Jiu Jitsu is a “combative art - a live canvas if you will, but the paintbrush is the player and the canvas is the mat.” - Margot Ciccarelli
Margot Ciccarelli, black belt under Murilo Santana, is widely recognized in jiu jitsu for her innovative style and focus on body movement and spatial awareness. She has an extensive background in a variety of martial arts and other activities including: Chinese Kickboxing, Wing Chun Kungfu, powerlifting, hip hop dancing, and circus skills, among others.
This explorative approach to athleticism, and even competition, also oozes into the way she teaches. Of her Pass Key course, one online student wrote: “I really like the sense of freedom in this course. Take the concepts/fundamentals and pass guards using body movement mechanics instead of a rigid, step by step approach.”
Free Yourself from Rigid Technique Systems that Don’t Always Work for You or for Your Goals
With multiple championships and tournament wins under her belt, Margot is often preparing for her next competitive endeavor. Over time, she’s learned that allowing competition results to determine her validity as an athlete did not work for her. It wasn’t why she got into martial arts and it wasn’t why she loved jiu jitsu.
In an article for Hyperfly she explained:
“For those who compete or feel obligated to compete, we often get caught up in how we perform in our rolls, whether we are progressing fast enough, whether we are ‘good’ enough for our belt or even for our next belt.
So I say when you think those things or feel that way, remember that the journey is so much more than that, and your purpose in the art should be more multifaceted than just winning, and medals.”
As a teacher, one of her main goals is to make jiu jitsu accessible to more people. Pursuing this, she understands that she can’t teach with only a competitor in mind. Or with only a hobbyist in mind. Or with only a long-time practitioner in mind. Or with only a beginner in mind. To do any one of those things would mean ignoring the individual goals and needs of a large portion of her students.
She genuinely believes “everybody can find something they love in jiu jitsu without having to make sacrifices that they may not want or need to make.”
This is why her in-person instruction, as well as her courses here on Jiu Jitsu X, are generally a combination of straight-forward technique breakdowns as well as mindset explanations.
Develop a Mindset that Allows You to Flow in Any Scenario
Another student of Margot’s The Underworld course said: “Her teaching style is clear, succinct and really tries to help the learner understand the structural mechanics of the position, which in turn has helped me with the overall pathways of movement from the position. What does this mean? It means rather than following a paint by numbers style approach to learning/deploying techniques, you can implement a game plan for every scenario you find yourself in.”
Margot’s own exploration of jiu jitsu is just as much conceptual as it is physical, and this shines through in her teaching too.
Each of her several courses here on Jiu Jitsu X include concepts as well as techniques. These concept portions allow students to move past simply replicating movements, and into a headspace where they are able to explore what works for them.
Some examples of these mindset concepts in each course include:
The Underworld - Reading Your Partner’s Intention
The Off Balancing Act - Choosing a Pathway from the Off Balance that Suits Your Strength
Tao of Lapel - Staying Within Range
The Pass Key - Space Management
Benefit from a Nomadic Perspective
You may not be able to travel and train with a multitude of people from all over the world. Most of us don’t have the opportunity. However, Margot is nomadic by nature and infuses her worldly experiences into nearly everything she does, including teaching jiu jitsu.
She was born in and grew up in London until, at the age of 19, she moved to Hawaii for a work opportunity. She then returned to London and spent a quick span of time in Australia, teaching English and training at academies on the Gold Coast. Now, she divides her time between the UK, New York City, and Hong Kong, often filling time between those locations with short excursions to other places.
Of her traveling lifestyle she says: “For me BJJ allows me to forge more connections not just between the techniques, but between people. Travel gives me perspective and I get to see a lot of my friends around the globe which is so nourishing. I get a lot of insight into training and nuances behind techniques in every country I visit, and you get to be a part of many people’s journeys in the art, which is an honor.”
Her artistically athletic style is in some ways a collaboration of influences from all the places and all the people she has had the privilege of learning from so far.
Get Started Now with SIXTEEN Free Techniques
Margot currently has four courses available to you on Jiu Jitsu X:
Collectively, these courses include sixteen free techniques for you to start learning from and implementing in your game!
You’ll also want to check out “Nomadic Mars” herself here on Instagram!