Many schools, have few if any women on the mat. There has been a slight push lately to get more women in BJJ. From a business standpoint, women are a large untapped market. From a self-defense standpoint, BJJ is one of the best martial arts for women. The women that do train in BJJ, justify the validity of the art. They are smaller and have less muscle mass than their male counter parts, and are able to hold their own on the mats. Due to the size / strength desparity, women depend more on technique and less on brute strength. So, why are there so few women on the mats? I wrote a post, “Women’s Only BJJ Classes”. It starts out talking about how wrong I thought it was to have women’s only BJJ classes. By the end of the post there is valid argument justifying women’s BJJ classes.
There are three types of BJJ women. Women that train, women that used to train, and women that never trained. The women that train are the success stories. We need to look at those women to see what was done right. What circumstances aligned and fostered a love for BJJ. The women that used to train also have valuable information. They can tell us what went wrong. Then there are the women that have never trained. Those women are the untapped market.
So, how do you tap an untapped market? You have to find them first. How old are they, where do they live. Are they single or married? Are they parents? These four elements help you market to a specific target audience. Then you have to figure out what about BJJ intrigues them. Sell the intriguing point. Find out what they think is offensive and dispel those vicious rumors. Then there is timing. Bad timing will kill and idea before it gets out of the gate.
Let’s say you’re a BJJ instructor. You want to exploit your untapped market. In BJJ that’s women. Women are reluctant to start BJJ because there aren’t any other women to train with. So you start a women’s only BJJ program to act as a “bridge”, to get women into the regular class. The problem here is the “Time Space Continuum”. Limited time and mat space. So, you find two hours in the week to have this “bridge class”. Those two hours can make or break a program. For example, the first women you get are spouses, girlfriends and mothers of current students. So, mothers for example are tricksy. They have complicated schedules that revolve around everybody elses schedules. They get off of work and then they have to get kids to soccer, piano, and the orthodontist. Then they have to cook dinner and help with homework. If you decide to schedule that two-hour class on a week night, you might have just killed your program. Why? because the time frame you selected may not be convenient for your target audience.
Another factor is pricing. Mother’s (another example) run a tight budget. If the cost outweighs the need or desire of something, a mother simply will do without. If the price is good, and the time is convenient, she’ll try it. If she likes it and sticks with it, she will likely transfer over to the coed class. And you have successfully “Bridged” a woman through the “Time Space Continuum” into the world of BJJ.