The last five years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been phenomenal for Girls in Gis. A grass roots effort started in 2009 by Ashley Nguyen (Elite MMA, Houston TX) has expanded to Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. The purpose behind Girls in Gis was for women to have the opportunity to train in a “non-competitive” setting. Ashley spent a considerable amount of time trying to get Girls and Gis off the ground with only 15 participants at the very first event. Thanks to her hard work and determination, events in Texas alone now have up to 90 participants per event. This year GIGs success was evident with the release of a limited edition rash guard designed by Meerkatsu and produced by Da Firma Kimono Company featuring the lethal plant Atropa Belladonna. Belladonna is the perfect descriptor when it comes to the various women of war represented by this beautiful yet deadly vine. Belladonna can be one of the most effective medicinal remedies for insomnia, hay fever, even as a pain killer. Also known as "Beautiful Lady", it is lethal. Poet Christina Murphy wrote, “atropa belladonna there is no place for me to hide,if I were to tuck myself insidethe marrow deep within your bones, you'd break each one to get to me and suck it dry, the whole supply you'd exhaust your every resource in my pursuit.”
Shama Ko of (Gracie Humaita, Austin TX) the Program Director and Lana Hunter of (Pinnacle MMA/GFT San Antonio TX) are probably some of the biggest supporters and ambassadors for GIGs. The mission according to Ko is to, “provide experiences that foster and encourage females to participate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, thereby paving the way for equality and change. To Empower and unite females in their martial arts training, as well as in life, while simultaneously bringing recognition to the BJJ community for women and girls.” Hunter reflects upon her experiences. “I have definitely been inspired, touched, and identified with some of the stories. Women come together and share what an impact BJJ has had on their lives and the reasons they are motivated to train. I would never have learned any of this if I hadn’t been to a GIGs event. These events provide an environment conducive to this process and I think it is a truly special thing that happens!” Each event begins with an introduction that leaves many touched in the most profound ways. If you walk into the event with the mindset that it will be just like all the other seminars you have attended, you will leave knowing that that GIGs is on another level. You may walk in apprehensive and full of doubt but you will walk away feeling reassured that you are not alone in those doubts and with a new perspective on your journey in BJJ.
GIGs five year anniversary is rapidly approaching (21 Sep 14, Austin TX gym TBD) and it is easy to see why it continues to grow. The motto “Strength in Solidarity” seems to keep this bullet train gliding right along. The presence of the participants and the support of the BJJ community where GIGs is concerned speaks volumes about how far the sport has come and how much further it will continue to go. A thought was realized and has grown into a powerful movement five years later. If you are looking for an environment where you will receive hard core training along with some excellent words of encouragement a GIGs event is THE PLACE to be. You will train with some of the best of the best women in BJJ and take away much more than a highly effective technique. If you haven't heard yet how beautiful a journey one has in this martial art, at these events, YOU WILL. Christina Murphy describes the Night Shade adorned essence of these world-wide beauties precisely, “I have become your madman shackled,the prey your hungry eyes have tackled, you are a flower ever blooming...looming...growing towards me, wide-eyed on the chase,I am the most alluring poisonyou did ever taste. For me your stomach's achingand hands are coarsely shaking.The demons you are wakingare taking every toll on me.Til I am gone and you are weakyou'll seek my nectar ever sweetno matter what the price will be.”