Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Good For Women?


Beginning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a fantastic life choice that will change your life for the better. However, you may have noticed that most people who practice BJJ are males.

In an effort to encourage more women to try BJJ, I will give my reasons as to why BJJ is a great martial art for women to pick up and master.

Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Good for Women?

Yes, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great martial art for women to learn. Here are reasons why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for women to learn:

  1. Size is less of a factor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  2. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great workout
  3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will change your life
  4. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps boosts self confidence
  5. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps you create and achieve goals
  6. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches you to have a work ethic
  7. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expands your social circle
  8. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great stress relief
  9. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best martial art

Now that I have briefly touched on why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for women, I will discus each of these points in greater detail. But first off, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an amazing martial art and I encourage more women to hop in and train.

1. Size is Less of a Factor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The issue with smaller men and women who train martial arts is that martial arts for self-defense are not created equal. Women typically have lighter bones and weigh less than men, so striking arts like Karate are not as effective in self defense; however, a woman who is well trained in Jiu-Jitsu can consistently defeat a much larger opponent.

All martial arts are great, but you have to understand that certain martial arts will be less effective if you are a smaller person, and this goes for both men and women.

Some arts like BJJ and Muay Thai are superb for self-defense while others such as Aikido have little to no real-life application. To see the 9 reasons why Muay Thai is good for women check out my post here.

The problem with martial arts such, as kick boxing, is that even the most skilled kickboxer will have a difficult time fighting a larger opponent. Larger opponents can more easily generate force because of their size. After all, that is the reason we have weight classes.

Striking arts like Muay Thai or Karate work by overwhelming your opponent with power, speed, and athleticism, but if the size difference between you and your opponent is great enough, not even those striking arts will help you.

Suzy, the lady in the video above, described how she used to have dreams of not being able to use her kickboxing against a real attacker. She mentioned that these dreams CHANGED when she started training Jiu-Jitsu. Don’t believe me? Watch the video.

In fact, I have seen this myself. I have a good friend that weighs roughly 117lbs and regularly taps out untrained people significantly bigger than her using BJJ. She was able to do this after only 4 months of training! A female purple belt with around 3-4 years BJJ experience will annihilate almost all untrained individuals no matter the size.

In almost every other martial art, including Muay Thai, I don’t see this being true. Since BJJ is often considered the best martial art for women, you could make the case that it is the best martial art for women wanting to learn self-defense techniques as well.

2.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a Great Workout

BJJ has deep self-defense origins, but it is also an amazing workout! I’ve seen overweight people in my gym that start off out of shape, but after a few months they are COMPLETELY changed! A year after their first training session they are a different person both inside and out!

BJJ is an amazing, yet enjoyable workout that tests your body in two ways: aerobically and anaerobically. The key to getting an excellent workout is having them both. Aerobic exercises increases your stamina and heart health, while anaerobic exercises help you not only burn fat, but also help to put on lean muscle mass! Read more about the benefits here.

Anaerobic is exercise without oxygen. For example, when your body is pushing itself doing things like sprints or jumping rope as hard as you can, this is anaerobic exercise. In BJJ this happens often during sparring known as rolling. When you roll a few times you will understand how tough and beneficial it is for the body!

Give it a few months and you will see how tone your body can get. In fact, some studies show that you can burn 700 calories in just one hour of BJJ training. Isn’t that wild!

But be warned, you will be very sore at first. I am speaking from first hand experience on that one. Just don’t quit. You will be doing exercises and moves that you have never done before and so being sore is natural and part of the process.

And last but not least, training BJJ will improve your strength, explosiveness and heart health. So long story short, if you are looking for a fun way to get in shape, while also learning some great self-defense skills, then BJJ is a great choice.

3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Will Change Your Life

Many people who train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will tell you that BJJ has changed their life. From getting in shape, to meeting new people, it really can be an amazing life experience.

Coach Tom Daley (above video) is a BJJ coach in Australia and he talks about how he sees countless people lose 50-60 pounds (22-27kg) in only one year of training BJJ. After that one year of stepping onto the mats, they are a completely different person both inside and out!

BJJ is not easy to learn. I struggled initially, as do many people. I couldn’t even roll on my first day and it took a long time to get used to the basic fundamental movements. BJJ itself is harsh, but a good gym will give you a great, supportive community that brings out the best in people.

Coach Daley talks about people who were severely overweight, addicted to drugs and alcohol or just severely broken people who had struggled in their lives; however, BJJ helped those people to stop their bad habits for good. See how exercises help addictions here.

BJJ and other martial arts give wonderful structure to your life. If you are serious about BJJ, and you want to compete, you will NOT indulge in addictive behaviors that will hurt your chances to do so. You won’t overeat at night, or drink 20 beers after work because you know that will only hinder you BJJ training.

Not only will Jiu-Jitsu get you in the best shape of your life, but this willingness to succeed will carry over to all other aspects of your life. It will pour over into your work and family life. This mindset will make you a better person.

You will learn to REFUSE to accept mediocrity in your diet, health or thinking, as this will harm your Jiu-Jitsu.

I know this seems hard to believe, but in my opinion BJJ is one of the best things you can do to improve your life. Just go and see how passionate people are about BJJ and you will understand what I mean.

To see the transformative power that Jiu-Jitsu can have on a woman, check out the video below. Shelly Doyle confirms everything I am telling you now and talks about what a positive influence Jiu-Jitsu has had on her self-development and general outlook on life.

4.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Helps Boost Self Confidence

Imagine walking home late at night feeling safe and secure. Having a feeling that if anything were to happen to you that you have spent countless hours in the gym preparing and would be able to handle yourself in a struggle. Now that is self confidence!

Gaining this confidence will not be easy. BJJ is very difficult to learn and to get good at. Around 90% of white belts quit before they achieve a blue belt. Doing something so challenging is why it gives you true self-confidence. You feel that if you can master BJJ, you can do anything.

Like I have already touched on, BJJ does much more than just teach you how to fight. You learn skills that will help you become more confident in other aspects of your life.

Learning BJJ is like learning another language, except this time the language is not words but rather body movements. This language will cause your body to ache after a good workout from all the drilling and rolling you will do in your training.

All this training will not only improve your self-defense skills and physical conditioning, but it will also help to improve your emotional and mental health. Engaging in regular exercise has countless benefits such as a boosting your immune system, enjoying better sleep, and improving your overall well-being. BJJ is more than just exercise.

If you have done any type of intensive exercise or training then you can attest to many of these health benefits. I am sure you have heard of the saying, “Look good, feel good.” This is so true. As you train you will get in better shape and in turn you will feel more confident in your appearance.

BJJ helps with our mental health as well. Exercise does wonders for your mental health and so what better exercise than BJJ?

In Jiu-Jitsu any bad energy is used up after rolling for a bit. You will see how people who train BJJ are some of the nicest and most relaxed people you will meet. This is because all of their bad energy is used in training. Sounds good right?

Look no further than this quote from Ricardo Almeida, a fourth-degree Renzo Gracie blackbelt. It explains perfectly what BJJ and other martial arts can do for people.

“Jiu-jitsu and martial arts do not build character, they reveal it. We are all born with unmeasurable courage and determination, but it is as we go through the trials of rigorous training that we rediscover those gifts.”

Ricardo Almeida 

5.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Helps You Create and Achieve Goals

If you want to get good at BJJ, you will have to learn to create and work towards goals. For example, if you want to rank up to the next belt, you will have to put in the work.

So if you set a goal of going from a white belt to a blue belt, then you will have to create a game plan of how you will achieve that goal and within what time frame. Once you have set that goal, now it is time to work towards that goal until you achieve it.

Leveling up is not the only goal you can set in BJJ. You could also make weight loss goals, goals to master a new technique, goals for how many hours/days a week you will train etc. etc. As you continue to progress through BJJ, you will become better and better at creating, and even better at achieving your goals.

If you have ever set and achieved a goal then you know how good that feeling is. You also know how it can be motivation for you to make even more goals and to accomplish them as well. Goal setting is definitely a skill that I have learned through my BJJ training and I know you could too.

Learning how to set and master goals is a skill that you can use outside of BJJ as well.

6.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Teaches You to Have a Work Ethic

Do you ever feel like you are just really lazy? Like you are just aimlessly drifting. Maybe you lack ambition? If you feel that way, trust me, you are not. Many people feel or have felt that way, myself included.

But if you want to learn BJJ, you will be forced to develop some kind of work ethic. Being a hard worker is always a good thing. Sometimes you will have to train when you may not feel like it and be able to stick to a routine if you are ever going to improve. This consistency naturally builds work ethic.

This doesn’t mean you have to train every day. Start out with a couple of sessions a week and gradually increase your training volume. You will have to learn to fit your 9-5 job, BJJ and children (if you have any) all in the same day. If you can do all of that you, you will be proving to yourself how much of a rock star you really are!

In Jiu-Jitsu nothing is handed to you, you have to work for every submission, every sweep, and every takedown. If you do not take it seriously, your fellow gym-goers, who may be far more serious than you, will surpass you. It is not a nice feeling knowing you were left behind and it was all your fault.

BJJ gives you what you put into it. That feeling of achievement and dedication, especially when you have a busy life, is what helps to create an individual with a stellar work ethic.

7.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Expands Your Social Circle

When you join a martial arts gym, you are not just joining a gym, you are joining a family. At least that has been my experience at the gyms that I have trained at. Everyone is always very friendly and welcoming.

What is even better is that the friends you meet at your martial arts gym already have similar interests and goals as you; that is improving ones self both physically and mentally.

It’s like the old saying goes, “You are the average of your three closest friends,” and I have found that to be true in my life. The more successful people you associate yourself with, the more successful you yourself will be, and I am not just talking about BJJ.

Not only is it great to surround yourself with like minded individuals at your gym, it’s also not uncommon to meet up with those same people outside of your training. People go out all the time after training just to hang out and chill. It’s a good time.

Jiu-Jitsu is still a male-dominated sport but this is changing rapidly as referenced in the video above. In my own experience, I estimate that roughly 1/4 of my Jiu-Jitsu class is female which is a lot more ladies than my Muay Thai class which is around 1/6 of the class. Those women can kick some tail let me tell you.

In the martial art classes you will be paired up with both women and men of comparable sizes so you won’t be fighting just men or just women. You will get to meet people of all different backgrounds in your classes.

BJJ is a very challenging sport, but being surrounded by equally strong men & women who are trying to better themselves is a beautiful thing. It helps push you even harder. I know it has inspired me to push harder and be better than I realized I could be.

A martial arts gym is a far better place to meet people than randoms at a bar or night club who you know nothing about. You will see your BJJ people several days a week and so you genuinely get to know each other. Some gym friendships can become relationships or friendships that could last a lifetime.

What are you waiting for? Join a Jiu-Jitsu gym!

8.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is Great For Stress Relief

When your trying to choke someone unconscious or trying to ESCAPE from being choked unconscious the troubles and stresses of everyday life become ever so unimportant. There is no better way to wind down from a boring 9-5 office job than choking someone out!

Not only is making someone tap out a great stress relief, but just exercise in general has been shown to do wonders to help individuals relieve stress.

Other sports like Muay Thai (see my post here) are fantastic for stress relief as well. I believe the physical nature of combat sports makes the release more powerful. You forget about other problems in your life when you’re staring down at someone who is trying to defeat you. It’s just natural.

How can you feel stressed after 5 rounds of rolling? Your body will be drained completely of all this bad energy as you sit on the wall huffing and puffing and you feel absolutely amazing. All the bad energy or anxiety you carried before this training session has melted away, and you can return home and relax in comfort, stress-free.

You’ll see what I mean when you join your first BJJ gym. At first it feels weird learning to choke someone out, or putting them in positions they can’t escape from, but after a bit it really is a pretty cool feeling learning how to fight. Can’t really describe it, but your stress just melts away.

Modern existence is hard, but life is too short to feel stressed. Do yourself a favor and take a stance against stress and learn Jiu-Jitsu!

9.Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is The Most Effective Martial Art

I mentioned before how Jiu-Jitsu was the best martial art for women, but this also means it is the best martial art in general. Let me explain.

When we think of martial arts we think of Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and recently in modern times MMA. What do all martial arts, aside from MMA, have in common? They all start from the ground and are striking arts.

BJJ’s number 1 objective is to get someone to the ground because a grounded opponent has a less explosive, athletic potential. As a BJJ fighter, this is where you want your attacker to be. John Danaher, one of the best BJJ coaches, uses the analogy of a Javelin throw being the most athletic movement as you need to run and then throw.

The Javelin world record is 98.48 m/923 feet set by Jan Železný. How far could Jan throw the Javelin on the ground? Not far at all.

The advantage that grappling martial arts have over striking is that on the ground you are limiting what your opponent can do making weight differences much less of a factor.

Getting someone to the ground is what allows BJJ athletes to defeat opponents far bigger and stronger than they are. Rener Gracie uses the point system in the above video to describe how powerful a punch is by how many joints are used in the motion.

Smaller people just don’t generate as much force, and therefore won’t inflict as much damage as a much larger person. With Jiu-Jitsu, you can easily choke and disable a much larger opponent (see below video) only using techniques that you have learned in your training.

If you ever get into a confrontation with someone, choking them out can often be the quickest way to end it without anyone getting hurt.

Jiu-Jitsu is the only martial art that allows a smaller individual the chance to apprehend or choke out an attacker using pure technique, even if that attacker outweighs them by 100lbs+(45kg). Also, unlike striking arts, there will be no broken noses or cuts to deal with as BJJ is a choking art, not a striking art.

Now, I do not recommend EVER going on the ground in a street fight as you have no control over what happens, but just keep in mind that if you are fighting someone bigger than you with striking experience, the only way you can win as a BJJ fighter is to force the fight to the ground which is Jiu-Jitsus bread and better.

So given the fact that you can easily submit any opponent, regardless of size as a BJJ fighter, makes it the best overall martial art and just one more reason why more women should do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Recommended Products and Conclusion

In the end, I think that more women should do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you are a woman and you are reading this, I hope my reasons convinced you to give Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a try.

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