Today, I hosted a Women’s Open Mat for female BJJ players; Coach kindly offered Dartford BJJ free for our use. We had a great time, and I’m hopeful other female players will organise similar events at their clubs. Younger and older, more and less experienced women came together for an informal day’s training, with one practitioner making the trek from Eastbourne with her mum, who has never trained before, in tow. One of the participants was kind enough to lead us through a warm-up of running and line drills, followed by a stretch. We then took turns demonstrating techniques we enjoyed/had success with/were working on, and drilled these for five minutes; we rotated partners for each drill. We finished the day with sparring for five minute rounds, again switching partners every time. It was a real pleasure to work with other women in what I felt was a very relaxed, non-competitive environment; a nice change from seeing these ladies only at competition. I was interested in the groups’ slightly different approaches to familiar techniques and really enjoyed sparring with a group of ladies. No one was trying to mash each other, just working their stuff, and their games were all very technical, tight on the defence and chilled out. Ironically, a ladies-only event impressed upon me the importance of diversity in the dojo; in a very broad way, men’s and women’s games are different. I believe working with these different energies and approaches, which mobilise men’s and women’s different gendered and innate physical and cultural characteristics, helps folk develop the most well-rounded and robust games. As in nature, where a more heterogeneous mix creates the healthiest individuals, so in life, on and off the mats.
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