The Girls in Gis building a community

The past few weeks have been nothing but nonstop fun filled jiu-jitsu adventures! The most exciting thing that I did recently was attend a seminar with Leticia Ribeiro. I won't get into too much about the seminar because Fenom Project did an excellent job of that. You can check out all the details on their blog.
I will say that once again, I wasn't surprised when Leticia's seminar exceeded all of my expectations. Not only is Leticia is an amazing teacher with a wealth of knowledge, she is such a wonderfully generous and supportive person. I was able to visit her school, Gracie Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and train with her partners. I learned directly from her instructor, Vini Aieta. I feel lucky to have gained some understanding of the love and support she must of had in her formidable years and continues to receive from her instructor and jiu-jitsu family at Gracie Tijuca. It is the same support she continues to share with her students and other women who share a mutual heartfelt dedication to jiu-jitsu. 

A video from the seminar in Austin, Texas:

During Leticia's introduction, she made sure to emphasize the importance of women training with each other, supporting each other and building a community.  I especially enjoyed hearing Leticia speak on a topic that is dear to my heart and something that I too feel is crucial to all of our success. Even though jiu-jitsu's popularity is on the rise and there are more women practicing the art and competing than ever, most schools still only have a handful of women continuously on the mats. That is why, I am extremely grateful to be a part of groups that encourage women to train with each other. Those types of groups--like Girls in Gis--bring together the community of female BJJ practitioners in Texas and surrounding areas.

This past Sunday, marked the sixteenth Girls in Gis event since its start in September of 2009. Although this past Girls in Gis event was a smaller event than usual--due to Father's Day-- 11 women and girls refused to miss out on a day of training, rolling and friendship at Texas Powerhouse gym in San Antonio, Texas. Typically Girls in Gis events average between 25 to 30 women and girls--and sometimes more. But the fact that 11 women and girls were in attendance on Father's day--and the fact that some traveled from as far away as Louisiana to be in attendance--is a testament to the increased presence of females in the community.  

Over the past two years, Girls in Gis has become one of the most recognizable training groups in the BJJ community among females in Texas and spreading throughout the U.S. This is thanks to the innovative thinking of founder Ashley Nguyen. Aware of how important it is to train with partners her size and sex, she launched Girls in Gis about two years ago at her home gym of Elite MMA. This program has continued to provided an opportunity for women to meet in an environment other than at a tournament. These events also offer the opportunity to build friendships and camaraderie among each other.  I find great pleasure in seeing how programs like Girls in Gis have impacted the community.  I also enjoy seeing how it continues to strengthen the bond among female BJJ enthusiast on a state level and within smaller regions.

Girls in Gis mission statement:

"The purpose of Girls in Gis is to create a community of girls and women who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu and provide a fun, friendly environment for training.  Girls in Gis was created out of participation in Landmark Education's Self Expression and Leadership Program. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is based on leverage and technique, not strength and size, therefore it is designed perfectly for women who are usually smaller and weaker than their opponent.  The number of women who train BJJ is still very small compared to the number of men that train.  Most schools still only have a handful of women that train consistently which really limits the number of women training partners we have.  By coming together from all schools we can train, learn and grow the sport for women everywhere."

Here's a video I found taken from the Girls in Gis Mohler training day made by a doting parent:

I feel very fortunate that we are luck to be a part of a rapidly growing group like Girls in Gis, which has a great assortment of kick a$$ gals that all share a genuine love for jiu-jitsu and a mutual respect for each other.  Thank you Monica and Texas Powerhouse for hosting the event!  I also feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to train with Leticia, and the talented women she brought with her like Bia Mesquita, Margaret Aase and Mazine Thylin.  Also big thanks to Fenom Project for organizing the seminar.

The adventure continues with the Fabiana Borges BJJ seminar for women this weekend...stay tuned!


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