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Why Women Should Train BJJ
One of the most important and fastest growing demographics in the BJJ community is in the area of female practitioners. The sport of BJJ, like most sports, had been long dominated by men, but that is changing and it is changing rapidly. The sporting aspect of jiu jitsu is just a tiny, tiny piece of the many benefits that can be gained from studying jiu jitsu.
More and more women are coming to find the positive benefits of training the arte suave. They are finding themselves getting stronger, more confident and many are entering the competition scene who are not full-time athletes, who are mothers, working professionals, and just all-around kick ass busy women who are looking to become better versions of themselves.
The reasons why anyone should try BJJ are almost too numerable to list, but there are a few that should be enough to consider to get any busy woman or mom on the mats. If you are on the fence, please check out your local BJJ academies and get yourself in for an intro class. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make, guaranteed. If your spouse or significant other trains, or your children train, this is an absolute no-brainer. Join the family on the mats. It will be some of the best time you can ever have.
Here's why we think, every woman should train BJJ:
Gain Self Confidence
BJJ is a martial art. It is built on the foundation of self-defense. The techniques you will learn are designed to help you protect yourself in a physical confrontation. In BJJ, as in no other martial art, the idea that the smaller, weaker individual can survive and thrive against the stronger, more aggressive attacker, if they are smarter and more efficient in their use of leverage and technique.
Gaining this type of knowledge and skill could not only save a woman's life, but will just as importantly give that woman the confidence and freedom to move about the world with more confidence. In most mixed BJJ classes, a woman will get experience practicing their techniques on people of different sizes. Training with men will go a long way to building the real, true confidence that these techniques work and are effective against bigger, stronger, opponents.
This will give them the confidence of knowing that the skills they are working will be successful against larger people. In addition, the simple act of live training, puts a practitioner in a fight or flight type scenario and does it over and over again. This process serves to inoculate one to stressful situations, making it much more likely that in a self defense scenario, we will be able to maintain our cool and execute our techniques than someone who doesn't have that background and practice.
Improve Physical Fitness
Ask anyone who trains BJJ how the workout is. They will most likely smile and tell you it's one of the toughest things they've ever done. But that shouldn't scare you, instead, look at it as a challenge. From the warm up, to technique drilling, to live training or sparring, you will use muscles that have long been dormant. You will find yourself taxing your cardiovascular system more than any machine at the local fitness center ever could. You will walk out of an average BJJ class, covered in sweat, physically exhausted, but never feeling better in your life.
In a one hour class, the average sized woman can easily burn 400 or more calories. Jiu Jitsu has a way of combining a cardio workout, with a strength workout and even a yoga or flexibility workout. This is where the efficiency comes into play. Instead of spending hours in the gym doing cardio, then doing weight training, and finally doing yoga, a woman can hit all of these areas in a one hour BJJ class, while learning practical self defense techniques.
Life is stressful, no matter if you're a man or a woman. Depending on the individuals situation, there may be job responsibilities that must be managed. If you have children and a family, then you have the countless stresses of managing a household. The constant stress from juggling all of life's normal challenges can be tough to deal with and for that reason an outlet is necessary.
For that one hour of class, the world and all of its stresses can be left at the door. For that one hour of class, you don't have to think about your job. You don't have to think about being a mom. You don't have to think about anything except absorbing the technique and putting it into practice. And that first time that you land your first arm bar or rear naked choke, the feeling is indescribable.
Join a Community
When you train BJJ, you are not only going to get a great workout, relieve stress and learn practical, possibly life-saving techniques. You will also meet and interact with a community of people from all walks of life who are there challenging themselves to escape from their comfort zones. You will find students, professionals, mothers, fathers, even grandfathers and grandmothers all with deeply personal, but all somewhat similar goals to become better versions of themselves. You will find doctors, lawyers, law enforcement and emergency professionals. And they are all there, focused on learning that half guard sweep together. And afterwards, they will join together with a partner, fist bump, slap hands and try to execute their new found knowledge on that partner.
You will find the friends that you make in jiu jitsu class can become some of your closest and longest lasting relationships. For women, this community is growing stronger everyday and with time, it will hopefully equal that of its male counterparts.
These are just a few of the general benefits available to all, but particularly important to women. Today, more than ever, women are asked to be strong in the face of a great deal of pressure and stress. BJJ is here as an activity to support and develop that strength, while giving an exciting and fun physical activity that could help save your life someday.
Kayla Harrison is considered the greatest American grappler of all time with her multiple Olympic Gold medals in the art of Judo. Judo has a strong family connection to the art of jiu jitsu and it's important to understand the role of the take down in one's BJJ game. You can check out Kayla's amazing instructional "The Real Judo Chop" here at BJJ Fanatics!