Kristen has been training Jiu Jitsu since 2011. Growing up, Kristen had always been involved in striking martial arts. The idea of replacing kicks with roll falls seemed crazy to her until she gave into the peer pressure to try a Jiu Jitsu class. One class and she was hooked. Kristen has been training and competing under the Carlson Gracie Team ever since.
Q&A Session Between Kristen Carstensen and Elite Sports
Question: What inspires you about BJJ?
Answer: Just how much knowledge and talent exists in this art. You can see a technique 100 times and then someone will share a small detail that blows your mind. The sky's the limit for what you are capable of.
Question: Who inspires you, past or present? Why do they inspire you?
Answer: Finding relatable inspiration is key. The woman who made the biggest impact on me this past year was fellow CGT member, Alicia Pavia Sandoval. She started BJJ as an adult, has a career, family, and is an accomplished competitor. Her words of wisdom really helped my approach to training and competition.
Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?
Answer: To stay consistent and focused in training. To always drop into a new BJJ gym when I travel out of town. Inspire other women to try BJJ and learn useful self-defense skills.
Question: How long have you been training?
Answer: 5 ½ years
Question: How often do you train?
Answer: 6 days a week.
Question: Any major accomplishments you’ve been able to achieve in that time?
Answer: When I first started BJJ I couldn’t phantom the idea of having enough skill to even get a blue belt. Every year under my belt still feels like a major milestone.
Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?
Answer: Shoulder locks
Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?
Answer: Discipline, focus, and patience. You have to be willing to put in the time, work, and learn from your mistakes.
Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days?
Answer: I carry all the standard gear for training bjj. I would say you can never have enough tape or hair ties. I keep a stockpile of those at all times.