Samantha Cook camp

The first edition of the Ladies Only BJJ Camp is over. In case you’ve missed it, you can read a recap of the whole event here!

A little over a month ago, we organized our first Ladies Only BJJ Camp. For this event, we invited Samantha Cook (World Champion – No-Gi, 3x European Champion – Gi) to host the sessions with us. We were excited to see the first edition turning up with as much as 30 girls! Let’s recap the events!

Picture by RibeiroPhoto

Friday: meet and greet, gi session and off to sleep

On Friday, we were ready: ready to welcome all the girls into the gym of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam, ready to train together and ready for a great weekend. Slowly the stream of arriving girls resulted in a big group, and were all set for our first training. Samantha started off with some fundamental spider guard concepts, and then taught us some nice sweeps from there. The techniques were finished with her signature sweep – the “Cookie sweep” – after which we had some good rolls in a specific sparring setting. One had to either pass or sweep the other person, which was a nice way to have a quick roll with everyone. Since everyone had a long day of travelling, everyone decided to take their rest after this session, and return the next day for more.

Picture by RibeiroPhoto

Saturday: gi and no-gi fun, a lot of acai and say hello to Amsterdam

The day started with the first no-gi session. We were thrilled and curious, since Samantha became World Champion at last year’s No-Gi Worlds. A great opportunity to learn from her skills! She showed us various leg drag techniques with a follow-up to either side control or the back. After these techniques, we did some specific sparring like the night before, and ended the session with normal rounds of sparring.

Lunch divided the morning from the afternoon session, and after this we got right into the gi session. The excitement for his session started already before the camp, since Samantha shared a video a week earlier on the “Galaxy Guard”. This guard is as worthy of its name and as awesome as it sounds. It definitely took a while to master the whole sequence, but it surely is cool!

Finishing with positional sparring and normal sparring again, we were heading towards more food. Call it second lunch, supper or just “more food”, we all agreed on the fact that it was a lot and it was delicious! Soup, bread, hummus, salad, pasta, curry, apple pie – there was enough to choose from. To make it even better, Ataste Acai provided us with the most amazing acai on the planet!

Picture by RibeiroPhoto

After this, it was time to say hello to Amsterdam. We changed, dressed in something else than a gi or spats (yes, we can) and made our way to the city. In less than ten minutes we found ourselves right in the buzzing centre, in between cute little canal houses, the never-ending sight of Japanese tourists and of course bikes everywhere. We walked around, had a few drinks here and there and explored whatever there was to see. After a long day, we made our way back home and got some well-deserved sleep.

Sunday: last two training sessions, power yoga flow and the last selfies

The last day started with a no-gi session again. Being a footlock-expert, Samantha taught us all there is to know about these kind of submissions. The regular straight ankle-lock set-up, attacking the other leg, belly-down, spin and roll; after this session, everyone definitely had a good idea of how to get the footlock. Since specific sparring by starting in the footlock position would have most of us end up with a 5-second roll, followed by a tap, we got right into normal no-gi sparring. After the class, we had a relaxed cooling-down in the power yoga flow class. This class was given to us by Diana van Donselaar, who is not only a yoga teacher but also a BJJ blue belt. She specializes in making a class that is a perfect blend of yoga and jiu jitsu, which our bodies and minds enjoyed.

After a break, we started with the last session. Because we already had so many techniques to think about, Samantha decided to get everyone together in a circle, and answer all questions that were left. This was a great opportunity to ask about the last details or problems we had ran into while practicing. Also, it was a moment to ask her about her experiences in jiu jitsu: matches she learned from, how she deals with heavy guys in training, and competitions in the future. Refueled with energy and knowledge, we ended this session again with sparring.

All good things come to an end. After the mat was cleaned, the bags were packed and the last selfies were taken, it was time to say goodbye. We had a wonderful weekend and a blast organizing this. We learned new things, enjoyed a new city and made new friends. Since it was such a great success, we have decided to do this again next year. We’d love to see all of you then!

Many thanks go to our sponsors: BJJAA, Ataste Acai, Ribeiro Photo, BeProud, Thinkbright, and John Kwee. Also thanks to Keith Goodenough, for designing a camp flyer that looked like a movie poster!

For all the pictures, check out the full photo album on our Facebook page.

We are back this year with the second edition!