Rolling With the Opposite Gender

What's up guys! We've talked about it before and there seems to be quite a few various opinions on the subject. Here's my thoughts on rolling with someone of the opposite gender.

As many of you know both Kayla and I are obsessed with Jiu Jitsu. I have no issues rolling with someone of the opposite sex and neither does Kayla. The difference is I have never been turned down a roll regardless of sex, size, rank, or age. Unfortunately for Kayla she has been turned down for rolls based on her sex. 

We all have our reasons for training Jiu Jitsu and we also all have the right to refuse a roll based on whatever reason we see fit. Although I don't personally follow others reasoning, I do understand why some would turn down a roll. 

1. I don't want to hurt a girl

This reason is a little silly in my eyes. In Jiu Jitsu the goal is to make someone so fearful that they are going to get injured that they essentially give up. That's the beauty of tapping out. You give up and you concede that for that roll your partner was better than you. I've popped ribs, ankles, shoulders, wrists, elbows and almost went out cold from chokes. That's the point of Jiu Jitsu! If you're so worried about hurting someone, Jiu Jitsu might not be for you. Now there are things you can do to avoid hurting someone if you think you have such a weight advantage that you might hurt your partner. I say play guard or put yourself in a disadvantageous position. On bottom you have less of a chance of using your weight, basically taking away one chance of hurting someone. Don't hulk out of submissions. Use pure technique to stop someone from tapping you out. If you do tap, then who cares? Restart and fix your mistakes. What happens when someone at your weight class is stronger than you? You sure aren't going to muscle your way out of all the submissions. My point is you can still learn regardless of who your training partner is. Also many women sign up for Jiu Jitsu so they can learn how to defend themselves. If a woman is going to be attacked, it typically isn't going to be by someone smaller than them. If they can't learn to defend themselves against someone that is bigger than them then that is a huge disservice to them. 

2. You end up in position that could look sexual

This reason makes a little more sense to me. From an outside view point, Jiu Jitsu does look a little funny. We all end up in these positions though. You have people keeping close contact. People are sitting on your head at times. Honestly in that position I'm not thinking of having nuts on my forehead. I know my arms are in danger and try to defend myself. Closed guard is the perfect position for a female to learn. If she is going to be sexually assaulted that's where an attacker is going to go. A girl that knows Jiu Jitsu will break both of his arms and put him to sleep. For a girl to roll with a guy and to be put in these positions could look sexual but it's not really something that should be thought of as sexual. Again it shouldn't be thought of that way but I can see how it is. 

3. My significant other will be jealous

This isn't one I can explain away. With any relationship, for it to work, there has to be give and take. If your significant other says don't roll with people of the opposite sex then that's probably something you should follow. Nobody I've rolled with, other than my wife, have I had a sexual thought about while rolling. I roll with a girl and all I'm worrying about is getting broken. That's just me. There are shady guys out there. I haven't seen it first hand in my area but I have heard stories of ladies switching gyms because all guys are trying to do is get in their pants. It's unfortunate but it's a reality. For a girl to not be able to roll with guys might be detrimental to their journey though. The percentage of girls that train is so small compared to guys. If a girl's husband or boyfriend says don't roll with guys, I'm not sure who they're going to roll with depending on the school. Hopefully that girl has other females at that gym. 

4. My religion won't me roll with members of the opposite sex

This is one I'd have to honor. I haven't come across this excuse personally but religion is such a sacred thing that for me, as an instructor, not to honor that would look bad on me and potentially miss out on a friendship with another human being. As a Christian I accept everyone regardless of past, race, sex, or religion. If your view point is you can't roll with someone of the opposite sex because of your religion you have that right.


These are the 4 main reasons that have been explained to me when this topic has come up. I understand all of them but don't agree with a couple. Like I said, we are all in Jiu Jitsu for our own reasons. We should be able to come to a gym and feel completely free. This should be our safe haven and when we take time out of our day all we should be worrying about is not getting strangled or our joints hyper-extended. 

In the end just keep training and if a gym isn't honoring your right to roll with whoever you want then maybe it's time to start looking for a new gym. Hope to see you on the mats!


Brent Smith

Cauliflower Ear Family

P.S. If you put in the discount code THANKYOU10 in the shop at checkout you'll get 10% off your order. Shhhh don't tell anyone ;)

1 comment

  • David Tice

    I had done years of Judo and wrestling before starting BJJ in 1995. We rolled with women and girls in Judo so I found it strange that men didn’t want to roll with women in BJJ.

Leave a comment