In January of 2010, I had reached a point of utter frustration with my exercise regimen. I was going to the gym 3 times a week and still not seeing the results I was looking for, not to mention I was ridiculously bored at the gym. I knew I needed a change but I didn’t know what I could do that would keep my interest. I had never been athletic so as a 27 year old female, I felt my options were limited.
Coincidentally, while I was fretting over what type of change to make in my life some friends asked me if I wanted to sign up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with them. The only thing I had ever heard about BJJ was that many of the fighters in the UFC trained in that fighting style. Despite little knowledge of grappling, the thought of an athletic activity where I would be with friends and constantly learning resonated with me. I came to the orientation class and was immediately hooked. Prior to the class, I had some reservations about having people in my personal space and the general idea of grappling with men, but as soon as the lesson began they all faded away. No doubt I was going to have to train hard to get into the shape needed to do the sport any justice but I loved it.
I actually live less than half a mile away from another Mixed Martial Arts school, but happily commute an additional 20 miles to Crazy 88 3-4 times a week. They really go out of their way to make women feel comfortable and interested in the sport. Everyone at Crazy 88 loves Jiu Jitsu and is excited to always talk about it and to help you with whatever you are struggling with. In the last 10 months at Crazy 88, I have lost over 20 pounds and gained incredible endurance, strength and confidence. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Well, it’s a known (unfortunate) fact that women don’t really populate most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts schools. The VAST MAJORITY of legitimate Martial Arts schools have almost 50 men to 1 woman (1% – 2% of the total student base). You would have better luck trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack than finding a woman at a Mixed Martial Arts gym …and this makes sense.
What you can expect to find at a “NORMAL” MMA Gym?
We get tons of women calling us, wanting a different way to stay in shape. Women always tell us going to the gym is “too boring.” It seems the standard routine is – sign up for a gym membership, try it a few times, and just stop going after the first few days. This is not unusual. In fact, industry statistics indicate that 83% of gym members stop going after the first month! Its a very impersonal environment and requires lots of equipment in order to get the best possible workout (which means you have to know HOW TO use the equipment).
NOTE: This is still better than the alternative – crazy fad diets.. .Hollywood Cookie Diet, anyone?
I started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Crazy 88 in May 2009 at the age of 41, having never done anything athletic in my life, much less a competitive martial art. Little did I know that Crazy 88 would quickly become my home away from home, and its members my extended family. I began with one class per week and was barely able to complete the warm-up exercises at first. However, I was so motivated by Julius Park, as well as the other instructors and students, that I soon progressed to two, and then to three and four classes per week. As an attorney and mother of two young children, I would have sworn I had no more time in my day but somehow I found it!
Jiu jitsu has enhanced every aspect of my life; its challenges are as much mental as physical, as are its rewards. Jiu jitsu has gotten me into the best cardiovascular shape of my life and it provides a wonderful outlet for my competitive nature. I highly recommend Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to anyone, regardless of age or gender. Everyone is so friendly and encouraging, and the instruction is hands-on with a great deal of individualized attention. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join this extraordinary team of teachers and students.
At Crazy 88, you are going to be learning effective martial arts and combat sports. It sounds super hardcore I know but its not as crazy as you think! Over 15% of our adult student base is WOMEN just like you and 99% of them started with ZERO experience. They just wanted a different effective way to get in-shape and learning how to protect themselves was an added Bonus!
You have the option of attending classes in Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, and we even have a Womens Only Fitness Program. Our programs have a Womens Only option so you can train wherever makes you comfortable. And since all the martial arts place different metabolic demands on your body, you’ll be getting the kind of multi-faceted workout that gets results! If you decide to do everything, you’ll be able to defend yourself on the feet with kickboxing, defend yourself at close-range (jiu-jitsu), and have great physical fitness!
At Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we are able to present a combination of hard training and family friendly professional atmosphere. About 15% of our enrollment is women and includes mothers of children in our program, young professionals, full-time students, wives of current students, as well as aspiring fighters. Now, don’t get me wrong. We did not “sell out” and water down our training but we believe that world-class training and over-the-top machismo don’t necessarily have to go together. Our Womens Only program is intended to be a great workout but a great workout that teaches you REAL FIGHTING SKILLS – this is what separates Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the aerobics kickboxing programs that you find at your local fitness gym. You will learn the same punching combinations, elbows, knees, submission holds, and grappling techniques that our fighters are learning! Most gym classes are taught by unqualified part-time instructors who have never worked at a high level.
In 2010, Lloyd Irvin Womens Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team won 1st Place in the Overall Team Standings at the 2010 Pan-American Tournament.
The Ladies followed this up with another outstanding showing at the 2010 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships. In fact, we became the first Non-Brazilian Team in History to make it onto the Overall Standings at the World Championships.
My name is Ashley and I’m in the military, stationed at Ft. Meade MD. Before I joined Crazy 88, I had played soccer and taken ballet for a long time but I had no martial arts background whatsoever, unless you count watching the movie “Sidekicks” about a thousand times when I was little and goofing off out back. The reason I got into the Muay Thai program at Crazy 88 is that I was looking for something that would be good stress release and give me a head to toe workout… and I realized I’m at that point in my life where I can’t just eat whatever I want and not gain a pound anymore. (I have a thing for chili cheese fries.) I remember being shocked the first week of class when the coach had us focusing on kicks and my abs hurt the next morning and later when I learned to throw a punch and could feel it in my calves.
I was really worried the first class I showed up to, that being the new kid, noone would be willing to work with me or take things slower so I could keep up but it was just the opposite; the women in my class were eager to show me the technique and break it down for me til I understood and the instructor has a way of teaching class that is very beginner-friendly but leaves room to build combinations and focus on technique as you get more comfortable and confident with the sport. I’ve been taking the same Muay Thai classes with the same teacher, Jason, three times a week for six months now and in every class I learn at least one new thing, which is awesome, and makes me feel like I’m building a solid foundation for the sport piece by piece. Sometime, when I’m ready, I’d like to try competing in an amateur Muay Thai fight and see how it goes from there. I have a lot more to learn before then but then again I’m surprised and proud of where I am now already so I think it’s a definite personal goal.
Some of the people I train with at the gym are very inspiring, sharing the details of their own wins and losses, what they’ve learned, and pretty much everybody at Crazy 88 is really supportive but genuine and constructive with their criticism too. The girls I train with are quick to point out any areas I need to improve on and push me to work harder and sweat more every class. Sounds like torture, but it’s a good thing. I think the Muay Thai program at Crazy 88 is fantastic and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good workout (and later, a good night’s sleep) or a way to make new friends. If you’re at all interested in watching or appreciating MMA or kickboxing, I think it’d benefit you to take a deeper interest in the sport and try the whole experience.