What is trauma-informed jiu-jitsu?

Walking into a jiu-jitsu gym for the first time can be intimidating for anyone, so our trauma-informed programs are designed to remove the barriers to entry for trauma survivors, particularly for women.

We take the knowledge and understanding of how trauma affects people’s lives to provide a service that avoids inadvertent triggers that may exacerbate trauma symptoms. Applied to a jiu-jitsu setting, we teach practical jiu-jitsu and jiu-jitsu-based self-defence skills at the pace and comfort level of the individual participants, who can take part in as much or as little as they are comfortable with.

“Studies have shown that programs that utilise a trauma-informed practice model report a decrease in symptoms, an improvement in consumers’ daily functioning, and decreases in the use of hospitalisation and crisis intervention.”

– Mental Health Australia

What is trauma?

A traumatic event can be any incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. While it’s possible to experience trauma from a one-off event such as a bushfire, flood, sexual or physical assault in adulthood, or from fighting in a war, most people with trauma-related problems have experienced multiple traumas. This is known as complex trauma.

Our approach

We focus on four “R”s:

  1. Realisation – about trauma and its impacts on individuals, families, and communities;
  2. Recognition – of the signs of trauma;
  3. Response – the program, organisation or system responds by applying the principles of a trauma-informed approach; and
  4. Resist re-traumatisation – of clients as well as staff.

We adopt the following care principles

  • Safety – Coaches and the people we serve must feel physically and psychologically safe.
  • Trustworthiness and transparency – Organisational operations and decisions are transparent and trustworthy.
  • Collaboration and mutuality – We level power differentials between coaches and clients and amongst organisational staff to ensure a collaborative approach to healing.
  • Empowerment and choice – This principle emphasises the strengths-based nature of trauma-informed care. We foster recovery and healing.
  • Cultural, historical and gender issues – Our approach incorporates processes that move past cultural stereotypes and biases, and incorporates policies, protocols and processes that are responsive to the cultural needs of clients.