Martial arts are for everyone. If you’re a woman interested in learning self-defence skills, know that Gracie Miranda is a place where everyone can thrive. Big, small, man, woman — it doesn’t matter.
We understand how intimidating martial arts can be for women. As with other arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is mostly practiced by men. Walking into an academy for the first time can be jarring: Everyone is wearing strange clothes and wrestling each other. It’s a lot!
But it’s far from a boys club, as women excel in Jiu-Jitsu: One of the sport’s most famous competitors is Leticia Ribeiro, a 9x world champion and hall of fame grappler. If you’re a woman who’s interested in trying out martial arts, there are a few things you should know about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that may make it an easier journey to begin.
What’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
For those who don’t study martial arts, the different variations all blur into one. So if you’re interested in learning self-defence, you may be confused about what Jiu-Jitsu even is.
Put simply, Jiu-Jitsu is grappling that predominantly takes place on the ground.
That sounds simple and straightforward, but the ground and grappling elements of BJJ separate it from most other martial arts.
Start with grappling. Many of the arts you may be familiar with are strike based, like Kung Fu, Karate or Taekwondo. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll learn how to defend against strikes — but you won’t learn any strikes yourself. No punches, no kicks.
Instead, grappling is all about controlling an opponent or attacker. You’ll learn techniques to protect yourself, but also to subdue an aggressor and, if necessary, incapacitate them with submissions.
BJJ isn’t the only grappling martial art — it’s joined in that sense by judo and wrestling. That’s where the ground part comes in. Judo is more about landing a takedown on your opponent, in taking them from a standing position to slamming them on the floor. Similarly, wrestling is about pinning an opponent’s shoulders to the mat.
Takedowns are a part of Jiu-Jitsu, but they’re just the beginning. And while wrestling ends when someone’s put on their back, in BJJ you’ll learn to be just as dangerous from your back than from a mount.
So why’s this good for women?
These aspects of Jiu-Jitsu are a big reason why it’s a fantastic martial art for women.
Wrestling and judo are both valuable forms of martial art, but size and strength are huge advantages in both. By taking things to the floor, Jiu-Jitsu neutralizes large differences in size, power and athleticism. It’s much harder to generate force from your back than it is standing up, which means there’s less benefit in being powerful in BJJ as compared to, say, wrestling.
Don’t get us wrong: Athleticism, strength and size are certainly still advantages in BJJ. But they’re very possible to overcome with the right technique. This is the foundational principle of Jiu-Jitsu, as articulated by Helio Gracie, one of the arts’ co-founders:
“Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing and leverage rather than brute strength.”
Put simply, Jiu-Jitsu is specifically designed to help people defend themselves against bigger, strong opponents.
The right environment
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts for self-defence (we would argue the best!), but Jiu-Jitsu is also about more.
People from all over the Sutherland Shire come to train at Gracie Miranda for a number of reasons. Some want to learn self-defence, while others like the competitive aspect of Jiu-Jitsu or want to stay fit and healthy.
Most importantly, it’s also fun. Many people start Jiu-Jitsu feeling nervous and intimidated, but quickly become immersed in its complexity and the satisfaction of improvement. Whatever your particular reason for being interested in martial arts, BJJ is an excellent one to try out.
Key for success in martial arts is the community and communal aspect of an academy. Everyone needs to feel comfortable, and that’s the atmosphere we create at Gracie Miranda: An inclusive academy for everyone.
Feel free to come into Gracie Miranda any time for a free trial, including to one of our women’s only classes.