Drawing women doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Berlin!

Giulia at Spitfire 2 by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018What could be cooler?

My friend Giulia invited me to come draw her training at BJJ class. She is an artist and art teacher who also loves combat sports! Would you believe the gym is called Spitfire and they offer a discount to women who train there!!! Cause they want more women at the gym!!!!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire 2 Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018Giulia wears a gi from Fenom, who make BJJ wear only for women.

I learned so much today! I don’t think I’d ever drawn any martial art before. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is very grapple-y, and moves from slow to incredibly fast without warning.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire Gym by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018The instructor made me welcome; one of the most charming parts of the experience was his twin girls, toddlers, roaming around the mat during the class.

If there are kids hanging around me I usually let them help with the drawing, and you can see several of these drawings are collaborations.

I kept it loose and didn’t try too hard to get details.

I wanted to focus on getting the movements as little wrong as possible! Just like drawing the tango, it’s inevitable that I will get movements and gestures matched up wrong.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire Gym by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018I was right in the middle of the scene; it was just like being at a sex party or dungeon.

Just like at a sex party, I positioned myself out of the way but sometimes the action moved over to me and sweaty people bumped into me. At least nobody used me to brace themselves at Spitfire! And just like at a dungeon or play party, there were very clear boundaries, consent was asked and given, and I had to stay alert for flying bodily fluids.

Grapplers at Spitfire by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018I didn’t realize how much force and power was in the movements until someone’s arm slammed into me.

Right after I drew this one of the grapplers got a bloody nose and had to walk off the mat cupping a handful of blood. Just like at a dungeon, action immediately came to a halt while the blood on the mat was cleaned up and the area disinfected. Safe combat!!

It was a great adventure, and I’m so grateful to Giulia for inviting me (here’s her Patreon!), Spitfire Gym for the hospitality, and my Patreon Patrons who make my documentary art possible. 

One thought on “Drawing women doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Berlin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *