Cynthia Omatsu, commonly known as Cindy Omatsu, is a Japanese-American black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Rigan Machado and Leka Vieira, being best known as the first female grappler outside of Brazil to have achieved the rank of black belt in this martial art (2002). Omatsu also gained notoriety in the jiu jitsu circuit as an interviewer for Grapple TV during the early/mid 2000’s, co-hosting the online show with a fellow teammate Felicia Oh.
How long does it take to find the first female black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu? In this piece we go through the process of finding Yvone Duarte, the first women’s black belt in our sport, discovered by BJJ Heroes on November 2014, and insight to the research developed over a 4 year period.
This article here presented, describes some of the most important female personalities jiu jitsu has had for the past few decades, women Like who helped cement jiu jitsu as a leading combat sport it is today.
The first female to achieve the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was Yvone Duarte, a belt rank received in 1990. This incredible pioneer of the sport was one of the main forces behind the implementation of a female division in Jiu Jitsu competitions, being also the first female to start her own BJJ team.
Often (wrongly) regarded as the first woman black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Patricia Lage is a highly decorated BJJ practitioner with over 30 years experience in the sport and titles in the Brazilian Nationals and the World Cup. Patricia is also the daughter of 8th degree black belt Roberto Lage, an illustrious figure in Sao Paulo’s Jiu Jitsu landscape.