Earning my brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu was one of the hardest and most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I got the opportunity to compete and win IBJJF Pan Ams and I placed Third at IBJJF Masters Worlds in 2019. I looked around at both these competitions and chatted with the other competitors and I realized I was the only mom in my divisions.
Why is this? Why aren't more mom's competing? As a mom of three busy kids. I find more fulfillment from my training and competing now, than ever before. Its more challenging in its own way now. But I have a stronger motivation than ever to get better and continue to grow in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu.
So why don’t we see more mothers competing and training? Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone. This is shocking to some outside the Jiu -Jitsu community but it is true. No matter how big or the level of experience you have you can get something life changing from training. Jiu-Jitsu is somehow associated with a sort of dog-eat-dog environment.
But that couldn’t be farther from reality. My gym family is kind, gentle, inspiring, and encouraging. Trying to convince other women’s and especially moms of this is an uphill battle. But I personally think moms might benefit the most from a Jiu-Jitsu hobby.
Why Jiu-Jitsu is for moms
Physical Fitness: Jiu-Jitsu is great cardio and strength training in one. Plus, it is so fun and you're so immersed in the training you forget you are working out. I’ll show up to class and have so much fun I don’t even realize an hour or 90 minutes has passed!
I was back on the mats 6 weeks after each child birth. Jiu-Jitsu is so addicting you find yourself looking forward to training. It felt so good to sweat and push my body again after pregnancies. Before I knew it I had lost the baby weight every time at about 4 months post baby.
I weigh the same today after three kids as I did my freshman year of High School. I am way stronger and in better cardio shape than ever before. I was able to make weight and compete at adult worlds when my first baby was 9 months old. In short, Jiu-Jitsu works.
Mental clarity: There are countless studies now on the benefits of meditation for quality of life. Jiu-Jitsu to me is a moving meditation. You have to focus on the present. Focus on your breathing. Focused on the movement and being in your body. There is no to do list on the mat, and no outside worries creeping in. The relaxation and clarity that comes from this is priceless. It gives me the mental freedom to be a better mom and person when I leave!
Fun: As parents we sometimes forget to play. Everything becomes so responsibility focused. We can lose sight of how important it is to have fun. To do something only for yourself that makes your soul smile. Every day I step on the mat I find myself laughing, joking, and leaving way more joyful than when I entered. That joy is what I want to permeate in all aspects of my life. I want my children to know me as a joyful mom.
More importantly life is so short, the more moments of fun and contentment the better off your days are spent.
Confidence: We live in world where being body positive is exceptionally hard. After you have kids your body changes, it’s unavoidable. Jiu-Jitsu makes me appreciate how strong and powerful my body can be. You start to value how capable you are versus how skinny or tiny you are.
In Jiu-Jitsu no one judges you on your body shape. All bodies on the mat are valued and with everyone in a GI you get to focus on technique and improvement. Jiu-Jitsu gives you a fundamental respect for what your body can do!
Self Defense: The world today is a great place. Most people you run into mean well and are kind. It is a reality that bad people exist. I like the idea of giving myself every advantage possible in the event I ever might have to defend myself. There are studies that show the way you carry yourself after training Martial Arts makes you less likely to be a victim. I am glad I have spent the last 12 years training to protect myself and my kids.
Quest for Self-Improvement: One of the most important things that Jiu-Jitsu has gifted me is the challenge for personal growth. I am not an aggressive person at all. I hate confrontation and learning new things is exceptionally hard. Jiu-Jitsu does not come easy. That is why I value it.
The challenge forces me to work on areas of myself that are not as strong. I want my kids to see I am striving to be a better person. I want them to see me do things that are hard, and that I am not content to stay exactly where I am at in life. The hunger to be a better version of myself every day is something you can’t pass on with words. It’s actions. I hope to set this example.
Community: If you are a parent you know it takes a village to raise kids and try to maintain yourself and a marriage. Jiu-Jitsu has given me a family I can count on for anything. My best girlfriends I have met through Jiu-Jitsu. My kids' best friends are from the gym. My husband has friends from all over the world for decades from the training and competing in Jiu-Jitsu. We have been helped in so many ways, and our lives have all been so enriched by this community. I am forever grateful.
My kids grew up on the mat, their first steps were in the gym. When I would train some of the guys and girls would take turns holding my daughter during their rest rounds. Navigating parenthood without this community would have been so much harder and more isolating. I cannot overstate the importance of having this support system.
Travis and Erin Lutter
In Conclusion: Women (especially moms) should train Jiu-Jitsu. It will be hard. Use Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to help develop perseverance and tenacity. Find a group of people that encourage you to be better and challenge yourself. Jiu-Jitsu can enrich your life and your parenting. If you are willing to invest the time to get better. Be an example of strength and personal growth for your sons and/or daughter.
See you on the mat ladies!