Maria Howard knows she can handle herself in any situation. At 52 years old, she started training Brazilian jiu jitsu for the first time when a friend recommended it to her. She enrolled in Coach Leah Taylor’s 12-week Women’s BJJ Foundations class and quickly fell in love with it!

She found that jiu jitsu not only equipped her with functional self-defense skills, but it instilled in her a quiet confidence that she carries with her. By being in uncomfortable positions in her jiu jitsu training, she has developed the physical and mental skills necessary to protect herself when it matters the most. “I’m not afraid to have somebody on top of me, especially in a stressful situation.” she shared.

Fighting doesn’t come naturally to women and girls the way it does for men and boys. From a young age, girls are conditioned to please others and to be “nice”. These social norms deter women and girls from expressing aggression and assertiveness.

The benefit of training Brazilian jiu jitsu for women’s self-defense is that people of all shapes and sizes can train to protect themselves and the people they love.

Jiu jitsu is designed for smaller people to control and dominate bigger and stronger opponents. You will frequently practice how to defend yourself from the ground or escape from a bad position. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, that muscle memory will kick in. With BJJ training, you’ll develop the skills, strength, and confidence to protect yourself.

When she finished the 12-week Women’s BJJ Foundations class, Maria continued her jiu jitsu training. She’s trained under different instructors since, and each one has taught her to look at jiu Jitsu techniques differently. “No matter how old, how young, everybody should know the basics at a minimum. Everybody should try it,” she said.

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