Why Women Should Train BJJ
BJJ was created as a form of self-defense. In all honesty, self-defense is the absolute last reason why I train BJJ. It is never, ever on my mind. It is so much more than a self-defense “fighting” art.
Here are five great reasons why I think you should train BJJ as a female or a male:
- BJJ is a constant test. It tests your self-confidence, your willingness to take risks, your ego, your patience, your determination, and your resilience. These tests result in great personal growth, whether you like it or not!
- BJJ is physically challenging. If you want to get in better shape, you should train. A major reason to train BJJ for health is because very quickly it won’t be about the workout anymore. It will become utilitarian which is the key to sustainable exercise. You will be doing it primarily for the BJJ, not for the sweat. You’re also pretty much destined to automatically start eating healthier for the sake of your jiu-jitsu. Bonus!
- BJJ is intellectually challenging. Learning the jargon is a challenge in itself and that is just a baby step. It’s a never-ending intellectual challenge each and every time you step on the mat. Even off the mat it’s intellectually challenging; it’s a good reason to start a BJJ blog!
- BJJ is rewarding. In the beginning, you learn to appreciate the little accomplishments – for example, that you remembered to keep your hips lower, or to try to transition to a superior position. Later on you’re rewarded simply for recognizing opportunities, whether it works out or not. The rewards don’t stop. Even when you have an off night, you still feel good that you went.
- BJJ is a family. Most clubs have great environments and great people who very quickly become your “BJJ family”. Part of the deal is helping each other learn and that shared experience brings people together, even when you’re trying to “beat” each other. It’s a great feeling to be at a competition supporting teammates or to see a teammate be promoted — it’s like you’re succeeding just because someone in your “family” did! Evenbetween most clubs there is a familial bond, which is awesome.
Do yourself a favour and try it! Don’t you want to have what these women have?
Your First Class
Deciding to go to your first class as a woman can require a lot of courage. It definitely did for me. It’s so intimidating. Personally, I wasn’t in very good shape. I never did sports, even in high school. I did not consider myself a “fighter” in anyway. But there I was, going into a room with no girls and a ton of super fit guys who like to do this martial art that seems sorta harsh cuz, you know, it’s in the UFC and all.
I have four main pieces of advice for your first class (the other things, like what to wear, you can easily figure out by asking the coach). The four things I consider to be the most important are to:
- Consider the vibe of the club and whether it is right for you. Though most are great, not all clubs are created equal. I know that I prefer a more nurturing, personable environment. Shop around, if possible.
- Enter with an open mind. This is a must. In all likelihood, you will be getting all sweaty with a guy you don’t know. You might even be asked to keep your weight via your chest (read: breasts) on his back while he’s curled up in a sort of ball. Yes, it’s odd and you may not know the purpose just yet — but don’t worry, it’s super cool; everyone’s doing it!
- Just do it. You are more capable than you think. My first class I was intimidated by doing a front roll, which is sort of a somersault. I hesitated and the guy behind me politely stated with some urgency something along the lines of ‘just do it’. And I did. And it didn’t go as horribly awry as I feared it would. Hurray!
- It’s your first class! You should be slightly awkward, nervous, and clueless. But you won’t be for long!
Also, people sweat. Sometimes it’s icky, but you gotta get over it. Seriously — don’t let it stop you from trying BJJ!
Buying a Gi
Women have waists, hips, and thighs. Men do not and the standard gi is undeniably made for men. So the gi sold in your club may not fit you properly. For example, I needed a smaller top than a bottom. Frankly, this is annoying, and I think it says something about the expected audience at a club, but what can ya do (other than get more women training!)?
Contributing article From Ashley: http://resiliencejiujitsu.blogspot.ca/p/women-bjj.html