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 and 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- 021 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. 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.