The Artemis BJJ kids class has been running now for over 2 years. The aim has always been to create a friendly atmosphere for the children and to teach them Brazilian jiu jitsu in a fun way. In December 2017, we were delighted to promote 2 of the kids and they joined in with the club’s GrappleThon this year. More recently, we have had several new kids join and Artemis BJJ blue belt Erick helps out when either of the instructors are away.
We’ve had a brilliant time teaching the kids class so far. It’s such a fun half hour and we learn a lot too!
In the run-up to our GrappleThon in support of One25 next week, Artemis BJJ student Tracey headed down to their offices (a short walk from MYGYM) to talk to them about their wonderful charity work.
A morning at the One25 drop-in centre gave me a wonderful insight into the work they do. There are 3 ways they help women who are trapped in street sex work:
Van outreach. The van goes out 5 nights a week around central Bristol and offers women food, first aid, warm clothing and a chance to sit in the van to talk if they want.
Drop-in centre. This is open in the afternoons and caters for their basic needs… hot meal, shower, laundry & free clothes and a weekly health clinic. There are also creative activities available: cooking, sewing, writing etc. Plus, an opportunity to have someone listen to them, be a friend and help build up their self-esteem.
Women wanting to move away from working on the streets are linked up with the casework team, who support each woman to take steps to improve their life. This could be finding them somewhere safe to live, rehabilitation, re-connecting with family etc.
80% of the women that use One25 are homeless or are in unsafe accommodation. They are usually malnourished, have neglected their health and many are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. One25 takes care of all their needs, both immediate and long-term. The work they do is outstanding and worthwhile, as demonstrated in Andrea’s story:
New and old injuries need to be treated with care. Fortunately, BJJ can be adapted around your body. In this guest blog, Tracey talks about how we’ve been able to accommodate her back injury in classes at Artemis BJJ.
I slipped a disc in my lower back about 4 years ago which caused nerve damage and I lost complete sensation in both legs. After lots of physio, I regained all feeling and use in my right leg, but still have no feeling down the left side of my left leg and foot. My balance isn’t very good now either, since my left leg doesn’t give any support (or rather, it does, but I can’t feel it!)
I do yoga twice a week to strengthen my back and core, but I have to take every precaution that I don’t hurt my back in class. After a bit of a shaky start when I wasn’t really sure what moves I could or couldn’t do, I know my capabilities and limitations now.
In class I have to avoid:
Knocks or jolts to my lower back, so I cannot have standing sweeps done on me
Footlocks on my left foot as I cannot feel them!
Things I probably do differently to everyone else:
Don’t stand up during sparring, unless partnered with a higher level belt who has the experience to alter their game to avoid sweeping me. They can also steady me if I lose my balance.
Tend to do most moves on one side only where the right leg needs the strength.
Aim for closed guard/side control positions where my back feels the safest.
How Artemis BJJ help
I now attend the mixed class more often than the women’s class. Usually, the moves are a lot more challenging on my back and new to me. To make sure I feel safe and at ease during drilling and rolling, Can (instructor):
Partners me whenever possible with Paul, a blue belt
Lets me know before the class what move will be taught. If I don’t feel safe doing it, Paul can adapt it or teach me a different one.
Is careful of who he partners me with, as I am very wary of sparring with new people
I may not be able to take part or do everything that everyone else can do, but it doesn’t matter, I can still learn jiu jitsu and be a part of the class which is great!!
Tracey has been training at Artemis BJJ for a year and brings her son along to open mat sessions. Check out her BJJ art work here
The Artemis BJJ women’s class has been running since July, completely free. One of the most regular students has been Tracey, who has shown real improvement over the months she has been training. She was also the first student from the women’s class to cross over into mixed training: she and her son are now both stalwarts of the Saturday open mat too!
Leading up to the launch of the 2015 women’s class, Tracey kindly shared her thoughts on what the women’s class and BJJ has meant to her so far. If you’d like to find out more about the women’s class, head here.
I first came across Brazilian jiu jitsu a few years ago when I went to watch a friend taking part in a GrappleThon Can had organised. The event was to raise money for a UK charity, RapeCrisis. The friendly and fun atmosphere, along with the fact that there were a lot of guys raising money as well as women, made a strong impression on me.
After Can told me about the women-only class he was setting up, I wanted to go to it. I didn’t know if I could do it and questioned my age and fitness, not to mention long-standing injuries to my back and leg. But my main question was, did I have the confidence to do it? After hearing this quote, I stopped messing about and took the plunge:
If it excites you and scares the crap out of you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.
I’ve been going to the classes for a couple of months now. I also go to open mat sessions and take my son along. Learning new moves and sparring with different people is great. It’s fun, absorbing and quite addictive! I’ve made some new friends and my confidence is improving. Muscles ache now that I never knew existed, so I’m hoping for some more Radox for Christmas!!
The free trial period for the women’s class is coming to an end: from January 2015, the women’s BJJ class will be included within the standard rates (your first week will still be free, of course).