So Julia has a post about ladies, that time of the month, and jiu jitsu.
It’s a little awkward to write about, but it’s also a topic that I have been approached about a couple of times in the locker room actually, and even on the mat, as there are women who are very concerned about what to do in such a full contact sport. I am really trying to keep this mature and as possible, but just warning this may near dangerously close to the light hearted and almost silly. Mainly because as stressed as a lot of white belt jiu jitsu women worry about it, it’s really not a huge deal.
And for guys who are confused about this and wonder why women don’t seem to have this part of their bodies under control, ask yourself the same question the next time you get an unexpected erection in the middle of the day. Our bodies are a teeming mass of hormones that tends to run on a fairly regular schedule and react to a predictable set of responses, but there are times when the whole system seems to go haywire due to unexpected circumstances, such as a hiccup in hormones due to stressors, general health or environmental factors. The body is just that, a body; a group of organs that (other than the brain obviously) doesn’t understand not doing something due to social context. Just like sweating or blinking or several other functions. And if you can stop sweating on command congratulations I wish you the best of luck with your superpower. Please use it for good, not evil.
Anyway, my first response is: don’t worry, you’ll be fine. If you realize something is amiss, ask your teacher to use the bathroom according to whatever protocol your academy has, and I image they will let you go. Some have been touting the Diva cup, multi product/combo use has also been suggested, and I say it’s never a bad idea to keep some products in your locker or bag, for both yourself and that inevitable day someone asks for something. Really, in all the time that I have trained, there has only been one occasion when someone needed to change their gi pants: it was a guy (the instructor actually) who caught it, didn’t make a big deal out of it and mentioned that she should go to the bathroom. That’s it. Didn’t bring extra pants? Not always, but some students have extra uniform parts in their lockers, and academies sometimes keep “loaner gi’s” for prospects receiving an introductory introductory session with jiu jitsu. See if your academy has loaner gi’s as well, and if the occasion ever arises, clean yourself up, ask to borrow some loaner gi pants and make sure to take the pants home, wash them, and return them to the loaner gi collection. Not something that should be abused, but a possible last resort depending on how early on you are in the class.
If you are hesitant about going to class during that week, I would say attend. I agree with Julia that BJJ helps with cramps, but I have to admit sometimes I have skipped class due to a bone-tired feeling I seem to get early on sometimes. Do try to make it in, because you’ll be glad you did more often than not, but don’t force yourself if you know in your heart of hearts that you just want to play hooky for a day. More than a day I would say take your pain reliever of choice (such as Tylenol or Advil), try to make it in and roll around. You may be surprised at how much better you feel.
For other tips check out her post, and they also seem to have a pretty good discussion going on in the comments.