The Makings of a Legend- An Interview with Kris Shaw, Founder and Editor of BJJ Legends Magazine

Posted: Dec 15 2014

The DeuS Fight team had an opportunity to turn the tables on Kris Shaw, the founder and editor of BJJ Legends magazine and actually interview her for once. We were introduced through our good friend Elena Stowell who is doing some amazing work through her foundation, the Carly Stowell Foundation, and Jammin BJJ. Kris was insightful and witty during our chat with her. We really appreciate her taking the time.


BJJ Legends- The traditional definition of a Legend includes amazing stories that while based on truth are almost folklore in status. That said, in the early 1600's Protestants actually used the word Legend to describe the story of Saints. And, while Kris would certainly not describe herself as a legend or saint, we were certainly humbled by our interview with her. Throughout her Jiu Jitsu journey over the years, she has made meaningful and lasting friendships, become a mother, been a loving and supportive wife, taught and mentored others through their Jiu Jitsu journey, and embraced life in way the reminds us how impactful we can all be in making a difference. These traits not only embody what the DeuS brand is all about, they inspire us and are the makings of a real Legend. Thank you so much for your time Kris!


*Our Interview with Kris*


DeuS: When and how did BJJ Legends get started?

Kris: We started the magazine in 2007. I had just lost the worlds and knew that I wasn’t going to fight anymore. The magazine was a way for me to stay connected with the sport. It really took the place of competing in tournaments.

In 2005 one of my students approached me to take pictures for the Japanese magazine Jiu-Jitsu Spirits. In all honesty, I took terrible pictures and she was actually told to fire me. She actually told him she could'nt because I was her instructor and a black belt, so he would just have to teach me. But after 7 years, I’m still just a photography hack. I don’t match the consistency and quality of the other pros out there like Shannon Edmonds, Mike Calimbas, Lance Emery, Owen Francis or Brent Burniston. They are really great at what they do.

DeuS: We haven't seen the magazine in a while what is going on, what are your plans?
Kris: Well, we haven’t made a magazine in 2 years. I have the next issue on my desktop, it just needs a couple dozen more hours. Life and our kids keep pulling me away. If I was willing to sacrifice a few more hours of sleep each night, I could finish. But at the end of the day, after lunches, gymnastics, Jiu-Jitsu, and soccer, sleep wins out.

We plan on taking the magazine digital. I’d like to have an app and keep bringing great content to everybody. We are so blessed living in Southern California; we’ve got great weather, fresh, healthy food year-round and access to a who’s who list of Jiu-Jitsu players.
DeuS: Tell us a little about your Jiu-Jitsu journey
Kris: I got my black belt in 2005 from Leka Vieira. I am so very honored to be a woman who received her black belt from a woman. My Jiu-Jitsu path has taken some twists and turns. I started BJJ in Texas in a class called Reality Combat. Then I trained with Rigan Machado and the Machado brothers from 1998 until 2004 when Leka started her own academy. For the last 7 years I have called Tinguinha’s in Anaheim Hills home. Those guys are like brothers to me.
As a magazine we try to support other people in the sport, other gyms, and other companies. We try to raise everybody up. We have a soft spot for stories about underdogs, vets, women and people who train despite or because of unusual circumstances.
As an older female black belt I try to get to the Southern California Women's Open Mat (SoCalWomen’s) when I can. I still try to roll with everybody. I tap a lot. I was never a great champion and now at 46 and a mother of four young kiddos I’m definitely not. I still get to the gym twice a week and I teach a kids class over at OC Carlson Gracie.
DeuS: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kris: I’d like to say thank you to all the writers who have given us their time and the stories over the years. We are a grass roots community magazine. Thanks to writers like Deneatra Terry, Kenneth Brown and a dozen others who have written for us over the years.
Lastly, thanks Deus Fight for the interview and best of luck to you.


To find out more, check out BJJ Legends Magazine.


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