1870 Mag

Jiu Jitsu And You

Jiu Jitsu club president makes her case for more female fighters.

I may be a little biased in saying that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the best martial arts to learn, but as a smaller female I think I am justified in saying this. Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that stresses the importance of patience, and learning how to use the physics behind your opponent’s body to ultimately win the fight, or in more serious situations give yourself access to leave the situation and save your life.

For those of you that don’t know, Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport that emphasizes grappling and ground work. It can be geared towards the smaller fighter because it teaches students how to use leverage, grip, and position over a larger opponent.

Being a female on a college campus doesn’t always provide me with the safety and security that I would like. People suck, and there are bad people that want to hurt others. That’s just how it is. I can fight to change this social norm, but in the end (at least for now) I have also chosen to actively learn how to defend myself that way if I am ever put into an unsafe situation I can hopefully get out of it. If you don’t believe me though, maybe you can listen to someone that has been a big part of my Jiu Jitsu experience. Her name is Hannah Coyne, and she’s the president of the Jiu Jitsu club here on campus. She’s an incredible teacher, and an avid believer that more women should get involved with the sport.

As a female why do you like doing Jiu Jitsu? Why do you think other women should get involved in it?

It make me feels safer knowing that I can defend myself. Anyone can go to a self defense class, but if you don’t consistently train it’s hard to be prepared for a worst case scenario. A lot of girls have a hard time starting because there aren’t girls to train with at first, so they end up quitting which continue the cycle of there being no women to train with (do you see a pattern here?).

How did you get involved with Jiu Jitsu?

I’m a pretty small person and when I was 10 or 11 my dad wanted me to learn self defense so he put me in a Jiu Jitsu class. I have been training on/off since then and I’m 21 now.

What advice do you have for women just starting Jiu Jitsu? How did you get over the awkward “closeness” that comes with the sport?

Bring a friend to train with in the beginning to help get used to being so close to someone and trying to fight them (could be a cool way to get rid of some of that tension with your roommate that we all know will start to come out during winter when we are trapped inside with them). I started when I was younger so it was less sexualized than it is when people start later in life; that being said, I also wrestled 7th-10th grade and during that time it was hard because a lot of the guys weren’t kind to girls doing “their” sport. Something that I think BJJ is better that than other combat sports is being more accepting of people that are considered not the norm for people in a combat sport.

Why do you like the Jiu Jitsu Club?

Our club is really open to those of all levels and I think we are really friendly and accepting. We have a great head coach, who really can help people of all levels progress. The members are all welcoming. Nobody is out to hurt anyone when they roll; it’s all about learning (learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom).

How long do you think it takes before the skills you learn really start to stick with you?

I think it takes at least a semester of consistent training before you see results or develop muscle memory.

Sex and gender aside, what are some of the greatest benefits of training Jiu Jitsu?

You will gain confidence in your ability to defend yourself, make good friends and get a good workout in. It really is a community and I have made some of my best friends from doing this sport.

Feature photo by David Heasley. 

Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall


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