Student Spotlight: Angela Yoeurng


1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, such as your name, age, where you reside, and how long you’ve been practicing martial arts?

-My name is Angela, I’m 29 years old, and I live in Pasadena, CA. I attended my first BJJ class back in 2017, but I didn’t start practicing consistently until I joined Silanoe Martial Arts in 2021. This month actually marks my 3 year anniversary at this academy!

2. What inspired you to start practicing martial arts?

-I’ve always been interested in practicing martial arts, but, aside from a Kickboxing class here or there during college, never had the chance to when I was younger. When I became an adult, with adult money and my own car, I signed myself up! Additionally, with the rise of asian hate during the pandemic, I was tired of feeling helpless and figured it’d be a good opportunity for me to learn how to defend myself and those around me.

3. What motivated you to join Silanoe Martial Arts?

-I moved to the area during the pandemic and, coming out of quarantine, I was looking for a place where I would feel safe practicing BJJ (both mentally and physically) and begin re-building my community. Silanoe Martial Arts was clean, covid-conscious, locally owned and operated, and had a growing and thriving women’s community. Bonus points that it was 5 minutes away from where I was living at the time.

4. Can you share some memorable experiences or milestones you’ve achieved during your time at the academy?

-The most memorable experience/milestone for me was probably competing in my first Jiu Jitsu competition as a white belt! I never pictured myself competing in a fight sport before, so I feel a lot of pride and accomplishment in forcing myself outside of my comfort zone and doing something that’s really scary, and surviving.

Angela applying a Bow and Arrow choke on Jimmy

5. What aspects of Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai do you find most challenging, and how do you overcome them?

-One of the biggest challenges for me has been learning to be more assertive in my matches. By nature, I’m not super aggressive, and it can be tough to find that balance between being controlled and technical while also initiating attacks and capitalizing on opportunities. I’ve been working to overcome this by coming in with a specific goal I want to get to in each roll (e.g. hit a triangle from this position) and trying to reframe my mindset around “aggression”. I tell myself I owe it to my teammates (and myself) to give them challenging rolls as that’s the only way for both of us to improve.

6. In what ways have you seen yourself grow, both physically and mentally, through practicing martial arts?

-Physically, jiu jitsu has greatly improved my conditioning and body awareness.  Mentally, it’s greatly improved my confidence and mental well-being.  It’s helped me re-shape my view of my body from what it looks like to what it can do, as well as provided a strong sense of community and a great outlet for stress.

7. What advice would you give to someone considering starting martial arts?

-Just do it! The martial arts community is so supportive and it’s really not as scary as you think it is. It might suck at first but a year from now you’ll look back and see how much progress you’ve made. Everyone always says the only regret they have is not starting sooner.

8. Where do you envision your martial arts journey taking you in the future?

-My main goal is to still be practicing in some capacity decades from now, well into old age. Of course, the biggest tangible goal is black belt, but for now I’m enjoying the journey and just trying to learn everything I can about Jiu Jitsu.

Prof Gino, Timony, and Angela at their BJJ Blue Belt ceremony

9. Is there anything else you’d like to add or share with our readers?

-Martial arts has been such a positive influence in my life. I’ve been able to meet such amazing people through jiu jitsu from all walks of life and there’s an immediate bond whenever you meet someone else who practices. It’s been such an honor to share the mats with both my teammates and amazing martial artists at gyms around the world.

Martial Arts has been an asset to Angela in many different ways. If you are ready to give it a try please reach out to us or request a Free Trial. You can also read more about the Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt rank here.