Getting Girly: Finding Femininity While Doing Martial Arts
Updated: Feb 24
Doing martial arts as a woman can be gritty and rough. Here are some things to do feel a bit more feminine on and off the mats.
For anyone who has seen an MMA fight, boxing match, or jiu-jitsu tournament, you know it get aggressive. Seeing some dude’s bloody face after a 3-round bout or some dude almost rip off another dude’s leg in a leglock might not be for the faint of heart. But, of course there are more and more badass women seeing these fights and deciding they want to participate in martial arts. We do the same amount of ass kicking that any man does.
One of the things my friends outside of jiu-jitsu have asked me is: "how do you not feel 'manly' while doing a male-dominated sport?" There are women to spar/roll with. But, how will you get the full range of the sport without training with everyone? You gotta roll with dudes and depending on the length of time, heat/humidity of the gym and the amount of people you roll with, you do end up smelling just like them (no Febreze test can ever disguise THAT smell).
To any woman reading this and thinking: "I don’t want to smell like a dude" or "I don’t want to be around dudes in that way", "why is she rolling with dudes?" Or asking: "how can she maintain her 'ladyness' when she’s constantly around dudes?"
Finding more of my "femininity" has been something I’ve been playing with more this year. Everyone defines femininity in their own way. For me, I’ve never fell into the traditional sense of femininity. I’ve always hung out with dudes (and not in a “women are too much drama” way. I know what some of y’all might be thinking) and have always been a “one of the guys” type of girls. I liked dresses but never put never put so much into fashion or have taken extra care to do more "girlie stuff". To be honest, I think it has affected my appeal to some men and is one of the reasons I’m single. No shade to myself and I'm not putting myself down. I just know there is a certain feminine touch that men appreciate. As a person who has felt that I need to tap into more of the traditional sense of “femininity”, here are some things I’ve been doing after class to feel more womanly.
Doing my nails (and keeping them short of course)
I’ve always thought that getting your nails done was super annoying and time consuming. This particularly holds true when you don’t get a gel manicure and have to wait for your nails to dry. I’ve gotten my nails done before, but I’ve always kept a basic manicure of one color going across all of the nails. Plus, I wasn’t spending more than 20 dollars at a nail salon (I know many women spend at least $80 sometimes). Plus, with jiu-jitsu and my one raggedy nail (which my new nail lady fixed! Shouts out to Svetlana!) I wasn’t putting in the effort to do my nails so much. After being in China and getting a design on my nails for far less than 20 dollars, I just loved how my nails looked! I discovered that I still can have nice, short manicured nails AND still do bjj! If they get too long, I know it’s time to cut them before getting them done again!
Making sure I look “somewhat” cute after leaving the gym
This more so applies to when I have evening class because morning class entails that I have to go to work, where I already make sure I look cute (ayyyee!) Most people generally change out of their sweaty clothes to quickly get home, to take off those clothes, to put on clean clothes, to take those clothes off to shower, to put on more clothes to go to bed (unless you sleep naked, do you!). I know that I general smell bad after class and since I take public transportation, I don’t want to clear out the train with my scent. Plus, they say if you meet the love of your life you want to look your best. Being realistic, I’m not doing my whole beauty routine to MAYBE meet someone on the train but I do make sure I shower (I know amazing right?), my leggings and shirt look super cute together and after my facial routine, my skin is glowing. Just add a smile and I feel “somewhat” on point when I go out in public.
Okay, I never get this dressed up but I do try to level up...
After class BJJ facial routine
I can't make it to the spa every week so I gotta have to bring the spa to me sometimes. After an evening class, you’re ready to just go home. I’m the kind of person that I want to do as much as I can of my nightly routine before going home. Pending on if the showers aren’t crowded and ladies are waiting, I’ll do my whole facial routine, with my washing, exfoliation, and toning in the shower. I exit with a facial mask, dry, and finish with put lotion and body spray. When I’m ready, I just throw away the mask and pat the essence into my face right before I exit the locker room.
Making sure I smell good (in and outside of class)
This is a given because I know smelling good is associated with femininity. I do walk around with some body spray, deodorant, and (recently) wet wipes just in case I have sweaty/smelly moments. Before class, because of the close proximity and working all day, I do make sure I change my underwear and put on deodorant. After class, I make sure I shower and scrub super well to get the stink off.
Taking time to do my hair and makeup when going from the gym to other events
Although most day I go right from the gym to my house, I am trying to keep a general social life and date more. I have been putting more of an effort into my appearance and when I have a date after class, I always warn my date that I need to schedule our date at least 1 hour and a half after my class is finished. This is so I can quickly ask questions to my coaches, go over something, and joke with my friends before taking my time to shower and do my hair and makeup so I leave a nice impression for my date.
Mind you, if I skip out on training to go on a date with you, I REALLY like you
Limiting my cursing and yelling (in and out of the gym)
As I mentioned in my jiu-jitsu etiquette post, cursing is something you should keep at bay when you’re at the gym. Again, for me it’s sometimes hard especially when I’m rolling with friends. But I think it’s more appreciated when you don’t curse in front of people (for me, especially in front of potential romantic partners). I don’t think guys appreciate when a woman looks amazing, smells good, arouses him with her presence and then she opens her mouth and it’s all sailor mixed with mountain man, with a touch of ruffian.
Listening to music that awakens my feminine energy
This is something quite new for me. There are certain songs and rhythms I feel tap into my feminine energy and makes me move and do things in a certain way. I don’t know exactly what it is but it really helps me feel like a goddess (thinking about 50 shades of grey and Anastasia’s inner goddess *cringe*). Here are some playlists I’ve listened to on Spotify and YouTube
When you are trying to best a bunch of big, (average or small) sweaty dudes on a weekly or sometimes even daily basis, you need to keep grasp of the things that make you feel and look like a woman. I’m discovering more and more ways to rediscover my idea of femininity, and I hope this list can help some of you guys too!
What are some ways that you get more in touch with your feminine side? (This is a question for both men and women! Men have to get in touch with their feminine side sometimes, too!)
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