Recently there has been a few discussions on the ‘women only’ seminars that have been happening over the last year. Comments have been made that they are unfair and ‘sexist’ as ‘men only’ seminars would be classed as unfair to women, so it shouldn’t happen the other way around too. This is where the more respected jiu jitsu practicioners and instructors step in to defend these seminars and the hard work that is put in by the female instructor teaching them and their aim to get more women on the mats.
This is my third Wominar hosted by Samantha Cook. Sam is a seriously legit brown belt, a No Gi world champion and European Champion. I’ve seen Sam compete from blue, purple and brown belts in some high level competitions. She wins all the time, but more importantly, her techniques work and she’s not boring to watch in a match.
Wominar 5 was the summer edition and we stripped ourselves of our Gi’s and went No Gi. No gi is so much fun. It’s slippery, slidey and fast paced when you get with a great sparring partner. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the truth be known, it’s not a lot different to having a Gi on, just the grips are different.
I arrived late, so the warm up was already happening. They were playing a fun game where an old brown belt was cut up in to smaller pieces and tucked in to the back of our spatz to create a tail. The idea was to pair up and try and steal each others tail. I was pretty rubbish as I kept forgetting I had a tail and was concentrating on my jiu jitsu. It didn’t help that I had limited sleep the night before, so my mind still needed warming up.
When you go to a No Gi seminar, unless you already know the people there, you don’t actually know the level of jiu jitsu from your partners. It’s quite nice, as we are all equal, but from an egotistical view, it’s not great, as the belt often gives you a little more respect when you partner up with lower grades than yourself.
When drilling in the seminar, I love the way that we are told to change partners all the time. This is such a great way to meet everyone and get to know names of the other women in the group.
After drilling, Sam showed pulling in to the Anaconda guard from shin on shin. Then changing to a sweep with a brilliant detail to keep our partner from coming back up again.
When then moved on to the X guard from Anaconda guard with a detail that helps our legs from getting crushed out of the guard. Then on to a sweep.
The drilling of the technique went on for quite a while and I was able to really create a good muscle to memorise the sweep. Quite often when I go to seminars, you’re rushed through and it doesn’t give you a chance to really learn the technique, and often you go away and forget it.
There was more time left, so Sam went over a fake guard pull in to a takedown, then a toriando pass in to side control.
Every Wominar I have been to has been great for learning. Either learning a new technique or a small detail that improves my game.
Although there are mainly beginners who attend, the Wominar is so well explained that all belt levels can easily transition in to the techniques with some practice.
Some of the ladies sparred, but I chose to stay out of sparring as I’m so close to an important competition. With not knowing the other women’s level, I didn’t want to risk anything, until Sam gave me the nod to spar with her. It was the most awesome flow roll, slipping and sliding on the mats. Me working on my flexibility to get out of Sam’s leg locks. It was such fun, and ended in a foot lock from Sam. Our weights are very different, but from the roll you wouldn’t have guessed. That’s what makes jiu jitsu fun. Rolling for fun and with another woman who has brilliant control and rolls so much with ease.
The discussions online from the men who don’t agree with women only seminars will never really understand how awesome it is to train and roll with another woman. Not only that, the bond that we all have as training partners, (and competitors) is something to admire. So maybe it’s that, or a little jealousy? Either way, these seminars will keep happening, and as long as I can, I’ll keep supporting them.