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!