The IBJJF World Masters took place in Las Vegas last weekend but it wasn’t the only grappling event taking place that weekend. So although I was taking a break from competition this year I was still keeping myself busy by spending the UK Bank Holiday with a bunch of fabulous ladies at the Female Fight Camp in Kendal.
The original Female Fighters Camp was held in Kendal way back in 2014 with a temporary move to Manchester in 2015 and a Judo only version in 2016 so it was great to see it back to full strength with Judo Olympian Sophie Cox, Black Belt Vanessa English and MMA fighter / Body Fixer (Osteopath) extraordinaire Rosi Sexton. Completing the coaching team was the fabulous Ffion Davies who was fresh from her Brown Belt World Title. It was guaranteed to be great but potential exhausting weekend.
For those who don’t know where Kendal it’s basically in the Cumbrian Lake District. Despite it remote location its pretty well connect by train and is also the home to The Dojo. The Dojo is a permanent training venue for Kendal Judo Club and boasts the actual mats used at the 2012 Olympic Games. It has hosted the GB Olympic, Oceania Olympic and England Commonwealth teams and now us. So it is a top class training facility with accommodation on site! This means the camp comes with both accommodation and full meal plan options. Now I’ll be honest the weather wasn’t in our favour. Well, it was the UK over the bank holiday weekend so there was a good splash of rain but that’s one of the advantages of grappling – it’s in a Dojo! As always I’m not going to go into huge technical detail in terms of the seminar as I’ll never do them justice plus why give away all my top tips and secrets. But the highlights of the weekend.
Friday was for obvious reasons the quietest day of the camp but definitely worth booking the half day from work for! For a start it was all in the Gi! Sophie covered a range of footsweeps and trips in her judo focused session whilst Ffion focus on pressure passing from half guard. Now those who have rolled with me know that I love pressure passing and it was great to pick up some additional tweak and refinements (burrito style)
.Saturday was simply an exhausting day with a busy day of foot sweeps and transitions with Sophie, mount control with Ffion, large amounts of lapel loveliness with Vanessa and a health does of open mats. I particularly enjoyed Vanessa’s lapel seminar as it linked into some aspect I already play but more importantly got me inverting for the first time in about year. Lots of fun but very tiring on my core!
The weekend came to close with a more relaxing conclusion. The day started with some work on hip movement with Sophie followed by paddleboard adventure around lake Windermere. Which was a cold but fun experience (especially as I stayed on the board and not in the water!).
Rosi then took over proceedings with a discussion on the importance of strength and condition for grapplers, leading in neck and lower back prehab and rehab. Which including a supervised circuit of lower back exercises that essentially are my current rehab programme (so at least I didn’t neglect them!). This was then totally undone by some lovely no-gi darce chokes and peruvian neckties with lots of technical details to make them extra tight! The camp was finished with shoulder throws with Sophie’s including both ippon seoi nage as well as the fireman’s carry.
I got home of the Sunday evening only fit for takeaway, a large epsom salt bath and an early night! The weekend was crammed with grappling goodness in a really supportive atmosphere. It was great to catch up with friends from previous camps and competitions as well as adding a few more! There are already plan to expand the camp programme and I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds. I’d thoroughly recommend any female grappler to attend whether you’re a complete beginner or more experienced. If you want to attend a future camp you can sign up to the camp mailing list to get future updates and info.
Photo Credits – Laura Jenney Photography & Danielle Bynoe