I recently got asked by a dear friend if I wanted to join him for a Jiu-Jitsu course. I hadn’t thought about it before… I’ve considered kickboxing, sure, but never pictured myself tussling on the ground with burly men.

We had talked about the state of fear you live in constantly as a woman and how important it is to know how to defend yourself. I had talked about self-defense courses at fire stations and universities but he promised this would be different. Way different.

The Academy MMA Facility in Portland, Maine

I tagged along to The Academy, a premiere Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA facility in Portland, Maine. I pictured a classic gym but instead walked into one massive open space with mats covering the ground and little to no equipment in sight.

theacademymaine via Instagram

The facility offers open practices, courses for all levels of BJJ, live training, and one-on-one sessions as well as Muay Thai. Apparently, we were there for a one-on-one session with the owner, Jay Jack. Jay is an absolute badass who commenced his martial arts career at the wee age of 5 when he started studying karate.

Are Self-Defense Classes Worth it?

No hesitation, yes. Even if it’s a simple course through a health class in school teaching you how to avoid dangerous situations, it sharpens your brain’s awareness on how to stay and be safe.

But, there is a HUGE difference between a self-defense course teaching you how to avoid certain situations and a self-defense course like Jiu-Jitsu that teaches you how to get out of and fight through if you do end up right in the middle of a negative scenario.

Self-Defense and Jiu-Jitsu for Women

I wish I could type out a novel for you guys about how positive my experience was at The Academy learning Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense moves. I walked in apprehensive but walked out feeling on top of the world. I felt strong, confident, and ready to kick ass!

I have lived my life in a state of fear. I’m scared heading to my car in a dark parking lot; I’m nervous going for a walk alone; I’m terrified of going on a date with the wrong person. As a woman, I constantly feel vulnerable.

Self-defense classes have taught me how to avoid the creepy man in the dark alley but never what to do if I am in the middle of a dangerous situation that I can’t get out of. Jiu-Jitsu and The Academy taught me tools that could quite literally save my life.

We did numerous drills teaching me exactly what I would need to do if someone had me pinned on my back. We worked through each drill until I could fight off the man on top of me and get myself out of the situation without hesitation. I freaking learned how to make a 200-pound man pass out!! With my own little 130-pound body!

Statistically speaking, the assailant is typically someone you already know and not often the creepy man in the dark alley. For this reason, it is crucial that we know how to get someone off of us and get ourselves out of a dangerous spot.

Jiu-Jitsu and my lesson at The Academy built so much confidence and knowledge in me that I will take with me for the rest of my life. The class was months ago and I haven’t stopped talking about it. I recommend it to everyone! Not only the moves and tools I learned but the confidence and strength I walked out of there with is priceless and I have been encouraging every woman in my life to please go take at least one Jiu-Jitsu class!

No, it is not our responsibility to not be harmed as women but it is our reality. We can and need to teach men not to assault women but it is also crucial to teach women the tools needed to protect themselves and safely get out of dangerous situations. Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense courses equip us with the confidence, tools, and strength to be able to walk around with confidence knowing we can defend and protect ourselves if ever needed.

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