Empowering Women Through Jiu-Jitsu: A Conversation with Professor Kirsty Carpenter

December 6, 2023


In the realm of martial arts, Gracie Barra Yate stands out not just for its reputation as a hub of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu excellence but also for the diverse group of skilled practitioners that call it home. Among these, Professor Kirsty Utting emerges as a formidable force and an inspiration for women looking to break into the world of Jiu-Jitsu. In this exclusive interview, Professor Kirsty shares her journey of 12 years in the art, emphasizing the transformative impact Jiu-Jitsu has had on her confidence, lifestyle, and overall well-being.

Empowerment Through Jiu-Jitsu

For Professor Kirsty, Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a sport; it’s a source of empowerment. She highlights how the art has played a pivotal role in boosting her self-confidence, encouraging a healthier lifestyle, and pushing her beyond her comfort zone. In a society where women often face various challenges, the lessons learned on the Jiu-Jitsu mat provide valuable tools for empowerment.

Self-Defense as a Skill

One of the key aspects Professor Kirsty emphasizes is the practicality of Jiu-Jitsu as a self-defence martial art. Contrary to common misconceptions, she stresses that Jiu-Jitsu isn’t about overpowering opponents with strength but rather relying on technique. This aspect is particularly crucial for women, offering a means to defend oneself against larger adversaries. The emphasis on leverage and strategy makes Jiu-Jitsu an effective tool for escaping potentially dangerous situations.

Overcoming Apprehensions

Acknowledging that some women may feel apprehensive about joining a close-contact sport like Jiu-Jitsu, Professor Kirsty urges them to look past initial discomfort. Drawing a parallel to real-life situations, she points out that the ability to create distance and escape control is essential in self-defence. By approaching Jiu-Jitsu with a practical mindset, women can overcome reservations and recognize the art’s empowering potential.

Championing Achievements

Professor Kirsty’s impressive list of accomplishments speaks volumes about her dedication and skill in Jiu-Jitsu. Since 2011, she has clinched the title of British champion in both gi and no-gi divisions, showcasing her prowess in various competitions like NAGA, ADCC, Empire Grappling, Nottingham Open, and Grapplers Showdown. Her success not only establishes her as a role model within Gracie Barra Yate but also as a testament to the heights women can reach in the world of Jiu-Jitsu.

The Emotional Impact

Beyond the physical aspects, Professor Kirsty delves into the emotional benefits of Jiu-Jitsu. She describes how the art makes her feel empowered, physically good, and mentally strong. These positive emotions contribute to a holistic sense of well-being, reinforcing that Jiu-Jitsu is not just a sport but a transformative journey.


Professor Kirsty Utting’s journey in Jiu-Jitsu exemplifies the empowering potential of this martial art for women. Her achievements, combined with her insightful perspective on self-defence and personal growth, serve as an encouragement for females to embrace the world of Gracie Barra Yate. By highlighting the transformative impact of Jiu-Jitsu on confidence, lifestyle, and overall well-being, Professor Kirsty invites women to break free from apprehensions and discover the empowering benefits of this martial art – proving that Jiu-Jitsu is indeed ‘not just for boys.’

Black Belt Professor Kirsty talking

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