You are not alone. 

It’s no secret that as females, in BJJ gyms, we will generally be largely outnumbered (I’ve been the only girl in classes with over 20 guys). However, that’s not a bad thing. Rolling with bigger or stronger guys can really push you to use a combination of your best technique and strength, it can make you think differently about what you’re doing and you can actually take a lot from it. I have predominantly trained with men since I started BJJ, and certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without the guidance and support of all my training partners.

That being said, it is easy to feel isolated at times, but, women’s open mats like yesterday’s act as a great reminder that you are, in fact, not alone.

Disclaimer: This picture definitely was NOT taken before training to avoid looking sweaty on camera.

Yesterday was a great opportunity to learn and train with other women from across the country. Despite being from different affiliations and of different levels, we all shared a unifying interest in BJJ. It was nice to speak to like minded ladies, and to find out more about their individual journeys through the sport.

In BJJ you constantly go through mental and physical challenges, you’ll experience frustration and pain and you’ll have your confidence tested in many ways. There will be days where your game will flow brilliantly (and you’ll pretend you’re Gezary Matuda in your head – or maybe that’s just me..?) and there will be those other days where you’ll move as awkwardly as you did in your first ever session. There might even be moments when you’ll consider quitting, even if its only for a split second. So, while everyone’s BJJ journey is different, it can be a comfort to know that there are other women out there choosing to follow a similar path.

I took a huge amount from yesterday’s open mat, from the simple enjoyment of meeting and training with new people, to the fundamental tips and pointers that I picked up. 

It was good to be able to test out some sweeps and subs with different training partners, as well as, work on some escapes and defences when I got into tough positions. Rolling with people you aren’t familiar with always presents new challenges which can really help in developing your game. 

The gym was full of talent, but none was more impressive than that of the squad of young girls that were training with us. I’m not ashamed to admit I was roughhoused by a couple very promising young talents, reassuring me that the future of women in this sport is in very capable, albeit very small, hands. 

At the end of the 2 hours, it was a pleasure to leave the gym without smelling like multiple different sweaty men, but instead multiple different sweaty women (just kidding – we all know there’s no such thing as a sweaty girl, right?). I also left with the important confirmation that BJJ related baldness is not a condition that I suffer with alone, but, hair and what to do with it is a struggle we all face.  

Women’s open mats like this can be so valuable to your training as well as lots of giggles, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next one. A huge thanks must be said to Rising Phoenix BJJ/Fife Martial Arts and Fitness Academy for welcoming us all into your gym for the day! 

See you on the mats again. 


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