Call to arms by Gina Hopkins

by Ben ~ posted April 27th, 2016

Hopefully you will remember my story, the disabled women who went to New York on a mission just to raise awareness, and ended up being very successful?It’s all been an incredible journey and I’m now looking at the impending Grapplers Heart 2 and the plans ahead.

After last year’s success in the first disabled only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competition in New York, in which, against all-male opponents, I managed to win my category and bring home bronze in the absolute, I am prepared to return for Grapplers Heart 2.

This year I have trained harder, gained more knowledge, more skills and once more my community has rallied around me to support me. Everyone, from my butcher and printing shops to my training locations. Even more than that, people have given their precious time from their own families and their own training to help me in my goals. I’ve had a small back operation which has improved my movement, so I’m heading to California, ambitious and confident, all this is entirely due to my community support. It’s not been easy or all plain sailing but its people who give me confidence to do what I continue to do and people who give me the inspiration to achieve. The support and sponsorship I receive reinforce the need and support I have to meet my goals, to try to inspire others and to be a positive role model.

On my return from California the next goals is to run showcase disabled BJJ/Grappling at some major events, setting up a charity specifically to actively encourage and enable disabled to try Martial Arts, primarily BJJ. These plans are already in motion, I’m looking forward to start expanding the opportunities for disabled people in this area of sport and continuing the momentum which my community has given me. Now is the time to start BJJ if you’re disabled and have been toying with the idea, make the decision. I love BJJ because on my bodies’ good days I can really test myself against my teammates, I can roll and really enjoy the mental and physical challenges. On a bad day, I am on soft mats with my teammates, learning new things and stretching out my body and at the very least being a live training dummy for my teammates! It really is win win.
My academic background reinforces the practical health benefits of sport, all of that aside, I have two objectives. I want my [disabled] population to discover the joys and benefits of Martial Arts for themselves and my second objective is to provide opportunities to enjoy competing in the effort to normalise and create a demand in all tournaments for fairer categories.
I urge all disabled Martial Artists to contact me, so we can group and move together.

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