“It’s been 12 years since I walked into that MMA gym, and martial arts continues to be a prominent part of my lifestyle. It has enabled me to travel solo to 36 countries, train all over the world, and it’s brought me my greatest friendships…Training is the best part of my day, and it teaches me far beyond the mats. I only hope more women discover who they could be with training.”
Heide Truong
Photo by Michael Brevig

I was 16 when I decided I needed to start training for my own safety. I came from an abusive household that normalised violence; outside of that, there were several kidnapping attempts and sexual assaults. My friend and I started together at an MMA gym. We were both excited and nervous at first, but our nerves were quickly put at ease. Everybody in the gym was welcoming, and our coach was very kind and genuine. It wasn’t long before the team became a second family to me.

 

I fell in love with Muay Thai right away, not so much with grappling. Eventually I thought I wanted an MMA fight so I began wrestling and training BJJ more. I moved away for University and kept up with my training. After a couple months, I went from hating grappling to it being an obsession. My dreams of being an MMA fighter dissipated as BJJ took over my life.

 

It’s been 12 years since I walked into that MMA gym, and martial arts continues to be a prominent part of my lifestyle. It has enabled me to travel solo to 36 countries, train all over the world, and it’s brought me my greatest friendships. BJJ gave me another family in San Diego with Leticia Ribeiro’s team and now one in Copenhagen where I live. Truly, I could not imagine my life or myself without martial arts. Training is the best part of my day, and it teaches me far beyond the mats. I only hope more women discover who they could be with training. 

Heide Truong
Photo by Shimon Mochizuki
Heide Truong
Photo by Blanca Marisa Garcia