Representing Women in BJJ
As women in BJJ we have so many more resources and opportunities than we used to, however, it’s clear for us to see that the women in BJJ are not as well represented as they should be, given the how our numbers are continuing to grow. If you love this sport and everything it gives you back as much as I do then maybe like me you also want to see it grow from strength to strength and are wondering how you can be a part of that.
There are lots of ways you can contribute to the support and representation of women in BJJ throughout the UK.
So here are a few ideas.
Hold a women’s BJJ open mat
Get together with other BJJ women and just roll. Training with other women is great for your development but more than that it’s fun and you will meet some great people. Often an open mat is a nice introductory opportunity for women and girls considering BJJ but nervous about the first step. Set up your own women’s BJJ open mat or get in touch and we can arrange one together and we will even help you to promote it.
Share your pictures and tag your club on social media. Doing this keeps women in BJJ active in the social news feeds, tells new people about the classes and also helps people find your club. Do the same for competitions and open mats, let other women and girls see what’s out there waiting for them.
Take part in BJJ competitions
Masters BJJ women have seen a big growth and social push for women over 30,40, 50, even 60 years of age taking to the mats and competing in Brazilian Jiujitsu.
Competitor numbers can be a concern, I know you want to get the most out of each competition and ideally want to challenge yourself to a minimum number of fights in order to medal. But there will always be smaller brackets for women in BJJ especially in smaller competitions and if you don’t sign up then how will others know to join you? Don’t sit on the fence, do check the T&C’s for conditions for an empty bracket especially if there is no absolute. Oh and again, take pictures and tag them!
Become a BJJ referee
Competing is not for everyone and it’s not possible to do it all the time. Not everyone wants to compete or can be competition ready all the time, however, we can show support and representation at BJJ competitions by refereeing. The UKBJJA will now be running referee courses regularly before a number of key UKBJJA ranked or organised events. You can keep on top of all their events and courses here: Brazilian Jiujitsu Referee Courses
Whether it’s starting a women’s only BJJ class or getting the courage to teach more at your own gym, once you reach the right level in BJJ teaching is something that will benefit you as much as your students. There is a consensus that you must be a Brown belt or above in order to teach however if you are a coloured belt who would like to consider teaching then firstly speak to your coach, secondly research instructors insurance, CRB checks and BJJ safeguarding courses.
Talk to schools and local authorities or Lottery funding
If you are thinking of starting a BJJ class in schools, an ongoing schools initiative or one-off event for women or young girls there could be help and funding available form your local council. It will take some digging, but people are usually very helpful in pointing you in the right direction. All it takes is the confidence to ask.
So contact your local council about funding for kit for your club, as what training schemes are available for your students or instructors. Google your local authority and just have the courage to send that first email.
If you have contacts in a school, college or university that would be interested in having a class on site then start those discussions. If you are not qualified or insured to teach then be the facilitator in the conversation and ask your coach who can support you in setting this up. You will need an instructor who is fully CRB checked and has completed a safeguarding course. The UKBJJA can provide all of these.
Become a UKBJJA Member
We’ve heard about UKBJJA membership before, and we all know this membership offers insurance (or at least you do now) but there is so much more that they do as a governing body than just insurance.
Women in BJJ are hugely under-represented in terms of membership to the UKBJJA (through no fault other than we just need to join!) and this will trickle down into their voice and representation on key issues moving forward. Membership is a great way to support the future growth of the sport in the UK. As a non-profit organisation they are working hard forging relationships with schools and relative governing bodies. All their activity in this area gives credibility to the sport to prospective parents, practitioners and future partners which basically means more people to have fun with on the mats! It’s only £15 a year and you get the feel-good vibes that you are part of something bigger. You can join and find out full details of membership here: UKBJJA membership