19 July 2011

Women’s Training in BJJ

Women training in BJJ is always a hard subject. There are few females that do the sport, and fewer that stay in long term. There are many ways out there to try and combat the high attrition rate. Women’s only open mat, female instructors, women’s only classes, women’s only BJJ Camp, and women’s only seminars. So from personal experience, and assistance from a few other females, here are some things being done to help women training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In advance thank you so much to Kristen and Ariadne, you have definitely helped make this article possible!

Open mat/ Class

In Indianapolis, my old team had occasional women’s classes. It was an opportunity for all of the females, pre teens- teens and155070_104891999581857_100001831728370_38323_2086738_n adults to get together and train some. It took place on Saturdays during open mat. If any of us were competing soon we would make it more competition focused. That way we had a little more time to work with possible skills and styles we may encounter at the tournament. Otherwise it was more of a Q & A where we worked on popular issues. It was pretty loosely run. We would always invite any females we could find to it. Mainly we wanted to get more females interested so we could try and have a permanent women’s BJJ class.

Female black belt, Women’s only class

As jiu jitsu grows and women who started years ago are  becoming black belts, schools are finding ways to incorporate women’s classes into their schedules. In Chicago, IL team Brazil- 181708_574585336329_210800143_32952630_5421209_n021 has women’s classes 3 times a week. Their instructor Hannette Staack , is a black belt and teaches the hour long class. A white belt girl names Kristen Martin, who reached out to me through my blog, volunteered to talk about what class is like there.

There is about 4-6 students there every class sometimes there is less. we work on what people mainly have problems on or just the basics and then spar. I like the small class it is easy to work out the small details to work out positions.

This small class, give the ladies a chance to get together,ask questions and slowly let new females build up the courage and techniques before going to the full blown co-ed class.

Open mat/ Seminar/ bonding time

In Texas, something completely different has formed. Girls in Gi’s is a community group in Texas. Ariadne is a purple belt and an active member of the group. She was awesome at explaining how exactly everything worked.

Basically it's a completely free open mat for women of all ages to get together and train in a non-competitive environment. It is open to all women, regardless of affiliation (there are just too few of us and we need each other). It's not a place to check out the competition or 'win' training. We start with a warm up, then a mini seminar lead by a higher belted woman (usually the one hosting the event at their gym), then open mat till we all get tired.

To make it fair Girls in Gi’s rotates through different cities, all the ask for is a host gym where the ladies can get together and train.260455_224208244277672_223743377657492_780837_4617601_n It’s a monthly event for them. Currently Girls in Gi’s is only in Texas. They hope to see that change soon, Girls in Gi’s is working on making it easier to start a chapter of the group in other states.  Honestly I think it’s an amazing idea. I hope to get help from the amazing women at Girls in Gi’s to possibly open a chapter up in Washington/ Pac NW.

Starting a women’s program is definitely a plus. If you aren’t an instructor, sometimes the best thing to do is talk to your coach, see what could be done, if anything and start to work from there. Don’t just wait for it to happen, be the catalyst that sets everything in motion.


  1. Great post. One thing I have noticed is that, when you give women the option to train in a women's only environment, wives of men who train are much more willing to give it a go. I am not sure if it is the fact that they will have less pressure or if they are worried about relationship conflict coming from competition, but once we started the women's class at our school, a lot of wives came forward and said they had wanted to try it for a long time but didn't feel comfortable in the regular class.

  2. I am excited to know that Girls in Gis is getting some "press"!! Ashley Nguyen started GiG in Houston and it's become a really large group of gals here in Texas. It would be super easy to start a chapter-- just start hosting womens' open mats and call it Girls in Gis! :) I have a cool graphic design of the name, created for me by phenom BJJ artist and purple belt Seymour Yang (Meerkatsu is his blog.) Let me know if you want the graphic, or any other info-- Yay!!! :)

    Email me at georgetteoden (at) yahoo (dot) com and between me, Ashley, Ariadne, and the other girls here in Texas, we can get you going! :)

  3. It is wonderful to see how BJJ is growing especially amount us gals. Here in Texas, Girls in Gis for many is a wonderful opportunity for us to let are hair down and share the love of jiu jitsu with other women.

    If you are interested in learning more about Girls in Gis the best people to contact would be Ashely Nguyen, Shama Ko and Triin Seppel as they have given a lot of their personal time and effort into making Girls in Gis something very special to some amazing gals.

    Please visit the facebook page for more information.

  4. Here is the facebook link: www.facebook.com/home.php#!/GirlsinGis