April 3rd 2011 – report by Carl Fisher

Femme Fighters UK was set up in November 2010 by Kim Taylor, a student at Steve Campbell’s Stealth BJJ in Manchester. The aim of the group is to promote female participation in martial arts, regardless of style or association. It’s aim is to make martial arts more accessible and approachable to the masses of women who are curious about starting a martial art but are a little apprehensive about making the first step.

With this in mind, Kim hosted the first in what promises to be many women only seminars and who better than to kick start things than the UK’s first and only female Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Helen Currie.  Helen is a first-degree black belt in BJJ and is chief instructor for the Combat Base UK network, which she shares with husband and fellow black belt, Darren Currie. She has conducted many self-defence and BJJ courses for women over the years and was co-host for the first UK Training Camp for Women.  In addition to her black belt in BJJ, Helen holds black belts in Taekwondo and Freestyle Jiu Jitsu and is a top brown in Judo.

Helen welcomed all the participants at Stealth BJJ, thanked them for giving time up on Mother ’s Day, and proceeded to warm the class up with a number of BJJ movement drills that really highlighted the versatility of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Sport and self-defence Jiu Jitsu were shown in equal measure to the participants, again highlighting its practicality for both training arenas.
After a thorough warm up, Helen covered the guard with a fine toothcomb and again, demonstrated street and sport applications of arm bars, triangles, correct hip movement and placement, as well as sweeps into submission positions.  A large number of the group were total newcomers to jiu jitsu and full credit to the ladies for getting onto the mats and stepping out of their comfort zones for a few hours. Leicester Shoot’s Caz Tweedy, a regular female no gi competitor was also on the mats, soaking up the knowledge and all the tiny pointers that make all the difference.

The session rounded off with a team photo and a large thank you from Kim Taylor to all attendees and presented Helen with a card and lovely bunch of flowers, by way of thank you for the afternoon session.  

Over £650 was raised for Cancer Research UK, a cause close to Helen’s and Kim’s hearts; I’m sure that Helen and Kim are truly delighted with the total raised and would like to thank everyone that donated so generously.

Kim would like to thank Gareth Dummer at Tatamifightwear for making a batch of Femme Fighters UK patches free of charge for the women on the day.

You can find out more on Helen Currie at http://kombatclinic.com/2009/12/helen-currie-interview/