Women Empowered®

Women’s Self-Defense and Jiu-Jitsu Program in Elgin, IL

Women Empowered® is the official Gracie Jiu-Jitsu® self-defense program for women based on the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). In this 15-lesson program, we will teach you how to neutralize the 20 most common attacks ranging from having your hair grabbed to being pinned to the ground by a weapon-bearing assailant. Each one-hour Women Empowered lesson addresses two techniques. You can start the program at any time and participate in any class without previous experience. Unlike most self-defense systems that rely heavily on strength, speed, and coordination, the techniques in the Women Empowered program employ leverage, technique, and timing, so anyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, can make them work against larger opponents. Once you complete the Women Empowered program, you may test for promotion to pink belt!

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the perfect self-defense system for women, but only if it is taught correctly. If you’re unsure about learning BJJ for fear of injury, embarrassment, or any other reason, then the Women Empowered program is perfect for you! If you’ve tried BJJ at another school and had a negative experience, give Women Empowered a chance, and we guarantee it will win you back to the mat!

20 Essential Techniques

Law enforcement officials and survivors of sexual assault helped us identify the 20 most common attack strategies that a male assailant is likely to use on a woman. From hair-grabs and choke-holds, to bear hugs and weapon defenses, the Women Empowered program covers it all.

The Empowerment Mindset

Beyond the physical techniques, Women Empowered also reinforces awareness principles, risk assessment, and verbal and psychological strategies a woman can use to set safe boundaries with others – even if the perpetrator is someone she knows. At the core of this mindset is the belief that we are worth defending!

What is the Pink Belt?

In most martial arts systems, awarding belts is the traditional way to acknowledge progress and accomplishment. With the development of the Gracie Women Empowered program, the course featured so many unique strategies, objectives, techniques, and psychology tailored to a special set of circumstances, that the standard Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belt system did not apply. So, we decided to add an entirely new belt, and since pink was one of the only colors not used in the existing BJJ belt system, we introduced the Women Empowered Pink Belt! It not only symbolizes dedication to the techniques of the program, but also an understanding of the philosophy that is essential for survival in life-threatening scenarios. We hope that this reflexive understanding of both the philosophy and techniques will instill a confidence in women that reduces their risk of ever becoming a target in the first place. Since the program was created we have watched women dedicate countless hours to earning their pink belt, and with every pink belt earned, the value and prestige of this belt has become undeniable.

Free Online Access & Satellite Training Privileges

Upon enrolling in the Women Empowered program at any Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center®, you will receive a free subscription to Gracie University Online. Through this interactive online platform, you will have access to detailed video instruction on every technique in the course, enabling you to study the lessons on any computer or mobile device 24 hours a day! Furthermore, all active students at a Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center qualify to train for free at any other Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center around the world for up to 30 consecutive days per year. Since the curriculum is the same at all Certified Training Centers, you will receive credit for every lesson on your Women Empowered attendance card when you return home!


Step 1: Learn the Techniques

The Fundamentals program is designed so one can start at any point in the course. As a result, students can complete the 16 lessons in any order with ease. Upon enrolling, a Fundamentals attendance card is issued on which we will track a student’s progress every step of the way.

Step 2: Develop Your Reflexes

Once the 16 Fundamentals lessons are completed twice, one qualifies to participate in the Drills For Skills (DFS) Classes. In the DFS class is where a student will sharpen their skills by putting together extended combinations, and be introduced to sparring drills in preparation for sparring in the Masters Class.

Step 3: Earn your Orange Armband

Once students complete each of the Fundamentals lessons three times, and they have completed at least 8 Drills For Skills Classes, they are eligible to test for their Yellow Armband. During this test students will be evaluated on their execution of the basic Thai Boxing combinations. If their reflexes are sharp and their performance meets Fusion’s standards, they will qualify for promotion and will be ready to transition into our advanced program, the Masters Class.



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