How To Roll With a Girl In BJJ | 3 Basic Rules To Follow

How to roll with a girl in bjj

Whether you are a fresh white belt or a seasoned colored belt still navigating how to “correctly” roll with women during jiujitsu, if you gauge the roll, focus on technique, and ultimately communicate with your partner, you can have virtually as useful training sessions with women as you do with men.

While there are many particular do’s and don’ts when it comes to training with females in BJJ, in this article we are going to do a deep dive on some basic rules that you can follow in order to feel more confident when rolling with a girl.

Rule #1: Gauge The Roll

As a female myself and coming from a gym where majority of my training partners are men, my first recommendation is always going to be “try and gauge the roll”. Sometimes men will be so nervous that they are going to hurt a girl to the point that they are almost hesitant to engage. Therefore, resulting in a low-quality roll for both sides.

On the other hand, some women roll too intense, making guys feel like they must match that same pace, and end up going too hard. While most jiujitsu women are plenty tough, you must remember that at the end of the day, you still probably have a size and strength advantage.

 Instead, to gauge a roll with a girl, you should start by putting yourself in the girl’s shoes, and ask yourself this; If you were a girl training with a male possibly twice your size, how would you want the training round with you to be treated?

From a women’s perspective, I generally enjoy rounds with men who I can keep a high pace with but are mindful about how they drop their weight on me, how intensely we should be training, and if they are ripping submissions. From a men’s perspective, jiujitsu black belt and elite competitor, William Tackett also takes a similar stance;

“Joining the adults’ class when I was just 13yrs old showed me what it’s like to be the smaller person in class. Even though I could submit some of the adults, there were times where I would get hurt going against a larger opponent. Now that I know what it’s like, I try to pay extra attention to my weight and strength when going with a girl since I have a 40-100lb weight advantage.”

 Of course, in the instance that controlling your weight and matching a girl’s pace seems tough for you then general rule of thumb; if you can’t control, just don’t roll.

Rule #2: Technique & Timing Over Strength

On the note of gauging a roll when rolling with a female; timing, technique, and speed should essentially be your best friend. While that might sound unappealing at first, rolling with females is the perfect excuse to focus on weaker points and refine your jiujitsu game. To explain this in further detail we asked William Tackett for his advice on how he trains with women:

“Since I typically have a weight advantage when rolling with a girl, I try and keep my weight off them. Instead of using pressure to control them, I use movement. And I make sure to NEVER fall or drop on them. I also try to avoid using strength when I can and focus on my technique. This helps us both have a fun, safe, and beneficial roll.”

Following up on William’s comment, you may only focus on your wrestling while training with male teammates since it’s what you are strongest at. However, during rounds with girls you can choose to work on your closed guard instead if it is a weaker point of yours or to take it a step further, even start training sessions in bad positions such as from the back or in a submission.

When rolling with a girl also don’t be afraid to tap. We have all been there during a roll when you let a submission go further than you should because your ego kicks in. While this is a natural response for just about anyone, this ego can turn into frustration, and the frustration can turn into you (or the female) getting verbally heated and worst-case scenario, someone getting injured because they don’t want to tap or hurt their partner from trying to get out of the submission. It is not worth it.

The jiujitsu gym is a place of no ego or drama. It is a place where everyone is trying to accomplish similar goals and improve their jiujitsu, no one is going to bat an eye over someone tapping to an experienced training partner because that is just a part of the sport.

Rule #3: Communicate

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to communicate with your female training partner if you haven’t figured how to roll with her properly or are worried about accidentally hurting her. Now, this approach can usually have one or two different routes.

Generally speaking, you can have a quick conversation beforehand about what the female is looking for during the roll. Is she wanting higher pace and you as the male just try to watch your weight distribution? Is she looking for a slower pace round, with more focus on the technical and positional aspects of things? These are just two examples where having a brief chat can take out a lot of the guessing and nervousness you might feel going into the round.

On the flipside, if you aren’t sure how to approach the conversation or even the roll itself, I recommend simply passing up the offer if a girl asks to roll. You can let her know you are sitting out for a round or if you really want to be honest, respectfully let her know you appreciate it but aren’t comfortable rolling with women whether it’s for religious reasons, etc.

Based off of my own experience and witnessing others in the gym, it is definitely best to keep communication as short and sweet as possible, so nothing gets misconstrued or comes across as offensive.

Final Thoughts

If the topic of how to roll with a female in jiujitsu has been a struggle for you, I hope this article has provided you with a few basic rules needed to give you peace of mind on the subject and safely expand your training partner circle.

Overall, regardless of gender, if you don’t feel comfortable training with someone, then it is your right to choose not to roll with them.

Although, as long as you are matching pace, focusing on technique, and simply being thoughtful, training with women will become a breeze for you and ultimately, keep jiujitsu fun like it should be!

If you are still unsure over what your roll with a female should look like, go check out this YouTube video from William Tackett where two of my personal friends and professional BJJ athletes, JT Little & Tiffany Butler illustrate how a high pace, competitive, but enjoyable training round can look.

Happy Rolling!

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