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What women should know before starting BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is hard, but it’s worth it. That’s especially true for women, who often come into Gracie Miranda asking if BJJ is an appropriate martial art for women to train. 

Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling based martial art that mostly takes place on the ground. It emphasises timing and technique over strength and size, and because there are no strikes the risk of injury is smaller compared to other martial arts. To be sure, it’s a tough martial art. 

But if you’re a woman in the Sutherland Shire wondering if BJJ is right for you, the answer is a resolute yes

Feel free to come by Gracie Miranda any time for a free trial class. But before then, here are some things you’ll want to know before starting.

gracie miranda brazilian jiu jitsu women

Pick a goal and know you can succeed

The most important thing to remember is that women can absolutely excel at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some of the most famous Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are women: See 8x World Champion Michelle Nicolini, as well as BJJ Hall of Fame grappler Leticia Ribeiro. Closer to home, just ask Gracie Miranda’s coach Sarah or the women who come to her Women’s Only classes.

This is an important thing to internalize, because attitude is extremely important in BJJ. It’s a martial art that’s taxing on both the body and the mind, and if you don’t believe you can succeed you probably won’t.

The first part of succeeding is having a goal. Some people sign up to martial arts for self-defence purposes, some to become competitors and some just for a healthy hobby. Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu can be a pathway to achieve any of these outcomes, or even all three, but knowing where you want to go is key in getting there.

Start with self-defence. Jiu-Jitsu was first and foremost devised as a self-defense system, and was crafted by cofounder Master Helio Gracie to work for smaller and weaker practitioners. Helio was smaller and weaker than his brothers, and so modified Jiu-Jitsu’s techniques to ensure effectiveness against bigger, stronger opponents. 

That makes it ideal for women, who often are at a power disadvantage in self-defence scenarios. At Gracie Miranda, you’ll learn an array of self-defence techniques that will allow you escape the grips of an aggressor, how to use their momentum against them to establish a safe position and, if need be, use submission force to incapacitate them.

Some grapplers are less interested in self-defence and more interested in gold medals. Here too there’s ample room to grow at Gracie Miranda, as you’ll be able to learn the difference between self-defence and “sport Jiu-Jitsu”, as well as strategies for success on the tournament mats.

No matter your reason for training, know that you’re in a welcome environment where success is yours if you’re willing to work for it.

Be ready for a challenge

There is, however, no denying that Jiu-Jitsu is a challenging martial art. That’s not just the case for women, as it’s demanding on everyone who steps on the mats. 

Unlike other martial arts, BJJ is highly spar-heavy. We call it “rolling”. You’ll roll against people at the end of every class, though you’ll be set up with someone similar in size and weight. 

Once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll find yourself rolling with training partners at nearly full intensity. You’re able to do this in BJJ because it’s entirely a grappling martial art, meaning the risk of injury from the blunt force of a punch or kick is low. Additionally, since sparring starts on the ground, injury risk from slams is also eliminated. 

Though injuries happen in any athletic endeavor, you’ll find that you’ll be able to grapple at great intensity without harming anyone or being harmed yourself. This is excellent for your development, as it’s great exercise and the pace is good training for a real-life altercation. 

But it can also be mentally and emotionally challenging. Jiu-Jitsu is endlessly complex, and working it out takes a lot of time — plus trial and error. This is true for everyone, but it can certainly be harder for women. While Jiu-Jitsu prizes technique above athletics, athletics are certainly a factor.

Put in other terms, BJJ technique can overcome a huge size and strength gap. But it takes time and effort to hone that technique. You will be able to defend yourself against aggressors, or pin and submit larger opponents, if you dedicate yourself to learning.

Becoming proficient in Jiu-Jitsu is a huge challenge, but the payoff is worth it. Come into Gracie Miranda and you’ll eventually see blue and purple belt women easily outmanoeuvring people double their size. If you’re in the Sutherland Shire and are interested in learning how, come into Gracie Miranda for a free trial.