For my latest adventure I took part in a jiu jitsu class, and it was an adventure I probably should have done a little more research on! At least when it comes to where I went; I picked the gym through a simple Google search, sent out some inquiries, and went with the first company to get back to me. Maybe not the best approach! Though, while I am sure the gym I tried out is an excellent business (they were crazy busy while I was there) and the owner was extremely qualified and personable, I am not sure it was the place for me. The gym I went to, was not simply a martial arts gym, but a full-on MMA competition training facility.
The gym was located in an industrial-ish part of town. When I walked in for my boxing class and a jiu jitsu classes, I was the only woman, the only person in business attire, and definitely in the minority with my lack of tattoos and multiple piercings. In the room where classes were held there was a full on boxing ring (for boxing class) and a cage for the jiu jitsu class… yes, a cage. I am not sure what I expected but it was not a fighting cage and boxing ring. I guess I expected the fake self-defense dummies and a wide open floor mat.
Boxing class ended up not happening, the instructor was out that day so I only joined the jiu jitsu class. Why jiu jitsu? I opted for jiu jitsu after hearing how it is one of the best forms of marital arts to learn for self-defense. Going into class, I knew it involved a lot of floor fighting, but I hadn’t really thought about the technical logistics of the class.
Another error in the week’s adventure was signing up for an all-skills level class vs a fundamentals class. If you ever take a jiu jitsu class, start with a basic class. I was able to follow along through the most of the class, but towards the end when the sparring sessions occurred, I was out of my element. Class started with warmup exercises and stretching; the warmup was fun and included learning how to fall and rolls across the floor. I was able to tackle the falls (who knew there is a technique to falling), but the rolls were slightly more intimidating. And while the instructor was excellent, he did opt to modify that part of the warmup for me.
As class progressed, things became more interesting, and thankfully by then another lady joined the class, or things would have become slightly (or maybe more than slightly). I am not sure if you are aware, I was not and should have been, but when practicing the various moves there is a lot of straddling strangers (and being straddled) as you learn and practice poses/moves. I am really glad another woman joined the class, otherwise, it would have been super awkward (at least for me) learnign the moves/poses with a man. Though, I am sure I would have been fine practicing with the guys in the class – all were very friendly and polite, it just would have been SUPER awkward.
After learning and practicing a couple of moves, sadly I cannot remember any of the names of the moves, the class moved onto sparring sessions. During the sparring section of the class, though I did not participate (I was nowhere near qualified) I had fun wathcing the class pair of and do some full on jiu jitsu.
The class was fairly diverse age and body shape wise. Not so diverse gender wise (though by this time another woman had joined the group). But the ladies that were in the class could totally hold their own! One lady was no more than 5’2” and a 100 lbs, and I swear she could hold her own with almost every single guy in the class – some were well over 6 ft tall and easily 200 lbs. The only guy that could beat her was the black belt instructor … I was way impressed and inspired.
The sparring matches were really intersting to observe and the dedication, strength, agility, and skill required by these athletes was extremely impressive. It was interesting to see how little size plays a role in the match; success was really determined by experience and agility. Watching the sparring sessions, made me realize how effective jiu jitsu could be for self-defense, especially against someone who is not trained.
I did enjoy my class this week, but I will need to take several more classes to really get a feel if it is something I would enjoy doing on a more regular basis. Though, I think I will be looking at other gyms, somewhere that is not quite as intense and MMA focused… 🙂
So what did I learn from this week’s adventure? I learned that I like the idea of jiu jitsu – being able to take on a larger opponent, the mental and physical agility required, and the effectiveness of the workout. However, I will be looking at other gyms, classes with other female participants, and will take a fundamentals class (vs an all-skills level class).
Thanks for tuning in to hear about this week’s adventure!