Become Kick-Ass and Fight Like a Girl in This Women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class

In Studio32, a martial arts gym located at the Baseline Center, a lady purple belt from team Cebu Jiu Jitsu makes a longstanding request from fellow lady teammates a reality. Jenny Fernandez, a 34-year-old virtual nurse who loves to dance and explore new hobbies, doubles as a Brazillian Jiu Jitsu coach. She took it upon herself to create a safe space where women can explore this fun and exciting sport. Every Sunday, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, she holds jiu jitsu classes for women from all walks of life.

The Gentle Art

“It’s a combat sport focused on ground fighting where you win using leverage and technique. It’s more grappling than striking,” Jenny explains. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu looks intimidating and hard—and yes—this so-called gentle art is no walk in the park. But for people like Jenny who has been training for almost a decade, with eleven competitions under her belt and a solid community alongside her, it’s a sport worth the time and effort. Jenny loves seeing her teammates progress and attests to the resilience and confidence people develop with starting BJJ. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for Everyone

There’s no question that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a male-dominated sport. When Jenny started eight years ago, there weren’t a lot of women training. She witnessed the challenges women faced to thrive in the sport. There’s been a rise in enrollments recently, but despite the growing number of female jiu jitsu enthusiasts, some are still reluctant to join a regular mixed class. 

One of Jenny’s teammates, Anna, suggested an all-women’s jiu jitsu class one day. After more encouragement and prodding from her colleagues, Jenny finally relented. “I saw how many women were interested in the sport but were hesitant to start because they weren’t comfortable sparring with men,” she adds.

“I wanted to make a space for women because again, Jiu Jitsu is for everyone.” – Jenny Fernandez

Breaking Stereotypes with Brazillian Jiu-jitsu

“Filipino Women tend to be traditional and conservative,” Jenny observed, but she thinks this is where jiu jitsu could be an avenue for breaking stereotypes. People have told her how weird and inappropriate it was for her, a woman, to be practicing jiu jitsu. But in all the years she had been training, she never felt that towards her female teammates, or herself. The sport has done so much to empower her and has also been a form of therapy. Not only as a sport that fosters confidence, Jenny believes that Brazillian Jiu jitsu is a good medium for self-expression everyone should have access to—women, men, or otherwise.

Woman, Fight Like a Girl

Unlike most combat sports that require striking, Brazilian Jiu  Jitsu is actually perfect for women’s self-defense. 

Instead of forcing your way through brute strength, this martial art teaches you to take advantage of your opponent’s reaction and force through technique. Learning jiu jitsu techniques is a relatively simple affair. A class begins with warm-ups followed by drilling techniques, and then you spar with your teammates, hopefully incorporating what you’ve learned in class. 

Join Jenny and the women of Cebu Jiu Jitsu in Studio32, located at the Baseline Center, Juana Osmeña St., every Sunday, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. For all of Women’s Month, women of all ages or skill levels get to train for free! Bring a dry-fit shirt, leggings, perhaps a bottle of water, and an open heart.

Photo courtesy Joseph Benavides & Kareen Benavides

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