Don’t judge Amelia Lui on appearances. Yes, she has the face of an angel, and a personality that reveals she’s a total girly-girl at heart, but she kicks ass. Literally.
Lui works as a personal trainer and is a blue belter in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) – something she achieved in just two years (t’s normally done in three). She’s already taking the world by storm by winning major titles including Asian, European and World championship.
In-between preparing for her next fight in L.A and training in Singapore, Lui took some time out of the ring to talk to us about her fighting passion in a male-dominated arena.
To start things off, what’s a typical training day like for you?
I wake up to do an hour of BJJ drills at 7am then I go home to have breakfast before an hour of sparring at 12pm followed by a BJJ class later in the evening around 7:30/8:30pm. I will also try to add a cardio or strength and conditioning session twice a week, depending on how my body feels.
How did you get into BJJ?
I started BJJ when I lived in London, I had heard of BJJ before as I had a few friends who did it, but to be honest I wasn’t really sure what it was. I joined a gym which offered so many different fitness classes including BJJ and I wanted to start something new so I took full advantage of my membership and tried every class possible which was hilarious at the time as I soon found out I wasn’t a natural at parkour or breakdancing! For some reason I kept going back to the BJJ class every week – I had tried boxing and Muay Thai previously but BJJ was so different and interesting compared to anything I had ever done before and a few months down the line I won my first competition. I was hooked.
What other fitness activities do you do to keep you staying sane?
I love water sports! I think I was meant to be a mermaid as I love anything to do with the ocean, especially wake-surfing and SUP – I try to do them whenever the weather is nice and I have free time. I also like to do hot yoga from time to time as I find its very calming and complements my BJJ training.
Your favourite places to shop for activewear?
Oooh, this is a hard one because there are so many. Lululemon and Lorna Jane are obvious staple choices for me. I do more online shopping these days as I find its super convenient. I love Spiritual Gangster for their tanks and T-shirts, Miss Runner have some great colourful prints and Teeki have some awesome designs.
Any advice for girls who wants to start BJJ?
JUST DO IT! But seriously, just get down to the gym and give it a try. I think BJJ is for everyone and you never know, you might really love it. Over the past couple of years a lot more girls have been getting into BJJ and it makes me really happy when I see girls trying it out, so don’t be shy.
Do you intend to continue with BJJ and aim for black belt (the highest in BJJ)?
Definitely. I intend to continue with BJJ for life and one of my big goals is to one day receive a black belt. In the more short-term future I plan to compete in the world championships and continue to compete in the big competitions.
Do you find guys treat you differently once they find out you’re a fighter?
No, I find that guys treat me no differently if they found out I’m a fighter, I think most are surprised at first when they find out as I’m quite a ‘girly girl’ and don’t fit the typical stereotype of being a female fighter. If anything, they find it interesting and want to know more about it. Rather then being intimidated they actually admire what I do.
What’s the right mix of training we need to stay healthy as possible?
I think that everyone is different and you need to listen to your body, what I may find to be the right mix of training may not be the same for somebody else. I think its all about finding what’s best and what works for you personally but consistency is key. Everyone’s goals are different but the most important is that you feel good and are happy.
Finally, what are the top three advantages of girls learning BJJ ?
- It’s great for self defence. It shows women that you don’t have to be the biggest and strongest opponent to be able to win a fight, and it teaches you techniques so that you can defend yourself if you are ever attacked in a real-life situation.
- It is a great way to get fit, and super fun, too! Most of the time you are concentrating so much on the next move or technique you don’t even realise you are also having a great workout. It will increase your strength, agility and exercise just about every muscle in your body each class.
- BJJ is a great stress reliever and teaches you to stay calm, which can transfer to other areas of life.