Badass of the Month: Jessica Espinoza Glasebrook
“I’m verbose. I don’t even shut up when I’m being armbarred,” says Jessica Espinoza Glasebrook, our June Badass of the Month. Jessica is a career guidance counselor, soon-to-be yoga instructor, and “smug mom” to her guide dog Nigel.
“Everyone has a default [in training], and you start to be able to feel that in people when we’re doing partner work, and you learn that in yourself.”
Jessica defaults to her hands a lot, because she can’t see. “I get in with my hands, which is not always effective [in a fight]. I have tiny little bird fingers… I always thought of my hands as the thing I interact with the world in, but it doesn’t do anything [in a fight], especially when I have these wonderful Latina hips at my disposal!” Jessica’s talking about her ability to use her hips to generate power or to drive weight when grappling.
Jessica may have a visual impairment, but underestimating her would be a mistake.
“I recognize people by their distinctive movements. People don’t realize how powerful their own individual movements are.”
This perceptiveness makes her a badass grappler, as well as great at her job as a Career Guidance Instructor at the Texas Workforce Commission.
Jessica helps people who have recently lost their vision to acclimate to being blind, learn new skills, and get jobs. “When I was in staff immersion, I got to be in the class and legit use a drill press and a power saw. I was an Amazon for about 3 minutes!”
She loves being a Career Guidance Counselor. “It’s a passion of mine to help people find where they fit.” What a coincidence. That’s one of Lion’s values, too!
At the first Krav Maga gym she tried, she found that they weren’t quite sure what to do with a student who couldn’t see. “They were flummoxed…. here’s me and my big ol’ guide dog!”
The instructor asked her to work on a heavy bag instead of working in with the sighted students, but she still loved it! “Halfway through the class of me whomping this giant [heavy bag], something just clicked. I felt this immense power.”
She found Lions Krav Maga soon after that. “I don’t confuse the instructors at Lions. They get creative, and I’m learning like everyone else in their own way.”
“They [instructors] would always say I could do something before I realized I could do it. Like, ‘Hey, bring your cane, we’re doing front kicks.’ What are you talking about?! That’s how I end up on my butt!” But Jessica was always game. She trusted the instructors, and she found that there were generally modifications so that she could learn along with everyone else.
As of today, Jessica is a Yellow Belt student working towards testing for her Orange Belt soon.
“It’s extremely challenging, but that feeling of immense power, good power, not go-to-your-head power, where you can accomplish something, not just daydream about it. That was that. That’s why I’m still doing Krav Maga a year and half later.”
And if that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.
Got someone to nominate for next month’s Badass?