be rather than appear

Why is every cute bjj girl treated like the last female on earth?

Alpha males or stepping stones?

Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form sexist, I believe everyone should be treated equally. When I train with girls I try to smash them just as hard as I would a guy, it’s my way of showing respect. Anything less would be dishonorable.

Thousands of years ago the universe saw fit to arm man with zero sharp teeth and no claws. Our cave men ancestors instead relied on superior brain power and wits to develop weapons and traps to hunt physically superior animals. Meanwhile back at the cave our female counterparts waited patiently for the men to provide them with the days meat in return for warm beds at night. An arguably fair trade. Fast forward to the 20th century. Women win the right to vote after marching their high heeled asses off. They suddenly have equal rights. Awesome, they can do the hunting for a change whilst we wait at home, pondering the universe an the meaning of life (watching porn or sports). I’m totally cool with this. Women deserve equal rights. If they can carry the load, by all means do it.
Here’s the problem with guys though; We put the vagina on a pedestal. Girls didn’t do it, we did. Since the dawn of time we men would walk thousands of miles, hunt ridiculously large animals, swim through icy water etc. in the HOPES that a woman would honor us with a “roll”. We put it on the pedestal. Instead of saying I will give you meat and glittering prizes if you mate with me, it’s after I bring you meat and glittering prizes I hope you’ll want to maybe just might touch me in a non friendly way. We are shameful shadows of our grunting beastial ancestors.
Fast forward again. Present day. Location: any MMA gym anywhere. All the guys are focused, boxing, rolling bjj, wrestling etc. great practice. Suddenly, a girl walks in the room with a gear bag. Testosterone levels go through the roof. The wolves smell meat, our primitive instincts force us to do this, we can’t help it. It’s time to pick partners. The dedicated ones pick the strongest match for themselves, the one that’s going to push them. But a select few suddenly can’t find a partner. Oh of course, there’s a girl. These nonchalant idiots ” uh do you have a partner” to the girl. This girl could be day one zero experience, but for some reason this type of guy gets his rocks off on rolling with the girl. Suddenly mid drilling the room hears conversations of what they like to eat and movies they’ve seen recently. I can’t help but shake my head. It went from practice to a potential dating service. I’m not saying girls aren’t dedicated or good, but what the hell would I have to gain from rolling competitively with a first day white belt? If someone says you get better by teaching go slap yourself in the face. While yes it’s true, there is also a time and place. Don’t be a contrarian. Live rolling starts. The dedicated ones find the baddest mfers on the mat. Me personally I hunt belt colors. I stare at guys until they make eye contact. Sometimes I force the issue and walk up,” oh you have a partner, ok cool next round”. Locked in. The “other” guys can’t wait to roll with this girl that barely trains. And showing her moves after. What the F?? Its called live rolling not let me show you this basic move like its the wheel that you don’t know yet because you just started. The purpose of rolling is to smash or be smashed. If I want to know the move I just got caught in ill ask after the round is over. I swear when a girl walks in the room it’s like she’s the last one on earth and every guy is chomping at the bit. Disgraceful
Do girls even like this type of guy? Is this what you picture when you think cave man meat getter? Aren’t men supposed to be these manly alpha warriors that bash enemy heads in? Or is every girls dream to be with these guys that just lay down for them? I heard a great quote the other day about dancing ” used to be a guy just did a two step, one, two, while the girl got her shine on. Now every time a girl dances these guys take it as a personal challenge, trying to out dance them.” -Scruncho
My hearts desire is to be the best that I can be, I see other guys as target practice, like ladders that bring me up the mountain. Stepping stones. I want to face the baddest dudes possible. If I stopped to show every girl that walked in the room a move I would be walking in circles. I’m not saying I won’t roll with a girl, I would just prefer rolling with someone equal or better than me, that’s how I’m going to get better.
So in closing, put the vagina back where it belongs, say it with your chest, EQUAL. Roll with guys or girls that will make you better, it’s a bjj mat not a dating service. Let girls get their shine on when they are dancing, stick with the two step. Man up.
Edit to clarify, I should have said a few things better:
I have a fight 8 weeks away, I’m in training camp at the moment. Twice a week at my school we have a session called marathon roll, 12×5 minute rounds in a row no rest. The goal is to get as many taps as possible, at the end of the session we line up and dole out push-ups for every tap we earned. Simple stuff and everyone rolls pretty competitively. So at this session I try to roll with the stronger more seasoned guys, I strongly believe in the iron sharpening iron quote.
I try to avoid girls at all cost during this session, my opponent in 8 weeks isn’t a girl obviously so the more physically strong the better at this point.
To answer whether I roll like a douche or not. If I were rolling with a girl or male with significantly less weight I would try to use less weight and play a more technical game but still looking to submit. I’m not “letting” anyone put me in a triangle/rnc, I feel like that’s a disservice to them. Maybe that makes me douche, but I can’t remember anyone letting me put anything on them in the beginning.
When I say I roll the same I didn’t think my words would be picked apart and used so literally as you have. I should have said I roll with the same intent, to submit them and not be submitted by them. My competition/fight is looking to beat me up in any way possible, shouldn’t I prepare for that?

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10 responses

  1. Hi JJ – I don’t know you, and you likely don’t know me, but you definitely stirred something up in me. So please allow me the benefit of the doubt, and to clarify, just as I will be happy to allow for clarification. A bit about me: I’m an American woman training in Korea. I’ve been doing BJJ for 3+ years, and I’m a 4 stripe blue. When you read this, please read it with a curious tone, not at all aggressive or defensive.

    You wrote “When I train with girls I try to smash them just as hard as I would a guy, it’s my way of showing respect. Anything less would be dishonorable.”

    In my experience, I have had only one guy say that to me. What he very specifically said was “I’m not going to roll with you differently because you’re a woman” and then he cranked my neck. In other words, from my perspective, he did a douche move and couched it in false equality. http://jiujiubjj.com/women/rolling-differently/

    I have a negative view of the word “smash” and you may not. So I have a negative impression – let’s use the word douche as shorthand (please note, I’m not calling you a douche, as I know nothing about you or how you roll). It’s very possible you roll like a douche, attempting to smash everyone, man woman or child, and so you are an equal opportunity douche.

    But let’s assume you mean “roll competitively”. Do you roll exactly the same way with each of these groups:

    a) a very fit, competitive BJJ athletic guy in his early 20s preparing for a tournament
    b) an overweight hobbyist guy who weighs 270 lbs
    c) an underweight, non-athletic 19 year old
    d) someone there to get some exercise
    e) someone there because they want to just have fun with jiu jitsu
    f) someone who has physical limitations, such as an injured shoulder or ribs

    Do you roll the same if someone is less, the same, or more fit than you? Weaker, the same, or stronger than you?

    Let’s say that you DO roll with each of these groups a little differently–that you treat each TEAMMATE differently depending on their fitness and strength and goals. Let’s say you go SUPER SMASHY HARD with the competition dude, but you roll a bit more “conversationally” with the hobbyist dad who is out of shape. And let’s say you do the same with women – if the woman is severely out of shape, your goal isn’t to smash her, but if she’s into tournaments, then you go harder.

    Except now this is a LOT of exceptions, and according to you ” The purpose of rolling is to smash or be smashed.” and that’s where I disagree with you 100%. My goal is not to smash or be smashed. My goal is to use jiu jitsu. My goal is to create a more balanced conversation where there’s give and take,* so when I roll with new folks, I don’t just get on top and stay on top. To me that’s like a very tall person standing over a short one holding their hat and saying “nyah nyah nyah you can’t reach it.”

    *My caveat is that if the person is extremely aggressive, I rarely go for balanced because I’m likely barely keeping up and if I do “give” then I’ll just be smashed all round.

    I’m 150lbs, and significantly less strong than a lot of the guys at my gym. They’re more physically fit, they’re more athletic, they train more, they’re pro-MMA guys (really). I’m a 37 year old school teacher who wants to do jiu jitsu for the rest of my life. I don’t WANT each roll to be like I’m trying to fight for my life, and that’s what being SMASHED feels like to me. Thankfully the MMA guy yesterday didn’t roll with me like I was a pro-MMA competitor. I had a good time – I was able to use my jiu jitsu, I was able to work escapes. He wasn’t rolling with me like I was made of glass, but he also wasn’t rolling at 100%, and that was absolutely wonderful.

    I’ve personally not had the experience you’ve described. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t a cute girl when I started – I was a fat girl. Perhaps it was because I was in Korea and didn’t share the same language as most of my training partners. Perhaps it was because I was not afraid to dive in. I’m not sure.

    I would like to address this: “Do girls even like this type of guy? Is this what you picture when you think cave man meat getter? Aren’t men supposed to be these manly alpha warriors that bash enemy heads in? Or is every girls dream to be with these guys that just lay down for them? ” Just as guys are totally different from one another, so are girls or women. Some women do like alpha males, but other women are turned off by aggressive. Some women dream of dating MMA guys, others wouldn’t touch them. Some women like dominant men, some like submissive men. So to answer your question, YES, SOME girls do like that type of guy. YES, SOME girl’s dream is to be with a guy who will just lay down for them, and NO, ALL men are NOT supposed to be manly alpha warriors. Your stated viewpoint (which may not be your actual viewpoint) is terribly one dimensional and it makes for a situation where men are chastised for not being “manly” enough. I hope that’s not the case – again, I don’t know you and you may simply be ranting.

    Cheers.

    August 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    • I have a fight 8 weeks away, I’m in training camp at the moment. Twice a week at my school we have a session called marathon roll, 12×5 minute rounds in a row no rest. The goal is to get as many taps as possible, at the end of the session we line up and dole out push-ups for every tap we earned. Simple stuff and everyone rolls pretty competitively. So at this session I try to roll with the stronger more seasoned guys, I strongly believe in the iron sharpening iron quote.
      I try to avoid girls at all cost during this session, my opponent in 8 weeks isn’t a girl obviously so the more physically strong the better at this point.
      To answer whether I roll like a douche or not. If I were rolling with a girl or male with significantly less weight I would try to use less weight and play a more technical game but still looking to submit. I’m not “letting” anyone put me in a triangle/rnc, I feel like that’s a disservice to them. Maybe that makes me douche, but I can’t remember anyone letting me put anything on them in the beginning.
      When I say I roll the same I didn’t think my words would be picked apart and used so literally as you have. I should have said I roll with the same intent, to submit them and not be submitted by them. My competition/fight is looking to beat me up in any way possible, shouldn’t I prepare for that? If I missed any points let me know, you wrote a novel of a reply. Cheers

      August 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful reply. Sorry that mine was so long!! I think that your post activated some ideas that had been brewing for a while in my head. I had a suspicion that there was some hyperbole and simplification involved for the sake of brevity and to add some interest to the article.

    Like I said to you on Facebook, I see a big difference between tournament/match prep and daily rolling, and I can understand trying to get the most out of your preparation. To that end I would guess you’d be going for people in your weight class/division and in general not be going with the extra light guys or the hobbyists. I can understand that women would most likely fall into those categories – extra light or hobbyists.

    I also see that there’s a big difference in the terminology – smash vs submit. ^_^ Thanks for your clarification.

    August 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm

  3. Kevin F.

    As the 50 yr old out of shape Dad/ Hobbyist that trains to get in shape and hone technique, I have to chime in. I have trained with JJ recently. And I would DRILL with him anytime. But I know he’s got a very important fight coming up. And quite honestly, I’d be doing him a disservice by wasting his mat time with my technique inquiries when we go live. There are instructors there for that. I stay out of his and other pro fighter’s way in those situations. Because I want him to work with like-minded guys that are sharpening their tools against the hardest stones.
    I will however ask them questions like, “how the hell did you do that?” or “What was your cue to transition from the kimura to guillotine?” But I only do that when there’s a break in the action. Sometimes, I watch them gain a submission that I don’t recognize, and when the round ends, I rush in and say, “Show me that.” But when we go live with either grappling or stand up, I grab other amateurs to partner with, unless a pro motions for me to join him. They will then usually let me know they aren’t going 100%, which sets the tone for that round. He’s volunteering to help me.
    Now, 30 years ago, when I was a competitive Martial Artist, I taught when it was time to teach, and I trained with real fighters when it was time to get the real work in. A fighter’s life is a selfish existence. You have to eat what your diet requires, regardless of what your friends or family want to eat. You need time to train, regardless of the desires for your time by others. You need people in your camp that understand that completely. As a hobbyist that shares a gym with pro fighters, I understand this. And I respect their space, as I would expect them to respect mine. When that happens, I find pros, and particularly JJ, freely share their knowledge.

    August 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

    • Ous! You are by no means an easy roll, I enjoy your insight and knowledge very much. Thanks for helping me get better/stronger with every roll.

      August 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

    • See, that’s the information I was missing. I literally knew nothing about JJ before reading this. I also train at a gym with hobbyists and pro-MMA guys. I agree that in general, save for drilling takedowns, I’m a good partner for them, save for a few moves that just flat out hurt. But as far as sparring, when they’re training for a match, I get out of the way.

      But for me, that’s about aligning your goals. That’s about choosing appropriate training partners. If a woman were training for a comp, it makes sense she’s also training with the dudes preparing for a comp. However, if she’s new or just checking it out or a hobbyist, it doesn’t make sense. But it also doesn’t make sense for someone to pair with ANYONE new, just checking it out, or a hobbyist. So it’s not a gender thing. It’s a person and skill thing. However, because of the lack of women, by default women fall under the umbrella of new/checking it out/hobbyist.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  4. Caroline

    Hi JJ, thanks for your colorful, very informative article. It is refreshing to get an honest answer to a difficult topic.
    I have just a few thoughts. I am 125 lb, athletic young woman just starting out in BJJ, for fun and exercise but primarily because I want/need to learn how to protect myself. This is a big draw for most women in BJJ as you probably know. I will never be a real, strong, competitive, professional fighter like you are, but I very much want to learn the sport and skills and be able to protect myself. I am not looking for a date, just trying to learn. There are almost no women at my gym, so I have no choice but to train (and learn) from men. I really don’t want them to “smash me” like you said, because I don’t know very many moves yet, and don’t like getting beat up, or getting my head smashed on the mat, but I also don’t want to be treated like a piece of meat either. I don’t think it’s very nice or fair for you to smash the girls (especially newbies) very hard like you would a man. Men are much stronger, outweigh us, and their bodies can take much more. It is hard enough trying to learn a sport that is vastly dominated by men. If you truly care about the sport, you’d be in favor of supporting the new fighters (including women) who are trying very hard to learn.
    I would much rather choose to grapple with another woman, but don’t have that luxury.
    I am not sure how else to learn, unless a man will take the time to teach me.
    What else am I supposed to do? Just trying to figure this out…
    Hope I haven’t offended you. I have great respect for any men (or women) who excel in BJJ. Just a friendly female perspective. Wish you the very best success!!!

    January 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    • Drilling and flowing are perfectly ok to do with anyone at any belt, in fact rolling with someone of a lower belt is a lot better because you don’t have to worry about the ego (usually).
      I mainly wrote this as satire but with a hint of truth. When I roll “live” in preparation for tournament or competition, with anyone, girl or guy, white or black belt, my intention is to make the person tap and not get tapped. With a lower belt I would put myself in bad position and try to work out of it. With a black I always try to see where I stack up. I learn a lot from both situations.
      And with the piece of meat thing, I see a lot of guys wanting to “teach” at such a low level. They flock to the newbie girls and can’t wait to flex their BJJ knowledge muscles, pea cocking basically. I’m not a fan of this, I take training seriously, it’s not a dating service.
      My advice to all belts is the same, drill with anyone and respect everyone, regardless of shape or size. Sorry if I offended, I was aiming for more laughs than actual seriousness. Good luck in your pursuit of Brazilian jiu-Jitsu knowledge.

      January 5, 2014 at 3:31 am

  5. Caroline

    Thanks for your reply. I think I get what you mean. Advice taken. You have an awesome blog and you’re a superb writer. I loved the dragon and boys & knights. Excellent. Almost made me cry. You truly have a warrior heart. Keep it up.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    • Thank you so much for the feedback!

      January 6, 2014 at 12:21 am

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