About Me

Hi!  I'm L.A. and I am the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge) of this blog 


I'm a U.S.A. Boxing coach, a B.J.J. blue belt and an advocate for women's combative sports.  I own a MMA gym in Denver, Colorado, where I train men and women to compete in boxing, Muay Thai, B.J.J. and submission wrestling and MMA.  
 

 
I have a Ph.D. in  Literary Studies from the University of Denver.  My concentration is in cultural studies, American culture and feminism.  I believe that in order to promote women in combative sports, we must focus on changing the discourse that marginalizes female fighters.

13 comments:

slideyfoot said...

Cool! I'm a purple belt who teaches BJJ and is also doing a PhD in English Literature, although the latter is taking far, far longer than I expected (in my seventh year so far).

I'm surprised you use the term 'bitch' to describe yourself. Particularly as you're a literature academic, is that something you're looking to reclaim or otherwise rehabilitate as a positive (e.g., like Germaine Greer in regards to other female-related insults), or is there some other reason you'd call yourself HBIC?

L.A. Jennings said...

Hey girl! I'm not sure if my position as an academic has much to do with it, but I have long referred to myself as a bitch. In our culture, women who are strong and aggressive are denigrated as 'bitches' while men who share the same attributes are described as powerful. Language is powerful and, as we know from Barthes, ideologically motivated. Language is also constantly moving, which indicates that words used to repress and marginalize may be appropriated.

Thus, I have accepted and embraced the moniker of bitch and delight in frightening the people who are afraid of powerful women.

Congratulations on nearing completion! I just passed my comprehensive exams and am writing my dissertation prospectus. It is wonderful to meet another literature professor who likes to choke people!

slideyfoot said...

Fair enough: I could understand it being taken as something powerful, as that's a theme I've seen elsewhere (Bitch Magazine, for a start). I'm a guy, so my perspective is almost certainly skewed as a result (though I take it as a compliment you assumed I was female ;)).

I'm guessing the PhD system in the US must be different from here in the UK, as I've not had to take any exams (except for a viva, though that's more like a chat than an exam). The process here is to write your 80,000 word thesis, then do a viva at the end. Out of interest, what did your exams and the dissertation prospectus involve?

It is surprisingly common to find academics who are also involved in BJJ. E.g., John Frankl (SBG black belt and Harvard PhD), Mike Vann (black belt and history PhD) and Rosi Sexton (MMA fighter, brown belt, osteopath and computer science PhD. Bunch of other stuff too: ridiculously talented woman).

L.A. Jennings said...

UGH! I am so sorry, Slidey! This is why I should have trekked over to your blog first. Now that I have seen it I can safely say that you would be a very handsome woman ;)

I do know several PhD's who train martial arts, but I've never met another Literature professor.

Our exams are based on four primary areas of study: major figure (for me, Roland Barthes), time period (American literature written during WWII), genre (detective fiction through 1950s) and special topic (Narratology). You write an annoyingly short response, less than 3000 words, to a prompt provided by two professors.

Once you've passed your exams, you may begin working on a dissertation prospectus, which is basically an outline of what you plan to do and how you intend to research and structure your argument. Once it clears, you begin on the dissertation and it is approved one chapter at a time. It is definitely a process, but since I am done with classes and only teaching one class a quarter at the university (as opposed to the 12 classes/week at my gym!), all I have to do is start writing!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I enjoyed reading yours as well and will continue to do so.

slideyfoot said...

Ha ha - thanks. My girlfriend has told me I've got a woman's legs before. Tights don't look good with all that hair sticking out, though. ;)

Interesting exam structure: I guess that reflects the way in the US, you're forced to be a bit more diverse in higher education, rather than the ability to carefully specialise you get here. One of the things I like about the PhD is that I don't have to do written exams anymore. Among other reasons, my handwriting is terrible. My English teacher at school made sure I got to do my exams on a laptop as a result, which was cool. :D

That prospectus sounds similar to the bureaucratic check-ups I've had at Warwick Uni, when they send you a 'termly review form' and 'annual review form' to keep tabs on your progress. I can't remember now if I had to write one before starting, as that was back in 2005, but probably.

I'd love to teach more classes at uni, but I live in a different part of the country to my institution. Still, I've been able to teach a few, which has been fun. E.g., like this one. Teaching BJJ has been just as fun, though I probably go a bit overboard on planning lessons.

For some reason, I keep getting an error when trying to subscribe to comments on this page. Not sure why.

Georgette said...

Nice to meet you, LA :) I'm a blue belt in Austin and a prosecuting attorney with a degree in philosophy. I love all aspects of BJJ but especially the intellectual ones :)

Marie said...

Yea, another fun fighting blog to read! I'm a white belt in BJJ, 3rd degree brown in American Kenpo. Another attorney here, although I'm purely transactional - undergrad/grad in Psychology, so that definitely comes in handy on the mats. "Hmmm, so tell me about your mother...while I just lock on to this arm over here."

Jiu Jiu said...

I found you because Slidey posted a link to my blog on your gi page. I swear I was 2 seconds away from ordering that lavender Gameness gi. I only have white and blue gis, but there's part of me that is very curious about branching out into other colors.

I'm planning to visit the Boulder area in December - I'd love to come by and visit your gym or roll with you some time! I'm a blue belt under one of John Frankl's black belt here in Korea. Most of my instruction (95%?) has been in Korean, so my experience in BJJ has been different than most of of those whose blogs I read.

I train teachers over here in Seoul. Anyway, nice to see you - did you end up finding out about the Fenom gis?

L.A. Jennings said...

Hi Julia! I am so glad we could connect from across the world. Thank you for all the insightful comments on my previous articles. I would love to get together with you when you come to Boulder. Keep in touch and let me know as it gets closer!

noceleryplease said...

Sadness that I just found this awesome blot and you seem to be on hiatus :(
Here's hoping you find time to come back soon!

L.A. Jennings said...

Don't worry...I'll be back! I am writing a book on female fighters and plan to start posting small excerpts and comments as soon as I get this monkey (dissertation) off my back! Stay tuned
-LA

ticker said...

Hi, good luck with your book; I look forward to reading it when it's finished.

I was thinking of putting together a piece on WMMA and feminism what with the conclusion of TUF 18 and the continuing success of Invicta, but it looks like there is very little precedence for properly researched and written articles in this field. What do you think about the way things are going?

Mona Blu said...

I love your blog post about fat-shaming, and am going to post it to my facebook - what a great message you are conveying!! thanks much!

- fellow bjj.boxing.academic :)