Open mat is a wonderful part of BJJ, particularly the fun vibe. That gets even better at GrappleThon events, when a whole bunch of BJJ clubs get together (e.g., our friends at Pedro Bessa BJJ and Origin BJJ, whose GrappleThons are featured in the embedded video).
This week, there’s an event that will highlight that aspect of BJJ, in memory of somebody we sadly lost recently. I’ll quote Averi Clements from her Jiu Jitsu Times article talking about her friend Nichole:
“On Friday, October 7 (for those who have tournaments on Saturday) or Saturday, October 8 (for those who have work on Friday), I want the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community to come together and Roll for Nichole. I want us all to have an open mat in her honor at our individual gyms. Invite other academies, invite people who have never done JiuJitsu before, invite whoever you want. Take an hour or two to do the thing that— at least for a while— gave Ozzy happiness and a release from the things she was battling inside her mind.
But on whichever day you choose to do this, I want you all to sit down with your coach and teammates and take the opportunity to talk about mental illness. I want you to tell each other that you’re there for each other, and I want you to discuss the warning signs of suicide, which can be found here. I want you to discuss all kinds of options for help, including talk therapy and medication. By the time you leave that gym, I want every single person to know that mental illness is as serious as a physical injury or disease, and above all, I want you all to know that you’re not alone.
During all of this, I want you to create a memory with your teammates. Laugh together. Take pictures together. Post them on social media and use the hashtag #RollForNichole so that everyone inside and outside the jiu-jitsu community can see just how big our extended family is and how we support each other.”
We have an open mat on Friday (18:00-18:30) and a longer one on the Sunday (12:00-14:00), so let’s #RollForNichole on the 7th and 9th October. Event page here, everybody welcome!