Sport: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; Submission Grappling
Weight: 120 lbs.
Weight Class: Feather Weight; Light Feather Weight
Gi Rank: Blue Belt
NewBreed 5/16: Gi and Nogi Champion (White Belt / Beginner)
NAGA 11/16: Gi and Nogi Champion (Blue Belt/ Advanced)
NewBreed 1/17: Gi and Nogi Champion (Blue Belt/ Advanced)
Toro Cup 7 6/17: Feather Weight Winner (via Baseball Choke)
Hobbies: Dog Training; Hiking; Outdoorsy Stuff
Goofing around at fenix jiu-jitsu
Interview with summer carpenter
We’re here with local Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prodigy, Summer Carpenter. She is a Renzo Gracie Blue Belt out of Fénix Jiu-Jitsu. She is very early in her career as a grappler, but already she has a pretty impressive resume. She has competed on the local circuit, including Newbreed, NAGA, and won her first Superfight at Toro BJJ. She has finished every opponent by submission without a single loss.
How did you originally find out about Jiu-Jitsu and what attracted you to it in the beginning?
A friend of mine from high school, Alexis Bolick, introduced me to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I immediately fell in love with it. It didn’t take me long at all to be completely hooked and starting training a couple times a week. I loved how close everyone at the gym was and I knew from the start that this was going to be something that may very well save my life someday. I knew I needed it.
Were you very active in sports as a kid?
Funny enough, I was not athletic AT ALL growing up. I dabbled in gymnastics, dance and swimming as a young child but never stuck to anything for longer than a year. I kept to myself and my small group of friends in high school. I never cared for sports since I never found anything that really stuck with me. Until now!
Do you feel that Jiu-Jitsu has affected your life off the mats?
It absolutely has. Jiu Jitsu, at times, makes my life a little bit chaotic since I have a busy life outside of training. I try to train 4 times a week, at the bare minimum. Even though fitting in mat time can cause some stress to my schedule, the work I put in is always worth it. At the end of the day it has erased all of my stress and gives me the motivation to keep on pushing.
Jiu-Jitsu practitioners always talk about the comradery that comes with Jiu-Jitsu, why do you think this art creates such strong bonds?
I’ve always said that the people that stick with Jiu jitsu are a special breed of human. This sport isn’t for everyone. However, those that stick with it, do so because they find immense passion in what they do. To be able to share that passion with an entire group of people, is a very special thing. You can’t get through this sport without making the very best friends you will ever find in this life.
You have won Gold in every competition event you have entered by submitting every opponent. What goes through your mind before you step up to compete?
I have absolutely fallen in love with competing because of how much it tests not only your skill but your character as well. The weeks and days leading up to a competition are always filled with anticipation for me. But when its time to step onto the mats, it immediately disappears. I get so excited to meet new people, especially the women I compete against. Competing has helped me see my strengths clearly while also showing me the holes in my game.
Is that the same as every other training session or do you change gears while in the gym?
Competing is in a different gear than my regular training. If I am not training for a competition, I focus on the fun stuff and just enjoying the time I have with my friends. I often forget the “sport” game that you must play when competing. If I am doing my regular training at the gym, I make it all about enjoying what I do and forget about the rest!
Team Renzo has set some very high standards as being one of the top teams on the planet. How far do you plan to take your grappling career?
I will become a world champion one day. I say that because I know I am capable of anything I set my mind to. My dream is to be able to open my own academy years down the road, as I continue to pursue gold metals.
Fénix is known as an academy that allows all submission from white belts and up. As a Fénix student, is it difficult to dial back your game plan to meet restrictive Blue Belt competition rules?
I thought it would be when I began competing, especially in No Gi grappling, but I haven’t had any issues with it so far. I am big fan of leg locks (of course) and I am really excited about pursuing submission only tournaments that have an all-submission legal rule set.
I’m not going to go into the “as a woman in Jiu-Jitsu” thing because you clearly stand out no matter what, but do you think that it is advantageous to have multiple female training partners or do you tend to train with males for competition preparation?
I love the ladies at Fenix that I get to train with. They always push me to better my game while giving me amazing support. If I am training for a competition, I definitely seek out the ladies because they are the closest ones to my size range. There are several smaller, quick guys at our gym that I seek out to help really give me a challenge. I will train hard with the bigger guys to give me a “training with weights on” sort of affect. Going from them to a small opponent is always beneficial to my game.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our audience?
As always, I want to stress what an amazing martial art Brazilian Jiu Jitsu truly is. I love the sport aspect of it, it’s fun and gives me an incredible way of staying in shape. But at the end of the day, this is what is going to possibly save your life. It is perfect for literally everyone. We have every age group and size imaginable at Fenix Jiu Jitsu, it is suitable for everyone and I highly recommend it!
ACSM Certified Fitness Professional