BJJ for women

9 Feb 2010

I’ve been doing BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) for years.

It’s a great sport and form of self-defence, but in Australia it’s dominated by men – probably putting a lot of women off starting.

This is unfortunate, as I think BJJ is one of the best forms of self defence women can do; statistically violence against women is less likely to be the “pub punchup” that guys get in and more likely to be a grab/sexual assault (either in public or in the home). In these situations, reflexively knowing how to escape from someone’s grips or fight on the ground with someone stronger and heavier on top of you is invaluable, and just by training with a stinky, sweaty guy on top of you you’re much less to likely to panic and escape the situation (The Bene Gesserit Littany against Fear – Dune).

But BJJ is also a great sport! You get a great workout (especially abs), it’s exciting and you need to think a lot (BJJ is often called “physical chess”). You share the pain and triumphs, the sweat and exhilaration, the interstate and overseas trips with your team mates, and form close friendships.

I’m now training at The Dojo in Bondi Junction with Daniel Sainty. Amongst the guys there’s 4 other women training – Eleni, Kunita, Laura and Sam. They’re all inspirational, but the one who really gets me back to training when my middle-aged joints are creaking is Sam. She’s a petite high school girl, self-described “girly-girl” and geek. She fights against the boys, gives (and receives) a good thrashing, is starting to win competitions, and is now blogging about her training. You go girl!!

BJJ is so effective that the US Army now uses it as the foundation for their Army Combatives course. Not because they want their soldiers to throw down their rifles and start up UFC-style fights with “the baddies”. Rather, they found that teaching a random collection of  moves (this kick, this punch, this other kick) was ineffective for learning a “combat mindset”. The sport nature of BJJ allows for “an avenue or the motivation for continued training” as well as internalizing the “concept of a hierarchy of dominant positions”. And knowing how to rear naked choke when someone jumps on you and hangs on to your rifle is kind of handy.

See you on the mat sometime :-)

PS a great website on Women & BJJ – Women << BJJ Girl (especially Resources)- thanks Slideyfoot.

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