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Rising From The Mat To Make a Name For Herself In MMA

Emily Kwok was one of the first women to compete in jiu jitsu and eventually became a two-time IBJJF World Champion.

Emily Kwok loved mixed martial arts while growing up in Vancouver and hoped to give it a try but faced one significant obstacle: her parents. They told their 16-year-old daughter they considered it to be “unladylike” and forced her to quit. It wasn’t until years later that Kwok got the chance to re-ignite her passion for combat sports, which changed how she felt about herself.


“I discovered jiu jitsu. I felt I could be empowered by my own body and it was unusual and really
a great feeling.”

Kwok rose to the rank black belt, earning respect from her peers in an industry that few people knew much about. Kwok definitely stood out on the mats.

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“Being a woman in a combat sport was not very common in the early 90’s. I was part of this first wave in North America where nobody knew what to do with you.”


Kwok,a two-time IBJJF World Champion finished her MMA career undefeated. Today, she gives back to young athletes as the co-head instructor and owner of Princeton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where everyone is welcome.

“It’s important to know that it’s a space everybody belongs in. Not just for boys or men or women. It’s for everybody.”

Emily Kwok never gave up on her dream and became a pioneer in jiu jitsu and a great ambassador for the sport. Her work today is helping a new generation of athletes excel on the mat.

Photo credit: Instagram