We had the good fortune of connecting with Iasmim Casser and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Iasmim, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I first started training Martial Arts back in the very country side of Brazil, I didn’t imagine I would become a professional athlete, much less a World Champion, living thousand of miles away in a different country, that I now call home. Me getting into martial arts was like an accident, but I happened to feel like it was already in me, I felt like it was meant to be. Prior to deciding to take fighting as a career, I had become a chemistry technician and had planned my life in a very standard and boring way. Switching to something so uncertain, so dangerous and unconventional should probably feel scary and crazy, but I was just following my heart.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being a multi martial arts professional athlete and MMA fighter is something a little out of the ordinary. Being a woman on top of that, is even more unconventional. Outside of the fighting realm, I am a musician, a chemist, and I am passionate about all kinds of knowledge. I love learning things and being a student, and that’s how I treat martial arts as well, as an art and a science, and not just violence like most people do.
I am very hard on myself and I search for excellence in everything I do. If I am not doing something all the way, I might as well not even start it. So I give it my all.
I consider myself very blessed to be surrounded of great professionals to guide my passion to excellence. Today I am a Jiu Jitsu black belt under the Mendes Brothers at Art Of Jiu Jitsu Academy, two of the most recognized athletes in the sport. I train boxing/ MMA with Jason Parillo at RVCA, one of the most prestigious boxing coaches in the world. I train wrestling/MMA at the Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center with Tiki Ghosn and Paul Herrera, and I to heal from all that damage I have the support of Webb Travis as my recovery coach at Turf Newport Beach. But before I get here, I came a very long and harsh way.
I was born in 1998 in the very country side of Brazil. Family was very poor and my life was very messed up in many different ways. As a child I never settled to live a life like that forever. I wanted to change things. I appeared to be the only one with that mindset so I left home at 13 years old to seek a better future for me and my family. I went to a different city with more resources, I gave music lessons to kids and made very little money but it was enough to pay for a room in a hostel, and very little was left for food or anything else. Brazil is a very dangerous place, specially for a 13 year old girl on her own, living in an actual city for the first time. Most of the time I was scared, and people constantly tried to take advantage of me. Thank God I had good instincts and I managed to survive somehow. Even tho it all sounds crazy, at the time it just felt like the right thing to do, the only option I had. I wouldn’t notice how bad the situation was, cause I didn’t know nothing else, I wasn’t aware of how it felt to have a lot of food, or clean clothes, or a supportive family around, so I didn’t miss it. Shortly after I started studying chemistry, and engaged in acting, music bands, and even a circus – yes, I’ve been a circus artist.
I was depressed and I drank a lot as a way to try to destroy myself and end the suffering. Very dark times indeed.
About the age of 16 that’s when I started training. A friend of mine suggested I should do a trial class at his Muay Thai gym, and I said “why not”.
Then it began.
I couldn’t stop doing it. I fell in love with the sport and started competing right away. The feeling of fighting was an analogy to the challenges I was fighting in my personal life. It made me feel alive, it gave me purpose. I liked to see how people would beat the hell out of me at training and I would still stand back up and come back the next day. In my mind it was me against my demons, and I would always get back up, that’s what fighting meant to me.
I went all the way to Thailand, Muay Thai land, seeking for that feeling. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was leaving Brazil for the first time. There I felt something different when I was fighting. I looked up to the sky and I truly felt I was meant to do fight. I felt like God had a purpose for me, for some reason he wanted me to do it. Cause what are the odds, of a girls coming from the middle of nowhere to be in Bangkok at that moment, all on her own, fighting freaking Muay Thai?
Muay Thai led to MMA. MMA planted a dream in my head. Even tho I wouldn’t dare to believe it would ever come true, but it did. When I came back from Thailand I decided to take the MMA idea seriously. I had one amateur fight and then went straight to the Pro. I was still a kid and a begging at everything, but I knew I had heart. Both my fights I submitted – What on Earth? I thought I was a striker. That told me when I was scared to death, my instinct of survival told me to grapple, both times. I thought I should invest on it and learn more grappling. Long story short, I visited Art Of Jiu Jitsu, in the United States – as a raw white belt doing white belt stuff – and the Mendes Brothers offered me the opportunity of becoming part of their Jiu Jitsu competition team, having the goal of becoming a world champion in every belt level, making my name in another sport, and then going back to MMA with these credentials later. I couldn’t believe it, and so far I had never conceived the idea of taking Jiu Jitsu seriously. Well, it happened, and they really made me a world champion many times. I am really grateful for that. I don’t really know what I am anymore, striker or grappler, but that’s a great thing as I plan to be both now that I am getting back at MMA. A new journey just about to begin.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I would first take them to the beach, maybe a beach tour through all coast of California. Then me and my sweet tooth, would take them to my favorite spots for sweets, some of them are:
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cookie, at Lazy Acres
I would most definitely take the to Six Flags Magic Mountain, for some real fun!
Then maybe Skydiving, why not?
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Juliano Fagundes Barcelos, my good friend and the first person to ever believe and support me, at the very beginning of my journey. I wouldn’t be here without him.
I would also like to thank Webb Travis for his friendship and support throughout the past year, pushing me to be a better athlete and a better person.
Facebook: Iasmim Casser