My brand Meerkatsu was a proud supporter of Enyo, the UK’s first ever all-women jiujitsu invitational. To add to the wonderful evening of great jiujitsu action, it was great to see my sponsored athlete Abbie O’Toole win her match by submission.
This event marked an important milestone in the development of BJJ in the UK. Not long ago, female divisions at jiujitsu tournaments often had to mix belt ranks and combine weight divisions due to the small number of women who were training and competing.
Thankfully, things have changed rapidly: the growth of BJJ gyms here in the UK, many of them offering women-only sessions, has helped a lot but so too have the number of children who started BJJ 6-10 years ago and have now become older teens and young adults. A few of these younger competitors were on show tonight and it was so impressive to see their skills on the mat tonight.
I watched the event via live stream (Fightworldtv) and each match offered so much great jiu jitsu action, excitement and skills. I like the format and rules that Enyo deployed – the same as used by the popular Grapplefest tournament where there can be no draws, only one winner is decided each match based on either a win by actual submission or the number of submission attempts. It was fun to hear my friends Daniel Strauss and Vanessa English during their commentary speculation whether a particular move was a deep enough submission that had to be defended or not.
There were so many great matches at Enyo. One highlight for me was seeing Hayley Carter and Emily Eyles perform their adorable friendship handshake before proceeding to try and rip each other’s limbs off – it was a perfect illustration of the way we see jiujitsu in our lives.
One of the best matches of the evening in my opinion was between Danielle Tighe and Dominika Krzeslak. It was an absolute barnstormer from start to finish with each fighter zeroing in for submissions throughout. Thrills and spills – this was superb jiujitsu entertainment!
Of course I was pumped to see Abbie O’Toole take her win via choke from the back. Abbie is on fire at the moment – she recently won bronze at the World BJJ Championships and then got promoted to brown belt by Roger Gracie. Actually, I think Enyo was her first match at her newly minted belt rank. Expect plenty more from Abbie over the coming years – she’s a submission hunter extraordinaire.
Enyo is the brainchild of Southampton grapplers Joanne Wellstead and Carly Patient. They’re very clever peoples! They saw the rise of pro grappling shows in the UK (eg Grapplefest, Polaris Pro etc) and they also noted the rise of women participants at competitions. They knew the time was absolutely right to launch a women-only event.
Respect to all the competitors today. Everyone put on a great show and I very much look forward to seeing the next Enyo event!