All-Girls Teenage Martial Arts Classes: NSM Review of The Arktoi

Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu
Classes for girls at Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu offer bonding, fitness and resilience building

Teenage martial arts classes for girls can be a real gamechanger- and nobody knows this more than Rose Smith, who started Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu twenty five years ago, but added all-girls classes more recently, after her own daughter started high school. Emma Butler took her daughter to try it out.

For me, finding an all-girls class that would give my daughter Lulu a welcoming, caring community of women, and female role models, to work with, was a dream.

It can be hard to know how to choose a martial arts class for your child, but I felt the classes and the approach at Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu ticked all the boxes.

So I took the plunge and enrolled Lulu, aged 12, in the senior girls class (and myself in the free classes offered to mothers of students!). Now, we attend Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu as a family, with Lulu in the teenage girls Tournament team, and my 10 year old daughter taking the primary school girls class on Saturdays.

Class for teenage girls martial arts

The approach at Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu ticked all the boxes for empowering women

Girls at a martial arts class

The inspiration and warmth in a room full of girls and women training is a very special thing

All-girls teenage martial arts classes: The special benefits

As a mother of four girls, I have a strong belief in empowering young women and giving them the tools to defend themselves, but in a wider sense to carry themselves with confidence and belief in themselves and their ability.

Every Saturday morning the three of us are welcomed to the dojo, and spend time together in a caring, welcoming community of girls, and have the chance to learn from amazing female role models who lead our groups. The inspiration and warmth in a room full of girls and women training together is a very special thing.

Besides the safety of all-female spaces, the dojo also offers mixed adult classes, and the cuteness that is the little Minotaurs class!

Available classes:

Minotaurs (3 – 6yrs) 5 – 5.30pm
Hippogriffs + Manticores (primary school girls 7 – 11yrs) 5.30 – 6.30pm
ALL GIRLS Tournament squad all levels (7 – 17 yrs) 6.30 – 7.30pm

Minotaurs special quiet class (3-6yrs) 5 – 5.30pm
Hippogriffs, Manticores + Arktoi (7 – 17yrs girls) 5.30 – 6.30pm
Mums + Daughters class all levels 6.30 – 7.30pm

Minotaurs (3 – 6yrs) 5 – 5.30pm
Hippogriffs + Manticores (primary school girls 7 – 11yrs) 5.30 – 6.30pm
Arktoi (12 – 17yrs) 6.30 – 7.30pm
ADULTS (18+ years mixed) 7.30 – 8.30pm

Minotaurs (3 – 6yrs) 7 – 7.30am
Mums + Daughters class all levels 7.30 – 8.30am
Arktoi (12 – 17years) 8.30 – 10.00am


Training for girls in martial arts

Girls learn from amazing female role models who lead the classes and groups with kindness

Teenage Martial Arts for Girls: The Classes

Teenage classes specialize with a particular focus on young women. Girls 11 – 17 years are at greatest risk of sexual assault and this age group also coincides with the greatest drop in participation in both martial arts and group sport. Girls have particular requirements when learning the more adult aspects of martial arts and the classes provide a safe space for them to “be themselves” while developing confidence and skill.

This is a full martial arts program that also drills communication with parents and adults, a strong message around avoiding anti-social behaviours and unhealthy peer pressure, as well as dealing with more mature and difficult aspects of bullying at high school, including cyber bullying.

All aspects of personal safety is covered. Girls will benefit from good decision making, sizing up risk, making good choices. These students are introduced to basic MMA (Mixed martial arts) and also learn in-depth weaponry skills including knife, cane, jo and bo.

How the classes helped our family

For my daughter, I have seen a huge change since starting at Philotimo. She has more confidence and has stepped outside her comfort zone at school to the point her shift in attitude was noted by her class teacher. It has helped with her anxiety, and her behavior at home has shifted. We still have the 12yr old meltdowns but I more often than not get an apology later, which was unheard of before! We’ve also completed the winning the homework war program and she has learnt to schedule her homework, school and extra circular activities – a great skill for fast approaching high school. And, in terms of her skills, she took state champion recently at the all-styles competition after only six months of lessons!

More about Winning the Homework War Program:

Winning the Homework War is an 8-week program that encourages, challenges and supports parents to change the family behaviours, beliefs and habits that cause fighting, arguing and stress over simple things like being ready on time, doing homework, passing on messages, tidying up, sharing chores, peaceful bedtimes + managing busy timetables. Find out more.


Prizegiving at martial arts

Training at Philotimo can help girls step outside their comfort zone at the dojo and beyond

For myself, I am discovering muscles I never knew I had! I am getting an excellent workout, I am laughing a lot, I am building confidence in myself and I love feeling strong. The Sensei who runs our group is so understanding, kind and enthusiastic. A year ago I would have laughed if you said I’d be doing martial arts but I can 100% say this is the best thing I have done for my daughters and myself! I would highly recommend coming and trialing a class.

Mum training at jujitsu

Mums of students can train for free at the dojo and discover new confidence (and muscles!)

It says on the Philotimo website “Learning self defense is empowering for women, and changes their beliefs of what they are capable of and what they are entitled to. They come to know with conviction: ‘I deserve better’ ”

And I agree! We are living proof of how these principles can change lives.

Group prizewinning

Learning self defense is empowering for women, and changes beliefs of what they are capable of

Essential Details

  • What: The Arktoi – Girls Only Classes, Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu
  • About: The “Arktoi” or “Little Bears” were girls in Ancient Greece who looked after the temple of Artemis. They learned wrestling & sparring as part of their training in the temple. The all-girls martial arts program provides a safe space for girls to learn self defence in a positive and collegiate environment.
  •  When (Mum and daughter classes, all girls. For full class breakdown):

    • Monday: ALL GIRLS Tournament squad all levels (7 – 17 yrs) 6.30 – 7.30pm
    • Tuesday: Mums + Daughters class all levels 6.30 – 7.30pm
    • Wednesday: Arktoi (12 – 17yrs) 6.30 – 7.30pm
    • Saturday: Mums + Daughters class all levels 7.30 – 8.30am, Arktoi (12 – 17 years) 8.30 – 10.00am
  • Contact Details: Phone Sensei Rose on 0444577608  or on Facebook

Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu runs classes in Hunters Hill. You can find them in the North Shore Mums Directory.


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