There’s no getting around it: In almost any physical endeavor, strength and power are massive advantages. These attributes matter in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but they matter less in BJJ than in any other martial art. It’s for that reason that women’s BJJ has risen in popularity over the last decade.
The effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu for women is easy to see. Walk on the mats of any academy, like Gracie Miranda in the Sutherland Shire, and you’ll find women grappling with men. You’ll often see Purple and Brown belt women handily controlling and submitting White and Blue belt men.
Women who train Jiu-Jitsu don’t need to guess whether it’s effective: They brandish their skills each time they step on the mats. Indeed, many big men only truly understand the power of BJJ once they experience being contorted by a much smaller practitioner – which happens to everybody!
If you’re on this page, it’s likely that you’re a woman (or parent of a girl) thinking about training in martial arts. Here’s what you need to know about BJJ.
What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Distinguishing between the dozens of martial arts out there can be difficult. Jiu-Jitsu is easily identifiable, as it’s the only martial art that predominantly takes place on the ground.
There’s a significant reason BJJ practitioners focus on ground-based grappling. The easiest way to generate strength and power is with your legs – think about how people typically squat a lot more weight than they can bench press. By taking a fight to the floor, you’re minimizing your opponent’s ability to utilize their biggest engine for power generation.
You may have noticed the word grappling. Unlike conventional martial arts you may be aware of, Jiu-Jitsu has no strikes. At Gracie Miranda we teach students how to defend against strikes as part of the self-defence curriculum, but you won’t actually be performing them yourself.
Instead, you’ll learn how to subdue an aggressor on the ground and apply debilitating submission holds.
Jiu-Jitsu is famous not just for its reputation as a self-defence system, but also for its importance in mixed-martial arts (MMA). The original UFC tournaments, back in the early ‘90s, pit fighters who studied different martial arts against each other. These were dominated by Royce Gracie and his Jiu-Jitsu skills. Today, it’s highly unusual for a high-level MMA fighter to not integrate BJJ into their game.
Here are a few benefits women can expect from training Jiu-Jitsu.
Self-defence: This is the big one. A skilled Jiu-Jitsu practitioner can use sharp technique to overcome vast differentials in size and strength. To be clear, this isn’t easy and takes time. If you’re 40kg, don’t expect to be dominating 90kg white belts in just a few months. But train hard enough for long enough and you’ll find that technique is increasingly more important than strength or size.
Competitions provide a challenge: Those uninitiated with martial arts often think of them exclusively for self defense reasons. Jiu-Jitsu is more than that, as it has a vibrant competition scene in New South Wales (and the rest of the world). If you’re looking for an athletic hobby to immerse yourself in, Jiu-Jitsu is a great one.
BJJ is excellent for health and fitness: Jiu-Jitsu has been likened to human chess due to the complex strategy required for high-level success. That description, though accurate, doesn’t do justice to the physical rigor required. BJJ works all your muscles, as well as the body’s anaerobic cardiovascular system.
Improved confidence: Nothing is better for your confidence than overcoming a challenge. BJJ is hard for everyone, but especially for women. It can be intimidating being one of the smaller people on the mats, and failure can be disheartening. But once you start nailing techniques and controlling people bigger than you, your understanding of BJJ’s power will soar – alongside your confidence.