I could honestly write a novel about the benefits of jiu-jitsu for women. Or perhaps I could ask any one of my friends to write it because they’ve all fallen victim to my incessant rants about how great it is and attempts at convincing them to train.
As intimidating as it can seem, jiu-jitsu is one of the most rewarding activities I’ve incorporated into my life, and I’m glad I gave it a chance. Many of my female training partners share a similar view. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It builds lasting confidence
Jiu-jitsu builds the type of confidence that can’t be stripped away by a bad hair day. Training curates a level of confidence that goes far beyond that achieved by a blowout or getting your nails done. It’s one activity in which you won’t be judged by your looks, a rarity for women. Rather than be under scrutiny regarding what your body looks like, you’re evaluated for what your body can do. Jiu-jitsu shows you that you can manipulate your body to truly defend yourself and that grants a level of confidence and peace of mind that every woman should be able to possess. Besides, when everyone is wearing baggy, pajama-like gis, those curves (or lack thereof) that you may be insecure about are not the focus.
2. You learn realistic self defense
One obvious benefit, and the reason many women start jiu-jitsu, is self-defense. But jiu-jitsu goes far beyond the basic women’s self-defense seminars you often see advertised (trust me, I’ve taken them). While these seminars or courses are great, they only scrape the surface of basic self-defense. Jiu-jitsu addresses fighting from the ground or from your back — a reality that is perhaps more plausible for women than standing self-defense. The self-defense skills taught in jiu-jitsu mirror real-life situations that women may find themselves in. Training jiu-jitsu consistently allows you to actively and routinely sharpen those self-defense skills. I think consistent training grants a level of comfort that a temporary self-defense course or seminar doesn’t.
3. It’s a different type of exercise
I admit I’m a fan of the occasional YouTube or Instagram live workout (especially right now), but if there’s one thing this hiatus has reaffirmed, it’s that there’s truly no workout like jiu-jitsu. When trying to convince my friends to try jiu-jitsu, many respond with, “Well, I want to get in shape first.” It’s a common misconception, because the best way to get in shape is by doing jiu-jitsu. Especially as a woman, jiu-jitsu has increased my strength and changed my view of my body completely. It’s shown me that my body is capable of things I didn’t think possible, and has taught me women can be incredibly powerful. I’ve tried everything from yoga, pure barre, cycle-bar, to pretty much every workout trend you can name, but nothing has left me as sore and felt as rewarding as jiu-jitsu. It increases flexibility and serves as a good full body workout, all while teaching you how to defend yourself.
4. It’s a conversation starter
Whether it’s brought up on a first date or during teambuilding ice-breakers, “I do jiu-jitsu” is always that wild card fun fact that earns a surprised response every time. Being a woman who trains jiu-jitsu allows me to inform other women about the benefits, and share my experiences. Many people still don’t know what jiu-jitsu really is, and the “Oh, so you could like beat me up?” and “Is that like karate?” responses always invite further conversation about BJJ. It’s a unique, dynamic hobby that not only sets you apart, but speaks to your level of discipline, commitment, and overall toughness. Besides, it always scares away the inadequate suitors.
If you’re not convinced to try jiu-jitsu yet, I strongly encourage you to reach out to any BJJ women in your life. I guarantee she will relay the numerous benefits and advantages to training jiu-jitsu.