Margot Ciccarelli

1. How would you define your personal practice?

It’s definitely not static. It’s constantly evolving with every day of practice, research and observation. I think a personal practice has infinite possibilities to shift in a mixed movement practice. My current practice is a mixture of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, dance and circus related disciplines. I try integrate better movement awareness and body vocabulary from each of the arts into the other.

2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?

One major turning point in my movement journey was switching the bulk of my martial art training from stand up to grappling/groundwork. I don’t currently train much stand up anymore, and now the majority of my martial art training is focused on grappling. It has definitely allowed for a huge diversification of my movement vocabulary, as you would never find half of these pathways in a stand up fighting art.

The second major turning point was about 2 years ago when I started to think and train general movement in a different manner. Improvisation, improving my body vocabulary and liberating my movement to be able to move in any plane possible is one of my current missions.

3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?

Injury has left me wiser and a lot more mature about raising the subject of nurture in the fighting arts, but also about sustainability and longevity in my practice. Injury prevention is crucial to maintain a high level of performance, so it left me baffled when I saw the grind mentality overtake every other aspect of an athlete’s training regime within the jiu-jitsu scene. A large part of my current research now is about creating a softer practice within jiu-jitsu without having to defect to another practice to treat chronic pain and such – combining the ‘soft’ and the ‘hard’.

Each injury should hopefully be a lesson learnt!

4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not?

Both a teacher and a student. I will eternally be both. I think we can all attest to that in ways. Teaching is a major passion of mine; I think to be able to participate in any form of knowledge transfer is an honour and a blessing. I wish to help people obtain the same knowledge that I did, but hopefully with a far less steep learning curve. We should be striving to make knowledge transfer more efficient with each exchange. I think I resonate most with being a teacher in the aspect of teaching certain human values that are deeply intertwined with martial art and Zen Buddhist philosophies. Sharing and teaching movement is great and fulfilling, but helping people be more mindful about integral values is something that should stay with you for life.

5. What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?

P.E was one of my favourite classes in school. It was a special way to bond with my classmates and have fun with a variety of team sports. Sports Day was one of my favourite events in the school calendar, and I think it should be encouraged even outside of schools for kids and teenagers to get together for these events. I think I was lucky to always have very positive P.E experiences – the schools I attended were always very inclusive of all different ability levels and made something accessible or attainable for everybody.

6. How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines?

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu : it depends on the intention of the session. For more competition orientated sessions, the intention is set towards the objective of advancing position and submission. So my mind is focused on imposing my game and getting to the end result as efficiently as possible. My mind is empty and composed in the activity itself – in a flow state. In a softer practice of jiu-jitsu such as jits-jamming or in contact improvisation, I let the musicality element dictate the emotion and sensation behind the moves. My movement is based upon the emotion of the song or the lyrics and how it translates to me. In martial arts, you don’t want to express emotion in a movement per se, however depending on how refined your sensitivity and your eye is, you can tell if your opponent or partner has emotion in their movement which can become more of a recognition exercise of where to identify loopholes in their movement. I often use this recognition exercise in jiu-jitsu to conserve my own energy and exploit the holes in my partner’s movement.

7. What are your personal aspirations regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?

I mentioned it briefly before but to liberate and open up my movement. I want to be able to move in any way and plane possible. I think that’s the true goal of movement, to have freedom with your body. As someone artistic too, I think it’s a huge benefit to have liberty in your movement to create. I am in a very creative and experimental phase in my movement journey right now – I’m looking forward to creating a lot in the next few coming years. Certain parts of my practice will always have purpose and a set goal, but I think another huge enjoyment for me right now is more in regard to the intangible and the grey areas of practices. It doesn’t always have to be so linear and have a set purpose. I want to explore the possibilities – create a continual dialogue of research with my body. As a close friend Tom Weksler has nicely put in regards to his dance practice, blurring the lines between imagination and reality and continually bridging it back and forth. For the bulk of my martial arts training, it has been a very linear process, so it’s an exciting time for me to try something that opposes that.

8. How can people find/ contact you? Do you have a site or social media handle to share?

I’m all over social media. My website is :

Personal IG : @thenomadicmars | brand : @thenomadicid
Facebook :

Margot’s Recent Blog Posts


Gender Fluid Acts

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Solo Timing Exercises

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A Champion Mindset

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Cooperative Jiu Jitsu

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The Risk of Performance

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Flow as a Warmup

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Learners Always Win

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The Mental Struggle of Athletes During COVID

Margot Ciccarelli Movement is a choice, but when your choice gets taken away from you — what do you do? ...