I was over on Facebook on the page Jiu-Jitsu Girls, and came across this question:

a week ago I was invited with other guys from my gym to visit another gym in our area. When I got there I noticed I was the only female. The instructor pulled me to the side and explained that a few of his guys didn’t feel comfortable training with me and I could do a warm up but I would have to watch the move being shown from the edge of the mat and I couldn’t roll with anyone but the guys from my gym. It made me upset, I had paid the mat fee to only watch on a bench. But didn’t want to be disrespectful.

Opinions on female rolling partners and suggestions on how to approach situations like this in the future?

I’m not totally sure what I would have done. I like to think I would have restated what he was saying in a clear way. “So because a few men feel uncomfortable rolling with women, your solution is to remove me from their presence to make them more comfortable? You are removing a minority because the majority feels weird? Ok. Noted. I’ll be sure to make that very clear in my review of your academy that women are welcome to sit and watch but may not participate. Thanks for making that clear. I would like my mat fee money back, since I’m not welcome on the mats, and did not pay a bench or viewing fee. I assume it’s free to watch, correct?”

Again, pure speculation on my part. Who knows. I might have raged on the inside and just been pissed off. I know I would have asked for my money back, as a mat fee would be paying for a class and rolling, rather than a watching fee. I would be really angry that they took my money and expected me to have a vastly different experience than everyone else who had paid.

I get that owners want to make their members feel comfortable. What I don’t get is reinforcing the exclusion of an extreme minority. If a few folks feel uncomfortable, the instructor should simply do the pairings and not pair folks who are uncomfortable. Problem solved.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Have you encountered this? If this happened to you, or a woman you were with, how would you have handled it? Does you club do this? If you saw them do this, what would your reaction be?