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Support a BJJ Ronin's Journey & Kenyan Dojo Dream

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Hi I'm Shiggi. A Kenyan-born, legally Dutch, British lived elder millennial who's finally decided having the UK as her main home isn't really the life-long move her younger self was thinking it would be.

To give you the short version: I came to the UK due to parents sending me off to boarding school at the age of 15 and whilst that is a story on its own, I made the best of that time. Brunel University and Westminster university had me as a student, DJ and party instigator in my 20s which led to becoming an Event security Supervisor at Wembley Stadium and an Events Manager for the London 2012 Olypmics.

A bodybuilder and "Type-A" C-suite corporate business mother and similar "Type-A" C-Suite/Business investor holocaust survivor of a father meant my hard work ethic was engrained in my completely off-kilter pragmatic creativity and whimsy. I had more energy than sense, more dreams than projects, and hear/create music all the time!

So I became a personal fitness trainer and threw myself into Mixed Movement arts after the Olympics and later found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - that brings us up to just over 6 years ago!


So why are we here? Well, with a lifetime of martial arts supporting and shaping me from the age of 6 into the gungho person I am today, my current pursuit of being a life-long student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has led me down an inevitable path: I want to teach BJJ and the philosophical science of Martial arts to others.

But not just any "others"; presently, I'm internationally travelling to increase my knowledge and network within the BJJ and mixed movement arts world to bring invaluable knowledge back home specifically to Kenya.

This fundraiser is initially for supporting my current continued travels as I'd like to visit 50 gyms around the world to train, review and understand what it takes to build and maintain a successful BJJ gym that balances all aspects of running a martial arts gym - especially community - and whether they also champion their own women students in the art/sport and gym.

My plan and dream are twofold:

First, the plan: To support BJJ in Nairobi with an affiliate gym that brings in more local students and is supported by the international BJJ community to become a healthy stronghold in East Africa.

My main focus here is:
  • To establish a women-first team, camp and schedule that goes beyond just the academy but into local communities with regular workshops, seminars, communal social gatherings and Think-tank sessions designed to safeguard and support girls and women in Kibera and neighbouring unsafe areas.

Second - the dream - to buy my own land that will have two purposes under one roof:
  • To build my home and base - mostly by hand as close to an Earthship as possible with respect to the environmental needs of the land
  • To build a Dojo, guesthouse and space for camping to allow for an upcountry BJJ/MMA school that's available for hire for BJJ/MMA, Yoga, Creative, and Meditation retreats that are in line with my core values.

How are the funds used:
This first goal would cover my entire travels across Europe, America, Asia, Australasia, and a few places in Africa in my current training travels. Whilst I'm keeping things as frugal as possible staying in hostels, making sure to travel at the cheapest possible time and using public transport, there is a line where frugality alone can't dip below.

I'm also funding my travels with my own work as an audio assets producer working on producing audiobooks for business clients and editing podcast episodes. Those will continue as they give me some kind of sanity amongst the movements.

The main thing the first goal covers is flights, trains, busses, accommodations and mat fees over a span of 10 months.

Of course, as a registered BJJ Globetrotter member, I mainly aim to visit BJJ Globetrotter academies that's in keeping with the global family ideologies that Christian Graugart set out with this free international affiliation. But some locations don't have one available so mat fees will be paid, happily.

Should we manage to reach the goal and I manage to reach my goal of 50 gyms before heading home to Kenya to roost - the remaining funds will automatically be factored into the stretch goal (phase two) to help establish a BJJ gym affiliate in Nairobi that supports One Tribe BJJ whilst also thriving as its own entity with the Women+ Initiative (you can help me come up with a name for it!).

The same will happen for the next goal but buying land and building is a long process and I won't know much more until my feet are on the ground there and I've learned the legal lay of the land as a Kenyan-Born but legally Dutch national.

Thanks for reading this far and supporting this crazy journey!

Donations (3)

  • swantje may
    • £60 
    • 2 mos
  • Grant Turpin
    • £60 
    • 2 mos
  • Shane Hunter
    • £80 
    • 2 mos
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