Navigating the male-dominated world of Jiu-Jitsu as a woman

Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that originated in Japan, and emphasizes grappling and ground fighting techniques. It is often referred to as the “gentle art” because it does not require the use of striking techniques. Despite its reputation for being a gentle art, Jiu-jitsu is a highly competitive sport, and is dominated by men. Women who practice Jiu-jitsu face many unique challenges, from lack of representation to gender-based stereotypes. In this article, we will explore the history of women in Jiu-jitsu, the challenges they face, and the strategies they can use to overcome the gender gap. We will also discuss the benefits of practicing Jiu-jitsu as a woman, and highlight some inspiring success stories.

Women have been practicing Jiu-jitsu for many years, but have been largely overlooked in the mainstream. In the early days, women were primarily relegated to teaching roles, while men were allowed to compete in tournaments. However, in recent years, there has been a shift towards gender equality in Jiu-jitsu, with women being increasingly represented in competitions and tournaments.

Despite the recent progress, there are still many challenges that women face in Jiu-jitsu. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of representation. Many tournaments and competitions are still dominated by men, and women often feel overlooked and undervalued. In addition, women are often subject to gender-based stereotypes, such as being seen as “less capable” or “less serious” about their training. Women also report feeling unsupported in the Jiu-jitsu community, as there are often very few female coaches or mentors. Lastly, women often report feeling unwelcome in certain gyms, as some spaces are not designed with the female body in mind.

In order to overcome the gender gap in Jiu-jitsu, women can take several steps to build their confidence and assert their presence in the sport. One of the most important steps is to establish an identity. Women should take the time to define who they are as a practitioner and make their presence known in the Jiu-jitsu community. It is also important to prioritize self-care, as training can be physically and mentally demanding. Women should also focus on developing resilience, as this will help them to stay focused and motivated in the face of challenges. Finding a mentor or coach who can provide guidance and support is also essential. Lastly, it is important to speak up and make your voice heard, as this helps to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all practitioners.

Practicing Jiu-jitsu as a woman has many benefits. It can help to increase self-confidence, as women learn to trust in their own abilities and rely on their own strength. Physically, women can benefit from increased strength and endurance. Mentally, Jiu-jitsu can be a great way to manage stress and improve overall mental health. Finally, there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering this martial art.

There are many inspiring success stories of women who have achieved greatness in the world of Jiu-jitsu. One example is Livia Gluchowska, a black belt and two-time world champion who is also an advocate for women in the sport. Another example is Tayane Porfirio, a black belt who has won multiple world championships and is a role model for young women in the sport. Finally, there is Mackenzie Dern, a black belt and six-time world champion who is a pioneer in the sport and an advocate for women’s empowerment.

Navigating the male-dominated world of Jiu-jitsu as a woman can be a difficult and daunting task. However, with determination and perseverance, women can overcome the gender gap and reap the many benefits that come with mastering this martial art. Women should take the time to establish their identity, prioritize self-care, find a mentor, and speak up in order to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all practitioners. By doing so, they can become successful competitors and role models for young women in the sport.


Gluchowska, L. (2018, October 03). How Livia Gluchowska is Killing it in the World of Jiu-Jitsu. Retrieved from

Porfírio, T. (2020, July 21). Tayane Porfírio – The Phenomenon of Women’s Jiu-Jitsu. Retrieved from

Dern, M. (2020, April 25). Mackenzie Dern: The Pioneer of Women’s Jiu-Jitsu. Retrieved from

Questions and Answers

Can Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu help me feel safe and empowered?

Absolutely! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an awesome way for women to learn how to protect themselves, and it can be incredibly empowering. Not only will you learn how to defend yourself, but you’ll also gain physical strength, confidence, and a newfound sense of safety.

What’s the *cutest* body type for jiu jitsu?

Why, an Ectomorph body type of course! Ectomorphs are super cute and perfect for jiu jitsu!

Is 40 a bit too late to start learning jiu jitsu?

Not at all! We’ve seen so many examples of martial artists who started learning jiu jitsu in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s. For example, the famous chef Anthony Bourdain started training when he was 58 years old! So definitely not – you’re never too old to start learning!

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