight Sports
BJJ Highlights: IBJJF Ranked #1, Women's Master 1; IBJJF 2015 World Champion; Featured Competitor, 5 Grappling Super League
1) What do you consider your worst BJJ moment, and why?
When I make poor strategic decisions in competition, or get myself all psyched out. I've done this a few times, and usually haven't been able to recover before time ran out. It's never fun to lose in a tournament (or on the mat), but when you really give it your all and you just get beat, you feel like, "Hey, more work to do." When you end a match and feel like you beat yourself though, that's way worse in my opinion.
2) What’s an “AHA!” moment you’ve had in your journey?
There have been too many to count and I plan on having more! I guess it could be summed up with the four stages of learning: Unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence. It's very powerful when you transition from each stage, and this happens again and again as you learn new techniques, concepts and principles. My favorite "aha" along the continuum is when you notice you (finally!?!) did something kinda awesome without having to think about it!
3) What’s the best jiu-jitsu advice you’ve ever received?
It was at my first (and only) tournament as a white belt--a NAGA at the Arnold Classic in 2007 (I think!). I was about to compete and I didn't know what to expect, or even really what to do. ATT Professor Ailton Barbosa was staying with us at the time in KS, and right as I walked out on the mat he told me to never give up. My boyfriend, Professor Ethan Day, told me to just have fun--that's important too. :)
4) What is one habit you have that you believe has contributed to your success?
Showing up; this is the key to perseverance. Maybe you've been injured, frustrated, or other things in your life got out of hand and you just couldn't make it to the academy. You can always come back, whether it's been a week off or a year. The more you show up, especially with a good attitude, the more you're going to get out of training.
5) How do you mentally and physically prepare for competition?
Physically I try to increase intensity of particular training days, especially with specific training partners who are more my size and have challenging games, skills, or styles (like local CO bad ass, Amal Easton black belt, Rossie Snow). Mentally, lately I'm trying not to think about it until it's go-time; I'm still experimenting with this piece. I'm super busy with work and life (like everyone) and I just haven't figured out how to obsess AND go about my daily life at the same time yet! When it does pop in my head, I try to see myself winning, remind myself the competition is going to happen whether I wear myself out thinking about it or not, and move on.
6) Who is your favorite superhero?
The Incredible Hulk. Just because he's green (my favorite color) and because I had some anger control issues as a kid, so I feel like we are kindred spirits in a way. Though these days I kind of have the opposite problem. ;)