Tag Archives: women’s bjj

The Appeal of IBJJF Tournaments for Women in BJJ

It was an interesting question posed on social media- they expressed frustration regarding their impression that in order to compete against more women, they had to sign up for an IBJJF tournament, which let’s be honest costs a lot of money. They person expressed frustration that they had to drive for a longer period of time and hand out more money than say going to a smaller tournament closer to home, and asked why so many women chose to sign up for IBJJF tournaments. And her question is totally reasonable: it does seem a little silly to pay over 100 dollars to drive 2 to 3 hours to wait another couple of hours to fight someone that may potentially train like, 45 minutes away from you and the two of you could have duked it out at a local tourney for 60 bucks.

There are a couple of factors that play into this: first and foremost, it’s one of the better known tournament organizations, and whether anyone likes it or not, it’s pretty much a gold standard when it comes to gi competitions, especially when it comes to their rule set. From what I can tell a number of other tournament organizations use IBJJF’s rule set as their own, so walking in you should have a good handle on what’s allowed. Some commented on this person’s question stating that IBJJF is one of the best run tournaments out there. I think when it comes to the bigger tournaments- Pans, Worlds, etc. they more or less smoothly, but there have definitely been times where they have messed: the displays shorted out, during this past Pans there was a mess up in their bracketing and scheduling software and a bunch of us who were supposed to fight on a Saturday thought our divisions were pushed up to a Friday night (we found this out after dinner 45 minutes away from the venue and the divisions were supposed to “start” in 30 minutes, so we were pretty much all freaking out to some degree until we were able to get a rep on the phone to assure us it was a mistake), there was one time where one of our girls was basically forgotten in the bull pen when her competitor didn’t show up and she was basically left there waaaaay too long- they are by no means a perfect organization, but they get it right more times than they get it wrong.

Also, from what I can tell it’s one of the first tournament organizations that really set out from just the local scene and decided to extend their reach- it’s sort of like the GoPuff of the industry: for anyone who may not be aware of what go puff may be, it’s basically a convenience store on wheels. Say it’s late at night and you suddenly fall ill and need some pepto bismal, or maybe you’ve gotten the munchies due to whatever shenanigans you’re up to and could really go for some junk food, but you’re all out! You log into the app, pick out your items and go puff will deliver those items to your door.

There are companies that are now trying to recreate that service and push into that market space, but since (as far as I know) GoPuff was the first to offer this service, so it has the brand recognition and had a chance to establish its presence as the main service. And even if they weren’t the first, IBJJF is possibly of the longest running and, to my knowledge, still expanding tournament organizations out there.

So you have a recognizable, long running tournament with a clearly established and well known rule set- that frankly you know top competitors compete in, and are motivated to do so now because of the points system they recently implemented as a qualifier for some of their larger tournaments…. it’s no wonder that women tend to gravitate toward those tournaments. It would be nice to see more women in local tournaments, but really I’m happy to see women competing anywhere, and if that’s at an IBJJF tournament, so be it.

Will there be a change? Honestly, probably not. There are a good deal of tournament organizations out there, but unless they can find a way to top IBJJF’s popularity in the market- maybe by specifically reaching out to women? It will probably remain the same.

If there’s another tournament organization that you would love to see take off, please by all means let me know. Otherwise, have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

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Jiu Jitsu Needs You

I think most, if not all of us walk around with a little doubt as to whether or not we are the right “fit” for jiu jitsu. We watch video clips of amazing competitors and their fantastic submissions, we see images of top level competitors on our social media feeds- there is enough content out there to make us second guess if we are actually a right fit for the sport. This can also come up in more direct ways- going over a technique in class that maybe you just don’t feel you are the right fit for in terms of body type. Your arms and legs are too long/short, you’re not flexible enough, so one and so forth.

We know that (for most of us) we need jiu jitsu: it makes us feel good, it engages us, it creates a family and a sense of camaraderie- it pushes us, takes us out of our comfort zone and usually as a result we are the better for it.

But believe it or not, jiu jitsu needs you too. Yes, you. You, with the short little arms and legs. You, the Master 5 heavy weight. You, the white belt that may be 110 pounds after a large meal. Jiu jitsu needs people of different sizes, heights, abilities. And not just because teachers need their mats filled with students sort of need- when you think about it, the inclusion of so many people with so many body types going against one another could be one of the one of the things that promotes evolution in the sport. Someone comes up with a technique that works best for them because as someone with a particular body going against someone else who can or cannot do something, and so they begin to use it, and then it becomes popular among the rest of the community.

I always like to say jiu jitsu is for every body, but not for everybody, and I still definitely believe that. It’s a sport that has more to do with grit, ingenuity, and creative problem solving then being a certain age, height or weight or having a certain range of abilities. And more importantly, it’s a sport/martial art that needs that sort of variety to keep it going, to keep evolving as time goes on. So keep in mind even though you may wonder if you are the right “fit” for the sport, make no mistake- jiu jitsu needs you.

Just some food for thought- have a great day everyone!

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You Can Compete Against Someone and Still be Friends with Them

I think this is something we all know, but not really something we talk about in jiu jitsu. I’ve had conversations with other jiu jitsu women where this is sometimes the elephant in the room that’s danced around, and I think that it’s time we explicitly state it.

You can compete against someone and still not only have the upmost respect for that person, but you can in fact be friends with them.

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There are plenty of other women in the jiu jitsu community that I have competed against, and regardless of winning or losing I am always thrilled to see them at the next tournament. And they seem pretty happy to see me as well! We chat, talk about how things are going, so on and so forth.

While the sport is growing in popularity, it is still relatively a small sport. Particularly as you gain more rank, you’ll see more and more of the same faces at tournaments, the same people standing across from you to shake your hand to start a match, the same smiles on the podium as you sit there and wait for that one guy to get out of the photographer’s way so you can just take the damn picture… It seems kind of silly to see someone a bajillion times (granted, at one specific function, but still), and not at the very least exchange a few pleasantries.

Anyway, my point being that there are times where it seems to be a bit awkward: you’re not sure if someone is willing to extend their hand in friendship after a match. And some won’t, if we’re being totally honest. But more often than not they will, and to me that’s also part of what competing is all about: of course the main purpose is to step on the mat and do your best with the intent of winning, but win or lose it’s also about meeting new people and having a chance to connect with other people in the sport.

Just some thoughts for today: have a great day everyone!

 

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Hillary VanOrnum Opening Her Own BJJ Academy- Unicorn Jiu Jitsu!

Hi everyone! This is going to be super quick, but just wanted to share how Hillary VanOrnum is opening her own academy with her husband and brother in Portland!

I met Hillary at Master Worlds…. two years ago(?) She’s a lovely person and I’m really excited for her and her new business venture!

Check out their site: Unicorn Jiu Jitsu and have a great day everyone!

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Back from a Long Writing Hiatus…

Oh man, it’s been a minute… Coming back and writing is something I’ve thought about often, but just haven’t had the chance due to life and such.

Actually, I’m not being totally honest: there was also someone that was connected to my social media accounts that at the time I couldn’t block or unfollow and didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything with, and so in response I withdrew a lot from social media. Anyway, that person is pretty much no longer in my life, so they are no longer on my social media and I’m slowly coming back around to posting stuff online again. I hate admitting when things are not ok, but it also doesn’t feel honest to not address that part of the whole thing.

Anyway a (somewhat) quick recap of the more interesting things that have happened over the past… goodness, 9 months? Dang….

  • Went to Costa Rica: It’s a beautiful place with some amazing beaches, rainforests and volcanoes: however, a lot of people will tell you that ‘everyone there speaks English’. MOST speak English, but not everyone. I think every time I failed to say something in Spanish, somewhere in the world my old high school Spanish teacher felt a twinge of sadness (…Lo siento?). I would still highly recommend visiting.

 

  •  Training, training, and trained some more.
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And we’re in a new space- with huge windows!

  • Competed in a couple of tournaments: didn’t really do anything amazing at any of them, but that’s just fine. I did the best that I could at the time, and I’m ok with that. I don’t really dwell on “could have, should have, would have” scenarios when it comes to tournaments and instead prefer to look ahead to the next challenge. Made some friends along the way, which is also great fun and something I always enjoy.
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Competed against Emily Kwok! Lovely person to lose to….

  • Co-taught my first seminar! I was asked by Girls in Gis a few months ago to go through a little mini teaching session with another black belt in the area, Jen Russell. I didn’t really teach anything super cool, but everyone seemed to have fun, which is really more of the point.

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So anyway, that’s more or less a quick recap of what’s been happening over the past several months. I’m hoping to get back into a more regular posting schedule- I may even try to redesign the look of this blog (whaaaaaat…). It’s been what, 8 or 9 years, at least? Probably time for a little- er, a lot, rather- sprucing up.

Anyhoo, for anyone who still checks in now and again to read this, let me know what you’ve been up to, and see you later!

 

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Interesting Article on Mackenzie Dern

Hey Everyone,

Sport 360 has an interesting article on Mackenzie Dern, her decision to start a career in MMA, among other things.

Check it out, let me know what you think- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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Bio for Gazzy Parman on BJJ Heroes

I’l be honest, I don’t know the back story of a lot of the big name grapplers, male or female, so it’s always nice to see the bios of some big names on the site BJJ Heroes.

They recently did one for Gazzy Parman: I know the name, but really didn’t know much about the grappler herself. She has an impressive resume, and sounds like someone who has led a pretty interesting life.

Check it out, and have a great day everyone!

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Women’s Jiu Jitsu and MMA News, and Vice -Versa

Well, this is interesting- apparently I missed that Rhonda Rousey announced that she wants to be the best at jiu jitsu. That’s cool, I guess. I think she has the potential to do well in jiu jitsu, but it sounds like she feels it’s going to be a breeze, where I feel it’s going to be more difficult than she may realize. But then again, she may enjoy the challenge: it gives her something to aspire to while she currently holds her title in UFC.

And then on the other side of the fence, jiu jitsu black belt Mackenzie Dern apparently just announced her intentions to move to MMA, which sounds pretty cool. I don’t really have anything to say on the subject, so we’ll just have see how that plays out.

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Article on BJJ Women’s “Dirty Dozen”

Hey everyone, BJJ Heroes has an interesting article on the first 12 females to be awarded black belts outside of Brazil, the women’s “Dirty Dozen” of BJJ.

Check it out, and have a great day everyone!

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Female Jiu Jitsu Player You Should Read About: Rosângela “Zanza” Conceição

I just read a quick bio on bjj player Rosângela “Zanza” Conceiçãoand while it’s slightly embarrassing to admit I have never heard the name before, I’m glad to have taken the time out to read her bio on BJJ Heroes. Originally a judo player, this jiu jitsu black belt also went to the Olympics not once but twice, in two different sports (once for judo and once for wrestling).

And if that weren’t awesome enough, she also worked at a hospital in Morumbi teaching children with Down’s Syndrome the fundamentals of judo and overall conditioning.

And finally, you know you’re awesome when a comic book is created for you:

“In 2011 Rosângela Conceição became the subject of a series of comic books named: As Aventuras de Zanza (the Adventures of Zanza). In these comics, Zanza shows the values and morals of martial arts through these illustrations.”

If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is (apparently).

Check out her bio, and have a great day everyone!

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