Vegan athlete Jaqueline Geihe has won the gold medal at the European Jiu-Jitsu Championships organised by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) on 30th October 2023. Geihe, who is from Germany, won in the Adult blue belt Featherweight (56.5kg) category.
The 25 year-old became vegan in 2018 when she encountered a vegan outreach event in the streets. She said to Plant Based News, “I feel like it is important to see a vegan athlete winning competitions because even though there are already many amazing famous athletes and Guiness record holders on a plant-based diet, too many people still hold prejudices against individuals following this lifestyle. Ever since, I try my absolute best to not contribute any money to this cruel industry. I am vegan for environmental and ethical reasons. I want to avoid as much unnecessary harm and cruelty on this earth as possible. The benefits for my athletic performance are just an advantageous and welcome by-product…Leading up to competitions I enjoy eating any well-prepared tofu, tempeh and snacks made with peanut butter. If I’m not weight-cutting, I just love preparing a whole lot of lentil soup as it fuels me perfectly and leaves plenty of time to train during the most crucial weeks.”
There are other successful vegan BJJ fighters. Jorge Pastor won gold in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Santa Cruz International Open. He has said that the philosophy of the BJJ academy where he trains is to “Love animals. Take care of the earth. Help each other.” David Meyer, a vegan since 2000, is an eight-time world champion and one of the first non-Brazilians to reach a black belt in the sport. He has attributed much of his ongoing success in BJJ to his plant-based diet, and he now works in animal advocacy, having co-founded the Humane America Animal Foundation, and founded Adopt-a-Pet.com, the world’s largest non-profit companion animal adoption website.