Make no mistake, I WANT women students in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program. The problem is that they never seem to stick. They will even come in and DEMAND to try it out. I politely let them know what BJJ is and what it's all about up front. I let them know that they will be grappling with men. Many of them say they understand, but when they get on the mat and I’m not sure they really do.
My guys are very nice, respectable gentlemen (some schools are not) and treat the ladies with respect (or I’ll kill them). I treat the women students like any other male student, having someone show them the positions of Jiu-Jitsu and showing them basic moves. They know they will typically be the only ladies in the class. I never force them to roll until they are comfortable. I let the ladies know that they can ALWAYS confide in me if a man does something that makes them feel uncomfortable. I have never had a complaint!
The ladies always stay for a short time but they ultimately quit. Some of them have gotten pregnant (from their husbands or boyfriends), some move and some just find out, just like the men that it’s very hard to do Jiu-Jitsu (even though my class is very technical) and they simply quit.
I find this disheartening because if any women can get a black belt, it’s from me. I have given out a number of blue belts to women as a matter of fact. It then makes me want to do a male only class because we don’t want to waste time on someone who is just going to quit even though we are excited to have her and we try to take care of her and make her feel welcome. My male students are usually married and take a bit of a risk with their spouses by wrestling around with the opposite sex. But I always seem to accept women into the fold and try to do my best hoping that they will be the kind of person that can handle the challenge of Jiu-Jitsu.
Now, You know I'm not the kind to sugar coat things. If you’re a women taking BJJ, you need to be tough! You need to be committed to getting your next belt. You need to take lessons from an instructor that is on your side and wants you to succeed AND COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. Your significant other has to be comfortable with you being in a class full of men. You need to understand that certain men are not good to roll with because of their ego and you should be discerning about how you choose to roll with. You need to realize that you are going to get grabbed in places that you might not want to be grabbed or have someones face in an awkward place as they try to pass your guard. You will have a man in-between your legs (that guard again) for much of the time because he is stronger. You have to be good at being drenched in male sweat from an exhaustive roll, The challenges are many but I believe it is exactly what you need in order to survive a self-defense street encounter.
I know that many of you will say, “You should start a women’s only class” but really I don’t have the time in my schedule and I’m not sure I can attract enough women to take the class when I have a stand up martial arts program that most women seem to like better. I’m to the point now where I just say “I will do my best to take care of you and make your experience a safe one while you’re here but you need to look internally to see if you can handle wrestling with men.”
If you are a women and you get a purple belt or above in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu then I want you to know that you are a very special and awesome person because you have the intestinal fortitude to be able to stick with something that’s difficult for many stronger men let alone a women. Some will ask, "Why a Purple Belt?" because no one gets a purple belt without being able to tap others out. This means tapping men...So...Go tap some men.
Remember ladies it ain't easy but stick with it. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is made for you!
Here is a video I just did on the criticism I got over this blog. Watch if you dare!