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#38 Melissa Haueter

Melissa Haueter has been described as a rebel, and a trailblazer, and has come a very long way since her rough childhood. Growing up Melissa had numerous struggles and challenges. Melissa says she suffered from extreme social anxiety, concentration issues, extreme weight issues, anger management, and excessive alcohol use. Melissa had found it within herself to come to grips with these obstacles prior to finding BJJ, but since has used it to keep herself both mentally and physically strong.

In 2003 Melissa started her Jiu Jitsu journey with one of the BJJ Dirty Dozen, Chris Haueter. At the time, Melissa had been dating Chris and was intrigued when Chris was always running off to train. Melissa decided she needed to see what, as she puts it, this training "nonsense" was all about. Chris invited Melissa into his mat-covered one-car garage, showed her a few techniques, and Melissa was hooked. After several months of training, Chris introduced Melissa to the first American female BJJ black belt, Cindy Omatsu. Setting Melissa on a path that would lead to her having a fruitful competition career, and becoming a 3rd degree BJJ black belt.

Having not one but two incredible instructors helped Melissa rapidly develop her Jiu Jitsu, and gave her the unique opportunity to have both a male and female perspective on the art, in a time when there wasn't a lot of females in BJJ let alone female black belts. Now Melissa uses that perspective as an instructor, able to teach, kids, women, and men alike.

Melissa and Chris would eventually get married and start a family. Along with their personal journey, they would continue training and instructing out of their California home. Over the years they would try to partner with others to open an academy or teach in other people's gyms, but they always found that instructing out of their home was a better fit. The Haueter home and garage in particular became a legendary place to train. On Sunday mornings you could find upwards of thirty people rolling at the Haueter home.

Now Melissa and Chris have started the online and virtual training group Combat Base Club. A club where individuals or various sized groups can join to train together, take private lessons, and order instructional videos. This is all done in the spirit of a club atmosphere, keeping the tradition of the Haueter backyard and garage training sessions.


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