At Severn Trent Water Hygiene, we love it when our team maintain a healthy body and mind, absorb themselves in their hobbies, and contribute to their communities. Business Development Manager Melanie Doran accomplishes all three with the practice of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).
Confidence, Discipline and Mental Wellbeing
Developed by Brazilian martial arts legend Helio Gracie, BJJ was designed to give an advantage to the physically weaker participant, prioritising mastery of technique over raw strength. After attending a BJJ-based women’s self-defence class in her hometown of Nottingham, Mel embraced curiosity, and rapidly became involved in the Gracie Barra community. 17 years later, Mel is a 1st degree black belt, and is teaching the very same class!
Mel credits the practice with a tremendous uptick in confidence, discipline and mental wellbeing. This is because, for practitioners of BJJ, the sport is much more than a martial art. BJJ is a lifestyle, and an opportunity for personal growth like no other. Progression in BJJ is based not only on raw skill, but also on community contribution.
Progress, Growth and Contribution
In BJJ Belts are awarded to those who have practiced dutifully and supported their peers. As a result, Mel became involved in teaching martial artists of all ages, whilst being mentored by world champion Professor Victor Estima. This gives her the opportunity to foster positive change in the lives of the next generation of practitioners.
Mel told us the story of a young boy who came to the academy. He was much too nervous to speak. Through her compassionate teaching style, Mel was able to help him gain confidence. Within months he was at the front of the class, counting enthusiastically in the language of the sport: Portuguese! We think is an achievement they can both be proud of.
Mel often opens the Gracie Barra Nottingham academy delivering free of charge self-defence seminars across the city. Attendees range from university students to members of local women’s organisations, all sharing her goal of creating a safer, brighter future for as many people as possible.
Career and Beyond!
These skills picked up from BJJ have been a boon to Mel’s career. Working in Business Development requires strong people skills. Mel told us that she used to be a poor communicator before BJJ. This is almost impossible to believe, as she is one of the most socially adept and intuitive colleagues, we have ever had the pleasure to work with.
It is also clear that the focus on responsibility that BJJ encourages has been excellent for Mel’s performance. She takes real ownership over her work, and cares for every detail, remaining courageous in the face of challenge.
Overall, we think Mel’s dedication to BJJ is mightily impressive, and were fascinated to learn what the discipline has done for her life. BJJ is a great way to keep fit, too! Requiring a combination of cardio and strength, it’s the perfect full-body workout to follow a busy day in the office. Watch this space – we’ll all be at it this time next week!