Sheila, Champion's Creed's co-founder and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor for the Adult and Kids programs at the gym, started her martial arts training in 1998. After learning everything she could about BJJ, Sheila set out to keep her training interesting by competing at the World level.
By setting goals for herself and always working to improve and learn new things, Sheila became the first Canadian woman to achieve a black belt in Canada in May 2009. Sheila now holds a 3rd degree Black Belt ranking in BJJ and uses her vast experience to teach others the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
You might be thinking…
I don't want to compete, so how can Champion's Creed help me?
Only 5% of Champion's Creed's members train to compete. The other 95% of members come to the gym for a multitude of reasons—from losing weight and gaining confidence to learning self-defence or even just to get out of the house a few nights a week.
Whenever people first come into the gym, they're usually pretty motivated. There's a huge learning curve where they pick up new skills and gain confidence. It's only later that motivation becomes an issue—when members start to feel like they've hit a plateau and don't know where to go from there.
If you want to get the most out of your training, it's important to know your WHY.
When Champion's Creed staff see you walk through the door they want to know: Why are you here?
It's a very humbling experience for people to come into the gym and admit: I'm here because I want to be more confident. Once people do that, it's powerful, in the sense that I feel I want to honor that people shared their motivations with us.
— Sheila Bird
Sometimes that reason is personal, but knowing your why (or even a general idea of what you want to achieve) can help teachers guide you and give you suggestions to help you reach your goals.
After you've been practicing for a while, you may find yourself thinking,
I feel like I'm not getting really better from where I am now.
According to Sheila, that's when she starts talking to people about setting goals.
These can be bigger goals, like competing in a tournament. But more importantly—when you reach this stage, you should be challenging yourself to get better in every practice.
Your goals don't have to be big. I want to know how to control my breathing when I'm sparring, for example. I don't want to be panting and holding my breath. For me in Muay Thai, it was: "I have to relax my shoulders" because I started to scrunch my shoulders and my arms were getting blasted. I said: "Oh, I am in this permanent flex all the time." That is one of the little goals that I gave myself … It really helps to motivate you each day.
— Sheila Bird
After each practice, ask yourself:
When you make your practice interesting by striving towards small, achievable goals, that's when you start becoming way better.
Having the right people around to support and motivate you is SO important when you have big goals that you want to achieve.
If you're passionate about something, you want to be around other people that are passionate about it as well—so that is exciting. You talk about it; then you're in the right atmosphere. Everybody's trying to help each other. And coaches are like that, too. They're talking to you and inspiring you, teaching you things, and just believing you. They're helping you because they believe that you can do it.
— Sheila Bird
At Champion's Creed, instructors are committed to creating an open and encouraging environment for everyone.
The gym is a place where you can meet other people with the same goals and interests, where no one is going to tell you that you can't do something you've set your mind to.
“At Champion's Creed, there is no ego when sparring. Everyone (coaches right down to the newest members) is always willing to help each other improve.” -Andrew Paulson