This weekend I went to a grappling seminar held by British UFC fighter Rosi Sexton at Urban Kings gym.
I first heard of Rosi from watching a TV documentary a few years ago about female fighters and she partly inspired me to take up MMA. Rosi is one of the pioneers of the women’s MMA scene and is known for her excellent ground game, intelligence and for being very supportive of female martial artists, whether they are fighters or not. And by no means last, Rosi is the first British woman to be in the UFC.
I was a little nervous about attending the seminar as BJJ has never been my favourite aspect of learning MMA (I love to watch it but I used to feel a bit icky doing it due to having some germ phobia issues from grappling with sweaty/hairy men in training which put me off!), but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have a chance to train with Rosi for an afternoon so I confronted my fears and booked up.
It was the first time I had been to a martial arts session that was predominantly female and the other attendees were very friendly and it seemed that most of them had been grappling for a while. After a warm up Rosi instructed us to pick a partner and roll at the start of the session so she could see everyone’s levels, unfortunately for me my brain went completely blank and I couldn’t even remember how to do any of the techniques except for defend myself. I was going to be in for an eye opening afternoon!
I needn’t have worried though because Rosi showed us some basic techniques at the start and the pace then picked up throughout the session. One of the things that I really enjoyed about the seminar is that Rosi broke things down very clearly into steps so we could understand how to execute them properly. If we were struggling with certain techniques she would show us how to modify it so that it would work for our body types. I have always struggled with leg triangles because I have short legs but Rosi explained to go into position at an angle that made it much easier, and it did!
Towards the end of the session Rosi instructed us to choose a partner again and then try to incorporate some of the techniques we had learnt throughout the afternoon. I don’t know the name of the girl I was partnered with but OMG she was good and really strong. I’m not weak by any means but I was getting thrown around like a rag doll and getting arm bars slapped on me faster than Ronda Rousey locks them on! If you have ever seen a staffie playing with a toy in its mouth and shaking it around then you have a pretty good idea of how I felt, it’s not often I get bashed up, props to her for doing that.
I did manage to defend a couple of arm bars thanks to having double jointed elbows which usually grosses people out which makes them pause a little as I can see on their face that they think they’ve broken my arm before I even tap and that split second pause from my opponent usually means I can roll into it and then stack them and pull my arm out. However, no sooner had I got out of a couple of them I then found myself back in yet another arm bar. Unfortunately one of them got sunk in deep so quickly that by the time I realised I was in trouble my tap came too late so I am now nursing an over extended elbow which I am annoyed about because I have just started a 3 months training plan which involves a lot of strength work so I am now going to have to modify that until my arm gets better which I hope is soon as last time I had an arm bar injury I was out from training for 7 weeks.
The 3 hrs went really quickly and I had a great afternoon. I would like to say a huge thanks to Rosi for sharing some of her knowledge with us. I felt really humbled to be able to learn from such a great fighter. I hope one day I will get over my grappling fears and go back to it, but for now I will stick to stand up which has always been my big love. I am sparring tomorrow with one of my friends and instead of doing the art of 8 limbs I will have to make do with just 7 of them!