Oh, wait — no more camp. *sadface*
Seriously, ladies, you should go to camp. There are hardly words to describe the experience and the benefits. (Of course, I’m gonna try anyway 😉 )
This camp not only had Emily Kwok and Valerie Worthington, who run the camps, but also Hannette Staack and Michelle Nicolini AND with special guest Sayaka Shioda (2007 ADCC -55kg winner. Also, judo black belt, Sambo black belt, & BJJ black belt):
Hannette, Sayaka, & Michelle
Friday evening I drove up to Maggie’s house, just west of DC. (It is a sign of how much driving I did this weekend that I no longer think of the distance between Maggie’s and the gym as “far.”) We couldn’t make it to the welcome dinner in the city, but we hung out before I had to find a pillow.
Color belts everywhere! Many women I know from the Richmond camp, more from tournaments & open mats, and some from online, and many more who I didn’t know. Ladies came in from California, Texas, the Midwest, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New England.
Saturday morning started bright and early with Hannette in the gi. We started with a takedown, and then moved to defending and passing the spider guard. Then later drilled standing passes against open guard. Throughout, Hannette would have us get in 3 lines for a monkey-in-the-middle review of the drills — middle does forward roll to one side, 3 pushups, then does the technique on the one partner; then the middle turns and does the same to the other partner. 1 min per person. I could only get 2 or 3 reps per technique, but the cheering and the time limit somehow compress the technique better into your brain. (Also, is fun.)
Finished up with specific sparring from the guard, switching top and bottom after a minute. When I got tired, I started pulling guard and playing from there in both rounds. Didn’t realize until afterwards, though. (Guess who is comfortable playing guard, lol?)
Now here’s a nice problem to have: trying to fit all brown and black belts in one line!
(Also, it’s a little strange for me to be in a room full of people and to take a picture, and for me to NOT automatically be the smallest one.)
Lunch involved a drive to the nearby Whole Foods and me driving in through the Exit. Oi, city driving! I needed an out-of-state license plate!
Michelle taught the afternoon session, also in the gi — sweeps from spider guard. Hannette and Michelle said they didn’t coordinate their sessions, either.
First, though, Michelle did a warmup with us that included a lot of open guard passing drills, and one of her “warmup” exercises was pure jiu-jitsu magic and the entire room said, “ooohh!”
- You’re standing in front of their open guard; they have their feet on your hips
- Grip both their pant cuffs & step around to the side — so far, same as all other drills
- They start to turn towards you to grab your near leg & attempt a single
- Before they turn over all the way, swing your free leg around their head all the way to the other side
- Sit down on the trapped leg’s hip as the opposite elbow goes to the mat in front of their hips
- Now trap their top arm and/or extend your trapped leg to free it
- Get over/under and take the back
Magic, I’m telling ya — simple and logical and graceful.
Specific sparring at the end: ten or so on the mat, then the line goes out one at a time to engage. Roll to points or submission. On-the-mat stays for 2 rounds, then joins the line.
Then some 3-min rounds. Got to roll with Emily once, and I tried some of the techniques from her video series. And she laughed, and then returned the favor, but for real this time. Heh.
We all grabbed dinner after training on Saturday and headed for Tori’s house for the Round Table Discussion with Hannette and Michelle. They both talked about how they started jiu-jitsu and their journey so far. Sayaka also told her story through an interpreter, Yoko (?), who was a camper who is Japanese.
So, during the warmup for the morning session — in the gi with both Hannette & Michelle, scheduled to be a review from Saturday — I started feeling a little woozy. Not breathing well, room felt stuffy, started overheating…. Figured I could just shake it off. Then there were some forward and backward rolls, and then some more warmup drills… and then I almost passed out. Ended up sliding down the wall. Oooo, not cool…
Michelle helped me get my gi off and Val helped me off the mat. I spent most of the morning session sitting in the office, eating my neglected breakfast and drinking as much fluid as I could get my hands on. I seemed stable enough by lunch, so I followed some of the other ladies across the street to a sandwich place. And then while waiting in line, everything started up again. ……….
So we pumped me full of calories and carbs and fluids and waited until I could walk in a straight line again, ducked next door to the 7-11 for portable fluids, and then went back for the afternoon session. I changed for it, but ended up only watching.
Nogi session; included a crazy relay-race warmup from Emily, which turned in to quite possibly the most intense relay race I’ve ever seen.
Sayaka, with some help from a Japanese girl at campYoko, taught the first nogi session after lunch. First a takedown and then a rolling kneebar from turtle. “Use their foot as a pillow,” she said, to indicate the positioning.
One of my favorite moments of the whole weekend came during this session. At camp, when an instructor wants to indicate a break (say, between instruction and going off to drill), they say, “One, two, three,” and then everyone claps all together. Since Sayaka had taught, it was her responsibility to count, so she did: “Ichi, ni, san,” and we all clapped, and the delight on her face was priceless.
(To bring everyone back together, the instructors use a whistle. Hannette loves the whistle. Be warned, Chicago!)
Then Michelle taught a toe hold and another kneebar, both starting from inside the guard.
They rolled again, but I still needed to be smart (especially since I was driving and so couldn’t just pass out in the car). I even went and changed in to my street clothes because the desire to get out there and train anyway nearly overwhelmed me. *sigh*
Sunday, we drove in to DC and ate at Old Ebbitt Grill, about a block from the White House. Then, since there were so many tourists among us, we did a short walk around the Mall, starting at the White House and looping out to the Washington Monument
Monday morning’s session was a “Troubleshooting” session — gi and nogi; you could roll or drill or ask questions of the black belts. Whatever you wanted. I tried to do a little of everything. Got some good & fun rolls in, including one with Hannette, and also watched & listened to Emily as ladies asked her questions ranging from technique to her own story in jiu-jitsu.
Hannette & Michelle were going to run a co-ed seminar in the afternoon, but I needed to get home. So, reluctantly, after a final lunch with some of the other women, I packed up my car and headed out. (Good thing, too, as apparently a big storm hit all along the second half of my trip after I had passed through.)
I’m still a little nauseated, so have been drinking as much fluid & electrolytes as I can stand since I got home. I even called in from work today as well so that I could sleep and eat and drink and recover.
Camp was everything I needed it to be, and then some. If you get a chance to go, I would highly, highly recommend it.
3 thoughts on “Women’s Grappling Camp at Fifty/50”
Sounds like a dream come true! Is the next one in Chicago? Where can I find the info? Never been to one before but your post has convinced me I need to!
I strongly encourage ALL women to go to one of these camps. Even if you learned zero new techniques, just getting to hang around other women of like minds makes it all worth it. And getting to be with more advanced women is so inspiring and encouraging that’s is almost ridiculous. Emotional jiu-jitsu, I call it; we needs it.
I do recall hearing Chicago mentioned as a destination. They post information on the Women’s Grappling website and on the Facebook group as well.