BJJ: Bridging Diversity on the Mats

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It’s been a long day! Aside from BJJ & that gym life (ha!) I had to “adult” today. You know what I mean… Work, errands, etc etc. but never fear because I didn’t let that get in the way of fun.

I love the jiu-jitsu community. And while I’m sure other communities are connected (sports, arts, whatever the interest may be) there is just something über special about us. We band together in good times and in bad. We stand beside each other and lift each other up regardless of the cost to ourselves.

That having been said, I was still completely overwhelmed by the number of responses I received when I reached out to one of the women’s forums for this article. The response was immediate and continuous! It is with heartfelt thanks, and a huge smile, that I say BJJ bridges diversity on the mats; for all of us, but especially for women.

I asked the ladies to answer two questions for me. As such, this will be a two-part series.

Question: What is your occupation? The women on the mats come from all walks of life and have careers in many different fields. I have learned a lot about them, and myself, in asking such a simple question.

* social worker, university faculty
* chiropractor
* home-maker
* assistant operations chief to the county public administrator
* professional resume writer
* stay at home mom
* home school teacher, sempei, language tutor
*massage therapist, product quality data specialist
* jiu-jitsu instructor
* bar tender
* security guard, engineering student
* grant writer
* transportation trainer
* kindergarten teacher
* restaurant manager
* architect
* registered nurse
* photographer/receptionist
* contact center operations analyst
* ecologist
* scientist/ wheat breeder
* personal trainer/ nutritionist
* legal secretary
* caretaker
* fiscal support specialist
* judge
* placement coordinator

But Andrea, what is the point of showing us this? The point is this… Where else would these women have the opportunity to come together, meet, learn the same skills on the same playing field? Where else would they all start AT THE BEGINNING, being held back by none of that which society deems as necessary or pertinent? A gi & a belt is all they need in order to forge a sisterhood for life. That my friends is some powerful and heady stuff. And from power grows freedom, strength, and a singular connectedness.

Ok ok! So what is the importance in putting everyone on the same playing field? Of stripping them of title and status? Aren’t you spouting utopian nonsense at us?! Well dear readers no, actually that’s not what I’m doing or saying at all! It’s up to you to ponder the ramifications and importance of what I’m implying here. I’m not a Pollyanna or goody two shoes who believes we should all be given trophies or that every kid should receive a participation medal. Nor do I believe everyone toeing the line, with a white belt around their waist will progress at the same rate. But, remember, what is a black belt, but a white belt, who never quit.

Happy Rolling!

BLACKBELTS FOR BUTTERFLIES Make a difference. Be the difference.

MISSION22 #ijoinedthefight

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