|Amanda demonstrating a triangle choke at a womens only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in Kyuzo Gym PIC via FB Kyuzo Gym|
Second part of an interview with one of the first women to take up Jiu Jitsu and then MMA in Ireland Amanda English; women using social media to get on the mats.
Amanda is one of the few women here at Brown Belt level in Jiu Jitsu, and having also competed in MMA has seen the popularity of both sports grow since she began training in 2007.
She said: “I’ve been through the changes – you had no changing facilities for women, changing in the cubby-hole while the lads changed in the gym. It’s a lot different now, the MMA gyms have more facilities, it is acknowledged it is a sport for men and women.”
|Amanda back in 2011 with the gang at Kyuzo Gym PIC VIA Kyuzo Facebook|
Her own long-time home Kyuzo Gym has just launched a mobile app, and Amanda said social media is playing a big part in the growth of women's sports.
She said: “At the Jiu Jitsu level, there is a Facebook group for women training, mainly in Dublin but it has been in different places now, we were in Newry. We’d have Open Mats, it’s to try to encourage women to meet at a weekend and do 2-3 hour training session
“It gives people an opportunity to meet with other women, train with other women, especially if they are in gyms where there are not that many female members.
“It’s snowballing. You notice from one of the first sessions there might have been five or six women, now some of the sessions have 20 to 30 women , particularly on the Jiu Jitsu side.”
She’s also noticed a steady growth in women taking on stand-up styles like MuayThai in preparation for MMA bouts.
So coming from a Jiu Jitsu background, does she have a preference for any one style?
Laughing, she said: “I like to mix it all up. I compete in Jiu Jitsu as well as MMA so it depends what competitions are coming on, whether I focus my time on that or more on stand-up.
“I do like to mix it up, it’s a nice sport like that. So if you get a bit fed up of rolling all the time, you can punch bags or punch people for extra classes. It’s nice to have that variety.”
|Amanda in action on the mats at Kyuzo Gym|
Amanda is so into promoting women in combat her coach Barry Oglesby was one of the trainers contacted for a documentary shown on RTE called “Wild Girls”. Amanda took presenter Vogue Williams onto the mats at Kyuzu for a rolling-session.
She said: “I thought it would be good exposure for women in the various different types of combat sports. It was good fun, they came down and were in the gym for a couple of hours. She got well involved, I gave her a Jiu Jitsu suit.
“I think people watching were impressed, the programme got a great reaction because people didn’t realise that there are so many women out there doing such tough sports, and having so much dedication to the sports. It was a very positive reaction.”
Search for "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for women in Ireland " on Facebook if you want to join the group, it's a closed group so safe discussions for all.
The first interview Amanda did for this blog is here, with links to videos of her fights
Contact Kyuzo Gym for wrestling, BJJ and MMA training at all levels and ages