Here at Stonyfield, we believe a company is only as good as the people who work for it. So forgive us if we brag, but we think we have some pretty amazing people. Take Kate Marshall, for instance. Kate stands just over five feet tall, loves soccer, and excels at her job as brand coordinator. But despite her tiny size and the mischievous grin she's known for, you probably wouldn't want to meet Kate in a dark alley. That's because she recently took third place in her category at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Worlds tournament. We interviewed Kate to find out more about her sport of choice – and why it brings her so much joy.
SF: How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu – and what got you into it?
Kate: I started three years ago. I knew some people who trained in the sport and took classes at the gym - they talked me into trying it. At first, I was scared of getting killed. I was pretty sure I was going to get squished by one of the big sweaty men who were doing it. You know, all 5’ 1” of me. That was my first concern.
But now? I love it. I train pretty much every day. Most days, I go straight from work, and do as many classes as are available. In fact, it’s good that there are days that I’m forced to take off, because otherwise I’d do it all the time. I absolutely love it.
SF: So, exactly what IS jiu-jitsu?
Kate: It’s similar to wrestling, but with joint manipulation. The point is to submit your opponent – either by arm bar, knee bar, wrist lock, choke…
SF: What is it about this particular sport that brings you so much joy?
Kate: It’s a challenge. You never know everything. There is always something new to be taught, something new to learn. It’s strategic, too. It’s like chess: you have to think ahead several steps, and you have to be able to adapt quickly.
Plus, it’s a very physical sport. I grew up playing soccer and love it – I still play that, too, on the Stonyfield soccer team. I love the physicality of them both.
SF: Where have you competed?
Kate: I’ve competed in Boston, New York, and most recently at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Worlds tournament, which was in Long Beach, California.
SF: Where you took 3rd place in your category, right?
Kate: Yes, I got third in Featherweight Blue Belt.
SF: What excites you about the future of jiu-jitsu?
Kate: One thing that’s very exciting is more girls are getting into the sport. Because there is more competition the tournaments are now opening up more divisions (by weight and belt level). Maybe one day we'll see Jiu Jitsu in the Olympics.
SF: So, a few years into this sport now, are you still scared that you could get squished by some 200-lb sweaty guy?
Kate: Nope. Not anymore. My coaches always remind us that jiu-jitsu is about leverage over size, technique over power.
SF: So one last question. What's your favorite Stonyfield product?
Kate: Vanilla Greek yogurt. I have it every day for breakfast.