To all of you brave and beautiful bitches,
BJJ is harder for us. They say to the men, the ego gets choked out of you really quick. That's because, night after night, you are fighting someone else - strength, skill, speed, technique. Not every night is going to be your night. And in the beginning, you do a lot of learning before you ever win. Grown ass men get beaten down and humbled often.
And here we are, most likely the only girl or one of a tiny handful in the whole school. We are consistently out-matched in size and strength. Even when our technique is good, a big, freaked out white belt can still spaz out and pile the shit out of us. The pressure of our small frames isn't equivalent to theirs. They can bench press us right the fuck off of them if everything isn't perfectly hooked. We also have that prey response in the back of our heads that goes off sometimes, when a man is on top of us and we can't breathe. We often have a harder time controlling our panic button when being attacked.
Sometimes we feel patronized if the roll is too light and playful, or completely frustrated to the core when we get beat up because they are bigger and stronger and it's not fair because we totally could've had that armbar if he wasn't 180 pounds of rock solid muscle, dammit.
Sometimes we feel guilty if we can't keep up, like we're wasting everyone's time. There is often one clique of guys that look at us like we aren't even worthy of a warm up roll. We often feel a roller coaster ride of "my jiu jitsu is fiya!" and "I totally fucking suck. What am I doing here?"
And worse yet is the feeling of "why bother?" As in, "I can't pull that move off on that guy because he's too big/strong/experienced" so you don't. You may spend the entire time perfecting your guard and simply fighting them off, because you don't trust yourself to be able to do anything.
But we keep getting up, don't we? We keep tying up our gi pants and coming back. Covered in bruises and society's refrain that girls are weak, emotional, and less than. That we can't man up or do what boys do. We aren't taken as seriously. Girls who fight are seen as a novelty or a fetish, existing for the amusement or fantasy of men. Yet, we tighten our belts, day after day, and step back onto the mat.
Today, I salute you.
We are naturally smaller and weaker. We feel scorn and disapproval from people who think we should be doing more feminine things. We feel picked apart by ourselves, even. And despite all of this, we watch the white belts come and go. We see tough guys walk in the door and drop like flies after they are submitted once. We see the boys out of the corner of our eyes, having their own catty ego clashes, but we ignore it. Whether we are frustrated, on our period, taking care of our children, or exhausted from a long day, we go to class. We earn another stripe, another belt. We get stronger and faster and smarter every month, every year. We hang in there like the badass bitches we are.
And, one day, we nail that fucking armbar.
Cheers, Jiujiteiras! You inspire me and amaze me because only us women know how hard we have to work, just to be equal, just to play the game. May you be surrounded by a supportive team and other amazing women. May you be pushed to better yourself even further. I see you, girls. And I am awed.
The Queen Beav.