photo by Joe Vasquez PhotographyAs a BJJ practitioner, I always try to convince all my girlfriends to try out jiu-jitsu. Aside from being a great form of exercise, I think it is an incredibly beneficial skill set for all women to have. However, my attempts are often met with a plethora of reservations that I’m sure most women have when they consider training jiu-jitsu. So, if you’re new, or even if you’re not, here’s my girls guide to surviving jiu-jitsu.
When it’s “that time of the month”
When I was in middle school, I didn’t want to participate in gym class when I had my period, let alone wrestle a man. I wanted to sit on the couch and not move, and that’s okay. I think it’s important to know your body, to be kind to it, and give it what it needs. I suggest being prepared, keeping menstrual supplies in your gym bag, and maybe swapping out the white gi for a different color this week.
When to eat before training
Nobody wants to be extremely full and bloated and shrimp down a mat. I always try to eat a healthy meal that I know will provide a lot of energy about an hour before training. This gives me time to digest.
Jiu-jitsu is incredibly sucho close contact and there’s a lot to consider when going into training. Most hygiene tips seem like no-brainers. Wash your gi after every training session, shower, clip your nails etc. I always like having my nails done, but when training regularly I’ll have my nail tech cut them much shorter, and I find that gel or dip polish strengthens them so they don’t break as much during training.
Don’t get discouraged
It’s really easy to get discouraged in jiu-jitsu, especially in the beginning. Remember that just by simply showing up, you are leaps ahead of others. As a woman, I’ve gotten discouraged thinking I’ll never be as strong as my male counterparts. Remembering the fundamentals, that jiu-jitsu is heavily based on leverage, and was designed for the smaller opponent, has helped me tremendously.
I have long, thick hair that I style almost every day, and then it gets ripped out at jiu jitsu. The first several months were trial and error: braids, high ponytail, fishtail… I tried it all. You have to find what works for you and your hair type, and it may be re-adjusting it throughout class. It’s just part of training and you’ll get used to it! There’s also resources and jiu-jitsu hairstyles for women that you can look up.
Victoria is a blue belt and has been training jiu-jitsu for almost four years. She is a student, and enjoys traveling, writing and training whenever she can. When she’s not on the mats or at the beach Victoria enjoys spending time with close friends and is always looking for exciting new experiences.