“This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.” -James Brown
When I was five years old, my very first best friend was a boy named Kevin, and ever since then, several of my closest friends have been male. I’ve also always had many close female friends (and two sisters who I adore!), but I’ve always been accustomed to hanging out in groups that consisted of more men than women, and it’s been nice for me to have close male friends, as well as a husband who also trains martial arts, because I’m able to talk openly to them, and to look at things from their perspective.
For the most part, the men I’ve trained with at both the LMAC dojo and LBJJC have not only been accepting of me as a woman in “a man’s world”, they’ve also been incredibly supportive. There are definitely creeps and misogynists in martial arts (as there are everywhere), and maybe I’ve just been lucky, because I’ve been able to train mostly with men who are awesome.
New students in a school learn how to behave in class by watching their seniors and instructors, and since Professor Greg and the colored belts at LBJJC treat me the same as any other blue belt, it’s rare that I have a white belt male trying to “mansplain” Jiu-Jitsu to me. The men at Lincoln BJJ show me respect, they don’t patronize me, or act like I’m wasting their time, and they’re not afraid to kick my ass, nor do they get all bent out of shape when I beat them. They treat me like one of the guys, but they also respect my femaleness.
I would not be training BJJ at all if it was not for men encouraging and welcoming me. Sensei Dave, my Karate sparring teacher at the dojo, was the first person to introduce me to grappling, and when I was interested in trying Jiu-Jitsu class, but I was still hesitant, Conan gave me the extra push that I needed. After I began attending his class, he even went so far as to slightly change the way it was run, to make me more comfortable, and through the years he’s been very helpful and supportive, and he’s talked me back from the edge many times when I wanted to give up. He’s also the person who got me started blogging, and he Facebook “likes” almost every single thing I post!
I am grateful to be able to train Jiu-Jitsu at a school that isn’t a he-man woman haters club. Lincoln BJJ is somewhere I feel welcome, and I’m supported and encouraged. I am lucky to have such amazing teachers who respect me, and so many training partners who I can totally trust. They make BJJ class an incredibly fun place to be, I’m thankful for all the help they give me, and I truly could not do Jiu-Jitsu without them!