Grappling with Gender
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It’s an incredibly close contact combat sport, in which you regularly attempt to submit one another via chokes and joint locks — but often looks like dangerous cuddling. However, the mats are admittedly male-dominated, and the nature of such close contact grappling often brings the question of gender sharply into focus. So in order to create a space within which these topics could be discussed by BJJ practitioners in an open and playful way, I designed a new format which combines rounds of rotational BJJ sparring with quickfire debate — the key element being that you’ll have to switch perspectives to fight for both sides, regardless of your own stance. As a format, Debate Jiu-Jitsu acts to bring people of different genders, backgrounds, and academies together onto the mats, and design that social interaction in which practitioners come together to grapple both physically and ideologically.