Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Women?

The martial art of Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ) has been gaining interest and popularity with women throughout the years.   Maybe you first heard of it on a popular podcast or from a co-worker who incessantly talks about this addicting hobby.   What exactly is it?  Can anyone join?  Is it only for younger people?  Is this a safe sport?  Do you need to be in great shape to start?  What are the benefits for joining BJJ?  All of these questions are common and easily answered. 

Brazilian Jiujitsu, commonly referred to as ‘the gentle art’ is a ground grappling system that can be considered both a martial art and a sport.  It was originally designed to level the playing field for a weaker, smaller opponent by using specific techniques involving leverage, angles, body positioning, weight distribution and other methods to submit or control an opponent, without striking.  Some of the submissions for Brazilian Jiujitsu include joint manipulation, arm locks, leg locks, and various chokeholds from many different positions and scenarios.

Wbjj4.jpgIt is a great art to add to your self-defense repertoire, as many potential attacks end up on the ground.  Women learn how to overturn attackers from the mount or ‘bully’ position, learn how to sweep opponents to get into a dominant position, and hopefully submit them either by a choke or a joint lock to make an escape.  The level of self-confidence you will achieve as a woman studying this art of Brazilian Jiujitsu is priceless.

The Women’s Brazilian Jiujitsu class here at Plus One Defense Systems includes a variety of ages from teenagers to women in their 60s… and we don’t want to stop there!  Calling all septuagenarians and octogenarians!  All body types and fitness levels welcomed.  Also, this is not just a beginner class.  Many of the BJJ and self-defense techniques taught are fundamental, but there are a variety of intermediate and advanced moves mixed in.   This is also a class where we practice the specific techniques from the curriculum.  Not to mention… we have a lot of FUN!

In regards to safety.  Just tap.  If you are feeling uncomfortable in a technique or a sparring session, just tap!  Your opponent immediately stops and you reset.  You can also just attend the instructional portion of a class until you feel comfortable beginning the sparring aspect of the art.  There are several women who just want to learn the techniques and never want to spar, and they just want to watch for the moment.  This is totally fine.  You are in control of how far you want to take this.  Some women attend the classes for the incredible camaraderie that the sport naturally induces.  Other women want to test for rank in the sport or even compete.  You decide your own level of involvement and it may grow over time. 

You do not have to be in great shape to start anything new!  Brazilian Jiujitsu provides fantastic conditioning and most people lose weight just by attending the classes!  Most of the warm-ups are designed to condition you to be in certain positions that are unique to the sport.   It also improves your flexibility tenfold.   You are using muscles that you have never even engaged before!  If you are trying to improve your physical fitness level or lose weight, I WBJJ1-2.jpgcan’t think of a more exciting way to do it.  Why waste time on a treadmill or elliptical machine when you could be learning a martial art, a new sport, a self-defense at the same time!?  It is also a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall mental health.  You are literally playing physical chess with another human! The art of Brazilian Jujitsu takes a long time to learn.  You need to have patience and consistency to see the results.  Unlike a sport like tennis where you concentrate on few things:  forehand, backhand, serve, volley and conditioning, this sport has so many different positions and technique that it can take over a decade just to master the basics.  It is very rewarding once you look back on where you started and how far you have come.  The confidence, skill level, and friendships that you acquire are invaluable!  Come and try a class on Saturday morning at 9:15 am and see what it is all about!  

– The above contribution was written by Professora Marlene, 1st Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and lead instructor at Plus One Defense Systems in West Hartford, CT.