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Students Tackle Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighting style

November 30, 2006

Junior Andy Moody wasn’t really sure what he was getting into when his friends dragged him to his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) meeting, but now he’s glad he went and stuck around.

“One of my friends dragged me along to one of the BJJ group meetings,” Moody said. “They proceeded to beat the daylights out of me, and I’ve been going ever since.”

While BJJ is well known to those who are fans of fighting, there are still a number of people who know nothing about it.

“It’s kind of like traditional wrestling, but a lot more painful,” Moody said. “Instead of pinning somebody’s shoulder blades to the mat, you try and make them tap-out or give up.  To do that you do whatever you can, which can involve making them bend in ways they aren’t designed to, or simply by choking them until they pass out.”

BJJ is one of the top grappling styles of fighting available to anybody who is just getting into the sport.

“It’s a great sport for anybody interested in wrestling or fighting,” Moody said. “It also doubles as an excellent source of self-defense techniques. You just have to take the time to try it out.”

While it may seem like all things are legal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that is not the case. Groin attacks, eye-gouging and hair pulling are all illegal maneuvers.

Some BJJ clubs incorporate the traditional wearing of a gi, which is just like a karate uniform. There are a number of gyms and clubs, like the UWRF club, that do not use them regularly. Gi’s generally cost between $200 and $300, but if the athlete wants a really nice one they will cost around $450.

There are many aspects that make BJJ a unique sport.

“It’s interesting because unlike most wrestling or grappling-related sports, you don’t need to be big and strong to do it.  It definitely helps to be, but BJJ is more of a leverage game than strength,” Moody said. “It gives the little guy a chance against the big burly dudes and is more of a mental sport than a lot of other fighting styles.”

Athletes who participate in BJJ have the opportunity to compete. Moody has only competed once and he did better than he may have thought he would, finishing the tournament in third place.

“There are tournaments offered around the country, but sometimes they’re hard to find,” Moody said. “There’s one put on in the Twin Cites annually that has quite a few competitors, but otherwise it can be quite a drive.  Preparing for a BJJ competition is pretty much like anything else. Practice, practice, practice. The only way to get better is more mat time.”

Students who join BJJ join for a number of different reasons. Some like the similarities to other fighting sports, while others want a way to take out their aggression, and some do it to stay in shape.

“The biggest reason for my participation is staying in shape,” Moody said. “I don’t have the time or energy to lift weights on a regular basis, so I throw people around instead.”

In fact, BJJ is known as a very popular cardiovascular workout.

“It’s a great cardio workout, and I like it a lot more than jogging,” Moody said. “I enjoy learning how to fight, and this is was the perfect opportunity to get better at it.”

While it may seem like BJJ is just for men, that is not the case. There may not be a lot of interest from the female population here at UWRF, but across the country it is rare to find women who learn and compete in it. The women have an advantage in flexibility, which in some respects is more important than strength.

The club on the campus is very active.The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 p.m. in the basement of Karges.

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