Posted 14/04/2014 by admin in Health & Lifestyle

BJJ is More than Just a Martial Art


Right before I pressed ‘confirm’ for a purchase of a one way ticket to Kenya, I had to re check Facebook just to make sure that the club I searched (Westlands BJJ) to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was still there – I smile, click – Purchase done.

BJJ has become a really big part of my life. Believe me, If you had asked me about this when I first started I would not have been as enthusiastic. Yes! Rolling around on the mats, the countless bruises from getting gripped and the sweat mix from others all over your body doesn’t sound appealing at first – BUT the overall impact it has on my body and mind makes it an easy sacrifice.

Kenya and BJJ
July 2013 – I flew to Kenya for 10 days and within those 10 days I was unable to find a dedicated only BJJ club. There was a gym that trained only NOGI. Classes were about once or twice a week and that didn’t do it for me. It got me thinking – Why isn’t BJJ as popular in Kenya as it is all over the world? Every third person I met in England (and Europe for that matter) trained BJJ; and in Kenya, it was almost unheard off. Given – It has become more popular over the recent years, but not so much in Kenya. Growing up here the only form or martial art that was offered to us and well known was karate and at the gym you would have the occasional Kick boxing and Muay Thai classes.
December 2013 – Westlands BJJ taught by David Thompson – YES! As I was researching desperately over the Internet to find a BJJ school (with low expectations may I add), I stumbled upon this group and was chuffed! I contacted David, a brown belt from Canada and got all the details I needed, and prepared for my first lesson as the new year began.
Davids club is a reminder of why I started Jiu Jitsu and I feel at ease here. I am learning, I am training basics and making those basic moves second nature. I prefer it this way. BJJ  has helped make my move back to Kenya easier. The class is growing and it has around 4-5 people on average per class. At times on a good day it goes up to almost 10. That is a massive achievement for our class! Around 90% of our class is made up of Expats and the few locals that have joined (including myself) have been introduced to BJJ either in the States or in Europe.

Women and BJJ.
At first, BJJ looks like (usually men) rolling around on the floor (or as my dad puts it – a washing machine going round and round – especially when you have the Gi on). Its not appealing, its messy and it doesn’t look like fun. Trying to persuade girls to at least try it is difficult – BUT – when they do, its addictive! We have a few girls that come for a class but it either doesn’t suit them or they live too far out. Trying to convince my girlfriends to try it is a straight up no! I want to find a way to encourage women to take it up. Its different – when you roll, your mind zones out, you concentrate, you focus, you’re aware, you become at peace with yourself you CONCENTRATE, you roll, you learn.

This is a call out for all women who train BJJ to share your stories and experiences on how you started so I can use them to encourage more females to try it.
BJJ is more than just a martial art your training partners become your family.


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