Women In Jiu-jitsu

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When I was at Jax BJJ I noticed two women training together. In my present academy we have no women who train. I am always glad when I see women practicing Jiu-jitsu. Often times, I know it can be uncomfortable for some women to be around so many guys.

However, it has been my experience in Judo and Jiu-jitsu, that men welcome women to the art with no hesitation or reservations. They (men) have been respectful and do not play overly rough, which I have read that some women do not appreciate.

The men who do play rough usually are rough with other men as well. If anything I may be guilty of taking it too lightly, which I know can also be a source of irritation for some women. However, I usually do this with men who are much lighter or not as strong as me because I  believe in technique before power.

I hope that I have not offended anyone with this post. I just noticed that they were training there and I was glad to see it…


21 thoughts on “Women In Jiu-jitsu

    Steve said:
    December 29, 2007 at 12:09 am

    We have about 10 women at my school, one being our instructor’s wife (who is a blue belt).

    I think that it’s cumulative in that having one or two women train will help encourage others.

    When I roll with the ladies, I try not to use my weight or strength as a weapon and work primarily technique. This doesn’t mean I give anything away. I just don’t take advantage of their size, as you say, just as I would roll with a smaller guy.

    I think that in the future, more and more women will train BJJ. My daughter is one of several girls in her kids’ class and there are always girls at the kids competitions locally.

    Alaina Hardie said:
    December 29, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Hi there. I just discovered your blog through a friend. Great idea. 🙂 I train 7 days a week, too!

    I train with Elliott Bayev and kimonogirl BJJ in Toronto, ON. As far as I know, we are the only all-women’s jiu-jitsu academy in Canada, if not North America. We have a sister (brother?) school called OpenMat BJJ, which is a mixed-gender club, so we get to train with guys, too. The OpenMat guys are awesome to train with, and I welcome the opportunity.

    I have to travel frequently with my job, and when I do, I visit one or more BJJ schools in the city where I am staying. Sometimes it’s all guys plus me. Other times, there are one or two women there. They are always VERY excited to see me, and comment frequently on how they wish they could train with more women. It can get pretty lonely, because even though instructors don’t intend to be this way, women can get ignored and pushed aside, and even when clubs have women’s classes, it’s seen as sort of a required business add-on, rather than an opportunity to train some really kick-ass women.

    I’m generally not scared of training with men, and that’s a good thing because if I am away from the kimonogirls, I often have to do that. I’ve found most men to be really welcoming. I can only think of two times where a guy did something gross (one guy was in my closed guard and started dry humping me, and another guy grabbed my breasts at every opportunity). I’ll bet I am not the only one who has experienced that, but I was humiliated and didn’t feel like I could say anything about it.

    Jiu-jitsu is a great sport for women, but many schools could definitely do some work to make women feel more welcome.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    December 29, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Yeah Steve,

    I think you are right. I think more women would be comfortable joining if they see at least one or two other women present. I also think as it becomes more mainstream that more women will join as well.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    December 30, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Hi Alaina,

    Thanks. Trying to train everyday (sensibly) has been an eye-opening experience for me and it’s incredible how much I have improved.

    The academy where you train and having a sister (brother?) academy is an awesome concept and it sounds as if you guys are years ahead in thought.

    Also, I am sorry that those experiences happened to you. Hopefully, those guys will fall out of practice or will be pointed out at some time in the future and will be expelled from wherever they train….

    Anna-san said:
    January 26, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Here, in Ukraine, BJJ is not very popular yet. And there is only one girl except me I know who practice bjj and attend seminars held in Kiev. I have to practice only with boys cause there’s no girls. And to say the truth I’m glad, it gives you opportunity of using more technics, not strength or weight (ha-ha, i’m 50 kg)))
    And for my luck there’s no guys who’s trying touch you or something like that – they will be punished at once by my teacher.
    BJJ is great!

      shak said:
      May 15, 2009 at 9:43 am

      I am looking for a place to train BJJ in Ukraine (Kiev or Odessa).
      Been searching the web but nothing so far.
      Let me know if theres a certified bjj black belt over there(not sambo but authentic bjj).
      Thanks !

        Anna-san said:
        May 17, 2009 at 2:19 am

        It’s not easy to find place to traine in Kiev. But possible. As far as I know there is no black belts in Ukraine, only 2 blue belts.
        Do you have black belt on BJJ? Which academy of BJJ do you present? Where are you from?
        you can write me on annkey@rambler.ru

      Julia Johansen said:
      August 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks again for getting me in touch with the BJJ guy in Zhytomyr. Спасибо болшое! Thanks for posting your email.

        Anna-san said:
        August 8, 2010 at 12:08 am

        You’re welcome! 🙂

    jiujitsugrrl said:
    February 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I like your post. Yes, I wish more women trained too. I am one of two girls at my academy, and I almost always roll with men. It makes me stronger, but sometimes I wish there were more women there.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    February 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks Jiujitsugirl,

    I am not a woman, but in my last academy in Georgia, I was the smallest of the big guys. I was always paired with guys who were 4 or more inches taller (6’4 to 6’6) or who outweighed me by 50 to 60 pounds and I am not a light guy.

    I yearned to roll with guys my size or maybe a little smaller so I could work on technique and not have to worry about being smothered.

    I suspect the smallest guys in class have the same feeling.

    […] 1: Googled BJJ+Ukraine came up with this thread, which led me to writing to “Anna-san”, a jiujitsoka in Kyiv. I asked her if there was […]

    Julia Johansen's Blog said:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

    […] 1: Googled BJJ+Ukraine came up with this thread, which led me to writing to “Anna-san”, a jiujitsoka in Kyiv. I asked her if there was […]

    samantha said:
    October 6, 2011 at 9:06 am

    i’m doing an undergraduate course on women in jujitsu i myself have taught for many years but have noticed women are thin on the ground
    i’m wishing to come up with a questionnaire and wondered if anyone from your club could spare me a little time to tell me why they do it, their motiivation and any great stories they have any info will be treated in the strictest confidence

      jiujitsu365 said:
      October 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Hello Samantha,

      I train in the mornings and a few women, occasionally, stop by but I usually don’t know them. It’s a different story at night, but I don’t know the night crew. I don’t have anyone I can refer.

      However, good luck with your survey and course.

        samantha said:
        October 7, 2011 at 4:00 am

        thanks for your time i really appreciate it. I think i’m gonna have a lot of difficulty with this study.
        regards sam

      Julia Johansen said:
      October 7, 2011 at 4:11 am

      You are welcome to look at my BJJ blog and use any info in your study if it’s useful. I’m a blue belt in my academy. We now have four women plus one young girl in the class.


        samantha said:
        October 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        i would love to use anything you wish to say or contribute. I myself has found it hard to get to where i am and i will be coming up with a small questionnaire if you would like to fill one in i would really appreciate any contributions from any one; even if its a view from other male martial artists. thank you for taking you time to respond to me i really appreciate it.

    samantha said:
    October 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    hey ladies any comments or stories are appreciated and confidentiality guarded without question. thanks .Especially to julia johansen

      Julia Johansen said:
      March 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

      You can email me at julia AT jiujiubjj.com

    Jiu Jiu's BJJ Blog – How to do BJJ in Ukraine said:
    July 25, 2013 at 3:38 am

    […] 1: Googled BJJ+Ukraine came up with this thread, which led me to writing to “Anna-san”, a jiujitsoka in Kyiv. I asked her if there was […]

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