Sometimes I find really cool, empowering ads. I have noticed a very cool trend here in Korea amongst the jiu jitsu gyms that I wanted to share. When my gym moved locations, we got a new sign.

Here is our old sign:

Jiu Jitsu World Directions entrance

You can see that a picture of Kyra Gracie choking out a man. This simple image says a lot. It gives the message that this gym is welcoming of women, it is mixed gender, and it is not a “meathead” gym. Kyra looks feminine, powerful, and demonstrates that women can roll with men and succeed. Here’s our new ad:

Jiu Jitsu World Ad

The breakdown: 12 people are represented, and of those,  8 are female. It shoes male+male, girl+girl, boy+girl, woman+boy, and woman+woman. At a glance it tells me that women are welcome, that children are welcome, that at this gym, different genders roll together, and that there is nothing overly aggressive about this gym. Everyone is competing or smiling, no one is in a state of half-dress, and it is overall very positive. Had I seen this coming into jiu jitsu for the first time, I would have felt a sense of relief, since my initial fears were that jiu jitsu was overly aggressive, too much testosterone, unwelcoming to women, and too competitive.

Similarly, I saw some ads down in Bundang (south of Seoul), for John Frankl Bundang school, aka King Cobra. It was one of the first time I’d randomly seen a jiu jitsu ad. Whoa – is that a picture of people grappling? Omg it’s jiu jitsu! Then I saw that there were several for the same school.

King CobraHere is the flyer my friend saw.

The left text roughly says: I am a man who can protect anyone.

The right text roughly says: I am a woman who can protect anyone.

Here you see both genders represented, you see happy people, and it creates the impression that both genders are equally welcomed at their gym.

At the subway there were a total of 7 advertisements. Here you can see the placement of the ads. This is where people exit from the subway.

John Frankl Bundang ads

Here is a closeup of 6 of the ads. For the sake of analysis, I will include all 7 images.

John Frankl Bundang ads closeup

The breakdown: A total of 15 people are shown. Of the 15, 3 are visibly female and one is an adult woman grappling a man, and 2 are young girls. Five are children and 2 are grappling. Six of the ads show partners grappling, with two clearly being at a competition. So while women are underrepresented in the ads – which reflects reality, the picture they chose is powerful – a woman putting a choke on a man – showing that at their gym there is mixed gender grappling, and that jiu jitsu is effective for women against men. These images also represent a diversity – which is true for all of us as well – we go into bjj for vastly different reasons.

Finally, here is an ad for the Apgujeong gym, which focuses on looking good physically:

Apgujeong Jiu Jitsu ads

The breakdown: 12 folks are in these ads. In it, 5 are men, 8 are women. In this, only the women are shown grappling. None of the women actually show their bodies (though in the magazine rack, there is one of the sexy Kyra pics). 6 of the women are grappling. For me, this shows athletes and shows that women are welcome and are demonstrating their skills. Apgujeong also has a clever brochure that shows the man in the middle totally pixelated, then on the next page shows him clearly, along with the text: You can have 100% high quality body.

These are just a few of the ads that have caught my attention, and is a reason I’m very proud to be part of my gym and my network. It in no way promotes bully behavior, it’s welcoming to women, and there is thoughtfulness in their ads.

JiuJiu’s Question:If someone were to judge your gym solely by their advertising, what would their impression be? Who is it targeting – men? women? competitors? What are your thoughts on your gym’s ads? Please feel free to post a picture!