Metamoris: I Am Woman, Let Me Roll

5:45 AM Moo 1 Comments

If you've taken a look at this upcoming Metamoris card (and the last fricking 4) you will notice a distinct lack of female practitioners. This is puzzling for many in the community,both male and female. If you looked at the card and you didn't notice or didn't care about the lack of might be part of the problem. Uh Oh...cue angry feminist rant, right? Not quite. In the adult category black belt rankings there are 758 male rankings, for women, there are 117 rankings.  That's 15%. What this statistic does establish, however, is that there is no reason for a 100% male card. Where there is supply, there is demand and where there are female practitioners, there is guaranteed to be a dynamic battle.

Just take a look at The Polaris Invitational. They are in their first year as a jiu jitsu competition and the most heavily touted and celebrated match was actually that of Angelica Galvao and Michelle Nicolini. Not only was it the first women's match, it was also the first submission of the night. People were extremely impressed with this match. I can hear the naysayers now "that's just because they're hot" and indeed, they are but they are also legitimate, powerful, well established competitors. Their match also happened to be one the most exciting and explosive performances on the card. Memorable? Yes. Historically important? Absolutely. Polaris has announced that they are committed to having female fights on every card. In their first year of production, Polaris managed to do something Metamoris is clearly incapable of: Acknowledge women as a vital part of the sport without making them the freak show oddity or "special exception."

On Metamoris two, we saw an excellent match between Mackenzie Dern and Michelle Nicolini. Leading up to the event, however, we heard much about how attractive they both were, but little of their skills. Michelle is a seasoned competitor and Mackenzie is an hardworking and innovative new black belt.As a competitor she is in a field of her own. In terms of heart, there aren't many people who outclass her. This event gave hope to many female practitioners that the inclusion of women would become the rule, not the exception. Sadly, we have seen anything but. Even the Eddie Bravo invitational was able to include adolescent girls in their competition, adding to the overall theme that Jiu Jitsu really is for everyone.

So, why no women? We have seen Keenan Cornelius featured numerous times, both Gi and No Gi. Who are we really catering to when these matches are made? I took to social media to get the general opinion of a Metamoris, distinctly lacking in female competitors. Many expressed outrage, some disappointment and others were hopeful that the secret match would consist of women ( I am still hoping for this myself). Fan pages popped up overnight and hypothetical cards were created. Meerkatsu posted this:

Another commentator created an equally as exciting card. What this did was highlight the fact that there are too many capable, talented women not even being considered as viable options.

In a sport that prides itself on being "the art for the small" and values technique over pure power, how can we ignore the woman warriors? Any woman who has ever trained in a gym full of men knows the distinct difference between rolling with the opposite sex and rolling with a woman. Our battles go beyond size. We are expected to be mentally tough, while being told we are physically weaker.  We are called the fairer sex, yet we dominate on the mats. We may be fewer in numbers, but we certainly aren't lesser. We don't want special treatment, we just want to be acknowledged as the athletes that we are. If you're part of a school unfortunate enough to not have female practitioners, I cant express my sympathy enough. Stylistically we can be a challenge for men who rely on perfecting one or two techniques. In our bag of tricks, we have learned how to defend against it all. We don't roll the same as men and thank God for that. How boring would Jiu Jitsu be if everyone rolled the same? Our battles seem more fluid, more technical and stylistically they are just some of the most interesting to watch. Call me biased, but take my word for it. Trust me, I roll with some badass women. We are your future blackbelts, competitors and teachers. We will pass on our knowledge to the next generation of girls. We want women in the sport. We need women in this sport and we need female representation on the big stage, where it counts!

We get it Ralek? Why don't you?