Sunday, March 4, 2012

Women's Open Mat with Sofia Amarante

"OMG!! You're excited about half guard!!!"

That's what one of the ladies from American Top Team that traveled with me down to yesterday's open mat texted me afterward. I've lamented being "half guard stupid" for...ever now. I just let people settle and completely miss that "moment" that is so essential in avoiding being crushed and mounted and all the ugliness that happens afterward.

It was so much fun...At first I thought it would be three hours of getting to know other ladies that trained...some drilling, sharing techniques, and sparring. Nope. It was way better with two lady-black belts leading the session. It was a straight up class format with running, drills, techniques, the whole shebang. Sofia "Bubu" Amarante, world champion black belt under Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu led the class and she was nothing short of amazing. Anybody who can walk 34 people through rolling over their shoulders gets mad instructor props from me.

I took home a couple of new drills, the biggest of which was the shoulder rolling (which I will definitely be working on the regular now). It was essential in the third and fourth techniques that Sofia taught and honestly, something I've always been hesitant to actually apply. I tend to graviate toward to the most straight-forward and obvious paths to get where I want. On a high level though, I have more confidence in negotiating that "moment" around half guard.

Oh yeah! I got to roll with Jen from Family Mat-ters! It was the first time I'd trained with anyone from the BJJ blogosphere. Meeting people (let alone sparring with them) I first get to know online strikes me as trippy no  matter how many times I do it, and I've been doing it for years now.

The standout moment though, was probably the Predator raffle (even more props to these guys for their marketing). The lady that won was a white belt who didn't have her own gi...awesome way to get started with a custom made and embroidered gi from Black Eagle. And!


A huge thanks to South Florida Fight Club for hosting such a great event, Sofia Amarante for her awesome instruction and Stephanie for getting it all together. Can't wait for the next one in Miami!


minasek said...

Just arrived to your blog through Black women of Brazil's blog;
I am very impressed by this martial art; I didn't know about it; What is the difference with Capoiera?
Can anybody practice it? I am 40 now soooo?

Deborah Clem said...

I feel compelled to respond to your comment. As a woman who is over 40, I scream, Yes Yes Yes you can do BJJ!!!...;))

Megan said...

That's great!

Anybody can do it...that's one of the great things about Brazilian jiu jitsu. We've had women that started in their mid to late 40s at my gym. It's a great workout and a ton of fun. I train 3x a week and sometimes I feel like I don't exercise at all, it just doesn't feel like "work".

It is though, completely different than Capoeira. Jiu jitsu has Japanese roots (as opposed to African and Native Brazilian) and is a grappling art, more similar to wrestling, though very different in that it relies on leverage and angles as opposed to brute force...which is one of the reasons it's recommended to women for self-defense.

If you can find a school nearby, I encourage you to check it out. The people that practice are great and you can usually get a free trial week or month.

In the meantime, there are a lot of ladies that practice...there's a good number of them in my blog roll and reading about their experiences will give you a lot of insight.

Do you practice any martial arts now?

Megan said...

I second Dagney's comment:) Definitely check out her blog too.

Georgette said...

I'm 39 and 40 isn't too old! BJJ is less about dancing, and there's no punching or kicking, but it's still amazingly fun (and since you can usually start off on the ground, you needn't stress out if your balance or coordination isn't as good as you'd like it to be!)

Also-- that sounds SUPER COOL about the Predator gi giveaway! :) I absolutely LOVE my Predators, and my Predadora (the female fit version) is my #1 favorite gi.

Megan said...

That's a good point, Georgette. I guess it seems obvious, but BJJ has to be way more age friendly than capoeira.

Yeah! I need to pick one up. Do you see a big difference in fit between the Predator and Predadora?