1.Hi Mackenzie, can you introduce yourself to the bjj community of Eastern Europe?
My name is Mackenzie Dern and I am a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt for Gracie Humaita. I am 18 years old and I have been learning jiu-jitsu since I was 3 years old. Some of my main titles are 5x World Champion, 4x No Gi World Champion, Pan American Champion, and 3x European Champion.
2. When and how did you realize that you would dedicate your life to jiu-jistu?
Winning division and Absolute at Europeans 2012
I realized that I wanted to dedicate my life to jiu-jitsu when I was about 14 years old. Going into high school where you start to think about what you want to do in the future, I spent most of my time training, traveling, competing, working out and Jiu-Jitsu became serious for me. I knew that to get where I wanted in the sport I had to fully dedicate myself.
3. Tell us a bit about your life of traveling all around the world for competitions, and seminars with your father Megaton Dias and boyfriend Tanquinho?
Thankfully, Jiu-Jitsu has given me the oppertunity to meet many new places and people and I am so happy that I have been able to share a little bit of my jiu-jitsu with others. Both my dad and my boyfriend are active competitors and all three of us like to compete as much as we can. The seminars with the guys is so good because I am always learning new things and gaining more experience as an instructor.
4. How do you see the women's bjj scene and how do you see it evolving?
The women's BJJ scene is really tough and I know that each year it is getting harder and harder. The technique is growing so much and the girls are evolving just as much as the guys. We are seeing many girls not just as competitors, but more and more girls are training for self defense, exercise or just for fun! I see jiu-jitsu evolving in the future because we are getting more support from jiu-jitsu fans. People are appreciating us and our technique and hard work, and this will help a lot! I really hope that in the future prizes and sponsorships will be more equal for girls and guys.
5. You just won your division and absolute at the Europeans, what is next in terms of competitions for you in 2012?
With her partner Augusto Tanquinho Mende
As soon as I get back to the United States, I will be competing in the Abu Dhabi Trials in Montreal, Canada. Depending on how that goes I might fight the trials in San Diego after. Then I have the Pan Americans and the Worlds! We will see if anything else comes up until then.
6 Who are people that you admire in bjj, and why?
With Tanquinho, Father Megaton, Letitia ribeiro and Bia Mesquita
Of course, one of the people I admire is my dad. Growing up I train with him, workout with him, travel with him, compete with him and he has shown me a lifestyle that I really love. He really taught me the meaning and the lifestyle of Jiu-Jitsu. He inspires me as an athlete, competitor, teacher, and person! Also, my boyfriend is someone who I admire. He is a great athlete and a humble person. Being with him everyday during his recovery, he has showed me so much and how you really need to love jiu-jitsu. He does everything he can to be back to the tournaments as soon as possible and this is something that I really admire about him. Also, I admire all the black belt girls(Kyra, Leticia, Luanna, Hannette, Michelle etc.) All of these girls and many others know how it is hard to be appreciated in jiu-jitsu. Girls really have to prove themselves and so many girls have made a name for themselves and given opportunities for girls just starting jiu-jitsu!
Mackenzie, thank you and best of luck in 2012!
No problem! Thanks so much one more time for the support!
The smile of BJJ, world champion, Mackenzie Dern: "To get appreciated in jiu-jitsu, girls have to prove themselves even more"