Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing
Carmen is the owner and founder of EFMA. She has been doing martial arts for 26 years starting off with karate at her primary school when she was 5 years old. When she was 13 years old she obtained her black belt through Golden Cobra school of martial arts. She was verey lucky to train under the best in the world! Daryll Andreola, Trevor Gorringe, Jason Gorringe, Chris Weir, just to name a few. One of her childhood highlights was training with Larry Lam, who was Leonardo the Blue ninja turtle. When she was 19 she underwent a gruelling grading for her 2nd Degree Black belt. In 2012 Carmen was promoted to 3rd Degree Black belt when she founded Kachi-Do Karate. The name she proudly requested to use from her very first martial arts and karate coach Darryl Andreola. To date Carmen has a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Karate, Purple Belt, 4th stripe in BJJ, and over 20 years of boxing experience.
She has competed in several karate tournaments and was awarded the 2004 Karateka of the year trophy and the 2006 Club Tournament Champion. She also won the 2007 Martial Artist of the year champion. She had the opportunity to host her first ever Club Karate tournament in 2007 which gave her the experience she needed to assist in the ISKA tournament circuit. Carmen is a certified referee in multiple karate tournament circuits and was also requested to referee as the 2008 NAS world championship finals. In 2008 she was part of the ISKA Golden Cobra Victorian team as a coach. Several members fought in the world championship finals and Sean Lowe (EFMA’s current head boxing coach) won World Champion 65kg full contact continuous sparring and Silver in the Grand Championship which was open weight. Some of her refereeing and coaching has been televised on Fox Sports.
Carmen has fought and won 4 of her 5 amateur boxing fights.
She was also selected to be part of the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) sports draft to be in the RIO 2016 Olympic Boxing team. She was then asked to be a wildcard and train with the Australian Boxing Team. Unfortunately her personal health issues prevented her from pursueing this paticular journey. She made the conscious decision to become a coach and has coached a handful of students in the boxing ring.
To date Carmen has had the opportunity to learn and train under the best in the world. However her long time boxing coaches for a couple of years was Freddie Tukes, and currently is Sam Soliman. She also like to keep up her kickboxing and striking skills, and when she can fit it in, trains under UFC veteran Vik Grujic head MMA coach at UFC gym.
BRAZILLIAN JIU JITSU
Carmen's Brazillian Jiu Jitsu journey has definitely presented her the hardest tournament matches. Winning 1 Gold medal in 2019 and 2 silver previously. Under her coach she has had the opportunity to train with many of the world’s greatest. Her whole BJJ student, fight and coach career have all been with Cia Paulista Australia. Her coach is Carlos Portugeus Viera, who is a world class athlete and multiple time world champion. Carmen was also the first Australian female Cia Paulista Affiliate in 2014.
Carmen has dedicated her life to making a difference in the martial arts community. One of her driving passions is to help other to able to defend themselves. She has worked with multiple councils, schools and communities to deliver self defence programs to people of all walks of life. She has an outstanding port folio of recommendations from a number of businesses, and women’s health programs. This passion has also led her to launch Worldly Women in Martial Arts.
Carmen has worked for years establishing a reputable name for her business EFMA and has specifically ensured that all affiliates, partners, instructors and assistant instructors share the same/similar martial arts values.
- Cia Paulista Australia
- Nutrition Warehouse Australia
- Decathlon Knoxfield
- Plus a number of smaller businesses
EHLERS DANLOS SYNDROME
Carmen was born with a genetic disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It is a hypermobility disorder where there is a collagen defect in the whole body. She was officially diagnosed by a geneticist in 2016.
- Broken arm
- Broken wrists – hairline fractures
- Gastrointestinal issues resulting in many hospital admissions.
- All my baby teeth had to be pulled out with my dad’s pliers or a dentist.
- Dislocated jaw multiple times
- Shattered wisdom tooth which led to clotting issues (EDS related)
- Multiple broken fingers and toes. Currently needing surgery on one finger.
- Sprained/strained/hairline fractures in both ankles and feet over a dozen times.
- Multiple shoulder AC joint separations and impingements
- Multiple knuckle dislocations and subluxations. (This happens weekly if not daily)
- Heel spur in right foot.
- Multiple foot fractures and subluxations. (due to the arch in my foot collapsing)
- Plantar fasciitis (due to my foot arch collapsing)
- Many broken, dislocated or subluxed ribs.
- FAI in both hips.
- Labrum tear and teres minor ligamentum tear in left hip needing surgery.
- 3 x ACL Knee Reconstructions
- 4 x Knee Arthroscopy surgery
- Both knees pending surgery.
Although the disease on paper seems quite terrible, Carmen is known for being motivational and inspiring and has never given up on her dream to make a difference in the world through martial arts and general empowerment. She truly believes that it’s been a blessing because it has given her the chance to be able to empathise with others and the pain they may be dealing with in their life, whether it be diagnosed or undiagnosed chronic illness or injury. She is known in the EDS community for sharing her experiences and insight to the illness and offers ways that she is able to persevere living the life she chooses. (This is always followed with a disclaimer that she is not a qualified professional and that everyone should seek their own medical advice).
In 2017 she was requested by Monash Health to be part of the Orthopaedic bone specialist study and assist in the education of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with multiple specialists, surgeons, physio and students.
Carmen’s greatest achievement to date is becoming a mum. It has definitely been the most challenging yet rewarding chapter of her life.