Womens Open Mats and Womens Only Classes are becoming increasingly more popular and available to a wider audience around the globe. Women are coming together to create a safe space for all to enjoy Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training. But why is having Womens only classes or open mats so important?
Personally, I think having the ability to build a network of females in your local community is a huge asset. Whether you are new to the sport or to the area, or you have been doing BJJ for a long time, having a support network around you of likeminded strong women is a great oppurtunity to be in. Many women train at gyms with small numbers of females, if any and this can be quite daunting. However, knowing that once a month you can meet up with a group of ladies to train from a variety of gyms gets you through the hard training sessions.
At open mats there is no politics between academies. Whoever the host is should make sure it is a safe space to express any concerns, interests, or questions that can’t be taken care of by your instructors. You can go to these ladies and recieve the most truthful and relateable answers to your questions.
Most women in BJJ are used to training within a male dominanted academy, however open mats provide an opportunity for women to build bonds between gyms with great training partners of a more equal size. This can help you greatly in the future when preparing for competitions or even at the competitions, knowing other women can make the day alot more enjoyable.
Womens open mats are for any experience, age, rank or affiliation. They are a chance for women to build confidence, self-esteem, strength and the motivation to become a better you. With inspirational women supporting eachother to become a network of successful women.
When I started Jiu-Jitsu over 5 years ago now, womens open mats were not common. I didn’t actually attend one until a couple of years ago in Bristol. Before that I had been lucky enough to train in academies which had a few women training or which started a womens only class. I still remember going to my first womens only open mat, I was nervous even though I was a blue belt at the time. I was worried if the other women would like me or would accept my way of training. I knew a few of the ladies their already which helped, but there was still lots of new faces to learn. As soon as I stepped on the mats my nerves rushed away, as I was welcomed by the group into a open friendly drilling and sparring session. We talked and laughed alot, as well as getting some jiu-jitsu in there too!
Female only classes are great for many reasons, whether its to build confidence in a male-dominated sport, personal reasons related to prior trauma, cultural reasons, or for personal preference to find better matched training partners of a similar weight or abilty. What ever your reason Womens Only Classes should be available to you. If you are struggling to find a womens only class or open mat in your area I am happy to help. If you just send me a message, I will send you in the right direction. Most major cities have their own Womens Open Mat which may change venue each time as different academies take turns in hosting the event. The best way to find out about these events is through their Facebook pages.
I think womens open mats are great for all levels of ability, as a complete newbie it could act as a gateway into the sport. Or as a competitive athlete, it is a way to find more competitive women to train with. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thank you for reading.