Training Jiu-Jitsu breaks almost every rule I heard while growing up for what it means to be a “lady”. Ladies don’t fight, or show aggression. They don’t leave the house without perfect hair and makeup, and they don’t do anything that might mess it up (like sweat), because ladies should always be neat and clean. They don’t hang out in groups that are mostly male, and if they do, they don’t touch the men, and they certainly don’t try to dominate them. A lady doesn’t sit with her legs open, let alone trap a man inside!
I was raised in a more old-fashioned time, and when I was a kid, I enjoyed doing things that girls weren’t supposed to. I liked getting dirty, climbing trees, roughhousing, playing video games, beating up bullies, and working on the car with my dad. I never had much of a desire to grow up to be a “lady”, because it didn’t sound like very much fun to me. I looked up to women who more like “broads”, because I admired their strength, courage, and independence.
I’ve always been confident in my gender (I can even be a real “girly-girl” at times!), and I’m annoyed by stereotypes of what is to be feminine (or masculine, for that matter!), because I think it discourages people from being true to their authentic selves, for fear of society judging them. I’m also bothered that throughout my entire life, when someone told me I was doing something “like a girl”, it was always meant as an insult.
I never accepted that there were things I couldn’t or shouldn’t do just because I’m female, so I suppose it’s no surprise that I eventually found my way to BJJ, because in a way, I see it as the ultimate act of rebellion against what I’ve been told are the limitations and rules for the “weaker sex”. I hate when people say it’s a “man’s sport”, because I’ve been doing it for almost six years, and I’m still a woman! I think one of the best things about Jiu-Jitsu is that the boys in our class know that fighting “like a girl” means they could very well get submitted by one (and they often do), so I think it’s helping to influence the minds of the future generations, with regard to what girls and ladies can and should do!
Josephine: “If that means I’m not “ladylike”,
then I guess I’m just not a lady!”
Wyatt: “You’re different. No arguin’ that.
But you’re a lady alright.”