Sep 222011

No matter what style you train, most of the students at your school, at the vast majority of the experienced students are male. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or any full contact martial art, the percentages are less. Much of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed by Helio Gracie because he was smaller and weaker, and couldn’t make alot of Judo moves work for him against larger fighters. That sounds like a perfect martial art for women. So where are they? I think men keep women out of grappling!

Now, I love articles like this one, where I, a man, am going to tell you what women think. I am sure I will get a few women to reading this just so they can laugh at my attemps to figure them out. Basicly I think my question will deal with why in heck would women want to be able train grappling? More after the Jump


1. Women would want to learn grappling for self defense?
Most women aren’t like us. Choking a man out just for the sake of choking someone, does not give sufficient reason to spend the amount of time and money needed for BJJ lessons. (Now don’t get me wrong, they can be taught to enjoy violence for violence’s sake, but they normally don’t start there.) I just read this quote on another martial arts blog, (which will remain nameless)

Now imagine that you are 120 pounds, have long hair, are wearing
ill fitting clothes and unbalancing shoes. A man fresh out of prison
weighing 200 pounds ripped with muscles grabs you by the hair,
slams you with his fist and drags you to the ground.

Is this where you get him into an arm or wrist lock or put him into
a submission? Obviously this is not the answer.

Sorry in this story, it sounds like a little grappling is the answer. What are you going to do? You are already on the ground. And nothing equalizes the weight difference between opponents like a broken arm. No bad guy is going to leave a woman standing for very long if he can. So if there is the great chance that you will be fighting from the ground, you had better be good at working from there.

2. Women want to train at your school because?
 So when the woman in question walks through your door, does the instructor (and students) look like the same kind of men she is looking to defend herself from? A Mohawk, a face tattoo, cauliflower ear and an inflamed patch of ring worm on the instructor’s face might scream “awesome experienced fighter” to some of the male crowd. To that perspective female, she just screams. Assuming that the instructor isn’t too scary, what about the school itself. Nothing like the smell of old sweat and dirty mats. I don’t know if women have a better sense of smell, or if we just ignore it, but apparently smell is a big turn off. Lastly the bathrooms. Most of us men spend as little time as we can in the bathroom, and therefore as long as there is one, we are ok. Apparently this is also wrong. Once again the smell and relative grubbiness of the area will put a new female student off of the who idea.

3. Can women fit into class?
Women and grappling cause friction in class. The only person who will spend that much time that close to you is either your spouse or your grappling partners…Now I have to stop everyone. I know that you end up spending more time in contact with each other’s bodies then we would normally be comfortable with during a nice sit down dinner, and that brings up problems with male/female mixing, but may I point out that most of us guys are even less comfortable with touching other men. If we can get over it, anyone can. 

A real  problem I’ve noticed is that men seem to feel like they need to reteach the lesson to their woman partner. Men, I know you mean well, but you are no the instructor, and your female partner many not care to hear your thoughts on the subject. She’s your partner, not your student!

Another problem is rolling. Once you start sparring, men do one of two things, either they fight their female partner like a limp rag doll, which ticks them off, or they decide to respect their idenity as a woman fighter and crush them without mercy. Neither of these works out. Men, you need to fight the women as though they were just small dudes at the appropriate skill level. If you weigh 250lbs and they weigh 110lbs, adjust accordingly, but just like they were a smaller man.

I’ve met some fantastic female grapplers. If men like us would stop making things weird for them, I think we’d see even more. Grappling is the great equilizer in fighting and gives anyone a fighting chance. Its a shame we keep it to ourselves.

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