Take a step back from our sport. When you think about the bigger picture, what is it that you see for the future? For me it’s growth, and the spread of awareness. I feel that in America jiu jitsu is so small. I probably know someone in every state that does jiu jitsu. Almost every friend on my Facebook does jiu jitsu.
Lately, it seems there has been a ruckus about what Ralek Gracie has said concerning women’s jiu jitsu. Some think he has said women aren’t talented enough to put on as good of a show as the men. Something was said to the effect that people only watched women grapple if they were “cute”, that they couldn’t “bring it” good enough for Metamoris to make one out of the six fights a women’s bout. I completely disagree with all of this. Sadly, yes, how attractive a woman is will always be a concern somewhat to the audience(mainly men), but most of us want to see the talented women of the jiu jitsu world FIGHT. If they get the added attention from being really attractive AND good at jiu jitsu then kudos to them!
Some of you may know this, but I’m a HUGE fan of submission only jiu jitsu tournaments. Honestly, I like watching all the Bjj tournaments that are put on, but personally when I fight I prefer sub-only. I fight a lot locally and I will say there are not a ton of women. We may not fight as many matches as the men, but I see technical fighters putting their heart into something they love and are passionate about. I see women killing it and taking the submission, fighting their absolute hardest for what they have trained everyday for. I feel that we should not stunt the growth of women’s jiu jitsu before it has had the chance to even bloom!
Don’t tell me there aren’t women good enough to bring it to Metamoris. The one women’s match they had in the gi with Mckenzie Dern and Michelle Nicolini was quite exciting, I thought. They aren’t the only women out there that do Bjj. Do the women have to be black belts? I feel that jiu jitsu for women is in a more fragile beginning state than for men because there aren’t as many of us. Maybe there aren’t even enough women that are black belts to equal 20% of the men that are black belts. So let’s change that. Let’s bring in some fresh talent and groom them until they are black belts. I know blue belts that would bring the heat and it would be an exciting match to watch. I would kill to have that kind of opportunity. There are other women that feel the same. There were kid’s matches on the last Eddie Bravo Invitational that I thought were exceptionally entertaining. Women are not on a kid’s level, even though there are some that feel both are equal in our sport. We are adults too! Metamoris, as well as other tournaments, do not have to bring in women they are going to have to drop a ton of cash on to fight on their card. Bring in the women that are hungry, the ones that will fight ANYONE. I think I would fight a man on live TV if that’s what it took to get the opportunity and exposure of being invited to a bigger named tournament like EBI, Metamoris, or Copa Podio. I’m not alone on this.
We as a whole are wasting our energy and focus. Forget Ralek Gracie and every other guy who mistakenly or purposefully said something that made the jiu jitsu community upset. We need to look forward and focus on growing this sport for men and women alike. Let’s take what we feel about what was ever said, good or bad, and use it to drive us all to the next level. Let’s get jiu jitsu on TV. Let’s make it exciting. Let’s show that there are women out there that are animals and want to show everyone just how hard they work to be where and who they are today. Shoot, let’s get more kid’s matches on TV!
Let’s rally together. Forget barriers between this school affiliate and that. Forget about which apparel brand is the best and who your competition is. Forget about trying to be the best tournament in order to stomp another. Everyone, let’s be the best we can be and join arms in an effort to grow this sport. I run a company with this mission exactly: to do everything I can to grow jiu jitsu and the ones involved in it. This includes brands, competitors, tournaments, exposure to people who’ve never done jiu jitsu, and so much more. Jiu jitsu changed our life. Let’s give back and grow it to maximum potential! If we don’t do it, who will?