Female only BJJ classes, seminars and camps seem to be a controversial topic in some circles. What is their actual purpose and exactly why are they beneficial?
1. They attract women to the sport
Many people, not just women, feel uncomfortable with the idea of sitting on top of a stranger, especially if they have never done martial arts before. After the first few classes that awkwardness disappears, as we all realise that the goal of being so close is winning the match and there is no other context to it. Women’s classes provide an environment where this barrier can be broken. After a while most women begin training in the regular classes too.
2. You can train with people close to your size
At the beginning of your jiu jitsu journey it can be hard to get the most out of sparring with significantly bigger partners. They either smash you or are too gentle to make the roll optimal for both of you. The weight amplitudes in women’s classes are significantly smaller, for a 50 kg person that’s often a difference between sparring with opponents 0-30 kg heavier in women’s class or opponents 20-50 kg heavier in the mixed class. This means that by adding a women’s class to one’s training schedule the learning experience is expanded by training with people of all sizes.
Considering the relatively low numbers of women (especially higher belts) in most gyms, women only seminars and camps are also a great supplement to training. Sparring during such events is the closest thing to fighting experience in competition and facilitates the learning process.
This point is obvious. Just like Muslim men, Muslim women can’t train with the opposite sex. While men can be sure that there will be another male in every class, for women that is not always the case. They often have to message their club mates to make sure they will turn up or otherwise they’ll make the trip to the gym for nothing. Women’s classes ensure that these girls also get an opportunity to train.
In conclusion, women’s classes are not about excluding the men, but about growing the BJJ community :)