Brazillian Jiu Jitsu – Fight like a girl

Empowerment, confidence, lifestyle – why women should consider taking Jiu Jitsu into their routine.
You are a woman making your way through the city in the twilight hours and the street is eerily quiet to the point that you can only hear the clunk of your high heels, when you suddenly realise the man not too many paces behind you was at the same distance when you left the Palace 15 minutes ago.
It was just a coincidence and you’re home before you know it – Did this encounter cause you to lose sleep? not a chance, you were cautious, but far from afraid.

One of the goals you hoped to achieve when you signed yourself up for your first BJJ class last year was to eliminate this fear through being equipped with the knowledge to choke a potential attacker into a red-faced state of unconsciousness that may make him reconsider thinking your gender is a collective of defenseless targets.

Karolina who trains with Wild Geese BJJ on Pearse Street, Dublin, is one of the growing numbers of women in Ireland to enjoy this confidence in her own abilities, where she has been battle tested in a safe environment with fellow BJJ students, most of which are men.

Going Through the Motions Photo Credit- Vini Cardaso
Karolina and Sebastian sparring – Photo Credit: Vini Cardaso
What once looked like a brutal excuse for men to congregate and strangle each other has become her routine for 3 nights per week since October 2013, and has become her second home.

“I started training with Abnel and Andre (trainers) 3 years ago with my husband, i was 31 at the time which may seem an odd age to begin a sport, but one of the best aspects of BJJ is its’ accessibility and diverse age groups that are in each gym.”

“I can understand why many women would be hesitant to join as it is a sport dominated by males, but i have been seeing more and more new female faces at competitions around the country in the last few years – so don’t be afraid to try something new, it’s just exercise where as a bonus you learn to kick some ass.”

Karolina's first tournament - Photo Credit - Sebastian Werzbinski
Karolina’s first tournament (Far Right)- Photo Credit – Sebastian Werzbinski

BJJ’s main principle is to focus on the perfection of technique through constant practice to the point where any trained student may submit a larger/stronger opponent through these techniques that aim to use strength/weight against the attacker., which obviously makes sense for women.

According to The Union Of Students Ireland (2015 study), 1 in 12 female students had been victim to rape or attempted rape and 38% of these cases were said to have been reoccurring several times per case.

Karolina is an advocate that every parent should encourage their children, particularly parents of young girls, to join any of the elite martial arts like Muay Thai or BJJ, which will birth a positive role model and advocate of female strength – physically and mentally.

Self-preservation being the common promotion tool used by most gyms, there is a lighter aspect to joining up regardless of gender, size, or motives.

 

Gfteam - Photo Credit: Vini Cardaso
Gfteam at European championships 2014 – Photo Credit: Vini Cardaso

“I traveled to Portugal twice for European Championship tournaments, one year to support my husband and I competed the next year where I won a silver medal, it was one of my proudest moments.”

The countless testimonies of BJJ students who say they have found a way to centre themselves through training, become happier people, even found love, is astounding.

Travelling , learning new skills, self confidence, healthy lifestyle , sisterhood, fraternity, life lessons – these are a few of the concepts that stuck with me after chatting with some of the people at Wild Geese BJJ.

““I am a shark, the ground is my ocean, and most people don’t know how to swim.”
Jean Jacques Machado – Brazillian Jiu Jitsu expert.

– Here’s Abnel of Wild Geese BJJ doing  giving a tour of his gym and an insight into the sport.