The 4th year of the London BJJ Women’s Open Mat kicked off in February at the Total Dojo in Milton Keynes. While I was too occupied with my new son to attend, Anne Birkett of Westcoast BJJ, was kind enough to write a guest blog for us; cheers for the excellent review, Anne! Many thanks, too, to Hayley Carter and her club for hosting the Q1 session; Q2 event announced soon!

group portrait of Feb 2013 open mat
London BJJ Women’s Open Mat Feb 2013

Finally! The day had come when Westcoast BJJ ladies would attend their very first women’s open mat session.

Having trained for almost 2 years with the boys in west Wales and at Dartford BJJ Academy, all of us were excited to meet up with fellow female warriors and share the joys of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Setting off early in the morning from a misty Aberystwyth, Wales, four of us headed towards Total Dojo, Milton Keynes, ready to start our adventure.

Arriving at the Dojo we were met by smiles and hugs and it was clear from the begining that this was going to be a special day for us.

We started with a basic warm up of standing in base; shrimping and over the shoulder rolls before we got cracking with guard pass drills and chokes from side control. This was followed by plenty of sparring and question and answer sessions.

The different skill levels in the room, ranging from white to brown belt level, allowed us to further our knowledge of the art and also share a few insights of our own. We trained to have fun, laughed and enjoyed the company of almost 20 like-minded women.

On a personal note, it was great to see how staying relaxed while under pressure in a bottom position and waiting patiently for the window of escape worked well for me and reinforced why we drill this so often in our club.

This definitely added to my sparring experience as I felt calm and relaxed on the mats which ultimately allowed me to observe the positions I was in.

After almost 3 hours of total BJJ joy, Westcoast ladies said their goodbyes to new friends made and hit the road back west.

The atmosphere in the car was electric with excitement and gratitude to have had the opportunity to share a special day like this with our BJJ-sisters. I believe it is safe to say that we are all looking forward to many more women’s open mat sessions in the future.