Leah Tremain won a silver in her division and bronze in the open category in the IBJJF World Masters Jiu Jitsu competition. Photo by Heath Moffatt

Campbell River’s Leah Tremain takes silver and bronze in Masters Jiu Jitsu worlds

Leah Tremain, a two time world champion, just returned from Las Vegas where she competed in her third IBJJF World Masters Jiu-Jitsu competition in Las Vegas.

This year she won a silver in her division and bronze in the open category.

Jodey Ingalls, head coach at Pure Martial Arts said, “I’ve been training with Leah for many years and I’m very proud of her accomplishments in competition. She is a role model on and off the mat and a world class athlete.”

Tremain came out strong in her first match, dominating her opponent and finishing the match with a choke from the back. Tremain’s second match was against Amy Konopka, out of Alliance, San Diego, ranked #1 in the world at brown belt Masters 4.

“I learned a lot in this match,” Tremain said. “She broke my guard in a way no one is doing at my gym and after that I just couldn’t get dominance. I was disappointed in my performance.”

It was a difficult day for Tremain.

“It’s been a tough year for me in my personal life and it hit me more than expected before competition – but I was determined to fight anyway.”

And that she did. She took on Konopka in the finals and won a silver medal, losing the match in points.

Don Whitefield from West Coast Martial Arts, Tremain’s coach out of Vancouver, said that a medal isn’t all there is to this competitor, “When Leah competes she does not just fight for a medal and not just because she loves Jiu-Jitsu. She goes out there and fights for her life, she brings all her life with her and fights for it in every match.

“That is what makes her such a great competitor and that is what makes her such a great martial artist because that is what you should do every day and with everything you do as a martial artist.”

Tremain then signed up to go into the open class division. Tremain is in the age category Master 4 and a brown belt which means she fights anyone in this category who medalled – at any weight.

In her first match, Tremain was put into a submission but escaped and was able to move into a triangle position on her opponent. From there Tremain put her in a wrist lock and won the match with that submission.

She then fought Konopka who beat her in her division.

“I was doing well this round – I got a sweep and ended up on top for my points. But then I made a mistake.”

Her mistake opened her up to her opponent who was given points for a take down. Tremain and Konopka were tied 2-2 when the clock ran out and Konopka was awarded the win. She won by an advantage.

Even though Tremain came home with two medals on the world stage, she still looks at her experience with the eyes of a competitor.

“I can see my mistakes that I have to fix. I was going to take a year off of competing next year but now I feel I have to go back to get that gold.”

Her Nanaimo coach, Rob Biernacki, head coach at Island Top Team, agrees and doesn’t see the path as simple.

He says, “Anyone with athletic ability and a skill disparity can win at some of the lower belts, it is the mark of a true competitor to be willing to work when victory is no longer assured, and come back stronger in response to failure. I believe Leah to be that sort of competitor. This wasn’t her year, but the results were still impressive considering what she went through just to be able to compete. She will come back better next year.”

Tremain’s primary coach here in Campbell River, Ingalls, has no doubt she can do the work to improve.

“Leah takes her training very seriously and truly lives the path of a martial artist,” Ingalls said.