Late last year Jess Fraser came down to Tassie to hold an Australian Girls in Gi (AGIG) open mat. As usual it was a fantastic day hanging out with chicks from other clubs and having a roll and a laugh and learning some new Jiu Jitsu tricks.
We all had such a great frickin time that we decided it needed to happen more often. So we organised it… and will keep organsing it…
We aren’t a team… we aren’t an organisation… we aren’t a club… we are just like a bunch of mates kicking a footy around on a Saturday afternoon and having a bbq and some beer afterwards. Only difference is the footy is jiu jitsu and so far the bbq and beer has been dinner, wine and coffee, or iced coffees and the beach.
Originally the plan was to get mats and take them to a beach or a park, that way we could be totally non denominational and club neautral. However I think we forgot we live in Tasmania, and the weather isn’t alway conducive to being outside and not getting drenched or blown away. So we needed to make some alterations to our vision and call on the clubs to let us take over for a few hours every so often.
Last Saturday we headed up north to Ulverstone and caught up at the Tasmanian Wing Chun Academy. Thanks heaps and heaps to Stuart for letting us use his space. Really awesome club he has created up there and I would encourage anyone from that area to drop in and check it out.
15 chicks turned up… 15! It was freaking awesome! Chicks from Hobart and Launnie and Burnie and other random towns in between. Nice mix of white and blue belts and some who had just got into it or had come back after a bit of a break. We all rolled and I can only speak for myself, but every damn roll was awesome. No rolling for sheep stations or people trying to take each others heads off, it was just fun and flowing and my perfect afternoon.
So why are we doing it? Why are we organising open mats for females only? What about the guys? Why do we want to exclude them? **Insert every other question which gets asked when something is for females only**…
It’s not complicated really. BJJ has a notoriously low number of females in the sport. Some clubs have more than others, but on a whole there is less of us. This means that a lot of females don’t really get much of a chance to roll with other females, and it’s important that they do. Especially for those who want to go on and compete, it is really valuable to have rolled a bit with other females. Rolling with guys is awesome, and fine and they are people too, but they are different. There is something really different about rolling with a female, and it has nothing to do with size or muscles or genitals or anything like it. I guess it is a combination of it all. I can’t explain it, but it is different, so just trust me on that one. It’s also a completely different dynamic with all females on the mat. It’s not better dynamics, it is just different, and it’s nice to do every so often. Different. I will say different again, because I don’t this paragraph has enough of that word already…
Before I got involved in AGIG I would loathe any ‘female only’ things. Acutally that is perhaps a little bit of a lie, I used to go to Fernwood gym, that was for different reasons though, I was pregnant and they had trainers there who I trusted with being pregnant and excersing. But aside from that I didn’t see the point in female only things. Nothing wrong with guys… harden up princess! Then somehow I got involved in AGIG and realised that my thinking was way off. Not all female only things are about excluding guys because all men are arseholes (cause they aren’t all arseholes of course), it’s simply about different dynamics. Now I am a big advocate for AGIG and female open mats.
This last trip up to Ulverstone worked out a bit different. A few guys came up from Hobart with us, and they all jumped in for an hour of open mat, went off and had lunch while we rolled, and then came back and had another roll and then we all toddled off to the beach. It was like a little party. I’m keen for maybe trying to organise it like that next time too. Have a massive open mat day… We could all roll for an hour, then chicks for two hours, and then all roll again, or all us chicks could go off and get our nails and hair done and the guys could roll… Yeah, nah, I don’t do hair and nails, but the pub sounds good… We all make the decisions though, so it’s not up to me.
It’s rad and exciting and loads of fun. And I really do encourage all Tassie grappling chicks to come and give it a chance. We don’t run it like a seminar or have someone instructing or anything like that. It’s not so much about learning stuff but just about having lots of rolls with all the people! Maybe one day when there is enough of us we can all chip in some coins and get Jess to come back down and teach us some stuff…
If you are keen to get involved or have any questions, or have a club and want to let us know that we can use your space, drop me an email or message on facebook. We have a little group that we organise stuff in, but there isn’t a facebook page or a website or anything like that. Nat from Hobart No-Gi and myself ‘admin’ the group, and Nat was the one who got it up and running, but neither of us ‘run’ it. We all run it, and so far that is working!
Fiona Gumboots on facebook (thats me duuuh)
Tasmanian Wing Chun Academy (Ulverstone, Tasmania)