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Nathiely de Jesus knows how to succeed.
In fact, she is so good at winning she even surprises herself sometimes. After getting her black belt in 2017, Nathiely has utterly dominated the field and has picked up five IBJJF World titles along the way.
But after realizing her dreams of becoming a double gold champion at the IBJJF World championships she couldn't help but wonder what was next.
"I was competing all over the world, I won worlds, double gold. So I completed my goals. My dream was to be a black belt double gold world champion and I did it. So now I think it’s time to do some new stuff."
It's a realization most competitors never come to or have to spend much time thinking about but for Nathiely "what's next?" was a real subject she immediately had to deal with.
After much introspection and multiple discussions with her husband Manuel Ribamar and her coach Rodrigo Pinheiro they all decided to make the scary leap of becoming full time competitors as well as full time professors.
A new roll that Nathiely knew she was going to have to adjust to.
"It’s very new for me. I never taught classes in Brazil, I was always a competitor first. I started winning the competitions and they started calling me for seminars, but I had never taught a class. So I had to prepare myself for the seminars and I really enjoyed it."
Four months ago her and Manuel Ribamar opened the doors to their own academy in Boerne, Texas just outside of San Antonio. But for two Brazilians in the heart of Texas things couldn't be going any better. The gym already has a steady flow of new students signing up and an influx of tough colored belts just waiting to train with jiu-jitsu royalty.
Rodrigo Pinheiro stops by once a day to push the athletes in the room extra hard for upcoming competitions and after Nathiely and Ribamar take care of running all the other classes and curriculums.
But for Nathiely paying it forward to the next generation of women is what drives her most.
"Of course my goal is always to inspire the other girls.
We have a women’s only class and I love to teach the girls because now I can see myself as a professor. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid."
Standing on the shoulders of jiu-jitsu giants like Michelle Nicolini and Beatriz Mesquita, Nathiely has firmly cemented herself as one of the greatest female competitors of all time and lucky for us she is eager to pass everything she has learned onto the next generation of competitors.
"Even the kids! They told me this would be the worst part but no. For me teaching the kids is the best part. It’s so fun!"
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