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“Girls in Gis” Celebrates 2 Years!

Girls in GisHouston, 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”.

Girls in Gis is celebrating six years of successful women’s jiu-jitsu open mats, sisterhood, and happy rolls. What started in Houston in 2009 has now spread throughout several states. Three locations: Denver, Edmond, and Houston, are holding anniversary open mats this month with record number of participants expected; please register ahead of time to save your spot.
We are making beautiful 12×3, woven patches for Girls in Gis as our continued support for the cause. Get one for you, one for your friend, and pretty up your gis!

Rise Stronger Together Thursday Nov 2014
Posted by fenomkimonos in News and Events, Women’s BJJ ≈ 2 Comments
Tagsfenom kimonos, girl’s bjj, girls in gis, grappling for a cause, jiu-jitsu fundraiser, strong woman, women’s bjj
Being healthy is something most of us take for granted. Occasional flu or a smashed rib is annoying when you have busy life. No-one has time for that! What if you came down with a sudden illness that brought your life as you knew it to a halt? Can you imagine not being able to drive any more? Or not being able to go the store alone? Or not being able to work?

That is what our good friend, Shama Ko, the coordinator of Girls in Gis is dealing with right now. About a month ago, she suddenly collapsed on the mat, and had a seizure. She has been to the ER a few times; seen several doctors, and her medical bills are beginning to pile up. There are still lots of tests to be done, to find out what is causing her body to act this way. She is determined to get to the bottom of this but cannot do it alone.

There are lots of organizations asking for donations this time of the year but please consider purchasing one or a few of these beautiful, 8 inch, woven, phoenix inspired patches that we designed specially for Shama’s fundraiser. The patches cost $8.00, and you can order yours here. Our goal is to raise $2,500 to help getting her life back on track.

Women’s jiu-jitsu community pulled together big time, and set up Grappling for a Cause events all over the US, Mexico and Colombia. If you would like to go to a roll-a-thon, an open mat or a seminar, please check out the locations (Denver, Austin, San Diego, Lakeland, Chandler, Edmond, Monterrey,) that are participating in the fundraiser on December 13-14.

Happy Birthday Girls in Gis! Thursday Sep 2013
Posted by fenomkimonos in News and Events ≈ Leave a comment
Tagsgirls in gis, women’s bjj, women’s brazilian jiu jitsu
Girls in Gis, Texas women’s BJJ group, is celebrating its four-year anniversary on September 22nd in Houston, at Elite MMA. The group has grown exponentially since it started in 2009, and over 100 participants are already registered for the upcoming event. It is a free open mat for women and girls of all ages and experience levels.

At the anniversary event, Girls in Gis is running a fundraiser for YMCA International Services benefiting the victims of human trafficking. Donations in cash and household items such as dishes, towels, small appliances, and baby items are greatly appreciated.

We are continuing our tradition of donating a gi to the Girls in Gis anniversary event’s raffle. This time around one of our beautiful pink pearl weave gis is up for grabs. Check out the past winners and good luck everyone this year!

2010 winner Camryn

2011 winner Tara

2012 winner Jamie

2013 raffle prize

To register for the Girls in Gis anniversary event, please click here. To read more about Girls in Gis, please visit their blog.

Pay It Forward Wednesday Dec 2012
Posted by fenomkimonos in Training, Women’s BJJ ≈ 2 Comments
Tagsbrazilian jiu jitsu, girls in gis, Mrs. Ibarra, women’s bjj
We asked one of our favorite bloggers, Mrs. Ibarra, to be the guest writer this month, and she was kind enough to say yes. She shares her experience at Girls in Gis and training with women. Enjoy everyone!

On December 2, 2012 Girls in Gis celebrated its 3-year anniversary. It was spectacular! Never before have I seen so many women and girls on the mats together, 74 total in attendance. It was a colorful blur of gis, belts, women, and little girls, and a whole lot of sweat. I can proudly say that my daughter and I have been to all three Girls in Gis anniversary events.

In March of 2010 I took my daughter to her first Girls in Gis. She had just started jiu-jitsu three months earlier and I thought it would be a good experience for her to train with other women and girls. At the time she was the only girl in a kid’s class full of boys. Fast forward a few months, I started jiu-jitsu myself, and then in September 2010 my daughter and I went to the first anniversary Girls in Gis event.


Fast forward another year…we went to the second anniversary event. Fast forward another year…third anniversary…you kind of get the picture. In between we have traveled to San Antonio, Austin, Katy and Houston. When I first started participating in Girls in Gis, most women didn’t quite look like me. It was so very intimidating. I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t thin, and I definitely wasn’t in shape. I had some very anxious moments in those early days. But those women I met, those amazing women, they just kept encouraging me. They told me to keep training, don’t give up, it will get better. And you know what? They were right! I slowly started to feel like I belonged. I realized that this “old” lady, who didn’t quite look like everybody else, had a place in this tight-knit jiu-jitsu community.

Because of Girls in Gis I have had the pleasure of meeting women from all over the world, women at different stages of their jiu-jitsu journeys. I’ve been able to train with black and brown belts, purple, blue and white belts, and I’ve even had the pleasure of training with women who were trying jiu-jitsu for the very first time. Most importantly, I’ve met other women who love jiu-jitsu just like me. And guess what? Now when I go to Girls in Gis, there are more and more women who look like me! Now it’s my turn to pay it forward. It’s my turn to encourage and support and help all the newbies as they start their jiu-jitsu journey.

Thank you Mrs. Ibarra!

Three Years of Girls in Gis  Nov 2012
Posted by fenomkimonos in News and Events, Women’s BJJ ≈ Leave a comment
Tagsgirl’s brazilian jiu jitsu, girls in gis, women’s brazilian jiu jitsu
Girls in Gis is celebrating its 3rd birthday! It all started in September 2009, when Ashley Nguyen invited girls to her gym, Elite MMA, for the very first free open mat. Seeing more than 10 women training together was unprecedented at the time, everyone was a bit nervous and no-one knew what to expect. The first open mat was a huge success and from that day on, Girls in Gis has become a permanent fixture at the women’s BJJ scene in Texas.

Girls in Gis 2009
Girls in Gis in September 2009

Girls in Gis open mats have traveled all across Texas, from gym to gym, bringing women and girls together regardless of team associations. White belts have become blue, blues have turned purple, and a few purple belts have been promoted to brown belt. Many friendships have been formed and the number of women participating in Girls in Gis has grown year after year. Seeing 30-40 women at an open mat has become normal and this year a new record, 65 girls and ladies, was set at Gracie Humaitá Austin.
Girls in Gis in September 2012

What Ashley started, Shama Ko has carried on. She is the driving force and active leader behind Girls in Gis, scheduling events, promoting, networking, and organizing fundraisers. You can hardly ever see Shama on Girls in Gis photos because she is always behind the camera documenting the events.
Shama Ko at work

Girls in Gis facts:

31 events
15 different cities
23 host academies
largest event at Gracie Humaitá Austin with 65 participants
longest drive to a GIG event – 13 hours round trip
most GIG events attended – Shama Ko 20, Lana Hunter 17
out of state participants from Oklahoma, Louisiana, California, New Mexico, Arkansas, Washington, and Virginia
over 20 sponsors in 2012
Donation drives and fundraisers:

GIG Wish List Drive benefiting SafePlace Austin women’s shelter in January 2012
GIG Volunteer Sponsorship Program in August 2012
GIG Food Drive benefiting Tarrant Food Bank in November 2012
GIG Toy Drive benefiting Toys for Tots in December 2012
Happy Birthday Girls in Gis!

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