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7 reasons for a woman to start jiu-jitsu
- Be yourself.
For once at least, there is no need to dress to impress. In a gi, no one can even tell if you are in shape or not. To be bluntly honest, I have yet to see a woman who looks good in a gi. And I hope you will take it as a good thing. Here, no one cares about your looks; it is not a fashion show. Remember that you joined a martial arts school, not a health club. People come here to learn and practice, not to show off and look cool like in a fitness gym. You won’t get weirdos harassing you for a phone number either. That must be a relief.
- Playful fighting.
Baby animals play fight all the time; Kids do it too. If you grew up with brothers or male cousins, you must remember the days before the boys start seeing girls as girls. A lot of fighting went on I’d guess. Then we grow up and for some reason women get trapped into the stereotype, in which fighting is against being feminine. To hell with that. Be a kid again, fight your heart out, no one will judge you. In fact, you will fit right in.
Name an exercise you have already tried and I will tell you a pretty boring way to spend your time. There is this notion that exercise should be painful, boring, monotonous and uninspiring. It is not that they are fundamentally wrong; it is just that no one with a sane mind can put up with a boring routine. So people give up.
BJJ is a full body exercise. It strengthens your core, improves your flexibility, helps you lose weight and improves your cardio. Best of all, it challenges your mind; it is a fascinating puzzle that you can never quite figure it all out. We always go home looking forward to our next practice; and this is why we get results.
Women are weaker than men. It is not a detrimental view, just a biological fact. Women not only tend to be smaller than men, but weaker even when the weight is equal.
Even a skilled female fighter is in a disadvantageous position, if ever faced with a male aggressor. Punch or kick as much as you want, the chances of a woman knocking a man down are close to zero. Yes, I have watched movies too, but no, it does not work that way in real life. BJJ is the only martial art that can help a woman in this situation. I see women applying submissions in men on a daily basis at our school. There is no reason to doubt that they could do the same against an aggressor without any knowledge of grappling. I hope they never have to though.
Lack of confidence is not a privilege of women. Men that say they don’t suffer from it are either insane or living in denial. The difference lies on what exactly you do about it. If you let your insecurity take over and prevent you from living a free life, that’s bad. However, if the doubt on yourself motivates you to take action, kudos to you. And if that action means learning a martial art, bingo, you came to the right place. Few things are more empowering than being able to choke a man with your own hands. Not that we want you to, but it is assuring to know you could, if you ever need to.
- Get over trauma.
It is sad to admit that we still live in a world that men use their biological advantage to impose their will over women. And it is even sadder to note that this abuse, physical or psychological, often comes from a known partner, someone who was otherwise trusted. I can only imagine the effect on your confidence and self-esteem. But worry not, you will learn how to hold your own and defend yourself in no time. And it will do wonders to help you get over any trauma. Better (and cheaper) than therapy. A lot more fun too.
- Speak up.
At work, at home, or anywhere else, we find that a large proportion of women have difficulty to speak up. They have a hard time complaining when a situation is not to their liking. Those situations can be as diverse as a rude work colleague, an unempathetic partner or simply someone cutting you in line. This inability to voice their discontent can hinder their progression at work and prevent you from having a more fulfilling life after all.
At our BJJ school, you are safe and among friends. It does not happen very often, but if anything bothers you, I want to hear it. I not only encourage you to speak up, but kindly ask for any feedback, specially negative ones. If anyone does anything to you that you disapprove, let the person know right away. Don’t worry, we got your back. Always.
Bruno F. Fernandes