Hammer Strength Standard: The Long Journey of Sharon "The Dream Catcher" Jacobson to MMA
There are notable athletes, some professional and some not, who excel in the face of adversity. They simply do things differently and aren’t satisfied with just being good enough. These standouts raise the bar and live their lives to a higher standard. Similarly, Hammer Strength isn’t content being ordinary. Our equipment is constructed to be better than the rest, and just like these athletes we’re highlighting, Hammer Strength is built to a higher standard. See all of the athletes we've featured who live life to a higher standard.
Sharon “The Dream Catcher” Jacobson first stepped into the MMA octagon in 2012, but she’s been a fighter for most of her life.
The 36-year-old was fighting prior to competing in mixed martial arts, and well before she won her two women’s wrestling U.S. Open National Championships in 2006 and 2015.
Jacobson has battled to overcome obstacles and expectations since she was a child growing up under modest means in El Cajon, California.
“I would say that I've lived my life to a higher standard because of my family influence,” said the affable Jacobson. “We were always proud to be Jacobsons. Though we came from humble beginnings, we always, I always, wanted to strive above that. I always wanted to accomplish more. I feel like I strive to not only be a better athlete but a better person. You have to be very introspective. Not necessarily critical, but aware of where you're lacking and where you could grow more.”
Introduction to Wrestling
Competitive wrestling at Valhalla High School almost started by accident. Her sister Sarah took a weight lifting class with several male wrestlers, who suggested she try wrestling. Sarah Jacobson convinced her freshman sister Sharon to do it with her.
“I was like, ‘okay, Sarah, I'll do it, but I'm just wrestling you.’ I ended up falling in love with the sport,” said Jacobson. “We were a pretty rough and tumble family growing up, so it came rather naturally to both of us.”
Taking to the sport earned her respect, but not from everyone.
“Being a female in a male-dominated sport was definitely an obstacle,” she said. “Although my high school coach actually protected me from a lot of that. (Some) felt that women were there for attention rather than to work. And I was definitely there to work.”
Wrestling was clearly a good fit. Jacobson honed her wrestling ability in college at the University of Minnesota-Morris and Northern Michigan University before joining the U.S. Army and its World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). She wrestled for WCAP from 2008 to 2012 and again from 2015 to 2016. She came out of retirement for her second stint and made the decision worthwhile by winning her second national championship, a stunning nine years after claiming her first.
The Move to Mixed Martial Arts
Knee and elbow injuries slowed Jacobson’s wrestling career. Some of her U.S. Wrestling teammates—including Olympic medalists Randi Miller and Sarah McMann—made the switch to MMA, which convinced Jacobson to give it a chance. She had her first fight in 2012 and joined the Invicta Fighting Championships in 2015.
“I thought, ‘I can do that, I used to get punched in the face as a kid.’ I would say the biggest challenge initially was just learning how to get punched in the face and how to move so you don't get punched in the face,” added Jacobson. “I'm used to having hands on people, and just learning to strike was a challenge.”
Her wrestling background is certainly an advantage in MMA, but she’s also worked extensively on jiu jitsu and concentrated on her boxing and footwork. The Dream Catcher has found success in the octagon, and has compiled a record of 6-5. Her MMA career is just another step in the journey, one that builds on fights won and lessons learned.
"Sometimes we have to learn lessons over and over before they really stick," explained Jacobson. "But, that's what the higher standard is. What else are we here for? Right? Just to exist? There's so much that life has to offer and achieving that higher standard is the cream on top."