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.
“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