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Girly Girl Jiu Jitsu


This was the conversation between Maya and I this morning
Maya: Mommy can I wear these shoes, they are sparkly.
Me: Sure if they are comfortable and don't fall off.
Maya: They don't.
Me: I was going to wear these white shoes but I think they are too small.
Maya: But they are pretty! You should wear them!
Me: Hmmm, I guess I could.

Not very stimulating I admit. My husband, who wears mostly jeans and t-shirts from Woot.com, could get dressed with his eyes closed. During this entire conversation he was sitting on the couch, playing a game on his tablet, and patiently waiting for us to stop babbling about shoes and leave for school.  He doesn't care what I wear. He doesn't care what Maya wears. He wishes he were in a house full of boys.

The Headband...oh so girly!
Wednesday I went to jiu jitsu wearing a sparkly pink headband. It was no gi class so I also wore a rashguard, a t-shirt and gi pants. (I wear a lot of clothes to no gi. It is not modesty, I just like to keep my skin covered. Nothing says staph infection like sweaty skin on skin contact. Plus it helps with the hair thing. If you do no gi you know what I mean. If you don't lets just say that you discover new hairs on your skin after class. Not your own.)

I confess, sometimes I am kind of girly. I like to wear dresses and leggings and glittery ballet flats. I braid my hair like a medieval princess . I occasionally wear makeup.  Other days I wear jeans and sneakers and a messy ponytail. And of course at least half the time I am in a gi. On special occasions like promotion day I am in a gi with a little bit of eyeliner. And sometimes I choke people out while wearing a sparkly pink headband.

The point is, I like to think that there are different ways to be feminine. You can be girly and kick some ass at the same time. There is a woman at my BJJ school who comes in wearing high heels and short dresses every day. If you saw her walking up the subway steps you would think she was on her way to work. On some days, you would be right. But sometimes she is on her way to jiu-jitsu class. She is a purple belt. Like I said, femininity and ass kicking go hand in hand.

I would like Cinderella a lot more if she could properly execute an omoplata. Then if the prince tried to get fresh with her at the ball she could rip out his shoulder. No more of this damsel in distress shit.

To be fair, there are not a ton of women at my school but we are a pretty diverse group, for jiu-jitsu practitioners anyway. We are all different heights and weights, with various looks and personalities. And no, we are not all gay. (I know when guys picture women rolling they either imagine two very manly looking ladies pounding on each other or lesbian porn.)

It is true that certain types of women are often drawn to the martial arts. Aggressive, competitive women usually like sparring. But sometimes quiet, tentative women like sparring too. And while there are certainly a few ladies who treat the mat like their own personal singles bar, most of us really just want to train. Like, in jiu-jitsu. With our gi tops on.

People are often surprised to learn that I teach martial arts for a living. (As a five foot two mommy, I guess I don't fit the stereotype.) Whenever Matthew and I go somewhere fancy (which is about twice a year) people make jokes about how well we clean up. He is tall with broad shoulders that look good in a suit jacket. With heels I resemble the height of a normal person. I am not fat. All in all, we are decent looking. We also kick ass.

I like walking down the street in a cute skirt and knowing that no one will ever suspect that I can tap them out. I like a little shine to my lips sometimes but refuse to do a beauty routine that cannot be completed before the end of the Fresh Beat Band. (Ten minutes is fine with me). And although I will admit that they do good things to my legs, I don't really like heels. They are really hard to kick in.

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