Women Can Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

Can Women Really Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?…… REALLY? This is the title of a absurd sexist post to why women  don’t seem to fit or handle BJJ.  I get it, this post is trying to encourage women to ‘’Stick with it’’ but unfortunately this post is an epic fail on that matter!

Let me address some of the concerns of this post.  The problem why women are not fit for BJJ is because they don’t stick to it and this is after they ‘‘DEMAND to try it (BJJ) out’’.   DEMAND is a very strong word, its insinuating they forced their way into a class against all warning signs of ‘‘danger’’.  It happens to EVERYONE, they think they will like it and they don’t, it’s a human nature not a women thing.  Your discouraging women to try BJJ just in case they don’t like it.  If you lived your life like that, you would never try any new things.   Second, they always stay for a short time, women do get pregnant, life change, job changes, that’s a fact of life.  Men go through the  same experiences, however there is (I admit) more men in the sport so it is less noticeable.

A women practicing the sport of BJJ who don’t get their black belt should not be seen as a waste of time.  A blue belt is accomplishment all in itself and a woman or a man with a blue belt in BJJ has a great deal of knowledge in self-defence and you should be proud that these women and men are walking the streets with a blue belt they earned from you.  Ideally, you want the best for all your students and receiving a black belt in BJJ is an incredible accomplishment men or women but unfortunately priorities in life can change this.

The most insulting part of this post is the fact that male student puts their marriage and relationship at risk because they might roll with a women during class.  This is a completely ridiculous concern.  This is blaming women for potential relationship problems just because they roll with men.  If a wife or girlfriend has a problem with this, then the men are in their rights not to roll with women but that’s definitely their lost. Women make awesome partners.

Women who don’t stick to BJJ are not weak and need to be tougher.  We are not dolls who need to be protected and need to understand that someone will be between are legs, we get THAT sense in the first couple of months (enhance the trying out period).  Some women just hate it and find another sport more fitted for them.  The reason why women don’t stick to it is not because of awkward human contact, especially senior white belts and up (we know all about it).  There are probably other underlying problems of why women are leaving.  Like any other sports, people will come and go, new students should never be seen as a potential waste of time.

BJJ is a male dominated sport but women are starting to understand how beneficial and amazing BJJ is.  Just look around you at all the women bjj groups and all the enthusiasm there is for it.  We don’t ask for special  all women classes, we make our own. You should check out women Open Mat all around North America and all the women giving seminars around the world.

Women CAN handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and there is many qualified black belt BJJ instructors out there for women to get their black belt from.

Here is the link to the post I am referring to:

http://keith-owen.blogspot.ca/2013/02/can-women-really-handle-brazilian-jiu.html

15 thoughts on “Women Can Handle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!
  1. I’m glad you did a full length response to that article…. It was the most ridiculous passive sexism you could imagine. I really couldn’t believe he cited “getting pregnant” as the first reason women are “quitters.” I know his intentions were good, but Keith really should have considered what generalizations he was making in his statement. The statement about risking the relationships of the males who train with her was especially bothersome to me as well. Having encountered training partners with jealous/ignorant girlfriends, I know that how they feel about their men training with me is completely beyond my control. I really hope more people see your blog post than Keith’s because it is so potentially discouraging for women and young girls to start rolling.

    • I completely agree, I also did not appreciate the ”blame the victim” type of attitude, it does not belong in BJJ. Unfortunately, there are many things out of our control but at least we can try and choose a safe and respectable environment for us to train, where we can feel welcome and accepted. Thank you very much for your comment.

  2. I agree with the overall message of this post. I totally agree that the most unfair statement in the article was the one about the supposed “threat” to men’s marriages. If they had good relationships in the first place, rolling with women would not be a threat, so it’s really uncalled for to make it sound like men are doing women a real service by rolling with them. Thanks for calling this issue to light. Women’s voices need to be heard in the martial arts world!

    • Thank you for your comments. I am so proud to be part of women in BJJ. There are amazing women role models out there and unfortunately these type of attitude do exist and we need to call them out. Its not a sexist thing nor a feminist thing, its just a discrimination thing. We cannot have main instructors feeding into the stereotype that women that roll with men have ill intentions. Both men and women make each other better and sometime we need to teach each other how to roll together but when we do, its amazing how better we become.

  3. After Fenom Kemono’s posted this on Facebook, and I saw your comment under the original blog, I felt somewhat compelled to make a comment as well. At first, I was like, okay, he’s patronizing, but you get that a lot in this sport. But the more I thought about all the ridiculous comments he posted I started getting angrier and angrier. He wants to know why women don’t stick with BJJ at his gym? Has he looked in the mirror?!

    I train at a fantastic gym and NO ONE there makes me feel inferior for being a woman. I train with some of the best guys around. My black belt would never even THINK of some of these “reasons” for why a woman would stop doing jiu jitsu. I’ve had to take some time off because of health concerns and do you know what my professor told me? Get healthy and we’ll see you back on the mats. Not “oh well you’re a woman so I doubt you’ll be back.”

    Thanks for putting your thoughts out there!

    • Hi Steph, thank you for posting a comment. I felt the same way when I read the post. I started feeling annoyed but more and more I read, the more I got angrier. I took some time to think until I decided that my opinion matter and this post does not represent women in BJJ. I have trained with many women and they have come and gone and also come back. Like you, they all had good reason to leave, but the reason was NEVER they couldn’t ”stick it it”, it was things out of their control, or life changes. Every single one of them love BJJ and there will always be a home for them when they come back. The BJJ women I know are the toughest and dedicated students at the gym, they train hard and they do it with a smile.

  4. Thanks for posting my blog on your site even though you completely disagree =) May I post a link back to these comments for my readers? I am posting a Women’s response to my current article where she takes me to task and I would love to include your link for more.

  5. Pingback: Women and BJJ: Quitting | Jiu-Jiu's BJJ Blog

  6. Hey there! Thanks for writing this. It prompted me to write my own, and to explore it from a somewhat different angle. Like I mentioned there – aside from the SEXISM SEXISM SEXISM there is an underlying approach to teaching that is overall unprofessional and detrimental – and that is that if there is a problem, the solution is not to defend your current practices and blame students. That’s the way for the problem to continue.

    I have ZERO doubts that he has issues keeping students. It’s very difficult for a teacher’s belief system not to have some influence on the students or the atmosphere, and rather than engage in thoughtful reflection with a true desire to change, it’s much easier to have a knee jerk reaction and point fingers at everyone else.

    The cool thing is that it has prompted me to draft a blog article about reflective practices in teaching. My background is language teaching and teacher training, and it’s something that’s been amazing to me. So…something good came from this article, if not interesting discourse. Although his response to the comments on his blog were strange at best – and not engaging whatsoever. I suppose a “thank you” may be better than a rude comment, but there’s no dialog only acknowledgment. That’s too bad.

    • Hi JiuJiu,

      I read your response and I loved it. I think you are right in the aspect of that his post should of been referred to white belts in general but even that, the underlining message is very negative. I like to look at these type of scenarios in a positive way. How can I make new students feel welcome, how can I explain the concept of Jiu Jitsu in a way to make them understand it is going to be a rough start but in the long run it is worth it. Again, it is not for everyone and it doesn’t matter how hard you try, some people just wont like it and this should never been seen as a wast of time.

      I really appreciated the teaching aspect that you brought forth and I thank you for that. I liked looking at it as a teaching point of view. Keep writing, your post are awesome.

    • I’m so excited! I usalluy have to work, so this is going to be my first Girls in Gis event. I’m really looking forward to finally meeting everyone face to face. As far as the publicizing, all the credit goes to Pam and Jeff. Oh BTW, you have a much larger audience than I do so feel free to copy and repost Jeff’s welcome letter.Back to Pam, she has become a major driving force behind The Revolution Women’s BJJ program. She’s like a chearleader, motivational speaker, and den mother all rolled into one. I’m really grateful and admire all of her efforts to make this program work.Can’t wait to see you,Jodi

  7. Great response and good job breaking down the article. I wrote my own lengthy response on my MMA blog and most people’s reactions, including both of ours, are exactly the same. This guy is unbelievable and one of the worst parts is, he doesn’t get why. Even after ALL of our comments (or links to reaction articles), he seems clueless about how his post could possibly be sexist. No wonder women don’t want to train with him. I’d bail too if I tried to learn jiu jitsu under someone who felt that they were probably wasting their time with me because I’d “get pregnant and quit” (even though I’m betting a huge number of the guys in his theoretical male-only classes would eventually leave just because that’s what happens….most people come and go, men AND women). Ugh.

    • Hi Reese,
      Lol I agree with you, he seems clueless and then it got me thinking, publicity is publicity, bad or good. It could just be an attention grabber, which in that case, it worked. Also it is a good way not to have women students, effective way to have male only classes ;). Either way, I am happy to say there are awesome gyms all around the world for women to train and get their black belts without this type of attitude :).

  8. I wonder if he notices women leaving simply because they are fewer and more noticable. In my club (which is, admittedly, not BJJ, but arnis) we have a few women, and a fair number of men. However, I haven’t noticed a difference in committment between new males and new females. Both seem to leave or stay in roughly the same proportions – not numbers, but proportions. Perhaps it’s a perception bias? (Also, trying not to grind my teeth here. Helpful sexism requires a mouthguard to read.)

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