A Woman's Experiences in BJJ

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by Rhea, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Spinmaster

    Spinmaster Valued Member

    I think it's usually more of a case of not exactly knowing how to handle things, rather than not wanting women to train. I know I was a bit uncomfortable the first time I partnered with a girl during a grappling drill. By the end though, the awkwardness had worn off, because we were both there to train. :cool:
  2. niftymv

    niftymv Valued Member

    yeah, I think the majority of guys are like that. Please do no think I am bagging guys out! And I understand for a lot of blokes grappling/sparring girls must be uncomfortable at first.. and the awkwardness should wear off...

    But, believe me.. this sometimes takes a while and it can be very frustrating (from both sides, I am sure..). I am still struggling with my new gym, even after a couple of months. Despite my hopes, some guys just want don't want to roll with the girls. I have not even been given a chance by some of them, and I have no doubt that I would give them a solid challenge, skill and strength wise. At the end of the day, it is a bad result for both me and them as it means that there are less people that I and they have been exposed to and trained with.

    It's frustrating. Gyms are not solely the domain of men.. I can understand the initial discomfort, but rolling with people who are different to you, whether they are more experienced, less experienced, kids, older, male or female allows you to work of different things and better your skills.

    Simple fact is some people do not want to be exposed to something different, like training with women. They may think it is beneath them and their skill level, or it may be due to something like they are worried they might hurt us. I don't have the answers.. All I can say is that it happens, and it's frustrating at times. But.. I have been lucky and have a stack of awesome male training partners! :)
    Appreciate your feedback though. I would be more than happy to be proven wrong on the above statement :)
  3. Morra

    Morra Valued Member

    Nice article...

    Personally, and I know I am not alone--it sucks as a male having to grapple with a female. I do my best with that situation, but it is not ideal.

    You can't win no matter what you do. If you beat her, you're a jerk because you beat a girl. If she beats you, you're a wuss because you got beaten--but you don't even know if you really got beaten because psychologically you don't go as hard as you usually do. You just don't...

    I try to avoid rolling with women, it's just very self-conscious, and like a said, you can only lose even if you win. They have to be very technical, so that's what I try to learn from them. I much prefer it when there is more than one girl, and they can just wrestle together.
  4. spidersfrommars

    spidersfrommars Valued Member

    I've honestly never felt bad about making a girl tap, if they were the type of "delicate flower" who couldn't deal with this sort of thing every now and again I figure they wouldn't be here in the first place. As for feeling like a wuss for getting tapped, dude get over it, if you ever feel that bad about getting tapped by another serious practitioner then you need to work on toning down your ego a bit more. Avoiding girls during rolling deprives them of variety amongst training partners and therefor decreases the overall quality of their training experience, remember part of being a good member of a club involves helping others learn as-well as yourself, don't let your insecurities get in the way of that.
  5. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away

    You need to get over yourself! Why should I just wrestle with another girl, why shouldn't I get to roll with the men too?

    As far as I am concerned when I enter the gym to train I am the same as everyone else- I train as hard, often harder, than most in there and I should have the opportunity to roll with everyone to bring my skills on. Yes I may not be as strong as all the men, but it's only like a weaker guy training with a stronger one.

    If a woman shows guts enough to step up and train/roll with men then men should make the effort too and get over any misguided and outdated ideas of chivalry they have.
  6. Freeform

    Freeform Fully operational War-Pig Supporter


    The mistake you’re making here is one that many young men make. Rolling in the gym isn’t a competition, it’s training. If you are trying to ‘win’ all the time you are rolling wrong. Don’t get me wrong, within your peer group in the gym there is nothing wrong with going at it to measure where you’re at, in terms of skill and hierarchy, nothing wrong with that.

    The problem is when you are competing all the time when you roll. When rolling in the class you should either be deliberately trying to do something. Whether that be work from your back, obtain and keep top, or if rolling with a senior ‘surviving’.

    Once you get over the idea that rolling in the gym is competitive you will be able to learn and grow in skill faster.

    Personally, I tend to treat women the same way I treat the smaller guys in the gym, I try to tone down the strength (I’m about 190 lb/85 kg and lift a lot of weights). No point in me just bench pressing people off of me and beasting them into a sub (though, if I’m working with bigger stronger guys, nothing wrong with that).

    IMHO, the women who stick out the training tend to be better technically than the guys anyway. Women have a tendency to actually ask ‘stupid’ questions and pay attention to the answers (this knowledge comes from about 14 yrs of coaching). Guys tend to be embarrassed about asking some of the questions that they should, as they think it makes them look stupid.

  7. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I think its wierd Morra that thats your reason for not liking it. I'm with spider on this, i haven't got a problem making a woman tapped or even being tapped by one really you're both training. If she can't take being rough handled a bit (i dont mean groping btw) and being tapped she shouldn't be there, and if you get beat by a girl then hey, she just did better that time around.
    This is the first time though I can remember that being a reason to not roll with them. Obviously there's the ego side to not wanting to be tapped by a girl in front of your mates but I've only heard people actually avoid them because of the touching side of it, but thats been covered before if i remember right.

    Agree with most of your post Lou but that bits a bit wrong imo. Its not a misguided and outdated view when its a fairly big thing in our society for guys not to hit woman and its gotta be a bit understandable when people struggle to drop that just because they've walked into a gym.
  8. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away

    But I am there to train- which obviously implies I don't mind being hit.

    Yes it's wrong to hit someone whether man or woman in a non gym/non sparring context but the very fact that I am there to spar ,whether with men or women , means I have no issue with being hit.
  9. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away

    Apologies if it came over a bit strong, I just don't like being treated any differently and never ask for concessions to be made due to my sex.
  10. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Nah its completely understandable and rest assured if you ever came to south coast I'd go at you just as hard as I do with anyone else :p
    Course you don't but its not easy to get rid of something so ingrained in everyday life. Plus it could really just boil down to a strength thing. I'm a weed anyway so I can generally get a fairer fight sparring a woman. A 85kg hench bloke might have problems training with a woman but he might also have the same problems about fighting me for instance.
  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Dude, once you get over the white belt spazz stage you will reread what you just posted and cringe.

    Technical is the way forward............... no one is going to be buying a Brock Lesnar 101 bicep curls training DVD this christmas, However people will be buying saulio's / demian maias / GSP's / BJ Penns Instructional DVDs
  12. Spinmaster

    Spinmaster Valued Member

    I agree with everything you said here except for the last sentence. If you really try to win, give it what you got, you're going to do a whole lot better, because you are fighting with intent. Example, a fellow named Allan joined our school a little while back; he had no previous experience, but when we rolled, he gave me a tough time of it because he fought with intent. At first I was taken by surprise, because I admit I expected to have a relitively easy time dealing with him; seeing his intent sharpened mine, and I put more into my rolling that day. In fact, after rolling with Alan, I could see the difference in how I rolled with Jason (he was my next opponent), because I was still fired up with a whole lot of intent. Jason and I are fairly evenly matched grappling wise, because he has wrestling experience and is stronger than me, but I have a tad more submission grappling experience than him and I'm flexible in weird ways. Usually it's a lot of work for me to submit him, and I had never taken him down. This time I took him down twice, and submitted him three times. Had I suddenly gotten any better? No. What was different was that, while I always rolled with intent, this time I had more - I wasn't worrying about getting tapped out, I was gonna give all I had to taking Jason down and tapping him.

    Sorry if that turned into a long story about me. :p Basically just trying to say that if you roll to win, really roll to win, you'll perform a lot better. However, don't confuse this with trying to win for an ego trip, or for kudos, or whatever. Don't let it become a "competition".

    Also, if you are considerably more experienced, or considerably stronger, or whatever, then of course it will be of more benefit to both rolling if you go a bit easier. When I roll with the instructors, if they just tapped me out really quickly (which they could of course do), neither of us would learn anything. They'd be tapping me out so easily they wouldn't really have to work for anything, and I'd be tapped so quickly I wouldn't have had a chance to learn anything.
  13. Spinmaster

    Spinmaster Valued Member

    Su Lin, I understand where you're coming from here, the problem I have is your comment about "misguided chivilry". In real life it is a good thing for men to respect women and have a desire to protect them. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I consider "chivilry" part of being a gentleman. This is not at all looking down on women, or considering them any less capable.
    Of course, being a gentleman should not be used as an excuse to discriminate, as Morra is doing. In the gym, we're all the same; martial artists who need to learn. In fact, by refusing to roll with a girl, or roll hard with a girl, he is being disrespectful.
  14. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I think she may of meant misguided chivilry as the opposite to well guided chivilry, with chivilry not being the bad element.

    Then again men have been reading womens intentions wrong since time began........

    For my part trying to win is important, but not all the time, otherwise you'd never get to work on your b and c games, and of course thats my standard excuse whenever I tap..........
  15. niftymv

    niftymv Valued Member

    The reason I love BJJ... because you learn really quick that you cannot judge a book by it's cover. Believe me, I am still very much a novice, but here is my novice's opinion with this topic..

    I have had many a guy do to the whole "I don't want to roll with the girl" routine, and it's their loss. I can make plenty of guys work real hard, even though they may have the size and strength advantage on me. Simple fact, we are not delicate flowers... those get weeded out, as such, real quick, just like soft guys. I have submitted plenty also, who have either not had the same skill and patience or have taken it easy on me. And they certainly do not take it that easy again. And, as I am a fairly strong PERSON, I have been able to beast plenty of guys with strength when it is called for. And on the flip side, I have been utterly smashed by guys way smaller than me, talk about a big bite of humble pie and learning a valuable lesson all over again.

    I can understand your discomfort, but all I can do is encourage you to work on overcoming it. You are just as likely to hurt one of the guys, just like you yourself would get hurt if you are with a guy partner who is much bigger and stronger than yourself. Plenty of guys I know say they love to roll with the girls because they often tend to be far more technical, and that they learn heaps.

    And.... even if you are massively stronger and more skilled that the person you are rolling with, what an awesome opportunity to work at your weaknesses and put yourself in positions that you need to improve upon. Also, you learn heaps yourself from teaching others, don't you?

    There is very little more frustrating that when girls get permanently partnered with girls. If a gym does that to me, I leave. I am not there to be babied.. I am there to be challenged and improve my skills. I can be a formidable opponent if I am given the opportunity to roll with people. And yeah, I may offer not very much to the higher ranked people, but you know what..? Not many novices, male or female do.

    But, I am not here to bag men out. Not at all.. Just, please, don't judge a book by it's cover, approach the girls with some respect and if you do feel as though you should go easy on them for whatever reason, do so like you would with any other new/inexperienced person you are partnered with in the gym/dojo. Take the boy/girl off the mat, if you can man.. It may not be ideal to you, but then rolling with some guys won't be either. And if a guys taps me out, credit it to him, I have been submitted by a superior wrestler, and certainly not a jerk.

    Morra, you will still have the opinion you will, which is completely cool and I respect it, but this is just a little opinion of mine to maybe make you think :) Take care man, and keep training hard.
  16. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Rubbish. Any girl who is rolling with men should have no problem being submitted by them. This is training, it's a completely different thing to 'beating' a woman in real life. If people can't distinguish between a training environment and real life, then they shouldn't be training. You should train at an appropriate level for your partner's ability, whether they are male or female, young or old, large or small, beginner or experienced.

    I would say it's more 'misplaced' chivelry than misguided. I also think that there are men who use it as an excuse to cover their own insecurities and hang ups about training with women (which I can understand). I have no problem with a man being courteous and polite to me, but on the mat I want to test my skills and abilities and I want to know that when I make someone tap, its because I did something right, not because they let me. In fact by not challenging your partner (whether they are female or male) you are doing them a disservice, as you could potentially be giving them an inflated impression of their ability, which, in a self defence situation could be very dangerous.
  17. Freeform

    Freeform Fully operational War-Pig Supporter

    Read that last sentence again, slowly. Think about it, then read the rest of my post again. We're actually agreeing with each other.

    I'm not saying 'never roll to 'win'', only that you can learn more by not doing it all the time. Analogy: If you're weight training do you lift your 1RM every session?

  18. reedk

    reedk Valued Member

    I am a man but i respect your thoughts on MMA training for women. This should inspire more women to train in co-ed classes.

    mma fanatic
  19. Tactical Dragon

    Tactical Dragon New Member

    I'm new to this forum
    I've been teaching martial arts for 0ver 40 years, PKA and American Kick Boxing, and am a licensed fight manager in the state of California.
    Woman have less muscle then men but more fast twitch muscle which means that properly trained they will always be faster then men.
  20. forever young

    forever young Valued Member

    Im glad to report in my gym there is a couple of regular girls one of whom is a 3 stripe blue, regular competitor and medal winner. She is exellent and a real asset to the gym and a good training partner for everyone she trains with. The girls in class are treated exactly the same as the guys and we are usually paired up by the instructor according roughly to weight classes. Give the person you are rolling with the respect they deserve based on their skills and behavior regardless of gender!

    As for winning or rolling to win, this is the wrong attitude entirely. Anyone with any sense should be trying to apply the techniques they have been paying to learn for the previous hour both through specific sparring and then full sparring. WINNING IS DONE IN COMPETITION PEOPLE!!!!! so train to learn and compete to fight/win

    edit: here is an interesting (to some) article a classmate of mine wrote addressing women in bjj including interviews with a few active women competitiors (including the woman (Dominique) im referring to above ;)
    linky link
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009

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