You asked for A1 curvy jackets, and we made them! We are excited to announce that every new batch of women’s gis from next month on will have A1 curvy jackets available.
A1 jacket, and A1 curvy pants combination is one the most popular mix-and-match sizes ever since we started making curvy pants. It is a great option for ladies with narrow shoulders, small chest, wider hips, and thicker thighs.
Lately we have received lots of requests from ladies who are not that small on top, and need a roomier jacket. The bigger bust, and wider shoulders fit into A2 but the sleeves are a tad too long for that particular height.
If your height is between 5’3” and 5’5”, and need a jacket that covers your chest, does not pinch in the armpits, and does not have hugely long sleeves; this is the size for you. Pair it up with A1 Curvy pants for a great fitting gi.
We are giving away one black pearl weave, and one white pearl weave plus gi to two volunteers who are willing to send us some feedback on this new size. We would like to give these gis to the ladies who have purchased a mix-and-match set before (A1/A1C or A2/A1C) so they can compare the fit. Email us or comment below if you are interested.
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!
Last year in September she was promoted to black belt by Jean Jacques Machado. She called the promotion day a really special yet terrifying one. The striking tall beauty was kind enough to make a second appearance on our blog, and answer a couple of questions for the Black Belt Corner series. Enjoy!
Which belt level has been the most challenging for you?
For me, white belt was absolutely the most challenging belt. When you start training, jiu-jitsu is daunting. The things you don’t know are overwhelming in comparison to a few lessons a week. I remember learning a move and practicing it and then going, “OK got it! But then what do I do?” I didn’t compete for my first year or so, and then when I did, I could not win a match to save my life. I just did not have any pieces glued together. I got my blue belt after almost three years of training, and that is when I felt like things began to make sense.
What advice do you have for women who think about quitting?
When women have the courage to start jiu-jitsu, I let them know that it is a life changing move. There will be highs and lows, tears and celebrations but if they persevere through the first year, they will never be the same person they were before they trained.
They will be better athletes of course but more importantly, they will be better problem solvers. They will be better stress managers, better wives, moms, teachers; just better at life because of this sport. No exaggeration.
I am so thankful that I had the teammates, and my amazing coach to get me through the weeds of the first years, so that I could learn the life lessons that are communicated through my involvement in this sport. Training has become an outlet for me. It’s a place I go to when I’m stressed, when I am tired, when I am sad or starving. Most days I really feel like jiu-jitsu solves all of these. It is also the place I run to after a great day. When I am happy, jiu-jitsu feels just as good. It makes me feel productive, and accomplished; it let’s me think about nothing but what is happening in the moment.
Check out Jill’s upcoming SoCal Women’s Toy Roll in Bakersfield, CA. Bring an unwrapped toy to make a child happy, and get some rolls in to make yourself happy!
Chelsea Leah is the youngest black belt we have interviewed for our Black Belt Corner series. She is an active competitor, well-known blogger, and teaches women’s jiu-jitsu classes at Art of Jiu-Jitsu.
She started training at the age of 11, and lived and trained in Asia for two years after graduating from university. For the past three years she has been with team Atos. Chelsea lives the dream life of many jiu-jitsu lovers; her home is around the corner from AOJ, she has flexible hours, and trains whenever she wants. Her most recent achievement was winning double gold medals at Santa Cruz BJJ Pro IBJJF Championship.
Which belt level has been the most challenging for you?
Black belt has been incredibly challenging thus far. I’m not an experienced competitor by any means, and being dumped into the black belt division feels like being thrown in the deep end of the pool. I feel like I’m surrounded by extraordinary people every day. I’m undoubtedly very lucky to train with the people who I get to train with but it means that I have very high expectations for myself.
It is hard to start over at black belt again coming up from the bottom but I learned a lot my first year. I have been lucky to be able to compete at the level that I have been at this year, especially with the recent Five tournament. Being part of the lineup at Five was an amazing experience; being in the same bracket with women like Luiza Monteiro, Mackenzie Dern, and Tammi Musumeci was fantastic.
There is an added level of pressure in competition that I did not foresee but I’m sure it is something I will eventually get used to. I can’t say I’ve overcome the challenges yet, they look daunting from down here. Ask me in a year after I have won some titles at black belt!
What advice do you have for women who feel frustrated and think about quitting?
It depends on what the frustrations are. Jiu-Jitsu is hard. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, especially if you want to compete – and that’s not for everyone. Sometimes the answer may be simpler than that. If you are having trouble with something specific to your academy, talk to someone about it. If you’re concerned about the way a teammate is treating you in class, communicate, and don’t be afraid to escalate the situation up the chain of command. If something makes you uncomfortable, talk about it.
Sometimes we get tough with gym owners for not considering the women in their BJJ academies but for many this is a very new thing; they are learning how to help you. The best way to foster a good relationship is to have open communication.
I would also recommend changing academies if the environment does not match what you want for whatever reason. I don’t adhere to the mentality that you have to stick by an academy no matter what. It is a business, and if you are not receiving what you want from that business, go elsewhere.
A drawstring is one of the smallest components of the gi pants but it creates a great divide between customers. A while back we asked ladies which drawstrings they would prefer. As it turns out, one half loves what the other half hates. About half of the customers favor flat drawstrings because they stay tied, and keep the pants from falling. The cord lovers hate flat drawstrings for the same exact reason; the knot is too tight, and cannot be untied fast enough when sweaty. The cord lovers also praise the ease of tying and un-tying of cord drawstrings but the downside is that you can never really get a good tight fit because of the stretchy material, and some explode and unravel during washing.
We started making pants with generic, stretchy rope cords and included a flat drawstring for free. That seemed to make most people happy but at the same time led to quite a bit of waste, and the problem with exploding cords still existed so we had to find a better solution.
After searching near and far we found a factory that makes nylon custom cords, and decided to do away with the generic rope drawstrings for good. All gi pants now come with a standard flat drawstring and custom cords are sold separately for $5.00. A well-known BJJ blogger, instructor and gi reviewer Can Sönmez says that these are the best cords he has used, and he has worn 30+ gis over the past years. Give them a try and let’s see if you agree or not!
Some people say that belts and stripes are not important. Do you agree or disagree? We disagree. The wear and tear on your belt shows the hard work, hours on the mat and your dedication to jiu-jitsu. Stripes show your progress and that you are a step closer to your next goal. Why shouldn’t we be proud of it?
Let’s see the most worn out, unrecognizable color belts out there. Is your belt falling apart at the seams? Do people ask if you are a gray belt? Do you sometimes hope that no-one grabs your belt when rolling so that you don’t have to see the white filler slowly ooze out and hear the dreaded ripping sound? Has the belt served you well and is soon ready to be displayed in a shadow box to enjoy its retirement years? If so, send us a picture of your belt for a chance to win a brand new Fenom hemp belt.
Photos can be submitted on Facebook, Instagram or via email. Winners will receive a belt of their choice in any color and size. Five random winners will be picked on August 2. Good luck and happy training!
Tragedy and hurt usually come when you least anticipate it. Lana Stefanac talks about the good, the bad and the ugly in her personal life, career and training .
What was the most difficult belt level for you? How did you overcome the challenges?
There was never really a specific belt that was most challenging for me although I would say that the most fun was blue just because of the numerous, and aggressive fights I had at tournaments. Of course, black belt is the best, and the most challenging due to the range and level of competition.
The most difficult challenge I faced during my competition career was funding my training and competition. I did MMA to make money, not because I loved MMA itself. As it turned out, I was relatively good at MMA which made the pro fighting more attractive to me. With that being said, MMA is not a good way to make money unless you are those one or two females at the top in the big cards. I would never tell someone, male of female, to quit working and train MMA because it is not a sustainable way to live or survive. Again, MMA was just another route I took to attempt to help fund my BJJ career, and it worked okay but it did not provide me a good life nor means to do this.
For me, my life revolved around BJJ, and the journey to my black belt which I reached ultimately in 2009 when I got my black belt from Randy Bloom (there has always been ridiculous rumors surrounding him) on the podium after I won double gold at the Worlds. I was proud to receive my black belt from Randy because I respected him greatly as a person which is not the case with many other “high lever” black belt men.
In 2011, I gave up competing to pursue my career in law enforcement. I have often joked that this was my retirement plan. Funny enough, during the training academy I sustained a very bad injury which required surgery, and rehab for nearly a year. This was my biggest challenge in that not only was I crippled for so long but that ultimately I was released from the department due to a subsequent injury resulting from the initial injury. This was the most devastating obstacle combined with having lost my mother to long battle with cancer just prior. My mother was, and is, a driving force in my soul to succeed at what I do. My heart was broken from the loss of my mother, and then shattered yet again when I was released from the department what was supposed to be the rest of my life, due to the injury. These obstacles have been the hardest things for me to overcome because I gave up the love my life, BJJ, to go into a career that I could be proud of, only to be released from one while having lost the other.
I have not competed actively because I intended to go back into law enforcement once my injury was fully healed. I have stepped away from hard training, and competition to stay injury free. This is hard, because again, I gave up one love to pursue the other, and the latter ultimately removed me from BJJ competition.
How I overcame this tragic course of events is that I continue to teach, and develop my techniques, and share them with others who are actively competing. For now, this will have to suffice for me until I make my next course of action as far as sustainable, and viable options for career are concerned.
What advice do you have for women who have a hard time in training, and think about quitting? Does it get better when you earn your black belt?
Life is hard, and it is a journey that is full of accomplishments and heartbreak combined. Things do not ever get better when you get your black belt; they actually get worse. The good news is that challenges come at you even faster, and with more aggression as a black belt.
Jiu-jitsu is a life choice that is supposed to help you overcome weaknesses in your life. If it does not do this, you are doing something wrong or not seeing it for what it is. When you start training BJJ, your goal should be to reach your black belt, and then your larger goal is to be that you NEVER QUIT.
This is the saddest, and most disgusting thing I have seen in both men and women that they quit like punks. There is no end point. Jiu-jitsu is a life-style. Once you commit to it, you should be devoted until you are no more, and until you no longer draw a breath. This is not to say that you will compete forever but it is to say that your journey will change just as mine did. The end result of all this is that you use your failures to motivate you until failures aren’t failures any more but rather obstacles that you know you will overcome eventually.
Black belt world champion Dominyka Obelenyte is petitioning IBJJF to change how the biggest, and most profitable organization in BJJ doles out prize money to women at their Pro events. New York BJJ Pro Championship, scheduled to take place in November, offers $4,000.00 to the first place winner in each weight class for male black belt competitors. For female black belts the prize money is $1,500.00, and only offered to the open weight class winner. Please sign the petition if you believe that women should receive equal prize money at IBJJF Pro tournaments.
Please support #equalpaytuesday by posting a photo with a sign #equalpayforbjj and tag all the major players in BJJ. Make it big; make it fair for women’s jiu-jitsu!
Women only tournaments are popping up everywhere. Garra Jiu-Jitsu Darra is hosting a girls’ and women’s white belt and blue belt tournament on May 9th in Brisbane, Australia. Cash prizes for blue belts are $200 for the first place, and $100 for the second place. Two weeks later, on May 24th, Australian Girls in Gi is hosting their 4th annual tournament on the West Coast of Australia, in Perth. It is a round robin style tournament for girls, and women of all belt levels.
On May 23rd, 16 female blue belts have a chance to win cash prizes at BJJ Top Tournament in Burbank, California. First place gets $300, second place $150, and two third places receive $80 each. A few weeks later, on June 13th, Texas-based Women’s Jiu-Jitsu Federation is holding its 2nd Annual Southern Regional Championship, in Justin, Texas. The tournament benefits three charities: Hope For The Silent Voices, Rescue Her, and Restore Her, and offers both gi and no-gi divisions to girls, and women of all belt levels.
If competition is not your cup of tea, please check out Sophia Drysdale BJJ Camp in Edmond, Oklahoma on June 6-7. She is offering two days of training for a hard to beat price of $70. Enjoy!