Dartford BJJ was pleased to open its doors, today, for its second quarterly Women’s BJJ Open Mat. The session was well attended and included a good spread of experience levels, from absolute beginners to white, blue and purple belts, not to mention champs from this year’s British and Kent Opens. With thirteen women representing over half a dozen teams, the Open Mat was well attended, especially when considering the small size of the British women’s BJJ community and accounting for women unable to make it due to injuries, illness and work commitments.
We trained for three hours. We started with a short warm-up and then participants shared a technique, which the group then drilled for five minutes. The last two hours was spent sparring for five minute rounds and swapping our partners between rounds. The atmosphere could not have been better! I am utterly amazed by the sisterliness of this community. Not only were the more experienced players very welcoming to working with the two absolute beginners, but the happy buzz during the sparring was really something to behold (ladies, I think we might’ve gotten two new converts to our ranks – whoop!). Bear in mind, that we all come from different teams and are likely to meet each other in competition at some point, either in our divisions or the absolute, but that is really put to one side as the ladies get stuck in and just enjoy working with one another, as for many of us, it is a rare treat to work with other female players. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I echo the sentiments of the group when I write that I love my BJJ brothers and I appreciate all that I learn from training with them, but it is a great learning opportunity for us to work our skills against people of similar size and strength without all the ‘baggage’ of competition. Likewise, I believe that, because of the pressures women – and perhaps smaller players more generally – face, in working a kick ass defence against bigger and stronger opponents in day-to-day training, female players’ games are that little bit different in a broad sense and I certainly came up against some unexpected and super smooth moves today that I’ve not encountered. It isn’t better or worse or even really ‘women’s jiu jitsu’, but it is smaller persons’ BJJ (even the heavier ladies will be outweighed by many of the guys) and it is exciting to get into a room full of it and work through problems in a whole new way.
I am truly grateful for and humbled by the support of the ladies who were able to make it to the Open Mat and I look forward to organising another, with Coach’s blessing, for Q1 2010. Until then, kick ass in Lisbon, ladies – you seriously rock!