At first, the thought of a women’s only BJJ class bothered me. I was thinking that’s a bad thing. I thought that limiting ones training partners to only women, would handicap a woman. From a self-defense standpoint, the likely hood of being attacked by a 110 lb woman is highly unlikely. Therefore, one should train against people / body types that are most likely to attack you. Friday night, I realized that I was wrong.
Friday night, I attended my first women’s only BJJ class. I still got my butt kicked! It was great. I worked with Veronica from Travis Tooke’s school. We’re the same rank. She outweigh’s me by about 30 lbs (this is relevant), and she is very strong. Veronica showed me a few things I could do in different situations. We also talked about rolling with guys and girls and the difference. It was refreshing to talk about BJJ with another woman. None of my female friends understand what I’m talking about. Two try really hard. One just blocks me out when I bring up the topic. The rest, I don’t even bother.
I realize that the guys benefit from being able to talk through problems with their jiu-jitsu with each other. I don’t engage in to many conversations with the guys. I’m afraid I’ll come across wrong, or it’ll look like something else if their girl friends or wives walk in. It would be nice to be able to call someone up after a bad day in class, and talk about it. I think my game would have progressed much more fluidly. So, it is good for women to train without men, so that they can make friends and find sounding boards that understand what they are going through.
I have to jump off topic a moment to make a point here. I am the only girl in 3 generations, on my father’s side, and my generation on my mother’s side. I grew up with three brothers in a swamp in Louisiana. (There is a story there) I was always playing sports with them. Chase, football, baseball and the like. My dad taught us to wrestle too. So rolling around and getting sweaty with a bunch of guys wasn’t new to me. I also have about ten years in standup martial arts. That being said, it was difficult for me to walk into a room of twenty plus guys. All of the testosterone was over whelming. I mostly hideout on the day classes and train with the same guys. So, it must be terrifying for women who don’t have a history with guys that I do.
Kim showed up for the women’s class. I’m 112 lbs and five feet tall. Kim is way shorter and smaller than I. Her husband Zip has trained in BJJ for two years. He’s been a blue belt for a year. She has learned to love the sport through him. Zip told me that she has wanted to learn BJJ for sometime now, but that she was intimidated by the fact that there are so many guys and almost no women. He said that he didn’t feel qualified to teach her, and he wanted her to learn to do things correctly. Kim is such a beautiful person. The absolute joy on her face during the class was priceless. I can see deep down inside that sweet tiny woman is a feisty tiger. All she needs is little training and to build her confidence and she will be a great martial artist and an inspiration to other women. I can see her joining the regular classes later on.
So, I was wrong. Women’s only classes are vital to the development of female fighters. It gives women a place to start training. A place that is not intimidating, or not as intimidating as men’s classes. It also gives women a place to be themselves.