Sunday, January 22, 2012

I think this officially offends me.

"I am too girly for Jiu-jitsu."

This is what about 75% of the women I approach about BJJ say to me when I invite them to come train.

Perhaps I am just getting tired of hearing it, but it is starting to sound like,

"I think you are an enormously manly freak, and I don't want you to sweat on me."

I know they are in no way referring to me, or the rest of the girls who train when they say they are too girly, but it is starting to sound like an accusation of a lack of being girly.

Consider this your personal news flash people.  I am a girly girl, and I also know how to choke you out.

Just because several time I week I don a gi, train hard and sweat my butt off does not mean I am not also a feminine, dress wearing, nail painting, making up loving, shoe collecting woman just like those of you who think you are too girly for BJJ.

It just means that I stand a chance of defending myself or my children if God forbid I ever need to.  It also means that I am stronger and more healthy than I've ever been in my entire life, and because of Jiu-jitsu I am better role model for my own girly daughter.  It also means that I have an excellent outlet for stress.  On top of that, Jiu-jitsu has helped me learn to to love me for who I am, and has shown me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.


 Yes, I am a grappler.

Yes, I am a girly girl.

They are not exclusive.  You can be both.

48 comments:

  1. Awesome!

    On Tuesday in the kids class one little girl asked me "Are we the only girls here?".

    "Seems like. Sometimes when I go to adult class I'm the only woman, I wonder why." - me

    Little sister (4 yr old) to the first girl: "Because ladies aren't strong enough to do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu."

    Me: "If they did BJJ they'd get stronger."

    Just about made my head explode. Of course the little girl was just repeating something she'd heard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I've taken to carrying around an old picture of me. 30 pounds heavier and considerably weaker, so when people tell me they are too out of shape/weak to try BJJ I can show them I was also at one point out of shape and weak. I don't know what some ladies are so afraid of.

      Delete
  2. Pretty well said, I liked it and think you make an excellent point.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. hehe =) It is a shame more women are willing to give it a try!

      Delete
  4. love. LOVE. (this comment being typed by gorgeous fingers with short nails, gel-manicured in 1980's pink). I am an over the top girly girl and proudly litter our master bedroom with clothes when putting together the perfectly off-kilter vintage ensemble. I love vintage.

    And by the way, both of you look fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dagney!!

      Vintage is wonderful!! I love it too!

      Delete
  5. You could not have stated it better! I am constantly trying to get girls to try Jiu Jitsu. Even if just to learn a little self defense. I offer up my private training sessions with my coach at my cost and I am willing to work with them. Still it is like pulling teeth. When a girl does come in, I do everything in my power to help her out.
    You also perfectly captured all of the reasons I do Jiu Jitsu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why it is so difficult to get women to try it. Admittedly I myself might not have tried it if I really knew what it was when I started, that being said, I am sure I would have at least had the decency to admit I was just flat scared instead of making a cop out excuse, like I am too girly. hehe

      Delete
  6. Well that's absurd. Jiu jitsu doesn't make you less girly, it makes you a more well-rounded person. I hate that generalization- that an interest in a sport, especially one that is full contact makes you less feminine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely and totally agree! When we started out women's class I knew I would find myself inviting more women than normal to come train, but I didn't realize just how many women think something like BJJ is out of the question JUST because they are female. It's bonkers!

      Delete
  7. I love your post. Both my daughter and I do bjj. She is incredibly girlie girl but just won a judo tournament over the weekend. That's what I love about her- she can manage both aspects. I am sad for her friends' moms who don't put their daughters in bjj cuz they need to be in gymnastics or dance. Little do they know.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter is only 4, but she already wants to train BJJ. She comes with me (Not to train, but to come and play with the other BJJ kids) to one or two classes a week, and we 'grapple' after class. She can't wait until she is old enough to train. She is also very girly especially for being 4.

      It makes me sad that so many women think gymnastics and dance are the only options for girls. I'm not saying they aren't great, but that they fail to consider the vast number of other 'boy' options. We have one girl in our Women's BJJ class who actually quit gymnastics to train BJJ. It pleases me to no end. haha!

      Delete
  8. Love it!!! So true... and I am like you, I really hate hearing that response. Yes, I am going to sweat on you, but you know what, maybe some of that sweat would be good for your girly butt, and just maybe you might sweat on me too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweating is great! hahaha! Granted I don't want someone else's sweat in my eye, but it peeves me when the girls who complain most about sweating are normally the same girls who in their next breath complain about not being able to drop a few pounds. News flash dear, sweat is how you lose those pounds.

      Delete
  9. Agreed! I love Jiu Jitsu. I also love wearing glittery makeup, wearing doodads in my hair, having pedicures, looking beautiful, and choking people out. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! Being a girl is fantastic, and so is being a girl who can choke the crap out of a dude. ha!

      Delete
  10. And what they are really saying is, "I'm just too scared to try something outside of my comfort zone." or maybe even, "I am just too lazy to do anything that seems more difficult than running on a treadmill." Their loss.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are exactly right. "I am too girly" is the easiest cop out excuse, and when people use annoying excuses like that, it is harder to help them see the light. If someone just said, I am afraid, I can assure them there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Their loss indeed.... and it makes me sad that some of my good friends won't even try it. It would help them to be healthier, and safer, and if they are at all like me, it simply makes me happier. I want other people to have those same things.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Apparently I'm also the girliest girl my boyfriend's ever seen training (he's done BJJ for 12-13 years). :P First time I've been called "girly", though... I guess it's all relative, LOL

    It does seem like they're mistaking the meaning of "girly". They probably think it means something like "weak, passive, and timid". Yeah, whatever. :-\

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're probably right. Maybe passive, weak or timid is what they mean by girly, however BJJ would help them to not be passive weak or timid. =)

      I just wish people could get over that first hump and actually give it a try before they write it off.

      Delete
  13. Why do you care so much if other girls don't like grappling as much as you?

    Sorry to break it to you - but "yes" most girls/women don't get the kick out of it that you do.
    So boo hoo, someone doesn't get your urge to want to wrap your limbs around another person's body and pulling a head into the pit of their crotch... THE HORRORS!!!!


    BJJ girls (and guys) have such fragile feelings. It's like if someone is enraptured with their 'sport' to the same extent that they are they get pissy. Just like you did: "I think this officially offends me".

    Another interesting tid-bit: why is it that most girls that I come across that are into fighting (bjj, judo, wrestling, kickboxing) have had a poor father or a non-existent father? It just seems to be a trend. Maybe something in the psychology of 'the female who yearns to fight'.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "It makes me sad that so many women think gymnastics and dance are the only options for girls."....

    Steph, you have got to be kidding me.
    Basketball, volleyball, track, cross country, tennis.

    Please, quit the pity trip. No offense.

    This is just some boo-hoo, butter up session.

    I have to re-iterate the point: what is the big deal if the VAST majority of women don't get their rocks off prancing around barefoot and wrapping their body around someone with the intention of "bringing the pain!!!!".

    Hell, most guys don't want to do this. If I go up to most guys and propose "say there, buddy.... want to put on robes, roll around on the ground a bit, and wrap our legs around each other?" They'll, thankfully so, say "no, I'm quite good never doing that".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tim Soup.
      You said a lot, so I’ll just try to address what you said instead of going off on tangents like I normally do.

      Why do I care so much if other girls don’t want to grapple? I personally, find BJJ to be deeply fulfilling and know without a doubt that Jiu-jitsu has changed my life for the better. I would absolutely LOVE it if the other women I know trained and found the same gratification that I do. I am very passionate about BJJ, I am not sorry if I want to share the joy that I have found with the other women in my life. For the record, the majority of the women who I have invited to train, who have come to a class very much enjoyed it. I might be wrong here, but the way you describe grappling leads me to believe you have never done it. I have never once wrapped my legs around someone with the intent to ‘bring the pain’. Jiu-jitsu is actually referred to as The Gentle Art.

      I am not offended that people don’t want to train Jiu-jitsu, what offends me is the implication that you cannot be girly and grapple, as I am do both of those things. And like I said, I am sure I am just reading into what they mean.

      As for your interesting tidbit, my father is an amazing man, great father and wonderful grandfather to my children. I guess I fall outside the box on most of the female martial artists that you know, and actually every other woman who trains with me at Fabio’s now that I think about it. The handful of women who train in my gym bring in more proud father’s to belt graduations and competitions, then the 200+ men combined.


      Regarding the quote in your second comment, I agree with you, and that was my point. Perhaps I should have spelled it out, but dance and gymnastics are the only two things I have personally heard that other women want their daughters to be active in.

      And, this blog was not at all a boo-hoo pity trip. If anything it was a power trip. I am proud of myself for training, and I very much enjoy bring a girly girl, and generally wanted to inform everyone who thinks you cannot be a girly grapple that they are wrong.

      Finally, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog and making a comment, but since this is my blog, sadly, it is going to be filled with my opinions and my perspective on the world and the people in it. If you don’t like them, you are absolutely more than welcome to not read them. =)

      Oh, and it is Stephanie, not Steph. =)

      Delete
  15. Hey, Stephanie,
    After this post and my niece's "Talent" show, I've been thinking a lot about femininity. If I come up with anything interesting, I'll post about it. But most likely, I'll just let it simmer and burn. e.g., why is it considered "feminine" for 8-year old girls to dress scantily and gyrate to sexualized lyrics (while parents watch and "laugh" as if "that's so cute")? Agghhhh don't get me started...thoughts not solidified!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel the exact same way. My undying love for BJJ aside, I will never put my daughter in dance classes, or at least, I will not let her take part in their recitals. The very last thing I want to teach my daughter is that is is cute/acceptable/funny to get half naked and shake her tiny 4 year old body to a room full of people.

      It boggles my mind that this is somehow appropriate these days. No thank you very much.

      I am in no way saying that dancing is bad, but the outfits they put kids in these days is shameful at best. Just like the padded bathing suit tops in the children's department... but I won't go off on that rant right now. lol

      Delete
  16. "Why do I care so much if other girls don’t want to grapple? I personally, find BJJ to be deeply fulfilling and know without a doubt that Jiu-jitsu has changed my life for the better."

    Well that's great for you. But still, alot of the comments on here are loaded with some kind of shock at the audacity that others don't dig grappling.
    Heck, there was the comment you made that you were snickering to yourself that some girl ditched gymnastics for bjj.

    But here's something you might not like - it's not a feminine thing for a lady to want to grapple with other women and men. It's just not. And to highlight further that this sentiment is the norm - look at this blog post of yours.
    Women or men, there is something twisted in having your (or anyone's) hobby revolve around clever ways to bring pain on another person's body. To use your body as the means, via wrapping limbs around in an intimate manner, to hurt another person.
    Justify it as you wish - but a rose by any other name.... "But it's primarily for self-defense". The best self-defense would not engaging. I can say with certainty that the majority of any scrap you could potentially get in would be avoided by going in the opposite direction. And more practically - it's not as if lecherous prowlers wait to pounce around every winding street corner. Like buying a panzer tank.... just in case.

    Shark Girl commented:
    "why is it considered "feminine" for 8-year old girls to dress scantily and gyrate to sexualized lyrics"
    As if the distinction lies between doing bjj or gyrating to crappy music.
    But I'll play along - at least 'gyrating to crappy music' can be done in isolation.
    You think wrapping thighs around a live person is more tame? "It's a great workout".... sure, I bet there exists pre-teens, teens who justify dry humping with the same rationale.


    But anyway - is it feminine to want to grapple in such a manner? Of course not. Hell, in a sane world it wouldn't even be masculine.
    The object of the is solely to hurt another person. Nothing more, nothing less. We all know it can't be for physical fitness - Hell, blame the Gracies (in more ways than one) because they clearly let the cat out of the bag when they said that bjj was for the physical unfit. That with these tools you could take someone more athletic, stronger than you.


    PEACE!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello again Tim.

      I am actually not going to take too much time to respond to your comment. You are stating your close minded opinions as fact and honestly I find that to be annoying. Especially considering the opinions you are stating regard grappling as you clearly do not grapple.

      Delete
    2. "You think wrapping thighs around a live person is more tame?"

      Now you are equating femininity with tameness. I think we have different ideas of what it means to be feminine and what it means to be a woman. I don't disagree that there is an aggressive aspect to BJJ. It's totally aggressive. But, as you point out with your "tame" comment, most cultures reward women for being docile, not aggressive. But that does not mean that women are not aggressive. We certainly are! Try going after a woman's child and you will see aggressive! "Feminine" in the way most cultures describe it? No, but definitely a natural, programmed response.
      IMHO, BJJ has let me access a part of me that the larger society wants to pretend doesn't exist. That is what spoke to me in Stephanie's post.

      Delete
    3. I wish I had a like button for this. =)

      Delete
    4. sounds like someone got beat up by a girl.

      Delete
  17. Whoops...
    one more:

    "I have never once wrapped my legs around someone with the intent to ‘bring the pain’. Jiu-jitsu is actually referred to as The Gentle Art."

    Incorrectly referred to as "The Gentle Art". A semantic ploy doesn't negate the essence of the form. I could refer to punching someone in the face as "The Peaceful Way of Bringing About Agreement". I guess it's simply a matter of how Peaceful and Agreement are contorted to fit the ideology.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incorrectly in, again, your opinion.

      Delete
  18. @Tim: I'm another girl in BJJ, and my father is an absolutely wonderful dad, and I'm very close to him. He was also my biggest supporter when I started BJJ. When I was 12. So... sorry, I think your theory is crap.

    I don't think the purpose of this was to be a pity post. To me, this sounds like a major frustration I have too-- I can be feminine and still love BJJ. It's a frustration about how wrapped up a woman's general identity is in being gentle and calm and all the things a fighter isn't. This is BS. I should be able to be a girl and also do BJJ. I should be able to lift heavy things and still be a girl. It's kind of disingenuous for you to come on to someone else's blog and discount her experiences because yours don't line up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear of another strong father figure! Great dads are not as common as they should be, and thanks for the support!

      Delete
  19. Wow! Bring the drama! It's interesting to me that someone came to a jiu jitsu blog who has never done jiu jitsu and starts spouting off truths about it. >_< Oh, and make that a man who doesn't do jiu jitsu and is spouting off truths about women who do jiu jitsu. I'm seriously baffled.

    I also agree that this did not come across as a pity post. Nor whining. It sounded like you were frustrated by something you hear all the time, and you felt offended because if you took their arguments and applied them to you (they are too girlie to do BJJ therefore women who do BJJ are not girlie) then they are also making a statement about you and who you are. That's absolutely valid.

    Personally, I'm in jiu jitsu because I love the sport. I love the coordination it gives me, that I've lost so much weight because of it, and all the details that mean the difference between a white belt and a black belt.

    However, I will bite on this one point:

    "Women or men, there is something twisted in having your (or anyone's) hobby revolve around clever ways to bring pain on another person's body. To use your body as the means, via wrapping limbs around in an intimate manner, to hurt another person.
    Justify it as you wish - but a rose by any other name.... "But it's primarily for self-defense". The best self-defense would not engaging. I can say with certainty that the majority of any scrap you could potentially get in would be avoided by going in the opposite direction. And more practically - it's not as if lecherous prowlers wait to pounce around every winding street corner. Like buying a panzer tank.... just in case."

    According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, 77% of rapes are committed by non-strangers. http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32306

    What does this mean? This may be someone I'm dating, someone I'm friends with, a coworker, etc. Now, in general, if I know someone, I'm going to be less likely to want to inflict violence on them - more specifically, I'm not likely going to gouge their eyes out, punch them in the throat as hard as I can, etc. However, what jiu jitsu DOES teach me is how to deal with someone who is between my legs. I can flip them off me, I can make them go to sleep, or I can HOLD an armbar or the like until they agree to stop doing something. In other words, I'm dealing with a not-unlikely scenario. Again, according to the website, "Every year, an estimated one woman in eight in college is raped and in 85% of those assaults the women knew their attacker (Texas Woman's University, 2007)."

    I would put forth that I hope EVERY woman who goes to college learns jiu jitsu, because most self defense classes teach you how to inflict VIOLENCE on your attacker - kicking, punching, biting, etc. If you're with someone who is not VIOLENTLY raping you, it might feel mentally hard to respond violently, however, choking them until they fall asleep then running out of there, or flipping them off you or holding an armbar until they agree to stop - that's not responding VIOLENTLY.

    Unrelated: my father is active in my life. I love him dearly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Thanks JiuJiu!! Great response!

      Delete
  20. I LOVE this article! Can I quote you? I am 40, just picked up bjj, and am also now in the best shape of my life. I have one very girly 5 yr old who is a NAGA champion, one incredibly shy, sweet 9 yr old daughter who can lay a mean guillotine on you if you leave your neck open, and one not so girly but just as feminine 10 yr old daughter who is a 5 time NAGA Champion and will throw on a RNC without a second thought. We are women, and we love Jiu-Jitsu!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quote away! And that is awesome!! A family full of female grapplers! You must be a proud mommy!

      Delete
  21. Wow, that is fantastic Jen, I wish I could get my kids into it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @Tim - I am also another bjj girl with an awesome dad. i'm actually a daddy's girl, so your theory on girls who do combat sports, etc. have daddy issues isn't true at all. there's also a few guys who come with their kids (daughters) and do their own bjj classes.
    also, i don't think the blogger (stephanie) posted this blog in the way that you're reacting to it. i think it was just out of frustration that the only reasons other women were giving were that "its not girly enough", which i also think is a lame excuse. but then again it is my opinion.

    ReplyDelete