Last Saturday was a beautiful day for women and girls in Jiu-Jitsu. The doors were scheduled to open at 9:30 am and at around 8:30 am a few early birds arrived to weigh in as we were setting up. We were nervous. Being our first event we were anxious about many things — Did we talk to enough schools? Did we reach out to enough people? Did we friend enough people on Facebook?
9:30 am rolls around and another small handful of competitors and spectators arrive. At this point, we’re really starting to worry. Please show up people! At 10:00 AM, the floodgates of Jiu-Jitsu heaven, opened up and the crowds started rolling in! We were pumped! 76 women and girls gathered at the Fieldhouse USA for a day of competition supported by over 100 family, friends and coaches cheering them on. In comparison to many tournaments out there, we had a very small showing. But what a sight to see — standing in first class facility with that many participants was absolutely amazing. There was also something different in the air that you don’t experience at other events. There was a sense of sisterhood, belonging and community. Teammates, mothers, daughters, sisters — all on the mat to make their mark on what we believed to be a monumental day.
Oh, and about the sense of sisterhood, belonging and community mentioned above? That all went away when it was time to roll! The little girls had fun as little girls always do, but let’s talk about the the women. It was like watching fight scenes from the Gladiator movie… these women meant business and they were fighting with pure intent to win. Here’s some highlights from a few of these nail-biter matches:
Purple belt featherweight finals – Ariadne Burkhart vs. Kristine Felts
Masters middleweight match – Deyanira Velasco vs. Shannon Newhouse
Blue belt light-feather finals – Paola Morales vs. Lana Hunter
No gi expert middle-heavy – Kelly Faszholz vs Yasmin Soto
Gi beginner – Gabby Keas vs. Sarah Niedrauer
Overall we were very pleased with the turnout. We learned that nothing is easy as it seems and have gained a tremendous amount of respect for all the tournament promoters and organizers out there making it happen on a regular basis. We hope our participants had as much fun as we did, and we look forward to many more. Until then, stay powered by she!
Additional photo sources:
Congratulations on a job well done. This is a giant step for women in BJJ. I hope that I can compete in a future WJJC tournament.
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