One of the fastest BJJ black belt promotions of all time came thanks to breakdancing.
While breakdancing and jiu-jitsu are different disciplines, there are certain aspects of breakdancing that can be advantageous in the practice of jiu-jitsu.
Firstly, breakdancing promotes body awareness, coordination, and flexibility. These physical attributes can greatly benefit jiu-jitsu practitioners as they require agility, balance, and fluid movements on the ground.
But recently a UFC strawweight opened up about how a background in exotic dancing allowed for her to pick up jiu-jitsu fast.
Vanessa Demopoulos has an unconventional background as an exotic pole dancer. With over 13 years of experience in pole dancing, Demopoulos attributes her success in MMA, particularly in mastering jiu jitsu, to her unique past.
Interestingly, Gabi Garcia has picked up pole dancing as a hobby a while ago.
In a bold move to prioritize her MMA career, Demopoulos made the difficult decision to quit her pole dancing job and dedicate herself fully to mixed martial arts. She joined Ronin Training Center, a renowned gym, and committed herself to relentless training and self-improvement.
Demopoulos firmly believes that her background in pole dancing has significantly contributed to her success in the realm of mixed martial arts. Both disciplines demand strength, balance, precision, and an acute awareness of one’s body in space. By incorporating pole dancing moves into her jiu jitsu practice, Demopoulos has developed a unique style.
“I remember the first time when I stepped into the gym to do a muay thai class. It was like… literally the hardest thing I had ever done. I threw up… I almost passed out about four times. But, the way fighting made me feel… It was the only thing I ever wanted to do.” Demopoulos said.
In a recent episode of UFC Connected, Demopoulos explained how her dancing practice complements her performance in the octagon, particularly in the grappling aspect of the sport.
She added, “For me, dancing and fighting are very similar. You have to have a very good spatial awareness, flexibility, and dexterity, and that translates beautifully into jiu jitsu. I incorporate a lot of pole dancing moves into jiu jitsu.”
Vanessa Demopoulos is set to return to the octagon this weekend on May 20 at UFC Vegas 73. She will be featured as one of the early prelim cards and will take on Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz who has 2 wins in a row.