(By BJJ phenom, Angela Vogel)
36 out of 200 doesn’t exactly sound like a great number. 18% wouldn’t be good poll numbers, and I’d have a hard time betting on someone with 5:1 odds. But when that number refers to the amount of women training at your Jiu Jitsu academy, it can sound as though you’ve hit the lottery!
So often I hear from women from other schools, that they have one or maybe two women who train often and seriously with them. In fact at an Women’s open mat this weekend (held at Nak Muay Gym @Tim Carpenter BJJ) I met a purple belt who’d never trained with another female purple belt before! Imagine that for a second as a guy, that there are no other purple belts at your academy who are even close to your size or strength then imagine how excited you’d get at the opportunity to train with someone well matched with you, without the stress of competition.
This is not to say that women do not benefit from regular training with men. Even with a large number of women at Balance, I still find that most of my training partners are men, and I gladly challenge myself to find ways around size and strength differences, relying on the fact that Jiu Jitsu works, and that as i develop more skill I will be able to control those who are stronger with technique and position.
Still the camaraderie of women’s only training is irreplaceable. Walking into a women’s only environment for many women is the first time they feel completely part of a group, feel safe and free to be themselves, and don’t have to worry about whether or not someone will want to train with them. (not all women are big mouths like me, i know, you’re shocked)
With this in mind I went to Phil about a women’s meet up at Balance. Thankfully Phil and Ricardo Migliarese also understand the importance of a supported women’s team. And allowing us our own mat time is a great way to promote women in the sport. With this time, we practice self-defense, we drill, roll, learn and share technique and do A LOT of game planning against our male counterparts. And while we often try to submit each other, it’s always done with love!
Balance will also be adding a women’s only basics class and bi-monthly women’s open mats in the new year, as well as Female Black Belt seminars. Please stop by and visit us, and let us convince you why Jiu Jitsu is made for women!