The Rise and Dominance of Women in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Post-COVID-19

COVID-19 hit sports like a hurricane. All sports. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was no exception. Suddenly, practice mats stood empty. Tournaments, canceled. This virus didn’t play favorites. It put a chokehold on BJJ, and for a time, it seemed like the sport might tap out.

But, you see, BJJ is resilient. More so, the women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A new kind of opponent had entered the ring, and they were not about to back down. These BJJ girls knew the deal. They understand that every challenge in the dojo is a chance to learn, grow, adapt. COVID-19? Just another challenge.

As the world grappled with the pandemic, women in BJJ trained. With gyms closed, they adapted. Home became the new dojo. Staircases, their new StairMaster. They pivoted to online training. Adaptability, a core tenet of BJJ, shone brightly through them.

The resilience of these women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu didn’t stop there. As lockdowns eased, they were back on the mats. Masks on, spirits high, they trained with a renewed vigor. They defied the odds, kept the sport alive in its darkest hour.

The pandemic? It tested the resolve of every BJJ girl. It threatened to dismantle the sport they loved. But they turned it around. They used it as a springboard to leap into a new era for women in BJJ.

In the face of adversity, the women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stood tall. They didn’t just survive; they thrived. That’s the true spirit of BJJ. That’s the legacy these women are creating in the sport. And this is their story.

Top Female BJJ Competitors

In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many names stand tall. One such name is Michelle Nicolini. A Black Belt and an IBJJF Hall of Fame member, Nicolini is an icon. She took a hiatus, yes. But now, she’s back, delivering performances that captivate the BJJ world​.

There’s more. More women who’ve carved their names into the annals of BJJ history. Let’s not forget Beatriz Mesquita. Or Mackenzie Dern. Or Gabi Garcia. These BJJ girls are not just competitors. They are trailblazers, ambassadors of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Look at Ana Carolina Vieira Srour. Look at Kyra Gracie. Their performances in the ring are a sight to behold. They’re not just fighters, they’re inspirations. Every chokehold, every guard-pass, a testament to their skill and dedication.

Bianca Barbosa Basilio. Mayssa Bastos. Grace Gundrum. Names that resonate in every corner of the BJJ world. Their achievements speak for themselves. More than that, they illustrate the strides women have made in BJJ.

Yet, the list doesn’t end there. Leticia Ribero. Hannette Staack. Claudia do Val. These women in BJJ have not just competed. They’ve dominated. Yvone Duarte, a 7th Degree Coral Belt, showcases the heights women can reach in this sport​.

Luiza Monteiro. Jessica D Flowers. Each has made their mark. Each has showcased the strength, skill, and resilience that defines every BJJ girl.

These women have shown the world what it means to be a woman in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Their achievements are numerous. Their impact, immeasurable. They’ve not just participated in the sport; they’ve transformed it. Their legacy? A world where women in BJJ are not just accepted, but celebrated.

Impact on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Leagues and Tournaments

The pandemic didn’t just test the women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It transformed the sport. It altered the landscape of leagues and tournaments. Let’s take a closer look.

Pre-COVID-19, the participation of women in major tournaments was noteworthy. Post-COVID-19? It skyrocketed. Women didn’t just return to the mats. They flooded them. They graced every major tournament, every league. Each BJJ girl was a testament to the resilience of the sport.

Take the IBJJF, for example. The roster of female participants swelled. The performances? Nothing short of spectacular. It was clear. Women in BJJ were not on the fringes. They were at the heart of the sport.

But it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about the impact. The increased participation of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has influenced the sport. It has shaped its reception.

In the past, BJJ was a male-dominated sport. Now? That narrative is changing. The performances of women in major leagues and tournaments are challenging that status quo. They’re redefining what it means to be a BJJ girl.

The influx of women in BJJ has brought diversity. It has brought fresh perspectives and has sparked a wave of inspiration that’s sweeping across the sport. It’s captivated audiences and drawn more women to the sport. It’s a snowball effect, and it’s only getting bigger.

The impact of women on leagues and tournaments is clear. BJJ girls have proven they belong on the mat and in the ring. They’ve shown they can compete at the highest level. They’ve demonstrated that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a man’s sport. It’s a sport for everyone.

In short, the rise of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu post-COVID-19? It’s not just a trend. It’s a revolution. And it’s reshaping the sport as we know it.

Women in BJJ as Practitioners and Educators

bjj girls at tournament

Let’s shift our focus to another significant role of women in BJJ – educators. Top female BJJ practitioners aren’t just competitors. They’re teachers, mentors, and role models.

Michelle Nicolini, for instance, is a beacon of knowledge. She shares her expertise generously, molding the next generation of BJJ girls. Her teachings go beyond techniques and strategies. She imbues her students with a resilient spirit, a drive to succeed.

Similarly, Mackenzie Dern has been instrumental in the education of budding BJJ practitioners. Her teachings, grounded in her rich experience, are a source of inspiration for many. She’s not just a champion on the mat. She’s a champion of the sport’s future.

Beatriz Mesquita, another notable figure, shines in her role as a teacher. Her dedication to nurturing young talents is commendable. She’s shaping the future of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, one student at a time.

Moreover, Gabi Garcia’s influence as an educator is undeniable. Through her teaching, she’s making the sport more accessible. She’s breaking down barriers, ensuring that every BJJ girl feels seen, heard, and empowered.

Then there’s Kyra Gracie. Her efforts to educate and inspire young women in the sport are remarkable. She’s a true ambassador of women in BJJ.

In essence, these top practitioners are leaving an indelible mark through their teaching. They’re influencing the sport on a deeper level and they’re cultivating a culture of learning, growth, and empowerment. A community is being fostered where every BJJ girl can flourish.

The role of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as educators is as crucial as their role as competitors. They’re shaping the sport’s present and future, inspiring a new generation of women in BJJ. Their impact as teachers? It’s monumental.

The Broadening Influence of Women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

In the realm of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a change is underway. Women are not just participating; they’re making waves. From Brazil to the United States, from Europe to Asia, the influence of women in BJJ is growing.

Consider Michelle Nicolini. Hailing from Brazil, this BJJ girl has achieved global recognition. Her return to competition has been nothing short of triumphant​​. Similarly, Kyra Gracie, another Brazilian, has made her mark on the sport, inspiring countless others to follow in her footsteps.

Yet, this broadening influence is not confined to Brazil. Let’s turn our gaze to the United States. Here, Mackenzie Dern and Grace Gundrum are taking the sport by storm. Their performances in major tournaments have drawn worldwide attention, further highlighting the global impact of women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In Europe, Claudia do Val, a powerhouse from Portugal, is pushing the boundaries. She’s not just excelling in the sport; she’s revolutionizing it. Her success speaks volumes about the growing influence of European women in BJJ.

The story is similar in Asia. Japanese BJJ girl Rikako Yuasa is shattering expectations and paving the way for future generations of Asian women in the sport.

Everywhere you look, the influence of women in BJJ is expanding. They’re gaining recognition, not just within their countries, but on the global stage. They’re breaking barriers, changing perceptions, and redefining the sport.

In conclusion, the global recognition of female BJJ athletes is undeniable. Women from all corners of the world are excelling in the sport, further reinforcing the growing influence of women in BJJ. This isn’t just a local phenomenon. It’s a global movement. And it’s changing the face of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


As we reflect on the journey, it’s clear: women in BJJ have come a long way since the pandemic. We haven’t just survived; we’ve thrived. We returned to the mats stronger, more determined, and we’ve stepped up to challenges both old and new and emerged victorious.

Michelle Nicolini, Beatriz Mesquita, Mackenzie Dern, Gabi Garcia, and others have led the charge. Their achievements serve as milestones in the sport’s history. They’ve set new standards, pushed boundaries, and inspired countless BJJ girls.

Looking forward, the future is bright. These top athletes have paved the way, but the journey doesn’t end here. The momentum they’ve built continues to grow. More and more women are embracing the sport. They’re challenging norms, breaking barriers, and reshaping the narrative.

The progress made by women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is remarkable. Their influence is undeniable, their impact profound. They’re not just changing the game; they’re redefining it. The future of women’s BJJ? It’s in good hands.

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