Women's perspective on BJJ

Our school is to be briefly presented in a TV program and they asked me about women's perspective on BJJ.

They didn't seem satisfied with my reply.

I was trying to explain the benefits and superiority of BJJ, compared to other MA's/Fighting sports and they interrupted me saying "Yes, but as a woman what do you think"...

That is exactly the problem here. (!)

In my opinion, when training there shouldn't really be men and women, just athletes training together. I tried to explain that too but I got the impression they wanted me to say something like "BJJ offers the best rape prevention techniques", or "it makes you thin like Kick boxing for ladies".

Well, I am sorry, that is NOT my perspective on BJJ.

I appreciate any comments.

Remember they are interviewing you for a unique perspective. If you are giving the same answer they have already heard, it isn't great material to fill up the time on the program. As you know, it is a male-dominated sport and they were looking for an angle by you beoing female.

In my experience, most women think it's silly, like most of men's hobbies that don't involve shoe shopping.

No matter how many times I explain to my wife, she just calls it sweaty boys club (SBC in short)... That says it all.


I am glad to hear that you tried to take a gender neutral perspective.

As a small man and think I'd react the same way if I were asked what benefits bjj had for me as a small man.

The only thing I can think I might say would be "your SKILLS have the potential to make up the difference in size, weight, and strength MUCH more than you'd suppose from a martial art that looks a lot like wrestling, where strength, weight, and size ARE major deciding factors at matches. And the advantage of bjj is that you get to try out your skills every day against a variety of body types and skill levels, against full resistance, in class, without long term injuries."

It's refreshing to hear other people refer to women's BJJ as an actual sport, rather than as rape prevention. Fotia, your point of view is really original. Most think of it in terms of self-defense for women.

I think it will just take time for women to catch on to how great it is. Afterall, how many men have heard of it? It's still a sport in its infancy.

As for the femininity issue, what is more beautiful than Leka's physique, or Rebecca Sweeney kicking ass? These women have really shown how confidence and hard training are beautiful. BJJ and MMA are not much different than dancing (ie. they involve grace, rhythm and balance). Popular culture is starting to catch on slowly -- look at movies like Kill Bill.


Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.

And thank you for helping me clarifying it: my perspective on BJJ is indeed a gender neutral perspective and I didn't hide it.

However, there aren't many women in our school and this interview could have been an opportunity to attract some.

And I can tell that women would have liked to hear why they would choose BJJ over another sport, another martial art or the gym.
I didn't offer this information. My message to them was "don't come as a woman, come as an athlete", and clearly, as some of you already stated above, some women won't like this.

Anyway, I guess I am still talking about this because although my instructors said I should say whatever I wanted, I am having second thoughts whether I did the right thing for the school or not.

feisty: My wife Rebecca reads this stuff and she brought this thread to my
attention. She thought that was pretty funny (in a good way).


Mike, I've been looking up to Rebecca since I started BJJ. I watched her compete in the OSWI and was impressed with her level of dedication at that time. My trainer has called her "a cat" in the MMA ring. What a cool description of a female fighter, I think!

As long as he didn't call her " a pussy" I guess it's a good thing:)


I think having a gender-neutral opinion on the question IS a positive answer. It's all in how you say it....

When someone asks you, "As a woman, what do you think of BJJ?", you could reply with something like, "I enjoy that it's a sport in which men and women can participate on equal footing."

The fact that, as you say, everyone just comes "as an athlete", and not as a "male athlete" or "female athlete" is significant, and is a great thing. And that kind of answer might satisfy their need for a soundbyte that would attract more women to the sport.


Mike Sweeney,

Congratulations on your "marial arts planet", it looks great.
I am particularly fond of your MMA program for children, I consider it every parent's "dream come true" for their children :-)


thanks for the support!

Congratulations on your school and I have to say I am fond of your VIP Kids Program, too!

I look forward to the day that our school will also have BJJ classes for children.

Fotia: Thank you very much.

amoebas are gender neutral. Not people. Its too bad and I do not like it that it is this way. Its also too bad (and I do not like it) that there's not world peace, that its wet and cold today and that the melting snow is making driving conditions dangerous.


I 've never implied that people should be gender neutral. I clearly said, though, that both men and women should be allowed to change into BJJ athletes when training.

"Early naturalists referred to Amoeba as the Proteus animalcule, after a Greek god who could change his shape.
The name "amibe" was given to it by Bery St. Vincent, from the Greek amoibe, meaning CHANGE".

After reading this, one could argue that amoebas have the ability to change, just like people change into BJJ athletes when training.



"And thank you for helping me clarifying it: my perspective on BJJ is indeed a gender neutral perspective and I didn't hide it.
However, there aren't many women in our school and this interview could have been an opportunity to attract some. "

Don't be so hard on yourself. Don't forget that you were dealing with a reporter or journalist. A journalist or reporter learn to present controversial ideas, or rather to take ordinary ideas and make a controversy. Their goal is that folks will not change the channel during the commercials, but rather wait to hear the story.

They wanted a headline, like "female martial artist gives unique perspective on Brazilian jiu-jitsu for women. Fotia explains how BJJ has changed her life...." Something to keep people from touching their remote.

You, apparently, are an extraordinary person and a mediocre reporter was not able to perceive that and that mediocre reporter could not ask you the correct questions to get you to describe what is outstanding about you. It's the reporter's fault not yours.

Also remember that the reporters goal was not to get more women to your school. A good reporter could have aske you questions about why you trained in such a tough sport, or what are issues in BJJ that men do not have to deal with, etc.

Props for sticking to your guns.

You forgot to use feminist language apparently.  You should have used the word "empowerment" somewhere.  That is a big word in feminist circles.