IN just a couple of weeks, Carla Johnson will be thrust onto the world stage to represent Tasmania and Australia in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
The 30-year-old, who is a member of the Sorell Martial Arts Academy, is the only Tasmanian travelling to the United States in May to compete at the World Championships in Los Angeles.
Having already taken out the Tasmanian State Championships in her division two-years running, bronze at the National Championships and silver and bronze at the Pan Pacific Championships, Ms Johnson said “worlds” was next on her bucket list.
“This sport has allowed me to become someone I didn’t think was possible and is taking me to places I never thought I could go,” she said.
“Life is short and I have an amazing opportunity to take on this challenge and tick off a pretty big bucket list item.
“So I’m going to grab it with both hands – who knows when or if I’ll be able to do this again.
“I’ve been at it three hours a day, five to six times a week in BJJ and Judo, plus strength and conditioning with my coach and team mates at Sorell Martial Arts Academy.
“I will go over there, give it my best shot and leave everything on the mats, no regrets.”
Ms Johnson took up BJJ after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
“It’s what I call mat therapy – it’s the most incredible sport for your body and mind,” she said.
“When I’m training, I’m only thinking about what my body is doing, what my breathing is doing.
“I guess it’s a bit like mediation in that respect and I can tell you it’s worked, I feel great now.
“Not to mention the physical benefits – I’m strong, fit and healthy now, having lost nearly 15 kilograms since taking up BJJ.”
Ms Johnson’s World Championship pursuit is being made possible thanks to sponsorship by Moreton Group Medical Services.
The Tasmanian company is running a first aid training course to fund the cost of her travel and registration.
“It’s an honour to be receiving sponsorship from Moreton Group to represent Tasmania at the World Championships,” Ms Johnson said.
“They are hosting a first aid training course on 28 April so that Tasmanians can get behind it, but also receive a great qualification in return.”
BJJ is a martial art and combat sport system that focuses on grappling, especially ground fighting and submissions. It is the fastest growing martial art in the world today.
Caption: Carla Johnson, who will be representing the country in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, showcases her moves against Sorell Martial Arts Academy owner Adam Newton. Photo credit: Madison Jones.