Loving Jiu Jitsu
For Kim Allen, finding Jiu Jitsu was a revelation. As the manager of both her high school and college’s wrestling teams, grappling was always part of her life. At her high school, there were no girls on the wrestling team. So, though wrestling seemed exciting, she continued to watch from the sidelines. In 2013 she tried her first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class at Pure Mixed Martial Arts in New Jersey. She was immediately hooked. “This is what I was looking for my entire life,” she marveled. She became an avid practitioner, training several days a week while also working as an attorney. In 2015 she moved to Denver and began training at Easton, and in 2016 she received her purple belt.
In Jiu Jitsu, Kim found a community that she loves. BJJ also has the strong female presence that her high school wrestling team lacked. Her mental health, personal safety, athleticism, and more are also better because of her training.
Kim loves sharing her passion for Jiu Jitsu, and helping others to begin their journeys is a big part of that. Her desire to get others involved recently blossomed into something more concrete. Not long after moving to Denver, Kim took charge of the Submit the Stigma BJJ fundraising event and became an ambassador for Girls in Gis. She also established a regular self-defense seminar at Easton’s Denver location. Combining her flair for organizing with her love of training, Kim works to bring BJJ to a broader audience.
Self-Defense Seminars for Everyone
Kim began her Highly Aware Self-Defense seminars in the summer of 2016 in partnership with a group called Women Grow. As she prepared her curriculum, she says, “I realized that so many people I know and care about knew nothing about self-defense. I was pretty disturbed by that, and felt like I could do something about it.” The content of each seminar is beginner-friendly. The seminars introduce and build upon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fundamentals. They also often include basic striking components, and prepare participants for a variety of self-defense situations.
In addition to physical skills and broadly applicable concepts, Kim teaches her students general situational awareness. In her time living and working in northern New Jersey, she learned that awareness strategies are often just as important as martial arts in staying safe. She gives instruction on basics such as how to keep your personal space, keep your hands up, and never turn your back on a potential threat. Kim says, “Sometimes not fighting is the best option. The more aware you are, the smarter and more calculated you can be with how you respond to a situation.”
Kim taught six seminars since 2016, and she plans to hold them every other month going forward. So far, a total of 72 students attended her class, many of whom have affiliations to Easton or Women Grow. She also welcomes members of the general public. Each seminar is two hours long, and the cost is $10 per person. Some of her students even return for multiple classes, and Kim tailors her class content to the group in attendance. Her hope is that by giving people an introduction to these skills, she will help them to stay safe. Ultimately, she wants to encourage them to delve deeper, and begin training in earnest.
The next Highly Aware seminar is on Sunday July 23rd. If you or someone you know would like to attend, you can find the online registration here.