Artemis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Bristol launches its first women-only class on 30 July, which will be completely free for 2014. The club believes BJJ is the best martial art for women, and is offering this class to attract more women to the sport.
Both Can Sönmez and fellow club founder Dónal Carmody are passionate about creating a friendly and welcoming training environment. The club has already held a 24-hour ‘GrappleThon’ earlier this year, raising around £5,000 for Kinergy, a Bristol charity providing counselling to rape survivors. “We always wanted our club to have a strong community focus, as well as an emphasis on equality,” says Can, “our annual GrappleThons are one of the many ways in which Artemis BJJ will be giving back to the Bristol community.”
BJJ has also been named by many women as something that has significantly helped them grow in confidence. Studies have shown that the grappling-based martial art can help combat depression, low self-esteem and other mental issues as a form of sport therapy. Elena Stowell’s book Flowing with the Go, which has been translated into several languages, details how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helped her deal with her grief over the sudden death of her daughter.
“BJJ really is the ideal martial art for women,” Can adds, “you can be part of – and gain support from – a great UK and international community, as well as learning practical techniques.”
With 1 in 4 women currently experiencing domestic abuse in the UK and 1 in 3 suffering sexual violence worldwide, it is more important than ever for women to learn effective techniques that may be useful for self defence.
“Originally, I didn’t like the idea of martial arts because I thought I would just embarrass myself by getting hurt and crying, but I wanted to learn some self defence. As a woman, if you are attacked in the street they’re usually after one of two things. If they’re after your valuables, just give them to them, no iphone is worth your life. If they’re after the second, you need to know how to defend yourself on the ground,” says Pippa Granger, an experienced grappler who took part in the GrappleThon this year.
The new women’s class takes place at Bristol Sports Centre in St Paul’s, every Wednesday from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. It is free for 2014 and all women are welcome. See http://www.artemisbjj.com/women for details.