Inspiring stories on International Women’s Day

As part of international women’s day I wanted to share with you something I do outside of my studies. I teach the Jiu Jitsu Club at the University of Sheffield and I am currently a Senior Primary Trainer which is one level above black belt. Jiu Jitsu is a self-defence martial art that originated from Japan. We learn lots of different things such as throwing, weapons defence, arm and wrist locks (breaks), grab defences and ground fighting. I have also run personal safety courses teaching basic self defence to different groups in the community and in high schools.


Jitsu has been a part of my life since I can remember, I have been training for 18 years, from the age of 4 and a half. My dad was my instructor and both my brother and sister are also black belts. This has played a huge role in developing me into the person I am today and has had a positive impact on all aspects of my life. It has made me confident, built my self esteem and made me a strong public speaker; all of which skills I have been able to take into my studies, other sports, social life and work life. It has also kept me fit, given me an energy boost when I needed it and a welcome break from day to day life!

It has also given me goals to work on outside of my studies whether that be towards my fitness or gaining my next belt, and a purpose; helping to develop other. It is very easy to get caught up in studying and let it consume you, having something completely separate to my degree has helped me to try and maintain a balanced life style and provided me well needed stress relief!

The unique thing about Jitsu is that you can you can turn up to any club from our foundation in the UK and internationally, and be welcomed with open arms. From doing this martial art I have made friends for life and have been able to travel to amazing places like Canada, South Africa, Vienna and America for International events. And even now, after so long, every session I still learn something new whether that be from my students or fellow instructors.

It has also really helped me when joining other martial arts clubs on my placement year like a boxing class in Barcelona and a Kickboxing club in Amsterdam. As well as the Muay Thai club in Sheffield I have joined this year. They immediately recognise my hardworking training attitude and common skills which creates a level of mutual respect that has allowed me to integrate into their clubs more easily.

It has made me feel safer and more aware of my surroundings, especially when walking home late at night as a student. And helped me to successfully avoid, assess and navigate difficult situations while I have been at University such as at festivals, gigs or in a night club which is often a reason why people join the club. And as well as the expected development in skills like discipline and dedication, most importantly I think that it has strengthened my mental toughness, making me more capable of taking on challenges outside of training.

It is also very rewarding to help to build other peoples self esteem, and aid them in working towards their goals and see their confidence improve. I love teaching and I am lucky to be surrounded by so many other inspirational women around the country and those I teach in my club

Written by Chandni Soren #HallamInsider