Should Women and Kids take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes?

Larry Shealy // Uncategorized


September 1  

Having been training and teaching Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for well over 20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching hundreds of students the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Every age, size, shape adult, child, male, female, nationality….you name it, we’ve had a very diverse student base over the years. From doctors and lawyers, teachers, truckers, waitresses, government officials, laborers… name it…..all walks of life are welcomed on the BJJ mats. So yes indeed, women and kids should take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, all masks and facades are removed. In BJJ it’s all on YOU. It’s a very humbling and rewarding lifestyle. It’s somewhat of a synopses of life: What you put into it, you will get out of it. You reap what you sow.  Hard work pays off. The mat doesn’t lie!

So with this said, why should there be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes for women? And, why should there be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes for kids? 

Isn’t BJJ a man’s sport? 

Isn’t BJJ too violent for women and children? 

Can’t I get hurt easily in BJJ?

NO, NO, and NO!

People often-times think BJJ is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). They are indeed different. Where MMA is a fighting sport, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a Martial Art, that is arguably the best self-defense system known to man.

In BJJ, pound for pound, some of the most technical Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the world are women. Also, kids who embrace jiu-jitsu can become very good, very early in their careers.

Relative to injury, when people train hard, and train smart they can avoid a lot of injuries. Yes, BJJ is not an easy sport, there is chance for injury, but training with the right people and training partners; taking the right precautions to avoid injury it’s no more dangerous that most sports.

Over the course of time, I’ve found that there are some very good reasons why women, and children, should train in Martial Arts……specifically BJJ.

1. Self-Defense – Personal Protection: With the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, practiced and drilled in a live setting, one can within months, learn enough to at the very least, have a plan to resist an attacker or kidnapper. It’s not about the person training, it’s about the person training in BJJ, applying what they’ve learned in the gym, in worst-case scenario attacks. The more they practice the techniques the better equipped they become. Being trained and ready is not only enlightening for the student; but they in turn can help encourage others to get the same training to protect themselves, and perhaps have a new training partner!

2. Physical Attributes are not a priority: You do not have to be big or strong to be effective in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – “If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle” ~~Rickson Gracie~~

In Gracie Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) it’s not about how big or fast, or strong or athletic you are….it’s all about the leverage, timing, and techniques that we learn and apply in ‘live’ settings. Knowing and applying the bjj techniques, let’s the big, untrained fighter, get tired, and the little guy or woman neutralizes, survives, and wins with technique and a good situational plan in place. 

3. Self Confidence – Awareness is a very big deal in how one carries themselves. Are they alert, are they a hard or a ‘soft’ targets from the perspective of a predator; is their head in the phone as they are walking down the street? Awareness will help reduce the odds of being chosen as a soft target to the predator.

Being alert to one’s surroundings is HUGE in the nullification of a sexual assault. If the perp thinks that you are aware, and knows that you have your head on a swivel, this will help reduce the odds. Training in BJJ breeds a certain confidence that allows you to be the ‘true’ you; with the training and knowledge that you gain by knowing how to respond as situations arise. The best fight is NO FIGHT, but sometimes the fight comes to us, and man, woman or child can begin the type of training that breeds true confidence and a plan to execute…. should the time arise when the fight does come to you.  Note this is not the false confidence of a belt.  It’s true confidence that comes with the knowledge that you have spent hours, months, and many years on the mat.  And as the legend Master Royce Gracie said: “The belt only covers 2″ of your a$$, the rest is up to you”.  In BJJ you defend the belt by hard work, over a long period of time.  

4. Fitness: Mental and Physical Fitness is a great by product of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. One or two hour sessions of drills and training take you to some very interesting situations.  The endorphins will be pumping and your ride home will be a natural high unlike no other.  Your stresses of the day are gone.  You don’t know, until you know, but trust me it’s a great physical and mental place to be when you train.

5. It’s all on YOU:  It’s all YOU when you are on the mat: I’ve heard, and agree, that BJJ mimics or is a microcosm of life. It presents us problems, offers solutions, put’s us in bad positions that we must learn to get out of. It has it’s highs, it’s low’s. We experience panic and frustration as well as peace and understanding. It exposes our weaknesses and magnifies our strengths.

Those who train Jiu-Jitsu can vouch for the above statements. The control and growth that you experience on the mat, transfers into daily life. Jiu-Jitsu can become a ‘lifestyle’ that makes you a better human being in so many ways.

6. Friends for life: as mentioned, we come from all walks of life. I’ve met people who are my best friends, and would not have crossed their paths if not for Jiu-Jitsu. On the mat, we are all equal. The white belt, and the senior black belt are all on the mat for one thing: to become better in Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a common thread (training in Jiu-Jitsu) that brings people together and keeps them together.

7. Helping others help themselves, and others. The system in Jiu-Jitsu in most high caliber gyms is people helping people. The black belts share their knowledge not only to make the single student better, but also to have that student assist others in becoming better trained in Jiu-Jitsu.

When you can ‘see it’, ‘do it’ and ‘teach it’… are learning and you help others learn and also share the knowledge down the line. That is the BJJ that we teach, and I urge you to give it a try.

Yes, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone. It is not easy. It is not flashy. But with fundamental perfection, any man, woman, or child can become effective with the Jiu-Jitsu we teach at Hendo BJJ in Hendersonville, NC.

If you have any questions refer to, or call 828-290-7933 for more information.

About the Author

Training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 1994. 4th-Degree Rigan Machado Black Belt Instructor. Christian, Husband, Father, Grateful Small Business Owner.

Larry Shealy