Class material was the same as in male-dominated dojos — the difference wasn’t what was taught but how. In your typical martial art class they begin by tearing the ego down, but in women-only classes you build the ego up — not in a “you look great” kind of way, but something more like “yes, your doing great!”
We have come a long way since the days when we were not welcome in class and most schools have “Americanized” martial arts for men and women, building our students up instead of crushing their ego, Jiu Jitsu does that on its own.
The new ways of teaching is great, increasing the numbers of students staying but, sometimes this causing students to forget Jiu Jitsu IS a martial art where a certain level of respect, hard work, frustration and having your ego crushed.
Being a female in a male dominated sport, I am happy to say that I don’t feel like I get any special treatment. I come to class prepared to work, roll with the guys, push my training parters and get my butt kicked...a lot!
After almost 8 years of training and seeing a huge growth of women in the sport, which is awesome, I still see many glimpses of why men didn’t want us:
Period talk (my husband just loves this one)
“I can’t do that one because I have cramps” etc...
“I only want to go with girls”
“He’s too strong”
Yes....I have been guilty of some of these things too.
It’s ok to have fun and enjoy Jiu Jitsu but, we need to remember this IS a martial art.
There will always be men who are uncomfortable training with us, men who will be annoyed with our “girl talk” and giggles.
So...the moral of the story is: have fun and enjoy training but, if we want to be taken seriously, be aware of the “Martial Arts” aspect. Have respect, focus and train hard!