Success is a personal measure, however, and at what was arguably the peak of her career, the diva from Denver decided to retire from the WWE. She currently resides in Redondo Beach with fiancé Rener Gracie, head instructor and co-creator of Gracie University with a 4th degree black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu himself. While admitting that this change was one of the most difficult decisions of her life, her reasons were grounded. “It [was] time to start moving towards my personal goals – family and discovering how I can best contribute to the world.”
One of these invaluable contributions is teaching women through Gracie Women Empowered Defense program, a self-defense technique with a jiu-jitsu foundation. “I am on a crusade to encourage every woman in the world (especially Latinas) to learn both the techniques and mindset of self-defense,” Torres says.
“I have seen lives change through this empowerment process, including mine, and love to share it with others.”
The motivation to teach, and master this form of defense and martial art herself, stems from her own fearful experience of fleeing what could have been an attack from strange and aggressive men at a gas station in 2008. “I ran to my car, locked my doors, and took off,” she explains. “It was the first time I realized that despite how fit I thought I was I wouldn’t have stood a chance against a man much larger than I.”
While another person might not be willing to share such a personal story, her courage and willingness to open up, reminds us of the champion that Torres is. The decision to use that experience to help others demonstrates the special woman she is. From entertaining thousands daily to teaching women self defense, it’s clear that Torres is leaving a legacy of talent, hard work and an army of women who can kick ass and take names.
Photos courtesy of Eve Torres
Eve Torres in blue & silver dress: 2012 Alexander Tamargo/WWE/Getty Images North America