Alice Horan

“I’d go to bed worn out and happy, one of the best feelings ever. The strong sense of community makes the gym such a positive place to be. You see the same faces over and over and everyone is there because they love it too. Everyone there is so welcoming, encouraging and respectful.”

Photo by @photography_apn
Alice Horan

I started training Jiu Jitsu with my sister Kate because a couple of her friends were already training, and they asked if she’d like to start. Kate asked me if I’d go with her and, like a good sister, I said I would and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. At that stage the two of us knew absolutely nothing about Jiu Jitsu other than it being a martial art which was very intimidating.

The beginners course started on the 3rd September 2018. I was pretty nervous but I knew that was only natural and I had my sister and other friends with me in the class. Knowing that we were all beginners together helped as we were all on an equal footing. 

We covered some basics like mount and closed guard, I was a bit uncomfortable being in positions like this, but I knew everyone else was too, so the discomfort quickly disappeared. Rolling at the end of the class was absolutely manic, I had no idea what I was doing but it was so much fun. It was like being a child again, down on the floor rolling around trying to fight the other person. It was like tapping into a primal part of myself that is so enjoyable and cathartic, but we don’t really get to practice as adults. It was like a very fun game right at the beginning and that element is still there every time I roll.

Alice Horan
with instructor @darraghoconaill

A mixture of things kept me coming back to class. Training with my sister helped with accountability, becoming friends with the lovely bunch of ladies who started at the same time as Kate and I inspired a sense of healthy competition and wanting to keep up with the class. Aside from not being very good in the beginning and not really knowing what I was doing, and being submitted an awful lot, the tiny wins were many and made training Jiu Jitsu highly addictive. Things like being able to execute a technique when I didn’t think I’d be able to, or remembering a move I was taught a couple of weeks previous or seeing my fitness improve incrementally in terms of strength and endurance is so motivating and kept me wanting to go back to class, it was so rewarding, I loved it. 

East Coast is an amazing club, the standard is so high but it’s so easy going and everyone is happy to be there. Going to the club after college and on the weekends became the norm for me, it felt like such a constructive way to stimulate and spend energy. I’d go to bed worn out and happy, one of the best feelings ever. The strong sense of community makes the gym such a positive place to be. You see the same faces over and over and everyone is there because they love it too. Everyone there is so welcoming, encouraging and respectful. They were in the same position as me at one stage so there’s a quiet respect between everyone there. The experience is so powerful, learning something new and seeing even miniscule improvements, which spills over into my fitness and mindset, is hugely rewarding. 

Alice Horan at East Coast Club
@ecjja

After my Dad’s death the year previous I was doing my best to busy myself, working really hard in college, volunteering in my spare time and going to the gym a few days a week. I’d tried loads of ways to get fit but nothing really made a big impact. When I started Jiu Jitsu I quickly decided I would divide my time between college and Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu became the ideal way to improve my fitness while also keeping my mind engaged, it gave me the sense of fulfilment I had been seeking. It also meant that I had something important to work towards in the gym, rather than going just to “get fit”. I got workouts properly programmed and started seeing improvements in my strength and a healthy drop in my weight. Jiu Jitsu was like the missing piece I needed for my mind and body and it quickly became an important part of my life.

Jiu Jitsu has improved my life hugely and things were pretty good before I even started. I’ve had some small successes competing, I’ve met a lot of great people, including my lovely boyfriend and I have a physical and mental outlet that I didn’t have before. I got my blue belt a couple of months ago, the first milestone on a long road that I am so grateful to be on. 

If you’re curious about Jiu Jitsu or any other martial arts, go for it, there will be other people like you just starting out, give yourself the opportunity. It could be the thing you didn’t know you needed. Choke your friends for fun.

Alice Horan at BJJ Comp
@johnfleming_photography
Alice Horan
@johnfleming_photography