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Pink Belt Jiu Jitsu
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Pink Belt Jiu Jitsu

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become a worldwide phenomenon, as the growth of the Martial Art is exponential. These days the significance of women training in BJJ is an extremely inspiring factor. Everyone has a mother, a sister or a daughter and trying to keep them safe from harm is a common worry for many people. Nowadays with the rise of strength and confidence within women, we are starting to see an influx of highly talented and dedicated female athletes to enter the world of Martial Arts.

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What This Article Covers:

There are a multitude of females now training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as they range from kids Jiu Jitsu belts with their grey belts in bjj and orange belt jiu jitsu all the way up to older ladies. The rise of Women's Jiu Jitsu has spawned many household names like Kyra Gracie, Ffion Davies, Deborah Gracie and Gabi Garcia, all of these athletes are Black belt bjj practitioners. The global notoriety of these successful women has inspired a large number of ladies across the world to follow in their footsteps. Now as we enter a new age where women are striving for success in not only BJJ and MMA, but they are looking to refine their skills in self defense aspects too. Women are finding themselves on the wrong side of violent situations, so it's important for women to master their craft and learn to protect themselves.

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WHAT DOES THE PINK BELT REPRESENT 

In BJJ pink belt is a belt rank that has been added to the ranking system by the Gracie family. In the United States of America the Gracie University is run by Helio Gracie's eldest grandsons, Rener and Ryron Gracie. They have been doing some outstanding work with women and law enforcement, as they are bringing back the self defense element to Jiu Jitsu. They have developed an excellent and effective course called the Gracie Women Empowered Program, which features a host of different strategies, objectives, techniques and psychology that is coordinated to fit in certain scenarios. Most of this course has been developed to look past the mainstream Jiu Jitsu aspect that we see today and focuses on the more important facets of self defense. 

The Gracie's introduced the pink belt in jiu jitsu as a certification of the Women's Empowered Program. The belt represents the dedication to the ideology of the technical systems involved, and a comprehensive understanding of the philosophy that is extremely important for survival in real life dangerous situations. The hope of this program is so women of all ages and athletic abilities can defend themselves, or even avoid dangerous situations altogether through taking the appropriate precautions. Nowadays women need a comprehensive self defense program that really works in order to navigate the dangers that will often seek women out.

The Women Empowered Program is the number one women's self defense system in the world and is based on many techniques from the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu handbook. Students will work through fifteen lessons and be taught twenty of the most common street attacks. This course is designed for women of all ages, sizes and overall abilities, as all of the movements are about leverage, technique and timing. Once a woman has completed the course she can then apply to test for her pink belt, meaning she must show the Gracie Academy all of the techniques she learnt to then be awarded the belt.

Wearing a pink belt also has another meaning, as people worldwide are banding together to fight a common cause. Pink is the international colour for breast cancer, and although many people support the cause by wearing a pink ribbon, the Jiu Jitsu community supports breast cancer by wearing a pink belt in support of these brave women that are facing adversity. There are some academies that have special rashguards made up, usually they have pink sleeves and this is another way for coaches to raise money and benefit women with breast cancer.

THE EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM

The Women's Empowered Program is a Gracie Certified self defense course that will teach ladies how to defend themselves without relying on speed or strength. The course consists of fifteen one hour sessions where the women will go through twenty different techniques from the most common scenarios they may find themselves in. The course involves situations like having their hair pulled or being pinned to the ground by someone who is branding a weapon. Women of all shapes, sizes or ages can get involved in this course as it has been designed to cater to all women. The Empowered program is based on real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques and is highly recommended by many high level practitioners worldwide.

The Gracie family built this program after working with Law Enforcement officers and victims of sexual and violent assaults. They identified the twenty most common scenarios that a male attacker would be able to use on a woman, based on the information they recorded they formed a set of defensive tactics that include bear hugs, hair grabbing, choke holds and weapons defense. There is always a strategic benefit in looking beyond the physical attributes, the Empowered program sets a precedent of a strong mindset for women which includes mental and physical awareness, risk assessment, verbal and psychological strategies that women can access to keep a safe distance from potential perpetrators. This includes understanding the dangers even when it is someone they know or think they can trust.

There are three steps involved in this course for women, the first step is to learn all of the techniques over the fifteen classes. These series of highly stressful classes will give the women ample time to master these techniques, and they are guided every step of the way by professional Martial Artists. The second step in the course is to develop their Reflexes and once a woman has finished the fifteen Empowered lessons they will qualify to participate in the Reflex Development classes. These classes will help women combine all of the twenty techniques they learnt and practise them in a real life scenario. The third step is to earn their pink belt and this can only happen after completing all of the fifteen classes four times each and at least eight of the Reflex Development classes. In the thirty minute test the Gracie's will assess all twenty techniques that a woman has learnt, and if she meets the Gracie University standards then she will be promoted to the rank of pink belt. Once a woman has achieved this feat, she is now more than ready to attempt the Gracie combatives program, which is another high level course used to train law enforcement officials.

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HOW DOES A PINK BELT STACK UP TO OTHER BELTS IN BJJ

The pink belt is a belt handed out by the Gracie University, and it represents the completion of the popular Women's Empowered Self Defense Program. Many women learn the associated techniques which are consistent with BJJ manoeuvres. Coloured belts in BJJ start from the White belt, then move from Blue to Purple belt bjj, followed by the Brown belt and then the prestigious Black belt. If a student starts young enough and develops an outstanding knack for Jiu Jitsu then the Coral belt bjj and the Red belt bjj are not out of the realms of possibility. 

As a white belt, women will often soak in knowledge faster than men, as their bjj White belt goals are focused on building confidence and strengthening their self defense abilities. Men can be too egotistical or stubborn to allow the natural flow of Jiu Jitsu to take place, and many coaches often speak about women as their best students. The white belt is fundamentally different to the pink belt as the white belt is less about self defense and more about basic control positions and basic movements. It can be quite common to see women at any belt level in Jiu Jitsu decide to take up the pink belt course, as they want to enhance their fighting skill to incorporate real situational techniques. Women have a higher motivation to become dangerous grapplers in comparison to men, as women are often out strengthened by men, so the importance of women mastering a high functionality of technical application is paramount.

No matter the skill level or the belt rank in Jiu Jitsu, learning a more detailed series of self defensive scenarios can be extremely important. Not everyone who trains Jiu Jitsu is in it for the sporting aspect, rather they would like to know they can hold their own against an attacker in a real life situation. Nowadays too many women are being assaulted by male attackers, so it's becoming increasingly more crucial for women to practise self defense techniques and strategies for early prevention.

CAN A PINK BELT BE WORN IN COMPETITION 

Unfortunately pink belts are not recognised as a competitive level in BJJ tournaments. Wearing the pink belt is only for training purposes, as it is commonly used as a way to recognise a woman's expertise in self defense scenarios. The competition process has an extremely strict set of guidelines attached, as each belt colour can usually only compete against the same belt rank. There are other tournaments like Grappling Industries where lower belts can test their skills against higher belts, but that is only apparent in the NoGi divisions. In the Gi division it is strictly the same coloured belts competing against each other.

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WHY SHOULD WOMEN TRAIN IN BJJ AND SELF DEFENSE 

In this day and age there is a high ratio of violence against women, whether that is sexual assault, domestic violence or other attacks like muggings or hate crimes. Women can find themselves in dangerous situations at any moment, so learning how to defend themselves is an extremely important component for females. If women make the brave choice to join a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, it is clearly one of the best decisions they will ever make. 

Women will learn how to navigate through dangerous situations by applying all the ideologies they will learn from their instructors. Half of the battle is strategy, and when women are taught about violence prevention, it is an eye opener. Most attacks can be avoided with simple concepts like; not isolating themselves, making sure their phones are charged and available to use, having a lift home already organised beforehand in case their phone battery dies, not walking alone through hidden or dark places, staying within the sight of groups of people and even what a woman wears can be a deterrent. For example if a woman wears a skirt compared to jeans it's easier for a man to attack, so wearing the right clothes can make a difference. If a man is struggling to take a woman's jeans off that could buy her enough time for someone to help, or the attacker might get frustrated and flee the scene.

Learning self defense correctly means that women will build the skills to enhance their chances of fighting off an attacker. In a lot of cases the man is usually stronger or more vicious than females, so women need to have a high focus on cardio, so they can run away in a moment's notice. Most instructors will put women through some highly stressful situations in order to help them develop a more comprehensive understanding of  how to defend their lives.  

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Training in BJJ is also a great way for women to have fun while getting supremely fit. Jiu Jitsu offers its students an opportunity to enhance their strength, dexterity, agility, flexibility and technical aptitude. Women always seem to excel at BJJ, so it is highly recommended that they join the ranks and start training. Along with all the physical skills, BJJ also offers therapy for mental health issues, as the people involved in the art are all extremely caring, patient and have tremendous skills in helping a student find themselves. Training Jiu Jitsu is really fun and you are destined to make amazing friends, so if you're a woman and you're not sure what to do with your spare time then give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a try, you won't regret it.

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