How Meggie Ochoa turns to jiu jitsu to help sex abuse survivors
MANILA, Philippines — When bemedaled jiu jitsu athlete Meggie Ochoa first delved into her advocacy 'Fight to Protect' for sex abuse survivors, she had more of a direct approach: teach them to protect themselves.
But now three years in, the 29-year-old has realized that she can do even more besides arming them with the jiu jitsu skills to prevent any abuse from happening.
She was also able to teach them lessons in their mentality.
Knowing just how big the mental impact of a traumatic event such as abuse can do to a child or any person for that matter, Ochoa used the sport to help them get better with their mindset.
"In jiu jitsu, it's a contact sport and sometimes they're put in situations where they're in a trap, they're in a position that's very difficult to escape," said Ochoa in the recent Under Armour Mental Toughness webinar.
"But in our sport, we teach them not to get overwhelmed, to do things step by step, and we always make it clear that there is always a way out… As a coach, I teach them to be able to escape by using specific techniques, step-by-step, as in very detailed like what kind of grip, the angle, and all that. When they think of those tiny details, they're able to loosen up the position and then eventually escape," she added.
According to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, getting victims to see themselves be able to overcome that kind of situation can help them apply the same mindset with their struggles outside of jiu jitsu.
"That kind of experience in our specific sport allows them to see that, not just in the mats, but even outside, there is always a way out," said Ochoa.
"You don't have to always overwhelm yourself with situations… Sometimes you just have to focus on the task at hand and I think that particular aspect really helps them a lot in dealing with their trauma," she added.
As for her jiu jitsu career, Ochoa has been in hiatus since the 2019 SEA Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She's hoping to compete in some three international competitions before the year ends.
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