On October 23, 2016 Girls in Gis (GIG) took a much anticipated bite out of the Big Apple hosting its first event on the east coast. In just 28 hours after opening registration, the event sold out at a record rate filling to capacity with a waiting list of 88. The event was held at the legendary Marcelo Garcia’s academy in New York City, NY. The event featured female black belts from the surrounding areas in New York and New Jersey. Host included Emily Kwok, Domynika Obelenyte, Karen Miller Peterson and Jennifer Allen Russell. One hundred girls from all across the region including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virgina, West Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island came together for this monumental event.
The event began with an opening reception led by Girls in Gis program director Shama Ko and GIG ambassador Milly Malloy. The introduction quickly led into a warm up that helped to both break the ice and get the girls ready for the rest of the activities to follow. For majority of the girls this was their first experience at a Girls in Gis and the first experience being in a room with that many girls, an experience that they will forever remember.
The first of the guest instructors to be featured was black belt Karen Miller Petterson of North South Jiu-Jitsu. She began her portion of the instructional event with a spider guard to X guard set up transition to a sweep. Thus kicking off the day’s theme of spider guard. Karen is a longtime advocate for women’s BJJ and has hosted many women’s open mats of her own to provide women with opportunities to train together. Karen has been an integral part of bringing Girls in Gis to the east coast. It was truly an honor to have her apart of this inaugural event.
Next up was none other than the legend herself Emily Kwok. It was an incredible honor to have a women of her expertise and stature on the mats with us for this monumental event. Emily’s role as a pioneer for women’s BJJ has made her one of the most sought after instructors on the east coast. Attracting many to her academy Princeton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in New Jersey and to her women’s camps Groundwells Grappling. Along with the theme set by Karen, Emily followed up showing a transition from spider guard to lasso guard and then a sweep to mount. The nuances of her movement and keen attention to detail revealed just why she has had the success she has as a practitioner, competitor, MMA fighter and instructor.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more awesome along comes one of the most promising up and coming black belts 5x world champion Dominyka Obelenyte of Fabio Clemente Jiu Jitsu. Dominyka is no doubt a champion on and off the mats. She has a special something that you can tell this girl is going places. It was an absolute pleasure having her a part of this event. Dominyka gave the group some more food for thought as she showed a spider guard sweep transition to mount finishing with shoulder lock. A nasty little submission that is sure to have your opponents tap.
Last but certainly not least black belt Jen Allen Russell of Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu took the stage. Jen has been a staple to the east coast BJJ scene for over twelve years and a long time supporter of opportunities for women in BJJ. She is an experienced instructor having a successful women’s program at OCBJJ. Jen shook things up and showed an open guard pass to side control. Giving the girls some great options on how to move to a more advantageous position.
Girls in Gis events are made possible largely because of the support of our sponsors. We want to thank Pulse Skin Care, Neocell and Jackson Dental for being a part of this very special event and for making it possible. Congratulations to all of our raffle winners on winning the awesome swag from these incredible sponsors.
The 2017 Girls in Gis tour has traveled from coast to coast. Up and down the west and east coast. No two events are alike. Each community has unique qualities that set them a part. But there is one common bond that we all share. It is our love and our passion for BJJ and our ability to come together. We are forever grateful for the warm welcome we received on the east coast from the community. Thank you to Marcelo Garcia Academy, Marcelo, Tatiana, Hana and all of the MGA staff for their hospitality and generosity. Thank you to our hosts for your time, energy and for sharing your wisdom with us. We appreciate everyone joining us. We look forward to many more events on the east coast and all that the future will bring.
Check out photos here: www.facebook.com/GirlsinGis/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1296925343672618
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