2017 1st Annual Josei Heishi Camp Re-Cap!

Missed the first annual camp? Check out our recap from people who made it!

2017 Camp Attendees

From Jason O’Neill -(Father of Rileigh), PA:

The 2017 Josei Heishi Camp was the brand’s mission personified. Rileigh joined this movement very early on as I am always trying to find positive, strong, female empowering role models and organizations for her to associate with. The camp brought many of those role models together in the same room for her to directly interact with. The attention given to the young girls from all the instructors and black belts was amazing and Rileigh has already added some of the techniques to her main game plan. It was wonderful for her to be around all these women who are succeeding in the art she loves.

The Q and A allowed her to hear questions and concerns that she may have in her own mind asked and answered by experienced black belts relating stories of when they were younger and less knowledgeable. For a young girl who aspires to one day own her own BJJ gym and her own art studio, being around women who run their own gyms, or started their own brands from scratch is an invaluable confidence builder.


From Pauline Nassimos, NY:

It began when my friend and co worker stopped at my desk one day to tell me about an all female BJJ camp coming up, and wanted to know if I was interested.  “Hell Yes!” I replied. When and where is it? So she forwarded me the link on Facebook.
I had no idea what to expect. I had never done anything like this before and I admit I was nervous. What had I gotten myself into? Turns out, that weekend was one of the best weekends I can remember in my 38 years of life in this world!

The diversity of females in attendance was empowering and inspirational! We had all different ages, ranks and styles, but there were no egos, no politics and no judgement! While BJJ was our common factor, each of us had something else, something inside  that made her Jitsu her own. Each and every female was willing to share that part of them.  For me, a high part of the weekend was connecting with other women and recognizing that we all fight the same battles.  Not only did we advance our  BJJ skills, we also weaved a stronger support net for women in this sport.

Yes, the instruction we received was world class from world class females who have paved the way for the future jiujiteiras,  but the friendships and connections made that weekend are what will truly stay with me forever. Josei Heishi Jiu Jitsu, female soldiers… we are growing and  we are coming. We are a sisterhood unlike any other.  We are  warriors and the mats are our battlefield.

From Cat Robinson, TN
The best part of camp for me was finding that there are other female purple belts that are my size and weight!! I’m usually the only female on the mat, so being on the mat with all women was a new experience for me! I realized that when I roll, I’m always guarded for fear of being hurt – as I’m usually outweighed by almost 100 lbs and the guys are 8 times as strong – and I have been hurt. It’s not intentional, but their weight and power is overwhelming sometimes. I loved that I could roll without fear of being crushed or broken and, even though I don’t compete, that I could test my skills against someone that is my equal.  Also, I really appreciated that the techniques being taught were better suited for my size and flexibilty. The ultimate bonus was that I made friends that love this art as much as I do and we can support each other in our journeys. I loved it and I can’t wait until the next one!

Rachel Tyler, TX:

Well, on July 21, 2017 this Texas girl boarded a plane to Philadelphia for the 1st annual Josei Heishi Training camp. I really didn’t know what I was expecting but I was coming with an open mind. Immediately at our meet and greet dinner, everyone was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like an outsider. It felt like home. The following days of training camp were eye opening. I wasn’t sure how a large group of women could come together without any drama, but we did.

The sessions were filled with great technique and every instructor was kind and patient and willing to show small details that would bring everything together. I have to be honest, making friends with other women is not always easy for me and I thought that would be the case again but it wasn’t. I made some great friends and I hope to stay connected to them. I know I also found a home to come train at if I am ever in the area again.

I enjoyed the grappling sessions. It was great to be able to grapple with women not only my size but also my age. I felt like I took back to my gym so much knowledge and definitely will recommend this camp to the other women that attend my gym. I made so many memories as well.

You, Leeann Morris were so kind to me and very gracious with your time and welcoming to your gym. I know I’ve made a friend for life. Thank you again for this opportunity as well as the opportunity to be a part of Josei Heishi!!!!!

Jess Feliciano, PA:
Here’s what I’ve experienced from the first annual Josei Heishi female soldiers camp! As you may know, I love anything and everything that has to do with women uniting and training. I express it to every single person that comes my way; the importance of women training together. My first experience with an event like the first annual camp was the Girls In Gi’s-NY event last year at Marcelo Garcias school. It was a one day event which was a little over 3 hrs long and had pretty much the same black belts of the camp. I have to say this camp was by far the best highlight of my jiujitsu journey so far. I’ve never done an entire camp, just seminars or “all day” events. I know how important it is to attend seminars and take privates along with daily training because of styles and technique you won’t learn in just one class or with your instructor.

I met girls from Chicago, Tennessee, all over who were such beautiful souls. I am now able to keep contact with them through social media and our team page so now I can put faces with names and say hey I trained with her! The seminars were great. I learned so much more than just the talks they had at girls in gi’s. But what I enjoyed the most was the in between times. The rolls, the eating out, the complaining about sore fingers and learning different remedies for day-to-day struggles we had. Being a girl in jiu jitsu is tough, we all know that. One girl to every school. I read articles all the time about girls being competitive with each other and I just don’t see it with Josei Heishi. The environment you create with your speeches, with your introductions and announcements makes it so easy to just hug the person next to you.

I thought, I’m not sure how I feel about drilling with a new person after every seminar but I’m going to try it while I’m here. Now I’m on texting terms with one of the girls and planning a trip to visit her school! it’s so awesome! The sad thing is, I paid almost as much for a trip to New York for a day, and did not meet one new person in that over-crowded gym of Marcelo Garcia. I believe it was over 80 girls. I got 2 rolls in. That’s all. Forgot every technique and every persons name that was mentioned.

I wish everyone knew how amazing Josei Heishi is. It actually makes me feel bad for women who are unaware of this movement. It’s not just about open mats, not just about seminars, anyone could fix those up and do them. It’s a sisterhood, an army of empowered women. I can’t wait to see what’s next! Thank you so much for letting me be apart of Josei Heishi! You are truly changing lives, please keep it going!

Giselle Villasenor, IL
This camp was an amazing experience! Every aspect of the camp was perfect for each woman that was participating. From the instructors to the other Josei Heishi ambassadors. The instructors very informative, inviting, and all around good people. From my perspective I’ve never seen a female black belt, let alone 4 in one room! For all of them to be so excited to roll with us was an amazing sight. The other women that participated in the camp were all so loving and friendly, great women to showcase what a female soldier is and what they stand for.

We all became Jiu jitsu sisters. It’s great to know I have bjj sisters from different states! The camp ran so smooth and on time, this shows the dedication and love for the group and from Leeann. I want to say thank you so much for this experience. Great love from your Chicagoan female solider !

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