Is the wolf at the door? Is it as bad as you think, or is it worse?

So often it’s extremely hard to tell, but one thing is for certain.

You need to react and respond.

On Sun February 7, 2016, CNN reported, “North Korea launched a satellite into space Sunday, its state media reported, triggering a wave of international condemnation and prompting strong reaction from an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.”

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.…..Epictetus

On the sports battlefield, at the community town meeting or the family gathering, we may be presented with strong challenges and how well we address the issues involved depend upon responding in the right way.

Please meet Karen Antunes. article, photo via YouTube

Karen Antunes is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt trained under the great Mayko Araújo. She is also one of the top athletes in the sport’s female lightweight class.

Ms. Antunes paved her way to the majors of the sport in the lower belt divisions, where she conquered 3 IBJJF world titles among many other important placements.

Karen faced her own life altering challenge when her brother passed away understandably sending the family into deep grief.

There are many ways to respond to the death of a loved one that could range from anger, self-pity, guilt, denial to life withdrawal.

How did Karen eventually respond?

She had learned about jiu jitsu from her brother, who masterfully practiced the gentle art.

With the encouragement of her sister and others in her circle, she decided to pursue the martial arts with passion.

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.……..Dalai Lama

It was her performance at the prestigious Five Super League tournament on August 2015 that put her on the map of mainstream of BJJ by defeating former world champions Luiza Monteiro and Nijah Rollins on her way to the final, guaranteeing her standing as one of the top grappling competitors of her generation. article, photo via

Here are some of her mind blowing accomplishments.

  • World Champion (2012 purple)
  • World No-Gi Champion (2015, 2013 brown, 2012 purple)
  • Pan American Champion (2014 brown)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2014 brown, 2013 purple)
  • European Champion (2013 brown)
  • World Championship 2nd Place (2014 brown)
  • World No-Gi Championship 2nd Place (2014 brown)
  • Pan American Championship 2nd Place (2014 brown)
  • Five Super League Tournament 2nd Place (2015)
  • World No-Gi Championship 3rd Place (2012 absolute purple)
  • European Championship 3rd Place (2013 absolute brown)
  • Pan American Championship 3rd Place (2014 absolute brown)

After years of traveling to the US to compete in the sport’s top events, Karen and her husband Mayko moved to America, settling in Minnesota where they are coaches at an academy.

At the cellar gym, her contemporaries can’t say enough good things about her. “Karen is considered one of the best female grapplers in the world today. She is a 3x IBJJF World Champion and in 2015 she was invited to compete in the first ever, FIVE Grappling Super League Pro Invitational. The FIVE SL event featured 8 of the best female BJJ competitors in the world and Karen won 2nd place after pulling off two incredible upsets in the tournament.”

Karen is originally from Brasilia, Brazil and given the incredible talent that emerges from the Fem Competitor community of models, fitness stars and grappling champions, it’s time to electronically travel to this majestic country once again.

Brasília is the federal capital of Brazil and seat of government of the Federal District. The city is located atop the Brazilian highlands in the country’s center-western region. It was founded on April 21, 1960, to serve as the new national capital. article, photo via wikimedia

Brasília and its metro had a population of 2,556,149 in 2011, making it the 4th most populous city in Brazil.

The city is the epitome of master planning and creative design.

Brasília was planned and developed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in 1956 in order to move the capital from Rio de Janeiro to a more central location. The landscape architect was Roberto Burle Marx. article, photo via oscar-niemeyer-s-brasilia-andrew-prokos-brasilia

Okay, that was the basic exquisite rocks and minerals. Now for an introduction from the travel experts at, “Well into middle age, Brazil’s once futuristic capital remains an impressive monument to national initiative. From the air, Brasília’s millennial design evokes the image of an airplane, with each of its architectural marvels strategically laid out along the Eixo Monumental, and its residential and commercial blocks along its outspread wings.

With long distances and harrowing six-lane highways connected by spaghetti junctions to negotiate, Brasília presents challenges for walkers. Though renting a car is trial by fire, the big picture becomes all the more clear from behind a steering wheel. Those up for the adventure will find a lively city hidden behind the futuristic facade, one that that’s not only a pilgrimage for architecture and design buffs but foodies, night owls and those seeking an unarguably unique travel experience.”

No wonder Brasilia is a very popular tourist destination.

It was an outstanding village that helped raise Karen.

I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson’s. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there’s freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise found myself in.……Michael J. Fox

The future for Karen looks very bright. She has accomplishments that will travel with her for her lifetime and she has provided a very powerful life lesson for us.

She is a brilliant woman used to meeting challenges head on, including maintaining the jujitsu lifestyle. In an interview with she expressed, “Always it’s hard to maintain jujitsu lifestyle just by sponsoring. This is not my reality now, I’m work just to be able to compete, all my money I invest in jujitsu. But I’m still positive to have sponsors enough to maintain this lifestyle.”

At some point in time in all of our lives we will face very strong adversity that we cannot ignore. We have no choice but to respond. If we look to Karen’s example of a profile in courage and determination, not only can we survive the trauma, with a proper response, we can change our life and improve that of those around us.

Karen is a perfect example of that.

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Photo Eduardo Vongrapp,_Bras%C3%ADlia_DF_04_2006.jpg#/media/File:Esplanada_dos_Minist%C3%A9rios,_Bras%C3%ADlia_DF_04_2006.jpg