Jiu-Jitsu Fool

Amy armbarring BradI am an April fool. April is the month in 2009 when I started regularly training Jiu-Jitsu, and it’s turned me into an obsessed fool who is willing to give up her dining room in exchange for a home mat. I almost can’t believe it’s been two years since I became an addict. When I started, I actually thought it would just be a part-time thing. I was so young then, so naive.

April ’09 is also the first time I wrote for The Jiu-Jitsu Fighter blog. In honor of the anniversary, I thought I would re-post my first article here. I still agree with what I wrote, except that I don’t think it’s a bit uncomfortable or awkward anymore (that went away really quickly). Now I just think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. No fooling.

I believe there are two kinds of women in the world: those who train Jiu-Jitsu, and those who need to. If you’re at all interested in self defense, you should know that most fights end up on the ground. Add to that the chance of sexual assault, and it becomes clear why women need to know how to defend themselves from the ground. Yet very few women, even those involved in the martial arts, have that kind of knowledge. I train Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, and as Shihan likes to say “It’s all in there”, meaning that we have throws, joint locks, chokes, etc. included in our system. This is true, but we rarely get a chance to actually work on them. Just like with all things, without practice we cannot become proficient. Even in Judo they don’t have the time to work on Ne Waza as much as they would like. This is evidenced by the Judoka who come to Jiu-Jitsu before a tournament to firm up their ground game.

So, this begs the question, if ground defense is so important, why don’t more women learn Jiu-Jitsu? In the interest of full disclosure, I have been to a few classes, but I do not train Jiu-Jitsu. The reason for this is (insert excuse here). However, I realize that it is something that is lacking in my own training, and something that I want to do. When I’ve mentioned this to some female Karateka, the reaction I’ve gotten is that I must be some kind of alien. Lets face it, Jiu-Jitsu can be a very uncomfortable undertaking for anyone, but most classes are 99% male. For a lot of women, the idea of wrestling unknown men is not a pleasant one. Besides, as Amy W. says, you guys are heavy! My thoughts on it are this: if you have no experience doing it, and are uncomfortable with it, how are you going to react when faced with a real life situation, and someone who’s trying to hurt you? The only way I learned to stop closing my eyes and flinching when someone threw a punch to my head was by having someone throw about 2,000 punches to my head until I got used to it.

To all my sisters out there…yes, it’s uncomfortable and awkward. Yes, they are strong and heavy. But wouldn’t you rather learn to handle that in a safe environment? Even if you never have to use what you learn on the street, which is hopefully the case, there is still one more reason to train. Every woman I know who has done Jiu-Jitsu agrees, it is super fun…are we really going to let the guys keep that all to themselves?

In this spirit, I wrote a haiku:
They may be stronger
But we are more flexible
And can make them tap
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3 comments on “Jiu-Jitsu Fool

  1. If it wasn't for stand-up, I would have never come to jiu-jitsu, but I feel like if I had started in jiu-jitsu, I probably would have never done karate. Not to take anything away from stand-up arts, but jiu-jitsu just satisfies me on so many more levels.

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