At certain points in history an idea comes of age, and in the history of women in BJJ the open mat has matured. The second anniversary gathering of Girls in Gis in Texas got me thinking about the development of women in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over the past couple years. Proud to write that my Coach and I founded the London BJJ Women’s Open Mat in July 2009 and since then, our community has grown and consolidated as we rotate our quarterly events around different women’s clubs. BJJ women around the world are organising themselves with the support of their clubs and of brands dedicated to women in the art, such as Fenom Kimonos, to make time and space for women to come together and train. This is a valuable opportunity for women in BJJ as many of us don’t have the opportunity to train with other women as part of our regular training and the support network, friendships and skill-sharing of open mats helps to encourage and cultivate women’s practice. This is a ‘good thing’. As I argue in my piece on women in BJJ for Jiu Jitsu Style:
Ultimately, BJJ is a cooperative enterprise undertaken by a team of people, male and female, and the more varied that team’s skills, attributes and attitudes the stronger each individual’s game.
So, where can you find BJJ women’s open mats? Here’s a wee list of open mat events which have run within the last 2 years, though some may or may not still be going. Can’t find something near you? Want to reinvigorate a local group? Get in touch to find out how you could organise events in your own area.
- Central California Women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | firstname.lastname@example.org
- East Coast BJJ Women’s Open Mat
- Girls in Gis, Texas
- Inspire Open Mat, Arizona
- ISO Health Weekly Women’s Only Open Mat, Adelaide
- London BJJ Women’s Open Mat
- New Jersey Women’s Open Mat
- New York City Women’s Open Mat, NY | Clockwork BJJ | Jessica Nelson, Karen Miller
- Portuguese BJJ Women’s Open Mat
- SoCal Women’s BJJ Open Mat, California
Has your group been left out? Please comment below or on Facebook to add to the list.
The Rise and Rise of the Women's Open Mat | Women in BJJ | BJJ … | Jiujitsu Jungle
23 Aug 2011 @ 2:46 pm
[…] Read this article: The Rise and Rise of the Women's Open Mat | Women in BJJ | BJJ … […]
23 Aug 2011 @ 3:44 pm
Thanks Meg for the mention! It was a fantastic open mat. I remember when 5-6 women on the mat was exciting. How times have changed 🙂
23 Aug 2011 @ 3:47 pm
Thank you, Triin, for being such a bona fide and stalwart supporter of women in BJJ. Your passion and commitment (both personally and through Fenom) has been hugely influential on the BJJ scene to my mind. Yay, for the open mat zeitgeist!
The Blogsphere Report - People August 2011
25 Aug 2011 @ 10:02 pm
[…] Megjitsu documents the The Rise of The Women’s Open Mat. […]
30 Aug 2011 @ 9:31 pm
Girls in Gis is a great organization and it’s exciting watching womens’ grappling grow. I hope all the ladies who have written about starting their own chapter will do so!
If you would like to– you can too. It’s easy. Just contact other grapply girls in your area– make an email list– start a facebook group page or a website or a blog– and pick a time/date/place. Voila– you have now created your own Girls in Gis chapter! Seymour (of Meerkatsu fame) did a wonderful graphic piece to illustrate the name “Girls in Gis” for me and he’s kindly willing to share it with anyone who wants it for their own chapter (or tshirts, rashies, etc!)
Thanks Meg and all the other gals out there who do so much for our community 🙂
31 Aug 2011 @ 11:12 am
Great thoughts, Georgette, thanks for taking the time to share. So exciting to see this grassroots, sisterly initiative growing 😀
Girls in Gis
5 Sep 2011 @ 6:11 pm
Thank you so much Meg for the write up! We really appreciate your support! It is truly amazing how women around the world in the BJJ community are coming together in support of each other. Although we’d love to start Girls in Gis chapters. Girls in Gis is not currently starting chapters at this time. We anticipate starting them soon. If you wish to start a chapter or learn more about Girls in Gis, please contact us and we’d be happy to help you. Thanks again Meg! We hope to see you at one of our events someday!
Girls in Gis contact info:
Follow us on Twitter
Join Girls in Gis on Facebook
Like Girls in Gis on Facebook
6 Sep 2011 @ 12:21 pm
Hi Girls in Gis, thanks for your comment! It is very exciting how the ladies of BJJ are getting together and developing support networks. Glad to be a part of this community.
The London BJJ Women’s Open Mat developed independently in the summer of ’09 on the initiative of myself and my Coach. It has since earned the support of a broad base of women in BJJ and their teams/clubs throughout London and the Southeast, taking on a life of its own beyond the ownership of an individual or club in the process. So while a GIG chapter may be a great way for a group of gals to kick start an open mat gang and benefit from the experience of those who have been through the process, I think the London group might best continue as an independent, grassroots, local affair, at this time. But perhaps your comment is addressed to readers rather than to myself 🙂
5 Sep 2011 @ 11:46 pm
Great article. You’re absolutely right, it is happening all over the world.
Check out us aussie chicas tearin’ up the mats:
Last Sunday. Big ass event. Good times, good times.
The day included 4 workshops – yoga for BJJ, Gi, Nogi & a refereeing course…
And of course there’s a highlight reel to come.
6 Sep 2011 @ 12:25 pm
Hi Jess! It a great vid, thanks for sharing! It does look like a very well subscribed event and I love the idea of multiple workshops. Glad you guys started off with such a bang and are feeling pumped! 😀
Girls in Gis
9 Sep 2011 @ 6:27 pm
Sorry about the confusion. That message was to your lovely readers. 🙂 We just wanted to make sure they have accurate information if they wish to contact us. We definitely are not pushing Girls in Gis chapters at anyone who is not interested. We absolutely love London BJJ Women’s Open Mat!!! And wouldn’t want to change the wonderful program you have already established there! If anything, we’d love to attend one someday! Best of luck and much success! 🙂 Keep up the great work!