My name is Aiana Rodriguez. I am a graduate student and a research coordinator at Johns Hopkins University. My usual hobbies include video games, cars, and more video games. I have been training at Crazy 88 for a little over a year.

I was nervous about being able to commit because I’ve never really had an interest in sports or combat sports. So I was afraid that I was doing something that was completely left field and a big risk. I had just graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, so I moved back home and I had a 9-to-5 job and I just needed something to occupy my free time, so I found the Crazy 88. It’s been really exciting. I am a person who really likes to keep on learning, and everything here is always different every day.

I think that one thing that sets Crazy 88 apart from other gyms is that I train in the same classes as people who want to become professional fighters. And even though that’s not one of my goals, I still get the same respect and the same training that they do.

Right now, I don’t have any long-term goals because I don’t have any plans on quitting. So I have more short-term goals and one of those is to get my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and to move up in rank.

I’m definitely a lot more in shape, and I’m able to take my dog for a walk and he gets tired before I do. I can fit into my clothes from high school! And that wasn’t one of my initial goals, so if other women have that goal, then this is the place to be. It’s fun and it’s not boring.

I want to thank my parents, who are encouraging me to keep going. I want to thank my boyfriend who influenced me because he’s been in martial arts forever. And thank you to my coaches, because I think if it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I would’ve kept going with this. So thank you.