How To Get More Women Into Grappling
Another gem from GrappleArts.com, Stephan Kesting; written by Krista Scott-Dixon. This is the same writer who wrote the below article I created a thread about:
Tips for Female Grapplers: - when a (small) girl meets a (big) boy -
Essentially, a great article on how to attract and retain females into your grappling academy (and academy in general but grappling tends to have its own "special needs"). Check it out here:
How To Get More Women Into Grappling
Interesting article with some pretty good points. As it happens our JJJ club at uni is aiming to recruit more girls next year by going for more of a self defence angle than 'traditional martial art' thing.
I've noticed that there are a lot of women in Judo. Anyone got any ideas why? Cos it seems that since Judo and BJJ are so similar, it should be fairly easy to exploit that same appeal for BJJ.
One basic factor is probably (and unfortunately) the fact that…there are already more women in judo. An environment that already has some women is probably going to feel more welcoming—because there are women there to welcome other women; because it lacks the intimidation factor of being the only woman in the gym. Also, an environment that already is co-ed is probably less likely to develop off-putting factors like an environment of sexist jokes and remarks or stupid machismo. Once any art (or for that matter any school) builds up a sufficiently large critical mass of female students, they are (I’m willing to bet) far more likely to attract and retain future female students.
Originally Posted by callum828
A school that starts out with no female students at all not only has to provide a good environment, it also has to face the challenge that it may not be able to offer women’s classes as the article suggests, because there aren’t enough women to fill them. (If only a single woman shows up, what do you do?) And having women assist or coach new women requires you to already have women with some degree of experience. Much easier in an art where even a brand new club may start out with skilled female fighters who move in from other schools.
Are there other important factors? I, personally, have little idea¹. It’s not necessarily the case, though; it isn’t necessarily anything intrinsically to do with the martial art itself at all, so the similarity between judo and BJJ may not be relevant.
¹ The somewhat greater formality of judo can, perhaps, quell certain types of noisy and stupid machismo that could appear in the more informal environment of a BJJ gym. OTOH I don’t know any women who appreciate rigid male hierarchies, either.
I agree that the fact that Judo is established probably helps a lot. However your other points are based on the assumption that the reason women aren't taking to BJJ in a big way is that the classes present a hostile environment, and that's a pretty bold assumption to make. I'm sure most of the BJJers on here would disagree with you. Have you seen behaviour like this at your club? I mean I've just started training at a local MMA gym, and I think the main thing putting women off is the perception of the sport, that it's brutal, no holds barred human cockfighting. That and the training room fucking stinks, especially when we have more than a handful of people training.
Originally Posted by Petter
I personally think that offering womens' classes is a good idea, mainly because then you don't have the major strength imbalances of when men and women train together. It does seem however, that the only MA classes that are really popular with women are 'cardio-box' type things where the emphasis is on fitness rather than fighting.
No, that is not my assumption and it is not my experience. I’m not a woman, but I still wouldn’t want to train at a gym with that kind of atmosphere!
Originally Posted by callum828
What I’m saying is this: Some guys are nice and some guys are assholes, that’s just how the world is. Thus, some gyms will have good environments, and some will have poor ones; it’s not a binary situation, but a continuum and a question of frequency. In an all-male environment, there’s more room for unfortunate behaviours to develop. (Exempli gratia: There’s less incentive and feedback to moderate sexist jokes or lingo &c. if there are no women around to offend. Such jokes and lingo don’t have to be what you consider blatant; consider the article’s examples of “like a girl” and “whiney bitch”.) I’m not saying that they all will; I’m just saying that they are more likely to, that (probably) it is more common in all-male environments. I should have added that perception is also a big part of this; a woman looking to take up a martial art may (or may not, see below) make the assumptions that I apparently (though not intentionally) seemed to.
Let’s keep in mind, too, if you are a guy, that your insight (like mine) into how women feel when they walk into a gym, whether co-ed or all-male, is pretty damned limited. The author of the article knows how women actually do feel walking into BJJ gyms, having done so; you and I never will, since we are not women and will never be met as such.
Interesting article. I did some no gi for a spell and will be putting on the gi as soon as my meniscus is put back together. The place I trained no gi had a female coach as well as another female that was there on the weekends. I thought the guys were great and welcomed me with open arms-though I will add, I"m a cool chick lol. I can dish it out and I can take it.
I've always worked in a male field, electronics, computer repair, corrections officer, so maybe I have a tougher skin than most. I think I should be able to do what the guys do (by that I mean I need to meed their standards, and not have lesser standards). There were positives and negatives to training. Positive was I could easily go 100 percent so it was great training for me. On the other hand, a con, I felt I was sort of short changing the guys a bit. Most didn't want to "hurt" me, so went extra easy on me, thus their training might have suffered. I've never asked anyone to take it easy on me, and honestly got pissed when they felt they had to. After a few classes though...I sort of had the attitude that when they rolled with me it was like a bit of a rest for them, lol, so I put a somewhat positive spin on it.
Another con though was that I felt I had to be extra good. I didn't want to sit out a turn rolling, because I didn't want to be thought of as a girl that couldn't hang...so I pushed myself and that was to my detriment. I did some damage to an LCL and it took a lot longer to heal cause I kept going after I injured it-I didn't want to be thought of as weak, so I pushed thru the pain. Bad mistake and one that I won't make again.
I'll definitely have a different attitude when I put the gi on. As much as it kills me, I have to realize that I'm not a 20 year old male and I won't be able to keep up with them....at least not in the beginning, lol. I also won't push myself too hard. I would rather take more time to get up to par, that try and get there in one night and injure myself again. I am certainly not a spring chicken anymore, lol.
I really enjoy training with the guys and I hope they enjoy training with me. I would however LOVE the opportunity to train with women because we don't really worry about hurting each other. We just do the job and get it done. Hopefully one day soon!
Non-Spazzy Noob guys should welcome the opportunity to train with girls because it generally means you can work pure technique without worrying about any kind of hulksmash shenanigans.
The worst thing I've seen in the gym re: Women Training is the 18-22 year old guys that can't help but have an ego problem when it comes to getting tapped out by a girl. So as soon as the girl gets close to a sub, the kid FLIPS THE **** OUT.
I hate that ****.
This is exactly right. I wish we had more women at my gym, but we do have one blue belt who will absolutely hand you your ass if you aren't on your game. We also recently had a couple of high school guys join the BJJ class and you can just smell the fear they have of being tapped out by her. Granted, they don't want to get tapped by anybody and they always try to just roll with each other (before that b.s. got squashed), but it's even worse when they think they have to roll with a girl.
Originally Posted by Kintanon
Much to her credit, she just lets it roll right off her back and does her thing. But I don't doubt that other women might be offended and/or put off by that kind of attitude if it is allowed to fester in a gym.
A lot of women are uncomfortable have extended contact with a strange man. Nothing you can do to cure that.
As for the rest of it...well, frankly, I'd just as soon no one made extra effort to get women in BJJ. The ones who'er going to do will be just fine on their own and I'd rather not have to deal with the effect of a lot of whiny women on the mats.
Cause frankly the "I'm a delicate flower" thing will come up and it already makes me sick. It's for that reason I despise and do not promote or agree with a "woman's class" in any art. For any reason.
Oh, and sorry, but the gym culture in BJJ is MUCH more a thug culture than any other martial art. It's just true. The percentage of egotistical asswipes training is wwwwwaaaayyyy higher.
On a side note, I'm also a little sick of people quoting Kesting's stuff like it's profound.
He's a nice guy, and he runs a good gym, but I had to beg to get off his mailing list after getting spammed with self-promotion stuff every day for a week and the articles are really just sort of--well--pedestrian.
To quote Bryant Gumble talking to Stephen Covey: "Isn't this all obvious?"