After my first grading in Jiu-Jitsu, my sensei said to me “how do you know a Jiu-Jitsu man?” Those of us who had just graded stood at attention with no answer, so he told us “you don’t”.
What he was telling us that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or any other school of Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone and its students and even masters don’t fit any particular template or have any particular look.
So when you see the fighters in the UFC or any other MMA event and their size and conditioning, you don’t need to give up or feel like you don’t have what it takes to study and master Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
It is because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is based on physics, strategy, and technique and not brute strength. The techniques are equally effective when practiced by men women and children, and can really level the playing field for people who lack size or strength.
Women in particular might be intimidated by the thought of training, especially grappling, with people who are much bigger and more powerful than they are. Or they may be afraid they would feel out of place if they weren’t many other women training.
When I was working on my black belt, a girl came to train at our club. She was a college freshman and just about to finish her black belt in Taekwondo. Her Taekwondo coach told her he wanted her to come study the all of the ground work and throws with our club before he would award it to her.
One member of the club thought it was funny, a woman, a girl really, doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with us. Until she kicked him; he had an instant crush that we had to break him of.
But just like any good school or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with quality students and instructors, for example Peak Performance Martial Arts in Keller, Texas, we made her feel comfortable and treated her with respect. She quickly became one of our best, and rarely missed a training.
I also had the privilege of training with a retired MI6 agent (yes like James Bond). But a decade’s retirement saw him at 55 years old with his paunch swollen until he looked like a walking globe. He came to train with us to try and save his failing heart and crumbling legs.
The warm ups would wear him out and he often had to stop in the middle, but again like any good school of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we congratulated him on what he had been able to do and didn’t push him to do more than he was comfortable with. I had to move away for a while, but when I returned two years later I couldn’t recognize him. I had flown back for Sensei’s birthday party, and thought I was introducing myself to a new student. He said “it’s great to see you again”, then I realized who he was and responded “where’s the rest of you?”
What I’m trying to say is that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great way for anyone, regardless of age, sex, or physical condition, to build confidence, strength and improve their lives.