Equal Fights For Women

Female Jiu Jitsu Practitioners

How technically sound Jiu-Jitsu can significantly reduce the size and strength self-defense deficit for women in an actual real life/death scenario

Everyone has a female in their lives, that's certain. A mother, daughter, wife, girlfriend, or co-worker. Everyone also should have the resolve to be as confident as possible that the females in their lives remain as physically safe as can be.

Mother and daughter

Mathilde Langevin

No one wants to see any of their female loved ones in any danger, of any sort, particularly in the physical realm. Unless, of course, you're the sick type of individual who would attack or prey upon a female, which I highly doubt because you would probably not be spending your time reading a quality and classy publication such as Black Belt Magazine.

University Students

Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Unfortunately, not everyone is like you. There are wacko predators out there in society and sadly walking among us that either take advantage of women and are in the position to do so or possibly make an attempt to compromise a woman's safety. Both should be of alarming to all of us.

First Line of Defense 

The first line of defense, and frankly speaking in all areas of life, is to know your surroundings. This awareness often applies more to women even than men. For sure, this is top priority! For simplicity's sake, I will break an attacker's woman's category down to a mere 3, there are more, but for basic explanation sake, I will mention only 3 in this article and hone in on one primarily.

Young friends

Nicolas Gras


The first category is the youth, the child, and pre-teen (5-12). Secondly, the teen to late adulthood (13-50). And lastly, the mature adult to senior citizen (50+). The first category (youth) will most likely spend most of their time in school or home and often accompanied by an adult or several adults. The mature adult(s) (third category) will usually be home or accompanied by others. Both of these categories of women find themselves not in the dating environment as much or at all. However, the second category, the 18 – 30 age range, is the primary focus of this article

Carrying a Firearm?

The reality will always remain that the best self-defense option for a woman, provided she is beyond a safe zone, possibly alone, or at least past the point where her safety is compromised, is a firearm. However, often a firearm cannot be accessed, drawn, on her person, is out of reach, inappropriate, etc. There is a myriad of reasons why a woman may not have the ability to draw her own firearm, which, contrary to popular perception, does not entitle one safe passage, ah no, NOT SO AT ALL! This is a colossal over presumption in thinking that "all will be fine as an owner and licensed carrier." However, for that matter, let's look at the flip side. No one in any martial art can debate with an intelligent audience to convince them that their art or way of approach beats the way of the gun. Sorry, no magic, no art, nothing surpasses the self-defense capability of the proper and timely application of a firearm. Just ask the samurai if you can find one today what gunpowder did for their need for services. That said, THE LEGAL AND TIMELY DRAW will always be the key to successfully using a firearm.

Also, in many cases, a firearm does not have to be fired to be a success. Should the need indeed occur (we are discussing a civilian scenario here, not law enforcement or military), a successful usage can be a mere display. Not to confuse with illegal brandishing, just lawful display upon attempted felonious assault is often enough to back down the most brazen attackers.

When a firearm does not work

Gun tied in a knot

Maria Lysenko

However, the primary issue with a firearm will always be if a woman, in this case, can access it in time. The only thing a human truly can never fully prepare for is the element of surprise, and this small-time gap may often be the difference in whether one can access it or not and thus successfully fend off an assault.

Suppose a woman is driving through a known bad neighborhood or sees a group of thugs arguing with her neighbor that turns violent or a stranger with a hammer walking around her yard. There is some time for making a proper decision and clear thinking.

However, what about situations where time is not on your side? Suppose a date goes wrong or a simple get-together talking on a sofa goes wrong? Should a woman have had a weapon on her, on the couch? While drinking and casually chatting with Fred? A man she may have known for 48 hours and seemed nice, but now moves on her with aggressive and unprovoked malicious intent? Of course not. She is not expected to be armed in this type of situation; it would be completely unreasonable.

Many situations like these have built into them the strong possibility of inaccessibility to a weapon while in so-called "trusted company." It can be a date, at a husband's or a family party, a BBQ, at a federal building, sporting event, near children, or at a bar where it is forbidden by law to carry a firearm amongst those drinking alcohol in an establishment. Or even simply in the company of a private encounter where the anticipation of such danger was either overlooked or unanticipated… Assault can happen anywhere.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… The Game Changer

Female BJJ practitioners

Duncan Graham

For just such an occasion, where the police, security, firearms, or authorities are simply not available to offer timely and proper support, we have the incredible art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) to the rescue!

So, why BJJ amongst all the other martial arts??? An argument can be made for other martial arts, striking arts included, but generally, these forms may not be the best option for a woman vs. man scenario; here's why. A woman may be able to throw a better punch than a man, but generally speaking, she cannot absorb the same punishment.

In a blaze of striking flurry, standing in close quarters mixed with possible chest and shoulder clinches, a woman will be at a definite disadvantage due to an often smaller and weaker upper body frame. Now there is always that savagely amazing female who can sling a rock on a rope-type punch consistently that even the scariest gang member best take cover from.

However, in reality, I assure you, this type of female is scarce… to mix on-the-spot courage with the ability to act, and the physicality to do so under heavy duress and danger is a rare female indeed.

Many may say at this point, "What about the kick… surely, that is an effective answer and equalizing element." The kick, in its many forms, while a great weapon, can be nullified simply by a simple lack of distance with nearly any clinch putting a woman back to the upper body disadvantage. Can she win/survive? Yes, of course, but with nature's odds stack against her, we should seek a solution that levels the playing field.

THE Guard and Nullification

Guard position BJJ

Duncan Graham

Once the fight hits the ground, everything changes, the whole dynamic changes. And the technique we have to thank for this change in dynamic is properly called "THE guard," an ingenious approach developed by Helio Gracie. Properly called the "guard," I say because the name itself suggests defense, which is part of the term "self-defense." The guard is actually how Jiu-Jitsu made its name initially.

Ne Waza, or ground fighting, was hardly new when BJJ entered the scene but operating off one's back was. This newfound approach was certainly not refined but yet effective! Today, it has nearly been perfected and even yet still evolves day by day. One can even be impressively offensive from the guard.

This unique position allows a person to maximize defense due to the ability to include the legs as hands, the feet as hands, and knees both together to create one more hand. Also, the ability to shift hip movements to create leverage is vital to Jiu-Jitsu; it is the reason most responsible for why a woman can defeat a man on the ground.

Jiu Jitsu

Duncan Graham

When you add a woman's strong childbearing hips into the picture with skill and intensity, a properly trained female of 115 pounds can certainly defeat an untrained male of 160 pounds on the ground. In fact, if she is trained in a certain way, I would argue she actually may have an advantage on the ground vs. an untrained average same-age male.

The male in this scenario will use force with no skill. The woman, however, will use less force but with a plan. A road map, if you will, on what to do and what to grab. If she sticks to her training/plan and uses her skills properly, she has an excellent chance to either defeat or nullify the attacker. Herein lies the sheer brilliance of Helio Gracie and the Brazilian street style; nullification IS victory.

The Objective

The main goal is not to die… when you remove points, judges, and visuals, the path to victory in an actual real situation looks much different. Usually, an attacker is only so intent on the assault of a woman; rarely is his heart fully involved; why would it be? To this sick individual, it is just an attack, a thrill, a chance to dominate or apply whatever twisted mind game is in his head out on her. For the woman, however, lay survival. She is far more invested in the end result than he is; it's her life and freedom… very different motivations.

In this example, let us keep in mind this is an untrained, probably undisciplined thug. On the other hand, the woman is appropriately trained, let's say for 3 good years, and has had many rolls with men moving at close to real-life speed regularly. But let us not fool ourselves, nightly training, even extra intensity, is no replica for the rare real-life encounter.

So, upon closer review, although generally at a physical disadvantage on the ground, if a woman is on her back, there are traps she can set due to the brilliance of the guard. Such as usage of the hips, hands, feet, and knees while the attacker will have, on average, a far lesser set of skills. His skill set will rely on almost exclusively his hands, rudimentary/improper and easily countered choking, along with punching and slapping being the preferred methods. He will also be unaware of the attacks launched at him, never having seen the moves before. In addition, the man will think one move at a time, whereas the woman, having Jiu-Jitsu knowledge, can see further and think with more physical depth and clarity.

Staying Power

Jiu-Jitsu Practice

Duncan Graham

If she can hang in there with all her body, mind, and limbs with proper breathing working together in unison, there is a good chance the assailant will fatigue, leading to a lack of desire to continue the attack. Ultimately, He (the attacker) comparatively is just not that invested in it; SHE IS!!!

In a serious situation, one not accustomed to intense mat training would be shocked to find out just how fast fatigue sets in at survival speeds. Survival speed is a tunnel vision blur of adrenaline and often overused strength. The attacker will not account for this. The woman in this example trains 3- 4 times per week at a much lesser intensity, of course, but her gas tank is at a set point for this type of activity; the attackers is not.

Also, it is probable, if not certain, for a woman to be on her back during an attempted assault for obvious reasons, and that is where all the traps are set. She could even play possum drawing the comfort of compliance out of the attacker, offering no resistance, then, like a panther, pounce with a number of attacks just as his defense begins to drop, feeling that he is in control.

When two people fight on the ground for real, there will be fatigue, and at that moment, the brilliance of the art of fundamental street BJJ 1 on 1 is at its finest. She does not have to "win," so to speak. Winning is survival and without catastrophic injury. The bar is set actually lower for the woman and any potential victim in that she need only escape.

Sure, it would be nice to slap a choke on the guy and call 911, but that may not work or be needed. She can use her Jiu-Jitsu to nullify him just like grandmaster Helio Gracie designed it to be, an art, a brutal art, when it needs to be, to stall, stand down, and defend oneself against a stronger and bigger opponent with no time limit. This staying power aspect is the true dynamism of Jiu-Jitsu.

Furthermore, on the ground, one can slow things down more than while standing and plan micro-steps ahead, hopefully, long enough to give a chance at an equal fight. This incredible art of Jiu-Jitsu is perfect for women and empowers them to fend off their attacker when help is nowhere to be found.

If you are a woman reading this article and haven't trained BJJ, please consider starting your Jiu-Jitsu journey to a safer, more empowered life. If you are a man reading this article, please think of the women you care deeply for in your life and encourage them to train, and if you're not on the mats yourself, what are you waiting for?! Jiu-Jitsu, the great equalizer, saves people's lives and well-being every day… train hard and never choose to be a victim.


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