Training with the Opposite Sex
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a male-dominated art. However, more women are taking up an interest in training Jiu-Jitsu. As this becomes the case, it’s important to understand the unique challenges faced when it comes to training with the opposite sex.
So, what are some of the concerns;
Fear of being hurt by bigger, stronger men. Sometimes what happens, as a result, is that men will often go too light or “soft” with their female counterparts. We must technically challenge each other. The number one concern in training at the academy is to develop our skills. So, we must find a balance with how much pressure, often associated with weight, and technical challenge we give someone. For guys, simply matching the energy, effort, and skill of your female counterpart is a good way to challenge them. So, women can be selective with who they train with and should have the right to be. And vice versa. If men are leaving marks, bruises, black eyes that’s a sign they are going too rough.
Fear of inadvertently touching a female inappropriately; this can be true for women as well. At the end of the day the less we sexualize Jiu-Jitsu the better. Don’t comment on what they aren’t doing (ex. “Are you going to move today”) or coach the ladies. Don’t avoid rolling with women. There is something to be learned from rolling with everyone.
Hygiene: Be clean, and fresh but don’t wear perfume.
Attire: Too little is an issue. Always wear appropriate clothing, rashguards, compression leggings, or gi. No jewelry.
Fear of asking the other person to train:
Why do most men not ask women to train?
Possibly fear of rejection. Asking may be perceived as “hitting on you” kind of way. However, women don’t think this.
Why do most women not ask men to train?
Fear that they won’t be enough of a challenge for their male counterpart.
Rolling with women can be very technical. You get the opportunity to explore more techniques you might not usually use.
These are the types of partners you DON’T want to be.
1. Smashers: This is someone who only wants to smash and dominate their partner. This person is seen as only being there to serve themselves. This is not productive.
2. Stinky: This is someone who doesn’t have the best hygiene.
3. Sensei’s: This is someone who talks too much during the roll. (Nobody likes being told what they did wrong). 50% of Jiu-Jitsu needs to be discovered.
4. Snipers: This is someone who only wants to train with women. Everything is in moderation.
These are the types of partners you do WANT to be.
1. Challenging partner: This is someone who will roll just above their level and occasionally drop down below their level and jump back up. That encourages movement and progress. That makes the roll productive and benefits both partners.
2. Unemotional: This is someone calm and collected. Rarely; gets upset or storms off.
3. Helpful: This is a person who gently guides you through your journey because they were a beginner once as well.
Ways to ask someone to roll:
Have you found a partner yet? (This gives them an out. They might say that their partner is in the bathroom. Or they are taking this round off.
If someone is aggressive during a roll and they catch you in a technique: you can stop and ask them, “can you show me how you did that.”
We have to create a more comfortable training environment. Men must take the initiative and be more open and inviting to training with women. If women want to learn to train to defend against men they need to train with men. So, what can women do? Communicate. Use your words. More often than not most women feel like they don’t get “smashed” enough.
Resources for Women who train
Women’s grappling network (a Facebook group)
The Mighty Dames: Girl BJJ Crew (a Facebook group)
If you live in or around the Wake Forest and Raleigh area and want to learn more about our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program visit https://bjjnc.com/program/bjj/