The beauty of a sport like Jiu Jitsu is that the women who train, support one another immensly. There is a brilliant community of women in the UK who train and compete, and now even a Womens commission of the UKBJJA (UK Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association) which I am proud to be part of.
We have women's open mats and training sessions all over the country, and today we had our own seminar to help support a brilliant British athlete Samantha Cook on her way to the No Gi Worlds in California in November.
Sam won the Finnish No Gi open and the prize was a flight to the worlds. After moving to London recently from Bristol and quitting her day job to concentrate on training as a full time jiu jitsu athlete, Sam still needed the funds for her trip once she got to California. So what better way than to host her own seminar and share her knowledge to twenty plus women who came to learn and enjoy the afternoon.
The seminar took place in the City of London at London Fight Factory with the majority of women being white belt, with a fair amount of blue belts too.
Sam introduced herself and gave us a bit about her background in the the sport and her achievements to date. She told us that she would be basing the seminar around her favourite guard, Spider guard.
For the benefit of the lower grades, the drills started off basic, and as more was added it became more advanced.
Starting off opening in to spider guard, getting the movement of switching our hips and using our feet in the biceps to control the guard and our partners, then moving in to inverted guard and a sweep from there.
The second sweep was the same set up, but taking in to account the opponent defending the hook behind the knee, and going for another sweep that led on to a straight foot lock, belly down foot lock or to come up and get the two points for the sweep.
As the highest grade woman taking part in the seminar, I was a little worried at first that it may be based around basics, but I was in my element today with open guard and sweeps, and a lot more advanced than I first thought.
It's my fifth week in to my torn ligament injury in my foot, so sparring was out of the question today as I didn't want to risk jolting my foot and putting my recovery back further, but like all good Jiu Jitsu practitioners, I ignored what I should be doing and I had that one little spar with a slender blue belt who respected my injury. Thankfully nothing bad happened, but I did have a huge smile on my face afterwards knowing that I got to spar and broke in to a slight sweat.
This is the second seminar this year that I've been to, to help a Jiu Jitsu athlete get to a major competition. It's a pleasure to attend them when you can see they are working hard and they are giving something back to all those who attend and support them. I'm all for supporting our UK ladies and gents in their jiu jitsu journey and careers, who aren't just looking for hand outs.
I really enjoyed today and always enjoy meeting other women who share the passion of this gentle art.
Thank you to my training buddy Anoushka and to Sam for hosting a brilliant seminar.
Good luck in the No Gi Worlds.