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Elena Stowell wrote Flowing with the Go available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. With thanks to her publisher I was able to obtain an advance copy. I was moved by her story, impressed by her writing and awed by her struggle. After reading her book, I asked Elena for an interview. Here’s a few things she shared with BJJ Legends.
What have you been doing since you wrote the last page? Specifically are there any more stripes or tournaments? Have you competed as a blue belt?
I have gotten a stripe on my blue belt ... and I competed once in our local Revolution tournament. I backed off for a while because my 5 months preparing for Worlds was intense and took a lot of time away from my family... and like I said in the book ...I sort of thought maybe not again. What I had subconsciously decided was that I just didn't want to compete again until I went down a weight class. I was 190 when I competed at Worlds ... smallish for the heavyweights it seemed, (to me) but getting to 162 seemed daunting.
Of course, once you write a book about achievement your coach will say, "I believe there is nothing you can't do." From my heaviest depression-fatitude I've lost 35 pounds... about 10 more to go until the next weight class. I have US Open in my sights now that I've been told there is a master's category for women and my Brazilian buddy Jean (Jean Carlos Freitas) was coaching me on training to compete vs. training to learn new skills. I don't think I ever appreciated the difference. But he's back in Brazil ... I have to practice what he's taught me.
Tears of Pain, Greif and Joy
I enjoyed the book. When it ended, I missed her dialog, her gym and her training partners. Ms Stowell can write. She beautifully wove together the two worlds, one of loss and grieving and the other of a white belt in an alien land. Her BJJ angle is solid. She's no BJJ interloper. I read, worried I would finish the book without knowing any of the mentioned black belts. (Seven Degrees?) Happily, she gives a nod to OC's Giva "The Arm Collector" Santana. Her story has commonalities with many of the people whom I've been lucky enough to know and train with. I want to hand this book out to everybody.