A west London martial arts gym played host on Saturday November 28 to a filmed BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) training session this weekend to promote sport and martial arts to girls and females. Twenty female athletes of all levels, from juniors who have just started BJJ through to adult world champions, gathered at Carlson Gracie Gym in Hammersmith to train, talk and promote their sport.
The session was coordinated by the UKBJJA’s Women’s Development Commission, a team of 6 female BJJ athletes from across the UK, who are working on initiatives to champion female participation in the martial art. As an art which emphasizes technique and position over brute strength and which enables fighters to fight off their back, it is excellent if women want to learn to defend themselves. But BJJ is much more than self-defence, and the aim of this session and the final film was to highlight the range of girls and women who train and to capture the positive effect BJJ can have by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, teaching people to compete, win and lose, bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, and above all highlighting how much fun and enjoyment comes from sport.
The UKBJJA’s CEO Kat Hill, who also works full time as a lecturer, commented: “With this film, we want to show why BJJ is such a fantastic sport and that anyone can do it by following the stories of individuals who train. We had a mother and daughter on the mat from Hereford, Kelly and Dali Hopkins who train and compete together…Dali is our top ranked junior athlete for 2015. There was Leoni Munslow a European champion and firefighter, world champion Sam Cook, and the whole event was filmed by Hannah Jell, a talented athlete as well as a working camera assistant, and these women are all really positive role models for the younger girls.”
The UKBJJA’s Women’s Development Commission aims to showcase the final film in schools, community meetings, and through sporting networks to support campaigns to get more girls and women involved in sport. The whole project was inspired by Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ promotion. The UKBJJA recently became a member of Women in Sport and is actively developing research and strategies to address the question of gender participation. Hannah Jell, busy editing the final film, remarked: “What I loved most about today, was that it didn’t matter that we were all from different teams. We know that Women’s BJJ needs more attention and support, so we came together to kick start that off.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Women’s Development Commission
Ashley Bendle, Jolie Boyle, Helen Darlington, Kat Hill, Hannah Jell, Gret Zoeller
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