Thursday, 9 May 2013

My First Grapplethon!!!

On the 4th May 2013 despite having an injured arm and being rather unfit, I took the long coach trip to Bristol to spar for 6 hours as part of my very first Grapplethon.

The Team! (Photo copyright Meerkatsu)

The reason I did this is due to an incident that happened on New Year's Eve over 3000 thousand miles away, in America, when a female Jiu jitsu practitioner from Team Lloyd Irvin was viciously raped by two of her own teammates.
This really struck a chord with me is I would have done exactly the same in her situation. Instead of risking walking by herself late at night she did the sensible thing and walked home with her teammates, something I have done myself on more than one occasion. The very nature of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu involves trusting your training partner. On a daily basis you allow them to apply techniques which could break your limbs, choke you unconscious or even kill you, trusting that they will stop when you tap out. It is only natural that you transfer this trust to outside the gym and I can honestly say I trust JiuJitsu people quicker than people I meet from other places.
As time went on, more and more scandals involving Team Lloyd Irvin came to light with several other members having seen the inside of a court room on sexual charges over the years. For the full story on the Team Lloyd Irvin scandals please check out (search for lloyd Irvin)

I followed closely as the TLI scandal unfolded using social media to spread the latest developments and taking part in more than one internet 'debate' on the subject but I felt increasingly frustrated by not being able to do more. Which is why when I heard that an old teammate, Can Sonmez aka Slideyfoot was holding a 24hr Grapplethon in response, raising money for Rape Crisis I jumped at the chance to take part. The event would be held at Gracie Barra Bristol but had people from all different teams from all over the country taking part.

I got to GB Bristol sometime after 10am and was greeted by Can at the door. There was a live stream set up for anyone who wanted to check on the internet we were actually rolling, a buzzer was timing 6 min rolls with a min&half rest, (though most people just rolled straight through). and a few pairs on the mat who had already been rolling for over an hour or so. After getting changed and a quick warm up I jumped straight in and my 6 hours began!

I honestly lost count of  how many people and who I rolled with but everyone was extremely sensible though of course that didn't mean they weren't going for the submission! It was alot of fun to get to roll with friends who I see at comps all the time but despite knowing themages I've never actually rolled with them before + some old team mates who I haven't rolled with for years, (Raphael Dos Santos, Paddy & Donal, Rob T, Can Sonmez, Seymour 'Meerkatsu' to name a few.) + some people I've never seen before or had just reffed at comps.

Photo copyright Meerkatsu

Around 2pm most of us had a quick break to take the group photo (a few pairs still continued rolling so we had someone rolling the whole 24hours) Those of us who had raised enough money got an exclusive Meerkatsu designed T-shirt he'd designed especially for the event.
I started to really feel it about 5 hours in and as I had my last roll at the end of 6 hours I can not express how grateful I was that I hadn't signed up for the full 24hours like a few people had. All in all it was a brilliant day with a great atmosphere and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about taking part next year.

Photo copyright Meerkatsu

As of writing, my justgiving page is on £426.80 but if possible I would really love to try and reach the £500 mark! The page will be open for donations for the next couple of months so if you can spare it please donate here Remember no donation is too small, every little helps! Big Thank you to everyone who has donated so far :D xx

Some other (more professional) write ups
From Seymour Yang aka Meerkatsu can be found  here
From the organiser Can Sonmez aka Slideyfoot Can be found here

More information about the Grapplethon can be found on the new website here
On facebook here
or on Twitter here

Tired after the Grapplethon!!

1 comment:

  1. That's a great thing you did Pippa. More people need to speak out about TLI...
    Anyway a grapplethon sounds like quite an experience! I hope I can be a part of one some day...