There has been a lot of talk about inclusion in sports, including in combat sports. It’s a particularly tough sell in sports like mixed martial arts, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling because inclusion can have grave consequences for participants.
In grappling and MMA, the small number of female participants means that the training is already co-ed. This provides a unique opportunity for everyone to realize that gender isn’t a myth or a social construct; it’s a very real obstacle for biological women to overcome.
However, experience in combat sports can help overcome the advantages that biological gender provides, at least in some cases. One such case is that of judoka Megan van Houtum, who entered a men’s division of a local grappling competition.
Megan once claimed a gold medal at the Top Junior Tour U20 St. Petersburg in 2009, which makes her an “advanced” competitor at the very least.
Statistically speaking, the average adult female BJJ athlete’s strength can be likened to that of a 12-year-old boy. However, there are instances that defy these expectations and challenge the norms of the sport.
She fearlessly entered the men’s division and showcased her exceptional skills. With remarkable prowess, she emerged victorious in all three matches, leaving spectators in awe of her takedown techniques and dominant submissions on the ground.
Megan’s remarkable achievements not only highlight her personal talent and dedication but also serve as a testament to the evolving landscape of BJJ. While the vast strength difference between men and women remains an undeniable reality, extraordinary individuals like Megan prove that skill, technique, and determination can transcend these barriers.
As the world of BJJ continues to evolve, stories like Megan’s inspire a broader conversation about gender inclusivity and the potential for future in the sport.