Saturday we had a little open mat in Launceston. However it was so much more than a little open mat. It was a freaking amazing open mat! With a whole bunch of equally freaking amazing women from all over Tasmania. I’m still a little bit mind blown at the support this little venture has garnered so far. For those of you who are sitting there wondering what this is all about, I made a post about it a little while back, you can find it here: Tasmanian Female Grappling Collective. To cut the longer story shorter, we decided we need to roll with as many Tasmanian female grapplers as possible, so decided to make it happen.
The TFGC open mat #3 was held in Launceston this time out at BJJ Tas in Dowling st. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Brad Lowe and Jim Reid for letting us congregate on your mats and take over your space for a few hours. We couldn’t do it without the support of the gyms and coaches and teams, so the gratitude and appreciation there is huge. Pretty much all the organising of the space was sorted out by Bec and Claire from BJJ Tas, and Ellie who also trains there. She said she had nothing to do with it, but bad luck, you do just by default. And you drove Jess and I up to find coffee, which, let’s face it, is just as important as having keys to the gym. Possibly more so… And thanks to Claire and Ben for giving us a roof over our heads while we were up north, muchly appreciated.
When I arrived at 12:05pm I was having a bit of a panic. I have a problem with being late to things. So much so that I am usually about half an hour early to everything. There is nothing I hate more than being late. Being only 5 minutes early to something is still late in my books. So when we hit ridiculously slow speeds along the Midlands I got a touch flustered. Nat will attest to the road rage which started to bubble as we were getting closer and people were dithering on the roads… So when I walked in and saw so many bodies on the mat it was a touch overwhelming! 30 women were there! 30! In Tasmania! Let’s chuck in another exclamation mark just for fun!
When the idea first surfaced for ‘regular’ female open mats I don’t think any of us thought we would have this great of a turn out. I’m so happy it happened. For lots of reasons.
One of the greatest reasons for me personally is that my 10 year old daughter has decided to get back on the mats after a couple of years off them. That change of heart was bought about by AGIG camp back in January. Even though she never participated in the rolling, she was there and amongst it. And those 130 odd women at that camp helped to re-ignite that little spark back into her. So quickly that she decided she was starting jits again, the day after we got home. I’m eternally grateful to Nat out at Hobart No-Gi for taking her on board and getting some teens classes sorted, and to Hobart Martial Arts Academy for having teens classes so they can all train and be treated like adults. Even though Erika doesn’t mind the gi, I think she is a no-gi at heart, and Nat taking the classes had a huge role to play in Erikas choice to. Nat has been a part of our Tassie family here pretty much since we got back about 3 years ago. Even when we weren’t jitsing, we still kept close and Erika has always loved her. This is why these female open mats are important. My daughter, and the other daughters (who don’t belong to me) have this amazing group of women to inspire them, just by being there and being them. Pre teenager and teenager years are pretty full on for all kids, and I can see the huge value in being a part of this community and showing these kids that you can have the best time doing something positive. For your body and your mind and your confidence. So thankyou for making at least one little snippet of this parenting business a tad less stressful.
I just had the greatest time on the weekend. What was even extra specialer was Jess decided she wanted to come and play too. She wanted to attend as an attender, not as an organiser or as a coach, but just come for the rolls. Jess is responsible for Australian Girls in Gi and not only has provided me and every other female grappler in Australia an amazing outlet to connect with the BJJ community, but she has also helped me with a lot of shit and has ‘given me back my jits’ quite a few times when I misplaced it. She is also one of Australias number of growing black belt women. Seriously though, how many everyday sports are there where you can train and hang out with the best in the business, the ones who have achieved the highest level? The world champions and the elite athletes? and not just here and there when they decide to make a special appearrance, but at your regular training? Not a huge amount. You can do that in BJJ. I think all of us there on Saturday thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making the trip down here to support this.
The fourth get together is in planning, and more details will be announced as soon as we sort it out properly. This is a collective effort and we are working it out as we go along. But one thing is for certain, this is just the start. There will be plenty more of these TFGC open mats to come, all across the state. They are way too much fun to not keep doing them! And I have met a whole bunch of new friends that I want to keep hanging out with, so that is a good reason in itself I think!
If you want to be added to the ‘Tasmanian Female Grappling Collective’ facebook group just hit me up on faceybookey http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gumboots and I shall add you in there.
While you are playing on facebook make sure you check out http://www.facebook.com/australiangirlsingi/
And then head over and show your support for http://www.facebook.com/bjj.tasmania who kindly let us all roll on their mats.