One of the beautiful things about Jiu-Jitsu is its inclusiveness. It’s a sport for the young and old and doesn’t discriminate against any nationality. Most importantly, it’s open to men and women. This is why we at Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu take pride in our BJJ women training classes.
Many prospective female students will often hesitate to join a BJJ women’s class. Luckily, all it takes to ease the trepidation is some knowledge about what to expect. Knowing what to expect makes joining a BJJ women fundamentals class less intimidating and more exciting.
Here are some practical recommendations for the BJJ girls to take their first steps and roll on the mats.
Before jumping into a BJJ fundamentals class, it’s always a good idea to clarify the reasons for joining and training. Female students will often have reasons for joining ranging from fitness to self-defense.
Every now and then, there will be female students with more competitive aspirations. Of course, many will develop this down the road.
Whatever the case may be, knowing the purpose of training is the first step to reaping the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu. The reasons don’t need to be along the lines of competing or getting a black belt; it can be many other things like having more opportunities to interact or learning a new physical skill.
For the most part, the reason most women have for joining a BJJ fundamentals class is fitness and empowerment.
All of the above are excellent reasons to join a BJJ class. The important thing is to have a reason.
Hygiene and cleanliness are important. They can mean the difference between a fun-filled session and one that results in an infection of some sort. Keeping the academy clean is one of the priorities of academy owners and instructors. For this reason, they take a lot of time sterilizing the playing field, so to speak.
Of course, students — both male and female — need to contribute. There are a couple of ways students can contribute to the hygienic practices of the academy.
First, there’s the gi. Before joining a fundamentals class, students need to have gis. The gis need to be recently washed. Other students would think twice about rolling with someone whose gi smells like it hasn’t seen the inside of a washing machine. The same rule for cleanliness applies to no-gi apparel like fight shorts and rash guards.
Some new students won’t have gis yet. Luckily, academies like Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu will usually have them for rent.
Another way students need to chip in to keep the mats clean is by bringing flip-flops. One of the reasons for this is that there may be times when students need to step off the mats. The reason may be to go to the bathroom or buy a bottle of water.
If a student steps off the mat barefoot and then returns to the mat, the mat will be less sanitary. Slippers and flip-flops will allow students to leave the matted area and return to it with clean feet.
This ties into the earlier point about hygiene. Beyond the sterile confines of the academy are grounds paved with germs and litter. Shoes bear the brunt of the microbial assault, absorbing dirt and bacteria.
Now, this doesn’t mean students need to enter an academy barefoot. Students new and old just need to keep their shoes away from the mats.
Academies will have areas where students can leave their shoes. Others will offer lockers as part of a membership package.
For most BJJ girls, hair and makeup have been common pain points in training. This is especially the case for newer students.
Keeping hair tied enables better movement. In a contact sport like Jiu-Jitsu, the last thing anyone wants is their hair getting in the way. Also, because of certain positions the head might be in, having the hair tied back also makes the experience safer.
Jiu-Jitsu can be a high-paced sport. Even in a BJJ women fundamentals class, the pace can pick up quickly as students drill moves and perform movements on the mat. Sweating is certain, and this is why instructors encourage students to keep makeup to a minimum.
A BJJ women’s foundations class consists of several parts. These won’t differ too much from the flow of more advanced classes. What sets it apart from more advanced classes is the emphasis on movement preparation and drills.
A foundations class typically consists of the following parts:
The warm-ups consist of movements to help loosen the joints and prime the muscles. Warming up is crucial to prevent injuries and helps get a good sweat going.
During this part of the class, the instructor will show techniques. These techniques will form the foundation of a student’s movement arsenal.
Partner drills are an opportunity to execute the newly learned techniques. Drills are not the same as sparring or rolling, meaning that there will be little to no resistance. Of course, the instructor can ask everyone to resist just a bit.
Now things get real — though under careful supervision. Rolling or sparring is a chance to try using the techniques. The difference between sparring and drilling is resistance. Now, partners can try out-positioning or submitting to each other.
The cooldown is a series of static stretches. These stretches allow the body to return to a state of relaxation. These stretches prevent injury by lengthening muscles that were in use during the class.
In a fundamentals class, the period following the cooldown is often a Q&A session. It’s an opportunity for new students to ask questions about training.
Here are some of the things to expect in a foundations class:
It’s a Jiu-Jitsu girls foundations class. Hence, drilling and practicing the technique for the day will occupy much of the session. After all, practice makes perfect, right?
Jiu-Jitsu puts all trainees and practitioners in contact with one another. Understandably so, new female students may find the idea of drilling or rolling with mean intimidating.
Female students may finish a class surprised at how positive the experience of rolling against men is. In an academy, everyone is respectful — not just to higher belts but to each other.
It’s just one of the many things that make Jiu-Jitsu inclusive.
Even the drills are sure to fire up the core muscles, shoulders, lower back, and glutes. For this reason, many female students looking for exciting ways to be fit choose Jiu-Jitsu.
A women’s foundations class also provides new trainees opportunities at interacting with other gi-rocking female students. The chance at interaction and cooperation is the result of one of Jiu-Jitsu’s core values — community.
Joining a BJJ women’s foundation class might seem daunting at a glance. Nonetheless, the first steps on the mats have often turned into many years of development and growth in the sport.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to take your first steps in Jiu-Jitsu, try a free week with us at Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu.