On April 10th, Girls in Gis was held in the “Sunflower State” by Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club. The event was the second event ever hosted in Kansas. Since the last event the number of participants for the state doubled to an astonishing fifty one. Among the fifty one participants where five pairs of mothers and daughters and one to mother to be. The event was hosted by Purple belt Amber Oxford Haines.
Purple belt instructor Amber Oxford Haines taught a pendulum sweep to a looping x choke from the mount. Oxford Haines had the event catered, and smoothies for everyone. The room was packed with energy from kids eager to be in the mix which was beyond exciting. There were tons of new faces, including one woman that drove all the way from Iowa to attend. Oxford Haines also promoted one of her students from green belt to blue belt, so it was a very special event for her & her school.
Amber Oxford Haines has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) for four years and is currently a purple belt. She is the owner of Bombshell Studio Salon, a cardiac ICU nurse, and an instructor at her gym Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club. Oxford Haines began her BJJ journey while working out in fitness classes at Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club. She felt she wanted something more mentally and physically challenging. Her husband Chris Haines just opened his own school and Oxford Haines says, “watching him teach BJJ is very inspiring and is what motivates me to keep training.”
Oxford Haines faced a plethora of challenges in her journey such as time management and training, helping to run the business, and working in the ICU. She is no stranger to the excuse “I don’t have time to train,” but she says even making it to class a couple times a week still puts you above anyone that doesn’t step onto the mats. She just makes sure to tell herself Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is always going to be here. If she can’t make it one day, then she will attend classes the next day. She has made it through earning her Bachelor’s of Nursing school program, owning two businesses, working full time as a nurse and still makes it to the mats.
The biggest challenge she has EVER faced was being diagnosed with Breast Cancer (March 2015). As many would worry about so many other things Oxford Haines cried the most knowing that her training would have to be put on hold for some time. She went through four months of chemotherapy and an extensive reconstructive surgery to remove the cancer. She had to take some time off from training, but still made it to the mats to watch her teammates and motivate them to keep training. After a rough year, this February she returned to the gym and is back on the mats continuing her journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She couldn’t be happier or more grateful to have beat Cancer. Through this experience she was able to come back stronger than ever.
Oxford Haines says, “it helped me mentally push through knowing I was going to win the fight and being in good physical shape was very beneficial. The doctors had a positive outlook on my treatment plan because of how healthy I had become. It is most important to let your BJJ journey be yours, whether you want to train at a level to compete or just train to be involved in something for better mental and physical health. BJJ will change you in a positive direction.”
The event featured two challenges. One of which was a belt tying challenge, another was a shrimping race and there were many raffled prizes. Some prizes included two Rev Gear gi, bath bombs, patches, tank tops and a pedicure.
Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and the host. The events continue to flourish. Thank you for opening your doors and supporting these grass roots efforts that have become such a coast to coast success for women in BJJ. We are always grateful that you come out to bond and learn with us. Thank you to Amber for sharing your passion with us. Thank you to Jennifer and Shannon for running a great event! Thank you to Rachel Pfaff for taking some amazing photos! See you next time around!
Check out all the photos from the event at: www.facebook.com/GirlsinGis/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1145328142165673