Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Brazilian jiujitsu for women

While at each competition I go to I see more and more female competitors they are still a pretty small group in comparison to the number of guys there. When I think back to my first experience of Brazilian jujitsu I guess it was a bit daunting soo i thought I would write a little guide for any girls thinking about or new to the sport.

1) Attire: Brazilian jiujitsui (BJJ) is a martial art that involves allot of grappling or wrestling (rolling in bjj terms). When you arrive to your first class you may not have a gi handy or want to commit to buying one as they can be quite expensive. Its important to wear big pants (underwear knickers lol) or cycling shorts 1)because less substantial pants are most likely going to get pretty uncomfortable and 2) you don't want any one to see your butt if your gi pants or shorts fall down! The same goes for your top half try and wear a decent sports bra and a rash guard style top.

The best place to buy rash guards is online, ebay have loads if your on a budget with prices starting from about 8 quid, while websites such as caged steel do some more expensive ones specifically for grappling and mixed martial arts. I really like the look of some of the stuff on and might order some if i ever have money again! Primark and sports world are great stockists of pants and cheap leggings to wear under your gi or shorts. For anyone looking to buy a gi for the first time I've heard that feral gi (search for it on ebay) are good quality and relativly cheap (38 quid)

2) Health and hygiene: Theres no denying it after a training session of brazilian jiujitsu be it your first class or just a particularly intense one, you are bound to feel short term muscle fatigue over the next few days. I find that the best way to combat this is with proper nutrition, some good supplements and a nice muscle rub cream. A couple of hours before training I try to eat a meal with a good amount of complex carbohydrates to give me plenty of energy for training. While some people like to cut carbs I find i always need a little immediately after training to replenish glycogen stores, maybe half a carb drink or some wholewheat toast with peanut butter and either a protein shake or a salad with chicken or fish. this is just what works for me atm as I'm not cutting weight. For anyone interested in learning more about nutrition watch this space will post a more detailed ramble about it soon. I get loads of bruises training, taking vitamin C supplement and using Arnica cream can reduce the look of bruises although this isn't something that really bothers me 2 much.

When considering long term health, the addition of supplements including gluscosamine sulphate or fish oils containing omega 3 and 6 to keep your joints healthy is important, as chronic over-use injuries can sometimes occur through excessive training. Your hair will probably start to suffer after a while so invest in some good conditioner and snag free hairbands to avoid it getting damaged, a multivitamin can also help to combat damage. (this is probably the most girly thing i will ever admit to being concerned about but hey I like my hair)
Its a good idea to have a stock of tiger balm, deep heat, pain killers, plasters, bandages, ice packs-in essence a first aid box- just in case.

Hygiene: try and ensure yourself and your gi are clean when training as this helps to prevent build up and spreading of germs and bacteria! I would recommend using an antibacterial body wash or wipes immediatley after training. I recently got an infected fingernail from not taking enough care so now will be stocking up on that dry antibacterial handwash stuff as it is probablly one of the lesser gross things you can get and it killed, when I was training in thailand some people were getting ringworm and other nasties so make sure and keep clean!!!

On that note, theres no such thing as nice nails after you've been training for a while (i still paint mine from time to time but they always get trashed in training) the best thing to do is keep the short otherwise they will break or even more painful get bent back, theres also the risk of scratching people.

These are all things that I've learnt while training bjj for the last year, as there is often a lack of girls training there is hardly ever anyone to offer advice to girls just starting out. While i guess that it maybe a bit embarrassing for some guys to point out, In the worlds of ray elbe my first grappling coach - yeah you can wear your thai shorts to train but make sure your not wearing no granny panties! -

Bjj is a great way to get fit, loose weight, and in my opinion the best martial art for females to learn. I have only been training about a year and met so many great people, and still get as excited about learning a new technique or pulling off a submission as I did in my first class, in fact i probably get more obsessed with the sport each class. So despite the some what scary first impression you may get of a room full of men grunting and rolling around on the floor, give it a go and stick with it and you'll be glad you did!


  1. Hair is an issue for most ladies. My hair was down to my lower back when I started and after about 9 months' training, the diameter of my ponytail had been cut in half (literally) and I lost clumps of hair every time I trained despite the numerous and varied attempts at braiding/plaiting it, tying it, putting it in a bun, etc. Finally about two months ago I cut it just below shoulder length and it's a much better length. I think if I had cut it that length at the start I would not have lost that much of the thickness because I think the sheer weight of the hair on the braid caused a lot of breakage. Now I just wear it in a ponytail and it stays out of the way just fine.

    I would disagree with wearing loose shorts or pants, as fingers and toes get caught in them easily and breaks make unhappy training partners. I think wearing bicycling shorts (of tight nylon/spandex) is far superior and less likely to get pulled down, as well.

  2. hey georgette, by pants i meant underwear lol think bridgette jones if you've seen that movie lol your right spandex is the way to go i usually wear leggings or just tight short sytle underwear under my gi. My hair is even worse now its summer its hella frizzy but usually stays out of the way alla samuria jack sytle :-)

  3. Cool, that advice still works five years later. You should do an updated version, now that you're an experienced purple belt :)

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