Happy New Years & Leticia Ribeiro’s Women’s Camp

First off I want to say a big thank you to Leticia Ribeiro and the Sweaty Betties for putting on an excellent 3 day BJJ all women’s camp! I went on Saturday along with over 70 other women. If you are a lady who likes to grapple, you know how rare and wonderful it is to be able to roll with other talented women. More often than not, we are the minority at our academies and competitions, often not even getting to compete due to lack of competitors. This was phenomenal and I highly recommend attending next year if you have the chance. One of the reasons I call the Bay Area home is because the goldmine of talented female fighters that live and train here. The atmosphere at the camp was inviting, but it was also about pushing each other. Six time world champion, Leticia Ribeiro set the mood by explaining we are all a part of the BJJ family and need to help each other out as women. I couldn’t agree more! (I will be posting more images from the Camp as soon as I process this film)

I am actually writing this post from a cafe in Tokyo were I spent my New Years. New Years Eve I had the great privilege of attending Dream’s ‘Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka!’ which featured 9 hours of fights. I trained briefly at AACC with Megumi Fujii and her talented team of female fighters. A big congratulations to Ayaka Hamasaki for her recent 1st round victory over Seo Hee Ham. I primarily train BJJ now so my MMA is a little rusty, but Fujii-san asked me to spar with Hitomi Akano as she is preparing for her upcoming fight with Olympic medalist wrestler Sarah McMann. Several taps and a black eye later, I still felt rusty but also remembered why I like MMA. I love training MMA, but could care less for the business or BS side of it. I love MMA for the athleticism, the focus, pushing and learning, the friendships it develops. The radio shows, shit talk and hype that drive spectator sports, well simply put, are the excrement it produces. Dream was excellent because I got to watch my MMA hero, Megumi Fujii, do what she does best… win in a devastatingly quick fashion. If anyone should be the face of MMA, it should be her. As humble as she is talented, Fujii-san is the role model of a true athlete and fighter. But my respect extends out to all the women that train and work hard in a sport that is less than accepting, in a culture that values the packaging over the actual content.

While in Tokyo, I tried to get some photos with my new Polaroid back for the Hasselblad, but alas the damn thing jams up after each shot and is a bit more tricky than you would think instant photography should be. I am going to stick with it though and see if I can get the infernal thing to work. I am stubborn, but I think you have to be a little with photography and this sport. Speaking of photography, I also want to thank Kinya Hashimoto for having me come train at his gym. Kinya-san is a photographer whom I met the first time I came to Tokyo in 2007 when I fought on the Smackgirl card. I also got to spend some quality mat time with ADCC Champion Sayaka Shioda. I cannot express how blessed I am and thankful for all the opportunities I have received. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the new year, plus we got another Women’s open mat coming up this month!

Love & Respect,
Shawn

Liked it? Take a second to support Female Fighter Project on Patreon!