Following on from the recent Women’s BJJ Seminar, Dartford BJJ is hosting a Women’s Open Mat session:
Date: 12 July 2009
Time: 12:00 – 15:00
Location: Dartford BJJ
Address: West Hill House, 62 West Hill, Dartford, Kent DA1 2EU map
All are welcome for an informal afternoon of rolling with like-minded BJJ-women. The Open Mat is free of charge. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book your place or for further info.
Dartford BJJ can be reached by train or car. If travelling by car, checkout the RAC Route Planner (destination post code is DA1 2EU). Free parking is available. The club is located on the first floor, via stairs to the roof. A banner for the club is visible from the parking lot.
If travelling by train, the Academy may be reached by cab (queue just outside Dartford Rail Station). The journey to West Hill House, where the Academy is located, will cost about £3.50. The cabbie may know West Hill House as ‘the old YMCA’. Alternatively, the Academy is about a 15 minute walk from Dartford Rail Station. Leave the station and cross over the foot bridge. Continue on and veer left through a short alley way. Turn right when leaving the alley and enter the High Street. Carry on to the cross walk and climb the hill (West Hill). Turn left into Tower Road, and left after the pub. Follow the parking lot to the end. The Academy is located on the first floor which is accessed by a set of stairs that are surrounded by wooden fence (a large banner is visible from the parking lot).
On Sunday I attended the first women’s only BJJ seminar in Britain at the Roger Gracie Academy (Mill Hill). The seminar was organised by Pippa Granger and led by brown belt Carmen Janke. It was a fantastic day of training and rolling with 20 tough chicas.
The seminar ran for several hours on Sunday afternoon and attracted a healthy turnout of women from all around southern England and as far afield as Wales. There was a great atmosphere as whites, blues and a purple from all different clubs came together for a day of training. For many of us, this represented a rare opportunity to roll with people of similar size and strength as many of us train mainly with heavier men. The interest the event attracted and the healthy participation spoke volumes in terms of the appetite in British women’s BJJ for female-only events, as we are a distributed group and usually only meet at competition.
The seminar began with a lengthy warm-up of line drills. These could be pretty challenging as regards coordination and included individual and partner drills. They were aimed at isolating core movements including, serendipitously, two I’ve been working myself: backward rolls to neutralise an opponent’s stack and pass and shoulder walking to make space to get the triangle position as an opponent tries to stack and pass.
We moved on to drill techniques from the closed, open and half guards. These included a variation of the X-choke from guard and old school sweep from half guard that are slightly different from those I’ve been taught; going to have a play with them this week. I particularly liked a sweep from the butterfly guard which is similar to one I’ve had some success with (on opponent’s closer to my size for the time being) and will also be looking to integrate that into sparring as and when this week.
While the drills and the few rounds of sparring we got in at the end were excellent fun, I found hearing about Carmen’s experience in BJJ most helpful. Carmen, like me, is a lightweight, and it was interesting to get her perspective on how she’s developed her game and what she’s found works best for her as a smaller person. It gave me confidence that she’s taken a path of ‘position, control, submission’. This mirrors my own (evolving) experience as I find I’m still very much at the stage of trying to get the position and maintain control; as a smaller practitioner my game is largely defensive and is based around solidifying these two aspects before moving to offence (and more often than not, just ‘closing up shop’ – what the guys call the ‘tortoise’ – and keeping everything tight while I get crushed on the bottom and patiently look for an opportunity to improve my position while not being submitted). For Carmen this meant she didn’t really start an offensive game until purple belt and, indeed, I understand that Coach’s plan for me is to work on building a tough(er) defence as a blue, before I start dismantling opponents with offence as a purple.
Carmen also discussed her intuitive approach to rolling and her practice of ‘listening’ to her opponent’s body. So, for instance, if she finds herself in a tight spot such as her posture broken down in guard, she’ll try to relax and feel what her opponent is attempting to do, in order to frustrate the opponent’s game while looking to improve her position. While discussing this point she made the important, to my mind, observation that these approaches may be most effective is one is ‘prepared to lose’. I mentioned in a previous post the importance of training without fear of losing so that it is possible to try and to learn new things, a notion that seems to reverberate among many seasoned martial artists and certainly among the much more experienced BJJ practitioners, such as Coach, Marc Walder and Carmen, that I’ve had the pleasure of training with.
Finally, it was a real treat to train with this exceptional group of women without the pressures of competition. There was a very friendly atmosphere and it has certainly ignited a desire for more women’s training events. For my part, I’m working on arranging a training day at Dartford BJJ, which Coach has generously offered free of charge for gatherings; other women from the seminar have also already mentioned hosting meet ups at their clubs. I feel really overwhelmed to be part of a talented group of women who, while fierce and competitive, are simultaneously supportive and positive and want to do what they can to enhance women’s BJJ.
Today I was invited to a women’s only BJJ seminar with female brown belt Carmen Janke. The seminar is being organised by Pippa Granger (Roger Gracie blue belt at Mill Hill BJJ). Details are as follows:
Date: 10 May 2009
Time: 12:00 – 15:00
Location: Mill Hill Ju-Jitsu Club, Sea Cadet Hall
Street: Daws Lane, Mill Hill, North London, Middlesex, NW7
Town/City: London, United Kingdom
I am really excited to attend this event. I’m hoping many of the great female players I’ve seen around at British competitions since I started competing last April will be attending. I’m always impressed with the sportswomanship of these ladies, and it will be a real treat to have the chance to meet-up and roll with these grrlz without the pressures of competition.
The gorgeous and talented Miss Kat Neville has recently posed the tantalising question, ‘What do you want for 99% off?’ She’s asked this in the form of a good old fashioned competition sponsored by BView, where folk submit entries on why on Earth they deserve 99% off anything up to a total value of £500. What do *I* want for 99% off 500 samolians? Ass-kicking tools, obviously!
If BView-Santa could bring me anything this year, it would be twelve square meters of rubber-love: the universe owes me 434 squids worth of gym-matting! Oh, yes, if grace is upon me in 2009, I’ll be BV-lessed with a BV-eautiful BV-ounty of Soft Floor’s large multi-purpose gym mats. With 12 square meters of this tough stuff I can mat one half of my basement; it is split into workshop and gym areas. The no stick surface would make work with free weights safer AND, most importantly, I would finally have the matted area I require to give my husband the grappling smack-down that’s been in the post for some time. Muahahahah! Not only could I unleash my full Gracie Barra power on my husband’s arrogant caboose, I could start introducing my personal training martial arts and conditioning client to ground work; I’m on a mission to make this grrl fierce before she’s back to uni in the autumn.
So, come on people, when you’re deciding who is the most worthy candidate for 99% off, remember, female wrestling is h-o-t, HOT!