Contact like JKDChick pointed out is a big part of it. A lot of women are not comfortable being that close to a bunch of guys. The guard seems to especially freak some out. Its largely a cultural thing as there is a great deal of intimate contact in grappling and that can be difficult for some women, and men, to handle initially.
We had some degree of success at my school with getting female students and I would attribute that to strick codes of conduct among students and the cultivation of a friendly competative atmospher. Many times I recall people remarking that our gym did not feel like other MMA places they has been.
We also made regular use of gi's instead of the t-shirt and shorts that a lot of MMA gyms use, we still rolled like that too but we had gi nights as well so it was a bit more balanced. Female students tended to show up more on the gi nights than the no gi nights.
This is a brilliant idea on how to do it
read the blog
In my limited experience...
Training qin na (nearest I get to grappling with my group) I have no problem at all with close contact providing that my partner is clean. To clarify further I don't care if he is covered in mud, I just want it to be recent mud and not old, smelly stains. I do not care if he is sweaty as being sweaty is pretty inevitable, providing that he showered in the morning and therefore does not stink.
Training for a couple of classes in ju jitsu where I kept getting partnered with a guy who stunk. I had to put effort into not throwing up, he stunk so badly. Put me off ju jitsu (well that group) for ever.
In my group people are for the most part very clean however during an intensive attended by people from other training groups I got partnered with a very dislikeable man who had made himself unpopular with everyone due to his arrogance, boasting and constant complaining. He is fat and unattractive which would not usually bother me at all, however given his personality I felt repelled by him.
He also had a problem with excessive sweating and for some reason insisted on sparring with a bare chest, so that I had no alternative but to come into close contact with his flabby, hairy, sweat drenched gut.
I suggested to him that he might like to use a towel to remove some of the sweat before sparring with me and he cheerfully replied "Naah what's the point I'll only get sweaty again?" before lunging at me.
He also had a habit of being far to rough with newbies (he was reprimanded for this by the instructor) and so I was able to talk my way out of sparring with him after that on the basis that I was intimidated by him (I was a complete newbie at the time).
I know it's shallow to not want to spar with someone just because they are physically emotionally repulsive but I suppose I am that shallow person.
Had he been friendly, likeable and not insisted on sparring only in shorts and support stockings I probably wouldn't have cared at all.
I'm pretty sure that all the men in my group hated sparring with him too but I think it was even worse for me.
So my contribution to this would be, to attract more women
don't be arrogant
don't assume that women will be OK about sparring with you being bare-chested, especially if you are very overweight and have a problem with excessive perspiration
er, that's it
All right - IMO this is not complicated. Girls in grappling are usually there because they are friends and family of other grappling school members. A few girls with other goals like to have MMA fights will find good gyms without this, but by and large it needs to be a fun, and not highly competitive environment where they feel safe.
We now have 4 girls in our jits/MMA whatever the hell we do now gym. It is no gi BTW and we only have about 10 people who train consistantly. The reason that they felt cormfortable I think is because they joined in groups and got to know the people who trained beforehand.(we are a small town)
Going easy at first and building up their confidence has made them have no qualms with with wrestling with boys and now new girls who join up will have girls to play with and so on.
I suppose the best thing for instructors who want to get a feel for what the girls go through is to do a Zumba class and see how you go.
So funnily enough it's my first day on this site and this is actually a topic I've written on twice.. So after I post on here I will go introduce myself on the new is forum..
Here is the first artilcle I wrote: having to do with Bjj women and pregnancy
And here is another article on the Bjj hump..
Atama makes a women's cut:
Fenom too (as mentioned above):
On The Mat makes one:
Break Point has a newer one out:
There are a LOT of new women's ones coming out.
It used to be a year or so ago the Atama one was the only one with a women's cut; my wife bought it and has been VERY happy with the fit.
(I know. I know. This is Trollshido. There shouldn't be any redeeming information posted here, but since there was interest... :-P)