Houston, Texas-Girls in Gis, a community of women and girls in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, celebrated their two year anniversary on Sunday August 21, 2011. Over 40 women and girls were in attendance at the Girls in Gis event at Elite MMA. Girls in Gis participants ranged in ages and skill levels, from yellow belts to mature purple belt women. Some women traveled from as far away as Mcallen Texas, which is a fourteen hour round trip to Houston. A few women even crossed state lines from Louisiana just to attend three hours of Girls in Gis events.
The event began with an introduction by Girls in Gis founder Ashley Nguyen. Women and girls lined up in order of rank (highest belt the lowest) along the edges of the mats as Ashley explained the purpose of Girls in Gis and the importance of us coming together to support and encourage each other and share our passion for jiu-jitsu. It was impressive to see so many women in one room as the line of women snaked around the edges of the mats. The introduction was followed by a warm-up which consisted of three lines of women doing a variety of exercises to the end of the mat (bear crawls, shrimping, frog jumps, etc.). These exercises also acted as an initial ice breaker as Ashley incorporated a name game into the warm up and encouraged women to interact with each other and meet new people.
After the warm-up the group made a circle and were asked to go around and say their names, schools, and how long they’ve been training. Women and girls from over twenty-three different martial arts schools were represented on the mats ranging in experience from eight years to those who were there for their first day of training! Ashley showed a few techniques which were appropriate for the entire group regardless of experience. Everyone was asked to work with a new partner they had never trained with after each move. This technique was followed by an open mat which allowed the Girls in Gis to roll and get to know one another as they sat in groups on the mats.
The Girls in Gis event wrapped up this Two-Year anniversary celebration with a special Girls in Gis cake and a Fenom Kimonos gi give away which was won by purple belt Tara Arrington of Dallas, Texas. It was also announced that all the participants to this Girls in Gis celebration would receive free registration for the Texas Open in Austin, Texas on September 24th which is rumored to have the largest women’s division of the year. Another edition of Girls in Gi will be scheduled for the following day on Sunday, September 25th at Trainers Elite MMA and hosted by Helen Castillo.
The purpose of Girls in Gis is to provide women in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu with a fun, and friendly environment to train. Based on the laughter and smiles that were shared that day, this event proved to have accomplished the mission of what founder Ashley Nguyen set out to do two years ago. Marketta Parker, a Spanish teacher at Calcasieu Parish High School in Sulphur, Louisiana, was so inspired by the Girls in Gis event and the techniques she experienced that she said “My instructor knew about me going to Girls in Gis this weekend and he made me teach the guard pass/choke combo that we learned, and everybody loved it. All the guys loved it, my instructor said “You know when you teach a good technique, is when everybody is trying it out, and no one is sitting around talking”.