womens self defense

BJJ for Women’s Self Defense

Brazilian Jiu jitsu is a martial art that is taking the world by storm in recent years. Because of it’s approachability for beginners, it’s something that a lot of people want to try out. Maybe it’s out of curiosity to find out what the hell this BJJ thing is all about. Maybe its just to get fit and meet new friends. Or maybe it’s because you have had some unfortunate experience that his driven you to seek out martial arts training.

Everyone has different reasons for starting BJJ – but one of the amazing things about it is that anyone can do it. Male or female, young or old, strong, week and everything in between.

While it’s try that the majority of people practicing BJJ are likely male, there has been an increasing number of women taking it up, especially in recent years. Nowadays you can easily find women only classes, events and tournaments – something that would have been unheard of 10 years ago.

So you might wonder – Is BJJ good for women from a self-defense point of view? Being confident in protecting yourself in a real life situation is important for everyone, but even more so for women, particularly in certain parts of the world.

jiu jitsu women

Is BJJ good for women to learn as Self Defense?

Yes, for a woman, learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can absolutely be valuable. It not only helps you to gain more confidence but it will teach you how to protect yourself against physically bigger and stronger opponents. 

Of course it’s not a magic pill. The first goal in a self defense situation matter what gender you are, is to avoid a fight altogether and walk away. Especially if it looks like you are facing multiple attackers. Even the best BJJ Black Belts in the world do not stand a chance against five attackers. Or attackers with weapons. But when we are talking about 1 on 1 situations, with no weapons involved, someone with basic jiu jitsu training will have a better opportunity to prevail against someone with out.

womens self defense

Why is BJJ good for women as Self Defence? 

There are many principles of BJJ that specifically apply to a situation where a smaller, weaker opponent is facing a larger, aggressive attacker. 

Distance management

This is one of the most crucial principals in self defense, and BJJ is no exception. By getting close to your opponent at the right time you can neutralize the threat of wild strikes like punches or kicks, and minimize the attackers chances of causing damage. Conversely by creating distance at the right time, you just might give yourself the chance to get up and run away, preventing any further violence.


This is a big one and it’s a whole topic that can be explored in and of itself. But in BJJ terms leverage usually means using the right technique at the right time to become stronger than your opponent. For example using two hands against one of your opponents to break a grip. Or placing your hips in the right place under your opponent so their balance is compromised.


Posture can mean the difference between being safe and being in danger. It’s a crucial principal in BJJ because when you control someones posture you control how they can use their body.

The Guard

The guard is a unique aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It is the principal of using your legs and lower body to control submit your opponent. While we usually think of closed guard (lying on your back with your opponent in between your closed legs) there are hundreds of techniques in open guard also (where your legs are open but still being used to defend and attack).

In a nutshell, your guard can save your life because it allows you to use the stronger lower half of your body in both defense and attack.

Staying Calm

None of the above principals can be applied if you are not calm. Training BJJ helps you develop an ability to be calm under pressure. 

Most classes end with sparring (or rolling) and this is a great time to put into practice what you have learned. Not only that but you get to work on your breathing and cardio during this time. So anyone that has trained for significant periods will have an ability to be more calm and preserve energy during a grappling exchange.

Untrained people are more likely to panic and therefore to run out of breath or energy very quickly. 

One of the best representatives for women in the Jiu Jitsu world is Eve Gracie. She is an actor, model and purple belt in BJJ. She also happens to be married to Rener Gracie, an acclaimed and widely respected BJJ instructor. Check out what she has to say about jiu jitsu as a self defense practice for females:


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