One of my favorite things to do when I travel to other cities is to pop into a Jiujitsu class. I love training new places, meeting new people, learning new techniques and just widening my social contacts in the sport. A couple years ago I went to NOLA BJJ and met Neeta, a purple belt female who also teaches at the school. She’s tiny but I remembered rolling with her and being very impressed. She was tough with great technique and we had some good rolls. I decided that this person is someone who skills I respect. Neeta is legit.
Recently, I made contact with her on facebook and told her that I was coming back to New Orleans for a couple nights and she invited me to their open mat. I told her that I would love to come and that I want her to mount me. Seriously, I had just come off an awesome “escape the mount seminar” with one of our local black belts Jake Whitfield and I want to test out my new skills.
Despite a breakfast of total abandon (think bloody Mary’s and French toast sticks ) I met Neeta and Nola BJJ and she mounted me from the start. For over an hour she started on mount and I worked my escaped. She helped me with my elbows, she helped me with my bridge, she gave me feedback when I rolled with another lady and tried to escape her mount. She worked with me for a solid hour (at least).
At the end of the open mat, some guy came up to her and said, “how come you don’t give me an hour private lesson?” Neeta replied, “Well, it’s because you never ask.”
This seems like an insignificant statement but it really sums but the general attitudes and feelings that a lot of men have towards women in this sport. It explains why someone as offensive as Kurt Osiander packs a seminar and why we have to cross our fingers and hope 10 people show up for Dominyka Obelenyte, a multi time world champion. It explains how people are more than willing to pay $300 for Lovato but can’t shell out $50 for a female black belt. It also explains why female black belts charge $50 per private and Cyborg charges $300. We also assign a lower value to ourselves.
I definitely think this attitude can be changed and the way to do it is to start with women supporting each other. I think that support for women can be shown in many ways. If a black belt is coming your way attend her seminar. If you can’t then promote it and help pack her room. If you see a higher ranking female ask her for help in the same way that you’d ask a guy of the same belt. I think you will find that most females are more than willing to lend their time and technique to help you get better and they have something valuable to offer…if you just ask!