Happy International Women’s Day!
Most of the time, I don’t see myself as a woman in a male-dominated sport. I see myself as another competitor who just happens to be smaller and lighter than most of her opponents. However, on days like today, when women are highlighted all over social media, I wonder why there aren’t more women in my classes.
So, why should women train?
1. It’s fun.
First and foremost, BJJ is fun. This advice applies to men, women, kids – anyone who’s thinking about trying it out. All I can say is GO FOR IT. Try it. What’s the worst that can happen? If nothing else, BJJ is a place where you can be your authentic self. You can try to do a cartwheel or somersault like you’re five years old again. Eventually you’ll learn how to do both of those with better technique, but you’ll enjoy it just as much as you did when you were little.
2. It teaches you just how strong you really are.
Discomfort almost always leads to growth. By putting yourself in a situation where you may fail, you are giving yourself an opportunity to grow. Sure, it’s easy to get discouraged when facing men twice your size, but the first time you tap one of them out is a feeling like no other. More importantly, you are not expected to fail because you are a woman, you are expected to fail because you are a white belt. Things will be hard at first because you are learning a new skill. Eventually, moves will start coming together and grappling with the bigger guys won’t seem quite so daunting. BJJ gives you the opportunity to feel powerful.
3. It makes being small an advantage – sometimes.
BJJ, while often touted as a tool for David to defeat Goliath, is no miracle cure for a size deficiency. However, while it won’t necessarily turn a 120lb female into an enforcer, it will certainly show you the way that small person can have a chance at beating someone much larger. It will show you what to target, how to move quickly, and why sometimes it’s better to be small, especially if you have a large gas tank. Sure, you’ll still sometimes get squashed by the 250lb white belt, but you’ll laugh it off, knowing where you messed up and how to fix it next time.
4. It makes you love your body.
Even with all of the body positivity talk nowadays, it’s still easy for a woman to hate her body, or love it only when it looks good (however she defines “good”). BJJ teaches you to love your body for what it can do, not how it looks. Sure, it can be a good way to get fit, but BJJ is so much more than that. BJJ will reveal all of the quirky, awesome things about your body. Maybe your elbows are particularly flexible, making it hard to armbar you. Or, maybe your flexibility is in your shoulders, and kimuras are easy to withstand and escape. BJJ will show you things you never knew to appreciate about your body.
5. You’ll be a badass who can kick ass.
Everybody likes to feel like a badass sometimes. Putting on your gi is like putting on your armor for the battlefield. Let’s see how many arms you can take home today.
6. A sense of belonging and community.
BJJ bonds people. It’ll bond you to your male and female training partners, giving you a brother and sisterhood of people who will have your back (and sometimes take it). BJJ is a place to check your frustrations and ego at the door. Most gyms have progressed to a welcoming, female-friendly atmosphere, with both men and women who will be there to support your journey.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go try a class today!
Looking for help with a BJJ injury? Book an online video consultation with BJJ black belt and osteopath Rosi Sexton.