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Female Student Of The Year (2019)... Amanda Cargile

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Female Student Of The Year (2019)... Amanda Cargile

1. What is your name, how old are you, and where are you originally from?

My name is Amanda Cargile, and I’m 41.  I grew up in Roswell, GA.

2. What brought you to BJJ and Checkmat Charlotte?

I was training with Joe Pacheco, doing kickboxing and strength/conditioning.  We moved to a gym with a cage, and he decided we needed to learn to grapple.  Not long after, Checkmat Charlotte moved into the gym as well.  Michael saw me in the cage (probably failing around trying some sort of takedown and only succeeding in taking myself down) and invited me to try a class.  I was hooked within minutes.  

2a. You recently were promoted to Purple belt.  How was that?

Receiving my purple belt was a huge accomplishment.  Knowing how high the bar is set to move out of blue, as well as the number of people who never make it that far, it’s definitely a highlight among my athletic achievements.      

3. You have several educational degrees and interesting hobbies.  Would you mind telling us about your educational background and your daredevil lifestyle?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis, a master’s degree in public policy, a law degree, and just finished an LLM (an advanced law degree) in environmental law earlier this.  I’ve ridden horses competitively since I was about 7, with gold medals at the Junior Olympics, the North American Young Rider Championships, regional and state championships, and too many other competitions to list.  I’m also a skydiver.  I have several years as an instructor and was on a competition/demo team for a few years, earning a gold medal in canopy formation at the US Nationals and jumping into events with big American flags and such.  

3a. How did your prior experiences in sports help you this far in preparing for bjj comps?  

Having competed at a high level before, I understand and embrace the level of work and commitment, both on the mats and off, that it takes to be successful.  Being in training for nearly my whole life has made me ridiculously goal-oriented, which helps me stay focused and keep training through the hard times.  I also don’t really get nervous at tournaments, which is a definite plus.  


4. You are a frequent competitor in bjj.  What is your favorite thing about competing?  Least favorite?      

I’ve just always liked competing, but I guess what I like most is that it really puts your skills on the line.  We all know our training partners, their quirks, and their habits (and they know ours).  But at a tournament, you never really know what you’ll face.  It’s a different kind of pressure you just don’t experience at home.  It’s very satisfying to come out with the win under those circumstances, and if not, it’s usually a good eye-opener to where you need to improve.  My least favorite thing (other than losing, of course) is having to wait around to compete.  I usually show up ready to go and hate standing around.    

5. What is your favorite color for a gi?     

My favorite gi color is black or blue.  Really anything but pink.

5a.  If you could be one animal, what would it be?

If I could be an animal, I’d be a boa constrictor.  (I like chokes.)     

6. What is your favorite food before practice?     

Before evening practices, I usually just try to have something high in protein mid to late afternoon.  (Plus an energy drink.)  I’ve been a vegetarian for 20+ years, so I try to always be conscious of my protein intake.  It really varies depending on my mood and what I made that week.  If I train in the morning, I generally don’t eat first.  

7. What is your favorite BJJ practiioner?     

My favorite BJJ practitioners are Buchecha (13 world championships (!), and also because I picked up my favorite pass from his seminar) and Karen Antunes (because of her speed and sheer badassery).

8. In one word describe life at Checkmat Charlotte:  Team 

9. What is the one thing you like best about being at Checkmat Charlotte?     

It’s truly one of my happy places.  No matter how bad my day has been, I always feel better after training.  It’s always challenging, there’s always something new to learn, and I love having a whole new set of competitive goals.  Off the mats, we’re great friends as well.  The team is my Charlotte family, and I know there will always be multiple people (especially from the Queens class) that I can count on when needed, whether it’s driving me to the airport at 6 am or keeping my crazy dog when I’m away at a tournament.

10. What advice would you give to a brand new students starting BJJ? 

Keep coming back (especially when it feels so hard), trust your coach, be coachable, and keep your priorities straight so you don’t undermine yourself.  Understand that it’s a very long but very worthwhile game.  Take your training seriously but have fun with it.             


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Good luck this weekend at Newbreed Raleigh, Mckenzie lee and Troy Hunt!