Monday, 24 December 2012

2012 Summary

Well it has been a busy year for me, I haven't been as active in my training as I would have liked to have been mainly due to a knee injury but still proud of my achievements!

2012 Summary
Competed at the Europeans and placed third: I love the Europeans and am really sad that I cant make it this year as it is a great competition.

Had a K1 fight: Stand-up isn't my strong point but it was a great experience and I found it 100 x harder than grappling or MMA.

Had a boxing fight: I am gutted that I lost but I never thought in a million years I would even have the confidence to give boxing a shot, I will fight again and I will win!

I trained with so many amazing people and seen my friends and team mates kick so much ass! So thanks to my coaches at First Generation Fitness in Eastbourne for always pushing me.


So what are my plans for 2013?

I want to compete a lot more in BJJ and really push my grappling to the next level!

I want to fight pro MMA! Hopefully this is in the pipelines with Super Fight League

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lutadora Review of WFB


The cage door closes and two mixed martial artists stand in front of each other. There's a palpable tension before the referee signals the start of the fight; the training is over and now it's down to the athletes to perform. Will there be a knock out? Submission? Or maybe a gruelling three round decision? Either way; to compete at the highest level of this sport you've got to be a pretty tough guy.

Except these two fighters aren't guys. They're competitors in the UK's first all-women MMA event, ‘Women Fight Back’. The fight card featured two professional and five amateur MMA bouts, along with two K1 and two white collar boxing matches.

It's an indicator of the rapid rise in popularity of female mixed martial arts. Fighters like Olympic judo gold medallist and current Strikeforce 135lb champ Ronda Rousey have paved the way for women's combat sports. America even has a female-only MMA promotion, Invicta FC, which is gearing up for its third event after its first two successful shows.

But, back to the UK, last night's event was organised in aid of domestic abuse with all proceeds going to Victim Support. The event was made possible from various volunteers from the MMA community and served to showcase what a positive force the sport can be.

The event kicked off with a Kenjitsu demonstration from multiple world martial arts champion Rubie Planson who later said, “it’s been great to be part of this event, I think it will really open doors for women in martial arts.”

www.lutadora.co.uk was at the event with female fight brand FighterGirls. Emmaline Francis, a fighter competing in an MMA exhibition match was sporting FighterGirls shorts. “It’s amazing to be part of this event, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said. “I love the FighterGirl gear.”

At no point did the fight card disappoint: from the heated brawling in the white collar boxing matches to the more technical K1 striking, and from the tough three round battles to the clinical submissions each fight was exciting in its own right. It goes to show these women are fighters and no matter what you think about female combat sports, they’re here to stay.

For more information about Victim Support visit their website here: http://www.victimsupport.org/


Make sure you follow Women Fight Back on Facebook for a repeat performance next year in April


Have a look at all the great pics from the night too!

Monday, 27 August 2012

WFB

I always hate people that make bullshit excuses after losing. I won't lie I'm crushed that I lost and it will probably take a while for me to feel better. Lesson learnt that if you don't feel 100% mentally of physically its not fair to yourself, or coaches and team mates, to go into a fight that you've already lost before you've even stepped into the cage.

Still, the event brought some really great people together and I am happy my team mates and friends all did so well and showcased just how talented they are. Big well done and thank you to Emma Smith and Gary Bond for making the event happen and Izzy Carwath for tireless work in matchmaking and promoting. Thanks to everyone that supported including Rew Mitchell and Rebekka Francis.

Review of the event in more detail to come soon!






Saturday, 21 July 2012

Women Fight Back Press Release

IN AID OF VICTIM SUPPORT
COLOSSEUM SPORTS PRESENTS:
WOMEN FIGHT BACK
· ALL WOMEN FIGHT CARD
· 8 WOMEN’S MMA BOUTS
· ALL PROFITS GO TO NATIONAL CHARITY VICTIM SUPPORT
· 25th AUGUST AT 7PM, ALDERSHOT (UK)

Emma Smith: "Victim Support helped me out so much in my life, I wanted to give something back"

Buy tickets online: or call 0845 528 0979,

Sponsored by Cage Queen

(London, 20th July.12) Colosseum Sports is proud to present ‘Women Fight Back’ at Fight Science Gym in Aldershot (UK) on 25th August at 7pm, boasting a rare all female card. The event is a not-for-profit fundraiser, both organised and carried out by volunteers from the UK MMA community.

It is an indicator of the growth in the number of women now competing in Mixed Martial Arts that Women Fight Back is able to host 8 British female MMA bouts on one card (with more to come), with all competitors matched at equal weight and fairly in terms of experience.

Boxing, with its long history, took until 1998 to grant women licenses to fight. With MMA (in its present form) only emerging in 1993, the younger sport has been far quicker to embrace women athletes. It is resonant of the times that in the midst of the very first Olympics to include women’s boxing, such an event is now possible and that a British promoter is willing to get behind it.

The Pro MMA bouts include square-offs between Cherie Buck and Chloe Hinchcliffe, Rachael McMillan and Kate Jackson, Emma Watson and Andrea Gladiatrix; with a further 5 confirmed Amateur bouts and more to be added. The card also hopes to feature an Amateur boxing bout (yet to be matched) with two times ABA champ, Juta; and showcases white collar boxing and K1 earlier in the night.

Women Fight Back has drawn together the goodwill of a who’s who of well-known industry names: UFC referee, Michelle Drake Browning, will be flying in from the United States to oversee the fights, as Victim Support is a charity close to her heart. She will be refereeing alongside UK fighter, Danielle West. Judges are to include world #2 ranking Flyweight Rosi Sexton and UFC competitor, Oli Thompson. Commentators include reputed UK MMA journalist, Brad Wharton. For added star quality, UK MMA institution, Bret ‘Hollywood’ Freeman, will be bringing his glitter-factor to the mic, next to glamorous presenter, Cherelle-Jay O’Donnell, daughter to legendary promoter Cage Rage Dave. With UK fighter personalities Louis King, Tomasz Czerwinski, Dom Clarke, Steve Dossett and Tolly Plested brought into the mix as ring boys; and with scene queens including Little Red and Michaela (Fight Medics UK) promising to step into the cage, Women Fight Back is set to be an unmissable night of entertainment.

The driving force behind Women Fight Back is Emma Smith, owner of Aphrodite Ring Girls and partner to Colosseum Sports promoter, Gary Bond.
Smith said: “Victim support helped me out so much, years ago when I was in a very volatile marriage; and that’s what inspired me to want to do something that would give back to Victim Support, as they do such a fantastic job. Everyone I have approached to volunteer their time for this event has been really up for contributing to the cause. I’d like to thank Victim Support for the changes they made in my life and to all the people who have donated their time and effort into making this event possible. It has brought together people from different parts of the industry for a positive purpose and I’m really proud of that achievement and everyone involved.”

Maralyn Smith, Victim Support Divisional Manager for Surrey said: “We always appreciate it when people and other organisations take the initiative to raise much needed funds for Victim Support. I’m delighted that we helped Emma Smith when she needed us the most during her volatile marriage. The money raised from this event will support victims of domestic violence and other crimes.”


WOMEN FIGHT BACK
FIGHT CARD

(with more fights to be confirmed)

Pro MMA Fights
FLYWEIGHT BOUT
RACHAEL MCMILLAN VS. KATE JACKSON
(0-0-0, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt) (4-1-0)
BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT
CHLOE HINCHCLFFE VS. CHERIE BUCK
(0-2-1) (1-2-1)
FLYWEIGHT BOUT
ANDREA GLADIATRIX VS. EMMA WATSON
(1-1-0) (2-2-0)

Amateur MMA Fights
BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT
KIRSTY DAVIS VS. CHERYL FLYNN
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT
PAULA DONNELLY VS. LJ ADAMS
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT
EMMA LUXFORD VS. LAURA HOWARTH
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT
KERRY HUGHES VS. KERRY MASARATI
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT
BEX PACKHAM VS. CHARLOTTE STEPHEN



For all event enquiries contact: emma.smith@colosseumsports.co.uk or Gary.Bond@colosseumsports.co.uk
For press enquiries contact: izzycarnwath@gmail.com
For more information about Victim Support contact: rupi.gohlar@victimsupport.org.uk
About Victim Support

About Victim Support


The national charity for people affected by crime and gives help to over 1 million people every year.
The funds raised at this event will go towards training 6,000 volunteers who give free and confidential information, emotional support and practical help to anyone affected by crime, whether or not it has been reported and regardless of when it happened.
Victim Support also runs the Witness Service which supports witnesses when they give evidence in court, as well as the Victim Supportline.
If you want to make a donation to Victim Support, please go to: www.victimsupport.org.uk/Donate

About Coliseum Sports


Established in August 2011 by Gary Bond, Colosseum Sports Ltd. harnesses over 20 years of experience in the Martial Arts Industry, coupled with highly professional business acumen which has been gathered by running very successful businesses in the entertainment, marketing and public relations industries.

We pride ourselves on two core values, quality and integrity. This is evidenced by the way we manage our Fighters, produce and host our fight Shows, our R.I.P. Product Range and our ring girls and event/promotional staff.

About Cage Queen
www.cagequeen.co.uk

Cage Queen was set up to address the growing number of lone females training in MMA gyms across the UK, where trying find a good match or trying to someone your weight to spar with can be a challenge. The Cage Queen website collates fighter records at Amateur and Pro level and covers Women’s MMA fight news for the UK.



Sunday, 17 June 2012

How to Balance training and your Job

Life is how I like it at the minute, busy and interesting however since starting my new job in February I have been struggling to stick to my training routine.
As there so much I want to do and achieve at the minute, I thought I would take some time to get organised and share some of my time management techniques and ways to keep motivated even with a busy work schedule.

When I used to work for Bupa people would always moan that they didn't exercise because they just didn't have any time due to work. My response would always be "oh it must be horrible having no free time what so ever!" to which they would always catch themselves and start to think about what they had just announced. More often than not they would begrudgingly admit they had a bit of free time here and there which they could be using more efficiently with a little bit of effort.

And a little bit of effort is really all it takes. I usually do my planning on Saturdays or Sundays and go through the following tasks. At the start of the month I might take a bit longer to review events and appointments that I may have agreed to (facebook is good for this) and when I know I have a fight or competition coming up that is when I really need to put in the extra effort to stay organised.


1) Keep a diary: I like one with week and month views so I can see what I'm up against with one quick glance. Also it is a good idea to develop a monthly and weekly plans for the things you want to achieve in work and training to help keep you focused.

2)Make a time table of it all. I use a simple table with days of the week in the vertical column and the following heading on the horizontal:

Appointments/events: This immediately lets me know if I have anything important on that day and often effects how I plan my day/week.

To do/reading/study: This is where I add anything I really need to do that day usually its to write articles and blog posts or read up about something, practice my Portuguese, make a batch of healthy meals or whatever

Remember: An extra hint to remember training kit, extra snacks, an important document, call someone

Training: I like to know what training I can fit it and make sure I'm getting enough in especially when I have a fight or competition coming up

Scheduling your appointments like this lets you see if you are being overambitious and helps you iron out the finer details of your week. Make sure you factor in time to relax and just chill or see family and friends, it sounds obvious but rest and leisure can help reduce stress and help prevent over training. *If I'm feeling extra geeky I will also note down the weather, helps with making outfit choices for work

3)Prepare things:
Making plans are all well and good but the important part is executing them. This can take a little bit more thought and consideration but if you have taken the time to get the first steps right it shouldn't be too difficult and you will get into a routine soon enough
For me sticking to my routine is aided by making sure I have meals and clothes planned for the week ahead. It sounds silly but its so easy to make excuses not to go training if you've eaten badly and don't have energy or if you have to stop off home first to get training kit.
Try planning meals and stash some extra snacks in your bag, at work, (at the gym if your lucky enough to have a locker or somewhere greedy boxing coaches won't find)
I make sure I have enough training gear for the week and typically might stash some stuff at the gym so I don't have to lug it into work every day *hard to look stylish with a huge backpack on! Make sure your training bag is stashed full of useful bits and bobs (hairbands nail clippers, towel etc.)

4) Motivation:
Long stressful days can leave you with a lack of motivation to go to the gym, some days I actually fall asleep on the train home but when I get to training I always feel better.
A strong black coffee first thing when you get in and right before you leave can help Try announcing your plans to go train on facebook or texting your coach, once you feel you have committed yourself it will be make it harder to make excuses to go home and vegetate!
I collect my favourite motivational quotes (twitter is good for training quotes) and write them on post it notes for when I'm feeling particularly uninspired.
Make a playlist: Nothing makes me feel like hitting the gym than listening to some dubstep or heavy metal, if someone on the train asks you to turn down it down you have that instant can only be fixed by training irritation :)
Head to youtube and watch some videos of people that really inspire you or your favourite fight, I always get that must smash feeling when ever I watch a really good fight.


Feel free to share any tips as these are just some of the things that have been working for me.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Awesomeness

What up internet, so I haven't blogged in a while,, boo me! Its been pretty hectic with training and work.

I have been really lucky and been able to train with 2 of the UK's most talented and well known WMMA fighters Rosi Sexton and Danielle West.
If you're reading this and don't know who these women are then shame on you!
These girls have been on the scene for nearly ten years now and are really are true pioneers of the sport!
Its crazy because I think of WMMA now and how much support we get and even then its still a difficult and challenging sport to be involved in.
Rosi and Danielle both share a true love and passion for MMA that has stood the test of time and is really inspiring to me.
I think because they are both so humble it is easy to forget how much they have both accomplished! If it was me I would be boring you with tales of my epicness left right and center.

Now that I am working full time part of my new training plan is to make the most of my weekends and get good training in on both Saturdays and Sundays.
I had a great day of sparring with Laura, Rosi and Kim at Semtex gym in Kent.
It was great to spar with someone who had come to MMA from a grappling background,as I still had to work just as hard once the fight got to the ground!
On Sunday I headed over to Carlson Gracie to train with Kerrie and Katherine and the grappling theme continued as I got a few good rolls in with some of the guys there and Katherine who is a really amazing judoka.

The following weekend Kerry and Katherine came down to do fighters sparring which is the hardest day of training at first gen and pushes us all right out of our comfort zones. I've always felt this is the most essential part of any fight camp as getting comfortable mentally with being pushed hard and not giving up are both important aspects of training that sometimes get overlooked.

On Sunday I went up to London again and trained at new wave gym. It was a really good session and we drilled escaping back control and head and arm control from standing and the ground. I sparred a couple rounds with Laura and Danielle and felt quite strong with my defence and take downs.

Sorry this blog post isn't too thrilling but training outside of my comfort zone and with different clubs and individuals has given me some good ideas for articles so watch this space. I am off on Holiday to LA on Monday so I will have lots of free time to write which I am really looking forward to!








Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Inspiration

My friend and student Bex Packham has been kicking ass and taking names lately so I thought I would devote a whole post to her awesomeness! She is 16 years old and has been training really hard for the last year. You can check out the whole article at
MMA Prospects
.
I meet Bex Packham after Junior MMA class to have a chat and do some competition sparring for the upcoming British Open Brazilian Jiujistu competition that we are both training for. Bex smiles when I ask her what made her want to come and try a sport that generally attracts more of a male audience. "My brother was really into wrestling and had been getting into fights with our step brother. I think my dad thought the class would help him to channel his temper. He asked me to come along to a class and I thought ok I'll go to one just until he makes some friends but it was so much fun I just kept coming back!"
I can relate to her on this one, the first class that I went to was to spend more time with my then boyfriend who was ditching me more and more to spend time at the dojo training. I thought I would go and see what all the fuss was about but similar to Bex I was quickly hooked to the sport! I think it can be difficult for some girls to take that initial step and try a class and it can be nice to have a friend with you when you start your journey.

Bex quickly took to the sport balancing a busy schedule of school and social commitments yet still making it to the gym 5 times a week! It wasn't long before she decided to start competing. With a lack of girls her age involved in the sport she gutsily stepping up to fight the boys at competitions and has sent a fair few home clutching a runners up meddle and not knowing what hit them.
R: Am I right in thinking the last two competitions you have done have seen you beat the guys to take home the gold? B: Yeah I still can't believe it myself It's great to be able to see that everything you learn in training is really effective in competition. Its brilliant to suprise the spectators, they always approach me afterwards with wide eyes, sorta in disbelief haha R: I watched your fight on youtube, it's got so many views, what do your friends and family think about it all? B: They were all really impressed; I think it helped them to understand the sport a bit better. My family are really supportive especially my mum. R: Do you find it tough being the only girl in class B: No I really enjoy training and am friends with all the guys, no one has an attitude and Pauls class is really fun. R: what do you enjoy most about the sport? B: It's just made me more confident in myself; it makes you feel like you can achieve anything. R: Do you follow MMA on TV? B: Yeah I sometimes watch it but I actually prefer watching amateur MMA, it just feels more real I think the production and entertainment side of the stuff you see on TV detracts from the sport its self. R: Do you have a favourite fighter? B: I like Gina Carano, I think she helped people to see that just because you do a combat sport it doesn’t mean that you aren’t feminine, I guess females in any male dominated sports have to put up with that though. R: What are your goals for the future? B: Now that I am 16 I am hoping to get my blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and compete against women in the adult divisions. I would love to do some more amateur MMA but it's just the challenge of finding opponents.
I can tell that the future of WMMA is going to be even more exciting with talented younger fighters like Bex representing the sport. Bex is training hard for the BJJ British Open and looking forward to testing herself in MMA.Its Great to see how much passion Bex has for the sport and it takes me back to when I first started and how exciting it was to find something that I really loved doing. Here are some videos of Bex showing the guys how its done at the last couple of grappling comps we have been to!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Promises


I woke up today feeling pretty shitty without rhyme or reason, it just seems to be one of those days.
I don't really know who to talk to when I feel stressed about training and life in general, it can be hard to explain why I spend so many hours training. Sometimes I even wonder why myself.

So here it is.

I knew in the first few moments, that was all it took. A silent promise made to myself that I wouldn't stop until I had mastered everything. The promise was solidified with each minute that passed during my first class in grappling. Every sweep, choke and joint lock was a thing on wonder and mystery, it was knowledge I wanted to own.

Those few seconds sparked a chain reaction that took my life off the path it was going and down a more challenging and complicated yet interesting route. Four years later I have a better understanding of the nature of that promise. To master everything in BJJ means never stopping.

It is a sport that is constantly evolving, to throw some metaphors around it is like a busy city that never sleeps. You can't let yourself get too comfortable, as even when you think you know the city like the back of your hand things can change. Just as the very essence of the city can be affected by the people in it, jujitsu too is changed and moulded by the athletes that push the boundaries and make it their own.

Maybe I make things more complex than they need to be, I could probably be happy enough working up through the ranks of a 9-5 and going out getting drunk and doing what ever everyone else is doing but I would always be living with a broken promise. There is something in my nature that seems to rebel against normality and being settled, it used to bother me but I guess its better to embrace that and work even harder on days where I feel like this. Like I said in my last post things are never dull and in many ways I'm thankful for that.

There will be days like today where I feel a bit lost but there will be many more moments where I feel like I have pushed myself and become a stronger and better person because of it.

Melancholy aside I spent my day planning, plotting and organising and feel like I will wake up tomorrow a bit more at ease with the world.My cure for most things is to book a holiday and I got my flights for California. I have always dreamt of doing the IBJJF worlds and I cant wait to train at all the amazing gyms over there. As such I have decided to cut to a lower weight class which means an annoyingly strict diet but I have abs now check it out!

Any one with suggestions as to where to go and what to do in California leave a comment or send me a tweet @kimurakoi!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Well as always in the life of Rachael things are never boring. Since my last update I competed in the Euro's and came third in my category, got a new job in events management and also had my first K1 fight, not bad huh?
I'll start with the Europeans. It was my second try at this competition except this year I would be fighting as a purple belt. It was a very different trip to the year before, mainly because I had come by myself without a coach or team mates but I felt it was something I needed to do to improve my game and help to focus on BJJ. I had sort of sidelined jits while I was busy training for my MMA fights, and it felt great getting back into it! I arrived on Tuesday so I would have a day to chill and do some sight seeing before the competition kicked off. Lisbon is a really beautiful city, I will do a separate post on my guide to Lisbon for the Euro's for anyone thinking of going next year.

I was pretty happy with my performance, although my mental game is still a really big issue in jits, I just don't seem to switch on as well as I do in MMA. I did feet strong and technical but I need to work more on passing guard for sure! I think the important thing I learnt is that 7 minutes is a long time so its ok to be patient and wait for the best opportunity to pull guard or go for the take down.






















Just before I flew out to Europe I had an interview for a job at a communications company, and the night before I was set to fly off they told me they wanted to give me the job! I told them I could start Thursday, so I had time to recover from all the partying that had gone on in Lisbon. I think I had forgotten how time consuming a new job can be as it left me with little time to train as I wanted to make a good impression. We had a really big event in London the night before my fight which left me feeling pretty uneasy about how it was going to go.

Pretty much everyone from the gym was fighting so I felt relaxed as we all got to have some food together and then had our own separate area to warm up. I didn't really feel as nervous as I do before Jits or MMA, it was an odd quiet before the storm type of feeling. The fight its self was probably not the most technical that I have ever been in but I stuck to my game plan and followed Paul and Tolly's coaching to get the win.


Even though it was one of my least impressive performances I was still glad I went through with it, as I learnt a lot and it motivated me to work more on my stand up! I might try and get a few more stand up fights on smaller shows while I am waiting to find out when my next MMA fight will be. I think the next Jits comp I compete in will be the British open in May.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The importance of Variation

Another weekend and another adventure, this time I headed to Icon BJJ in Milton Keynes. Unfortunately I had to drag myself out of bed and get on the 6.24 train to London again as I was aiming to get to MK by 9.30 to start training at 10.

The session was busy as the guys who train at Icon Holland had come over for a visit. After a very quick warm up we immediately got into a long session of sparring 8 minute rounds. Being so early I felt it took a while to wake up and get going but after about an hour I was well into a jiujitsu groove and rolling more fluidly. The following day we went over a half guard sweep and escaping from back control and had a slightly more relaxed sparring session (only 5 minute rounds).

The last few weekends made me think a little bit more about the importance of variation in training. It is my experience that when you have been training with the same people for a long time you start to relax too much. As you know the way they play rolling strategically can minimise energy expenditure. In other words, it is easy to get stuck in a rut.

The great thing about doing some training at a different club is that you have to work harder as you do not have a good idea of peoples skill levels or what type of game they play. It is perfect training if you have a competition coming up and want to push your self, with the Europeans looming it was exactly what I needed. So if you have the chance make time for some BJJ adventures of your own and visit a friends club to get some variation in your training. I enjoy learning new drills and different teaching points for the same techniques. You also get to take back some new techniques to try out on your unsuspecting team mates!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Pre European Competition Sparring

This post is part 2 of my exciting weekend of training. Following a busy day at S.K.J I headed over to Derby to do some competition sparring for the Europeans. At the time I wasn't really sure if I was even going to go, as I mentioned in the past I felt a bit unsure about my purple belt and where I was at with my BJJ. As I was coming all the way from Brighton Rebecca, one of the girls that trains at GBD, kindly let me stay the night at hers so I felt much more rested up and ready for some training than Saturday.

We arrived at Gracie Barra Derby at 12.30, the club has a traditional dojo feel and has a matted area as well as a caged off section for MMA. As people started arriving I recognized lots of familiar faces and it was great to meet some of the blue and white belts that were new to the sport since I had been over seas. Christine took charge and made sure we all felt welcome, suggesting that we begin with some specific positional sparring and finish with some rolling at the end. This worked really well and gave me a good idea of the area's I needed to work on, girls move a lot differently than men and I think what most of us don't get much practice of is maintaining an on top position and working on attacking.

I rolled with Leoni, who I used to train with at BJJ school, she said I felt much stronger than before which made me feel a lot more confident as she trains and competes at a high level and is someone I have always looked up to in the sport. All in all the training session left me feeling confident in my abilities and I decided to man up and enter the Europeans. I have only done the nogi British open and competed in MMA since getting my purple belt, so I think I need to start challenging myself more to progress and improve my BJJ.

Hopefully there will be more sessions like this in the near future. Sometimes its just nice to meet up with other girls that understand the madness of training in BJJ. Back in Eastbourne I have begun pestering everyone to train some Gi with me, Tolly already had me sparring from standup with Joe and Lee, and I think I have a pretty solid game plan to work.

Some further reading for you Femme fighters article on the Grace Barra Derby girls

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sticks Kicks and Jits

This weekend I ventured up to the Midlands to S.K.J martial arts in Leicester. Organised by coaches Caz tweedy, Abigail Steady and Jo Hicks, the event offered a taster of 3 different martial arts, grappling, kick boxing and stick fighting. Caz, Abigail and Jo are all established athletes in their chosen discipline's and regularly strive to cross train in different martial arts. They have launched S.K.J to offer a friendly and safe environment for women to learn and practice martial arts, and are one of the few clubs to offer such high quality female coaching.

I arrived slightly late, sleep deprived and overdosed on espresso after catching a very early train from Eastbourne. When I arrived there were already about 20 women present for the first unofficial part of the event, which was a 2 hour nogi grappling seminar taken by Caz. As there was a range of skill levels present Caz started off with some hip mobility drills to warm up and emphasise the importance of hip movement in grappling. She then went on to drill the correct base and technical stand up for fighting with an open guard. The main techniques that we covered were escaping side control and passing guard both of which Caz explained very well, emphasising the importance of arm and hand positioning and where to frame to be able to move the hips. Caz is an excellent teacher who's passion for grappling is apparent and infectious. She is able to break down moves into clear teaching points that even women with no grappling experience at all were able to pick up quickly.

Taster session

The main emphasis of the event was to give a basic introduction to the three main disciplines taught at S.K.J martial arts. At midday we were joined by another 30 women, some of which had a wealth of experience and achievements under their belts and others who had never so much set foot in a dojo until that day. Jo Hicks gave us our introduction to kick boxing starting with an energetically lead warm up followed by a good stretch, after which we worked on the basic jab cross combo followed by some side kicks on the pads. Next Caz ran through some grappling basics, being such a complex sport it is hard to get a feeling for grappling in such a short space of time but Caz ran through some fundamentals and explained the positional progression of the sport well. Abigail had the task of choreographing 50 women and sticks into shape. We learnt 4 stikes and 4 defence moves finishing with a disarm, which brought the session to an end.

I hung around catching up with some friends and watched the stick fighters do some sparring which was beautifully brutal and interesting to look at at. I spoke to Caz and Abigail after the event and both were happy with the turn out and looking forward to the future of S.K.J. Well done ladies it was a well run event with excellent coaching and left everyone feeling happy and confident with some new found skills. Please check out the photo's from the event taken by Joy Foulds